The Evening Blues - 4-21-21



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Willie Egan

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b singer and piano player Willie Egan. Enjoy!

Willie Egan - Wear Your Black Dress

"Solidarity is not a matter of altruism. Solidarity comes from the inability to tolerate the affront to our own integrity of passive or active collaboration in the oppression of others, and from the deep recognition of our most expansive self-interest. From the recognition that, like it or not, our liberation is bound up with that of every other being on the planet, and that politically, spiritually, in our heart of hearts we know anything else is unaffordable."

-- Aurora Levins Morales


News and Opinion

Worth a full read:

Navalny vs Assange, or the geopolitics of selective outrage

The hearts of political leaders in the United States and its imperialist allies are bleeding for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Jailed on February 2 this year, after returning from Germany where he received treatment for an alleged poisoning by the Russian state, Navalny has since gone on hunger strike. The outrage over Navalny’s imprisonment and resulting health crisis is an object lesson in imperialist cynicism and intrigue. Those most passionately invoking his democratic rights are the architects of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s continuing and vastly more severe persecution.

There is nothing remotely comparable between the two men, and the differences are not in Navalny’s favour. Assange is a heroic journalist who played a leading role in the exposure of some of the worst imperialist crimes of the 21st century, from covered-up details of the brutal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan to US torture camps and extraordinary renditions. Navalny is a right-wing, nationalist politician, who has referred to migrants from the Caucasus as “cockroaches” that should be killed. He represents a wing of the Russian oligarchy opposed to President Vladimir Putin and in favour of opening Russia up more widely to Western imperialism. It is this difference which underpins their night and day treatment. ...

The contrasting treatment tears apart claims by the likes of US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be supporting Navalny on human rights grounds while pursuing Assange on supposedly legal ones. ... His politically motivated case is a litany of abuses of legal and democratic rights, carried out alongside a slander campaign involving the world’s media and pseudo-left groups, designed to blacken his name and psychologically destroy the WikiLeaks founder. ...

Amnesty International refused to acknowledge Assange as a prisoner of conscience for years but was so quick to apply the label to Navalny that they were forced into an embarrassing retreat in acknowledgment of his record of “hate speech” a few months later. US Democratic Party Senator Bernie Sanders has maintained near total silence on Assange, issuing a single tweet opposing his indictment in May 2019 that succeeded in not mentioning the WikiLeaks founder by name. He tweeted this Monday: “Make no mistake about what is happening here: activist Aleksei Navalny is being murdered in front of the world by Vladimir Putin for the crime of exposing Putin’s vast corruption. Navalny’s doctors must be allowed to see him immediately.”

Phrases like “human rights” and “democratic freedom” turn to ash in the mouths of Sanders, Biden, Johnson and their ilk. Their support for the politically filthy Navalny is a calculated provocation against the Russian state. They hope to use his fate as a pretext for a further escalation of military aggression against Moscow. Assange has had his democratic rights eviscerated with the consent of all the major powers to suppress opposition to this imperialist war drive.

US ambassador to leave Moscow as tensions rise

Washington’s ambassador to Moscow has announced that he will return to the US for consultations, days after the Russian government recommended he leave the country during what it said was an “extremely tense situation”.

John Sullivan’s departure will leave both countries’ embassies without their top diplomats at a crucial moment, with Washington and Moscow recently announcing new sanctions, a Russian military buildup near Ukraine, and concerns about the opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s health while in detention.

“I believe it is important for me to speak directly with my new colleagues in the Biden administration in Washington about the current state of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia,” Sullivan said on Tuesday. “Also, I have not seen my family in well over a year, and that is another important reason for me to return home for a visit. I will return to Moscow in the coming weeks before any meeting between presidents Biden and Putin.”

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin discussed a possible summit last week, but the Kremlin has said it would take time to organise and would be “impossible” to hold in the coming weeks. ...

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, did not give a firm deadline for the ambassadors to return to their postings. “The return of the ambassadors after consultations in their capitals will depend, first and foremost, on the presence of reasons for that,” he told journalists.

‘People are not starving, they’re being starved’: millions at risk of famine, NGOs warn

World leaders are being urged to act immediately to stop multiple famines breaking out, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and caused by conflict, climate crisis and inequality. In an open letter published on Tuesday to support the UN Call for Action to Avert Famine in 2021, hundreds of aid organisations from around the world said: “People are not starving – they are being starved.”

Warning that “history will judge us all by the actions we take today”, the aid groups added that people were “being starved by conflict and violence; by inequality; by the impacts of climate change; by the loss of land, jobs or prospects; by a fight against Covid-19 that has left them even further behind”.

They said millions of people in Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Honduras, Venezuela, Nigeria, Haiti, Central African Republic, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Sudan faced starvation and appealed to governments to respond to increasing levels of hunger, stressing that billions of pounds in investment was urgently needed.

In the letter, the organisations including the International Council of Voluntary Agencies and the World Food Programme (WFP) said: “Girls and boys, men and women, are being starved by conflict and violence; by inequality; by the impacts of climate change; by the loss of land, jobs of prospects; by a fight against Covid-19 that has left them even further behind.”

