The Evening Blues - 7-18-22



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Bessie Smith

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features "The Empress of the Blues" Bessie Smith. Enjoy!

Bessie Smith - Beale Street Mamma

"For 20 years, the motto of the world social forum has been another world is possible… As we meet today that question is overshadowed by another one. Is this world possible? And the answer is "no." This world is not possible. This world is hurdling to self-annihilation. And only the creation of another world can reverse this course. Luckily, another world is still possible, though the chances of achieving it are diminishing at an ominous rate."

-- Noam Chomsky


News and Opinion

Oil trumps human rights as Biden forced to compromise in Middle East

For all the careful choreography of Joe Biden’s Middle East tour, the White House made a major miscalculation when the president finally came face to face with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, for the first time.

Before Air Force One left Washington, the administration said that Biden would be avoiding physical contact and not shaking hands owing to a rise in Covid cases, a move widely believed to allow him to avoid creating an uncomfortable photo op with the powerful heir to the throne.

But the image of the two leaders leaning towards each other, hesitant smiles on their faces as they bumped fists, came across as more relaxed and familiar than the US president probably intended.

When the US president brought up Khashoggi with the de facto Saudi ruler on Friday, the prince reportedly hit back, accusing Washington of hypocrisy by not investigating the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, and for allowing the abuse of inmates at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

Yet Riyadh has been one of Washington’s closest strategic partners for decades for a reason that no US president can ignore. Biden has heard the siren song of the kingdom’s vast oil reserves: the war in Ukraine has unleashed chaos in global oil markets, and he can no longer refuse the call.

Biden Fails to Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable for Khashoggi Murder. Now UAE Arrests His Lawyer.

Biden the Warmonger Gets Played by the Saudis

On the second day of his trip to Saudi Arabia, President Joe Biden met with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates—along with Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq to discuss security issues, but particularly to push for a united front against Iran. Biden has spent much of his trip to the Middle East reinforcing the regional policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, rather than implementing the policies on which he campaigned for president. And he is rightly taking heat for his meetings yesterday with Saudi officials, which many observers believe “legitimized” Saudi Arabia’s murderous Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and accomplished nothing for Biden.

The President began the day today by refusing to answer any questions from the media about his talks with Saudi leaders yesterday. There would be no discussion of yesterday’s “fist bump” or reports in the U.S. media that Biden was here to “beg” the Saudis for oil. But that’s exactly what the media want to talk about. Why, they wanted to know, would Biden give the Crown Prince a casual fist bump after calling him a murderer and vowing to make him a pariah? Why would he make it look like relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia would be “reset,” as CNN and the BBC reported today, when the Crown Prince still denies that he was responsible for ordering the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi? It’s unlikely that any official answers will be forthcoming. ...

This is the same Joe Biden who, as vice president, proudly touted the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran Nuclear Deal. He condemned Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement. But he has dragged his feet on reentry, the agreement is now as good as dead, and he’s rallying the region for a new defense agreement against the Iranians.

But there is no regional defense agreement as Biden departs Saudi Arabia this evening. It’s just an idea. Nothing was negotiated and nothing was decided. Joe Biden is going home with nothing. Yesterday, the Saudis said that they were not able to increase oil production, and if they could find a way to do it, they wouldn’t make an announcement until the OPEC+ meeting next month. And on top of all that, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is a player again, having met privately with the President of the United States.

Trita Parsi: Biden's EMBARRASSING Fist Bump With MBS, A 'Bad Episode Of VEEP'

No normalization with Israel until two-state solution with Palestinians, Saudi FM says

Saudi Arabia will not fully normalize ties with Israel until a two-state solution with the Palestinians is reached, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Friday.

"We have said that Saudi Arabia supports the Arab Peace Initiative. In fact, we offered it. We have made it clear that peace comes at the end of this process, not at the beginning of it," Jubeir told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. ...

When asked if Saudi Arabia was prepared to join the Abraham Accords, Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia has made it clear that "we need to have a process, and this process needs to include the implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative. Once we have committed to a two-state settlement with a Palestinian state in the occupied territories with East Jerusalem as its capital, that's our requirements for peace."

