The Evening Blues - 2-2-23


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Earl Gaines

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues singer Earl Gaines. Enjoy!

Earl Gaines - Sixty Minute Man

"People who think of themselves as tough-minded and realistic, among them influential political leaders and businessmen as well as go-getters and hustlers of smaller caliber, tend to take it for granted that human nature is selfish and that life is a struggle in which only the fittest may survive. According to this philosophy, the basic law by which man must live, in spite of his surface veneer of civilization, is the law of the jungle. The "fittest" are those who can bring to the struggle superior force, superior cunning, and superior ruthlessness."

-- S. I. Hayakawa

News and Opinion

We’re Ruled By Assholes Because We Have Asshole Systems

It’s funny to think about how all our abusive, oppressive systems are only there because the people who benefit from them are able to keep everyone else too divided and distracted to notice that we vastly outnumber them and could literally just force change to happen anytime we want.

People have a fairly easy time accepting that things are fucked because we are ruled by corrupt assholes. They have a much harder time accepting that we are ruled by corrupt assholes because our corrupt asshole systems will always necessarily elevate corrupt assholes to the top.

It’s easier to blame our problems on oligarchs or the Deep State or a cabal of satanic pedophiles than it is to blame them on systems that we ourselves participate in and have lived our entire lives intertwined with and which have been continuously normalized within our culture. If the problem is just a few corrupt assholes then it’s not a very daunting problem, because all you have to do is remove those corrupt assholes and everything’s golden. If the problem is the systems around which our entire civilization is structured, it’s far more daunting.

It’s easy to imagine a future without corrupt assholes. It’s almost impossible to imagine a future where human behavior is not driven by profit for its own sake, where we have moved from competition-based systems to collaboration-based ones where we all work together for the common good.

In competition-based systems the most powerful governments will always be those who are willing to do whatever it takes to stay on top, the most powerful people will be those who are willing to do whatever it takes to get power, and everyone else gets crushed in the mad scramble. The fact is we’ll always be ruled by corrupt assholes as long as we have competition-based systems, because the best competitors will always be the most ruthless individuals who will do anything to get to the top. Get rid the current assholes and our asshole systems will necessarily elevate new assholes to take their place.

It’s easy to say “Those assholes at the top need to go.” It’s much harder to say “Everything I’m familiar with needs to go.” It’s a giant leap into the dark of the unknown. But that’s the only way we’ll ever move toward health, and it’s the only way our species will avoid being driven to its doom.

Blinken’s message on Ukraine contains only calls on Russia to 'quit and stop' — Lavrov

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's message on Ukraine, handed over by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, contains only calls on Russia to "quit and stop," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a media conference following talks with his Egyptian counterpart on Tuesday.

"Mr. Minister, while answering the previous question, said that he had conveyed a certain message from Secretary of State Blinken, who was recently on a visit to Cairo. I confirm this," Lavrov said, answering a question from TASS. "Russia is ready to listen to any serious proposal that is aimed at resolving the current situation in its comprehensive context."

"We have had one more message Egypt’s foreign minister has handed over to us to the effect that Russia should stop, that Russia should quit, and then everything will be fine," Lavrov went on to say, adding that at the same time "Blinken omitted something."

"The other part of the message, showing the true interest of the United States and the West, was stated by NATO Secretary General Mr. [Jens] Stoltenberg, when he was in the Republic of Korea yesterday," Lavrov noted. "He said in one of his speeches that Russia must lose, must be defeated, and that the West cannot afford to let Ukraine lose, because in that case, he argued, the West will lose and the whole world will lose." Stoltenberg, as Lavrov pointed out, "took the liberty of speaking not only on behalf of the North Atlantic Alliance, but also on behalf of all other countries of the world."

"Everything is quite clear here. It’s not about Ukraine at all," Lavrov emphasized. "The Kiev regime, which has no independence, fulfills the will of the sovereign - the United States and the rest of the West, which Washington has subjugated - not permit any events in the international arena that would somehow call into question the US claims to hegemony in the modern world."

US Prepares to Send Ukraine Longer-Range Rockets in Next Arms Package

The US is preparing another major escalation of military aid to Ukraine as Reuters reports the next arms package will include rockets that have a range of 94 miles, almost double the range of the munitions Ukraine was provided for the HIMARS rocket systems.

Citing two unnamed US officials, Reuters said that the US will provide Ukraine with the longer-range Boeing-made Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) for the first time as part of an over $2 billion arms package that could be announced as soon as this week.

The officials said that the GLSDB will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows the Pentagon to purchase arms for Ukraine. Weapons provided under the USAI could take months or years to deliver as they involve contracts and might need to be manufactured.

But Boeing has been preparing for months to make the GLSDBs for Ukraine. Reuters first reported in November that the US was considering sending the munitions to Kyiv and said they could be available by the spring.

