The Evening Blues - 3-1-21



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

Hey! Good Evening!

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

Meade Lux Lewis - Boogie Woogie

"Biden is doing to his campaign promises what MBS did to Jamal Khashoggi."

-- Caitlin Johnstone


News and Opinion

Biden said 'Diplomacy is back!' Then he started dropping bombs

“Diplomacy is back!” President Joe Biden declared at the Munich Security Conference last week. But so is bombing Syria, apparently. Biden has only been president a bit more than a month, but he has already ordered his first bombing campaign. (It took Trump four months to do the same.) The target was facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran-backed militia in retaliation for rocket attacks against US troops in Iraq earlier this month.

Presumably, Biden wanted to signal to Iran that it would pay a heavy price if it ordered attacks against US troops in order to pressure Washington to return to the Iran nuclear deal. But by bombing Syria for this reason, Biden proved how failing to rejoin the nuclear agreement endangers US national security – Iran’s nuclear program continues to advance while the US and Iran glide closer to a military confrontation.

Biden knows these arguments quite well. He made them against Donald Trump only a few months ago. His top officials have spent the past years extensively criticizing Trump’s maximum pressure strategy. They were all correct.

Which makes his steps on Iran in his first month all the more perplexing. While Biden’s intent to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) seems unquestionable, good intentions and good strategy are not the same thing. Rather than bringing diplomacy back, Biden appears to be falling back into old patterns where appearing tough trumps being smart and where diplomacy is merely a slogan sprinkled on policies centered on coercion, not a genuine give and take. ...

Whatever advantage Biden thinks he gains through military signaling in Syria and by playing the blame game in the media, if it sabotages what arguably is the final opportunity to revive an accord that is critical to US national security, then Biden may inadvertently achieve what Trump couldn’t: destroying the legacy of Obama’s main foreign policy achievement.

Trita Parsi Calls Out Dem Silence On Biden's ILLEGAL Syrian Airstrikes


Biden “Illegally” Bombs Iranian-Backed Militias in Syria, Jeopardizing Nuclear Talks with Tehran

Iraq denies involvement in US airstrikes on Iran-backed militias in Syria

Iraq’s Ministry of Defense has "expressed its surprise” at a Pentagon statement saying Iraq provided the US with intelligence before Washington launched airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias on the Iraq-Syria border on Thursday.

The ministry denied its involvement in the airstrikes, saying that it was "surprised by the statements of the US Secretary of Defense about the participation of Iraqi intelligence regarding an exchange of intelligence information with Iraq to target Syrian territories."

The statement added that the ministry's cooperation with the international coalition forces is limited to a "specific goal", which is fighting ISIS, not combatting militia groups linked to Iran.

The US Defense Department said it had carried out airstrikes at a Syria-Iraq border control point used by Iranian-backed militias, destroying "multiple facilities." The strikes came in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel, according to spokesperson John Kirby's statement.

Kirby said the location was used by Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, two armed Iraqi Shiite groups part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi), an umbrella network of paramilitary forces, some of which are backed by Iran.

Iran says it will not attend talks with US over nuclear deal

The Iranian foreign ministry has announced it is not willing to attend EU-brokered talks with the US over the future of the Iran nuclear deal because Washington has not done enough to lift sanctions against Tehran. The Biden administration, committed to returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, had said it was willing to attend talks, but would discuss what it would take to lift US sanctions at the negotiating table, and not before. It said it needed to know what measures Iran would accept to come back into compliance with the deal. ...

It is likely the US, along with European powers, will seek to table a censure motion against Iran at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors this week in Vienna, a move that could in turn provoke Tehran to lessen its cooperation with UN nuclear inspectors still further.

Explaining the Iranian refusal to attend talks, the foreign ministry spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said on Sunday: “Considering the recent positions and actions of the United States and three European countries, the Islamic Republic of Iran does not consider this is the time to hold an informal meeting proposed by the European coordinator of the UN security council.” Khatibzadeh added: “There has been no change in the US position and behaviour yet, and the Biden administration has not only not abandoned Trump’s failed policy of maximum pressure, it has not even announced its commitment to fulfilling its responsibilities in UN resolution 2231.”


'It Should Be Easier to Raise Minimum Wage Than to Drop Bombs on Syria': Progressives Fume at Biden

The contrast between the procedural difficulty of pushing a modest pay increase for millions of workers through the Senate and the relative ease with which President Joe Biden—without congressional approval—launched a deadly bombing campaign in Syria late Thursday was the subject of much discussion and outrage as the president's lethal operation overseas coincided almost simultaneously with the Senate parliamentarian's advisory ruling against a popular $15 minimum wage measure.

The two events, according to progressive critics and political commentators, spotlighted how existing institutional constraints are heavily biased against the advancement of working-class interests but do little to prevent the commander-in-chief from unilaterally bombing foreign nations on the basis of highly dubious-to-nonexistent legal authority.

"Personally I think it should be easier to raise the minimum wage than to drop bombs on Syria," tweeted The New Republic's Kate Aronoff.

Pointing to the Senate's legislative filibuster as a key obstacle in the way of even minor policy changes, Matt Yglesias of the Slow Boring newsletter wrote sardonically on Thursday that "the genius of America is you need a 60-vote supermajority to raise the minimum wage, but the president can bomb some militia in Iran based on ... I dunno ... an AUMF from two decades ago that was about something else entirely or something."

