The Evening Blues - 10-18-18



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Frankie Lee Sims



Hey! Good Evening!


This evening's music features Texas blues guitarist Frankie Lee Sims. Enjoy!



Frankie Lee Sims - She Likes To Boogie Real Low

“The important thing to know about an assassination or an attempted assassination is not who fired the shot, but who paid for the bullet.”

-- Eric Ambler


News and Opinion


Say, does anybody remember when U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the murder of a 16 year-old kid from Colorado?

As long as the media are all hot and bothered about the Saudi's arranging assassinations, perhaps they might want to also pay attention to the frequent assassination campaigns that United States presidents personally order as a matter of normal policy as well as those that U.S. ally Israel perpetrates.

This interview with human rights attorney Noura Erekat is worth a full read. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Why Israel’s — and America’s — Legal Justifications for Assassinations Don’t Add Up

The expansion of legal rules around targeted killings by the United States is one of the most consequential legacies of the post-9/11 era. Under both the Bush and Obama administrations, the U.S. government arrogated itself broad rights to kill individuals far from any battlefield. The legal reasoning that former President Barack Obama used to publicly justify the ramped-up drone warfare program had its origins in a similar past effort by Israeli military lawyers to justify Israel’s targeted killings of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. ...

How have the Israeli government and military lawyers employed international law to justify the use of targeted killings?

During the Second Intifada, Israel created an entirely new set of laws of war to govern their relationship with the Palestinians. As Daniel Reisner, former head of the [Israel Defense Forces]’s International Law Department, himself stated in this article, Israel developed the concept of “armed conflict, short of war” to give itself the ability to legally justify its targeted killing policies in the occupied territories. The issue is that there exists a body of international law that dealt with situations of guerrilla warfare, namely the 1977 Additional Protocols I and II, which Israel has simply refused to recognize. The whole reason they needed to create these new legal concepts is because they were rejecting existing laws that were created during the 20th century, specifically to regulate this kind of irregular combat. ...

The United States has used similarly expansive legal reasoning to justify its targeted killing operations in the war on terror. Is there a relationship between the Israeli legal efforts and those used in the American global counterterrorism campaign?

There is a synergy, in the sense that U.S. and Israeli arguments to expand the use of lethal force have been building off each other. As per the U.N. Charter, the use of force is generally prohibited, with a few exceptions, including individual and collective self-defense or when specifically authorized by a Security Council resolution under its Chapter VII authority. After 9/11, there was a shift under the Bush administration toward the use of preventive force, as opposed to pre-emptive self-defense, under customary law, or a response to an armed attack under treaty law. This shift becomes the basis of legal justification for extrajudicial assassinations, or targeted killings, outside of hot battlefields. It was during the Obama-era drone warfare campaign, however, that these changes were really institutionalized. Whatever public hostility there was to Bush administration activities almost disappeared under Obama, though what he did in terms of targeted killings far exceeded what Bush did. It was liberal lawyers like Harold Koh and Martin Lederman who wrote the legal memos justifying these policies. Their efforts ultimately also helped legitimate previously unprecedented Israeli legal arguments in favor of expanding the range of circumstances when lethal force can be legally used.

Is Erdogan using Khashoggi disappearance to "his political advantage"?

Jamal Khashoggi: Trump says US asked for audio 'if it exists'

Donald Trump says the US has asked Turkey for an audio recording of Jamal Khashoggi’s death which reportedly proves he was brutally tortured before his premeditated murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials said the audio recording had been handed over to the US and Saudi Arabia. But on Wednesday, Trump told reporters: “We’ve asked for it … if it exists” – before adding that it “probably does” exist. ...

Trump’s defence of the Saudi royals has become increasingly difficult as Turkish government leaks and press reports have revealed more details about the grisly nature of Khashoggi’s fate and the involvement of Saudi operatives close to the Saudi crown prince.

The evidence, if confirmed, would also undermine any Saudi attempt to claim that Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation gone wrong, carried out by rogue elements in the Saudi intelligence and security services. Multiple reports have suggested that Riyadh was contemplating putting out a narrative along those lines. ...

It is unclear how the Turkish authorities obtained audio recordings of the murder, but officials have briefed multiple news organisations on their macabre contents.

Founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network says arms deal is more important than Khashoggi

What would Jesus do? Not risk the arms deal, apparently.

Pat Robertson, the prominent evangelical and founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, said Monday on " The 700 Club" that Americans shouldn’t bother themselves over the likely murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate because the American arms deal with Saudi Arabia is more important.

“You’ve got $100 billion worth of arms sales,” said Robertson. “We cannot alienate our biggest player in the Middle East.” ...

“These people are key allies,” Robertson said of Saudi Arabia. “I don’t think on this issue we need pull sanctions and get tough. I just think it’s a mistake.”

Code Pink Brilliantly Shuts Down Iran War Peddlers

Trump just threatened to call up the military and close the entire Southern border

Donald Trump threatened to deploy the U.S. military to close the southern border with Mexico Thursday, part of a breakfast Twitter rant blaming Democrats for enabling a criminal “assault on our country.”

