The Evening Blues - 1-4-22



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Etta James

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues singer Etta James. Enjoy!

Etta James - I'd Rather Go Blind

“So long as any state has nuclear weapons, others will want them. So long as any such weapons remain, it defies credibility that they will not one day be used, by accident, miscalculation or design. And any such use would be catastrophic. It is sheer luck that the world has escaped such catastrophe until now.”

-- Report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, Synopsis, December 2009


News and Opinion

Five of world’s most powerful nations pledge to avoid nuclear war

Five of the world’s most powerful nations have agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” in a rare joint pledge to reduce the risk of such a conflict ever starting. The pledge was signed by the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, the five nuclear weapons states recognised by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) who are also the five permanent members of the UN security council. They are known as the P5 or the N5.

Such a common statement on a major issue of global security has become a rarity at a time of increasing friction between Russia, China and the west. With Moscow threatening to invade Ukraine and China signaling its readiness to use military force against Taiwan, the joint statement represents a renewed commitment to prevent any confrontation turning into a nuclear catastrophe.

A senior US state department official said the wording of the statement had been hammered out at P5 meetings over several months, despite the high-tension environment. “At the base level to be able to say that this is how we think about these risks, and this is an acknowledgement that it is something that we want to avoid, particularly during a difficult time, I think is noteworthy,” the official said.

'No Military Solution' to Russia-Ukraine Conflict, Say Expert Voices

As President Joe Biden ratchets up tensions with Moscow by assuring Ukraine that "the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively" to a Russian invasion, experts warned Monday that there is no military solution to the seven-year war between neighbors with so much shared history and culture.

"The hawkish outcry for more sanctions, more weapons, NATO membership for Ukraine, and an even more confrontational stance toward Russia is exceedingly dangerous and is not in our security or national interests," said Katrina vanden Heuvel, president of the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord, referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the anti-Russian alliance founded during the Cold War.

The statement from vanden Heuvel, who is also publisher and editorial director of The Nation, came a day after Biden's provocative assurance and days after the U.S. president spoke by phone with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, which according to Ukrainian and Western leaders has amassed around 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine in recent months.

Biden said he told Putin during the call that "we will have severe sanctions, we will increase our presence in Europe, with NATO allies" if Russia invades Ukraine. Russian officials in turn warned such moves could lead to a "complete rupture of relations" between Moscow and Washington.

"While there is no question that Russia has contributed to tensions, the West should have understood that an attempt to bring Ukraine into NATO would spark deep, historical divisions within Ukraine and escalate Russian concerns," said vanden Heuvel. "What is essentially a civil war has become a proxy war, a site of dangerous geopolitical focus."

Experts have long warned that from Moscow's perspective, NATO's eastward enlargement—there are now 10 former Soviet or Warsaw Pact republics in the alliance, including four sharing land borders with Russia—constitutes a palpable threat to Russian leaders.

"The notion that the West could pursue an eastward expansion of NATO without pushback was always pure folly," Project Syndicate contributing editor and New School international affairs professor Nina L. Khrushcheva wrote last week.

Khrushcheva continued:

The West has consistently dismissed the Kremlin's security concerns relating to ex-Soviet countries and portrayed Russian resistance to NATO's eastward expansion as paranoid revanchism. No one is threatening Russia, the logic goes; it is Russia that is threatening its neighbors, including by invading Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014.

But the West cannot reasonably expect the Kremlin to accept at face value NATO's claim that it is a purely defensive alliance. After all, since the end of the Cold War, NATO has edged closer and closer to Russia's borders, embracing lands to which Russia is bound by history, geography, and security interests.

"While the 'exceptional' U.S. has long been able to act in its own strategic interest without, as one author put it, 'the consequences that come with doing so,' the time may have come for it to account for new variables," Khrushcheva said, "namely, that Russians, too, view their country as exceptional."

She added that "until the West changes its approach, the cycle of crises will continue, with escalating risks."

Anatol Lieven, a senior research fellow on Russia and Europe at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, sees a possible "golden bridge" by which further conflict may be averted: Ukrainian neutrality.

"The Russian demand that Ukraine be excluded from NATO and that NATO and Washington promise not to station troops or conduct military exercises near Russia's borders is clearly unacceptable as it stands," Lieven wrote Monday. "It asks for concessions from the West without offering anything in return. It is also, however, only an initial bargaining move. If the West in return proposes Ukrainian neutrality, it will be very difficult for Russia to refuse."

