The Evening Blues - 9-21-20



eb1pt12


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

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues guitarist and "Mr. Memphis Minnie," Little Son Joe Lawlars. Enjoy!

Little Son Joe Lawlars w/Memphis Minnie - A.B.C. blues

“The President in particular is very much a figurehead — he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.”

-- Douglas Adams


News and Opinion

Pentagon sending troops to Syria after clashes between U.S., Russian military

The Pentagon is deploying a small number of U.S. troops to Syria after a series of escalating encounters between the U.S. and Russian militaries, according to three U.S. defense officials.

The troops and vehicles will serve as a show of presence to discourage the Russian military from crossing into the eastern security area where U.S., coalition, and Syrian Democratic Forces operate, the officials said.

The additional troops will include six Bradley Fighting Vehicles and fewer than 100 soldiers operating in northeast Syria on a 90-day deployment.

A U.S. official said, "These actions and reinforcements are a clear signal to Russia to adhere to mutual de-confliction processes and for Russia and other parties to avoid unprofessional, unsafe and provocative actions in northeast Syria."

Stephen F. Cohen, Influential Historian of Russia, Dies at 81

Stephen F. Cohen, an eminent historian whose books and commentaries on Russia examined the rise and fall of Communism, Kremlin dictatorships and the emergence of a post-Soviet nation still struggling for identity in the 21st century, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 81.

His wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, the publisher and part owner of The Nation, said the cause was lung cancer.

From the sprawling conflicts of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and the tyrannies of Stalin to the collapse of the Soviet Union and Vladimir V. Putin’s intrigues to retain power, Professor Cohen chronicled a Russia of sweeping social upheavals and the passions and poetry of peoples that endured a century of wars, political repression and economic hardships.

A professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, he was fluent in Russian, visited Russia frequently and developed contacts among intellectual dissidents and government and Communist Party officials. He wrote or edited 10 books and many articles for The Nation, The New York Times and other publications, was a CBS-TV commentator and counted President George Bush and many American and Soviet officials among his sources. ...

Loosely identified with a revisionist historical view of the Soviet Union, Professor Cohen held views that made him a controversial public intellectual. He believed that early Bolshevism had held great promise, that it had been democratic and genuinely socialist, and that it had been corrupted only later by civil war, foreign hostility, Stalin’s malignancy and a fatalism in Russian history.

European leaders warn US move to reimpose Iran sanctions is legally void

European leaders have warned the US that its claim to have the authority to reimpose sweeping UN-mandated sanctions on Iran has no effect in law, setting up a major legal clash that could lead to Washington imposing sanctions on its European allies.

In a joint statement on Sunday, France, Germany and the UK (E3) said any attempt by the US to impose its own sanctions on countries not complying with the reimposed UN ones was also legally void.

On Saturday, the US moved to reinstate a range of UN sanctions against Iran, saying it had the authority to do so as an original signatory of the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and other major powers.

The other signatories claim the US left the JCPOA in 2018 and therefore no longer has a unilateral legal right to either declare Iran in breach of the agreement or to reimpose sanctions in the name of the UN.

The dispute leaves the US at loggerheads with much of the world on whether UN sanctions have been reimposed.

The disagreement is not just a legal wrangle since the Trump administration claims the US now has the authority to act against any country breaching the reimposed sanctions.


Glenn Greenwald on Useful Idiots, Interview Only

White House bans TikTok and WeChat: A major intensification of internet censorship

In a major escalation of the anti-China campaign ahead of the election, the Trump administration announced on Friday that it was following through on its executive orders of August 6 and banning the social media apps TikTok and WeChat from being downloaded from US app stores on Sunday.

The move is a frontal assault on the freedom of expression and an effort to consolidate control of the internet by a handful of massive corporations working in partnership with the American government. TikTok is used by millions of people every day to connect with friends and family, share ideas and communicate, and has been used to organize social protests. WeChat is a major link of communication between the United States and China.

An official statement released by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said downloads and new versions of the two mobile apps would be prohibited on Apple and Android app stores as of September 20. With regard to WeChat, the Commerce Department statement prohibits all electronic payments and funds transfers as well as the hosting, transferring internet traffic or “utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code” within the US. WeChat, “for all practical purposes… will be shut down in the US, but only in the US, as of midnight Monday,” Ross said.

TikTok faces a similar US ban on November 12, unless the Trump administration approves the proposal made last weekend by the American software giant Oracle Corporation to become a “trusted tech partner” with ByteDance, the Chinese company that currently owns it.

The transfer of TikTok to US ownership would be aimed at creating conditions in which it can be subject to the same type of government-backed censorship that has already been implemented by Google, Facebook, Twitter and other US-based social media companies. TikTok is the tenth most popular social media platform in the world, with 500 million users, 100 million of which are in the US. WeChat is the fifth largest social media platform in the world, with 1.06 billion users, of which 3.3 million are in the US. Described as China’s “app for everything,” WeChat is a multipurpose instant messaging, social media and mobile payment app owned by Tencent Holdings.

Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration's U.S. WeChat Ban

A federal judge has blocked President Trump's executive order that would have effectively shut down popular Chinese app WeChat, ruling that the action represents a free speech violation.

WeChat, used by 1.2 billion users worldwide and 19 million people in the U.S., was set to stop operating in the U.S. on midnight Sunday following Trump's order invoking a national emergency and targeting the app on national security grounds.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in Northern California issued a preliminary injunction Sunday morning siding with users of WeChat, who claimed in a lawsuit that Trump's action curbed their First Amendment rights.

"Certainly the government's overarching national-security interest is significant," Beeler wrote, but the Trump administration "has put in scant evidence that its effective ban of WeChat for all U.S. users addresses those concerns," the judge wrote.