Violence erupts as Mexico’s deadly gangs aim to cement power in largest ever elections

Violent clashes between rival Mexican criminal groups – and their alleged allies in the security forces – are escalating ahead of mid-term elections in June, triggering a string of political assassinations and the forced displacement of thousands. State and federal security forces have actively colluded with – and even fought alongside – the warring factions, according to local civilians, civil society activists and gunmen from various factions.

But as well as engaging in pitched gun battles, criminal factions are also confronting each other on the electoral field. “All the [criminal] groups are trying to make gains right now,” said a Michoacán political consultant with first-hand knowledge of how arrangements are brokered between organized crime and political candidates.

With more than 21,000 posts in local, state and national government up for election – including 15 state governorships – the 6 June polls are the largest in Mexico’s history, and criminal groups see the elections as an opportunity to further their interests. Much of the recent fighting has focused on the western state of Michoacán, where the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (Jalisco New Generation cartel) has stepped up its conflict with an alliance of local groups calling themselves the United Cartels.

The violence has forced more than a thousand people to flee the area, feeding the flow of migrants heading to the US to seek asylum, and adding to the current uptick of arrivals at the border that the Biden administration is struggling to manage. ... “They are leaving because they get caught in the crossfire, because their homes have been destroyed, [and] because the main roads into [the area] have been carved up to stop the advance of the Jaliscos,” said Gregorio López, a Catholic priest who has sheltered refuges in the nearby city of Apatzingán.

Amid the tumult, he said, local livelihoods have become unsustainable: “Basic goods aren’t getting through any more, there is no more fresh food, and everything has become very expensive, gasoline now costs three times as much as before.”

Your "party of the middle class" hard at work against 99% of us:

Dems are wildly lying about SALT tax breaks in the same way the GOP wildly lies about the estate tax.

For years, Democratic lawmakers fought the GOP lie that cast estate tax cuts for billionaires as efforts to rescue family farms. But in this new era of ubiquitous misinformation, the same Democrats are waving a white flag in the battle against anti-tax bullshit. They are ripping a page out of the GOP’s “death tax” playbook and conjuring a new lie, this one depicting tax breaks for affluent donors as a defense of working-class homeowners.

In the process, Democratic leaders show they fight far harder for the donor class than they do for the working class.

At issue is the $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions that was included in President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax bill. The cap was designed to limit the amount of state and local tax payments that households not using the newly expanded standard deduction can write off from their federal taxable income. Earlier this month, seven Democratic governors signed a letter demanding President Biden fully repeal the cap. Among the signatories were a billionaire and five multimillionaires, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was freshly enriched by a lucrative book deal. The gubernatorial moguls asserted that “middle-class Americans are struggling under this federal tax burden.”

That letter was followed up by Cuomo and New York state lawmakers creating a special SALT deduction workaround for the managers of hedge funds and shell companies. Then, nearly every New York Democratic lawmaker in Congress signed their own letter threatening to vote down President Biden’s infrastructure legislation unless it fully repeals the SALT deduction cap. And then came the creation of a whole new bipartisan SALT Caucus — a group of lawmakers organized to fight for the new tax breaks.

Notably, members of Congress are not pushing a far more progressive reform of the SALT cap. They are also not pushing to merely raise the cap so that it provides a few more deductions to the lower end of top earners. Instead, they are demanding a full repeal of the cap, which would make sure the maximum amount of deductions flow to the richest sliver of the population. They are doing this all while insisting that their crusade is designed to restore tax breaks that “ensured that New York State middle-class families were not taxed twice on their income,” as the New York congressional members wrote.

If this rhetoric seems familiar, that’s because it is exactly how Republicans dishonestly sold estate tax cuts. In that fight, the GOP has similarly used the middle class as the human shield for tax policies that deliver most of their financial benefits to the super-rich. Now Democrats are using the same tactic to try to morally justify giant tax deductions that primarily benefit the wealthy.

Wall Street’s Cooked Books Fueled the Financial Crisis in 2008. It’s Happening Again.

A longtime industry analyst has uncovered creative accounting on a startling scale in the commercial real estate market, in ways similar to the “liar loans” handed out during the mid-2000s for residential real estate, according to financial records examined by the analyst and reviewed by The Intercept. A recent, large-scale academic study backs up his conclusion, finding that banks such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have systematically reported erroneously inflated income data that compromises the integrity of the resulting securities.

The analyst’s findings, first reported by ProPublica last year, are the subject of a whistleblower complaint he filed in 2019 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Moreover, the analyst has identified complex financial machinations by one financial institution, one that both issues loans and manages a real estate trust, that may ultimately help one of its top tenants — the low-cost, low-wage store Dollar General — flourish while devastating smaller retailers.

This time, the issue is not a bubble in the housing market, but apparent widespread inflation of the value of commercial businesses, on which loans are based. Those who remember news coverage at the time know that the tale of the 2008 financial implosion involved an enormous swirl of numbers and acronyms. But when boiled down to its essence, the story of the housing bubble of the 2000s, and plausibly Wall Street’s actions today, is simple: It’s counterfeiting.