While Biden had no issue bypassing congressional oversight to launch an attack on border-crossing station in eastern Syria, the White House suggested late Thursday that having Vice President Kamala Harris overrule the non-binding opinion of the Senate parliamentarian—an unelected official with no constitutional authority—would be a bridge too far, despite the fact that the Constitution empowers her to do so.

Biden "respects the parliamentarian's decision and the Senate's process," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

"We assassinate people by drone strike and have a literal prison colony in Guantanamo but where we draw the line is ignoring the Senate parliamentarian when [she] says no to a minimum wage hike," tweeted The Intercept's Ken Klippenstein.


U.S. Says Saudi Crown Prince MBS Approved Assassination of Khashoggi, But He Avoids Any Sanctions

Add to the list of broken promises:

Biden Balks at Sanctions on Saudi Crown Prince After Release of Report on Killing of Jamal Khashoggi

The Biden administration released a long-awaited intelligence report Friday that said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the 2018 operation that killed dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. But instead of punishing MBS, the Biden administration announced sanctions on a top intelligence official and on the crown prince’s protective detail, known as the “Rapid Intervention Force.”

The move, which included visa restrictions against 76 Saudi nationals who “have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas,” is a sign that the Biden administration wants to maintain a cooperative partnership with Saudi leadership. But it will likely anger human rights activists and members of Congress who have argued that the crown prince should be held personally accountable for the operation that led to a Saudi journalist — who was also a U.S. resident — being killed and butchered in a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden called Saudi King Salman, and a readout of the call from the White House said Biden emphasized that “he would work to make the bilateral relationship as strong and transparent as possible.” Last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called MBS, who is also Saudi Arabia’s defense minister. The readout of that call did not mention Khashoggi but said that Austin “underscored Saudi Arabia’s role as a pillar of the regional security architecture in the Middle East.”

The New York Times reported on Friday that “a consensus developed inside the White House that the price of that breach, in Saudi cooperation on counterterrorism and in confronting Iran, was simply too high.” But during his presidential campaign, Biden took a harsher line: When asked by Andrea Mitchell in a November 2019 primary debate how he would hold Saudi officials accountable for Khashoggi’s killing, he said, “I would make it very clear we were not going to sell more weapons to them, we were going to make them pay the price and make them the pariah that they are. There’s very little social redeeming value of the — in the present government in Saudi Arabia.”


Myanmar court files more charges against Suu Kyi, police crack down on protests

'Myanmar is like a battlefield': UN says at least 18 dead as security forces fire on protesters

At least 18 people have been killed, according to the UN, after security forces in Myanmar used lethal violence against anti-coup protesters in the most deadly crackdown since the military seized power at the start of February.

Live bullets, stun grenades and teargas were fired at demonstrators in several towns and cities as police, backed by troops, attempted to stamp out countrywide rallies held in defiance of the junta.

At least 18 people are believed to have been killed, and 30 injured, according to the UN human rights office, which strongly condemned the escalating violence against peaceful protesters. ...

Social media footage showed protesters in the city lifting bloodied people to safety. In one image published by Mizzima news, a protester raised his hand in a three-finger salute as he was taken away on a stretcher, a gesture used by demonstrators to signal their opposition to the military.

“Myanmar is like a battlefield,” the Buddhist-majority country’s first Catholic cardinal, Charles Maung Bo, said on Twitter.

Burmese Scholar: Military Junta Using Terror Against “Entire Population” to Keep Power After Coup

Louisiana police trooper kicked and dragged Black man who died in custody, records show

A Louisiana state police trooper has been suspended without pay for kicking and dragging a handcuffed Black man whose in-custody death remains unexplained and the subject of a federal civil rights investigation. Body camera footage shows Kory York dragging Ronald Greene “on his stomach by the leg shackles” following a violent arrest and high-speed pursuit, according to internal state police records obtained by the Associated Press.

The records are the first public acknowledgement by state police that Greene was mistreated. They confirm details provided last year by an attorney for Greene’s family who viewed graphic body camera footage of the May 2019 arrest and likened it to the police killing of George Floyd, whose death last year triggered widespread protests and a national reckoning with police brutality and systemic racism.

The video shows troopers choking and beating the man, repeatedly jolting him with stun guns and dragging him face-down across the pavement, the attorney told AP.

State police have repeatedly refused to publicly release the body camera footage. The agency has been tight-lipped about Greene’s death and initially blamed the man’s fatal injuries on a car crash outside Monroe, Louisiana.

FDA approves Johnson & Johnson's single-dose coronavirus vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine for emergency use, making it the third vaccine available to the US public and securing another vital step in the US fight to control Covid-19.

The decision was a formality after an independent expert advisory panel late on Friday afternoon recommended drug regulators approve the one-shot vaccine. ...

“The authorization of this vaccine expands the availability of vaccines, the best medical prevention method for Covid-19, to help us in the fight against this pandemic, which has claimed over half a million lives in the United States,” said acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock in a statement.

Janssen – Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine subsidiary – told a congressional hearing this week that it expects to deliver 20m doses by March and a total of 100m doses before the end of June. That means the new vaccine, along with those already in circulation from Pfizer and Moderna, should provide the US with more than enough supply to vaccinate every eligible person.

