The Evening Blues - 1-15-18
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This evening's music features blues piano player, singer and songwriter Detroit Junior. Enjoy!
Detroit Junior & Group- Too Poor
We as a people will get to the promised land.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
News and Opinion
In 1999, the polling agency Gallup set out to determine the individuals Americans most admired in the 20th century. Mother Teresa came in first, with 49 percent of Americans putting her at the top; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ranked second, with 34 percent placing him on the same list. But, the polling agency would later write, “King was far from universally revered during his lifetime.” They noted that in 1966, 63 percent of Americans held a negative view of the civil rights leader, while just 32 percent held a positive one. This was a marked reversal from five years earlier, when 41 percent of Americans gave King a positive rating and 37 percent a negative one.
King’s slide in popularity coincided with his activism taking a turn from what Americans largely know him for — his campaign for civil rights in the American South — to a much more radical one aimed at the war in Vietnam and poverty. ... In an April 1967 speech at Riverside Church in New York City, the civil rights leader publicly denounced American involvement in Indochina. ...
The New York Times editorial board lambasted King for linking the war in Vietnam to the struggles of civil rights and poverty alleviation in the United States, saying it was “too facile a connection” and that he was doing a “disservice” to both causes. It concluded that there “are no simple answers to the war in Vietnam or to racial injustice in this country.” The Washington Post editorial board said King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country and his people.” A political cartoon in the Kansas City Star depicted the civil rights movement as a young black girl crying and begging for her drunk father King, who is consuming the contents of a bottle labeled “Anti-Vietnam.”
In all, 168 newspapers denounced him the next day. Johnson ended his formal relationship with King. ... The NAACP under the leadership of Roy Wilkins refused to oppose the war and explicitly condemned the effort to link the peace and civil rights movements. Whitney Young, the leader of the National Urban League, warned that “Johnson needs a consensus. If we are not with him on Vietnam, then he is not going to be with us on civil rights.”
Following King’s assassination, the mood shifted quickly. Johnson, who had once terminated all communication with King and privately cursed his name, issued a statement saying the “heart of America is heavy, the spirit of America weeps” following the activists’s death. Georgia’s segregationist Gov. Lester Maddox, a frequent critic of King, even begrudgingly allowed Georgia’s flag to fly at half mast following his death. Bobby Kennedy, who once authorized the wiretaps of King’s phones, attended the funeral.
Centrist Dems Launch Smear Campaign Against Young Trans Woman, All to Keep an Old Straight White Man in Power
Over the weekend, Chelsea Manning announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate by posting a video outlining the broad themes of her campaign. Manning, a whistleblower who served seven years in a U.S. military brig for exposing systemic U.S. war crimes, was held under prison conditions so brutal that the U.N. formally denounced them as “inhumane.” ...
Since her release from prison, she has become a visible and outspoken advocate for the rights of trans people. She has used her position as a Guardian columnist to stake out a wide range of positions, including drafting a proposed law to provide protections for whistleblowers. She certainly has more political experience and activism than many other Senate candidates previously supported by the Democratic establishment (Al Franken comes to mind as one example). If elected, Manning would become the first trans woman ever, and the youngest woman ever, to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Manning’s opponent in the Democratic Party primary is one of the most standard, banal, typical, privileged and mediocre politicians in the U.S. Congress: Benjamin Cardin, a 74-year-old white, straight man who is seeking his third six-year Senate term. Cardin’s decades-long career as a politician from the start has been steeped in unearned privilege: he first won elective office back in 1966, when his uncle, Maurice Cardin, gave up his seat in order to bequeath it to his nephew Benjamin. With this dynastic privilege as his base, he has spent the last 50 years climbing the political ladder in Maryland. Cardin has remarkably few achievements for being in Congress for so many years. One of his few distinctions is that he has become one of the Senate’s most reliable and loyal supporters of AIPAC’s agenda and the Israeli government, if not the single most loyal. ...
Despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, establishment Democrats wasted no time in mocking and denouncing Manning’s bid to become the first ever trans woman in the Senate, instead quickly lining up in support behind the straight white male who has wielded power for decades. To demean Manning, many of these establishment Democrats invoked the primary tactic they now reflexively use against anyone they view as a political adversary: they depicted her as a tool of the Kremlin, whose candidacy is really just a disguised plot engineered by Moscow.
Oh my god: this is how deranged official Washington is. The President of the largest Dem Party think tank (funded in part by dictators) genuinely believes Chelsea Manning's candidacy is a Kremlin plot. Conspiracy theorists thrive more in mainstream DC than on internet fringes pic.twitter.com/e8g314iQHT
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 15, 2018
Modern-day Republicans and Democrats often speak as if they love King, even as they excoriate the real heirs to his legacy: the Black Lives Matter activists and other social justice warriors who fight for racial and economic liberation. But the truth is, many of these American politicians would have hated King when he was alive as much as they hypocritically dishonor his radical legacy today. ...
Take Democrat senators (who love to talk about loving King) and who recently voted for a $700bn war funding package this fall, the kind of bill King would have excoriated as part of “the three evils of society” – “the giant triplets of racism, economic exploitation and militarism”. Our war-loving politicians would not have liked when King got all up at Riverside church a year to the day before he was assassinated to deliver his most powerful speech: “Beyond Vietnam”. They’d have cringed when he criticized American imperialism, warning “if we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam” and that “the world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve”.
If he’d lived past age 39, King would have been offended by Trump calling Haiti a “shithole” country and saying Haitians “all have Aids”. But King would have been equally angry about the exploitation of Haiti for centuries – by enslavement, by colonial plunder, and even by “respectable” US Republicans like George HW Bush. It was under Bush senior in the early 1990s, after all, when the US intercepted hundreds of fleeing Haitian refugees, sent them to a makeshift prison at Guantánamo Bay (this, not 9/11, is how Gitmo became an indefinite detention center), tested them for HIV, and sterilized the HIV positive women without their knowledge or consent. ...
As you listen to American politicians from both parties invoke MLK this weekend, think about if their actions live up to King’s vision of justice – and push them as hard as he would have when they fall short.
Following a stunning false alert that Hawaii was the target of a ballistic missile threat, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said Sunday the incident underscores the need for President Donald Trump to directly negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the rogue nation's nuclear weapons. "Absolutely and immediately. This is something that I’ve been calling for for a long time," Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said on ABC's "This Week."
"The people of Hawaii are paying the price now for decades of failed leadership in this country, of failure to directly negotiate, to prevent us from getting to this point where we’re dealing with this threat today, setting unrealistic preconditions," she added.
An emergency alert sent to people in the state Saturday warned: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL." The alert was sent in error, but it took 38 minutes to correct the message as a false alarm. ...
A critic of U.S. military intervention in nations like Libya and Syria, among others, Gabbard added that policymakers need to "understand why Kim Jong Un is saying he’s not going to give up his nuclear weapons." It's a reaction, she argued, to U.S. overseas intervention. ... "It is critical that we end our policy, the regime change wars, to provide that credible guarantee that the United States is not going to go in and topple the North Korean regime so that these conversations can begin toward denuclearization."
Across the military, officers and troops are quietly preparing for a war they hope will not come. At Fort Bragg in North Carolina last month, a mix of 48 Apache gunships and Chinook cargo helicopters took off in an exercise that practiced moving troops and equipment under live artillery fire to assault targets. Two days later, in the skies above Nevada, 119 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division parachuted out of C-17 military cargo planes under cover of darkness in an exercise that simulated a foreign invasion.
Next month, at Army posts across the United States, more than 1,000 reserve soldiers will practice how to set up so-called mobilization centers that move military forces overseas in a hurry. And beginning next month with the Winter Olympics in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang, the Pentagon plans to send more Special Operations troops to the Korean Peninsula, an initial step toward what some officials said ultimately could be the formation of a Korea-based task force similar to the types that are fighting in Iraq and Syria. Others said the plan was strictly related to counterterrorism efforts.