Traditional counterfeiters print money: pieces of paper that supposedly are worth their face value but in fact are worth nothing. Wall Street counterfeiters during the housing bubble printed securities: pieces of paper that supposedly were worth their face value but in fact were worth much less.

In the mid-2000s, companies like Countrywide Financial Corp. issued so-called liar loans. Often without informing the borrowers themselves, Countrywide and other loan companies would claim that, say, a bartender was making $500,000 a year, allowing them to borrow enough money to buy a home that they couldn’t possibly afford. The originating banks then took the loans, which could never be paid back on the bartender’s real income, and securitized them — i.e., bundled them together into a trust, which was then sliced up into bonds called residential mortgage-backed securities. ... Now it may be happening again — this time not with residential mortgage-backed securities, based on loans for homes, but commercial mortgage-backed securities, or CMBS, based on loans for businesses. And this industrywide scheme is colliding with a collapse of the commercial real estate market amid the pandemic, which has business tenants across the country unable to make their payments.

Krystal Ball: Louisiana Workers FORCED To Choose Between Cancer And Jobs

Manchin Mocks Sanders’ $15 Wage Bill At Restaurant Lobbyist Event

When Joe Manchin told attendees at the National Restaurant Association (NRA)’s national conference on Tuesday that the minimum wage shouldn’t be more than $11 and there should still be a subminimum wage for tipped workers, the group’s chief lobbyist couldn't contain his excitement. “From your lips to God’s ears,” exclaimed Sean Kennedy, the NRA's executive vice president of public affairs, who spoke with the Democratic senator from West Virginia as part of a virtual panel entitled, “Seeking Unity: Conversations on Finding Bipartisan Solutions.”

The NRA is a powerful, sprawling lobbying operation, with $289 million in revenue in 2018 and state affiliates around the country. The organization has been leading the charge to block a federal $15 minimum wage and is also fighting a separate Democratic effort to make it easier for workers to form unions. ...

Manchin and Sinema’s statements at the conference, reportedly attended by several hundred restaurant operators from around the country, pull back the curtain on what they say to corporate interests when they’re out of the public eye. The NRA event, billed as “off the record” and “closed to press,” was the association’s annual “public affairs conference,” which means it was designed for lobbyists and focused on shaping legislation. ...

During his talk, Manchin specifically took aim at Sanders for continuing to push for a $15 minimum wage. “We’ve been having meetings on minimum wage, and I can’t for the life of me understand why they don’t take a win on $11,” he said. “Bernie Sanders is totally committed in his heart and soul that $15 is the way to go. Well, it might be the way to go, Bernie, but it ain’t gonna go. You don’t have the votes for it. It’s not going to happen. So they’re going to walk away with their pride, saying we fought for $15, got nothing.”

In LEAKED AUDIO Manchin And Sinema Cozy Up To Corporate Lobbyists

Democratic Lawmakers Urge Barrett to Recuse Herself From Koch Dark Money Case

Three Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday urged U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from a pending case revolving around the nonprofit arm of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-funded political advocacy group that spent heavily to ensure Barrett's confirmation to the bench last October.

In a letter (pdf) to Barrett, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) argue that Americans for Prosperity's big spending campaign in support of the newest justice's confirmation casts serious doubt on whether she can be impartial in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Rodriquez.

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) is seeking to strike down a California law that requires certain nonprofit groups to disclose their major donors to the state attorney general's office. In March 2019, a federal appeals court upheld the California law on the grounds that it "serves an important governmental interest," prompting AFPF to take its case to the high court, which agreed to hear the challenge earlier this year.

With oral arguments set to begin on April 26, Whitehouse, Blumenthal, and Johnson call on Barrett to "consider seriously and address publicly the question of recusal in this case" given Americans for Prosperity's "full-scale campaign" in favor of her confirmation last year. The Democratic lawmakers argue that "there is no reasonable difference" between AFPF and Americans for Prosperity.

"The American people are alarmed about the seemingly dominant influence of special interests on our politics and government," the lawmakers write. "Our judiciary is a target of this massive influence apparatus. Now, in AFPF, the court takes up an important case that squarely implicates the power of big special interests to exercise their influence from behind veils of secrecy."

In an amicus brief (pdf) filed with the Supreme Court last month, Whitehouse and 14 other Democratic senators warned that a ruling in AFPF's favor would allow "dark-money contributors to secure broad constitutional protection of their anonymous influence, so they can attack any and all disclosure requirements in other contexts—a 'moon shot' to lock in dark money's hold on our politics and policymaking, possibly forever."

"The flotilla of anonymously funded and largely industry-aligned nonprofit organizations filing amicus briefs in support of [AFPF] should set off alarm bells that something bigger than California's tax disclosure law is at issue," the senators write. "The dots are not hard to connect. The bigger prize being sought is blanket constitutional protection of dark money and secret influence."

Vox's Ian Millhiser echoed that warning over the weekend, writing that the conservative-dominated Supreme Court's ruling "could allow political groups to operate with far more secrecy, allowing wealthy donors to shape American politics in the shadows."