MSM Admits Bakhmut Encirclement Close; West Pulls Back on Jets; Lavrov Ridicules Blinken Offer

Boris Johnson calls on US to give Ukraine fighter planes

Boris Johnson has confronted US Republicans’ scepticism about providing more arms to Ukraine, saying it was time to give Kyiv the tools – including F16 aircrafts – to reclaim land taken by Vladimir Putin since the 24 February invasion.

He also said he now supported ending the ambiguity by allowing Ukraine to join Nato.

With support for Ukraine slipping in US opinion polls, Johnson has used a speech to the Atlantic Council thinktank, TV appearances, an article in the Washington Post and meetings with senior Republican senators to try to stiffen US resolve. His visit was understood to be a freelance operation and not on behalf of Number 10.

He said: “Give them the deep fire artillery systems, give them the tanks, give them the planes, because they have a plan. They know what they need to do.”

He dismissed claims that the Ukrainians would be unable to fly sophisticated US planes, saying Ukraine had already shown their ability to use modern Nato technology. Referring to the repeated debates inside Europe about the risk of escalation if a specific weapon was provided, he said that these debates had all ended with agreement to provide the weapons. “Let us do it now and end this delay because that is the humane thing to do.”

Trump Calls For DEESCALATION In Ukraine

Norway urged to step up Ukraine support after profiting from war

Norwegian academics, rights campaigners, bestselling authors and a former minister have urged Oslo to increase its support for Ukraine, saying the government must do more to help after earning billions in extra oil and gas revenue from Russia’s war.

In a letter published in the VG tabloid, signatories including the former foreign minister Knut Vollebæk, the anthropologist Erika Fatland and Henrik Urdal of the Oslo Peace Research Institute said Norway was “the only country in Europe” to be profiting from the war.

The wealthy Scandinavian country’s oil and gas revenues have soared to record levels over the past 12 months as energy prices tripled after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Norway replaced Russia as Europe’s largest supplier of natural gas.

Compared with original estimates, Oslo’s state budget projected an additional €180bn (£160bn) in oil and gas income for 2022 and 2023, the signatories wrote, adding that the government’s public pledges of support for Ukraine over the same period amounted to just €1.27bn.

Norway’s prime minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, has dismissed any suggestion that the country was profiteering from the war. “It’s a notion I flatly refuse”, Støre told AFP on Tuesday, adding that a major “multi-year support package” would be announced in the coming days.

Colombia to pay reparations for role in extermination of leftwing party

Colombia has pledged to pay reparations to victims after the inter-American court of human rights (IACHR) concluded the state allowed the systematic extermination of the leftwing Patriotic Union (UP) party in the 1980s and 90s. The UP was a political party created out of a peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Farc) guerrillas in 1985 but 6,000 of its members were wiped out by rightwing paramilitaries, narcos and the Colombian military.

The eradication of the movement prompted the Farc to retake arms, perpetuating Colombia’s deadly conflict, which spanned six decades, killing 450,000 people and displacing 8 million. (Most Farc fighters eventually laid down their weapons after a new peace process in 2016.)

This week, the IACHR found that the Colombian state’s role in the tragedy amounted to crimes against humanity. The ruling comes after three decades of judicial campaigning from victims and was celebrated by President Gustavo Petro who promised to bring reparations to victims.

The UP was founded to give the Colombian left peaceful and legitimate political representation after the Liberal party and the Conservative party had rotated power since the mid-19th century. Instead the Colombian state allowed the UP rank and file as well as elected politicians to be picked off with impunity and even used its own forces in the political genocide, the regional rights tribunal found.

America's favorite monarch:

Rate of executions in Saudi Arabia almost doubles under Mohammed bin Salman

The rate of executions carried out by Saudi Arabia has almost doubled under the rule of the de facto leader, Mohammed bin Salman, with the past six years being among the bloodiest in the Kingdom’s modern history, a report has found.

Rates of capital punishment are at historically high levels, despite a push to modernise with widespread reforms and a semblance of individual liberties. Activist groups say the price of change has been high, with a total crackdown on the crown prince’s political opponents and zero tolerance for dissent.

Pledges by Prince Mohammed – who has consolidated extraordinary powers across the Kingdom’s business spheres, industrialists and elite families – to curb executions have not been kept, the new data shows, with each of the six years that he has led the country resulting in more state-sanctioned deaths than any other year in recent history.

Between 2015 and 2022, an average of 129 executions were carried out each year. The figure represents an 82% increase on the period 2010-14. Last year, 147 people were executed – 90 of them for crimes that were considered to be nonviolent.

On 12 March last year, up to 81 men were put to death – an all-time high number of executions, in what activists believe was a pointed message from the Saudi leadership to dissenters, among them tribal groups in the country’s eastern provinces.

America's favorite torture gulag:

UN Human Rights Expert to Conduct First-Ever Visit to Guantánamo Bay Prison

For the first time ever, a United Nations human rights and counterterrorism expert will visit the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a U.N. office announced Wednesday.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said Irish attorney and law professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin—the U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism—will visit Guantánamo as part of a "technical visit to the United States" from February 6-14.

