The Evening Blues - 11-24-15


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features New Orleans piano player Champion Jack Dupree. Enjoy!

Champion Jack Duprée - Chicken Shack

"We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? Why else would we all — by proxies we have given to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians — be participating in its destruction? Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us.How do we submit? By not being radical enough. Or by not being thorough enough, which is the same thing."

-- Wendell Berry

News and Opinion

Putin condemns Turkey after Russian warplane downed near Syria border

Vladimir Putin has called Turkey “accomplices of terrorists” and warned of “serious consequences” after a Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday morning, the first time a Nato country and Moscow have exchanged direct fire over the crisis in Syria.

The Russian president, speaking before a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Sochi, said the plane had been shot down over Syrian airspace and fell 4km inside Syria. Putin said it was “obvious” the plane posed no threat to Turkey.

“Our military is doing heroic work against terrorism … But the loss today is a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists. I can’t describe it in any other way,” he said. Putin suggested the Turks were shielding Islamic State terrorists from Russian attacks, saying: “Do they want to make Nato serve Isis?” ...

The Turkish military said it scrambled two F-16 fighter jets after a plane entered Turkish airspace in the province of Hatay at 9.20am on Tuesday, warning it to leave 10 times in five minutes before shooting it down. ...

Russia’s defence ministry, in a series of tweets, confirmed that a Russian Su-24 had been shot down, but insisted the plane had never left Syrian airspace and claimed that fire from the ground was responsible. “At all times, the Su-24 was exclusively over the territory of Syria,” the defence ministry said.

World War III Trends on Twitter as Putin Decries Turkey's 'Stab in the Back'

World War III was trending on Twitter Tuesday as the world waited to see how Russia would respond to Turkey shooting down one of its warplanes.

Russian president Vladimir Putin slammed the incident as "stab in the back by terrorist helpers," as NATO held what it described as an "extraordinary meeting" Tuesday afternoon just hours after the incident. ...

Russia's foreign minister canceled a planned trip to Turkey scheduled for Wednesday, while Russia's Ministry of Defense said Turkey's defense attache in Moscow had been "urgently summoned" to receive an "official protest" over his nation's actions.

"The Defense Ministry considers actions of the Turkish Air Force as an unfriendly act," it said in a statement. "At present, the Russian Defense Ministry is designing a complex of measures directed to respond such incidents."

‘Turkey wants to drag NATO in a kind of collision course with Russia’ – Ali Rizk

Turkey caught between aiding Turkmen and economic dependence on Russia

The shooting down by Turkish forces of a Russian Su-24 warplane follows rising tension between the two countries over a continuing Russian bombing campaign against ethnic Turkmen villages in north-western Syria, close to Turkey’s border. ... Turkey has repeatedly expressed concern over the attacks on the Turkmens, a Sunni Muslim minority who many Turks regard as their kith and kin. Like the Ankara government, the Turkmens oppose the regime of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey summoned Russia’s ambassador at the weekend to protest over the “intensive” bombing of the villages. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s prime minister, said Ankara had demanded an immediate end to Russian military operations along the border. “It was stressed that the Russian side’s actions were not a fight against terror, but they bombed civilian Turkmen villages and this could lead to serious consequences,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said. ...

Like the US and Britain, Turkey says Russian forces have been predominantly targeting a range of anti-Assad rebel groups inside Syria, rather than concentrating their fire on Islamic State forces. Turkey also regards the areas in north-west Syria held by the Bayır-Bucak Turkmens as an important buffer preventing the territorial expansion of Syria’s Kurdish minority militias, whom it regards as terrorists linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK). ...

Ottoman Turkey and tsarist Russia fought a war in 1877-78. And Stalin briefly laid claim to parts of eastern Turkey at the end of the second world war. But ties have improved in recent times, with a series of energy and trade deals. Russia is now Turkey’s second-largest trading partner and 60% of its natural gas comes from Russia.

Economic dependence is one powerful reason, among several, why Erdoğan will not want this latest border incident to escalate into a wider confrontation – although this is something that may not be entirely within his control.

Syrian Troops Oust ISIS, Reclaim Towns Near Homs

Backed by Russian airstrikes, the Syrian military offensive in the Homs Province seems to be making some headway, retaking the towns of Mahin and Hawwarin, some 40 miles southeast of Homs, and expelling ISIS from the area.

ISIS had been making gains in that part of Homs prior to the new offensive, aiming to cut off the main highway between Homs and Damascus. The Syrian military claimed a large number of ISIS were killed in today’s fighting, but did not offer numbers.