US Attorney General launches investigation into Minneapolis Police

Democrats block Republican bid to censure Maxine Waters over Chauvin remarks

Maxine Waters remained defiant as Democrats successfully blocked a long-shot attempt by Republicans to censure and expel the veteran congresswoman over comments on the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, which the judge said could provide grounds for appeal. “I am not worried that they’re going to continue to distort what I say,” Waters, 82, told the Grio. “This is who they are and this is how they act. And I’m not going to be bullied by them.”

Republicans had unleashed fiery criticism against Waters after the California Democrat pledged on Saturday that protesters would become “more confrontational” if Chauvin were acquitted.

House Democrats on Tuesday voted down a resolution from the Republican minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, to censure Waters over her comments, just hours before Chauvin was convicted of George Floyd’s murder. The House voted 216-210 to table, or kill, the resolution. The vote fell exactly along party lines, with all Democrats opposed to advancing the resolution against Waters.

She spoke to the media on Saturday during a protest in Brooklyn Center, the Minneapolis suburb where police shot and killed Daunte Wright earlier this month. Waters said she hoped Chauvin would be found “guilty, guilty, guilty”. If Chauvin was acquitted, she said, “we’ve got to stay on the street, and we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Republicans were quick to accuse Waters of inciting violence as, they said, Democrats accused Donald Trump of doing before the 6 January Capitol riot.

Guilty on All Counts: Derek Chauvin Verdict Triggers Relief & Determination to Keep Fighting

Chauvin guilty verdict a landmark moment in US criminal justice history

The trial saw 44 witnesses and 15 days of testimony. And, in the end, less than a day to decide that Derek Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis police officer, was guilty of murdering George Floyd.

It is a landmark moment not just in the history of US policing and criminal justice, but around the world. George Floyd’s death came to embody the struggle for racial justice and equality in so many ways they are impossible to condense: from forceful calls for police reform in Minneapolis and new legislation in Washington, to a reckoning on the history of British imperialism in the UK and a resurgence in activism over Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia.

The evidence had always been overwhelming. But despite the multitudes of exhibits displayed at trial, it was that single cellphone video, shot by a teenage girl who wept on the stand as she describing witnessing George Floyd die, that continues to most vividly depict the details of Derek Chauvin’s crimes. ...

As prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told jurors on Monday, after they had heard from the defense that George Floyd had died as a result of his enlarged heart.

“… you know the truth. And the truth of the matter is, that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr Chauvin’s heart was too small.”

Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad: Policing in U.S. Was Built on Racism & Should Be Put on Trial



the horse race



New Report REVEALS Exactly How Rich People Dominate Our Politics

Just 12 Super-Rich Donors Spent $3.4 Billion to Sway US Elections Since 2009

A dozen wealthy political donors and their spouses spent a combined $3.4 billion on federal elections in the U.S. between 2009 and 2020, accounting for $1 of every $13 contributed to political candidates and groups in the post-Citizens United era.

That's according to Outsized Influence, a new report released Tuesday by Issue One, a nonpartisan group that advocates for basic but transformative political reforms—including stricter campaign finance laws designed to empower ordinary Americans and reduce the undemocratic power of megadonors.

In response to the study illustrating the extent to which the super-rich have come to dominate political spending since 2010—when the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission effectively legalized spending unlimited amounts of money to sway electoral outcomes—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said: "That's what holds in place our rigged, corrupt economic and political systems."

"This research shows the alarming influence of just a handful of wealthy megadonors in our political system," said Issue One founder and CEO Nick Penniman. "Our government can't be responsive to all Americans if our elected officials are beholden to the elite donor class."

According to Issue One's analysis of data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics, the $3.4 billion that was contributed collectively by just a dozen super-rich households "amounts to 7.5% of the $45 billion that all federal candidates and political groups raised between January 2009 and December 2020."

"Put another way," wrote Michael Beckel, the author of the report, "this means that 12 megadonors and their spouses—a total of 19 individuals—accounted for about $1 of every $13 in federal politics."

In fact, two failed Democratic presidential candidates are responsible for a significant chunk of the billions that this tiny handful of super-rich Americans spent on politics in the past decade-plus.

The $3.4 billion sum "includes about $1.4 billion that billionaires Michael Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City, and Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund manager from California, contributed from their own funds to their unsuccessful 2020 presidential campaigns," Beckel pointed out. "Bloomberg alone sunk $1.09 billion of his own funds into his failed presidential bid."

"The other $2 billion in political contributions by these 12 megadonors," Beckel added, "flowed to federal candidates and political party committees like the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee, as well as to super PACs, which, unlike candidates and political parties, are legally allowed to accept contributions of unlimited amounts."

Ten other mega-rich households, including at least six additional billionaires, joined Bloomberg and Steyer on the list of the biggest political spenders between 2009 and 2020. As the New York Times noted, "The list includes multiple Wall Street billionaires and investors, a Facebook co-founder, a shipping magnate, and the heir to a family fortune dating back to the Gilded Age."



the evening greens


Carbon emissions to soar in 2021 by second highest rate in history

Carbon dioxide emissions are forecast to jump this year by the second biggest annual rise in history, as global economies pour stimulus cash into fossil fuels in the recovery from the Covid-19 recession. The leap will be second only to the massive rebound 10 years ago after the financial crisis, and will put climate hopes out of reach unless governments act quickly, the International Energy Agency has warned.