US intel officer targeted by John Bolton reacts to coup-plot confession

Nick Turse is still doing great work, unfortunately for an outlet that I rarely read:

U.S. Vows to Hunt Russian War Criminals — but Gives a Pass to Its Own

“There is no place to hide,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during a surprise trip to Ukraine this week, announcing that a veteran prosecutor known for hunting down Nazis would lead American efforts to investigate Russian war crimes. “We will pursue every avenue available to make sure that those who are responsible for these atrocities are held accountable,” he added.

Garland didn’t need to travel 4,600 miles in pursuit of war criminals. If he wanted to hold those responsible for atrocities accountable, he could have stayed home. In a suburban Maryland neighborhood, just over an hour away from Garland’s office, I once interviewed a U.S. Army veteran who confessed to shooting, in Vietnam, an unarmed elderly man in 1968. He didn’t just tell me. He told military criminal investigators in the early 1970s but was never charged or court-martialed. He retired from the Army in 1988.

The United States is awash in war criminals. Some are foreigners who fled accountability in their homelands. Most are homegrown. They live in places like Wheelersburg, Ohio (a confessed torturer), and Auburn, California (a West Point grad who presided over a massacre). Like these veterans, most have never been charged, much less tried or convicted. If Garland or Eli Rosenbaum, whom he tapped to lead the Ukraine War Crimes Accountability Team, want to find them, I can provide addresses.

I located those veterans through the records of a secret war crimes task force set up by the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. Today, even that bare modicum of accountability has vanished. It’s now anathema for the Defense Department to mention U.S. personnel and “war crimes” in the same breath.

Last month, a Pentagon investigation of a 2019 attack in Syria that killed dozens of people, including women and children, found “numerous policy compliance deficiencies” in the military’s initial review of the airstrike, but ultimately held that no one violated the laws of war and no disciplinary action was warranted.

Russia Prepares for Decisive Donbass Battle, Zelensky Purges, EU Defiant Ahead of Energy Crisis

Puerto Rico status bill introduced in House

Lawmakers in the House introduced a bill that would end Puerto Rico’s status as a territory, allowing the island’s residents to choose between three status options.

The bill, a result of negotiations between lawmakers who supported statehood for the territory and lawmakers who wanted to hold a status convention, was formally introduced by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. ...

The bill’s three options for an upcoming status referendum are statehood for Puerto Rico, independence from the United States and “sovereignty in free association with the United States.”

The third option would put Puerto Rico in a similar situation as the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia — former U.S. trust territories that gained independence in the 20th century and signed a compact of free association.

Under the bill, Puerto Ricans would head to the polls to vote on a federally sponsored plebiscite with all three options on the ballot, and a runoff if any option fails to get more than 50 percent of the votes in the first round.

Tech company earnings reports expected to bring a flush of bad news

As top tech companies prepare to release their quarterly earnings reports starting next week, investors are bracing for bad news.

Several US tech companies have announced hiring slowdowns and layoffs in recent weeks, and the difficulties are expected to continue. “It’s not a great time for tech in general,” said Paul Verna, an analyst at Insider Intelligence, a market analysis firm. “There is no question that companies are going to be spending less, cutting back budgets, and maybe implementing hiring freezes. None of that is good news for the next quarter.”

Netflix, Meta, Google, Twitter and Tesla all have earnings calls scheduled in the next weeks. The reports will come amid growing fears of a recession as inflation continues to rise. On Wednesday, the US Labor Department released new data that showed the consumer price index rose 9.1% in June from the same month a year earlier, marking the largest gain since 1981.

The rising rates will probably bolster plans from the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, which could further spook investors afraid of a slowing economic expansion, said Haris Anwar, senior analyst at Investing.com.

“The US economy will slip into a recession in the next 12 months if the Fed continues to hike interest rates,” he said. “That’s the main reason we’re seeing a huge sell-off in high-growth stocks as investors move their funds to the areas of the market which are relatively safe."

Will Recession CRUSH Grassroots Union Movement?

Americans are pulling away from the daily news

The Reuters Institute revealed last month that 42% of Americans actively avoid the news at least some of the time because it grinds them down or they just don’t believe it. Fifteen percent said they disconnected from news coverage altogether. In other countries, such as the UK and Brazil, the numbers selectively avoiding it were even higher.

