The Evening Blues - 11-18-19
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features "The Godfather of Rhythm and Blues" Johnny Otis. Enjoy!
Johnny Otis - Shake It
"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime."
-- Potter Stewart
News and Opinion
Worth a full read:
In an extensive article published Friday, the Wall Street Journal concludes that, contrary to Google’s repeated assertions, the company maintains blacklists of individual websites and intervenes directly to manipulate individual search results. On July 27, 2017, the World Socialist Web Site reported that changes to Google’s search algorithm, internally dubbed “Project Owl,” had drastically reduced search traffic to left-wing, antiwar and progressive websites.
The WSWS based its assertions on Google’s public declarations that it was seeking to “surface more authoritative content” and demote “alternative viewpoint[s],” as well as detailed data from the WSWS’s analytics systems and data provided by other websites and publicly available web and search traffic estimators. Based on these data points, the WSWS concluded that Google was operating a blacklist of opposition news outlets, the primary impact of which was to restrict access to left-wing and antiwar websites. ...
These assertions have been dramatically confirmed by the Wall Street Journal investigation. Its report concludes:
Despite publicly denying doing so, Google keeps blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results. These moves are separate from those that block sites as required by US or foreign law, such as those featuring child abuse or with copyright infringement, and from changes designed to demote spam sites, which attempt to game the system to appear higher in results.
The report went on to substantiate its claim that the company’s actions were in contradiction to its public statements:
Google has said in congressional testimony it doesn’t use blacklists. Asked in a 2018 hearing whether Google had ever blacklisted a “company, group, individual or outlet … for political reasons,” Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of public policy, responded: “No, ma’am, we don’t use blacklists/whitelists to influence our search results,” according to the transcript.
But the newspaper’s investigation concluded that Google takes “what the company calls ‘manual actions’ against specific websites,” adding, “The company could also blacklist a website, or remove it altogether.” ...
“There’s this idea that the search algorithm is all neutral and goes out and combs the web and comes back and shows what it found, and that’s total BS,” the newspaper cites an unnamed former executive as saying. “Google deals with special cases all the time.”
The report documents how the company maintains its blacklists:
Engineers known as “maintainers” are authorized to make and approve changes to blacklists. It takes at least two people to do this; one person makes the change, while a second approves it, according to the person familiar with the matter.
The Journal reviewed a draft policy document from August 2018 that outlines how Google employees should implement an “anti-misinformation” blacklist aimed at blocking certain publishers from appearing in Google News and other search products.
... In 2018, Google set up a “news initiative” to “Clean Up False News,” as the New York Times reported. Among its partners are the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, all of which circulated false statements by the Bush administration regarding so-called “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, among countless other lies. Google’s statements about promoting “authoritative” news outlets is code for promoting news outlets that support US foreign policy and the lies that underpin it, because, as the Journal writes, “search is a zero-sum game: A change that helps lift one result inevitably pushes down another.”
Lady Emma Arbuthnot, the Westminster chief magistrate enmeshed in a conflict of interest, will no longer be presiding over the extradition proceedings of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, said WikiLeaks lawyer Jen Robinson, at an event in Sydney on Friday night. “Yes, there was some controversy about her sitting on the case,” Robinson said. “She won’t be sitting on the case going forward.” Robinson told Australian journalist Quentin Dempster at the event that she was “not sure” who would take over from Arbuthnot.
Robinson made her remarks in response to a question from the audience about Arbuthnot’s reported conflict of interest in the case. Robinson did not provide further details. She spoke in future tense, but it is not clear if she was referring to Arbuthnot maintaining supervision of the case while turning over the courtroom duties to another judge, which she did weeks ago, retaining the right to influence rulings, or whether Arbuthnot has recused herself from the case. Consortium News has contacted Robinson to provide clarification.
On Thursday, Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis of the Daily Maverick reported: “Lady Arbuthnot has recently appointed a district judge to rule on Assange’s extradition case, but remains the supervising legal figure in the process. According to the UK courts service, the chief magistrate is ‘responsible for… supporting and guiding district judge colleagues.’” The report said that Arbuthnot’s husband, Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, a former British defense minister, “has financial links to the British military establishment, including institutions and individuals exposed by WikiLeaks.” It said the judge herself had also received gifts “including from a military and cybersecurity company exposed by WikiLeaks.”