Lieven contends that the Austrian State Treaty of 1955, which created an independent and neutral Austria that also served as a buffer zone between NATO and the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact.

"The Biden administration, either directly or through German and French mediation, should seek to 'own' the idea of Ukrainian neutrality as its response to Russia's demands," he wrote.

Vanden Heuvel stressed the need for such a negotiated political settlement to the Ukraine crisis.

"It is imperative that we embrace sober reasoning and diplomacy to end the conflict—more than 14,000 lives have already been taken," she said.

"Make no mistake," she added, "there is no military solution to this conflict. Only reasoned dialogue and political settlement can put Ukraine on the path to long term stability and some semblance of peace."

With the 2024 presidential campaign just around the corner, there is another reason for Biden to ensure that the United States does not get drawn further into the Ukraine morass: It could cost him on Election Day. According to a 2021 survey conducted by YouGov and the right-wing Charles Koch Institute, only 27% of U.S. voters somewhat or strongly favor going to war with Russia to protect Ukraine's territorial integrity.

By contrast, 73% of respondents said the U.S. should prioritize domestic issues over foreign policy.

Exposing the Greedy BASTARDS Running US Foreign Policy

US could be under rightwing dictator by 2030, Canadian professor warns

The US could be under a rightwing dictatorship by 2030, a Canadian political science professor has warned, urging his country to protect itself against the “collapse of American democracy”.

“We mustn’t dismiss these possibilities just because they seem ludicrous or too horrible to imagine,” Thomas Homer-Dixon, founding director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, wrote in the Globe and Mail. “In 2014, the suggestion that Donald Trump would become president would also have struck nearly everyone as absurd. But today we live in a world where the absurd regularly becomes real and the horrible commonplace.”

Homer-Dixon’s message was blunt: “By 2025, American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic political instability, including widespread civil violence. By 2030, if not sooner, the country could be governed by a rightwing dictatorship.” The author cited eventualities centered on a Trump return to the White House in 2024, possibly including Republican-held state legislatures refusing to accept a Democratic win.

Trump, he warned, “will have only two objectives, vindication and vengeance” of the lie that his 2020 defeat by Joe Biden was the result of electoral fraud. A “scholar of violent conflict” for more than four decades, Homer-Dixon said Canada must take heed of the “unfolding crisis”.

Heh, the disarray of U.S. politics is freaking out our neighbors to the north. This article is flawed but interesting. There are some parts of its analysis that are just dead on. Here is an excerpt from the article referenced in the Guardian piece above:

The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. Canada must prepare

What seems to have pushed the United States to the brink of losing its democracy today is a multiplication effect between its underlying flaws and recent shifts in the society’s “material” characteristics. These shifts include stagnating middle-class incomes, chronic economic insecurity, and rising inequality as the country’s economy – transformed by technological change and globalization – has transitioned from muscle power, heavy industry, and manufacturing as the main sources of its wealth to idea power, information technology, symbolic production and finance. As returns to labour have stagnated and returns to capital have soared, much of the U.S. population has fallen behind. Inflation-adjusted wages for the median male worker in the fourth quarter of 2019 (prior to the infusion of economic support owing to the COVID-19 pandemic) were lower than in 1979; meanwhile, between 1978 and 2016, CEO incomes in the biggest companies rose from 30 times that of the average worker to 271 times. Economic insecurity is widespread in broad swaths of the country’s interior, while growth is increasingly concentrated in a dozen or so metropolitan centres.

Two other material factors are key. The first is demographic: as immigration, aging, intermarriage and a decline in church-going have reduced the percentage of non-Hispanic white Christians in America, right-wing ideologues have inflamed fears that traditional U.S. culture is being erased and whites are being “replaced.” The second is pervasive elite selfishness: The wealthy and powerful in America are broadly unwilling to pay the taxes, invest in the public services, or create the avenues for vertical mobility that would lessen their country’s economic, educational, racial and geographic gaps. The more an under-resourced government can’t solve everyday problems, the more people give up on it, and the more they turn to their own resources and their narrow identity groups for safety.

America’s economic, racial and social gaps have helped cause ideological polarization between the political right and left, and the worsening polarization has paralyzed government while aggravating the gaps. The political right and left are isolated from, and increasingly despise, each other. Both believe the stakes are existential – that the other is out to destroy the country they love. The moderate political centre is fast vanishing.

And, oh yes, the population is armed to the teeth, with somewhere around 400 million firearms in the hands of civilians.