Rep. Ro Khanna: Democrats Should Ignore the Senate Parliamentarian and Pass $15 Minimum Wage Hike

Hilarious “#ForceTheVote​ For $15 Minimum Wage" Movement Begins

Anger Grows as Biden-Harris Bow to Unelected Parliamentarian

After the Democrats in the House approved a far-reaching Covid-19 relief package early Saturday with all but two members of the caucus on board, progressive anger and despair escalated over the Biden administration's refusal thus far to make sure the $15 minimum wage increase remains in the bill as it heads to the U.S. Senate.

As journalist David Sirota, founder of The Daily Poster and former staffer for the 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, put it on Saturday: "If you were writing a Dickensian novel, it would be about millions of desperately poor people being promised a $15 starvation wage, and then watching their millionaire senators tell them that a parliamentary adviser in the palace said no."

While Biden and his administration have made clear they will not move to use Harris' authority as presiding officer of the Senate to disregard or overrule the Parliamentarian's determination, the anger on the progressive left—both inside and outside of Congress—has only grown since Thursday.

Winnie Wong, political strategist and another Sanders campaign alumnus said the choices for Biden and Harris are now quite stark and suggested the stakes are much higher than many top Democrats appear to understand or acknowledge:


Addressing the issue Saturday morning on MSNBC, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Democrats have no choice but to "muscle it through" the Senate given the campaign promises made to voters leading up to last year's elections.

"We can't back to voters in two years," explained Jayapal, "and say, 'You know, we made you a promise—you delivered us the House, the White House, and the Senate—but a parliamentarian told us that we can't do it.'"

In a column on Saturday, The New Republic's Osita Nwanevu argued that there is simply nobody but Democrats themselves to blame for the failure to include the $15 minimum wage increase in the Senate's Covid-19 relief package. "Not Republicans. Not the Senate parliamentarian. Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and even Joe Biden are to blame for squandering their party’s majority power," he wrote.

According to Nwanevu:

It has been written and said that the gambit failed because the Senate parliamentarian ruled that including the minimum wage increase would violate reconciliation rules. This is false: The Senate parliamentarian is a wholly powerless functionary who can be overruled at any time by the party holding the White House and Congress—both of which, as you might recall, are now controlled by the Democratic Party. The gambit failed because the White House and many Democrats in Congress opposed overruling the parliamentarian.


Long road to recovery: effects of devastating winter freeze to haunt Texas for years

“They’re telling people to boil water,” said Robert Emery, vice-president of safety and a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “But a lot of people don’t have power. So now what do you do?” The state’s bungled emergency management will have far-reaching consequences, from an outsized impact on already underprivileged communities – often communities of color – to a potential spike in the cost of living. Bitter lawsuits could rip communities apart, and taxpayers will likely have to bail out the same fossil fuel companies responsible for the grid’s breakdown.

“I suspect it’s gonna be very corrosive and unsettling,” said James Elliott, a professor of sociology at Rice University. “People are not gonna regain trust in their institutions very quickly. “Long-term, maybe that’s good. I hope people stay angry. I’m angry.” ...

As millions of Texans went without power or potable water, sometimes for days, they turned to dangerous solutions such as gas stoves, cars and generators for warmth. Hundreds suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. Others died from suspected hypothermia. Still others were killed in house fires after lighting their fireplace. Drivers spun out and crashed amid icy roads and malfunctioning streetlights, while cold weather shelters filled with displaced people, in spite of Covid-19.

“People were already stressed and dealing with a variety of challenges with the pandemic, and then to have this laid on top of it has really been quite challenging for all the citizens of Texas,” Emery said. Now, residents affected by the state’s dearth of plumbers, electricians and other skilled labor are trying to fix their homes alone, threatening “an inevitable series of injuries,” Emery said. And, as the weather becomes more conducive to mold growth, hidden damage from water leaks poses yet another public health threat.

There are also possible ramifications on mental health. Families were already mourning more than 42,000 Texans killed by Covid-19, and the winter storm brought more suffering, trauma and death. “Resilience is one thing,” Elliott said. “Resilience when things just keep happening over and over can just sort of leave you without the capacity to sort of be hopeful.”

Biden in Houston: Indifference and contempt for victims of Texas catastrophe

Visiting Texas 11 days after the onset of a man-made disaster that killed dozens of people and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage to homes, hospitals and schools, President Joe Biden barely took notice of the mass suffering while offering a political amnesty to the Republican state government. He made no mention of the fact that over one million Texans were still without clean water as of Thursday.

Speaking at a stadium fitted out as a mass vaccination center, Biden devoted the bulk of his brief remarks to touting his vaccination program and stressing the need for “unity” with the Republican Party. By virtue of his near silence on federal aid to the victims, Biden made clear that the millions of working class Texans devastated by days without power or clean water would have to fend for themselves. Biden’s silence on the conspiracy between the energy giants and the state government to maximize profits by leaving the electrical system utterly unprepared for a winter storm did not come as a surprise. What was noteworthy, however, was the extent to which he went out of his way to embrace Governor Greg Abbot.

Insisting that both the Texas disaster and the pandemic were not partisan issues, Biden repeated his calls for “unity” with the Republicans and hailed the supposed success of the US response to COVID-19 just days after the death toll surpassed 500,000.

Biden boasted that he had provided millions of gallons of water and 125,000 blankets to Texans, a drop in the bucket compared to the scale of the human disaster. He made no announcement of additional aid nor indicated how the federal government would help in the coming weeks or months. Instead, he offered empty words. “We will be true partners to help you recover and rebuild from the storm and this pandemic and economic crisis,” Biden said. He added that his administration was in it “for the long haul.”