In the world of the American military, where contingency planning is a mantra drummed into the psyche of every officer, the moves are ostensibly part of standard Defense Department training and troop rotations. But the scope and timing of the exercises suggest a renewed focus on getting the country’s military prepared for what could be on the horizon with North Korea. ... After 16 years of fighting insurgents in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, American commanding generals worry that the military is better prepared for going after stateless groups of militants than it is for its own conventional mission of facing down heavily fortified land powers that have their own formidable militaries and air defenses.
When it comes to covering protests in other countries, it seems any vague picture of brown people protesting can stand in for those actually on the streets expressing their grievances. Since the outbreak of protests across Iran three weeks ago, several major outlets have used pictures of demonstrations in the United States, France, or United Kingdom—organized by a fringe, cult-like group, Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK)—in place of images of the entirely unaffiliated protesters, 6,000 miles away, who are the topic of discussion.
Fox News, Scientific American, Vox, Salon, National Interest and Axios were among the outlets that used unidentified photos of protests not in Iran to illustrate stories about protests in Iran. ...
Casually throwing around MEK images to represent unrest in Iran is the worst combination of insulting and sloppy. It would be like a Chinese outlet, in 2012, using images of a Westboro Baptist Church protest in a story about Occupy Wall Street, because both opposed the US government. The exact ideology of those protesting in Iran isn’t 100 percent clear—they seem to represent a mix of groups and grievances—but MEK has virtually zero support in Iran itself, having been disowned by the Green Movement (the last major protest movement in Iran) in 2009, and is widely loathed for working with Israeli intelligence and fighting alongside the Iraqi army in Iran’s decade-long war against Saddam in the 1980s that killed a half-million Iranians. The MEK has carried out several bomb attacks in Iran, and was even officially listed by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization for 16 years, until it was removed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012, after a years-long lobbying effort by pro-regime change forces within the US.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has accused the US of forming a “terror army”, after Washington announced plans for a 30,000-strong force inside Syria to protect territory held by its mainly Kurdish allies.
On Sunday, the US-led coalition said it was working with its Syrian militia allies, the mainly Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to set up the new border force. The force would operate along the borders with Turkey and Iraq, as well as within Syria along the Euphrates river, which separates most SDF territory from that held by the government. The announcement was one of the few insights into the Trump administration’s longer-term thinking for Syria.
The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish YPG, and the plan for the force dashes Turkish hopes that the US would abandon the YPG once the war against Islamic State came to an end. Turkey regards the Kurdish YPG militia as indistinguishable from the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) operating inside Turkey, which it regards as a terror group. “A country we call an ally is insisting on forming a terror army on our borders,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara. “What can that terror army target but Turkey? Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born.”
Russia also opposed the plan, saying it could lead to the partitioning of Syria. For its part, the Syrian regime vowed to win back control of the entire country, including by removing any form of US-backed Syrian Kurdish force. The US plan was a blatant attack on Syrian sovereignty, Syria said.
The RAF has been scrambled to intercept two long-range Russian bombers over the North Sea. The Tupolev Tu-160s, known to Nato as Blackjacks, were monitored on Monday as they flew past Norway and Denmark and near the Netherlands.
Two Typhoon jets from RAF Lossiemouth picked them up about 30 miles (48km) from UK airspace and escorted them. Both Russia and Nato, including Britain, routinely test reactions with such sorties, sometimes flying almost up to the boundaries of each other’s airspace. Blackjacks make flights close to UK airspace about eight to nine times a year. ...
Despite an increase in diplomatic tension between Moscow and the west, the number of such sorties by Russia towards UK airspace has not increased.
Trump was at his golf course on Monday as the US marked Martin Luther King Jr Day. The president retweeted a video of his weekly address, with words including: “Dr King’s dream is our dream. It is the American Dream.”