Amid Iran nuke talks, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid says Israel has capabilities many ‘cannot even imagine’

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid talked up Israel’s military capabilities amid talks between world powers and Iran on restoring the 2015 accord curbing Tehran’s nuclear program. ... “Israel has capabilities, some of which the world, and even some experts in the field, cannot even imagine. And Israel will protect itself against the Iranian threat,” he told Channel 12 news.

He also indicated Israel could attack Iran if necessary without informing the Biden administration, which is looking to rejoin the nuclear deal. Israel vocally opposed the accord, which is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “Israel will do whatever it needs to do to protect its security. And we don’t need anybody’s permission for that. That’s been the case since the first day we established this state,” he said.

Yemeni rebels seize UAE ship in Red Sea after upsurge in violence

Yemeni rebels have seized an Emirati-flagged vessel in the Red Sea, with the insurgents and the Saudi-led coalition giving contrasting explanations for the latest escalation in a seven-year war. The coalition, fighting in support of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, said on Monday that the vessel was carrying medical supplies but the rebels said they had seized “a military cargo ship with military equipment”. ...

The Houthis confirmed they had seized an Emirati-flagged vessel in the Red Sea but their military spokesperson, Yahya Sare’e, said it had entered Yemeni waters without authorisation and was carrying out “hostile acts”. Sare’e tweeted: “The successful and unprecedented operation is part of the fight against [coalition] aggression.”

The Houthis released videos showing what they claimed was ammunition on board the ship, underlining their belief that the United Arab Emirates is behind the recent assaults in Shabwa governorate that have forced the Houthis to make a rare territorial retreat. In the past week, UAE-backed forces seized the Usaylan district in Shabwa, Yemen’s most oil rich area.

France and U.K. Sued for Manslaughter After 27 Migrants Seeking Help Drowned in English Channel

Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro taken to hospital and may need surgery

The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been taken to hospital with an intestinal blockage and may need to undergo surgery, in the latest complication from a 2018 stabbing. Bolsonaro said he started feeling unwell on Sunday afternoon after lunch and was taken to hospital early on Monday.

“More tests will be conducted for a potential surgery on an internal obstruction in the abdominal region,” Bolsonaro posted on Twitter, along with a photo of himself giving a thumbs-up in his hospital bed.

Bolsonaro said it was the second hospitalisation “with the same symptoms” since he was stabbed during a September 2018 campaign event and underwent a series of emergency operations.

Vila Nova Star hospital in São Paulo confirmed in a medical note that Bolsonaro was admitted to the hospital in the early hours of Monday with an intestinal blockage. “He is in stable condition, undergoing treatment and will be re-evaluated this morning by Dr Antonio Luiz de Vasconcellos Macedo’s team. At the moment, there is no forecast for him being discharged,” it said.

Krystal Ball: Elites Declare WAR on Working Class, Bring Back Austerity Politics

Outrage as Big Pharma Hikes Prices on 442 Drugs

Patient advocates on Monday condemned the U.S. pharmaceutical industry for ushering in the new year with price hikes on more than 440 medications, a move that came as congressional Democrats' plan to lower prescription drug costs remained stuck due to Sen. Joe Manchin's persistent obstruction.

According to the healthcare firm GoodRx, the prices of 434 brand-name drugs and eight generic medicines were increased by an average of 5.2% and 4.2%, respectively, beginning on January 1, 2022.

The largest hike came courtesy of Pfizer, which raised the price of its anti-inflammatory medication Solu-Cortef by nearly 17%. The price boost took effect after Pfizer had a massively profitable 2021 thanks in large part to its coronavirus vaccine, which benefited from public funding and U.S. government-developed technology.

“At a time when Americans are struggling with the surging omicron variant and prices for prescription drugs that are four times what other wealthy nations pay, Big Pharma began the new year yet again hitting Americans with unjustified and widespread price hikes," David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs, said in a statement.

Mitchell said the price increases bolster findings of a nearly three-year House Oversight Committee probe showing that the pharmaceutical industry has "raised prices with abandon" and "manipulated the patent system" to prevent fairly priced generic competition.

The Biden Consultants Working To Sink His Agenda

President Joe Biden’s top media buying firm is helping Big Pharma’s efforts to kill his party’s watered-down drug pricing legislation and targeting Senate Democrats up for re-election this year. It’s the latest reminder that for the Beltway consultant class, money is far more important than ideology. While Big Pharma’s allies in Congress have already succeeded in scaling back the Democrats’ drug pricing plan, the provision in Biden’s Build Back Better legislation still represents the party’s most sincere effort to fulfill its longtime promise to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. The idea of allowing the government to negotiate drug prices — like most other high-income countries do — is one of the most popular items in the Biden social agenda bill.