In addition to visiting the prison, OHCHR said Ní Aoláin will "carry out a series of interviews with individuals in the United States and abroad, on a voluntary basis," including victims and relatives of those killed in the 9/11 attacks and former Guantánamo detainees in countries where they have been repatriated or resettled.

Human rights advocates welcomed the development.

"We commend the Biden administration for agreeing to let a U.N. human rights expert visit Guantánamo, finally ending a shameful U.S. government moratorium that sought to establish a prison outside the reach of law," Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, said in a statement.

"International human rights norms and institutions are integral to preventing the torture, indefinite detention, and unfair trials that now symbolize Guantánamo globally," Shamsi added. "It should never have taken two decades, but we're encouraged to see the basic principle of U.N. rights officials' independent access to all sites of detention and detainees respected at long last by our country."

Since it was first opened in January 2002 by the George W. Bush administration in the early months of the so-called War on Terror, Guantánamo, or Gitmo in U.S. military parlance, has imprisoned 779 men and boys. Many of them were tortured, and only a handful were ever charged with any crime. According to retired U.S. Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson—who served as chief of staff to Bush-era Secretary of State Colin Powell—Bush, along with Dick Cheney, his vice president, and Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, knew that most Gitmo prisoners were innocent, but kept them locked up for political reasons.

Although then-Presdident Barack Obama—under whom President Joe Biden served as vice president—signed executive orders meant to close Guantánamo and end torture, he was blocked by Congress from implementing the former policy, while torture continued at Gitmo during his tenure.

Hundreds of Guantánamo detainees were released during the Bush and Obama administrations, with a relative handful freed under Biden. Today, 35 men remain locked up at Gitmo. According to the Pentagon, 20 of them are cleared for release while nine—including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—have ongoing cases before military commissions from which numerous prosecutors have resigned amid allegations of rigging to secure convictions.

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an activist group, said in a statement that it "deeply appreciates the willingness of the special rapporteur's office and the Biden administration to work together to make her visit to Guantánamo possible."

"As 9/11 family members, we remain gravely concerned about the absence of justice within the military commission system," the group added. "We welcome the commitment of the special rapporteur to the human rights of victims of terrorism and we hope that her work can inform a path forward to judicial finality for family members, the accused, and all those affected by 9/11 and its aftermath."

Biden—whose former press secretary said closing Guantánamo is "our goal and our intention"—has been criticized for failing to do so two years into his administration and 21 years after the prison opened.

Fed announces smallest interest hike in a year as inflation ‘eases somewhat’

The US Federal Reserve signaled a slowdown in its fight against soaring inflation on Wednesday, announcing its smallest hike in interest rates in almost a year.

After its latest meeting, the Fed announced a quarter-point increase in its benchmark interest rate to a range of 4.5% to 4.75%, the smallest increase since March last year. “Inflation has eased somewhat but remains elevated,” the Fed said in a statement adding that “ongoing increases” will be appropriate as it seeks to bring prices down. ...

There are signs that prices are coming down. In December, the annual rate of inflation fell to 6.5% from 7.1% in the previous month, the sixth straight month of yearly declines and well below the peak of 9.1% it hit in June, its highest rate since 1982. ...

But inflation remains well above the Fed’s annual target rate of 2% and the central bank has said it will keep rates high until price stability is achieved. The Fed also continues to worry about the jobs market. The unemployment rate was 3.5% in December, a 50-year low and on Wednesday the labor department announced there were 11m job openings in the US in December – almost two available jobs for every person looking for one and an increase from November.

The tight labor market has driven up wages and Powell, has made clear that the central bank believes rising wages threaten to spur on inflation – a so-called wage-price spiral. “You don’t see that yet, but the whole point is, once you see it, you have a serious problem. That means that effectively in people’s decision-making, inflation has become a real salient issue,” said Powell. “That is what we can’t allow to happen.”

Abortion: twenty states threaten to sue CVS and Walgreens over mail-order pills

Attorneys general in 20 conservative-led states have warned CVS and Walgreens that they could face legal consequences if they sell abortion pills by mail in those states.

A letter sent on Wednesday from Andrew Bailey, the Republican Missouri attorney general, to the nation’s largest pharmacy dispensing companies was cosigned by 19 other attorneys general, and warned that sale of abortion pills would violate federal law and abortion laws in many states. Missouri is among states that implemented strict abortion prohibitions last summer after the supreme court ruling overturning Roe v Wade.

Bailey didn’t specify what legal action he would take if the pharmacies begin selling abortion pills to Missourians by mail.

“I will enforce the laws as written,” Bailey said in a statement in response to questions from the Associated Press. “That includes laws protecting the health of women and their unborn children. The FDA rule is in direct violation of federal law, and the unelected bureaucrats at the FDA have no authority to change Missouri law, either. The people’s elected representatives have spoken on the issue of abortion in our state, and we will fight to uphold that in court.”