Twitter Censoring Foreign Policy Criticism w/Max Blumenthal

Amazon VP Abruptly Resigns From Board of Liberal Legal Organization

Andrew DeVore, an Amazon vice president and associate legal counsel who manages the company’s “labor and employment” issues, has resigned from the board of the American Constitution Society. His resignation represents a sharp turnaround from a few months ago, when the liberal legal organization voted to renew DeVore for a second three-year term.

ACS, which was founded in 2001 to help create a pipeline of liberal judges and act as a counter to the conservative Federalist Society, faced growing pressure throughout 2020 to cut ties with DeVore and condemn Amazon for its anti-union practices. In the spring, DeVore’s boss, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky, had urged colleagues to tell reporters that, among other things, a fired worker who protested the lack of Covid-19 safety protections in a Staten Island warehouse was “not smart or articulate.” In response, a number of left-leaning groups, including attorneys and law students affiliated with ACS, sent a letter to ACS’s president, Russ Feingold, and the ACS board of directors protesting DeVore’s leadership role and calling for his immediate resignation. But the organization did not call for his resignation and six months later voted to extend his leadership position. ...

In a letter sent to New York University ACS student leaders on Friday, Feingold confirmed that DeVore had resigned. ... Feingold’s letter did not say why DeVore had resigned. But since December, when ACS publicly reaffirmed its support for the Amazon executive, a major unionization campaign at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, has picked up national attention. The company has been fighting the union effort aggressively, including hiring a $3,200-per-day consultant to dissuade the some 5,800 workers there from voting for a union. ACS has resisted pressure from its membership to speak more forcefully about Amazon’s labor practices for most of the coronavirus pandemic. In April, amid public backlash to Amazon’s warehouse conditions, ACS released a statement reiterating its support for workers’ rights but did not specifically mention Amazon by name. Amazon is listed as a 2020 corporate sponsor on ACS’s website, though how much the company has donated to the nonprofit organization is unknown.

“I think it was very concerning that ACS as a progressive organization won’t make a statement that specifically calls out Amazon and its bad track record,” Hooman Hedayati, a member of the Washington, D.C., ACS chapter board told The Intercept in December. “It makes me question to what degree they’d really be willing to speak up in support of the labor movement.”



the horse race



Krystal Ball: How Biden LOST The Left In A Single Day

CPAC: pent-up Trump denounces Biden at rightwing summit

Donald Trump on Sunday launched his attempted political comeback, teasing a possible run for the presidency in 2024 and denouncing Joe Biden for “the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history”. The former president made his first speech since leaving the White House at the rightwing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, to an effusive reception.

He told CPAC the Democrats “just lost” the White House, despite the fact that Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the US on 20 January, sworn in by the supreme court chief justice, John Roberts. ... Trump said, to wild cheers: “I may even decide to beat them for a third time.” ...

In a speech that lasted about 90 minutes, Trump fell back on his reliable rightwing themes against immigration, especially dealing harshly with migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, and talking up his barrier strengthening there. He also took off on a transphobic rant, claiming that transgender athletes were ruining women’s sport.

And Trump positioned himself at the presumed heart of the Republicans, saying any idea that he was going to lead a breakaway political party was “fake news”. Despite the recent bipartisan vote at his impeachment trial, where he escaped conviction, Trump claims the Republican party is “united”. “The only division is between a handful of Washington DC establishment political hacks, and everybody else all over the country.” ...

Most commentators expect Trump, aged 74, to leave open the possibility that he will run for re-election in 2024 without making a definitive commitment. He has remained a looming presence at CPAC, with speaker after speaker pledging fealty to him and his “Make America great again” agenda, while a golden calf-style idol in his image was even paraded around the convention halls.

TRUMP Breaks Silence, Here's What You Need To Know About GOP Civil War

Second ex-aide accuses Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment

A second woman has come forward to accuse New York governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment in a move that has prompted the under-fire Democrat to launch an independent investigation into the allegations.

Charlotte Bennett, who was an executive assistant and health policy adviser in the Cuomo administration until November, told The New York Times that he had harassed her last spring, during the height of New York’s fight against the coronavirus – which Cuomo led and which at the time gave him an international reputation for good leadership.

Bennett told the paper Cuomo had asked her a series of inappropriate questions about her personal life, including age differences in romantic relationships, which she believed were sexual overtures. “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the paper. ...

In a statement in response to the latest accusations from Bennett, Cuomo said he had “never made advances toward Ms Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.” He added that he had requested an independent review of her accusations and that Bennett had “every right to speak out”.

Cuomo UNDER INVESTIGATION After MeToo Allegations Surface



the evening greens


How Deb Haaland's confirmation bid became a 'proxy fight' over fossil fuels

Partway through the sometimes contentious confirmation hearing for Deb Haaland as US secretary of the interior last week came an acknowledgement of the two powerful forces, with very different attitudes to the climate crisis, that have squared off over the nomination. “I almost feel like your nomination is a proxy fight over the future of fossil fuels,” Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington, told Haaland during the Senate hearing. Haaland, a strong advocate for climate action who is seeking to be the first Indigenous American confirmed as a cabinet secretary, was careful to not wade directly into this fray herself, assuring the senators that fossil fuels would be around for “years to come” and that she intended to be someone who will “serve all Americans, not just my one district in New Mexico”. But the battle lines between the fossil fuel industry and the activists and environmentalists opposed to it have been starkly drawn in the fight for Haaland’s nomination.