Yet, a top Democratic Party media buying firm, Canal Partners Media, is placing ads for drug industry front groups that want to block Democrats from lowering drug prices as promised in the Biden reconciliation bill. One group argues that Democrats are putting rare disease patients at risk, and is targeting several incumbent Democratic senators by name. The other says Democrats are harming drug companies’ ability to respond to pandemics like COVID-19. These fearmongering ad campaigns conveniently ignore the fact that the federal government regularly subsidizes drug companies’ research and development costs and has spent tens of billions of dollars to fund COVID vaccines and treatments.

While one of the group’s ads says they aren’t worried about corporate profits, that is exactly what these campaigns are about. The pharmaceutical industry wants to ensure that Americans continue to pay far more for medicines than people in any other country, in order to protect companies’ tremendous profits. And Democratic campaign consultants are helping them.

The Canal Partners Media website touts its work as Biden’s “lead buying agency” and its “experience championing progressive causes.” Media Buying & Analytics, a company affiliated with Canal Partners Media, handled almost $450 million worth of ad buys for Biden’s 2020 campaign, according to OpenSecrets. Another apparent affiliate bought ads for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid. The firm has made media buys for official party committees, including the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. They have also worked with party-aligned super PACs and progressive groups like MoveOn.

BIPARTISAN push to PUNISH Meatpackers Jacking Up Prices



the horse race



Democrats bid to change Senate rules if Republicans thwart voting rights reform

Democrats are seizing on this week’s anniversary of the deadly US Capitol riot to renew a push for voting rights legislation to safeguard democracy.

Majority leader Chuck Schumer announced on Monday that the Senate will vote on changing its own rules on or before 17 January, the federal Martin Luther King Jr Day holiday, if Republicans continue to obstruct election reform.

The deadline appears part of a concerted effort to use Thursday’s commemorations, marking a year since a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, seeking to overturn Joe Biden’s election win, to give fresh impetus to the long-stalled legislation.

In a letter to Senate Democrats, Schumer argued that the events of 6 January 2021 are directly linked to a campaign by Republican state legislatures to impose voter restriction laws. ...

Sweeping voting rights reforms have stalled in the evenly split 50-50 Senate, repeatedly blocked by a Republican-led filibuster, leaving Democrats unable to find the 60 votes needed to advance. Schumer went further than before in calling for a filibuster exception for voting rights.



the evening greens


Brazil: deforestation jumps in world’s largest savanna as scientists raise alarm

Deforestation last year rose to the highest level since 2015 in Brazil’s Cerrado, prompting scientists on Monday to raise alarm over the state of the world’s most species-rich savanna and a major carbon sink that helps to stave off climate change.

The Cerrado, the world’s largest savanna spread across several states of Brazil, is often called an “upside-down forest” because of the deep roots its plants sink into the ground to survive seasonal droughts and fires.

Destruction of these trees, grasses and other plants in the Cerrado is a large source of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions, although it is far less densely forested than the more famous Amazon rainforest that it borders.

Deforestation and other clearances of native vegetation in the Cerrado rose 8% to 8,531 sq km in the 12 months through July, Brazil’s official period for measuring deforestation, according to national space research agency Inpe. That is more than 10 times the size of New York City’s land area of 783.84 sq km. ...

The added destruction is particularly concerning, scientists say, when considering that roughly half of the Cerrado has been destroyed since the 1970s, mostly for farming and ranching. “You’re transforming thousands of square kilometers annually,” said Manuel Ferreira, a geographer at the Federal University of Goias. “Few other places on earth have seen that rapid of a transformation.”

Broken sewer line spills millions of gallons of waste into streets of California city

A large cleanup effort is under way in Los Angeles county after an estimated 8.5m gallons of raw sewage flooded through a neighborhood in the city of Carson, closing beaches and leaving toilet paper, feces and toxic residue strewn across nearby streets and sidewalks.

The spill occurred last Thursday when a 60-year-old sewer line failed, spewing sewage from a manhole and into the Dominguez Channel, a 15-mile flood-control waterway that eventually pours into the Pacific Ocean.

The failed 48-inch sewer main was due to be replaced within the year and was probably strained after strong rainstorms pelted southern California. LA county supervisor Janice Hahn has called for a full investigation into the cause of the spill, the largest on record for the area.