Nineteen states have imposed restrictions on abortion pills, but there’s a court battle over whether they have the power to do so in defiance of US Food and Drug Administration policy. A physician and a company that makes the pill mifepristone filed separate lawsuits last month seeking to strike down bans in North Carolina and West Virginia.

Outrage over alleged Nazi homeschooling group in Ohio

An alleged “Nazi homeschooling group” based in Ohio has been widely condemned, amid reports that it distributed lesson plans which included writing exercises based on quotes by Adolf Hitler. A couple calling themselves “Mr and Mrs Saxon” established the “Dissident Homeschool” channel on Telegram in 2021, according to reporting by Anonymous Comrades Collective, an anti-fascist research group, verified by Huffpost and Vice.

The channel, which has almost 2,500 subscribers, distributes “ready-made lesson plans”, Huffpost reported, including history lessons which praise the Confederate general Robert E Lee as a “grand role model for young, white men” and denigrate Martin Luther King Jr as “the antithesis of our civilization and our people”. ...

In a statement, Stephanie Siddens, interim Ohio state school board president, said she was “outraged and saddened” by the emergence of the group. “There is absolutely no place for hate-filled, divisive and hurtful instruction in Ohio’s schools, including our state’s home-schooling community,” Siddens said. “I emphatically and categorically denounce the racist, antisemitic and fascist ideology and materials being circulated as reported in recent media stories.”

The emergence of the group has led to calls for a revision of the way Ohio oversees homeschooling. Huffpost reported that parents planning to homeschool must submit “a brief outline of the intended curriculum” and a “list of teaching materials” to the local public school superintendent.“Then, if the ‘home education plan’ meets the basic requirements of state law, the superintendent must excuse the child from public school attendance,” Huffpost wrote.

“But even in states with these types of requirements, there’s little to no enforcement mechanism to ensure that parents are actually teaching the curriculum they submitted to the superintendent.”

California police kill double amputee who was fleeing: ‘Scared for his life’

A southern California police department is facing national backlash after footage revealed that officers fatally shot a double amputee and wheelchair user who appeared to be hobbling away on the ground before he was killed.

Anthony Lowe, 36, was killed by officers in Huntington Park, a city in southern Los Angeles county, last Thursday. Cellphone footage captured part of the incident, showing Lowe on a sidewalk next to his wheelchair appearing to try to flee as two officers approach him with weapons drawn. More police cars arrived as the officers followed Lowe, who seemed to be limping away, but the video did not capture the shooting.

Now, Lowe’s family is calling for officers to be terminated and face murder charges.

“I’m heartbroken, and filled with anger and rage,” Tatiana Jackson, his younger sister, told the Guardian on Tuesday. “I just can’t understand why they would do that to someone in a wheelchair. I want somebody to explain to me what was the reason that you had to gun down a guy who has no legs.”

Lowe was a father of two and one of eight siblings in a tight-knit family, and he had been struggling recently after he had to have both legs amputated, his family said.

VP Harris, Rev. Sharpton Join Family of Tyre Nichols in Demanding Police Accountability at Funeral

Tyre Nichols officers used force in prior cases and failed to document it

Two of the since-fired Memphis police officers charged with murdering Tyre Nichols failed to document their use of force in prior cases, and a pair of others were suspended from the department for other infractions, according to personnel records released on Tuesday evening.

Two of the officers charged in connection with Nichols’s beating death received written reprimands in 2021 for failing to fill out a department-required form after an instance in which force was needed to detain someone who was purportedly resisting arrest. Another officer had been twice suspended, once after a gun was discovered in the backseat of his squad car and another time for failing to submit paperwork. A fourth officer was suspended after being involved in a car accident in 2021 in an unmarked police vehicle.

The records offer new insight into the five officers who are suspected of murdering Nichols and had been part of the police department’s Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods – or Scorpion – unit, described as an elite group in the agency that was supposed to crack down on violent criminals.

Local criminal justice experts said the records alluded to wider allegations of routine overuse of force and highlighted how the department prioritized disciplinary matters.

“The files look pretty routine and indicate a department that’s more concerned with the police officers damaging their car than using excessive force,” Memphis criminal defense attorney Claiborne Ferguson remarked. “And the incidents of excessive force are exactly what our clients tell us about [concerning] their interaction with the Memphis police department.”

Ms. Shikspack recommends Stop Cop City Solidarity
for information.

Atlanta's "Cop City" Moves Ahead After Police Kill 1 Protester & Charge 19 with Domestic Terrorism

the evening greens

States file duelling Colorado River plans as water resources rapidly dwindle

California filed a competing conservation plan for the Colorado River on Tuesday, just one day after opting out of a proposal put forward by six other western states, signaling a breakdown in negotiations over how to drastically cut water use from the imperiled waterway.

Officials with the Bureau of Reclamation had called on the states to come to a consensus on how to curb between 2 and 4m acre-feet or roughly enough water to supply 8m households for a full year.