The reprieve for WeChat comes a day after TikTok, an app owned by ByteDance, a company based in China, was rescued in a last-minute deal approved by Trump in which software company Oracle will serve as a custodian of U.S. user data, with a major investment from Walmart.

Leaked Docs Expose How BIG BANKS Profit Off Criminality, Face No Consequences

Leak reveals $2tn of possibly corrupt US financial activity

Thousands of documents detailing $2 trillion (£1.55tn) of potentially corrupt transactions that were washed through the US financial system have been leaked to an international group of investigative journalists. The leak focuses on more than 2,000 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the US government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Banks and other financial institutions file SARs when they believe a client is using their services for potential criminal activity. However, the filing of an SAR does not require the bank to cease doing business with the client in question.

The documents were provided to BuzzFeed News, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The documents are said to suggest major banks provided financial services to high-risk individuals from around the world, in some cases even after they had been placed under sanctions by the US government. According to the ICIJ the documents relate to more than $2tn of transactions dating from between 1999 and 2017.

Argentinians flock to Uruguay amid pandemic

About 15,000 to 20,000 Argentinians are estimated to have moved to Uruguay since the pandemic began in March – a number equivalent to about 0.6% of Uruguay’s population of 3.5 million. And Uruguay is encouraging the flow. South America’s smallest nation not only lowered the minimum value of property foreigners must acquire to obtain tax residency from $1.7m to just $380,000 earlier this year, but also passed a new law offering arrivals a 10-year “tax holiday”. ...

Once known as “the Switzerland of South America”, because of its high quality of life and its former banking secrecy laws, Uruguay has now become its New Zealand.

Its population is only 66% the size of the Kiwi state, but both countries have seen fewer than 2,000 cases and coronavirus deaths in double digits. Thanks to a large testing and contact tracing program, most of Uruguay’s schools, restaurants and sports clubs have remained open throughout the pandemic.

In stark contrast, Uruguay’s neighbors, Argentina and Brazil, currently rank third and fourth worldwide in the daily number of reported new cases, according to WHO figures. ... Its efforts to contain the coronavirus were helped by a relatively small population, but it also extensive public health coverage and almost 100% access to running water.

Casualties of “herd immunity”: Three new teacher deaths in one week as US schools reopen

As school districts across the US push forward with in-person learning in K-12 schools, the death toll of teachers and other educators from COVID-19 continues to rise.

These tragic deaths are absolutely preventable. School workers are the victims of a deadly bipartisan policy of “herd immunity”—that is, allowing the virus to spread without restraint, come what may. This policy has been spearheaded by the Trump administration, as revealed in the tapes released by Bob Woodward that prove Trump deliberately downplayed the threat of the virus and lied to the population.

However, this homicidal policy has the full support of the Democratic Party, which has done everything in its power to reopen schools in districts around the country, most notably in New York City, where Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo are working to start up in-person classes in the nation's largest school district, against fierce resistance from teachers, students and parents.

As a direct result of these criminal actions, three new educator deaths were reported in the last week alone, and a fourth teacher is currently fighting for her life in an intensive care unit. These preventable deaths mark only the beginning of what will become a flood of such reports, barring the independent intervention of educators, parents and students to force the closure of the schools.

[More details at link. -js]

Bolstering Case for Single Payer, Study Shows For-Profit Insurer Plans Pay Hospitals Nearly 250% More Than Medicare

A new study released Friday by the RAND Corporation details the astronomical prices hospital systems across the U.S. charge private insurers and the more than 153 million patients who obtain health coverage through their employers—while Medicare proves to be a far more affordable option.

The findings make the case for expanding the Medicare system to all Americans, one prominent single-payer healthcare advocate said.

"There is no better system of cost control and universal care for employers than Medicare for All," policy analyst Michael Lighty, a leading expert on and organizer for Medicare for All, told Common Dreams.

Studying hospital systems in 49 states, RAND found that employers and insurers paid $20 billion more to hospitals between 2016 and 2018 than the government did through Medicare for the same healthcare services.

In hospitals across the country, according to the study, private insurers paid an average of 247% more for services than what hospitals would have received via the Medicare system. In six states, hospitals charge three times more than Medicare if a patient has private insurance, and at the most expensive hospitals, insurers may be charged four times the amount—ultimately leading to a financial strain on the patient.

"Hospitals like this are a tax on their community, harming economic growth and decreasing workers' take-home pay," tweeted philanthropist John Arnold.

"If we want to keep a private market in U.S. healthcare, it has to function," Elizabeth Mitchell, chief executive of the Pacific Business Group on Health told the New York Times. "It's really not functioning."

The Times reported that the study was likely to bolster the argument for a public option which would compete with for-profit health insurance, ultimately bringing down the cost of care. 

Lighty told Common Dreams that the research actually "creates a much stronger argument for Medicare for All than for the public option."

"The primary payment method for hospitals under Medicare for All would be a 'global budget,' which ensures that each facility has the resources to provide patient care for their patient population and service area," Lighty said. "The public option simply introduces another 'plan design' into a system of plans that is causing the problem—the administrative complexity of network definitions and rate setting continues under a public option."

The Times claimed Medicare for All is a far more "controversial" solution than the public option—but both solutions are popular with the U.S. public. A survey by Kaiser Family Foundation in May found that 56% of Americans support Medicare for All, including eight in 10 Democratic voters. A separate poll taken by The Hill/HarrisX in April showed that 69% of respondents believe every American should be covered under the hugely popular Medicare program.

The Times article brings up the frequently-expressed concern of Medicare for All opponents that hospitals would be unable to operate if they are forced to accept Medicare rates and are unable to price their surgeries, overnight stays, and other services at exorbitant rates for insurance companies.