“A sewage spill of this magnitude is dangerous and unacceptable, and we need to understand what happened,” Hahn said in a statement. “The recent storm undoubtedly contributed to the spill but we need infrastructure that doesn’t fail when it rains.”


Also of Interest

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

'Threat to Our Democracy Could Not Be Clearer,' Says Sanders After Trump Endorses Far-Right Orbán

Shall We Drop Calls Or Airplanes? - Airlines And Wireless Companies Fight Over 5G Activation

Original caretakers: Indigenous groups team up with conservationists to protect swaths of US

Haitian PM Henry survived assassination attempt


A Little Night Music

John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana and Etta James - Tell Mama

Etta James - Mellow Fellow

Etta James - Just One More Day

Etta James - It's a Man's Man's World

Etta James - Something's Got A Hold On Me

Etta James - You Shook Me

Etta James - Breakin' Up Somebody's Home

Etta James - Willow Weep For Me

Etta James - I've got dreams to remember

Etta James - All The Way Down

Etta James, Gladys Knight and Chaka Khan - Ain't Nobody Business


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enhydra lutris's picture

Democrats bid to change Senate rules if Republicans thwart voting rights reform

Ooh, ooh, tell the one about passing "Build Back Better", too, please.

Five of the world’s most powerful nations have agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” in a rare joint pledge to reduce the risk of such a conflict ever starting. The pledge was signed by the US, Russia, China, the UK and France,

Russia and China are very likely sincere, The US isn't and is incessantly openly saying so, and the Brits will tag along. Dunno 'bout France.

An early classic:

be well and have a good one

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10 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

yeah, i know, but the schoom is really funny when he does his performative anger schtick.

heh, the u.s. will sign anything that will be good pr, then ignore it when it's inconvenient. but, not to worry. nobody really believes that the u.s. intends to be bound by either the letter or the spirit of what they signed.

thanks for the tune, have a great evening!

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6 users have voted.

Kryatal hits the nail on the head. All the nonsense we may have believed a year ago has been shown to be false. The War on the Working Class continues with fierce vengeance.

Thanks for the bleak evening blues. No rainbows I can point to this evening.

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9 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

yep, if the working class wants a rainbow, it is going to have to build it for themselves. but, that's the way it's always been.

have a great evening!

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8 users have voted.

Where is Israel in the deal?
We all know the US doesn't uphold any treaties
which deter their financial objectives but why is
the 'secret' nuclear ambitions of an apartheid state
somehow unmentionable?

Thanks for utterly eternal Etta!

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joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

heh, israel has not admitted that it has nuclear weapons and won't sign on to the npt. naturally, that didn't stop them from offering to sell south africa nuclear warheads. the flying spaghetti monster only knows who else they have assisted or tried to assist in proliferating nukes.

israel is just a fundamentally bad actor on the world stage.

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Lookout's picture

A piece of moderately good news...(8 min)
Mexico’s AMLO renews asylum offer to Assange
[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKrIZtXdiDo]

George (@ 3 min mark) analysis was interesting and reminded me Trotsky was murdered in Mexico. His comment that the CIA murders who it want, even US presidents like JFK, was refreshingly honest.

We had the big melt today. The traffic stand still on I 95 sounds like a freezing nightmare. Sounds like they need a big melt too.

Thanks as always for the news and tonight for Etta. Stay warm!

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12 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

if i were assange, i would not consider asylum in mexico as it would be too easy for the cia to pop him off there. but it is certainly nice of amlo to offer and it further helps by shaming the u.s. and britain for their brutality.

i'm not sure about what is happening with the back up on i-95, but the snow is not melting here yet. it's back down in the 20's tonight and has been only as high as the low 30's today. the weatherman says that it might warm up enough to melt some of the snow tomorrow and thursday during the day, refreezing at night, but we're looking at more snow (3-6") overnight thursday into friday. i guess we'll see.

have a great evening!

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8 users have voted.

I know these beltway pundits look at macro economics
which may be important to large scale consumer issues
but what is left out is how well local producers are doing.
we have many small farms in and around our community
the closest meat packers were in CT an ME, due to market
restrictions in MA and RI. This has changed, and we now have
local meat processors due to easing of constipated laws.
Now, local meat is cheaper and more readily available
and healthier. Think global and act local. It works.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS

macro economics
which may be important to large scale consumer issues

And, then again, it might not, econ isn't even a pseudo-science, so on any given day any piece(s) of it may be completely in error.

be well and have a good one

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5 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

@QMS

yeah, the features have stated that the 4 big processors control 80% of the market, which means that city people with little or no access to farmer's markets or other outlets are probably stuck purchasing meat from one of the big processors.

on the other hand, like you, i have access to a number of small producers, which i choose because they handle organic, local meat. it used to be more expensive than the grocery store, but now it's cheaper. go figure.