John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican who has received nearly $1.2m from oil and gas companies and their employees in his time in the Senate, said he was “troubled by many of [Haaland’s] radical views” and scolded her over a tweet in which she said Republicans didn’t believe in science. Senator Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, said he was “deeply concerned” over Haaland’s “radical” support for Joe Biden’s pausing of oil and gas drilling on public land, neglecting to mention his campaign had taken $288,500 from these industries in just the past five years. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who has over his Senate career accepted nearly $1.7m from oil and gas interests, pointedly asked Haaland: “Will your administration be guided by a prejudice against fossil fuel, or will it be guided by science?” while Utah’s Mike Lee, who blamed protections placed on Bears Ears, an area of the state important to Native Americans, for “impoverishing” locals, has taken in $366,000 from oil and gas during his Senate tenure.

This staunch opposition will probably not sink Haaland’s nomination given Republicans are the minority in the Senate and Joe Manchin, a conservative swing Democrat from the coal heartland of West Virginia, has said he will vote to confirm her after getting sufficient assurances that fossil fuels won’t be immediately jettisoned in order to tackle the unfolding climate crisis.

But the feud over Haaland’s nomination highlights the enormous political challenge of rapidly shifting the US away from oil, coal and gas towards cleaner forms of energy to avert ever more disastrous heatwaves, flooding, wildfires, societal unrest and other maladies. Republicans have signaled they will fiercely enforce a status quo whereby fossil fuel extraction across vast swaths of public land, including areas sacred to Native Americans, remains unhindered. The struggle over Haaland’s nomination, and the obstacles she faces once confirmed, may well illustrate the overall climate challenge in miniature. Will the US pull off the trick of speedily switching to renewables while bringing along those workers who risk being left behind, or will it remain umbilically attached to extractive industries that blight the climate, water supplies and people’s health?


Also of Interest

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

Stop Pretending Biden Is A Powerless Bystander

Eviction Moratorium Deemed Unconstitutional by Federal Judge in Texas

Biden Says US Will ‘Never’ Accept Russia’s Annexation of Crimea

House Democrats ask Biden to give up sole power to launch nuclear bomb

Israel Blames Iran for Ship Blasts and Eyes Military Response

After U.S. Attack In Syria, Iran Demonstrates Its Escalation Dominance

The Perils & Absurdity of Iraq War 4.0

Caitlin Johnstone: Bullshit Spoken In An Assertive Tone: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Erik Prince and the Failed Plot to Arm a CIA Asset-Turned-Warlord in Libya

A Syrian Asylum-Seeker’s Case Reframes Migrant Abuses as Enforced Disappearances

Wall Street Sends a Message to the Fed: We Have Run Out of Places to Stuff Your Treasuries

Here Are the 210 House Republicans—and Two Democrats—Who Voted to Deny Struggling Nation Covid-19 Relief

Corporate Media Parrot FBI Talking Points as More Americans Turn to Encrypted Communication Online

One-third of US museums might close in 12 months, American Alliance of Museums warns

NYT coverage of the Texas Freeze separates cause and effect, lest readers understand that capitalism kills

The Oil Industry Is Ready To Fight President Biden In Court

The man making millions buying classic hits

Jimmy Dore: Biden Betrays Working People Again -- Backtracks $15 Minimum Wage

Jimmy Dore: CAUGHT: BBC/Reuters Paid To Do Government Propaganda

immy Dore: Jimmy's Art Piece Reveals Nightmare of Biden's America

State official who fled UK after fatal crash works for US intelligence, attorney admits

Saagar Enjeti: GOP's Fate Sealed As EVERY MEMBER Votes Against Economic Stimulus

Krystal and Saagar: Biden Issues LUKEWARM Support For Amazon Union Workers

Krystal and Saagar: Biden OFFICIALLY CAVES On 15 Minimum Wage Showing Fakery Of Promises


A Little Night Music

Meade Lux Lewis - Low Down Dog

Meade Lux Lewis - Solitude

Meade Lux Lewis - Mr. Freddie Blues

Meade Lux Lewis - Glendale Glide

Meade "Lux" Lewis - Honky Tonk Train Blues

Meade Lux Lewis - Bass On Top

Meade Lux Lewis, Red Callender, Jo Jones - Dragon Blues

Meade Lux Lewis, Charlie Christian, Edmond Hall - Jammin' in Four

Meade Lux Lewis, Red Callender, Jo Jones - San Francisco Shuffle

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


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QMS's picture

good ending to another moan day

those members of congress umbilically attached to extractive industries

out number the rest 50:1

thanks joe

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joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

that meade lux lewis had one of the best left hands of his time.

i'm not sure that it's the umbilical cord those folks are attached by, but they certainly use gorilla glue.

have a great evening!

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joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

heh, maybe they should hire somebody who has been to lots of protests as a protester. i mean that's just as relevant experience as being one of the thugs that beats protesters, right?

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Lookout's picture

Thanks for the newscast joe. Music was good too.

Seems the bye-done has lived up to his low expectations. New president, same imperialism indeed. Here we are all over again. The writing was on the wall...he has a record which no one reported (except you and a few others...Greenwald lost his cushy job because the intercept wouldn't publish his piece on Hunter as you know.)