Returning to his major preoccupation, Trump said the flow of Central American migrants through Mexico into the United States was resulting in “Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in” to the country, and threatened to suspend all aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in response.

“In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so, I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!

Trump recently expressed anger over a caravan of up to 2,000 migrants from Honduras that has been moving northwards through the region this week. He tweeted Tuesday that he would cut financial aid to Honduras immediately unless the group, which set off from San Pedro Sula Friday, was turned back. Trump also warned of repercussions to neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador if they allowed the migrants to pass through.

Less Than Year After GOP Tax Scam, Six Biggest Banks Already Raked in $9 Billion in Extra Profits

It has been nearly a full year since the Republican Party rammed through its transparent scam of a tax bill in the face of massive grassroots resistance, and the results have been almost precisely what nearly every analyst predicted: Record profits for the rich and massive corporations, little to nothing for American workers.

Among the greatest beneficiaries of the GOP's bill have been America's six largest banks, which this week reported soaring third quarter profits and—according to the Not One Penny coalition—have already raked in a over $9 billion in extra profits as a direct result of President Donald Trump's $1.5 trillion tax law. "These latest filings show that big banks have stopped at nothing to make more money—and that the GOP's tax law gave them license to put profits over people," Not One Penny spokesperson Ryan Thomas said in a statement on Thursday, highlighting the enthusiastic earnings reports of Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo.

"These six banks have constantly chosen to use these tax breaks to enrich their shareholders and executives while laying off employees and exploiting consumers," Thomas noted, pointing to the explosion of stock buybacks since the GOP tax bill became law. "These shameful actions—and the Republican tax law that permitted them—indicate just how rigged the system is against working people and the middle class." As Common Dreams has reported, American workers have seen virtually zero gains from the GOP tax bill despite lofty promises from Republican lawmakers. Overall, even as the economy has grown at a steady clip this year, wages for most workers have actually fallen in real terms as CEO pay has skyrocketed.

With midterms less than three weeks away, the GOP is plowing ahead with another $600 billion in tax cuts for the rich while vowing to slash Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security if they retain control of Congress.

After Leaked Video, Sanders and Warren Demand Bezos Answer for Amazon's "Potentially Illegal" Union Busting

After a leaked training video provided a rare glimpse into the aggressive tactics Amazon deploys to prevent its workers from organizing and bargaining for better working conditions, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sent a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos on Wednesday expressing alarm at his trillion-dollar company's "potentially illegal anti-union behavior" and demanding a copy of the full video.

"It is important to recognize that workers' rights do not stop at the minimum wage, and raising the pay of your lowest-paid workers, while important, does not give you a free pass to engage in potentially illegal anti-union behavior," the senators wrote, referencing Amazon's recent decision to raise the minimum wage of its U.S. employees to $15 an hour in the face of massive grassroots pressure. "It is also important to note that, absent a union, Amazon remains free to unilaterally cancel the increase or make other cuts to compensation," Sanders and Warren continued. "Unfortunately, Amazon's recent conduct provides a telling example: immediately after announcing the wage increase, Amazon cut bonuses and eliminated stock options for warehouse workers." ...

In their letter, Sanders and Warren also demanded that Bezos explain "disturbing allegations" that Amazon has recently fired workers who have raised concerns about the company's low pay and poor working conditions. Such retaliation, the senators note, would constitute a serious violation of federal labor law.

Los Angeles grapples with outbreak of typhus among its poorest

Los Angeles officials have pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars and created a dedicated taskforce to fight an outbreak of typhus, as a city of glittering wealth grapples with a disease linked to intense poverty. “We’re deploying every available resource to help control and stop this outbreak,” said Alex Comisar, press secretary for Los Angeles’s mayor, Eric Garcetti.

Many of those resources have focused on the city’s large homeless population, considered most at risk for contracting the flea-borne illness. This same time last year, California’s homeless population was threatened by an outbreak of hepatitis A, another disease associated with impoverishment and poor sanitation, which killed 21 people and infected hundreds. There have been 64 cases of typhus reported across Los Angeles county so far this year, more than the 53 cases recorded this time last year, and on track to surpass the 67 cases diagnosed last year total. A department of public health spokesperson said the outbreak began with 11 cases of typhus in downtown Los Angeles, six of which were diagnosed in people who were homeless.

According to the most recent count, 53,000 people are homeless across Los Angeles county, many of them in the downtown neighborhood of Skid Row. The streets of Skid Row are lined with tents and sometimes strewn with trash. Chronic sickness and hospitalization is common among the residents of Skid Row, many of whom have been forced into the streets by the city’s soaring rents and lack of affordable housing. Homeless residents have no choice but to live in close proximity to rats and other rodents, putting the homeless and their pets especially at risk for flea exposure and typhus. The lack of access to toilets and places to wash up can also help the spread of disease.

Shocking!

Salesforce CEO: tech billionaires 'hoard their money' and won't help homeless

Marc Benioff, the Salesforce CEO, has escalated his attacks on fellow San Francisco billionaires, saying they are “hoarding” money and don’t want to help the homeless. In an interview with the Guardian on Tuesday, the tech entrepreneur intensified his criticisms of Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, saying: “He just doesn’t want to give, that’s all. And he hasn’t given anything of consequence in the city.”