Continuing what critics of U.S. imperialism have long said is a pattern of refusing accountability for violations of international law and a litany of war crimes over recent decades, President Donald Trump on Friday night issued full pardons for three U.S. soldiers either accused or convicted of serious criminal abuses related to their military service.
Outrage among peace activists and opponents of the U.S. war machine was immediate.
"Utterly shameful," said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project. "With this use of his powers, Trump has sent a clear message of disrespect for law, morality, the military justice system, and those in the military who abide by the laws of war," said Shamsi. "I would include the victims of these crimes but have no illusion he cares for them."
Journalist and activist Glenn Greenwald, longtime critic of the so-called "global war on terror" and repeated U.S. violations of international law, tweeted: "The grand American tradition of immunizing its war criminals—while preaching morality to the world—continues with these vile pardons by Trump."
A President who reveres Mohammed bin Salman is obviously going to act to protect his own monsters, murderers and psychopaths.
The grand American tradition of immunizing its war criminals - while preaching morality to the world - continues with these vile pardons by Trump: https://t.co/HiRYmZSJzp
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 16, 2019
According to the Washington Post, which first reported the pardons:
The service members were notified by Trump over the phone late Friday afternoon, according to lawyers for Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn and former Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, the SEAL. Golsteyn faced a murder trial scheduled for next year, while Gallagher recently was acquitted of murder and convicted of posing with the corpse of an Islamic State fighter in Iraq.
The third service member, former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, was expected to be released Friday night from prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 2013 and sentenced to 19 years for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three men in Afghanistan.
Golsteyn and Lorance received full pardons, while the president will direct the Navy to restore Gallagher to his previous rank before he retires, the White House said. His demotion marked the only significant penalty he received following his acquittal on the murder charge.
As the Post points out, the pardons were issued against the stated desires of the Pentagon. In the case of Lorance, as the New York Times reports, it was members of the officer's own unit that turned against him after a massacre in Afghanistan. "Mr. Lorance was a rookie Army lieutenant who had been in command of a platoon in Afghanistan for two days in July 2012 when he ordered his troops to fire on unarmed villagers who posed no threat, killing two men," the Times reports. "He then called in false reports over the radio to cover up what had happened. He was immediately turned in by his own men."
Lapdog see, lapdog do:
The UK government and the British army have been accused of covering up the killing of children in Afghanistan and Iraq. Leaked documents allegedly contain evidence implicating troops in killing children and the torture of civilians.
A BBC/Sunday Times investigation said it had obtained evidence from inside the Iraq historic allegations team (IHAT), which investigated alleged war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq, and Operation Northmoor, which investigated alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.
The government closed IHAT and Operation Northmoor in 2017, after Phil Shiner, a solicitor who had taken more than 1,000 cases to IHAT, was struck off from practising law amid allegations he had paid people in Iraq to find clients. But some former IHAT and Operation Northmoor investigators said Shiner’s actions were used as an excuse to close down the inquiries.
No case investigated by IHAT or Operation Northmoor has led to a prosecution.
An IHAT detective told Panorama: “The Ministry of Defence had no intention of prosecuting any soldier of whatever rank he was unless it was absolutely necessary, and they couldn’t wriggle their way out of it.”
The year-long investigation claims to have found evidence of murders by an SAS soldier, as well as deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse of detainees by members of the Black Watch.
'Pinochet-Style Dictatorship': Bolivia's Coup Government Threatens to Arrest Leftist Lawmakers and Journalists
As indigenous-led protests against the military coup that ousted Evo Morales continued in the streets of Bolivia over the weekend in the face of violent repression by police forces, the government of self-declared Interim President Jeanine Añez on Sunday announced the creation of a "special apparatus" to arrest elected lawmakers from the majority Movement for Socialism party.
The Bolivian newspaper Los Tiempos reported that government minister Arturo Murillo announced plans Sunday to publish a "list" of leftist lawmakers he said are guilty of "subversion." Last week, Murillo vowed to "go hunting" for Morales' former top minister Juan Ramón Quintana, who has been forced into hiding.
In response, journalist Ben Norton said the Bolivian government is behaving like a "Pinochet-style dictatorship."
"Bolivia's far-right coup regime is become more authoritarian and murderous by the day," Norton tweeted Sunday.
Murillo's announcement came just days after the coup government's communications minister, Roxana Lizárraga, threatened to arrest journalists and members of the media "involved in sedition."