“In the United States, those who self-identify on the right are far more likely to avoid news because they think it is untrustworthy or biased, but those on the left are more likely to feel overwhelmed, carry feelings of powerlessness, or worry that the news might create arguments,” the institute said.

The Reuters Institute said that alongside the rising number of people avoiding news is a drop in trust in reporting in the US to the lowest point yet recorded at just 26% of the population. ...

The result, said the Reuters Institute, is that Americans are backing away. “Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, consumption of traditional media, TV and print, declined further with online and social consumption not making up the gap,” it said.

And yet major longstanding news organisations are sceptical because their audience numbers just keep growing. Professor Emily Bell, founding director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School, said that while there are short term peaks and troughs in engagement with the news around major events, the long term trend is up.

Bernie Sanders condemns Joe Manchin for sabotaging president’s agenda

Bernie Sanders harshly criticized prominent fellow Democrats on Sunday, accusing his Senate colleague Joe Manchin of sabotaging the president’s agenda and rebuking Joe Biden for traveling to Saudi Arabia last week.

During an appearance on ABC’s This Week, Sanders interrupted host Martha Raddatz when she said Manchin had “abruptly pulled the plug” on supporting a scaled-back version of a spending bill that is crucial to Biden’s agenda. Manchin said he would not support provisions in the bill that increase spending to combat climate change and close tax loopholes. Democrats cannot pass the bill without Manchin’s support in a US Senate that is divided 50-50, with vice-president Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker in the event one is needed.

“He didn’t abruptly do anything – he has sabotaged the president’s agenda,” Sanders said. “If you check the record, six months ago, I made it clear that you have people like Manchin, Sinema to a lesser degree, who are intentionally sabotaging the president’s agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic caucus want.”

“Nothing new about this,” he added. “The problem was that we continued to talk to Manchin like he was serious. He was not,” noting how the West Virginia senator and coal baron has benefited from campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies.

Manchin said last week that he wants to delay any major decisions on the bill because of high inflation. Sanders said Sunday he wasn’t buying that justification, saying the people of West Virginia would support the provisions in the bill. “It’s the same nonsense Manchin has been talking about for a year,” he said. “In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the very wealthiest people in this country, not working families in West Virginia or America.”

Biden Urged to Respond to Manchin by Killing West Virginia Fracked Gas Pipeline

President Joe Biden on Friday faced calls to respond forcefully to Sen. Joe Manchin's latest climate obstruction by canceling a fracked gas pipeline in the right-wing Democrat's home state of West Virginia, a move that would prevent around 90 million metric tons of new greenhouse gas emissions from being spewed into the atmosphere each year.

Manchin, a close ally of the fossil fuel industry and a coal profiteer in his own right, has been a vocal proponent of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project that—if completed—would carry gas along a 300-mile course spanning from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia.

In an April statement, Manchin called the pipeline "a strategically important project" and pushed the administration to ensure its "full approval."

Dana Nuccitelli, research coordinator for the Citizens' Climate Lobby, tweeted Thursday that the Biden administration should instead "immediately terminate the Mountain Valley Pipeline and curtail offshore drilling," something Manchin also favors.

The demand came after Manchin—who has received more campaign donations from the oil and gas industry than any other member of Congress this election cycle—reportedly informed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) during a closed-door meeting Thursday that he would not support any renewable energy spending or tax increases targeting the wealthy.

10-Year-Old Ohio Rape Survivor Shows U.S. Not Ready for Post-Roe "Unimaginable Abortion Stories"

House Progressives Cite Clarence Thomas to Argue SCOTUS Should Lose Jurisdiction Over Abortion

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mondaire Jones on Thursday led a group of progressive lawmakers in sending a letter to Democratic leaders urging them to support restricting the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction over statutes codifying abortion and other civil rights imperiled by the court's reactionary majority.

"With our basic rights under threat from a rogue Supreme Court, Congress needs to exercise our legal authority to the fullest extent," Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted Thursday. "That's why today we called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to support stripping the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over abortion."