Benioff’s recent efforts to call out ultra-wealthy business leaders has caused divides in the tech industry, which has typically been united in its resistance to taxes that could fund services and combat income inequality. The CEOs’ unusual public spat centers on Proposition C, a ballot measure that would tax large businesses in San Francisco by implementing an average 0.5% gross receipts tax for company revenues over $50m. The measure is meant to help fix a rapidly expanding humanitarian crisis in the city.

The growth of tech firms such as Salesforce, a cloud computing company and one of the largest employers in the city, has contributed to a massive housing shortage, with thousands left homeless, including one in 25 public school children. Prop C, which Benioff is backing, is expected to raise between $250m and $300m a year to pay for housing, shelters, mental health treatment and more. Dorsey, who also runs Square, a second major San Francisco-based tech firm, recently announced his opposition to the measure, saying he did not believe it was “the best way” to “fix the homeless problem”.

Benioff said by phone that he had expected Dorsey to stand against Prop C – and that he did not anticipate the Twitter co-founder would change his mind or give back in a meaningful way. “That’s not a surprise to me. There’s lots of CEOs and companies and billionaires in that category. We have 70 billionaires in San Francisco [Bay Area region]. Not all of them are giving money away. A lot of them are just hoarding it. They’re keeping it. That’s just who they are and how they look at their money.”

For Next Weapon in Anti-Protest Arsenal, US Military Building Plasma Gun Capable of Vaporizing Human Flesh

Recent reporting out of the Pentagon reveals that the U.S. military is working on perfecting what they called a Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS)—or plasma gun, for short—intended for mounting on a truck or a tank. Billed as the military's latest "crowd control" technology, what this has typically meant is a new "non-lethal" weapon designed for use by militaries or police forces against unruly demonstrators or those standing against powerful state actors or corporate forces.

According to U.S. government documents, the aim of the ongoing project is to develop "a lightweight and energy efficient next-generation Ultra-Short Pulse Laser (USPL) system that can produce sustainable and controllable plasma at range capable of inducing a full spectrum of scalable non-lethal effects." As a so-called "scalable" weapon, it will be able to shoot not only piercing sounds, but also "burn off" or "vaporize" human skin, and ultimately could be used to kill its target.

As the Daily Mail recently explained, the weapon will be able to "produce a range of effects":

  • At the lowest setting, the weapon can produce speech, and it will be able to warn people up to 3,200 feet (1,000m) away by delivering voice messages.
  • When it gets closer, the weapon will deliver a 'Flash-bang effect' by sending an 'acoustic blast of ~ 165+ dB at minimum distance of 100 meters'.
  • It will also be able to send a 'Flash blind effects (6-8 million candela)' momentarily blinding people at minimum distance of 100 meters
  • The highest setting of the current model will let loose 'Full scalable thermal ablative effects' through common natural clothing (i.e., fabric, denim, leather, etc.) at minimum distance of 100 meters. This would painfully vaporize the outer layer of skin – rather than burning it will be turned into gas.

Vaporizing skin? Yes, that's precisely what "scalable thermal ablative effects" means.

Ultimately, as the government's program plan lays out, the weapon would "have direct application to many other U.S. Government agencies as well as civilian law enforcement. ... Of course, what this often means is using such a weapon—as has long been true with other "crowd control" technologies—in order to intimidate or put down public protest or organized demonstrations that are seen as threatening to powerful interests.



the horse race



US treasury official charged with leaking Trump-Russia information to reporter

A US treasury department official has been arrested and charged with leaking information relating to the Trump-Russia investigation to a journalist. Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards is accused of disclosing reports over the past year on suspicious financial activity by figures including Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.

Federal prosecutors alleged that the leaks were used for a series of reports published by BuzzFeed News titled The Money Trail, which has revealed details of numerous money transfers flagged as suspicious to treasury investigators.

Edwards, a senior adviser at the treasury’s financial crimes enforcement network, has been charged with unlawfully disclosing suspicious activity reports and conspiring to do so. She was due to appear in a court in Virginia on Wednesday afternoon. She allegedly admitted to FBI agents that she gave the reports to the journalist, but said she was acting as a whistleblower. Investigators said she had previously filed an unrelated whistleblower complaint and discussed this with congressional officials.

Native Americans React to Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test: Stop Making Native People “Political Fodder”

Why wouldn't they sound like Democrats? There is only one party and no principles.

Growing number of Republicans sounding a lot like Democrats ahead of elections

A growing number of Republican candidates are sounding a lot like Democrats as they face midterm elections, co-opting Democratic talking points on issues such as health care, education funding and the #MeToo movement. Republicans around the country have begun campaigning on safeguarding insurance protections for people with preexisting medical conditions, a pillar of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — even though the GOP spent years trying to repeal the law.

In Arizona, Wisconsin and elsewhere, conservative GOP governors known for clashing with teachers are now campaigning on pledges to boost teacher pay or spending on students.

And after the bitter fight over Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, a handful of Republicans are trying to turn the #MeToo movement against Democrats, advancing accusations of sexual wrongdoing or assault against their opponents.