Evo Morales’ party, MAS, controls 2/3 of the legislature. The new self-declared ruler is promising to arrest those democratically elected lawmakers. US media utterly silent. https://t.co/2YCjI4zrmD
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) November 18, 2019
"This is outrageous and is correctly called a coup," environmentalist and author Naomi Klein said following Murillo's comments. "Bolivia is living through a violent, regressive, completely undemocratic power grab. All governments must sever relations with this illegal regime." ...
Most lawmakers and presidential candidates in the United States have been completely silent about the military coup in Bolivia, even as the nation's military guns down peaceful demonstrators in the streets.
Massacre in Cochabamba: Anti-Indigenous Violence Escalates as Mass Protests Denounce Coup in Bolivia
Video captured by private citizens in #Bolivia appears to show a military helicopter shooting at anti-coup protestors below. So far there have been at least 24 people killed in the protests by military & police, and hundreds of injured. Severe human rights abuses are happening. https://t.co/kRDVOVmYJD
— Eva Golinger (@evagolinger) November 17, 2019
The US-supported de facto regime in Bolivia emitted this decree exempting all military of any criminal responsibility for repressing protestors. A carte blanche for political assassination and human rights violations. So far 24 protestors have been murdered by police/military. https://t.co/rsYMgCdCy8
— Eva Golinger (@evagolinger) November 17, 2019
Exiled former leader Evo Morales and his right-wing opponent are both laying claim to the Bolivian presidency, and thousands of Morales’ supporters have been in the streets saying it’s time for civil war. But there’s a new glimmer of hope for the seething political dispute: Late Thursday, the two sides announced they'd reached an agreement to hold new elections as a way out of the standoff, and the U.N. has dispatched a special envoy to try to mediate.
The agreement, reached in late-night discussions in the Bolivian Senate, is an attempt to find a solution to the weekslong crisis that has left the country deeply polarized, with two rivals both claiming power and ongoing political violence that has left at least 10 people dead.
Despite having fled to Mexico this week, Morales, the veteran socialist leader who resigned Sunday after weeks of protests over an allegedly rigged election, claimed Thursday that he's still the country’s president because the legislative assembly had not formally approved his resignation. Thousands of his supporters flooded the streets of the capital La Paz on Thursday, condemning the “coup” that ousted Morales and chanting: "The time is now, civil war." ...
In talks late Thursday, lawmakers agreed to hold a new election as soon as possible, as a way out of the impasse. ... No date was given for the election, but under Bolivian law it must be held within 90 days of Áñez becoming president. ... Then, there’s the question of whether Morales would be allowed to run. ...
The interim government has given mixed signals about how it would treat Morales. Jerjes Justiniano, one of Áñez’s newly appointed ministers, told reporters that during the talks the Movement for Socialism had sought assurances that Morales could return to Bolivia, and that there was “no problem with that.” “It’s just one citizen more,” he said. But Áñez, a fierce critic of Morales, later said the former president would not be allowed to run in the elections, and that he should face arrest if he returned.
"Bolivia: great country, great people, an incredible culture, now in the sights of the rifles of an unscrupulous and shameless elite And what is worse: the silence of the main international media"
Bolivia: gran país, gran pueblo, una cultura increíble, ahora ahora en la mira de los rifles de una élite inescrupulosa e desvergonzada
Y lo que es peor: el silencio de los principales medios internacionales https://t.co/53Kifo3pTy
— Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho) November 16, 2019
Becoming part of the story she was seeking to cover, international news correspondent Teresa Bo was assaulted by Bolivian state security forces on Friday—shot directly in the face, while on camera, with tear gas or pepper spray.
Perpetrated while she was reporting for Al-Jazeera English in the city of La Paz—where ongoing streets protests erupted this week after a coup forced the resignation of the nation's president Evo Morales—the attack on Bo, which occurred while she was giving an on-camera account of the protests, was caught on film.
Al Jazeera's @TeresaBo has been intentionally tear-gassed in the eyes by Bolivian police while on air. She was simply trying to report what was happening. And, being a total pro, she kept right on doing it. pic.twitter.com/74foN7tvRF
— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) November 16, 2019
"I was just thrown tear gas by the police, on purpose," Bo reports in the segment. "This is what is happening in the middle of a plaza where people have been protesting peacefully. A police officer just threw tear gas in my eyes. It is extremely difficult to speak. Very, very sorry."
Despite the pain, Bo continues to report the scene and explains that the nearby protesters were clashing with security forces—who can be seen firing tear gas canisters in the background—in an effort to reach the nearby presidential palace.