"Congress is granted the authority to remove the Supreme Court's jurisdiction under Article III" of the Constitution, she continued. "To protect marriage equality, contraception, and more, we need to limit the power of the far-right court that's already overturned Roe v. Wade."

Jones (D-N.Y.) argued that "this far-right Supreme Court is on a rampage against the freedoms of the American people." ...

Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution establishes that the Supreme Court shall have "appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make."

As the lawmakers noted, the Supreme Court "has repeatedly and consistently affirmed Congress' Article III powers," including Justice Thomas himself:

In Durousseau v. United States (1810), the Supreme Court held that "the appellate powers of the Supreme Court of the United States, are given by the Constitution, but they are limited and regulated by the Judicial Act and other acts passed by Congress on the subject." Most recently, in Patchak v. Zinke (2018), Justice Thomas held for the court that, "When Congress strips federal courts of jurisdiction, it exercises a valid legislative power no less than when it lays taxes, coins money, declares war, or invokes any other power that the Constitution grants it. Indeed, this court has held that Congress generally does not violate Article III when it strips federal jurisdiction over a class of cases."

According to the lawmakers, "Congress can instead assign exclusive appellate jurisdiction to another federal court, such as the D.C. Circuit. For instance, doing so in the WHPA would direct all appeals involving the WHPA to the D.C. Circuit, avoiding appellate review by other far-right circuits and the Supreme Court."



the horse race



Who do they think they are? The CIA?

Secret Service Erased Jan. 6 Texts After Being Asked for Them

Thursday reporting by The Intercept that the Secret Service deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021 "shortly after oversight officials requested the agency's electronic communications" has elicited many questions and concerns about what evidence regarding last year's deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol was destroyed.

The Secret Service claims that the messages were erased as "part of a device-replacement program."

But the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) wrote in a Wednesday letter to the leaders of the House and Senate homeland security committees that the Secret Service deleted the messages "after OIG requested records of electronic communications" from the agency as part of its evaluation of the January 6 riot instigated by former President Donald Trump.

Moreover, "DHS personnel have repeatedly told OIG inspectors that they were not permitted to provide records directly to OIG and that such records had to first undergo review by DHS attorneys," the letter states. "This review led to weeks-long delays in OIG obtaining records and created confusion over whether all records had been produced."

Biden SNAPS At Reporter Over Low Poll Numbers



the evening greens


Groundhog Day For America’s Energy Grid

  • Texas and California are once again facing potential energy crises as their aging energy grids struggle to cope with soaring demand.
  • Despite promises from both the federal and state governments, the very same problems appear to be occurring in the United States.
  • Without rapid and heavy investment in the U.S. energy infrastructure, energy shortages and even blackouts can be expected to continue.
  • After multiple energy crises across several states last year due to America’s aging infrastructure and failing grid system, Americans are once again being asked to curb their energy usage as they face another summer of sweltering temperatures and potential blackouts. Grand promises to improve infrastructure have amounted to little, with no obvious improvements across the most critical areas, as U.S. energy infrastructure remains inadequate as demand grows.

    Last year, several Texans died after a strong winter storm took down the grid and water, with many relying on generators to provide vital heating for as long as a week. Oil production decreased by approximately 1.2 million bpd due to freezing pipelines and a lack of electricity to key infrastructure. Due to repeated delays in federal action, local players drew up their own strategies to tackle the crises. The Texas Railroad Commission approved new rules for critical designation of natural gas infrastructure during energy emergencies and the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas published a report called Never Again, aimed at avoiding energy failures like that of the February 2021 storm. And yet little seems to have changed to date.

    During the past two years, Californian wildfires and record high temperatures disrupted the state’s outdated grid system, leading to blackouts during soaring temperatures. Dating back to the 1960s and 1970s, California’s electricity network has failed to meet the rising demand in the face of more regular severe weather events. It seems that the state government is in the habit of waiting until the grid fails before it provides funding to fix it. Many of the wildfires that devastated California’s woodland were caused by electrical equipment and power line failures, demonstrating the dire situation.