Poll after poll shows health care as the top issue for voters. Democrats repeatedly have said that the GOP, which is intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act, will strip Americans of the core protection of coverage for those with preexisting conditions. In the campaign’s final stretch, the messaging from Republicans is in part an acknowledgment that the Democratic argument has resonated with voters. And on other issues, with their control of Congress and statehouses at risk, Republicans appear to have concluded that the best offense is a good defense.

Rod Rosenstein's Wall Street Journal interview prompts Republican outrage

Some congressional Republicans are furious with the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, for giving a wide-ranging interview to the Wall Street Journal , while he reportedly ducks on-the-record questioning from legislators. Rosenstein oversees the work of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian election interference, links between Trump aides and Russia, and potential obstruction of justice by Donald Trump.

Lawmakers have wanted to hear from Rosenstein ever since the New York Times reported that he had openly discussed the idea of wearing a wire to obtain incriminating evidence on Trump, and the idea of impeaching the president via the 25th amendment. Rosenstein has called those claims “inaccurate”. Rosenstein did not address those reported remarks in his interview with the Journal, and has said he won’t comment at all on the New York Times report, blaming the alleged statements on “anonymous sources … advancing their own personal agenda”. But that didn’t stop GOP legislators from questioning his priorities.

“Rod Rosenstein gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal today, after failing to show up in Congress last week to answer questions,” tweeted the Republican congressman Mark Meadows Wednesday. “By hiding from Congress and making time for media interviews, Mr Rosenstein has made his priorities clear. It seems transparency isn’t one of them.”





the evening greens


The "tragicomedy" that is the Democrat Party continues unabated:

'Are You Kidding Me?' Outrage as Democrats Push 'Incremental Steps' Over Bold Agenda Needed to Save Planet from Climate Catastrophe

Hundreds of mammal species have been wiped out due to human activity, planetary warming has sparked a "bugpocalypse" that is horrifying scientists, and United Nations experts are warning that the international community has just 12 years to transform global energy systems in order to avert climate catastrophe—but House Democrats are reportedly brushing aside widespread demands for urgent action in favor of "more incremental steps and hearings."

"Democrats are unlikely to pursue major climate change legislation if they win the House majority, despite a growing body of evidence suggesting time is running out to address the issue," The Hill reported on Wednesday, citing House members who believe a piecemeal approach to climate policy will be more "pragmatic" in the face of GOP and White House denialism.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, told The Hill that if Democrats retake the House in next month's midterms, they will "focus on the practical and the opportunistic" steps available while vaguely keeping in mind "the aspirational goals."


Environmentalists were quick to make clear that such a passive approach is unacceptable—and tantamount to climate denial—given that humanity has just a dozen years to enact fundamental changes to the world economy and energy production before the climate crisis inflicts catastrophic and irreversible damage.


Local Fury and Health Concerns as Japan Plans to Dump a Million Tons of Radioactive Fukushima Water Into Ocean

In a move that has sparked outrage from local residents and dire health warnings from environmentalists, the Japanese government is reportedly planning to release 1.09 million tons of water from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean despite evidence that it contains "radioactive material well above legally permitted levels."

While both the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco)—the company that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant—have claimed that radioactive material in the water has been reduced to indetectable amounts and that only "safe levels of tritium" remain, documents obtained by the London-based Telegraph suggest that the cleaning system being used to decontaminate the water "has consistently failed to eliminate a cocktail of other radioactive elements, including iodine, ruthenium, rhodium, antimony, tellurium, cobalt, and strontium."

"The government is running out of space to store contaminated water that has come into contact with fuel that escaped from three nuclear reactors after the plant was destroyed in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan," the Telegraph reported. "Its plan to release the approximately 1.09 million tons of water currently stored in 900 tanks into the Pacific has triggered a fierce backlash from local residents and environmental organizations, as well as groups in South Korea and Taiwan fearful that radioactivity from the second-worst nuclear disaster in history might wash up on their shores."

One document the Telegraph obtained from the government body charged with responding to the 2011 Fukushima disaster reportedly indicates that the Japanese government is perfectly aware that the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) is failing to eliminate radioactive materials from the water stored at the Fukushima site, despite its claims to the contrary.

Revealed: US moves to keep endangered species discussions secret

The Trump administration is moving to restrict the release of information about its decisions on endangered species, according to a confidential internal document obtained by the Guardian. It comes as wildlife advocates and scientists accuse the government of attempting to weaken protections for wildlife, including wolves, grizzly bears and sage grouse, while boosting domestic energy production and mining in crucial animal habitat.

In a private September guidance sent to offices around the country, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, or FWS, recommended that employees with its ecological services program – which administers the Endangered Species Act – take a less transparent approach when responding to certain Freedom of Information Act requests from the public. The guidance contains a list of records that “should be considered for withholding in full or in part” from the public, including draft versions of policies and rules; internal PowerPoint presentations and webinars; deliberative email communications and meeting notes; and others.

Such records should be carefully reviewed and possibly withheld, the guidance suggests, if they might hamper the defense of the government’s decisions in certain court cases and cause “foreseeable harm” to the federal government by sowing “public confusion” or subjecting officials to public scrutiny and thereby creating a “chilling effect” on internal decision-making processes.