While Bo in the immediate aftermath of the attack calls the substance tear gas, many noted that the substance was more likely pepper spray.
The Washington-recognized interim government which just ascended to power via US-backed military coup in Bolivia is already shifting the nation’s foreign policy into alignment with the US-centralized empire, severing important ties with two governments which have resisted absorption into the imperial blob. “Bolivia’s caretaker government isn’t wasting any time overhauling its foreign policy, announcing Friday that it will expel hundreds of Cuban officials and break ties with longtime ally Venezuela,” The Miami Herald reports. “In a series of statements, Bolivia’s new foreign minister, Karen Longaric, told local media that about 725 Cubans — including doctors and medical staff — would begin leaving Bolivia on Friday.”
“In that same interview she also said she’d be recalling Bolivia’s diplomatic staff from Venezuela,” Miami Herald adds. “Later, asked if she would maintain ties with Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, she said, ‘Of course we’ll break diplomatic relations with the Maduro government.'”
Of course they will.
In more it's-totally-not-a-coup news, the self-proclaimed "President" of Bolivia - after seizing power as the left-wing President was sent into exile & warning him he'd be arrested if he returned - cut off relations with Venezuela & expelled Cuban doctors https://t.co/ovXx0J57ai
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 15, 2019
This news comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. US foreign policy is essentially an endless war on disobedience, in which governments that refuse to bow to US interests are toppled by any means necessary and replaced by governments who will. ...
Nothing takes precedence over this agenda of unipolar hegemony. As long as a nation remains loyal to the empire, it can fund terrorists, butcher Washington Post columnists, and create the worst humanitarian crisis in the world without fear of any retribution of any kind from the US-centralized empire. As a leaked State Department memo explained in 2017, so far as the empire is concerned human rights violations are nothing more than a strategic narrative control weapon with which to attack unabsorbed nations, and to be ignored when they are perpetrated by absorbed nations.
It should therefore also surprise no one that this same Washington-recognized government installed via US-backed military coup is now murdering demonstrators who object to it.
While Warning of Nazi-Like Fascism and Corporate Crimes, Pope Francis Proposes Adding 'Ecological Sin' to Church Teachings
Pope Francis on Friday issued a warning against the rise of fascist forces worldwide that remind him of the Nazis of the 20th Century as he also railed against corporate crimes and announced consideration of adding "sins against ecology" to the church's official teachings.
During a speech at the Vatican before the 20th World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law, a network of justice system and criminology experts from around the world, the leader of the Catholic Church said worrying developments both in the political arena and from the world of business remind him of dark episodes from humanity's past, including Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.
"It is not coincidental that at times there is a resurgence of symbols typical of Nazism," Francis said as he decried the "culture of waste and hate" represented by contemporary politicians who spew derogatory and racists attacks against homosexuals, gypsies, Jewish people, and others. "I must confess to you," he continued, "that when I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936."
The Pope also highlighted environmental degradation and said the church was considering adding crimes against nature and the environment to the catechism—the official text of church doctrine and teachings.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has backed 50% petrol price increases that have sparked protests across Iran, claiming opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies were guilty of sabotage. But there were also moves from Iranian parliamentarians to reverse the rise amid fears the protests could spiral out of control, as they have in Iraq and Lebanon.
Khamenei said on Sunday: “Some people are no doubt worried by this decision ... but sabotage and arson is done by hooligans not our people. The counter-revolution and Iran’s enemies have always supported sabotage and breaches of security and continue to do so.” He said he did not know about the details behind the price rise, but said it had been sanctioned by Iranian government bodies and experts, and as such should be supported.
The demonstrations took place in more than a dozen cities following the decision of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, at midnight on Friday to cut petrol subsidies to fund support for Iran’s poor. Petrol in the country still remains among the cheapest in the world, with prices jumping to a minimum of 15,000 rials (27p) per litre – 50% up from the day before. ...
The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, tweeted his support for the protests, saying “the US is with you”. Washington is likely to see the protests as a vindication of its maximum sanctions policy, which is designed to put such a tight economic squeeze on Tehran that it is forced to renegotiate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
But the petrol price increase was not intended primarily as a desperate money-raising measure for the government, but as a calculated means of making the economy more efficient, and switching resources to the poor. The rise is intended to raise about $2.5bn (£1.9bn) a year for additional subsidies for 18 million families, or about 60 million Iranians on lower incomes, the government said. The proposal had been recommended by the International Monetary Fund.