"We cannot survive in that kind of the world," Tom Nickels, an executive vice president at the American Hospital Association (AHA), told the Times. The trade group further pushed back against the RAND Corporation's findings on Friday, saying "the study again perpetuates erroneous suggestions that Medicare payments should be used as a benchmark for private insurers."

Lighty countered that the AHA has "literally no credibility" regarding efforts to keep hospitals running.

"They have been promoting a business model that closes 'unprofitable' hospitals in rural areas and inner cities for over two decades," Lighty told Common Dreams. "In South Carolina, eight hospitals have closed since 2010. Global budgets keep hospitals open, the present system of financing and contracting closes them."


David Sirota: Left Must Primary Schumer NOW To Force His Hand On Court

Primary Schumer To Guarantee Opposition To Trump’s SCOTUS Pick

As Republicans are already promising a vote on a nominee from Donald Trump, the obvious question is: What can be done to stop conservatives’ full takeover of the nation’s high court for the rest of our lives?

We don’t have all the answers, but we have one answer among many: A serious New York Democratic candidate needs to step up and announce a 2022 primary challenge to Sen. Chuck Schumer — who already has a record of helping fast-track Donald Trump’s judicial appointments. That primary challenge needs to be announced right now — and it needs to be clear that the primary challenge will be a referendum on Schumer’s record on Trump judges.

As Minority Leader, Schumer will lead Senate Democrats as President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell inevitably try to install a justice onto the court sometime before Trump has to leave office, should he lose the 2020 election. That means Schumer needs to face maximum pressure every single day to use all possible power that his caucus has — and it has power — to stop a Trump appointment. Not just pressure as in phone calls and protests — pressure as in you-will-be-voted-out-of-office pressure.

We know Schumer needs that kind of pressure because as Vox reported, in 2018 he agreed to a deal “to fast-track the confirmations of 15 Trump-nominated judicial picks.” Additionally, under Schumer’s leadership, members of the Democratic caucus provided votes to confirm Trump’s two previous judges, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. We also know that Democrats have periodically voted to install Trump judges on lower courts.

You could argue that there was nothing Schumer could do to prevent conservative Democrats from voting the way they did, but that’s bullshit. Schumer controls the party apparatus and its fundraising machine — if his excuse is he can’t do anything, then he shouldn’t be the leader. Schumer and Democrats have chronically mismanaged judicial appointments. Obama left office with a Supreme Court seat open and far too many district and court of appeals vacancies. Republicans have rushed to fill those seats, and Democrats have rubber-stamped most of their nominees with little fight. While House Democrats and Senate Republicans haven’t managed to agree on a new COVID relief bill since March, Democrats this week helped confirm eight new district court judges this week.

RBG's Supreme Court seat: Could Trump succeed in rushing through a nomination?

RBG Death Means Two-Headed Uniparty Will Threaten Americans With Removal Of Civil Rights

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died, which means the US election is going to revolve around abortion and other civil rights for the foreseeable future. Which won’t change much since this presidential race hasn’t really been about anything since the end of the Democratic primaries.

The opportunistic galvanization process has already begun before Ginsburg’s body is even cold, with liberal influencers calling Democrats to rally to a November win for “the notorious RBG” and Trump supporters dropping their faux anti-establishment schtick and metamorphosing into a bunch of mini-Mitch McConnells. Leftists are being shrieked at by mainstream Dems that they need to fall in line and support Biden or they’re personally responsible for every civil right that is taken away by Ginsburg’s replacement.

I’m not here to tell Americans how to vote in November. I’d just like to quickly point out once again that an establishment which threatens to remove your civil rights if you don’t support it is an establishment that doesn’t deserve to exist.

Of course it doesn’t look like that’s what’s happening if you subscribe to the mainstream consensus perspective that America’s political system has two separate and oppositional parties. If that is your viewpoint, you will see one bad party trying to take away people’s civil liberties and one good party trying to stop them.

If however you recognize that America has two parties that are owned and operated by a single oligarchic class which has more or less the same overarching goal as far as ordinary people are concerned, it looks completely different.

If you understand that America has a two-headed one-party system designed to shrink the spectrum of acceptable debate down to arguments about how oligarchic agendas should be facilitated rather than if they should, what you see is a single entity threatening to take away your civil liberties if you don’t support it. A single establishment threatening to punch you with its right hand if you don’t let it punch you with its left.

What is the correct response to such a situation? Is it to give the two-headed monster what it wants? Is it to give your energy to supporting the same establishment which is threatening to take away your civil rights?

Or is it to fight? Is it to pour your energy into tearing down an abusive political system which threatens to rob your civil rights if you don’t plug yourself into the mainstream oligarchic establishment? A system which throughout your entire life has done nothing but rob you and pour your nation’s wealth into wars, tax cuts and ever-expanding neoliberal exploitation regardless of how you’ve voted?

If you think the correct response is the latter, consider refraining from giving your energy to the Supreme Court debate in the coming months and focus on waking people up to what’s really going on in the world so that they can see their two-headed abuser for themselves.

Ruth Ginsburg R.I.P. Democrats Posturing Begins!


Supreme court: Biden accuses Trump and Republicans of abuse of power

Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, made an urgent plea on Sunday to the conscience of Senate Republicans, asking them to defy Donald Trump and refuse to ram through his nominee to the supreme court before the November election. ... Speaking in Philadelphia, Biden demanded that the people be heard. He accused Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, of hypocrisy after he stonewalled Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s pick for the court in 2016, also an election year.

“Look, I’m not being naive,” the former vice-president said. “I’m not speaking to President Trump, who’ll do whatever he wants. I’m not speaking to Mitch McConnell, who’ll do what he wants, and he does. “I’m speaking to those Republicans out there, Senate Republicans, who know deep down what is right for the country and consistent with the constitution.”