So its been a gray day with drizzle, but nice to just chill. Hope you and yours had a good one too!

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

i have to say, biden is really living down to my low expectations. he hasn't got to the bottom of them yet, but he's certainly on track having committed his first war crime (that was reported in the press) within a month of taking office.

i guess the only question is whether situations have changed enough that he's going to get some real push back.

it was a decent day here, i think it hit the upper 40's. the rain ended last night but there was lots of wind this afternoon and evening, though.

have a great evening!

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snoopydawg's picture

In 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before at Northwestern University Law School to announce President Obama’s “kill list” policy, under which he reserved the right to unilaterally order the death of any American deemed an imminent threat. After all, Holder explained, “the Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” The response was as chilling as the message: The audience of judges, lawyers and law students applauded an attorney general who just told them that any of them could be killed tomorrow on the president’s order.

Yeah that jumped out at me too. Damn right that’s f’cking chilling. I wonder how much ink it got back then. Anyone else know about it then? I was only reading him for his perspective on the issue and of course he brings up the hypocrisy of how Kavanaugh was treated. But I find the timing convient after his nursing home stunt got lots of talk, but what were his chances of running against Harris? Democrats taking out the competition early?

Link

ETA. It’s more the part about judicial process that I don’t remember reading or hearing about. Or I’ve forgot...happens.

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12 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

well, i was all over holder's announcement. rather than link to orange state where i presume this article still exists, i'll just reprint it here.

Eric Holder promotes assassination policy

On March Fifth, President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder presented a speech at Northwestern University to explain President Obama's approach to targeted assassinations and legal justification for them, including a retroactive justification of the assassination of US citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki.

In the speech, Holder articulated a new standard of due process that President Obama is relying on as a basis for his actions:

Some have argued that the President is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces.   This is simply not accurate.   “Due process” and “judicial process” are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security.   The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.

Unfortunately, Mr. Holder did not present any evidence that the process that the administration is providing meets any particular standard other than the "trust us on this" standard.

What does "due process" mean to you?  For me it brings to mind things like proper notice of a legal action to be taken against you and the grounds for the action, the right to challenge that action before an unbiased judge and/or jury of your peers, the right to present evidence, the right to know what evidence is being used against you, the right to face and cross-examine adverse witnesses, the opportunity to be represented by counsel, the opportunity to appeal an adverse ruling... American citizens generally have some ideas about what due process is and these sorts of basic ideas about what due process is do not appear to have much in common with Mr. Obama's new "due process."

According to a Reuters report by Mark Hosenball, this is how Mr. Obama's new "due process" works:

American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate. ...

Several officials said that when Awlaki became the first American put on the target list, Obama was not required personally to approve the targeting of a person. But one official said Obama would be notified of the principals' decision. If he objected, the decision would be nullified, the official said.

A former official said one of the reasons for making senior officials principally responsible for nominating Americans for the target list was to "protect" the president.

Holder asserts that because the administration notifies "the appropriate members of Congress" (doubtless retrospectively) about the administration's actions in order to fill their oversight function, that is a key part of creating a substitute for a full proper process that includes the rightful role of the judicial branch:

That is not to say that the Executive Branch has – or should ever have – the ability to target any such individuals without robust oversight.   Which is why, in keeping with the law and our constitutional system of checks and balances, the Executive Branch regularly informs the appropriate members of Congress about our counterterrorism activities, including the legal framework, and would of course follow the same practice where lethal force is used against United States citizens.

In attempting to retrospectively justify the administration's assassination of Anwar Al-Awlaki, Holder (sounding an awful lot like John Yoo) asserts (without providing evidence) that Al-Awlaki was a "senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization" which allegedly justifies the assassination:

The conduct and management of national security operations are core functions of the Executive Branch, as courts have recognized throughout our history.   Military and civilian officials must often make real-time decisions that balance the need to act, the existence of alternative options, the possibility of collateral damage, and other judgments – all of which depend on expertise and immediate access to information that only the Executive Branch may possess in real time.   The Constitution’s guarantee of due process is ironclad, and it is essential – but, as a recent court decision makes clear, it does not require judicial approval before the President may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war – even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen.

Emptywheel presents an excellent analysis demonstrating that the statements that Holder provides to support his claim that Al-Awlaki was a senior operational leader of al-Qaeda are insubstantial, embroidered and conflict with other evidence that DOJ provided last month. It's worth a read.

I never thought that I'd miss the days when George W. Bush was president and Democrats had more firm ideas of what due process meant.  I seem to remember a lot of hoopla among Democrats about the victory in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.  Democrats thought that it was a good thing that the Supreme Court smacked down Mr. Bush's abuse of executive power in detaining administration designated "enemy combatants" without appropriate due process.

If you have forgotten what Hamdi vs Rumsfeld was all about click the link, but here's the important part:

The Bush administration claimed that because Hamdi was caught in arms against the U.S., he could be properly detained as an enemy combatant, without any oversight of presidential decision making, or without access to an attorney or the court system. The administration argued that this power was constitutional and necessary to effectively fight the War on Terror, declared by the Congress of the United States in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act passed after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The Supreme Court overwhelmingly confirmed the rights of US citizens to proper due process rights and corrected the Bush administration's ridiculous assertion that its war powers and the pressing needs of national security meant that the executive branch processes could replace the role of the judicial branch.  