“This guidance would effectively prevent the American people from standing up for science and endangered species,” said Meg Townsend, the open government staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, a wildlife conservation group. “It would become much more difficult to challenge improper decisions that hurt imperiled animals.” Townsend added that the new guidance would directly impact the work of her organization. In a recent lawsuit against both FWS and the state department, for instance, the center used internal FWS documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act to support its argument that the agency had failed to adequately account for the Keystone XL pipeline’s potential harm to critically endangered whooping cranes when it signed off on the controversial project.

The center obtained emails and other records that, it says, helped show that the government did not sufficiently plan how to prevent whooping cranes from colliding with new power lines, a leading cause of death for the species. Under the agency’s new Foia guidance, Townsend said, the center would probably not have obtained some of the documents it relied on to make those arguments in its lawsuit.



Also of Interest

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

Israel’s 50-Year Time Bomb

Jair Bolsonaro Wants Brazilian Cops to Kill More. So Why Are Victims of Police Violence Voting for Him?

Professor Was Improperly Punished for Israel Boycott Actions, Says Academic Group Cited in Punishment

Why Coverage of Indigenous Issues Is So Lousy

As the fracking protesters show, a people’s rebellion is the only way to fight climate breakdown


A Little Night Music


Frankie Lee Sims - Hey Little Girl

Frankie Lee Sims - Well Goodbye Baby

Frankie Lee Sims - Come Back Baby Pt 1

Frankie Lee Sims - Walking With Frankie

Frankie Lee Sims - As Long As I Live

Frankie Lee Sims - Rhumba My Boogie

Frankie Lee Sims - Raggedy and Dirty

Frankie Lee Sims - Woman Why'd You Break My Heart

Frankie Lee Sims - Lucy Mae Blues

Frankie Lee Sims - Going to the River

Frankie Lee Sims - Wine And Gin Bounce



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Comments

mimi's picture

can't finish reading it.

Good Night and Good Luck. I think we all need it pretty soon.

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divineorder's picture

@mimi

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10 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

enhydra lutris's picture

@divineorder
spread anti US propaganda, but actually actively incited people to attack the US and its interests. Obama, therefore, felt compelled to extract a penalty of biblical proportions, killing both the malfeasosr and his firstborn. (This also prevents said heir from seeking vengeance)

Thus, every person in the world was put on notice that pissing off the US just might lead not merely to your own death, but to the extinction of your entire bloodline.

(only partly snark, I'm afraid)

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7 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

@mimi

weekend's coming. phew! Smile

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divineorder's picture

As an alternative to the disgusting predatory banks you excerpted about this evening, Lee Camp has an amusing interview with funny guy organizer Josh Androsky which had jb and I chuckling at their silly but effective informative interview.

They generally trash the big banks and what they do with your money, spending it on all manner of bad sheet. Josh, with Lee's questioning, explains Public Banks and differences with commercial banks, and talk about the encouraging Los Angeles Public Banking Initiative on the ballot this year along with actions elsewhere in the US.

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10 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

thanks for the video! it's a pretty good, simple explanation of public banking. if folks want more on the topic, ellen brown has published quite a number of articles that dive deeper into the weeds of it.

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divineorder's picture

re Climate Change in this new video post UN Report that concludes we have around 12 years.

Heh. Was hoping he would announce a third party run but... Smile

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10 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Azazello's picture

Urgent Warning on Climate Change

Why is There a Climate Change "Debate" in Washington?

Bernie's coming to Tucson on Tuesday. It was originally reported that he would be stumping for Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema. That turns out not to be the case. He will be campaigning for gubernatorial candidate David Garcia. I think I'll go. If Sanders is a sheepdog, if is trying to sheepdog me into voting for Garcia, I'll let him. I was going to vote for Garcia anyway.

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divineorder's picture

@Azazello posting both of these on our FacePalm feed, only to come back and see them here. Did a double take. Smile

Here's a funny but laser message effort by Jimmy Kimmel

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7 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

thanks for the videos! it's good to hear that bernie knows the word "urgent." i hope that the word "emergency" will become understood in washington.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

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8 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

divineorder's picture

@The Aspie Corner I am glad to see it, while we wait for the revolution of course.

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6 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

the current growth of debt/gdp would be inconceivable in peacetime, however, the u.s. is engaged in a world war (on mostly brown people that we call terrorists) in 76 countries.

as far as trump's statement that he would end the national debt in 8 years, well, he's said a lot of things that anybody with one braincell to rub against another would understand as ludicrous claims. maga people not so much.

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divineorder's picture

We are hoping we will never have to live full time in the Global Warmer II, our old craigslist special slide in pickup camper. We have been rousted by the California HWY patrol one day when we were taking a nap in a pullout along HWY 1 during camping trip to Big Sur. Another time the Monterey, CA city police rousted us from a parking place we had stayed in on several trips.

Here's some food for thought for those thinking about giving it a try.

Van life: My 80-square-foot solution to the Bay Area housing crisis
SNIP

The median price of a Bay Area home keeps getting further and further out of reach for many. At $920,000, it’s already more than double what it was six years ago. And with average rents for a one bedroom in San Jose clocking in at $2,266 a month, a growing number of people seem to be turning to alternative housing on wheels, from RVs and tiny houses on flatbed trailers, to school buses, trucks, vans and even converted ambulances.