People have already begun voting in an election that is just six weeks away, Biden added. “The people of this nation are choosing their future right now, as they vote. To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power and I don’t believe the people of this nation will stand for it.” It would represent an “abuse of power”, he said. “This is constitutional abuse.”


Krystal Ball: GOP Will Play Dems For Suckers On SCOTUS Forever

Second Republican senator says there should be no supreme court vote before election

Alaska Republican senator Lisa Murkowski said on Sunday she would not support efforts to confirm Donald Trump’s third supreme court pick before the presidential election on 3 November. The move came a day after Susan Collins of Maine, another Republican moderate, took the same position.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell can now afford to lose only one more senator if he is to achieve his aim of tilting the court firmly to the right for a generation or more.

Thanks to reforms initiated by Democrats in 2013 but completed by Republicans in 2017, a simple Senate majority is required to confirm a supreme court justice.

Murkowski and Collins’ statements mean that if no Democrats or independents come over to the Republican side, McConnell can count on a win by 51 votes to 49. He could afford to lose one more senator, as Vice-President Mike Pence would break any tie.

The Senate majority leader is looking to hold a vote before election day – or even in the lame duck period after the election and before the next presidential inauguration, on 20 January, even if Democrats take the White House and the Senate.



the horse race



Arizona race could give Democrats extra Senate seat for supreme court fight

If he wins a US Senate seat in Arizona, the former astronaut Mark Kelly could take office as early as 30 November, an outcome which might jeopardize the launch of Donald Trump’s third supreme court nominee.

The Democratic candidate has maintained a polling lead over the Republican Martha McSally, who was appointed to the seat held by John McCain, who died in 2018.

Because the contest is a special election to finish McCain’s term, the winner could be sworn in as soon as the results are certified. Other winners in November’s contest, in which Democrats hope to retake the Senate, will not take office until January. ...

If Kelly wins, when he takes office could be crucial in deciding the ensuing nomination fight. Republicans currently hold the chamber by 53 seats to 47. The prospect of falling to 52 could prompt McConnell to speed up the nomination process.

MSNBC Host complains: Park Avenue LIVES MATTER!



the evening greens


As the West Burns, the Trump Administration Races to Demolish Environmental Protections

As wildfires destroy millions of acres in California, Oregon, and Washington, and an unprecedented series of hurricanes cause historic flooding in the South, leaving parts of the region uninhabitable, the Trump administration has been racing to reverse rules designed to prevent exactly these kinds of climate disasters. Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has presided over the rollback of more environmental rules and regulations than any other president. The result has been that, even as climate change is on track to soon force millions of Americans from their homes and eventually heat the Earth to temperatures not seen for 34 million years, the leader of the country that bears more responsibility for the climate change than any other has doubled down on the decimation of efforts meant to combat both pollution and the climate crisis. ...

In recent months, the pace of these assaults has quickened. The frenzied efforts of federal agencies during the last months before a presidential election are often referred to as “midnight regulation.” But the work the Trump administration has recently been hurrying to complete would be more accurately described as “midnight deregulation.” ...

In many cases, this deregulation will have a measurable human toll. Changes to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which the EPA made in April, undermined limits on mercury and other toxic air pollution coming from coal-fired power plants that were put in place in 2011. Those regulations had prevented between 4,000 and 11,000 premature deaths each year, according to the agency’s own calculations. But under Trump, the EPA has decided that it is no longer necessary to regulate this pollutant, which causes brain damage in developing fetuses and increases heart attacks in adults. If it stands, the methane rollback, which is being challenged by environmentalists, will also result in illness and death. In addition to hastening climate change, methane turns into ozone, which causes chronic diseases, including respiratory damage, cancer, asthma, and heart disease. Fence-line communities, which are disproportionately made up of people of color, including the more than 1 million African Americans who live within a half-mile of an oil and gas facility, will be among the hardest hit by the pollution. And the replacement of the Clean Power Plan is expected to lead to thousands of deaths.

With less than seven weeks until the election, and the wildfires and flooding continuing to spread along with the recognition that they are part of a larger climate apocalypse, the Trump administration is still scrambling to finish the deadly destruction of some of the rules and processes that were put in place to protect human health.

Trump EPA Denounced for 'Disgusting' Decision on Atrazine, Herbicide Tied to Birth Defects

The Trump administration alarmed environmental and public health advocates on Friday with the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to reauthorize the use of atrazine, an herbicide common in the United States but banned or being phased out in dozens of countries due to concerns about risks such as birth defects and cancer.

"Use of this extremely dangerous pesticide should be banned, not expanded," declared Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). "This disgusting decision directly endangers the health of millions of Americans."

"This decision imperils the health of our children and the safety of drinking water supplies across much of the nation," Donley added. "No one will be left untouched by the bad decision the EPA just made."

While EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler called the final interim decision "another example of the Trump administration taking action in support of America's farmers," critics called out the agency for discarding precautions mandated under the Food Quality Protection Act and ignoring epidemiological research.

Tropical storm Beta threatens flooding as it drifts to Texas and Louisiana shores

Tropical Storm Beta was making a slow crawl to the shores of Texas and Louisiana on Sunday, casting worries about heavy rain, flooding and storm surge across the Gulf coast.

Beta was one of three named storms in the Atlantic basin. If the system makes landfall in Texas, which forecasters predict it will sometime on Monday, it would be the ninth named storm to make landfall in the continental US in 2020. Colorado State hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said that would tie a record set in 1916.

Forecasters ran out of traditional storm names on Friday, forcing the use of the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s. ...

Beta was brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, 200 miles south-east of Galveston, Texas, the US National Hurricane Center said. The storm had maximum sustained winds at 60mph and was moving west-north-west at 3mph. Little change in strength was expected as the system approaches Texas, forecasters said. Earlier predictions showed Beta could reach hurricane strength before making landfall. ...