Surging use of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, for electricity is largely driving the emissions rise, especially across Asia but also in the US. Coal’s rebound causes particular concern because it comes despite plunging prices for renewable energy, which is now cheaper than coal.

Speaking exclusively to the Guardian, Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, and one of the world’s leading authorities on energy and climate, said: “This is shocking and very disturbing. On the one hand, governments today are saying climate change is their priority. But on the other hand, we are seeing the second biggest emissions rise in history. It is really disappointing.” ...

Birol compared the current surge of emissions to the financial crisis, when emissions rose by more than 6% in 2010 after countries tried to stimulate their economies through cheap fossil fuel energy. “It seems we are back on course to repeat the same mistakes,” he warned. “I am more disappointed this time than in 2010.”

Emissions plunged by a record 7% globally last year, owing to the lockdowns that followed the Covid-19 outbreak. But by the end of the year, they were already rebounding, and on track to exceed 2019 levels in some areas.

‘Water warriors’: the US women banding together to fight for water justice

Deanna Miller Berry first learned of the scores of complaints about Denmark, South Carolina’s water supply, during her 2017 mayoral campaign. For at least a decade, residents of the rural, predominantly Black and lower-income town “knew something was happening” and tried to sound the alarm, said Berry. “A lot of folks [were] complaining that they were starting to get sick, hair loss and skin issues.”

Berry lost that mayoral race, but has continued to fight for access to clean water and sanitation. After teaming up with a group from Flint, Michigan – another predominantly Black and lower-income community with a history of contaminated water – Berry learned that Denmark was allowing HaloSan, a non-EPA-approved pesticide, to be pumped into the city’s water supply. Although Denmark told residents in 2018 they discontinued the use of HaloSan, Berry said the work to ensure residents have access to clean and affordable water isn’t over.

More than 2 million people living in the United States lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation, according to a report from the US Water Alliance, a non-profit organization focused on sustainable water access in the country. Experts say that extreme weather events associated with the climate crisis are likely to exacerbate existing issues with the water infrastructure in the US, and that poor communities are likely to feel the effects of climate change on access to clean water first. ...

Women, in particular women of color, have been deeply embedded in the water justice movement even before the movement’s official origins in the early 1990s, when a national coalition of activists and academics came together for the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership summit, said Dr Dorceta Taylor, a professor at Yale’s School of the Environment and an expert on the Environmental Justice movement. “Even though you see many kinds of references to the fathers of environmental justice, there are grandmothers, mothers and women that have been doing it from the very onset in every aspect of it,” said Taylor. Many of these women have banded together to share strategies, support each other and fight the larger national battle for water justice in ways they couldn’t as individuals, experts say.

Although Covid-19 has put a pause on many of the larger gatherings between activists in places like Detroit and Denmark, South Carolina, the relationships between women working on water activism in different communities have continued to be central to their organizing. And, the fact that advocates like Berry, who lives in a small southern town, have deep connections with activists in places like Flint isn’t an accident. From the very beginning, there was a collective understanding that to prevent bad actors from simply shifting the problem from one marginalized community to the next, water justice activists needed to communicate and work together, said Taylor. “Everyone understood to build a movement you needed to know each other,” she said. “What might look local, or hyper-local on the surface is actually connected.”


Also of Interest

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

The Derek Chauvin verdict won’t stop cops murdering black people. We still aren’t safe

We must end ‘qualified immunity’ for police. It might save the next George Floyd

The Shock and Reality of Catching Covid After Being Vaccinated

Union Leader Presses Biden to Immediately Fire Trump Social Security Holdovers

Progressive Groups Fight AT&T and T-Mobile’s New Texting Rules

Black Visions Collective: We Need to Abolish the Police & End Militarized Occupations of Our Cites

Krystal and Emily REACT To Derek Chauvin GUILTY Verdict

Briahna Joy Gray: Pelosi SLAMMED For Tone Deaf George Floyd Comments, Thanks Him For Being Murdered


A Little Night Music

Willie Egan - I Don't Know Where She Went

Willie's Blues - Willie Egan

Willie Egan - I Can't Understand It

Two Crows & The Diggers (Willie Egan) - Poison Ivy

Willie Egan - Chittlin's

Willie Egan - Wow Wow

Willie Egan - Rock & Roll Fever

Willie Egan - Oh Baby

Willie Egan - Treat Me Right

Willie Egan - You must be foolin


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Comments

That's the headline which caught my eye today, Joe. Out of all the worthy stories you have provided, that seems the most significant to me. Followed by the Democracy Now entry about Police Departments similarity to the Slave Catching Militias in our history.

Both are the reality of American White Supremacy in action, strong as ever in our badly misunderstood American fairytale. However.................

A ray of sunshine and hope for me is the Derek Chauvin emphatic and quick conviction. Relief and joy and belief, for a moment at least, that a better world is possible.