Tense negotiations have dragged on for months and, after first failing to meet a deadline to reduce diversions by 15% to 30% last summer, the parties were hoping to reach a consensus by the end of January.

Now that the date has come and gone without an agreement, the two dueling proposals submitted will be considered by the Bureau of Reclamation, which is expected to release an official decision this summer. Still, the threat of litigation looms large.

Meanwhile, water resources in the mighty Colorado river system are rapidly dwindling. Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the largest reservoirs in the US, are roughly a quarter full.

Outrage as US government advances $8bn Alaska oil drilling plan

The Biden administration has advanced a $8bn drilling project on Alaska’s north slope. The ConocoPhillips Willow project, which would be one of the largest oil and gas developments on federal territory, has drawn fierce opposition from environmentalists, who say its approval runs counter to the president’s ambitious climate goals.

An environmental assessment released by the interior department on Wednesday recommends a scaled-back version of the project ConocoPhillips originally proposed, and would produce about 600m barrels of oil over 30 years, with a peak of 180,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Environmental groups and the Native village of Nuiqsut, which would be most affected by the project in the northernmost stretch of Alaska, have opposed the project, which they say would mark the end of a way of life for communities in the rapidly warming Arctic. It would also exacerbate air pollution problems in a region where oil and gas extraction projects are already contributing to elevated rates of asthma and other health conditions.

“Willow is a carbon bomb that cannot be allowed to explode in the Arctic,” said Karlin Nageak Itchoak, senior regional director at the non-profit Wilderness Society. Already, the Arctic has been warming almost four times faster than the rest of the world. “Our Native villages are eroding into the sea, thawing permafrost is making infrastructure insecure, and food sources are disappearing,” Itchoak said. “And this project would just exacerbate and speed up the climate crisis in the Arctic.”

The environmental review is a final step toward approval and comes after a years-long dispute between ConocoPhillips and the government over the corporation’s right to drill on federal territory in the Arctic. Willow would be located inside the 23m-acre (93m-hectare) National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which is the largest tract of undisturbed public land in the United States.

Send some good vibes to Janis and her fellow Aucklanders ...

Auckland floods: city begins clean-up after ‘biggest climate event’ in New Zealand’s history

Insurers say devastating flooding in Auckland was the “biggest climate event” in New Zealand’s history, as rain eased after days of downpours and a clean-up of the city began.

Friday was the wettest day on record for New Zealand’s largest city, with severe rain leading flood waters to sweep through streets and down highways, killing four people. Schools and businesses closed as buildings and roads were ravaged by the deluge. Auckland International Airport was shuttered temporarily, stranding thousands of travellers overseas.

The finance minister, Grant Robertson, told reporters in Auckland on Wednesday that the deluge would be the “biggest non-earthquake event” in terms of insurance that the country had ever recorded. He did not have estimates yet for the likely cost of the damage. At least 20,000 claims have already been lodged, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of New Zealand told the Guardian, with numbers expected to keep rising for weeks.

As the water receded, evidence of a sodden and wrecked city emerged: officials have placed red placards on 138 buildings – meaning entry is prohibited without council consent – while yellow placards restrict the use of 542 others. Inspections of structures are due to be complete by the end of the week.

Landslides and sinkholes still threaten homes. Three people were taken to hospital on Wednesday afternoon – two of them seriously hurt – after a house in Orua Bay, a rural Auckland township, crashed down a bank on to the beach, trapping one person inside. More than 600 flood-damaged cars have been removed from the city’s roads, said Rachel Kelleher, Auckland’s emergency management deputy controller. Across the city, fallen trees, debris and mud litter streets where last Friday, residents waded through chest-deep water or paddled kayaks to safety.

Also of Interest

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

Why the Media Fear Julian Assange

US made strategic mistake provoking conflict with Russia, China — ambassador

The Pentagon’s Plans for a Perpetual Three-Front “Long War” Against China and Russia

Patrick Lawrence: The Pathology of Ukrainian Nationalism

US opens embassy in Solomon Islands after 30-year absence to counter China

Costa Rican farmer handed 22 years for murder of Indigenous land defender

No Amount of Fraud Deters Government Agencies When It Comes to Privatizing Medicare

Craft or curse? How American barbecue turned trendy

Pit find in Germany reveals how Neanderthals hunted huge elephants

Mozart Group merc meltdown over viral Grayzone video exposé

A Little Night Music

Earl Gaines - It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)

Earl Gaines - My Pillow Stays Wet

Earl Gaines - The Best Of Luck To You

Earl Gaines - The Door Is Still Open

Earl Gaines - My Woman

Earl Gaines - It's Drivin' Me Mad

Earl Gaines - I Don't Need You Now

Earl Gaines - A Long Time Ago

Earl Gaines - Poor Man Gotta Make It

Earl Gaines - Good Good Lovin'

15 users have voted.


we will always be ruled by corrupt assholes


collaboration-based ones where we all work together for the common good

mine would be the second choice, as would be almost everyone else
getting people to realize we have a choice is the tricky bit
constantly programmed to accept the current crap as real

Earl Gaines - Poor Man Gotta Make It

thanks joe

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


yep. it's convincing people that the most brutal, ruthless, exploiters are not the best and brightest and most deserving of success that seems to me to be the biggest challenge.