Gilets jaunes held a second consecutive day of demonstrations in Paris on Sunday to mark a year since the protest movement was founded. A day after black-clad youths engaged in battles with the police and rampaged around one of the city’s main squares on the 53rd Saturday of yellow vest action, protesters gathered across France to mark the anniversary.
In Paris, several dozen yellow vests occupied part of the chic department store Galeries Lafayette to protest against what they called a “temple of consumerism”. After they were removed from the building by police they staged a peaceful sit-in protest on the pavement outside, where several were arrested. The store was evacuated and closed.
In Pont-de-Beauvoisin, near Chambéry in the Savoie region, gilets jaunes gathered for a minute’s silence to pay tribute to Chantal Mazet, who died on the first day of demonstrations in November last year after being run over at a roundabout being blocked by protesters.
The interior ministry said 28,000 people took part in protests across France on Saturday, 4,700 of them in Paris. The gilets jaunes claimed 44,000 took part. The public prosecutor’s office said 173 people were arrested and 155 were kept in custody, including eight minors, after the clashes in Paris.
Among the protesters who gathered in Paris on Sunday were Priscillia Ludosky, one of the founders of the movement, and Jérôme Rodrigues, one of its most high-profile members. Rodrigues lost the use of his right eye because of a police grenade or rubber bullet during the 11th weekend of protests in Paris at the end of January. The pair joined a gathering of around 400 supporters near Les Halles in central Paris.
Trump Just Released a Rough Transcript of His First Ukraine Call Where He Talked About Beauty Pageants
President Trump released a rough summary of his April phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It's the second rough transcript of their conversations released by the White House, which appears to want to use the boringness of this second call as a shield against accusations of wrongdoing.
The rough text of the 16-minute call from April 21 amounts to mostly pleasantries between the two presidents, and appears likely to be used by the White House as evidence that Trump had no devious intentions with regard to his approach to Ukraine. On the call, Trump praises previous Ukrainian delegations to his Miss Universe beauty pageant. Zelensky, meanwhile, invites Trump to taste his country’s “tasty” and “delicious” food.
The rough transcript reads like a boring sitcom compared to the infamous July 25 exchange that launched his impeachment inquiry over whether he was trying to improperly influence the 2020 election by pressuring a foreign country for dirt on a top Democratic contender.
Here’s the readout of the first call that @realDonaldTrump & Zelensky had in April.
What is discussed: Miss Universe
What is not: corruption in Ukraine pic.twitter.com/YBFFdNrgli
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) November 15, 2019
President Trump’s first call with Ukraine’s new president last April touched on Trump’s 2016 election victory, “tasty” Ukrainian food, and how “well represented” Ukraine was at Trump’s Miss Universe pageants, according to a rough transcript released by the White House on Friday.
One thing Trump didn’t mention: corruption in Ukraine.
That glaring omission undercuts an initial White House readout summarizing that April 21 call, which claimed Trump and President Zelensky agreed to work together to “root out corruption.” (Though it’s worth noting that the veracity and completeness of even these rough transcripts have been called into question, including in sworn testimony from a top White House official.)
Still, the absence of any mention of corruption in the call record released Friday undercuts the Republicans' claim that Trump only held up military aid to Ukraine because he was concerned about corruption in the country.
Donald Trump’s fate in the impeachment inquiry could rest in the hands of a donor and supporter under pressure to turn against the US president to save his own skin. Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, is due to testify on Wednesday during the second week of televised hearings that have rocked the White House.
Sondland is certain to be questioned about the biggest revelation from last week: a phone call he made to Trump from Ukraine in July in which the president was overheard asking about an investigation into one of his political rivals. Sondland allegedly assured him it would go ahead. The ambassador made no mention of the call in a deposition to the inquiry behind closed doors, nor in a revised statement three weeks later that conceded a quid pro quo over military aid. Now, in front of TV cameras and an audience of millions, he will be asked why.
As he weighs his answer, Sondland may try to balance fealty to Trump with the fate that has befallen others in the president’s circle: his former lawyer Michael Cohen and ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort are both behind bars, while political operative Roger Stone was last week found guilty of lying to Congress. “Hey Ambassador Sondland,” tweeted Joe Scarborough, a former congressman turned TV host, “Roger Stone lied to Congress for Trump and is now going to jail. Just like his campaign manager and lawyer. Are you next? Your call, Gordy.”