Turkey’s Stab in the Back

War is the great clarifier, and in the case of the battle against Islamist insurgents, including ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, the downing of the Russian war plane by the Turkish military has demonstrated this principle quite dramatically.

The US and its NATO allies, including Turkey, claim to be fighting ISIS, otherwise known as the “Islamic State,” but the Turks’ main fire has been directed at the Kurds and the Syrian regime itself. Turkey has been the main conduit for aid to the Islamic State, and the Turkish intelligence agency has long collaborated with Islamists in the region. ...

This incident has revealed what the real sides are in the Syrian civil war: who is fighting whom, and for what. The Russian plane crashed into Syrian territory and one of the pilots was shot from the skies as he parachuted: this barbaric act was captured on video by the rebels, who are being reported as affiliated with the Turkmen “10th Brigade.” This is just for public consumption, however: in reality, the area is controlled by an alliance of rebel forces dominated by the al-Nusra Front, which is the official Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda. The jihadists took control of the area in March of this year, and has been the focal point of recent fighting between al-Qaeda and Syrian government forces backed by the Russian air offensive.

Vice is reporting:

“Russia sent helicopters to search for the downed pilots. Syrian fighters later fired at a helicopter forcing it to make an emergency landing in a nearby government-held area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A Syrian insurgent group, recipient of US Tow missiles, said its fighters hit the helicopter with an anti-tank missile.”

So here we have it: US-backed jihadists, including al-Qaeda, are using weapons supplied by Washington to fight the Russians and the Syrian government.

Yes, folks, your tax dollars are going to support Islamist crazies in Syria. The same people who attacked Paris are being aided and abetted by the US – and if that isn’t a criminal act, then there is no justice in this world.

Hollande to press Obama on the war against Isis – and Russia's role in it

French president Francois Hollande heads to the White House on Tuesday, calling for urgency in the war against Islamic State but also attempting to smooth ruffled feathers over his next diplomatic stop.

Hollande’s decision to follow talks with Barack Obama with a trip to Moscow two days later to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin is not likely to go down well with his American hosts.

“There is dissatisfaction on the US side about the optics of going from the US to see Putin,” a source in Washington said. “If Russia is serious about this effort, they should really be coming to the coalition.”

[Global Hegemon demands Putin submit and swear fealty to the realm! - js]

The talks may also be complicated by Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian warplane on Tuesday, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace and had ignored repeated warnings. Russia said the SU-24 was downed by artillery fire, but Turkey claimed that its F-16s fired on the Russian plane. The Russian ministry of defense said the plane was over Syrian territory “throughout the flight”. ...

On Monday, Putin visited Assad’s other key backer, Iran, for talks with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “The Americans have a long-term plot and are trying to dominate Syria and then the whole region,” Khamenei was quoted as saying. “This is a threat to all countries, especially Russia and Iran.”

Obama Warns Hollande: Don’t Let ISIS War Distract From Crackdown on Russia

Being hostile toward Russia is an end unto itself in US foreign policy, and something that’s been a focus for generations. With the Paris attacks bringing renewed focus to the ISIS war, and French calls for cooperation, President Obama is warning him away from any possible cooperation with Russia.

It’s not just a US fear that they’ll have to share the ISIS war with Russia, but a fear that, if they’re in the middle of a mutual war against ISIS it’ll make it a lot more difficult for European nations, particularly France, to agree to extend sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.

The sanctions were already a tough sell, with the Ukrainian civil war in a state of ceasefire since February, and the administration sees French calls for a “grand coalition” as nearing a rapprochement with Russia that the US desperately wants to avoid.

French Jets Bomb Raqqa as US Blasts 283 Islamic State Oil Trucks

France continued its bombing of Islamic State (IS) targets on Monday, while Britain offered the country the use of one of its air bases in Cyprus. Meanwhile, the United States released details of new strikes over the weekend that destroyed almost 300 oil trucks and a crude collection point, part of its ongoing strategy to target the militant group's oil production, a significant source of its financing.

France, which has intensified its bombing campaign since the attacks on Paris which killed 130 people, reported that jets from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier had destroyed targets in the Syrian IS stronghold of Raqqa on Monday, as well as in Ramadi and Mosul in Iraq.

During a visit to Paris on Monday UK Prime Minister David Cameron offered France the use of an air base in Cyprus to target the militant group, as well as air-to-air refueling services.