    Yet, there continues to be a huge gap between President Biden’s and the Department of Energy’s (DoE) funding promises and the action on the ground. As part of Biden’s $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the “Building a Better Grid” Initiative aims to update the country’s grid systemwhile modernizing it to support renewable energy developments. The initiative is expected to make the grid more resilient to the impact of climate change, improve renewable energy delivery, and create more jobs. However, little progress has been made due to several challenges, such as state-level pushback and a lack of coordination across different local governments and regulators.

    Bill McKibben: Record Heat Wave in Europe Is Latest Warning That Action on Climate Can't Wait

    Forest fires rage across Europe as heatwave sends temperatures soaring

    Firefighters in Portugal, Spain, France, Greece and Morocco are battling forest fires raging across tens of thousands of hectares as this week’s heatwave continues to bring extreme temperatures and cause hundreds of deaths across south-western Europe.

    The second heatwave of the summer – with temperatures hitting 47C (116F) in Portugal and 45C in Spain – has triggered wildfires that have forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

    In Portugal, the meteorological institute has forecast temperatures of up to 42C, with no respite before next week. The civil defence authorities, however, took advantage of a slight drop in temperatures after a July record of 47C on Thursday to try to stamp out one remaining major fire in the north of the country.

    In Spain, the state meteorological agency maintained various levels of alert across the country, warning of temperatures of up to 44C in some regions.

    More than 600 members of Spain’s military emergency unit have been helping firefighters and wildlife rangers tackle dozens of forest fires across the country, where blazes have so far torn through at least 14,000 hectares.


    Also of Interest

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

    Chris Hedges: War with Iran

    The US Corporate Elite Is Killing Democracy and the Planet

    The Fistbump Heard Round The World

    In Politics Necessities Will Always Beat 'Values'

    Evo Morales: UK Role in Coup That Ousted Him

    Diplomacy Watch: Veteran diplomats question Blinken’s ‘do not engage’ strategy

    The other Joe: how Manchin destroys Biden’s plans, angering Democrats

    Meet The EX-CIA AGENTS Deciding Facebook's MISINFORMATION Policy: Alan McLeod

    Pelosi's Husband Traded MILLIONS In Semiconductor Company Ahead Of Senate Vote

    Kim Iversen: Sanctions DON'T WORK. But Worse, They Cause Global DeDollarization


    A Little Night Music

    Bessie Smith - Muddy Water

    Bessie Smith - Me And My Gin

    Bessie Smith - Empty Bed Blues

    Bessie Smith - Back Water Blues

    Bessie Smith - I need A Little Sugar In My bowl

    Bessie Smith - Send Me To The Electric Chair

    Bessie Smith - I'm Wild About That Thing

    Bessie Smith - Baby Won't You Please Come Home

    Bessie Smith - Put It Right Here (Or Keep It Out Of There)


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    Comments

    Assange

    Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he gave a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden where he defended Julian Assange’s innocence and renewed a previous offer of asylum to the WikiLeaks founder.

    The United Kingdom last month approved Assange’s extradition to the United States to face criminal charges relating to WikiLeaks’ release of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables.

    “I left a letter to the president about Assange, explaining that he did not commit any serious crime, did not cause anyone’s death, did not violate any human rights and that he exercised his freedom, and that arresting him would mean a permanent affront to freedom of expression,” Lopez Obrador said in a regular news conference.

    Biden gets lectured

    During a meeting with Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Biden at turns smirked, grimaced, fidgeted, and took notes as the Mexican president launched into remarks that went on for more than half an hour.
    ...
    And while not overtly hostile, some of López Obrador's comments to Biden touched on politically embarrassing topics, like the high price of gasoline in the United States.

    "While we're waiting for prices or gasoline to go down in the United States," López Obrador said at one point, "we have decided that it was necessary for us to allow Americans who live close to the border ... to go and get their gasoline on the Mexican side at lower prices."

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    joe shikspack's picture

    @gjohnsit

    i'm sure that brandon was quite put upon having to look like he was awake and attentive while amlo lectured him on what a decent leader would do. i would imagine that brandon's notes are about what sort of ignominious fate the cia might have awaiting amlo.

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    snoopydawg's picture

    Good one!