Want to find more housing coverage and connect with our journalists?
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When I share what I’m planning, some immediately think of the RVs that line El Camino Real where people who can’t find any other shelter park and do battle with neighbors and police. Parking is one of the biggest challenges of van life, particularly in California where most cities prohibit sleeping in your vehicle. But there are legal options, from campgrounds and Walmart lots to renting space on private land. I don’t yet know where I’ll be parking regularly but I’ll be confronting that and many other issues starting when I pick up my finished van later this month. You can follow my posts at www.mercurynews.com/tag/van-life or on Instagram at @itsavanlife.
RVs are seen parked on South 7th Street in San Jose on Dec. 5, 2017. Government officials and homeless advocates have seen an increase in the number of working poor residents living in RVs on public streets. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

There’s no data on exactly how many Americans are taking to the road.

But the nomadic trend has been on the rise since the financial collapse in 2008, said Bob Wells, an icon in the #vanlife world who moved into his first vehicle after a divorce more than a decade ago. Prior to the Great Recession, his website, cheaprvliving.com, attracted fewer than 100 people. Today, 175,000 people subscribe to his YouTube channel by the same name, a sign that for many, van life is a necessary choice to make ends meet.

“I think of van life as an attitude, not a vehicle,’’ Wells said.

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9 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

i ran across bob wells' videos when i started researching campers, i haven't decided entirely how i feel about his operation. i'm glad that he is helping people develop the skills to survive if they have to live in their cars - because it's an unfortunate fact that many people are being priced out of shelter in our enormously wealthy country.

on the other hand, i wonder how many of the people that he helps and is forming into a nomadic community would much rather have a home and access to services that most of us consider essential rather than living in a car and pooping in a bucket.

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divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack full time rvers. We have met people who sold their real estate and work camp or other wise live away full time. We do live a semi-nomadic lifestyle and have for some years now. I understand the appeal. But the full time RVing is not for us unless it comes down to that.

I really don't know anything about his operation, just saw this today.

We have observed that more and more municipalities have an anti camping ordinance. What will people do during the next crash? It will not be pretty.

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4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Azazello's picture

@divineorder
Vids about how they trick out their rigs, survival strategies and etc.
There are even van life "stars" on there.
I doesn't look like a lot of fun.

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5 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@Azazello and an affordable alternative to mortgage or sky high rents.

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3 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

smiley7's picture

today; pour it on young people.

pour: "flow rapidly in a steady stream."

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@smiley7

i hope that the people that they voted for turn out to be worthy of their energy and enthusiasm should they succeed in their quest for office.

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7 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

@joe shikspack

Stumbled across this tune and saved it; never saw this Twin Peaks; according to wiki, makes sense, busy as hell then, no TV or media, though hooked up to the early web.

Forgive my manners, Good evening, and hope it's been a good one. Smile

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5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@smiley7

yep, step right up, place your bets gentlemen, place your bets. Smile

it's been a pretty good day. i saw the sun and felt a stiff wind which was chasing the first fallen leaves around the yard. it promises to be fall soon, which is always a good thing.

i hope that you are doing well, too.

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5 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

@joe shikspack

a good place to be.

Cheers.

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Whatever public hostility there was to Bush administration activities almost disappeared under Obama.

After 8 years of Bush and Cheney and then the economic crash the country was ready to erupt so in came Mr. Hope and Change along with his darling wife and daughters. Raise your hand if you believed that he would at least try to do the things he campaigned on? Bye One of Barack's jobs was to kill the anti war movement which he did quite effectively. When he started doing the same things that Bush did many of the anti war people went silent. I don't remember much outrage when he started his kill list Tuesday's and when he killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and his father without due process do you? I recently read one of your diaries on ToP about his use drones and couldn't believe how far people went to Pretzelize their minds and be okay with him doing it. Trump isn't doing anything that happened during Obama's tenure, but because he's such asshole people are again seeing what this country is doing to people in the Middle East. Obama wasn't a friend of immigrants either, but he got a pass on that too.

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10 users have voted.

Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

Unabashed Liberal's picture

from Tuesday's (CNN) Cuomo Prime Time program. After appearing on several Sunday political shows, Sen Sanders continued to repeat inaccurate talking points about his universal MFA program. Apparently, (according to the title) the purpose of the segment was to allow him to push back against DT's misstatements, which he did--with his own. Whew! Anyhoo, pushed for time, so, the transcript excerpt can speak for itself.

Cuomo prattles on in such a disjointed manner (and interrupts), that I'll post the main direct 'Medicare/MA' questions he asked, and post Bernie's reply. I'll also include the link.

CUOMO: Well, the president finds you worthy of a nickname, sir. He is calling you Crazy Bernie and that you want to not allow people to sign up for Medicare Advantage . . .

and,

CUOMO: All right. One more question for you on the record about this. The suggestion that you or any of the Democrats want to cancel Medicare Advantage, want to deny the elderly from being able to sign up. Is there anything to that allegation?