Cameron told French President Francois Hollande he was convinced Britain should carry out airstrikes alongside France on the group in Syria — but first he will have to persuade the country's members of parliament.

Not only Ankara backs Daesh but offers also logistical support - Pepe Escobar

Hitting Saudi Arabia Where It Hurts

Given the stakes, you might think that someone in a position of power – or one of the many candidates for U.S. president – would offer some pragmatic and realistic ideas for addressing this extraordinary threat [of the global terrorism crisis created by Islamic State and al Qaeda]. But most Republicans – from Marco Rubio to Carly Fiorina to Ted Cruz – only offer more of “more of the same,” i.e. neocon belligerence on steroids. ... On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton wins praise from the neocon editors of The Washington Post for breaking with President Barack Obama’s hesitancy to fully invade Syria.

To Clinton’s left, Sen. Bernie Sanders has punted on the issue of what to do in either Syria or the Middle East, failing to offer any thoughtful ideas about what can be done to stabilize the region. He opted instead for a clever but vacuous talking point, arguing that the Saudis and other rich oil sheiks of the Persian Gulf should use their wealth and militaries to bring order to the region, to “get their hands dirty.”

The problem is that the Saudis, the Qataris and the Kuwaitis – along with the Turks – are a big part of the problem. They have used their considerable wealth to finance and arm Al Qaeda and its various allies and spinoffs, including the Islamic State. Their hands are already very dirty. ...

Freezing or confiscating Saudi bank accounts around the world might finally impress on the spoiled princes of the Persian Gulf oil states that there is a real price to pay for dabbling in terrorism. Such an action against Saudi Arabia also would send a message to smaller Sunni sheikdoms that they could be next. Other pressures, including possible expulsion from NATO, could be brought to bear on Turkey.

If the West finally got serious about stopping this financial and military support for Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and their jihadist allies in Syria, the violence might finally abate. And, if the United States and Europe put pressure on the “moderate” Syrian opposition – whatever there is of it – to compromise, a political solution might be possible, too.

Right now, the biggest obstacle to a political agreement appears to be the U.S. insistence that President Assad be barred from elections once Syria achieves some stability. Yet, if President Obama is so certain that the Syrian people hate Assad, it seems crazy to let Assad’s presumed defeat at the polls obstruct such a crucial deal.

The only explanation for this U.S. stubbornness is that the neocons and the liberal hawks have made “regime change” in Syria such a key part of their agenda that they would lose face if Assad’s departure was not mandated. However, with the future of Western civilization in the balance, such obstinate behavior seems not only feckless but reckless.

Wilkerson: The Hypocrisy of U.S. Syria Policy

This article is well worth reading in full:

The Saudi Connection to Terror

How does ISIS pay for its operations? This is the key question as the war against the terror organization advances to a new level in the wake of the Paris atrocities. But the mainstream’s approved answer is part of the problem.

That approved answer, from many political leaders and assorted “terrorism experts,” is that ISIS (also known as ISIL, Islamic State and Daesh) funds its operations through a variety of illicit activities such as illegal antiquity sales, kidnapping for ransom, holding up banks, and peddling crude from oil fields it controls in northern Syria and Iraq.

The line, dutifully parroted by news outlets from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal and the Guardian, is nothing if not politically convenient. ...

[See the article for full analysis of ISIS' finances. - js]

While illicit oil sales may play an important role, they are also probably not as profitable as believed. Assuming they were filled to the brim, the 116 tanker trucks that U.S. planes destroyed on Monday may have contained a hundred barrels of crude each, oil that, at today’s prices, ISIS would be lucky to sell for around $30 a barrel. Thus, the damage to the Islamic State’s “treasury” weighs in at a relatively minor $350,000 or so.

ISIS is by now a very large operation. Troop-size estimates start at 20,000 to 31,500 (figures put out by the C.I.A. in September 2014) and go as high as 200,000, although 100,000 seems more plausible. Fighters reportedly earn anywhere from $350 a month to $800 or more. These are very imprecise numbers, but at the very least they suggest an organization with a monthly budget in the tens of millions.

So the proceeds from a hundred-odd oil trucks doesn’t explain how ISIS pays its bills. Nor does the speculation about ISIS’s antiquity sales. So if Islamic State does not get the bulk of its funds from such sources, where does the money come from?