10 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

and Trump is still a poopy pants.


I can’t figure out why Trump didn’t pursue the facts he was looking into because if he had he might have blown the lid on the Biden bribery scandal and shown how many democrats were up to their eyeballs in corruption in Ukraine and how Ukraine helped create the bogus Russia Russia scam. Trump had so many ways to shut Russia gate down, but he never took them.

9 users have voted.

I feel like I’m riding in the backseat of a '66 Thunderbird with Thelma at the wheel and Louise riding shotgun


I can’t figure out why Trump didn’t

I honestly believe that Trump is a total fraud and has no notions or preferences of any kind -- a guy who enjoys being a wrestling villain while being savvy enough to realize that being President is an utterly ceremonial position, and that anybody who presumes that national politics has anything to do with what the government does is a naive chump like Bernie Sanders.

Trump has had a lust for fame his entire life. The only thing he fears is being a nobody. So he is cranking up the act for one more campaign.

Like the judges and politicians portrayed in the Godfather movies, his only faith is cynicism.

edited to add quote box.

8 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

snoopydawg's picture

@fire with fire

Not so much that he is a fraud, but that he played the patsy for some unknown group. He got some heinous policies passed and he got to stack the Supreme Court with anti worker and right leaning justices and of course the biggest tax cut in history. Then he went on to stack his administration with horrible swamp creatures. But still he could have cracked Russia Russia wide open, but didn’t. I didn’t pay that much attention to him since I wasted so much energy on how bad Bush the lesser was and seeing nothing happen to him followed by Obama who I thought was even worse than Bush. But aren’t you thrilled to hear that Biden is a better president than FDR according to his base.

10 users have voted.

I feel like I’m riding in the backseat of a '66 Thunderbird with Thelma at the wheel and Louise riding shotgun

@snoopydawg is in synch with your take on this -- he is a patsy for the people who really control things.
Our only difference here is not really a difference of opinion -- just a different interpretation of what is a POTUS patsy. I think he didn't do anything with this bit of vulnerability because he never does anything at all on his own. The real leadership does not want Trump to get the "goods" on the puppet on the other hand.

9 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

joe shikspack's picture


my guess is that trump didn't pursue the facts in ukraine because he couldn't get decent help. the career people had no interest in upsetting the apple cart that keeps them in their phony-baloney jobs and, because trump surrounded himself with utterly incompetent moron yes-men appointees, there was nobody on his team that could carry out such a mission.

trump's people were orders of magnitude less talented than nixon's plumbers. you've got to hand it to bush, at least his people were competent enough to steal an election.

11 users have voted.

for Trump to pursue the Biden Ukraine graft. That well had been covertly poisoned over several decades and it was bipartisan. To the delight of US/NATO (my assumption), post independence (1991) Ukraine followed Yeltsin/Russia's lead under its first president Kuchma and became an unaligned kleptocracy. The promotion of Putin to president of Russia in 1999 slowly reduced the level of corruption in the RF, but Kuchma didn't follow along. The Cassette Scandal November 2000 highlighted that. The US/UK pounced on that carrying the anti-corruption banner. The intent was the replacement of Kuchma with a western aligned government. That led Kuchma to look east and he held on until the next presidential election in 2004.

Kuchma's chosen successor, Yanukovych may or may not have won the election, but it was dodgy enough for the Orange Revolution to emerge. The Supreme Court intervened and ordered a second runoff election. The western darling, Yushchenko won. Yushchenko proceeded to be more inept and corrupt than recollections of Kuchma. Yanukovych proceeded to win the 2010 presidential election. As he wasn't a western lackey, he was tagged as pro-Russia. However, as lines of communication were open and the western anti-Russia forces weren't mobilized at that time 2011-2012 (regardless of SoS Clinton's animosity towards Russia). Yanukovych had also hired a US lobbyist, Paul Manafort, who subcontracted to Tony Podesta.

The Maidan Coup - February 2014. Yanukovych flees. Burisma formed in 2002, but minimally active. Owner Zlovchevsky and minister of natural resources under Yanukovych. April 2014 under investigation for money laundering by UK fraud authorities. April 2014 Joe Biden pubic face of Obama admin' Ukraine position. (O passed the hot potato to Joe as the GOP were screaming for arming Ukraine to take on Putin/Russia.) Hunter Biden's Burisma contract was signed in May 2014. (Burisma's legal problems began to go bye-bye.

February 12, 2015 Miinsk II Agreement. (Note: Syrian conflict with US and Russian participation was ongoing at the same time as the Ukrainian conflict; thus, difficult to isolate that chess moves on both from each other.)