Here are some of Justice O'Connors greatest hits in the Hamdi v. Rumsfeld opinion:

We therefore hold that a citizen-detainee seeking to challenge his classification as an enemy combatant must receive notice of the factual basis for his classification, and a fair opportunity to rebut the Government’s factual assertions before a neutral decisionmaker. See Cleveland Bd. of Ed. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 542 (1985) (“An essential principle of due process is that a deprivation of life, liberty, or property ‘be preceded by notice and opportunity for hearing appropriate to the nature of the case’ ” (quoting Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 313 (1950)); Concrete Pipe & Products of Cal., Inc. v. Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern Cal., 508 U.S. 602, 617 (1993) (“due process requires a ‘neutral and detached judge in the first instance’ ” (quoting Ward v. Monroeville, 409 U.S. 57, 61—62 (1972)). “For more than a century the central meaning of procedural due process has been clear: ‘Parties whose rights are to be affected are entitled to be heard; and in order that they may enjoy that right they must first be notified.’ It is equally fundamental that the right to notice and an opportunity to be heard ‘must be granted at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.’ ” Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 80 (1972) (quoting Baldwin v. Hale, 1 Wall. 223, 233 (1864); Armstrong v. Manzo, 380 U.S. 545, 552 (1965) (other citations omitted)). These essential constitutional promises may not be eroded.

...

    In so holding, we necessarily reject the Government’s assertion that separation of powers principles mandate a heavily circumscribed role for the courts in such circumstances. Indeed, the position that the courts must forgo any examination of the individual case and focus exclusively on the legality of the broader detention scheme cannot be mandated by any reasonable view of separation of powers, as this approach serves only to condense power into a single branch of government. We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation’s citizens. Youngstown Sheet & Tube, 343 U.S., at 587. Whatever power the United States Constitution envisions for the Executive in its exchanges with other nations or with enemy organizations in times of conflict, it most assuredly envisions a role for all three branches when individual liberties are at stake. Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 380 (1989) (it was “the central judgment of the Framers of the Constitution that, within our political scheme, the separation of governmental powers into three coordinate Branches is essential to the preservation of liberty”); Home Building & Loan Assn. v. Blaisdell, 290 U.S. 398, 426 (1934) (The war power “is a power to wage war successfully, and thus it permits the harnessing of the entire energies of the people in a supreme cooperative effort to preserve the nation. But even the war power does not remove constitutional limitations safeguarding essential liberties”).

2004 was a great time when Democrats rallied around the principle of due process for US citizens when an overreaching executive branch tried to cut the other branches out of their role while screaming about national security and the imminence of further attacks. How Democrats will react now when another overreaching executive branch is using the same tactics not just to detain US citizens without proper process but to assassinate citizens without proper process remains to be seen.  Will Democrats fail to rise to the occasion because the overreaching executive branch baying about national security and the imminence of further attacks is a Democratic administration?  One would hope that progressives would stand by their principles and call on this administration to respect the law.

A final note... a couple of days ago I posted a diary that detailed one of the Obama administration's creative interpretations of laws to quell speech and speculated as to whether a bill awaiting Obama's signature might be used similarly.  In the comments several lawyers, including the Daily Kos site's official lawyer Adam B went to some effort to explain that the statutory interpretations that were presented by a couple of other lawyers in the diary were indeed incorrect.  (Thanks for your efforts at education, Adam B.)  Unfortunately, they missed a key point of the diary.  Lawyers frequently disagree over statutory interpretation (heck, they get paid to disagree) but what is of great importance is not whether one group of lawyers is correct about an interpretation or not.  Often what is important is how close to executive power a lawyer or group of lawyers is and how much damage is done by incorrect statutory interpretations while the executive branch works the levers of power to enforce poor interpretations of law and uses whatever legal trickery they can arrange to avoid review by the judicial branch.  We all knew that John Yoo and several of his legal colleagues in the Bush administration were promoting preposterous legal interpretations, but it took a considerable amount of time for the actions of the Bush administration based upon them to come to light and even longer for them to work their way through the system to be challenged and repudiated.

We cannot allow any administration to promote bad policy based upon twisted interpretations of law.  If they are allowed to twist the meaning of something as basic as "due process" to support assassinating American citizens, who knows what might come next, if not by this administration, by a successor administration?

Friday Mar 09, 2012

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Yeah after I posted it I thought that you had probably covered it back when. I think I’ve forgotten a lot of what happened then because it’s so familiar to me. Like, oh yeah. Thanks. And for linking to emptied wheelchair. Back when she did good work. Lots of talk about people who swallowed Q or lost their family and friends to it consulting cultists for help. Well what about the people who fell down the Russia Gate rabbit hole? Will they ever learn the truth? Did the McCarthy people see reason? Serious question.

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7 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

i saw as i read through the article that i had linked to marcy and wondered what the hell happened to her. there was a time when she actually did some excellent reporting.

oh, well.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

While others saw it for what it was. I still think it has something to do with how people see democrats like Obama, Hillary, Biden and Pelosi. Those who still think they are who they say they are bought into it. Those of us who see them as who they are didn’t. I don’t remember where Marcy stood but I thought she saw through Obama. I’d ask her, but she has blocked me. lol guess she didn’t appreciate my wit.

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7 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

Just ask Tara Reade!

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13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

i would imagine that cuomo might welcome the current accusations and attendant media hubbub as a way to push the evidence of how many deaths are on his bloody hands off the front page.

better to be known as an old goat than a mass murderer?