Hurricane Teddy remained a powerful hurricane on Sunday, with maximum sustained winds at 105mph and moving west-north-west at 12mph. Teddy was centered 320 miles south-south-east of Bermuda less than a week after Hurricane Paulette made landfall in the wealthy British territory.


Also of Interest

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

ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Craig Murray: Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing—Day 9

Mainstream US reporters silent about being spied on by apparent CIA contractor that targeted Assange

The Long, Disgraceful History of American Attacks on Brown and Black Women’s Reproductive Systems

New Documents Reveal Secret British Efforts To Arm, Assist And Propagandize 'Moderate Rebels' In Syria

Stephen Cohen Has Died. Remember His Urgent Warnings Against The New Cold War.

Glenn Greenwald on Reality Winner Controversy and Asking Trump to Pardon Snowden | Useful Idiots

Lawsuit accuses Facebook of using mobile phone cameras to spy on Instagram users

Right-Wing Operatives Accused of Trying to Entrap Progressive Pro-Democracy Groups in North Carolina to Undermine Their Election Work

Media Blame Gender Reveal Parties, Not Climate Change, for West Coast Fires

Civil War? What Civil War?

The Coming GOP CIVIL WAR Over Supreme Court Nominee

Jimmy Dore: Rachel Maddow Caught Doing FAKE NEWS Again!

Jimmy Dore: COWARDLY Silence On Julian Assange's Trial by Establishment Press!

Aaron Mate: Trump's 'Patriot Education' whitewashes racist, imperial US history

Krystal and Saagar: MSNBC, Media Elites FREAK Over Joe Biden Attack On Park Avenue


A Little Night Music

Little Son Joe - Black Rat Swing

Little Son Joe - Just Had To Holler

Memphis Minnie with Little Son Joe - Pig Meat On The Line

Memphis Minnie with Little Son Joe - Blues

Memphis Minnie with Little Son Joe - Bone Yard Blues

Little Son Joe - Ethel Bea

Little Son Joe - A Little Too Late (I'd Write A Letter)

Little Son Joe - Diggin' My Potatoes

Memphis Minnie with Little Son Joe - Jump Little Rabbit

Ernest Lawler's 'Me And My Chauffeur' played by Tuba Skinny


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Anja Geitz's picture

I suspect many of you have already seen this but for those who didn't. Here is what happens when extreme heat and wind come together during a raging fire.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

enhydra lutris's picture

@Anja Geitz
smell it.

be well and have a good one.

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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 --

snoopydawg's picture

@Anja Geitz

Or incredible works too.

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4 users have voted.

“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

joe shikspack's picture

@Anja Geitz

wow, there's something that i hope i never see up close and personal.

i hope that you are still doing well and hanging in there. i read that there's still a lot of fire activity around mt. wilson, so i hope that's going well, too.

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5 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

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10 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

magiamma's picture

@Anja Geitz
For the bobcat updates

From the guardian today

Bobcat fire becomes one of the largest in Los Angeles county history | Wildfires

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/21/bobcat-fire-los-angeles-co...

They may hold a couple liable for starting the fire

The wind-driven wildfire in the mountains north-east of Los Angeles approached 165 sq miles (404 sq km) Monday and is 15% contained.

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4 users have voted.

Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

Lookout's picture

We're a tinder box for more than just wildfires.

How about a little dark humor? America's bitches (2 min)

Max talks Julian and the crimes (like CIA spying) against him.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u09mP2x6NxE&t=1m05s

You think the election will conclude with a revolution? Bannon does and wants to incite it... if you can stomach him and Faux news (a couple of minutes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iZ2JSz7FM0&t=5m

Well thanks for all your work, the news, and the music!

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12 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

thanks for the vids! especially the honest government ad. i love those guys, they crack me up.

bannon sure does seem to be flacking for a civil war, which, i guess is the only way for him to get what he really wants. i guess we'll see what happens with that. hopefully people have more sense than to fight each other rather than the oligarchy.

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8 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@Lookout

so marginal, though, as to not be relevant. (I hope.)

What does concern me is that the MSM (CNN and MSDNC) has been putting forward, all summer--including, a couple weeks of nonstop 'talk' about the Establishment/Deep State acting out "war games"--meaning Bill Kristol, John Podesta, etc.--which appears to be designed solely to drum up the idea that the military will have to remove OM from office, forcibly, regardless of the election outcome.

It sorta explains one thing that I've thought was very curious--during prior election cycles, very, very little attention has been given to "national polls." Why? Because the electoral college determines the winner.

But, this cycle--it's talked about 24/7--as though it has a great deal of relevance. (when it clearly doesn't, from the standpoint of declaring a winner)

Could be that the mainstream corporatist media is attempting to 'normalize' the idea that there may be a forced regime or Administration Change.

Or, perhaps, it's just Kabuki Theatre, intended to frighten the DP Base (into voting).

Plus, there's the recent bipartisan proposal (just last week) by Republican Dan Coates--endorsed by Bernie on CNN, the same day--that supports the idea of determining the results of the Nov 3 election "by Commission."

WTH!

We'll sure be glad when the election results are settled. Luckily, we're not out much, anyway!

Biggrin

Hey, have a good one!

Mollie

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

@Unabashed Liberal
If Dems stage a coup, it's all over. Weimar time.

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We are so screwed.

@Lookout @Lookout

is the one doing any inciting - unless calling on people to be aware of and resist a coup that's already in motion qualifies.

You think the election will conclude with a revolution? Bannon does and wants to incite it...

Suggest looking into such entities as Lawfare and the Transition Integrity Project and consider the amount of rampant censorship that is occurring on social media, not to mention the severe curtailing or complete suspension of comment sections (Yahoo! being a prime example). Election interference is already occurring.

Want to discuss Qanon?, say something nice about Kyle Rittenour? discuss the possibility of COVID-19 being engineered? You won't be doing it on Facebook or Twitter.