During the 2016 US presidential election, astute observers could detect the hands of domestic Ukies for HRC. They flipped out over Trump putting Manafort on his election team. Trump didn't actually know Manafort and under the Ukie pressure he axed him in Aug 2016. The HRC disinfo track -- Russiagate -- wasn't that well formed by then, and any Ukrainian government involvement on behalf of HRC was too opague to read. Doubt the most experienced and highly skilled politician could have negotiated that minefield: false claims of election interference by Russia, suspected Ukrainian election interference. The Bidens' scams in Ukraine (technically Burisma is in Cyprus) were chump change compared to the fake and real foreign election interference.

Trump did eventually and clumsily wade into the minefield. And it led to his first impeachment.

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Are we watching a play?

Doesn’t each party get to decide who’s on a committee?

Funny I don’t remember AOC throwing a fit when Pelosi replaced her on a committee and gave her position to someone else.

But this is perfect…and a little ironic after both parties voted to send $$$ and weapons to actual Nazis.

In the debate that preceded passage of the resolution, Democratic lawmakers rallied to Omar's defense, spotlighting the GOP's association with and embrace of neo-Nazis and condemning the resolution as a racist stunt veiled as a rebuke of antisemitism.

Schiff too is upset that he got booted from the intelligence committee, but as McCarthy reminded us he lied about Trump during the impeachment and Russia gate hearings and might have spilled classified information. Now he, Omar and Swalwell who has ties to a Chinese spy are making the rounds on the TV crying that they aren’t on a committee.

"It's pure hypocrisy from Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who just gave committee posts back to Reps. Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene," the group added.

Why? Pelosi refused to sit 2 republicans that McCarthy wanted on the 1/6 kabuki theater investigation. I think we’re getting played.


But wait there’s more….goose and gander.

This guy seems to be making things up IMO.

The current Republican effort links her with two other Congressional liberal Democrats, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell who, like her, are being removed from their committee assignments by MAGA House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, in retaliation for Nancy Pelosi’s 2021 removals of Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar. McCarthy’s act of retribution comes as no surprise, since he promised this back in November 2021. It is no less dangerous for this.

Not voting to certify an election is legal and democrats have used the procedure 5 times, but you know Trump bad and stuff. It’s too bad that common dreams has done away with comments. Anyone know why?

But talking about kabuki don’t you find it weird how when democrats hold the house they can’t pass any legislation that helps us whilst when republicans do and want to do something that hurts us we are told that it’s a done deal even though the senate held by democrats hasn’t voted on it yet?

9 users have voted.

I feel like I’m riding in the backseat of a '66 Thunderbird with Thelma at the wheel and Louise riding shotgun

joe shikspack's picture


wow those congresspersons can really spout outrage.

Doesn’t each party get to decide who’s on a committee?

generally speaking, yes. specifically speaking, not so much. the size and relative numbers of a standing committee are determined by the majority in consultation with the minority. the speaker/majority have the final say.

the minority party proposes which of its members are to serve on a committee, but the majority has the final say.

i guess aoc and omar are doing their assigned party function by stirring up the base. contradictions here (like pelosi denying aoc a seat on a committee) are necessarily elided in favor of charges of racism, sexism and religious bigotry.

6 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

Boris Johnson, a prize buffoon ab initio has seemingly played an outsize role in the Ukrofracas and seemingly still wants to. His ability to do so should be informative to a greater degree than I've seen anybody expound on yet. He is elenski-yiyiyiyi's personal friend, the brotherhood of clowns no doubt, but it isn't clear that that eliminates any strategms whatsoever.

Similarly, we know the ukie housecleaning has nothing to do with corruption. The most likely theory I've heard yet is isolating elenski, for either total puppetization or removal and replacement, but that really isn't our style. We send in the assassins or else foment and stage coups.

And the Feebs, squandering some of the leverage they have over Sleepy Joe and doing so despite the ton of leverage he and other demo cabal insiders also have over them; wtf?

I keep waiting for a hidden door to open and Pirandello to step out and take a bow

be well and have a good one

8 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

heh, it seems that this age has spawned a bunch of idiot world leaders that once exposed as frauds and dullards refuse to exit stage right and continue to savage the public with their "ideas." fsm help us all.

have a great evening!

7 users have voted.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the pattern of US war making seemed to target states formerly on good terms with Russia. The first was Yugoslavia dominated by Serbia. One could argue that Afghanistan was first in fact, before the Soviet collapse. Next were Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Agreed with Wesley Clark that from the outset petroleum resources, prices and distribution were always a major consideration in the middle eastern states, but these states, particularly Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria provided Russia with access to Mediterranean ports for their once formidable fleet operating there. Iraq and Iran were also regarded as potential warm water access points for southern Russian expansion historically.

Syria was the last outpost on the Mediterranean for the Russian Navy. I wasn't surprised when they took a stand there on behalf of Assad's government. Afghanistan was viewed as a strategic location by Zbigniew Brzezinski, relying on the old British heartland theory of Harold MacKinder. He who controls the heartland controls the world island. He who controls the world island controls the world. Ironically, this is what probably frightens western military planners the most about BRI and the Chinese - Russian relationship.