The politically inconvenient answer is from the outside, i.e., from other parts of the Middle East where the oil fields are not marginal as they are in northern Syria and Iraq, but, rather, rich and productive; where refineries are state of the art, and where oil travels via pipeline instead of in trucks. It is also a market in which corruption is massive, financial controls are lax, and ideological sympathies for both ISIS and Al Qaeda run strong. This means the Arab Gulf states of Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

Why is telling the truth so difficult? A big part of the answer is money. Because the U.S., France and other Western powers are dependent on the Gulf states for oil and see the Gulf states as an increasingly important market for high-tech weaponry. ... The U.S. thus supplies the Saudis with bombs with which to flatten Yemeni neighborhoods, generate more refugees and, in the process, strengthen “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” so that the U.S. can then send in drones to take out a few Al Qaeda operatives. Everyone makes out – arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, Washington politicians like the Clintons who benefit from Saudi largesse, even Al Qaeda, which, while it may lose a few personnel, sees its power grow as a consequence.

Turkey Suddenly Remembers It's Part of NATO and Decides Not to Buy Chinese Weapons

Turkey is a major military power, with an army of 400,000 soldiers and a very large air force, yet it doesn't have long-range air defenses — a pretty glaring deficiency for a country perched in a dangerous neighborhood, with the Ukrainian conflict to the north and the Middle Eastern powder keg sitting on its southern border. The Turkish government was close to a giant, $3.4 billion deal with a Chinese firm to buy just such a system, but in a sudden twist, cancelled it last week. And it made the announcement just while it was hosting China's president Xi Jinping at the G20 summit last week in Antalya. ...

The deal struck with CPMIEC [China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp] in September 2013 was politically controversial from the outset. Instead of going with the expected choice of a system produced by its European or American allies, Ankara instead selected a Chinese firm sanctioned by the US for violating the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act. The choice of China over Turkey's NATO allies did not seem to make for particularly good politics and, unsurprisingly, drew criticism. ...

The whole process may have been a long-running negotiation tactic that failed to pan out for Ankara. "I think, in the greater scheme of things, what [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and Prime Minister [Ahmet] Davutoglu were thinking was to gain some more leverage for either the United States or European systems. To get them to agree with more know-how transfers or lower the price…" Dr. Barin Kayaoglu, an independent international affairs analyst said.

Oh my, The Empire ramps up its anti-Russian efforts in Ukraine as another member of the NATO group shoots down a Russian plane over Syria and US-supplied al-Qaeda proxy forces shoot down a Russian rescue helicopter with a TOW missile. Coincidence?

US Begins Direct Training of Ukrainian Regular Forces

The Pentagon has announced today a dramatic escalation of its training operation in Ukraine, moving from its small training mission for Ukraine’s National Guard to a direct training program for Ukraine’s regular military forces, as well as special operations troops.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has made it clear he sees the purpose of the training as “to learn how to beat Russia,” and the escalation of the training toward combat troops is likely to add some tensions to US-Russian relations, with Poroshenko openly envisioning his country as the staging ground for a global war on Russia.

Russian officials are downplaying the seriousness of the program so far, however, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov citing the disastrous state of the US-trained armies in Iraq and Afghanistan as proof the US training won’t be a real game-changer.

Ukraine Nationalists Block Repairs on Sabotaged Crimean Power Lines

Weekend sabotage of the power lines leading from Ukraine into the Crimean Peninsula is only expected to take 3-4 days to repair, according to engineers familiar with the situation, but that is only once they are able to get access to the site of the pylons destroyed in Ukrainian Kherson.

The pylons were blown up by some as-yet-unknown faction, and Ukrainian ultra nationalists are out in force, preventing repair crews from reaching the site to try to effect repairs. This means the peninsula will be without electricity for the foreseeable future.

To make matters worse for the Crimeans, Ukrainian Premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk imposed a “temporary ban” on all cargo entering the peninsula by land. This effectively forces Crimea to rely purely on shipments by sea for basic goods.

"Nativist Hysteria" Against Syrian Refugees Echoes U.S. Rejection of Jewish Refugees in 1930s

Islamic State in Sinai Kills Egyptian Election Monitors in Hotel Attack

Islamic State's Egyptian branch claimed responsibility for a coordinated attack that killed five people in a hotel in North Sinai on Tuesday where judges overseeing a parliamentary election were staying. It's Islamic State in Egypt's deadliest attack since it took credit for downing a Russian airliner last month, killing all 224 people onboard.

On Tuesday, a militant tried to drive a car bomb into the Swiss Inn hotel in the provincial capital al-Arish before security forces opened fire, causing the car to explode, the military and a witness said. At the same time, a suicide bomber broke into the hotel restaurant and blew himself up, while a gunman entered the guest rooms area and killed a judge. Seventeen people were wounded, the Health Ministry reported.