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Azazello's picture

Arizona blogger claims.

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9 users have voted.

We wanted decent healthcare, a living wage and free college.
The Democrats gave us Biden and war instead.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

heh, maryland blogger concurs.

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7 users have voted.

seeing Etta James at The Troubadour in the late 1970s. She still had her pipes and was personable, sharing that she was recently out of rehab.

With the conviction of Elizabeth Holmes, I'm struck by the similarity between Theranos and Enron. No skeptics wrt to either. Blood Simpler And yet, in neither case could simple questions get a direct answer. That was also true about Jeffrey Epstein.

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9 users have voted.

@Marie

there were no simple questions in either case.
All requisition of testimony involved loaded questions
in which the lawyers would disallow due to extenuating
nature of testimony or some such.

Sorta like Clinton covering his misdeeds by focusing the
court on banalities such as the meaning of 'is'.

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6 users have voted.

@QMS
by investors or journalists. wrt Enron, there was one business journalist that pointed out that he couldn't see where the revenues were coming from and did forewarn others. wrt Theranos, it appears that no investors asked to see a demonstration of the magic blood machine. Holmes fictionalized the first step, proof of concept. It's sort of like Reagan's "Star Wars;" his stroke of fantasy. Then the USG funded it to the tune of billions of dollars without ever passing the proof of concept hurdle. Holmes would have been okay (but not a billionaire darling) had she sought investors for an R&D proof of concept operation. Over ten years that would have cost closer to $100 million and not the billion she raised and spent.

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joe shikspack's picture

@Marie

glad you got to see etta james, she was an incredible performer with a great feel for interpreting a tune. like ray charles, she could sing the phone book and make it sound great.

i haven't really been following the theranos trial closely. i suppose that what enron and theranos have in common is the technology angle, which is something that mainstream news outlets seem inclined to credulous reporting on without much depth. i don't know whether it is because the news outlets can't seem to hire people with enough background to offer serious analysis of technology issues or if they just don't want to mess up a perfectly good stock bubble when it's in its inflation phase.

have a great evening!

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5 users have voted.

@joe shikspack
Enron was public. Thus, while heavily fictionalized, Enron did issue financial statements. Enron also took down its CPA, Arthur Anderson. (Within industry circles, Anderson had long been known not to shy away from "creative" accounting.) It was the "Potemkin village" energy trading that imploded. Not actually techie, imo.

It's been reported that Theranos couldn't produce financial statements. Mega red flag for investors who were also apparently too ignorant to require an independent audit of the blood machine (a simple task that even I could design). But Holmes had VIP cheerleaders:

...She graced the cover of myriad magazines — she loved to be photographed in a white lab coat — and was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people. The Obama administration made her a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship.

Even the sort of experts who really should have known better were sucked in by the hype — with Harvard Medical School appointing her to its Board of Fellows.

And there was no shortage of wide-eyed but influential laymen, no doubt taking their cues from each other, itching to talk up her brilliance. 'Don't worry about the future,' Bill Clinton gushed at a technology seminar as he applauded her. 'We're in good hands.'

Holmes, he assured his audience, was 'wildly popular among people who follow things like this'.

Joe Biden, Vice President at the time, visited her gleaming, high tech operation and called it 'the laboratory of the future'.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

...of a General News posting to mark the event:

The U.S. reported that 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported on Monday, with some of the excess attributed to the holiday backlog. (CNBC)

As of this morning, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll is 56,191,733 cases and 827,749 deaths.This is an increase of 3,996,899 cases and 9,378 deaths in the US, versus this time a week ago.

Nationwide, the weekly hospitalization rate was 103,000 — breaking records in many locations. New York state surpassed its pandemic peak, with more than 9,500 hospitalizations. (Washington Post, ABC7)

Just as the winter vacation-break ends for school children, thousands of schools across the nation are locking their doors. Schools are turning back to remote learning after the holiday festivities accelerated the spread of the Omicron variant. Pediatric hospitals are overflowing in many locations nation-wide. (Reuters)

The congressional Covid-19 testing site reported that Congress now has a weekly positivity rate of 13 percent. In late November the infection rate stood at an alarming 1 percent. (Reuters)

The psychopaths at the Pentagon have not escaped the Omicron impact. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reportedly tested positive for Covid-19. The defense-industry media insists the War Secretary has only "mild" symptoms. (CNN) Go into the light, dude. Colin Powell is waiting for you.