Okay, in a nutshell--I have no idea what Cuomo does, or doesn't know, about MFA. But, surely, Bernie knows that his proposed bill dismantles all federal healthcare programs, including Titles XVIII and XIX--Medicare and Medicaid. So, obviously, that would include Medicare Advantage. At no point, did he acknowledge that only the VA System, and the Indian Health Service (IHS) would remain intact, with his proposal creating a new single-payer health care system, which he refers to as 'Universal MFA.'

Here are his most 'direct' answers, below. The other comments were deflections/and general talking points (about universal health care).

SANDERS: The reality is that Medicare today is the most popular health insurance in America.

(My note: I agree with that statement.)

SANDERS: And a significant majority of American people believe as I do that we should expand Medicare to cover every man, woman and child.

(My note: Problem I have with that statement, is that (to my ears) it infers that he is speaking of our current Medicare (Traditional/Original/FFS/Medicare Advantage) Program. As already pointed out, his bill does not expand these existing forms of Medicare.)

SANDERS: And not continue to be, Chris, the only major country on earth that doesn't guarantee health care to all people as a right, not a privilege.

(My Note: While I agree with the sentiment, IMO, it's one of many deflections that he offers in response to Cuomo's questions. See the rest of the transcript.)

Anyhoo, since we'll be away from a Wi-Fi connection (as best we can tell) for about a week, folks can rest easy that I'll be (temporarily) giving this topic a rest.

Wink

And, since I'll still have the capacity to use my smartphone to Tweet, I'm seriously thinking about Tweeting directly to all these folks--politicians, and program hosts like Cuomo, etc.-- and ask that they justify their inaccurate/deceiving rhetoric. Heck, I've got a truckload of links that I can throw at them--many of them, from their own policy folks, websites, etc. If I have any luck--meaning anyone answers (not that I expect they will)--I'll be sure to post the replys here, when we get back.

Hey, there is 'good news'--here's a couple of neat Tweets/photos from my Twitter feed. I'm not particularly a fan of snails, but thought this photo was pretty cool.

And, I think this pup is adorable!

Smile

Hey, still enjoying the beautiful Fall temps--hope it holds as we travel west, then south.

Oh, plan to post a photo of a sweet hound that we're 'sponsoring' next time I check in. Wanted to try to help him, 'cause he's got a strike--actually, several--against him. He's quite 'dog aggressive.'

Everyone have a nice evening, and great weekend!

[Edited: Added two sentences, and name of Twitter poster.]

Bye

Blue Onyx

"Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."
~~W. R. Purche

Thought Jettison Pod's Tweet nailed it. Where I differ from his sentiments, is that I disagree with the 'tactic.' I think it's self-defeating to be less than honest or transparent when trying to sell a health care program, or anything, for that matter. Think 'ACA.'

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9 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

thanks for keeping up with the mfa debate and pointing out bernie's subterfuge. it's the sort of thing that might be worth sending his office a question about in order to confirm the information and spread it broadly if there is, as one would suspect, a democrat plan to undermine mfa.

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5 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack

I don't intend to be rude, disrespectful, or hateful to any politician/Party shill. I would simply like some direct answers--without all the deflection and/or evasion.

Number one, it gets no one, anywhere, and, is counterproductive.

Number two, considering the direction--regarding censorship--that Twitter's taking lately, doing so would probably result in being bounced from the platform. And, since I don't 'do' any other social media--wouldn't want that to happen.

Wink

Have a good one!

Blue Onyx

"Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."
~~W. R. Purche

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3 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

Azazello's picture

@Unabashed Liberal
What's so good about Medicare Advantage ?
As far as I can tell, it's a for-profit thing, a "public-private partnership."
Is this not the case ?

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5 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@Azazello

'why' Cuomo twice framed his "Medicare" questions/comments specifically around the Medical Advantage (MA) private version of Medicare. Heck, I'm still scratching my head on that one!

Scratch one-s head

Smile

But, he did. Yes, it is the private sector answer to the Original/Traditional/Fee-For-Service (FFS) Medicare. And, apparently, somewhere between 20-21 million seniors prefer those plans, over TM, especially, since the ACA passed.

Now, statistically, they're still about 40 million enrolled in O/T/FFS Medicare--but, that includes seniors with a mishmash of health care plans/arrangements--such as those beneficiaries with TM and retiree health care plans, with no extra supplemental insurance, or, with Medicare supplement plans, usually referred to as Medigap Plans.

And, of course, approximately one-third of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in the privatized version called Part C/Medicare Advantage. It provides all the coverage that TM offers--with supplemental coverage, and often, a Part D (RX) plan, combined.

Also, options might include 'regular' employee-sponsored health insurance plans. For a couple of months, Mr M and I were both enrolled in TM and his employer-sponsored health plan--until we could transition to both a supplemental Medigap Plan, and a Part D (RX) Plan.

As you, and DO, and I all posted just last week, there are more than a few proposals of MFA and/or so-called Medicare buy-in/public option plans floating around--many of which would be sold on the ACA Health Exchanges with the other private Obamacare plans.