But his alleged comments continued to reverberate. On Sunday, congressman John Lewis, who marched with King for voting rights in Selma, Alabama in 1965, told ABC: “I think he is a racist …
“I don’t think there’s any way that you can square what the president said with the words of Martin Luther King Jr and what he said about Dr King. It’s just impossible. There’s not any way you can do that. It’s unreal. It’s unbelievable. It makes me sad. It makes me cry.”
Patrick Gaspard, who was born to Haitian parents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and was US ambassador to South Africa under Barack Obama, told the Guardian: “Methinks he doth protest too much. ...
“These kind of sentiments are disorienting for our partners. They’re not entirely sure what to make of the American identity at the beginning of the 21st century and they worry about what the policy implications will be for our partnerships on trade, economic prosperity, healthcare and, essentially, security. Americans should be concerned about that as well.”
South Africa, a country painfully familiar with the dangers of racial division, demanded Sunday the U.S. account for Donald Trump’s “shithole” slur against the African continent. The South African foreign ministry said it would formally protest to the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria Monday and summon the embassy’s charges d'affaires to explain the remarks.
“South Africa aligns itself with the statements issued by the African Union and the Africa group of Ambassadors to the United Nations in New York. Africa is united in its affirmation of the dignity of the people of Africa and the African diaspora,” the statement said. “Relations between South Africa and the United States, and between the rest of Africa and the United States, must be based on mutual respect and understanding.”
Florida prisoners are calling for a general strike to start this week — marking the third mass action over the course of a year in protest of inhumane conditions in the state’s detention facilities. Detainees in at least eight prisons have declared their intention to stop all work on Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — to demand an end to unpaid labor and price gouging in prison commissaries, as well as the restoration of parole, among other requests.
Coordinated, nonviolent prison protests as well as spontaneous uprisings amid deteriorating conditions have escalated in recent years both nationwide and in Florida, which has the third largest prison system in the country. Prisoners in the state were among the most active during a nationwide strike in September 2016, which was quickly dubbed the “largest prison strike in U.S. history.” At least 10 Florida prisons participated in that action, which was planned to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising but started a day early when tensions flared at Holmes Correctional Institution in the Florida Panhandle. Then, in August, in response to prison activists’ calls for another show of dissent, Department of Corrections officials placed the entire state system — 143 facilities and 97,000 people — on lockdown, an unprecedented move. ...
Prisoners are demanding compensation for their work as opposed to “the current slave arrangement,” they wrote, in which they are paid in time deducted from their sentences. “A lot of times people will work in order to get time deducted, and then the prison guards and officials will find ways to punish someone for what the prisoners are saying are made up reasons that then extend the person’s time,” Jacqueline Azis, an attorney with the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Intercept.
“We want to be paid for the work we do, so that somebody doesn’t end up spending 10, 15, 20 years not being paid, and sent home with a bus ticket and a $50 check,” the prisoner speaking in the recording said. “We want to create an environment where someone can do their time, be rehabilitated, and enter into society with some type of hope.”
“That would be helpful for society instead of creating a revolving door where you lock people up and just set them up for failure so that they keep coming back.”
Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS founder who sponsored the unverified anti-Trump dossier, claimed in August and again Jan. 2 that the FBI has a source inside the Trump camp who lent credence to the document.
When a transcript of his secret August testimony was released on Tuesday, news headlines immediately latched onto the disclosure as a boon to a dossier whose core charges of Donald Trump-Russia collusion have been denied and not confirmed publicly.
Then suddenly, as quick as the headlines went up, some one close to Fusion was waving off reporters. Mr. Simpson had “mischaracterized” the source. It was not some one on the Trump inside, but apparently an Australian diplomat.
The Justice Department Helped a County Prosecutor Target the Facebook Records of Anti-Pipeline Activists
Nine months after pipeline opponents in Washington state staged a protest that blocked freeway traffic, Facebook ended a protracted legal standoff with a county prosecutor, turning over detailed records on the indigenous-led group behind the demonstration. Despite the fact that no criminal charges have been filed in connection with the February action, Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney David McEachran repeatedly sought a warrant for the group’s Facebook page, ultimately securing private information including messages to and from the page and a list of everyone “invited” to the protest event.