In line with hope for a better future, here is a nugget you will not find anyplace else. Andrew Yang got a significant endorsement. One that will matter much more than the Big Media/DNC controlling interests can laugh away. So earthshaking that the Press covered it but in amazement because it shatters part of their erroneous propaganda. The propaganda is that somehow Andrew Yang is a secret Bloomberg pick, somewhat conservative, who knows? even a DINO.
No---those are Adams and Stringer. Stringer grew up with Cuomo and backed him against Cynthia Nixon.(!!!) And Adams was a (R) and a NYPD Captain.

So what is this endorsement and why does it matter?

It is Carlos Menchaca who I doubt many of you have heard of. He is the Leftist Left of all Progressives in NYC. The Press has ignored him for the 8 years he was in the NYC Council.

Now, The Times covers it in a tone of wonderment but does not inform us who this endorsement will impress. Others are expressing surprise. From the NY Times:
"Andrew Yang Wins Endorsement from Left-Wing Rival
Carlos Menchaca, who bowed out of the New York City mayoral race last month, endorsed his former opponent."
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/21/nyregion/andrew-yang-endorsement-menc...?

From the NYT piece:
"Mr. Yang said in an interview that Mr. Menchaca was part of the “next generation of leaders” who were joining his campaign. Mr. Yang, 46, would be the city’s first Generation X mayor, and Mr. Menchaca, Mr. Torres and Mr. Kim are all younger than him."

“Carlos is a young Latino L.G.B.T.Q. progressive leader, and we are excited to have him on board on so many levels,” Mr. Yang said. “He has been fighting for marginalized communities for years.”

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So, imho,here is what is likely to occur. 1) Progressive leaning Democrats who have heard the slurs about Andrew, will feel comfortable in ignoring the BS. That is a lot of voters. Other public Progressive names may very well come aboard. Reminder---Ron Kim, NY Assembly and Cuomo foe is on board. So is Ritchie Torres the new Congressman who beat the long term NYC figure, Ruben Diaz.

2) Carlos Menchaca was the first Mexican elected in NYC to a big office. He brings with him the non-DNC New York Latino and Latina constituency. Again, a big chunk of voters. Only AOC would be more powerful in this constituency and AOC may throw her endorsement elsewhere. But, I hope not.

“Carlos is a young Latino L.G.B.T.Q. progressive leader, and we are excited to have him on board on so many levels,” Mr. Yang said. “He has been fighting for marginalized communities for years.”
Mr. Yang said in an interview that Mr. Menchaca was part of the “next generation of leaders” who were joining his campaign. Mr. Yang, 46, would be the city’s first Generation X mayor, and Mr. Menchaca, Mr. Torres and Mr. Kim are all younger than him.

https://enewspaper.nydailynews.com/html5/desktop/production/default.aspx? Late breaking headline from the NY Daily News: Liberal Brooklyn Pol Backs Yang---on Page 2----big colored picture of Andrew yang and Carlos Menchaca. and the correct reason why this endorsement is so significant. Hesitant progressives now can understand that Yang shares their values. Very happy that I was wrong in thinking ALL NY Media would suppress the importance of this.

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NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

yep, the one thing that america is really good at manufacturing is shortages of existential necessities.

i am gratified to see chauvin taken off of the streets. i expect the usual flunkies to spin this as evidence that the system can correct and reform itself, rather than as a one-off where the evidence of the cops' criminality was so unavoidably obvious that another verdict would have been difficult to render.

thanks for the yang campaign update!

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@joe shikspack

...that buys a little time to push it partway down the Memory Hole. It looked pretty scripted to me. It seemed like the desired outcome by all parties. The media had their court drama. The cities had no protests. (Look a squirrel.) The media manufactured daily court dramas without spoiling the mood with chatter about "qualified immunity". The family's lawyer has already filed a wrongful death complaint. The city will pay up to make it all go away. Smiles all around. What's not to like?

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals seems quite comfortable with granting qualified immunity to Chauvin, just as it has for many police officers convicted of murder.

To avoid dismissal of their claims... Floyd's family would have to find cases in which earlier defendants were found to have violated the law in precisely the same way. Thanks to qualified immunity, says Brett Kittredge, director of communications at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, "Floyd's family would likely have their claims against the officers dismissed because there isn't a case in the 8th Circuit…or the U.S. Supreme Court specifically holding that it is unconstitutional for police to kneel on the neck of a handcuffed man for nine minutes."

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It's basically a slam dunk, no matter what the court decides:

Even if the 8th Circuit followed that general trend and concluded that Chauvin's actions were unconstitutional, it could still decide that the law on that point was not clearly established at the time of Floyd's arrest, meaning the excessive force claim would be barred by qualified immunity. It could even reach the latter conclusion without resolving the constitutional question, as courts have commonly done since 2009, when the Supreme Court began allowing that shortcut.

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My guess, Chauvin will be out of jail in 90 days.

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8 users have voted.

janis b's picture

@Pluto's Republic

and get out of jail free card - but I guess time will tell whether anything has advanced.

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Pluto's Republic

it is always well to remember that the court system is rigged in favor of the police (who are part of the court system).

i would be disappointed, but far from surprised if chauvin got off on some technicality related to qualified immunity.

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2 users have voted.

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/549490-f35-cockpit-upgrade-has-444-mi...