Dan Patrick, the 71-year-old Texas lieutenant governor, who insinuated older Americans were willing to die of COVID to help the economy, also tested positive and is suffering with official "mild symptoms." (New York Post) Right this way, gov. I can smell the barbecue from here.

NIAID Director and Public health barker, Anthony Fauci, MD, met with widespread backlash following his tone-deaf decree cutting isolation times in half for the virally infected. No testing required. Without missing a beat today, the con artist smoothly suggested that the CDC may add a "negative test component" to his updated isolation guidelines. (NPR)

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____________________

The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
joe shikspack's picture

@Pluto's Republic

yep, that's a landmark record of sorts. i would guess that it's probably one that will be eclipsed in the near future.

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snoopydawg's picture

US Launches Preemptive Strike On "Rocket Sites" Near Occupied Syrian Oil Fields

Late in the day Tuesday (local time) the US military carried out what's being described as a "preemptive strike" against rocket sites in eastern Syria that "posed a threat" - according to a US coalition official statement.

"The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the coalition saw several launch sites near the Green Village in Syria," Reuters reports, referencing an American base in Deir Ezzor province. "The official did not specify from which country the coalition carried out the strike."

Over the past year the US base has seen occasional attacks, which is typically blamed by the Pentagon on "pro-Iran" militias, or also possibly Syrian national forces.

Heaven forbid that Syrians might want to hurt the people who are occupying their country and stealing their oil, but calling it spreading freedom and democracy.

Israel says it will let us know about the deals that they make with China which American has decreed their #1 enemy. Gee maybe we could cut down on the billions we spend on Israel to keep their buttocks safe from their enemies?

Just read how democrats are losing the Hispanic vote. No kidding. Democrats have still bailed on doing anything with DACA.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

what's really funny is that it doesn't seem to be a violation of international law for the u.s. to invade and occupy territory in a sovereign nation which has in no way threatened it.

now that's a fricking knee-slapper.

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snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

in their own country tho. Our hypocrisy over what we accuse others of doing while we are doing much worse is what gets me. Congress wants Musk punished for building a factory in the province where the Uighurs live because of China’s human rights abuses while we’re still genocididing Yemen, occupying Syria, keeping Assange locked up and gawd only knows what other heinous crimes we are committing. Knee slapped indeed.

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10 users have voted.

Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

@snoopydawg the Hispanic Vote in NYC's mayoral race.

NYC's latino population is 30% of the total voters. Those voters chose Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang.

Kathryn Garcia won the most votes in this election and should be Mayor. Kathryn is now in a very high position on Governor Kathy Hochul's team. Maybe not Kathryn's first choice, but a soft landing.

Bogus absentee ballots carried the new guy over the threshold---barely.

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NYCVG

zed2's picture

People, please realize that the world has changed, since the WTO ws put there. Everything we thought up until 1995 is WRONG now. It means that corporations rule now and voters are nullified. Voting can't CHANGE anything of importance, countries are locked in to corporate wishes. And what they want is taking everything.
Norbert Haering is a German economist whose web site has a lot on what amounts to a takeover of the world by so called global governance institutions that nullify democracy, they are being put in charge so that people have no voice any more. Here are some links that illustrate this. As well as a video that points out how WTO fits in.

Sudan to be used as guinea pig for cash abolition, universal basic income and total surveillance

Sudan has a transitional government that depends on the goodwill of the USA. This is an opportunity to use the country for the largest field trial to date, to put an entire population on the digital leash through cash abolition and a universal basic income.

When governments give billions of taxpayers’ money to Gates and the World Economic Forum

On May 4, the EU and several European governments held a Covid 19 donor conference and pledged 7.4 billion euros of tax money. The money will be given to organizations funded by Bill Gates and the World Economic Forum in a non-transparent way. For a long time, Gates had to give money to the UN and governments to be allowed to co-govern the world. Now he is given money by governments for his global governance work.

How our governments got to promise to promote and protect US digital companies

May 15, 2020 | The US government has founded the G20 group comprising of the most important economic nations. It plays a key role in setting its agenda. US corporations dominate the World Economic Forum and the most important international industry associations and regulators. (That means that Americans are the most disempowered and sold out to corporations, we must get the worst deal of all, , nothing else.)