In any case, I always viewed the "clash of civilizations" and the "end of history narratives" as nonsense, and tended to view the war on terrorism as a subterfuge in order to dismantle the extended Russian overseas spheres of influence while the Russians suffered from the aftermath of their systemic collapse. I mentioned this once to a "lefty" radio talk show host when I was in the habit of calling such programs. I was told I was a conspiracy theorist.

I found another aspect of the Three Fronts article somewhat amusing. I had followed Harry Harris in the news since he was PACCOM commander and found him just the typical exponent of empire. Not surprising with his considerable experience with Japan. Later as US ambassador to South Korea, he was a condescending meddlesome fool. South Korea is not going to be a willing participant in US anti-Chinese military schemes despite the current president running South Korea now and the US propaganda to the contrary. I also predict a rocky relationship between South Korea and Japan.

(Source- Yonhap News 11.21) Korean War Hero on Birthday.
Admiral Harris pays homage to the former Japanese Imperial Army officer who served in Manchukuo on behalf of Japan during WWII. General Baik Seon-yup later led troops against the communist armed forces in the Korean conflict. Recently (2019), the former ROK Army four star general was rolled out to encourage active duty ROK Armed Forces personnel and veterans to oppose the Moon Jae-in administration. According to Harris, Moon's administration was full of communist sympathizers.

Harris' official residence was invaded at one point by South Korea activists who resented his imperial interference in South Korea's internal politics. After that, Harris started meokbang threads on his twitter feed preparing Korean meals in the kitchen, in a futile effort to reengage South Korean public opinion and refurbish his tarnished image. Stephen Biegun pretty much did the same thing after the US blew off the Hanoi Summit. He was the US special envoy to North Korea, but operated effectively as the South Korea control officer to squash any tangible South Korean initiatives to North Korea "Lock step, no daylight," remember that?

The Japanese population at large isn't too fond of paying taxes for the increased costs of a military buildup they allegedly favor. How you gonna pay for that? They want an election first to decide the issue. Both South Korea and Japan also have a not in my neighborhood syndrome when it comes to stationing new US weapon systems in their communities. Their right wing governments may be okay with it, but the public is not despite the poll results which allegedly show approval. This is particularly true in the Ryukyu Islands.

The Senkaku /Daiuyo Islands are more likely to trigger some sort of Chinese Japanese confrontation than Taiwan itself. Japan is a real stickler on these territorial disputes with its neighbors over tiny geographic features, it's a reminder of the nature of the Empire of Japan as "victim" in WWII. Biden said that a military conflict between Japan and China over the Senkakus would trigger the US obligation to militarily defend Japan. Japan is also big on defending its former colony Taiwan taken from China in 1895. Reportedly, there are oil and gas resources in the related disputed EEZs. But the Daiuyo Islands are not really islands but rocks if you follow the infamous 2016 UNCLOS mandatory adjudication against China regarding Itu Abu in the South China Sea. Yet Taiping Island/ Itu Abu isn't really a rock but an island with a viable community giving rise to Chinese maritime EEZ rights in the South China Sea.

Thanks for the OT Joe and the news roundup.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the analysis. it seems quite likely that the desire to disadvantage russia was at least a part (more than an appreciated parallel consequence) of u.s. "war on terra" especially considering the neocons' long-term fixation on russia.

Both South Korea and Japan also have a not in my neighborhood syndrome when it comes to stationing new US weapon systems in their communities. Their right wing governments may be okay with it, but the public is not despite the poll results which allegedly show approval.

heh, no civilian population really wants to paint a target on itself, which locating a military installation near to them clearly does, especially when the contestants have nuclear weapons and a demonstrated ability to deliver them.

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


Thanks for posting.

4 users have voted.


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

And I thought Kamala’s speeches were word salads.

How many world leaders are laughing their asses off at this administration? And Biden said that the adults are back in charge of America? I hope someone asked him what the other half of the women are.

5 users have voted.

I feel like I’m riding in the backseat of a '66 Thunderbird with Thelma at the wheel and Louise riding shotgun

Cassiodorus's picture

whereas once upon a time it would be "modernist"...

5 users have voted.

"you can say what you want about this country and I love this place. I love the freedoms we used to have..." -- George Carlin

janis b's picture


Now, that's a concert for all times and genres. Thank you.

3 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture


modernist. Wink

be well and have a good one

4 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 --

janis b's picture

Good vibes received, with thanks.

I’m pretty sure those vibes have contributed to the greater stability I feel ... and the land seems to recognise. There’s been no further movement here despite the continuing rains that have fallen since last Friday. This evening was dry, and the forecast is for a week of dry weather!

Amazing how impulses cross hemispheres ;).

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@janis b

glad to hear that things are going better, i hope everything stabilizes and gets settled quickly.

take care and have a great weekend!

3 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@joe shikspack

You too, enjoy.

0 users have voted.