It seems that the TIP does not appreciate its agenda being called into question - to the extent of (apparently) calling for the execution of one of its prominent critics.

But I'm sure it's because they want to make the world a better place.

NILS GILMAN, THE FOUNDER OF THE SO-CALLED “BIPARTISAN” TRANSITION INTEGRITY PROJECT, CALLED FOR THE EXECUTION OF FORMER TRUMP ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIAL MICHAEL ANTON IN LIGHT OF ANTON WRITING CRITICALLY ABOUT THE GROUP’S EFFORTS TO STEAL THE 2020 ELECTION AND SECURE A VICTORY FOR DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOE BIDEN.

source

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Lookout's picture

@Blue Republic

is only the votes cast on election day should count...though many states don't begin counting absentee ballots till election day.

According to Steve Bannon and other Trump allies, the pandemic was a Chinese plot to weaken America and help the Democrats and the far left steal the election from Donald Trump. The Democrats created an artificial panic, according to Bannon, about COVID, to force a mail-in ballot election. And even though Trump will win on November 3rd according to Bannon, Biden will steal the election using a massive legal team -they call it lawfare- to force the recognition of fraudulent mail-in ballots.

The Supreme Court, now controlled by the far-right with a new appointment rushed through the Senate, will support Trump’s bid to invalidate millions of mail-in ballots.

According to Bannon, November 3rd is when a bloody war will start.

Steve Bannon:
Donald Trump is going to win the vote on the only day that matters. That’s November 3rd. He’s going to win the real election in the way we’ve done it with secret ballots, with people going into a booth and voting for president United States, OK, by that evening, he will be the winner. And what they’re going to do is that between the lawfare they’ve got with eight hundred attorneys under Eric Holder, the mob they’ve got with Antifa and the radical elements of Black Lives Matter, but most importantly, the digital muscle of Facebook and Twitter, they’re going to sit there and they’re gonna not declare Trump the winner.

https://theanalysis.news/interviews/steve-bannon-says-war-begins-on-nov-...

Personally I don't care for Bannon for a number of reasons. Not to say I do like the dims...don't care for them either.

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

snoopydawg's picture

They also tweeted that Sotomayor choked on a chicken wing. Someone replies "it was the Right Wing"

Breyer had an air conditioner fall on his head. Liberals are very upset that they’re doing it. Pie Fight!

Not a chance!

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“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

wow, that's quite a tweet from the onion. i guess that will stir up some controversy and piss some people off.

heh, that looks like a pretty fun amusement ride, i'd give it a shot if only for the view.

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mimi's picture

I wonder, do you still have hope?
I am losing mine.
Just saying.
Good Night from Germany.

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Trauma is not what happens to you, but what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you. - Dr. Gabor Mate

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

heh, hope, eh?

i dunno, some days i do and some days, well...

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mimi's picture

says Chris Hedges.

It's not easy to follow him through this interview, I think. But always worth to try.

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Trauma is not what happens to you, but what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you. - Dr. Gabor Mate

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

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ggersh's picture

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Buy a Bible don't read it and you'll be a Catholic
Buy a Bible read only what suits you and you'll be an Evangelical
Buy a Bible read it fully, analyze it, reason it and you will be
an Atheist

joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

a lot of rich people have a hard time with the concept that lots of people work hard and very few of those who work hard get rich, or even get their own show on msdnc.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

budgeting" is an utilization tool of 'managed care.' Smile No thanks!

IOW it's designed to "control costs."

(Sorry to be a 'Debbie Downer'--but, not willing to accept that 'we' aren't as deserving of the best healthcare as lawmakers and SCOTUS Justices receive. Smile )

It's also 'why' did Bernie and Jayapal included identical 'exclusions' in their MFA proposals--allowing for private healthcare providers, even after the implementation of (U)MFA.

IOW, so that they can continue to receive their excellent FFS "concierge" healthcare through the OAP. (Office Of Attending Physician)

Oh, and at the cost of only $600 plus change--several dollars, that is. Annually.

Apparently, RBG was using the OAP.

(I found evidence over the weekend, from quotes from a Reuters interview.)

BTW, HHJ (Hidey Hole Joe) is refusing to release list of his likely SCOTUS nominees. (he's said in the past that he would nominate an AA woman, IIRC) Now, he's avoiding the topic. CNN asked Dick Durbin (his surrogate) repeatedly why HHJ's not in favor of transparency. He couldn't answer the question, except to say that it's because OM has released his nominee list. Huh?

Update: Here's the NYT piece about protesters in Portland.

Some Protests Against Police Brutality Take a More Confrontational Approach

The protests are moving into white residential neighborhoods, where activists demand that people choose a side.

. . . Nearly four months after the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, some protesters against police brutality are taking a more confrontational--and personal--approach.

The marches in Portland are increasingly moving to residential and largely white neighborhoods, where demonstrators with bullhorns shout for people to come “out of your house and into the street” and demonstrate their support . . .

These more aggressive protests target ordinary people going about their lives, especially those who decline to demonstrate allegiance to the cause.

That includes a diner in Washington who refused to raise her fist to show support for Black Lives Matter, or, in several cities, confused drivers who happened upon the protests.

Already, TN lawmakers have passed laws making the destruction of State property a Class 3 Felony-- punishable by a prison sentence of up to 6 years, loss of voting rights, fines (I think).

So, not sure that this is the way to go. At least, in some states. Time will tell.

Hey, gotta run and take care of a couple of chores. Hope to catch up with you Guys later.

Hope Everyone has a nice evening.

BTW, today, we enjoyed the most beautiful weather of the entire year!