    Lots of wind last night. The dust probably came from the desert and not the toxic brew of the great salt lake, but that’s what is in store for us if they don’t find a way to refill it. Every western state has watched for 20 years as the drought got worse and what did they do? Not much.

    SLC broke the highest heat record yesterday. 107! Ogden hit 104. 93 now.

    Funny if true.

    Reposting if you missed it.

    Lavrov calls out America’s hypocrisy on human rights

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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

    heh, that gas can is perfect! it ought to be on the front page/cover of all of the news outlets.

    i suppose that somebody will have to break it to people out west that manicured lawns, golf courses, water-intensive agriculture and dense populations in the desert aren't the sort of thing that was ever going to be sustainable.

    i hope that a lot more folks decide to call out the west's hypocrisy. it's about time for the rest of the world to have a serious discussion about our delusional elites.

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    lotlizard's picture

    @joe shikspack  
    https://www.qwant.com/?q=utah+nsa+surveillance+data+center&t=web

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    The situation is worse off than we think. And there will be no solutions, if any until, basic civilizational structures totally collapse. The collapse will start in the West, and move outward. Only hope for planet is if the collapse does not move outside the West.

    The ruling elites in the West have no moral vision yet hold unlimited power which can crush popular movements and co-opt them. I thought there was some hope with Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders campaign. Occupy was physically crushed by democratic party mayors and Obama's admin. Sanders original movement was moral, but betrayed by Sanders himself embracing one of the most amoral and cynical pols in recent times. The children of the Sanders movement is a group of pols who have embraced the same cynicism. (and my cynicism is to wait for AOC to be cover for the SI swimsuit issue).

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    joe shikspack's picture

    @MrWebster

    i will admit to thinking that chomsky is not pessimistic enough and on an average day, i am quite pessimistic about the prospects for a future for humanity on the planet.

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    The Liberal Moonbat's picture

    @MrWebster @joe shikspack Keep in mind this is coming from someone who's been struggling beneath the dybbuk of major depression for years now: It's a pathology, one they're trying to induce in us; don't give in!

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    In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

    Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!

    enhydra lutris's picture

    I've got a quibble here --

    It seems that the state government is in the habit of waiting until the grid fails before it provides funding to fix it. Many of the wildfires that devastated California’s woodland were caused by electrical equipment and power line failures, demonstrating the dire situation.

    The utility companies are in charge in CA, not the state. The utility companies have been laying off their maintenance people for decades, but they own the grid, and the state can't just go start fixing and upgrading it. That is one of the problems with good old capitalism, necessities, like energy, are owned by private enterprises whose sole allegiance is to their shareholders and whose sole purpose is the generation of profits (not energy).

    be well and have a good one

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

    joe shikspack's picture

    @enhydra lutris

    it's a good quibble, but since the utility companies have been recklessly endangering life and property in california for quite some time now, a real government would exercise its powers and seize the utilities and put them under state/local management.

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    enhydra lutris's picture

    @joe shikspack

    talking about taking control of PG&E, in particular, but nothing has come of it.

    be well and have a good one

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    6 users have voted.

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

    joe shikspack's picture

    @enhydra lutris

    i wonder how many lives and homes that pg&e can get away with destroying through profit-driven negligence before their infrastructure is confiscated.

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    6 users have voted.
    snoopydawg's picture

    From the guardian and Scott Tinsdale who is blaming Europe’s economic meltdown on Putin.

    The obvious escape route is a land-for-peace deal with Putin, agreed over Ukraine’s dead bodies. This kind of shoddy sellout has influential advocates. If (and it’s a big “if”), Russia returned to business as normal, it would alleviate Europe’s suffering – though probably not Ukraine’s.

    Yet such a deal would also be a precedent-setting disaster for future peace and security across the continent and globally, too. Just think Taiwan. Or Estonia. It would destroy the sovereign integrity of democratic Ukraine.

    Fortunately, there is an alternative: using Nato’s overwhelming power to decisively turn the military tide.

    As previously argued here, direct, targeted, forceful western action to repulse Russia’s repulsive horde is not a vote for a third world war. It’s the only feasible way to bring this escalating horror to a swift conclusion while ensuring Putin, and those who might emulate him, do not profit from lawless butchery.