Democratic 2020 presidential candidates have rejected criticism from former president Barack Obama, after he warned the field of White House hopefuls not to veer too far to the left because it would alienate voters. Though Obama did not mention anyone by name, the message he delivered before a room of Democratic donors in Washington on Friday was a clear word of caution about the candidacies of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who are seen as two of the top-tier candidates in the crowded field.
Sanders and Warren have called for massive structural changes and policies that would dramatically alter the role of government in Americans’ lives. The centrist wing of the party has warned for months that a far-left nominee could alienate moderate Republicans and independent voters needed to oust Donald Trump. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it’s important for us not to lose sight of that,” Obama said.
Addressing Obama’s comments over the weekend, Sanders told a forum in Long Beach: “I’m not tearing down the system.”
“When I talk about health care being a human right and ending the embarrassment of America being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for every man, woman and child, that’s not tearing down the system,” he said, according to the New York Times. “That’s doing what we should have done 30 years ago.”
I want to be the party of the New Deal again.
The party of the Civil Rights Act,
the one that electrified this nation and fights for all people.
For that, many would call us radical.
But we aren’t “pushing the party left,”
we are bringing the party home.pic.twitter.com/wLeDaxCHkZ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 17, 2019
Are the 1,000 State House seats lost under Obama proof that he knows what’s best for the party?https://t.co/dh9B0aOwjL
— MSDNC (@MSDNCNews) November 16, 2019
Asked at a presidential candidate forum in California Saturday night if the Obama administration made a mistake by deporting an estimated 3 million people during its 8-year tenure, 2020 hopeful Bernie Sanders offered a direct and one word response: "Yes."
The forum, hosted by the Spanish-language channel Univision in the city of Long Beach amid the state Democratic Party's endorsing convention, had a large focus on immigration issues with many Latino voters in attendance.
The question was asked by moderator Jorge Ramos and Sanders' succinct answer received rousing approval from many in the audience.
.@jorgeramosnews "Can you say that Obama made a mistake deporting 3 million people?"
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) November 17, 2019
After applause died down, Sanders pivoted by saying the American people are ready for an immigration policy that no longer has at its center the demonization of those coming to the United States seeking a better life. "What I'm going to tell you is in fact what the American people want, and they want to stop this ugly demonization of the immigrant community and the racism that is coming from the White House," said Sanders. "They want—it's not my idea, it's what the American people want—is, finally, comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship for 11 million undocumented."
And, Sanders continued, "Here's a promise I will make—I don't make a lot of promises—but on day one, Jorge, I will undo the damage Trump did and, among other things, reestablish the legal status of the 1.1 million young people and their parents eligible for the DACA program."
Prior to the questions about immigration, Ramos explored other key issues with Sanders and asked him to respond to remarks reportedly made by Obama last week to a room full of "wealthy liberal" Democratic donors in which appeared to be cautioning the party establishment against going "too far left" or "tearing down the system" with proposals like Medicare for All, tuition-free public college, student debt forgiveness, and others.
"When I talk about raising the minimum wage to a living wage, we're not talking about tearing down the system—we're fighting for justice," Sanders said. "When I talk about healthcare being a human right," he added, "and ending the embarrassment of America being the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee healthcare to every man, woman, and child—that's not tearing down the system. That's doing what we should have done 30 year ago through Medicare for All." He also added the climate crisis to the list of urgent needs that must be addressed with urgency. "We have a threat to the entire planet," Sanders said. "We've got to stand up to the greed of the fossil fuel industry and transform our energy system as quickly as we can."
Asked specifically by Ramos if he agreed with Obama's "too far left" warning, Sanders answered: "I don't think so. I honestly don't."
"I think the issues that we are talking about, in fact, are supported by the vast majority of the American people. You ask people, should we go out and make colleges and universities tuition free? Should we cancel all student debt in this country by imposing a tax on Wall Street?"
As the crowd cheered each question, Sanders said: "I think the answer you're getting here is the answer the answer you're getting all over the country." He then added, "And here's the bottom line. I think it is the American people are catching on. There is something profoundly wrong when so few people have so much and so many people are struggling. And they want real change."
Save this tweet in case Bernie Sanders wins the Dem nomination:
Last night at #CADem19 I was asked about what I think voters are really looking for in this election.
My answer? I think Americans want solutions forged in courageous empathy and results they can see in their own communities—not partisan bickering or political ultimatums. pic.twitter.com/dpNNXSEf6W
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 17, 2019
Potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has apologized for his longstanding support of the controversial “stop-and-frisk” police strategy, a practice that he embraced as New York’s mayor and continued to defend despite its disproportionate impact on people of color.