As a result, one of my primary objections to the way that the topic (of MFA) is discussed, is that there's often not a consensus as to 'which' MFA (or buy-in) plan folks are referring. In that case, it renders the entire discussion almost meaningless. (IMO)

So, I'm usually left wondering--what's the use?

Wacko

I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that some folks who haven't read the MFA bills, are unaware that some are based upon managed care models. They work off so-called 'global budgeting,' and providers receive capitation fees, which are common to all managed care plans, including the MA plans.

Of course, TM is a FFS plan. So, unless there's a medical service provided, physicians/providers don't receive any monies/payments. Unfortunately, the system of capitation fees is partly what gives providers the incentive to deny claims/withhold care.

That was excellent info that you posted the other day. It helped clarify a few questions that I had, and had difficulty finding the answers to--so, thanks!

Blue Onyx

"Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."
~~W. R. Purche

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4 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

divineorder's picture

@Azazello As far back as TOP I remember debates about susidies to Medicare Advantage. MA is the privatization of Medicare ostensibly because can save money. Of course that is bs, but they have bought Congress and have been slowly gaining more and more participants through slick marketing. Read that companies get $10,000 per head subsidy and if repugs succeed in privatizibg number of MA providers will explode to get some a that.

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3 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Azazello's picture

@divineorder
I'm doing some research on Medicare these days, not just to understand the bait-and-switch ruse being used by corporate Dems, but also because this is our year to sign up.

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3 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@Azazello benefit was never fully funded like the staye workers giod one is.

At 65 we were automatically transitioned from Tx benefit into Aetna Employer group Medicare Advantage plan with option to change to traditional medicare plus Tx benefit secondary.

After hearing our specialists complain about MA and learning it was a privatization scheme we made the change .

Then last year the TX benefit program was again facing billions funding shortfall and the legslature forced us all into a Humana MA plan.

Texas Retired Teachers Association TRTA was very valuable help evaluating options and gatherting retirrees to lobby.

Now jb and I each have higher deductibles and out of pocket limits.

30,000 retired teachers left the plan especially those in rural areas where established docs were out if network. After leaving could not come back into state systrm, on there own making decisions about medigsp etc. Many wrre reportedly duped by local insurance agents who offered more affordable price but less benefits. Lots more to the story

Our drug benefit plan was changed to Silverscripts. I have noticed a considerable increase in costs.

Hope you will essay yiur findings along the way.

I follow Medicare for All and single

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4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack @Unabashed Liberal

Big story shared far and wide in 2014 . They have not slowed down on best congress money can buy.

Textbook case of capture. No wonder Bernie was all over the map on this.

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6 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@divineorder

Blue Onyx

"Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."
~~W. R. Purche

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5 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

enhydra lutris's picture

felt the need to comment on some more media silliness:

Trump’s defence of the Saudi royals has become increasingly difficult as Turkish government leaks and press reports have revealed more details about the grisly nature of Khashoggi’s fate and the involvement of Saudi operatives close to the Saudi crown prince.

As usual, the press (and, sadly, much of the populace) treats bald unbacked assertions as statements of fact. The Turkish government has revealed zip shit. They have made numerous statements, assertions and accusations, but all that has been revealed is tht they are capable of making statements, assertions and accusations. When are people goiong to insist tht persons claiming to have evidence based knowledge produce some of the evidence? This is simply bad farce.

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7 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 --

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@enhydra lutris

with your view on this, the other day--but, accidentally, did it in an old thread. Oops!

Wink

Blue Onyx

"Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong."
~~W. R. Purche

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5 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

yes, but it is the most riveting bad farce in town - and it has been quite helpful for illuminating the hypocrisy of many of the players in our system. Smile

i completely agree with you that there has been no conclusive evidence presented to explain khashoggi's disappearance.

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4 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

evening snoopy...

I recently read one of your diaries on ToP about his use drones and couldn't believe how far people went to Pretzelize their minds and be okay with him doing it. Trump isn't doing anything that happened during Obama's tenure, but because he's such asshole people are again seeing what this country is doing to people in the Middle East.

heh. i was pretty shocked by the resistance of the orange people to support what i consider to be simple, basic moral values and hold the guy that they elected to them.

i'm pretty sure that the problem wasn't that the orange people couldn't see the problem, it's that they refused to see it.

it's a tribal thing, i guess. pretty sad, the lot of them.

heh, for some reason, i couldn't get this comment to attach to your comment above, so here it is down here.

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7 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@joe shikspack  
for posting a piece of TOPiary at TOP, suggesting the raid that killed Osama (if indeed it even happened as reported) wasn’t a good idea and possibly violated moral standards that Obama the Peace Prize president claimed he, and our country, represent.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2011/05/02/killing-osama-resolving-nothing/

(The CounterPunch item is not that precise post, but is probably a fair reflection of what David Swanson said on TOP that day.)

Apparently it’s not just in openly fascist states under openly fascist leaders that there are times when blood lust is seen as one’s patriotic duty.

Properly investigating the attack triggering the blood lust, on the other hand, is not seen as a patriotic duty — quite the contrary. Trying to get nagging questions about it answered only brings down the blood lust upon oneself — just as the CIA planned when it launched the notion of “conspiracy theory” into public discourse post-JFK many years ago.

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4 users have voted.