    Intent on inflicting maximum disruption, Putin openly menaces the heartlands of European democracy. The writing is on the wall and may no longer be ignored. Enough of the half-measures and the dithering! Nato should act now to force Putin’s marauding troops back inside Russia’s recognised borders.

    It’s not only Ukraine that requires saving. It’s Europe, too.

    No mention of the effects that the maximum sanctions on Russia are causing Germany and other European countries, no it’s just Putin’s wanting to stop the genocide in the Donbas…oh hell y’all know what the true score is. But anyone who thinks that getting nato involved in Ukraine is going to force Russia to mind them and stop their agendas needs to have their writing instruments taken away from them. 2-3 weeks tops and it’s back to the Nazis continuing the genocide…

    Weird how all these anti war and anti Russia goons never talk about the Yemen genocide that has been going on for 8 years, or the Gaza genocide that Israel is committing or…

    I’m sure that Caitlin will write about this, but in the meantime here’s her essay on Biden’s fist bump.

    B23D5E0F-F79C-4537-AF72-BE84A1E9D2EE.jpeg

    Two powerful leaders met beneath the hot Jeddah sun to discuss oil and killing and friendship.

    One of the leaders rules a tyrannical regime which funds terrorists, murders journalists, suppresses civil rights and commits war crimes. The other, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is no better.

    They greeted not with the traditional handshake, nor with a stern finger wag from the American for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, but with the most epic fistbump in the history of civilization.

    Since the invention of the fistbump there have been none so pure, so affectionate, so expressive of perfect union and harmony. Observers said they thought they heard angels singing.

    Where their two fists connected, their souls merged. Their eyes locked with an intimacy poets and lovers have spent their whole lives trying to capture. Their dick chakras burned with the intensity of a thousand stars.

    “This is who we are,” the fistbump roared to the heavens. “This is who we have always been. Our sacred bond presides over an empire that is fueled by oil and blood, and we rule as one in holy communion with the great kings of old. Nothing shall ever come between us: not bone saw nor mass beheading nor strained lip service to human rights values on the presidential campaign trail.”

    Time froze as the two joined fists in genocidal matrimony, flashing coy grins at each other upon a mountain of Yemeni corpses and the tortured bones of Syria. Their faces turned to skulls. Doves with red-stained feathers filled the sky.

    And the Marxists of the world say “If only we could one day capture that kind of class solidarity.”

    And the wives of the world say “If only he would one day look at me like that.”

    And the arms manufacturers of the world say “Hoo hoo yeah buddy boy this is gonna be great let’s go snort coke off a Tomahawk missile.”

    And the hidden saints say “Something’s gotta give here.”

    And the world rotates on the axis of those two joined fists into ecocide and atrocity and Google Hollywood McDystopia.

    And the imperial juggernaut marches on, and the Earth spins off into the blackness, and we all hold hands and look to providence as we plunge into an increasingly strange Unknown.

    Heh…remember the flak Trump got for meeting with Kim and making him seem like an equal?

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    joe shikspack's picture

    @snoopydawg

    i've seen a lot of idiots write pieces where they argue (without evidence) that nato could attack russia in ukraine and not provoke a world war, probably with fireworks.

    i can't believe how many stupid people there are who can get their stuff printed in the guardian.

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    11 users have voted.
    The Liberal Moonbat's picture

    @snoopydawg

    Heh…remember the flak Trump got for meeting with Kim and making him seem like an equal?

    ...look no further to explain this:

    "Worthy and Unworthy Victims".

    The Morgoth-Macarena hasn't changed its steps in decades, if ever, but it keeps upping the pace; this is daunting, of course, but it means more and more people will be able to recognize it!

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    In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

    Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!

    CB's picture

    Did the West Fall into a Russian Trap?
    July 17, 2022

    COMMENT by Greanville Post: New York Times citing US officials on 24/7/2022 [sic] reported that US & European allies will not be able to maintain current level of support for Kiev for a prolonged period of time. Despite the fact that President Biden has vowed to stand with Ukraine for “as long as it takes”, no one expects more billions of support for Ukraine when the currently authorised aid package of $54 billion in military & other assistance runs out by second quarter of 2023.