Lockheed Martin spent $444 million more than expected to upgrade the F-35 fighter jet’s power and memory, a cost overrun that U.S. taxpayers and allied partners must pay, Bloomberg reported.

The 63 percent overrun was due to the task being “more complex than originally thought,” according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Lockheed won the initial $712 million contract to redesign hardware and software for the F-35 cockpit computer in December 2018.

The extra dollars have now bumped the program cost to an estimated $1.28 billion.

Delays that caused the increase “are due to the late completion of the final developmental hardware configuration, which is delaying software and system integration testing,” Laura Seal, a spokeswoman for the Defense Department’s F-35 program office, told Bloomberg in a statement.

Known as the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons system ever, the F-35 continues to stack up problems, which have included more than 800 unresolved software and hardware issues and delays, an engine shortage and a constant barrage from lawmakers that deem its cost and deficiencies outrageous.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) last month said he wants to “stop throwing money down that particular rathole.”

“What does the F-35 give us? And is there a way to cut our losses? Is there a way to not keep spending that much money for such a low capability because, as you know, the sustainment costs are brutal,” Smith added.

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13 users have voted.

@humphrey suitable for fighting past wars. Useless for the future attacks.

Not about effective weapons---Obviously.

All about profit funneled to the wealthiest humans, depriving all the rest of us. A Plan. Not a feature, as the old slogan goes.

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13 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

heh, as long as the mic exists, problems like the f-35 (and worse) will continue. it is an intractable systemic problem by design which might require the death of the entire system to rid ourselves of.

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7 users have voted.

She is simply a pawn of her donors.

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15 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

well, now that she's made it clear which side she's on, it's time for the voters to make it clear which side they are on.

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13 users have voted.

@joe shikspack @humphrey

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7 users have voted.

NYCVG

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11 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

been a cool but nice day here. Hope your spring day was nice too. Saw there was snow and freezes around. We get into the 30's tonight. Got the baby 'maters and such inside tonight.

The lead about Navalny and Assange is a great comparison as are the Palestinians vs. Uyghurs as well as Saudi vs Afghan women. I really think the MSM has brainwashed people to the point they can't see nor think about the obvious. Well it is what it is, but I find it sad.

Thanks as always for the news and music. Much appreciated.

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15 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

cool and very windy here today but still very springlike.

i have to do something about the deer that keep marauding the garden before they eat everything we plant. they are really awful this year. i think that the pandemic has encouraged their reproduction, or perhaps the diminished traffic has not killed off as many of them as usual. every time i walk in the woods i notice that there is virtually no understory left.

heh, yeah, i don't get why it is that people still fall for the government's "humanitarian" routine. it's just sickening.

have a great evening!

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

@joe shikspack

Or, is that illegal? They'll still want green shoots, but perhaps not so desperately.

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7 users have voted.

joe shikspack's picture

@Pluto's Republic

i live near a very large reservoir with lots of land surrounding it being part of a park. there are herds of deer that i have seen there with 60 or more members. there are no large predators in the area.

the county, every few years calls in sharpshooters to take down the population some and for a while, there is a little relief, but deer never seem to get the message and practice birth control on their own.

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1 user has voted.
Lookout's picture

@joe shikspack

is a pretty good trick. Some people just use one strand and put peanut butter on AL foil hanging from the hot wire. Deer can't resist the pnbutter, get shocked, and stay away. Sounds cruel but it doesn't really hurt them...I've been popped several times by my fence.

Here's a sure fire design to keep them out...
electric fence.jpg
The outer pole is a plastic step in.

We put up a 10 foot fence around our garden a couple of years ago and the first thing that happened is a groundhog got in and munched down, so I now have a single strand electric fence around the bottom. We've have not been trouble since then, even when we've accidentally left open the gate.

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7 users have voted.

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

@Lookout

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2 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

i'll look into electric fencing next time i'm in the feed store.

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1 user has voted.

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12 users have voted.
Roy Blakeley's picture

that novichok is a pretty poor excuse for a deadly nerve agent. Pretty lame for an covalent acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Sergei Skripal survived as did Novalny and, of course, Yulia Skripal looked like she had spent a month at a spa after she "recovered" from novichok. In fairness, it does seem to have certain magical properties in that after one contacts it, one is able to go to the airport, get on a plane and fly a while before the deadly compound takes effect or in the case of the Skripals you can go for a walk, feed ducks, etc.

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11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Roy Blakeley

i would assume that putin's people have access to much more effective things than whatever was used on the skripals and navalny. it seems to me that if putin wanted somebody dead, he could get that done.

i would assume that other leaders of first world countries have the means to kill individuals. for example, obama was an exceptional assassin. he was even surprised at his own skill.

the fact that people allegedly on putin's kill list seem to recover frequently and become useful propaganda tools for putin's adversaries is objectively suspicious.

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

@Roy Blakeley

...that stocks Novochok that doesn't work is in the UK.

Ergo, Nalvaney was poisoned by one of ours — to frame Putin. As per usual.

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11 users have voted.

supplied to Saudi Arabia concerning the war in Yemen.

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9 users have voted.