Bye Pleasantry

Mollie

"The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation."
~~Matt Taibbi, The American Press Is Destroying Itself, June 12, 2020

"I know, I know. All passion; no street smarts."
~~Captain West, 1992 Rob Reiner/Aaron Sorkin Movie, A Few Good Men

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”
~~Will Rogers, Actor & Social Commentator (1856-1950)

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

i guess there are a couple of ways to control costs that come to mind right away. one is the traditional way that insurance companies control costs, which is to deny coverage for treatments. the other way is to negotiate the price for treatments and prevent a service provider from charging exhorbitant fees.

i'm sure that there are a whole range of ways that controlling costs can be done poorly or well and the former would seem to have been field-tested exhaustively by health care managers, while the latter, when applied to a broad range of citizens would seem to have mostly been tested in places outside the u.s.

i am certainly in favor of extending the excellent health care benefits that our congressworms currently enjoy to everybody.

i would imagine that biden can't issue a list of names of potential nominees just yet as he probably hasn't cleared them with his wall street overlords yet.

i'm not sure that the blm tactic highlighted in your excerpt is the best way to win hearts and minds, but what do i know?

have a great evening!

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack @joe shikspack

come across as ill-tempered in my tone. Anymore, my frustration level is so high when I read and/or talk about the MFA proposals, considering the fact that they have so many 'managed care' components, which are intended to deny services--just as insurers do--that it's pretty difficult for me to always keep my equilibrium.

(Edit - corrected 3 typos; added phrase.)

Obviously, we're on the same page--wanting ourselves, our families, and EVERYONE to have excellent healthcare--with absolutely no restrictions regarding medical services rendered, which physicians we can see, including obtaining second opinions, if needed, and, a system that is absolutely equitable and affordable, regardless of one's income level.

The truth is--Traditional Medicare plus a Medigap Insurance Plan "F" (which has been sunset, but, could be brought out of retirement) is about the best coverage there currently is in the US-aside from the OAP system, of course.

Remember--A Medigap policy MUST pay the co-pays for whatever services\items the Traditional Medicare plan authorizes. Period.

IOW, Medigap insurers have no autonomy is making the decision of whether to pay a claim, or not. They must pay, as long as Medicare pays its part for any particular service or item. So, in that sense, they are very much unlike other types of insurance. A good thing!

Of course, the best way to go is--to amend the Original Medicare program to cover 100% of costs. And, extend coverage to everyone, at birth. As well as adding additional services, such as dental, eye care/exam, and LTC, if wanted.

Voila!

Smile

Mollie

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

@Unabashed Liberal @Unabashed Liberal @Unabashed Liberal

where demonstrators with bullhorns shout for people to come “out of your house and into the street” and demonstrate their support

Good way to get votes for Trump. Also to drive up firearm sales.

Edit: Also reminds me of Pol Pot.

Edit2: And "Juden 'raus!"

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We are so screwed.

Perhaps it is time to take the pentagon out of the killing business?

It's really a bad thing for the world. Why should we pay for it?

The Pentagon is deploying...

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joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

well, the killing business is the only thing the pentagon is good at other than wasting money. perhaps we ought to dispense with the people who have been using the military so poorly and follow our founders ideas about not maintaining a standing military.

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@joe shikspack
The Navy was always permanent as was the Marine Corps. Air Forces hadn't been invented.

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We are so screwed.

snoopydawg's picture

This is truly sick.

"I can hire one half...."

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“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

that's quite an article:

Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People

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enhydra lutris's picture

comics. Primary Chucky Shoom fer sure, should've happened every election cycle.

Maybe they should spray Park Avenue with atrazine, to keep weeds down. Talked to a pair of hard core dems last night, they think that the party is blowing it completely and will probably lose. Quelle surprise. They, of course, really feel that to be a terrible thing, because the Dems would fix things if they could win. Ah, but a little perception is better than none at all I guess. I learned that it was a BFD when Okamala wore tennies, way cool, I guess it softened or humanized her image of something. Ah well.

be well and have a good.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

it's sad that some progressives are only now seriously thinking about a primary challenge to schumer.

have a great evening!

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

comment about O's cuts to SNAP. Thought I remembered it to be about 8 Billion, so, Goggled, and found this:

President Obama signs $8.7 billion food stamp cut into law

02/07/14 03:40 PM—UPDATED 08/25/14 09:29 AM
By Ned Resnikoff

On Friday, President Obama added his signature to legislation that will cut $8.7 billion in food stamp benefits over the next 10 years, causing 850,000 households to lose an average of $90 per month. The signing of the legislation known as the 2014 Farm Bill occurred at a public event in East Lansing, Mich.

Phew!

Like you said--that was Debbie Stabenow's 'work.'

BTW, this past weekend, did some research. There's a stupendous difference between the total spending for children versus seniors (food programs).

Earlier this year, CARES Act allocated just $240,000,000 for over 40 million seniors (to bolster Meals on Wheels, and congregate meals).

But, fewer than 30 million children had over 13 Billion spent on a dedicated funding stream for the School Lunch Program, alone, in 2018.

IMO, Seniors have largely been abandoned by both Parties.

Part of Zeke Emanuel's measure of judging people's worth by their age, and their potential future contribution to society, I guess. *Sigh*

(btw, certainly not suggesting that children should be allowed to go hungry--just that seniors should not be allowed to go undernourished and/or hungry, either)

HHJ Alert:

Joe Biden makes another gaffe by saying 200 MILLION Americans - or two thirds of the US population - have died of COVID-19 instead of almost 200,000

Mollie

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

snoopydawg's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

I thought it was just $5 billion. But how cruel was that when they had been cut during Bush’s tenure and absolutely gutted during Clinton’s. Clinton took $17 billion from welfare and gave $19 billion to Biden’s crime bill. The sociopaths don’t give a rat’s ass how many people die because they can’t afford to live in the richest country. Damn them all and where the hell is karma?