The apology, however, was received skeptically by many prominent activists who noted that it was made as he is taking steps to enter the presidential race ahead of the 2020 US election.
Addressing a black church in Brooklyn on Sunday, Bloomberg said he was “sorry” and acknowledged it often led to the detention of blacks and Latinos.
“I can’t change history,” Bloomberg told the congregation. “However today, I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong.”
Bloomberg’s reversal is notable for someone who is often reluctant to admit wrongdoing. It’s also a recognition that if he’s to compete for the Democratic presidential nomination ahead of the November 2020 US election, he’ll have to win support from black voters. And his record on stop-and-frisk is a glaring vulnerability that could hobble his potential candidacy if he doesn’t express contrition.
Support for Pete Buttigieg, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and millennial mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has surged among Democrat primary voters in Iowa, according to a new poll that puts him around 10 points ahead of his nearest rivals.
The poll, released by CNN, the Des Moines Register and Mediacom on Saturday, placed Buttigieg’s support at 25% of likely caucus-goers in the key early voting state, with fellow candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and former vice-president Joe Biden in a three-way tie for second place at 15%.
The new poll, conducted with 500 likely Democratic caucus-goers and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points, shows a consistent improvement in support for Buttigieg, 37, who was a relative unknown when he announced his candidacy earlier this year. ...
A Monmouth University poll last week that also showed Buttigieg leading in the state, through by a lesser margin of three points. In that poll, Buttigieg stood at 22%, Biden at 19%, Warren 18% and Sanders at 13%. None of the other candidates reached double digits.
Prior polls have shown Buttigieg, Biden, Warren and Sanders levels of support essentially even.
Louisiana’s Democrat governor, John Bel Edwards, has been re-elected following a closely fought gubernatorial battle that marked another statewide defeat for Republicans and Donald Trump in the American south.
The president had invested significant resources into the race in one of America’s most conservative states, making two trips to appear with the GOP candidate, Eddie Rispone, in the past two weeks. On election day Trump took to Twitter multiple times to urge Republican voters in Louisiana to turn up to the polling booths.
Although Rispone lost by a thin two-point margin, the defeat is a substantial blow to the president following the loss of another Republican governor in Kentucky last month. Trump won Louisiana with 58% of the vote in 2016 and the state has not elected a Democrat president since Bill Clinton in 1996.
Edwards, a socially conservative Democrat who supported the state’s regressive abortion laws and who has upheld expansive gun rights, mobilized a base in Louisiana’s major metropolitan areas and swept up the vast majority of African American voters across the state to claim victory.
NYT revs up its information war against Bernie Sanders. Lots more at the link.
'Pure Propaganda': New York Times Condemned for Comparing Sanders Green New Deal to Trump Border Wall
The New York Times sparked fierce backlash from environmentalists Friday for publishing a news story that leads with a matter-of-fact comparison between Sen. Bernie Sanders' plan to finance the Green New Deal by taxing and fining the fossil fuel industry and President Donald Trump's claim that Mexico would pay for the construction of a border wall.
"Sanders' $16 trillion vision for arresting global warming would put the government in charge of the power sector and promise that, by 2030, the country's electricity and transportation systems would run entirely on wind, solar, hydropower, or geothermal energy, with the fossil fuel industry footing much of the bill much as Mexico was to pay for the border wall," wrote Times climate reporter Lisa Friedman in her article's opening paragraph.
Friedman appeared to be referring to the portion of Sanders' sweeping Green New Deal proposal that calls for "making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies"—which constitutes just one part of Sanders' plan to finance the Green New Deal. Critics were quick to condemn the notion that Sanders' call for taxes and fines against big oil is in any way on par with Trump's farcical insistence that Mexico would foot the bill for his proposed wall on the southern border.
"The difference? The [fossil fuel] industry owes Americans and global community an uncountable debt for poisoning our communities," tweeted Isa Flores-Jones, a press fellow with the youth-led Sunrise Movement. "Not to mention all those billions of dollars in subsidies owed to the American people. Which brings us to a daily reminder that we pay FF industry $5.2 trillion a year to destroy us."
BERNIE on FOSSIL FUEL EXECS: they knew of deadly product for 30 years, made hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars killing planet and badly harming communities of color. They should pay.