Chauvin verdict knew the defense had already filed motions to change venue, that the locals had read and seen so much about the case they could not be open minded and fair jurors. It's like they were helping the defense overturn the verdict on appeal. Imagine that.
Where would you go in the US to pick a jury that was able to serve without prejudice? I mean pre-judge, for purposes of jury selection, not racial.
A prospective juror would have had to live under a rock for a year to not know the details.
Anyway, it is unusually cool weather in East Texas. So pleasant, with much needed rain coming in tomorrow evening.
Hope everyone is healthy, and happy!

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11 users have voted.

@on the cusp
helps the defense to argue that he couldn't get a fair trail also. At least I would think so. Not trying to diss your legal expertise which is obviously greater than my layman's knowledge.

But then BLM isn't really interested inblack lives but in loot.

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2 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness a lynch mob for a white man, ok? I come from the land of lynchings, actually know people who were present to watch them.
I agree that BLM has been astro turfed and is now a $ machine. You will never convince me, however, that people protesting all over the world about this trial are BLM.
Just for some clarification on transfer of venue to get a fair jury that has not been prejudiced by the news, I have defended a guy that was being protested at the courthouse and at my office. I couldn't get a change of venue, because his "crime" went national. Where would we take it? To the Azores?
Given news, and social media, the appellate courts will be facing a dilemma where venue, meaning place of trial, in this day and age, is very different from those days where it was mostly local newspaper and local tv coverage. I am beginning to think they will not reverse and remand on that basis alone.
I still think any politician who made any statement whatsoever about this trial, other than, let justice take it's course, should be bitch slapped. They are a part of the government that shares responsibility with the judiciary to guarantee we all get a fair trial.

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8 users have voted.

@on the cusp
It flies against everything that MLK ever said. Reverse the races of everyone.
Black cop kills white arrestee. White mob chants in front of the court house demanding a guilty verdict.
Do you still support it? Or do you call them what they are, a lynch mob?

I'm surprised that as a lawyer you support this jury intimidation. There should be NO demonstrations during a trial. before and after, is different. But jurors running a gauntlet of howling protestors that they no have looted and burned in other cities WILL feel intimated.
BLM is just a black KKK. They came to our town. For no other reason than we are mostly white, Hispanic, Asian. There is one Catholic church, two Hindu temples, and two mosques. But few black people. Not none. A black family rented the house across the street from me once. My grandsons played basketball with their son. Another black family owned the corner house down the block for a few years, when i was working for the Democratic party, I always dropped by with petitions. Don't know why they left, but many white people have sold that house too. I think it's a bad location, a corner lot half a block from the entrance to the subdivision. There is no history of racial injustice here. But I couldn't do my lawful business at the post office because demonstrators with hate filled eyes were chanting and shaking their fists blocking entrance. Police advised us to mail another day. We are responsible for what happened two states away in Minneapolis? Just because we are white? call it what it is, RACISM! When you hate someone because of their skin color it's racism. And jury intimidation is being a lynch mob. Yes. in Texas you should recognize one.

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0 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness I have participated in such protests.
They are legal, constitutional, and in the end, effective.
This one has distinct racial overtones. The ones I participated in had none.
I do not believe protests should be banned from a particular place or from a particular time frame.

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2 users have voted.

@on the cusp
Ever TV and radio news outlet here call them "BLM protestors" They did a hundred million dollars damage on Michigan avenue in Chicago, through arson and looting. They held up BLM signs when they came to our town to intimate us and demonstrate their hate.

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0 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

@The Voice In the Wilderness protesters for hire and protesters motivated by their hearts. Thing is, you can't distinguish them when you see them.
If any juror had sent a note that they were afraid, the judge would have sequestered them.
The 2 clients I currently represent that were beaten by white cops are white men, both disabled to an appreciable degree.

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3 users have voted.

@The Voice In the Wilderness They are protesting white cops that tend to kill blacks.

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3 users have voted.

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10 users have voted.

@humphrey just like his buddy, Donnie T.

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3 users have voted.

NYCVG

Pluto's Republic's picture

...propaganda, today:

Coronavirus: Tokyo asks China to stop anal swab tests on Japanese citizens

.

• Some of those subject to the tests complained of ‘psychological distress’, a top government spokesman says

• The US has also protested after its diplomats were also reportedly subjected to the tests, a claim denied by Beijing

The Japanese government has requested China not to subject Japanese citizens entering the country to anal Covid-19 tests after receiving complaints of “psychological distress” from some of them, the top government spokesman said Monday

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It's almost like Pompeo never left the State Department.

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10 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3130423/japan-troops-won...

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has emphasised that, despite a reference to Taiwan in a joint statement released after his recent meeting with US President Joe Biden, there is no possibility of Japanese forces being committed to any military contingency surrounding Taiwan.

In response to a question from an opposition politician in the Diet on Tuesday about the details of Japan’s commitment to Taiwan, Suga replied that the statement “does not presuppose military involvement at all”.

Analysts say Japan’s constitution would block the military from taking part in combat in the event China attempted to take Taiwan by force, although Japan could provide a range of logistical and rear-echelon support to the United States.

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12 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic
It does seem to be designed to demean the Japanese who are not well liked in China.

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4 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.