McEachran’s first two warrant applications were withdrawn after the American Civil Liberties Union and Facebook raised objections. On the third try, however, the warrant was granted thanks to Facebook’s suggestion that McEachran’s office seek formal guidance from the nation’s top law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice. A public records request filed by The Intercept shows that the local agency and its federal counterpart cooperated to draft the ultimately successful warrant using a DOJ template.
Activists affiliated with the climate justice group, Red Line Salish Sea, view the investigation as retaliation for their February protest, a march against local fossil fuel projects and President Donald Trump’s executive orders expediting construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. “Not only does this warrant attempt to scare people from organizing, this warrant attempts to scare people from even looking at information,” Tina McKim, an administrator of Red Line’s Facebook page, wrote in a declaration.
The DOJ’s intervention in the case makes it the latest example of the Trump administration’s direct involvement in law enforcement actions against protesters who allege they are being targeted for protected First Amendment activity: On the other side of the country, the DOJ is pursuing decades of prison time for protesters, journalists, medics, and legal advocates arrested during the anti-Trump “J20” demonstrations on Inauguration Day. In that case, too, the prosecution secured warrants for the Facebook page and website used to organize the protests. Now, Standing Rock-inspired activists in Whatcom County find themselves on the front lines of the battle over Americans’ right to anonymously organize with political groups.
Greenpeace is launching a campaign on Monday to back the creation of the largest protected area in the history of conservation by setting aside 700,000 square miles of seas surrounding Antarctica in order to save fragile marine ecosystems and curb the damage to key planetary systems.
"The Antarctic is home to an abundance of wildlife," wrote Will McCallum, head of oceans for Greenpeace, on the group's blog. "Whales, penguins and colossal squid are just a few of the many animals who call it home. And it’s not just important to animals—the health of our oceans sustains our planet, and provides billions of people with their livelihoods. But threats from overfishing, plastic pollution and climate change mean we urgently need a network of sanctuaries across the world to restore our oceans' health."
First proposed by the European Union, the Protect the Antarctic campaign would create the world's largest wildlife sanctuary, banning all fishing in the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula. Industrial krill fishing in the area has killed off large quantities of a small crustacean that larger animals including penguins and whales rely on for food.
"The next few years are absolutely essential for the future of our oceans and we are in desperate need for governments to come together and do what is best for these amazing ecosystems," McCallum told the Guardian.
The group will urge countries including Norway, Russia, South Korea, and China—all of which have large krill fishing industries—to back the proposal.
A new report showing that renewable prices may soon out-compete fossil fuels offers just the latest evidence to bolster demands that oil, gas, and coal to be left "in the ground."
The cost analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for delivering electricity was presented Saturday at the opening of the organization's Eighth Assembly in Abu Dhabi.
Prices are already falling for renewable power generation, the publication notes, and says that wind and solar power will be on par with—or even cheaper than—the cost of fossil fuel-generated electricity by 2020. Among the "remarkable" price reductions has been for utility-scale solar PV which have dropped 73 percent since 2010, the report says.
By 2019, the study predicts onshore wind and solar PV projects will be able to deliver electricity for $0.03/kWh, and offshore wind will be able to meet the task for $ 0.06 to $0.10/kWh starting in 2020. Fossil fuel generation, in contrast, was estimated to be between $0.05 and $0.17/kWh in 2017.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Detroit Jr. - Come On In
Detroit Jr. - Money Crazy
Detroit Junior - Money Tree
Detroit Jr. - Secret Love
Detroit Jr - The Way I Feel
Detroit Junior - So Unhappy
Detroit Junior - Windy City Blues
Detroit Junior - I Got Money
Detroit Junior - If I Hadn't Been High