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“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

Monday is normally a sucky day, with divorcing people calling in to report what their dastardly soon-to-be-ex-spouse did over the weekend. (There was only 1 act of client violence, and it didn't lead to injury or arrest.) To add to that suck, there is the propaganda making lefties and righties arm up against each other, without regard to the Enemy Above that has the money and power.
Jarvis the Dog disappeared Friday. On Sunday, I spoke with a neighbor, and Jarvis might have been an escapee from her friend's kennel.
And I scored an efficiency cabin on Lake Sam Rayburn for the weekend of Oct. 16. A couple of hours drive from here. The owner said, "no parties." I told her to hell with that, my intent was to have a 2 day continuous party with TLOML, and she said, that is AWESOME!
Hell, yeah! It is not the river boat cruise from Frankfurt to Vienna I would want, but it will certainly do. We can watch films about the sites on that river cruise, play "The Blue Danube" repeatedly, and it will be the best time we can make of our lives for that weekend, and we will always remember it with full hearts and fond memories.
Take care, joe.

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joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

sorry to hear that jarvis decided to seek greener pastures.

glad to hear you scored a short vacation space. hmmm... i wonder how "proud mary" would segue with the blue danube waltz. Smile

have a good one!

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@joe shikspack Actuality, not for the feint of heart.
I will donate the 19 1/2 lbs. of dog food in the 20 lb. bag to the vet here in in town.
I will keep the fancy dog food/water dish on a stand that I bought. There will be other dogs wander up one day.
It was my suspicion Jarvis was from a responsible owner that had a brain fart.
If she sells that breed, hasn't sold him, it is because she is holding him in reserve for breeding purposes. He was just all that.
Jarvis has lots to look forward to, and I may one day go buy a Jarvis puppy.

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mimi's picture

but am not sure if it wouldn't violate a lot of rules, if I posted a translation. So I post it here in the German original and leave it up to anyone to translate it and read it. It is an article about the US constitution in a context of the recent RBG's death.

Formerly Modern - Now Enhancing Crisis

Das ist aber nicht nur ein Kuriosum, eine Eigentümlichkeit des politischen Systems der USA. Der Schock, den der Tod von Ruth Bader Ginsburg ausgelöst hat, und der voraussichtlich brutale Kampf um ihre Nachfolge zeigen in aller Deutlichkeit viel tiefer liegende Probleme. Es ist nicht Trump allein, der das Land gespalten hat. Es ist auch nicht die extreme Polarisierung, die das System derart unter Stress setzt, dass ein friedlicher Machtübergang zwischen den Parteien nicht mehr selbstverständlich erscheint. Es ist auch das Antiquierte und zusehends Dysfunktionale der US-Verfassung, die das Land immer tiefer in die Krise treibt.

Translation:

But this is not just a curiosity, a peculiarity of the US political system. The shock caused by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the likely brutal fight for her successor clearly show much deeper problems. It is not Trump alone who divided the country. It is also not the extreme polarization that puts the system under such stress that a peaceful transfer of power between the parties no longer seems self-evident. It is also the antiquated and increasingly dysfunctional aspect of the US Constitution that is driving the country deeper and deeper into crisis.

ahem ... I always thought there is something not quite right with the US constitution, since I started to read at the other place a long time ago, but was too afraid and too uneducated to say so with appropriate words.

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Trauma is not what happens to you, but what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you. - Dr. Gabor Mate

mask-covid.jpgHere in Japan - back to pretty much normal except for some staggering of arrival and departure times. About half of universities are reopening in-person. Haven't heard of any teacher deaths and very few deaths at all attributed to COVID.

Teachers who are at high risk shouldn't be forced back to school, but keeping kids stuck at home is unfair and unnecessary.

As school districts across the US push forward with in-person learning in K-12 schools, the death toll of teachers and other educators from COVID-19 continues to rise.

These tragic deaths are absolutely preventable. School workers are the victims of a deadly bipartisan policy of “herd immunity”—that is, allowing the virus to spread without restraint, come what may.

There's little evidence that severe lockdown measures are effective in limiting destructive effects of the virus but plenty to indicate that they contribute to increased depression, suicide, economic destruction, domestic violence.

Quit censoring discussion about COVID, protect the truly vulnerable, let people make their own healthcare choices with their own doctors, quit suppressing cheap and effective therapeutics and let people get on with their lives.

Reported COVID-19 deaths US and Japan:

Japan (population 125 million) under 1600

US (population 330 million - 2.64 times larger than Japan) 200,000

Japan's toll times 2.64 = 4224

200,000 divided by 4224 = 47.3

So, if those figures are correct the death rate per capita in the US is almost 50 TIMES higher than Japan - despite Japan's less restrictive measures...

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I might be off to Uruguay myself. Take some tango lessons...

And Uruguay is encouraging the flow. South America’s smallest nation not only lowered the minimum value of property foreigners must acquire to obtain tax residency from $1.7m to just $380,000 earlier this year, but also passed a new law offering arrivals a 10-year “tax holiday”. ...

Once known as “the Switzerland of South America”, because of its high quality of life and its former banking secrecy laws, Uruguay has now become its New Zealand.

Its population is only 66% the size of the Kiwi state, but both countries have seen fewer than 2,000 cases and coronavirus deaths in double digits. Thanks to a large testing and contact tracing program, most of Uruguay’s schools, restaurants and sports clubs have remained open throughout the pandemic.

Well, if they have stayed open to that extent they are certainly not channelling NZ in their COVID response as New Zealand has one of the most draconian lockdown regimes in the world in place and has set conditions for ending the emergency measures that will probably never be realizable.

Their PM is disturbingly like Oregon governor Kate Brown both in appearance and ideology. Yuck. Enough (well, almost) to put me off my feed...

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