TRUMP on MEXICO: they’re sending rapists and we need a racist wall
NYT: eh basically the same https://t.co/zq5f9KC4jP
— Josh Orton (@joshorton) November 15, 2019
Progressives didn't merely have a problem with the opening paragraph of the Times story. The headline of the article states that "experts aren't impressed" by Sanders' ambitious Green New Deal plan, which calls for a 10-year mobilization to transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy. But as the left-wing magazine Current Affairs and others pointed out on Twitter, the "experts" cited by the Times include an adviser to South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a business professor and maxed-out Hillary Clinton donor, and a Democratic strategist who does public relations work for the chemical industry.
"This is pure propaganda, nothing whatsoever to do with science," tweeted Current Affairs. "If you want a scientific assessment have climate scientists evaluate the plan. Pretty galling that the New York Times doesn't disclose the obvious political biases of its sources."
Targeting ultra-wealthy passengers and owners of private jets, campaigners with Extinction Rebellion in Geneva on Saturday shut down a terminal that caters to luxury jets at the main airport in Geneva, Switzerland.
"We want to denounce this completely absurd means of transport since a private jet emits twenty times more CO2 per passenger than a conventional airplane," Micaël Metry, an Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, said in a statement.
In a statement of purpose posted to Facebook, the local chapter of the global movement said, "We have blocked the private-jet terminal to defend the principle of climate and social justice. This means of transport is completely absurd." ...
As Reuters reports, "Geneva is a hub for the private jets of the rich and powerful who either live nearby or travel to the lakeside city for its private banks, auction houses, hospitals and United Nations offices."
According to Swiss Info:
For two and a half hours, some 30 activists sat in front of the entrance to the private jet terminal, partially blocking its entrance. Others were reportedly singing and holding signs with white clouds or flags with the symbol of the movement. The group's stated aim is to use nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid ecological collapse.
Members of the global Break Free From Plastic movement on Friday marked the annual "America Recycles Day" by highlighting criticism of the industry-backed event and pressuring corporate polluters to "reduce the production of plastics, instead of focusing on cleaning it up after the fact."
America Recycles Day is a national initiative of the decades-old nonprofit Keep America Beautiful—which, as Sharon Lerner reported for The Intercept in July, is "an anti-litter organization formed by beverage and packaging companies, including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Phillip Morris."
"To this day, Keep America Beautiful—which is still led by executives at beverage and plastics companies, including Dr. Pepper, Dow, and the American Chemistry Council—continues to focus on litterbugs, prodding errant citizens to better dispose of their plastic waste while many of its members fend off regulation of their production of that waste," Lerner wrote. "Several of the group's corporate partners—including founding companies Coca-Cola and PepsiCo and their trade group, the American Beverage Association—have opposed bottle bills that have been shown to help solve the plastic waste problem." ...
Both EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and President Donald Trump released statements Friday celebrating America Recycles Day. However, as The Guardian reported, the Trump administration is playing a part in the pollution problem:
A huge global expansion in plastic production is under way, threatening to sweep aside any effort to increase the current recycling rate of about 9% of all plastics. A 2017 analysis found that fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil and Shell have poured more than $180 billion into new facilities that form the raw material for everyday plastics from packaging to bottles, trays and cartons.
This boom is set to fuel a 40% rise in plastic production over the next decade, according to experts, exacerbating the plastic pollution crisis that scientists warn already risks "near permanent pollution of the Earth."
The Trump administration is simultaneously supporting that expansion and promoting a flawed recycling system.
Meanwhile, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)—which is part of the Break Free from Plastic movement—published a detailed critique of America Recycles Day entitled "Truth Behind the Trash."
"In positioning recycling as the ultimate solution to our waste problem corporate producers have meticulously evaded responsibility for the waste they create by claiming their products are 'recyclable,'" wrote Adi Varshneya, GAIA's zero waste communities coordinator for the U.S. and Canada.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Johnny Otis - Crazy Country Hop
Johnny Otis (with Marci Lee) - Castin’ My Spell
Johnny Otis - Young Girl
Johnny Otis - Fannie Mae
Johnny Otis - Mumblin’ Mosie
Johnny Otis - Turtle Dove
The Johnny Otis Show - Willie And The Hand Jive
Johnny Otis - Willie Did The Cha Cha
Johnny Otis - Good Golly
Johnny Otis - Jaws
The Johnny Otis Show - The Watts Breakaway
Johnny Otis - Bye Bye Baby