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9 users have voted.

@joe shikspack the NINE closest associates of Cuomo convicted and jailed.

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4 users have voted.

NYCVG

ggersh's picture

all the farmland.....this can't be good

me and my conspiracy nature

stay safe everyone and Joe thanks for the Blues n news

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13 users have voted.

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Søren Kierkegaard

NO MORE WAR

joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

thanks for that video! i had no idea that gates had sucked up all that acreage of farmland. that really sucks. we need land reform to put land into the hands of the people and keep rich idiots and developers from driving up the cost of land out of the reach of regular folks.

russell brand may be too nice to recognize evil when he sees it, but bill gates despite his appearance as a dweeb is more interest in extending his control over people than in helping them.

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8 users have voted.

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

wow, i don't know whether that guy's picture should be in the dictionary next to the entry for "idiot" or "true believer."

maybe both?

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3 users have voted.

But this is interesting!

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@humphrey

This is even more direct than the ones he was doing earlier. So either I was wrong about him or he is really good. Democrats are going to start looking even worse than they are now if Bernie isn’t alone in calling for it. Put it up for a vote..hey squirrel. What are we being distracted from? This whole thing is more theater.
Democrats know they should do but aren’t going to because donors.
Democrat voters will give Biden a pass no matter what because they just will.
Sane people see that democrats are making sure they lose the senate and never get it back. Pelosi will go back to sending McConnell great bills that he will ignore and yippee go for it.

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8 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

@snoopydawg Maybe there is a limit to how far they can push Bernie? Maybe reneging on the one thing they promised him finally is going to get him to fight? I wish I could be more optimistic, but I just can't.

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4 users have voted.

Just another Bozo on the bus.

snoopydawg's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

Wyden wants payments to automatically reset and continue as long as there is need and 9 others have signed on with him. Warren is going for a tax over 50 million which sure sounds great. How many votes will it need since they won't throw out the filibuster? With this game Biden could say that he wants to pass single payer right gd now, but darn congress won't let him. It is such kabuki I see it a mile away.

I wish I could be more optimistic, but I just can't.

Not surprising after all the times dems have pulled the football out from under us. I think this time they are making a fatal mistake. When centrists start waking up and calling out dems they are waking up more people. The ones who still blame Bernie bros for Herheinous losing to a reality game show host will never see them for who they are, but others are that is good. Finally. Obama should have nailed that door shut.

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2 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

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8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

A Louisiana state police trooper has been suspended without pay for kicking and dragging a handcuffed Black man whose in-custody death remains unexplained and the subject of a federal civil rights investigation. Body camera footage shows Kory York dragging Ronald Greene “on his stomach by the leg shackles” following a violent arrest and high-speed pursuit, according to internal state police records obtained by the Associated Press.

Tad bit more than mistreated I’d say. Any sane country would look at last year and decide that quantified immunity needs to go ASAP because cops keep pushing the line. Sadly that’s not us. The rage and contempt one must feel to do that. Weird. That just popped a memory.

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5 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

there's a reason why i put that story right after the one about the police and military of myanmar terrorizing an entire population.

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5 users have voted.

"How Biden is Losing the Left" is dead on accurate.

Looks like Bernie is fighting back tonight.

keep hope alive.

And thanks Joe for the first-rate news round up.

Night after night.

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8 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

biden certainly has pissed off a lot of people. now it is a matter of them giving him and his democrat camp followers what for.

it's feet to the fire time.

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4 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

Still waiting on that change, think it's gonna be a long time coming.

be well and have a good one

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7 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

well, certainly the masters of the universe have in mind nothing fundamentally changing.

nature may have other ideas. i guess we'll see.

have a great evening!

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Pfizer is demanding country’s military bases if they want the vaccine. I’d say those countries should look to China and Russia instead. This is too much power for anyone.

It’s genocide to withhold life saving meds during health emergencies. Good gawd as eyo said, is this 2021?

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11 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

that is quite something. one wonders what pfizer would do with military bases, embassy buildings and other monumental architecture. some sort of lease-back agreement? or perhaps sale to the highest bidder?

interesting.

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8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

with military equipment? Because he has partnered with both Pfizer and AstraZeneca through the biogen company in Germany. I don’t know how it’s spelled. Remember that Oxford developed one of the vaccines and it was supposed to be free until Gates got involved and now they’re selling it.

But what Pfizer is doing on top of what Facebook did to Australia I think we’ve got some worrying to do. Where do they stand in the global empire? Are they with everyone else or separate and we are going to see a feud? Heh..lots of mind altering chemicals on board.

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8 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

Where do they stand in the global empire? Are they with everyone else or separate and we are going to see a feud?

‘People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the publick, or in some contrivance to raise prices.’

-- adam smith

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7 users have voted.
mimi's picture

of a 15 minimum wage would be 24 dollars. (correct me if I got that wrong)

I have no idea why anyone would settle for a 15 dollar minimum wage. Stop working if they don't pay you what you deserve to get. Let them do their shit work themselves. Strike.

Force the vote for a 24 dollar minimum hourly wage.

Boy is it all depressing.

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8 users have voted.

@mimi And you're asking a good question, but the better one is why have USainas tolerated $7.25 /hour for as long as they have? This has been the longest we've gone without an increase to the minimum wage.

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7 users have voted.

Just another Bozo on the bus.