    The tactics of unhurried military operations in Ukraine are still bewildering the best Pentagon analysts, and only a few have begun to guess that the main goal of the operation is not at all the surrender of Kyiv.

    The fall of the Kyiv regime is undoubtedly spelled out in the plans for a special military operation, but not at all as the culmination of Russia’s actions, but only as an intermediate stage. The war is actually being waged at a much higher level.
    ...
    “It is already clear that Russia is planning a long-term war with the West in Ukraine. Most of the territory of Ukraine is becoming a financial yoke for Europe and the United States. As they say, politics is a concentrated economy, and war is an even more concentrated economy. The West has fallen into a deadly trap.

    “For many years, Kyiv’s “partners” exported all its resources out of the country, but now they are only forced to inject huge amounts of money without receiving anything in return. This is a death trap for the US and its satellites.”

    “Most likely, this is why Russia operates in Ukraine with a limited contingent and does not rush things at all, ”Vasilets explained.
    ...
    The sanctions war is hurting the American economy. At the same time, the United States needs to fully support Ukraine, even paying the salaries of the entire state apparatus, and soon it will also need to support the declining economy of the European Union in order to keep the already shaky anti-Russian coalition under control.

    The Americans simply will not pull out a long war in such conditions, but, in theory, they also cannot retreat, at least without serious geopolitical losses. The trap has really slammed shut and in Ukraine they (Russians) are now grinding not only the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but the entire collective West.

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    The Liberal Moonbat's picture

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    5 users have voted.

    In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

    Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!

    @The Liberal Moonbat
    But, I couldn’t help having 6 smiles, 3 laughs and copying the link to send to friends and family. Especially the “Double Boost +” contingent!

    Well done satire. Thanks for sharing.

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    “What the herd hates most is the one who thinks differently; it is not so much the opinion itself, but the audacity of wanting to think for themselves, something that they do not know how to do.”
    -Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

    snoopydawg's picture

    @The Liberal Moonbat

    It was the start of the coercion that really triggered my spidey sense. Donuts to a chance to win a million? And then the threats came out. And for what in the end? More infections and deaths after it came out. Goodness.

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    The Liberal Moonbat's picture

    @snoopydawg For me it was the "one-size-fits-all"-ism; any TRULY benevolent regime, even a coercive one, will acknowledge that there are inevitable exceptions to all rules, and prepare a respectable place for them.

    The guy didn't mention another way I heard they tried to bribe people over in Austria: https://nypost.com/2021/11/09/brothel-offers-vaccinations-and-free-sexua...

    Come to think of it now, I really hate to think of all the horrible ways the pandemic, the Priks, and prostitutes interacted (luckily for them, it's literally NEVER been easier to go into porn, I suppose - but how many of them, in their entirely-understandable desperation not to be vectors for a bad flu, BECAME vectors for something much worse???).

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    In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

    Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!

    @The Liberal Moonbat

    US Covid czar reveals retirement plans

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, said on Monday he intends to retire by the end of President Joe Biden’s first term in office.

    “I haven’t made an announcement of my retirement, but it could be anywhere from now until then,” Fauci said in a telephone interview with Reuters, confirming his intention to leave government service eventually. “I don't know yet.”

    According to Forbes magazine, Fauci is the highest-paid US government employee, taking home $417,608 in 2019. Financial disclosures also showed that he and his wife held more than $10.4 million in investments at the end of 2020.

    https://www.rt.com/news/559206-fauci-reveals-retirement-plans/

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    snoopydawg's picture

    @QMS

    Fauci should not only have been fired after the AIDS debacle, but he should have been charged with negligence and malfeasance. Knowing now how toxic AZT is on top of refusing to authorize Bactrim and other repurposed drugs….I have to stop. Maybe my brother would still be alive if he hadn’t taken that shit. It destroys the immune system much more than the HIV does. Could have, should’ve might have…just can’t go there. And he got filthy rich from his schemes. Bad !!!

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    The Liberal Moonbat's picture

    @snoopydawg @QMS

    Make him stick around, I say!

    If he wants to retire, it's because he's out of ideas and/or feeling the heat.

    Seal Off The Memory Hole.

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    3 users have voted.

    In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

    Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!