If they all work together to take advantage of a global crisis, the result is an almost bizarre self-commitment by governments to fulfill the wishes of the corporations.

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zed2's picture

Read the 13th Amendment, Slavery is all about freedom to make huge profits? Whats more profitable than exploiting prisoners?

These are the essential Four Freedoms in the EU.

Free movement of goods.
Free movement of capital.
Freedom to establish and provide services. (Creation of any new services of general economic interest (SGEIs) by governments is forbidden)
Free movement of free (not enslaved) natural persons in order to provide labor.(Mode Four)

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zed2's picture

To keep an eye on them.

Since they and Black Americans will be the biggest losers under liberalization due to the abolition of all attempts to reduce inequality here.

Africa is the future. The Jobs are moving to Africa. "lowest wages in the world"

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zed2's picture

So why punish him whats their rationale? To cover up the truth, that Its just business. Making profits even from legal slavery is as American as can be. We're being deliberately confused. By politicians, just like the fake green deal and medicaid for all. Punish elon musk for simply being truthful? Its all about money. If Americans worked for a dollar a day he might build his factory here.

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zed2's picture

was, but thre will be many more. Any Ponzi scheme is all about hype.

They con all of us into thinking that all their activities "create jobs" which speaks to peoples knowledge that jobs are going away. So the big push is for food insecurity, so people can speculate on foodstuffs. Thatand drugs and soon, water and air, are where the big profits are made. Buy or die, Like they have been exploiting COVID and especially covid fear. Its really a stroke of evil genius this covid virus.

Because There is no right to food or affordable COVID drugs, no there is now a right to exploit - now. See what I mean? Since there are now corporate rights to game the system, to exploit the poor.
What incredible timing, this covid.

Governments are forbidden from helping people.

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zed2's picture

This doesn't sound true or right!
If this was true why would we have signed this now broken treaty?

Would there be any consequences to us from bringing peoples hopes up for something we owed them and then breaking our promises?

>We all know (how, be specifi, note I am talking about global treaties, not the kind of treaties which occurred in a genocide context during the colonialism era.

>the US doesn't uphold any treaties
which deter their financial objectives but why is
the 'secret' nuclear ambitions of an apartheid state
somehow unmentionable?

It isnt, as we see. Its common knowledge in South Africa that communities were set up with the aim of making them easy to wipe out if the powers that be felt a need.. (Soweto) Its kind of like building cities along rivers in flood zones, for prisoners.. (North Korea)

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zed2's picture

forums to promote disinformation as to the eal DNC agenda. The agenda is not even marginally progressive or even people oriented. Its 100% fake.

If you are progressive these days, the best thing you could do is start your own party. If you are progressive there is zero chance that the Dem leadership of today would support you, anyway, as they only support neoliberals whose goal is basically corporate pillage and preserving the worst aspects of the status quo, an agenda thats guaranteed to bankrupt American families within the next few years. Its a sham.

Here we are moving into a fabulous but scary future, one with much less work than the world we grew up in, for example. And the future the creepy people are alleging themselves to be creating is one intended to enslave people who depend on work for income, who they share contempt for, for example, they hate the Baby Boom and have for a long time, for class reasons.

They have it in for the real people of this planet.

if they get away with it, they will steal it from the rest of us. What is required of our entire country and planet is an spiritual evolution beyond greed. Beyond THEM and their slimy control freakism.

Yes, beyond the kind of thinking that allowed a creepy group of people to take over our country. IS that so bad? No, not if we join together to develop the strengths we have.

We have incredible diversity, and that is a strength. And that means that everybody has something valuable to share with all of us. If you dont allow yourself to be yourself, nobody can ever love you for who you are. This means all of us. We need an accepting society that is itself. We've come a very long way already. The evil ones are doing their best to beat us all down. And make us miserable. Recognize that. Don't let them poor shame people, for example. They love that. We must lift up the rock and let the sun shine in to their dark place, exposing it.

The world and all our lives are not a zero sum game. The beautiful motto of our country is "out of many, one" Thats a great motto and we can make it real. To do that we have to dump the WTO and its ugly GATS and TRIPS.

Intellectual property is a huge scam. Knowledge belongs to everybody, science belongs to everybody. Any treaty that ties the hands of democracy must be recognized as unconstitutional and contrary to our nations highest values and law.

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