Following the attack, the IS affiliate in the Sinai issued a claim of responsibility. ...

Over the past year, IS has carried out similar attacks in the region as part of its bid to topple the Cairo government. The group killed three policeman in a suicide attack on a police officer's club earlier this month.

Obama 'confident' in information from Isis briefings despite Pentagon inquiry

White House spokesman says president trusts staff who brief him on war against Islamic State, amid allegations that intelligence has been whitewashed

Barack Obama has confidence in the staff who brief him on the war against Islamic State, his spokesman said on Monday, despite an official investigation into claims of an intelligence whitewash.

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations by the US military’s central command (Centcom) intelligence analysts that supervisors revised conclusions of their reports to exaggerate progress and play down failures in Iraq and Syria.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Obama has made clear to his advisers he wants a warts-and-all account of the fight against Isis. “The president does have a lot of confidence in the individuals who are responsible for presenting intelligence information to him, primarily because he has given them very specific instruction about his desire to get the possible sense of what’s actually happening on the ground, even if it means coming to the president with some bad news,” he said.

A Pentagon Whistleblower Says He’s Being Punished for Calling Out Waste in Afghanistan

Colonel John C. Hope is a decorated West Point graduate with a sterling 32-year service record. On Monday, he went public and accused the Pentagon of punishing him for speaking out against waste and inefficiency he saw in Afghanistan.

Hope worked for the Task Force For Business Stability Operations (TFBSO), which he says blew millions of dollars on ill-conceived projects and then purposefully tried to mislead investigators appointed by Congress. Hope says his superiors at the Pentagon have retaliated against his criticism of TBSO and jeopardized his career by holding up his performance review — a step necessary for bonuses, promotions, and new assignments — for eight months.

On Monday, after months of fighting behind the scenes, Hope spoke to VICE News. "I didn't want it to go this way," he said. "The Pentagon is trying to silence me, and that's not going to happen." ...

Hope spent nine months as the top military official for TFBSO in Afghanistan. The program, which was disbanded last year, was designed to promote "free market" principles in war zones. It recruited CEOs and private businesspeople to invest in Afghanistan, and it spent more than $800 million in taxpayer money from 2009 to 2014.

From Hope's perspective, the program was a colossal failure. "There were so many things about the Task Force that were so screwed from the get-go," he said. "You can't get your hand around a single success story."

TFBSO's most famous project, a natural gas pipeline through the city of Sheberghan, is still incomplete despite hundreds of millions of dollars in US taxpayer investment. "They just left the country without finishing the last 7 kilometers," Hope said.

In Hope's telling, TFBSO's leadership in Washington had no understanding of the realities of investing on the ground in Afghanistan. "It was a whole bunch of people who had no idea what they were doing, spending lots of money," he said. "When the program was disbanded all the top guys decided it was time to get out of town… before someone comes around and asked for accountability."

Egypt’s Youth Ignore the Election and Vote With Their Feet

Voting ended Monday in Egypt's first parliamentary elections since a military coup deposed the elected government more than two years ago, but young people largely stayed away from the polls. Probably fewer than one in four eligible voters showed up at the polls, and there were no international monitors watching over the vote. Many young Egyptians stayed home to express their disgust with a government that has repressed demonstrations brutally.

"I don't want to support this government in any way," said Sami Ibrahim, a 27-year-old radiologist living in Cairo. "I don't want blood on my hands."

Parliamentary elections are held in two stages of two days each in Egypt, and turnout appeared higher on Sunday and Monday than it was during the first round of voting last month. But in many places it is still unlikely to have topped 25 percent, the figure the government gave for the last round, which has been widely ridiculed as inflated. ...

Many of the country's youth hope to emigrate, feeling their chance of having a say in a participatory political system is over, and looking for a better standard of living. According to 2013 data from a government statistics agency, a staggering 60 percent of young Egyptians want to emigrate for work.

Was Your Ex-Boyfriend an Undercover Police Spy? Some British Women Don't Yet Know

On Friday, seven more British women received payouts from London's Metropolitan Police for being deceived into relationships with undercover officers engaged with gathering information on activist groups over two and a half decades.

Along with the undisclosed settlement, the women received an official apology. Yet one of them also pointed out to VICE News that there are likely still many women who don't yet realize that they were in relationships with men who didn't really exist.

"Thanks in large part to the courage and tenacity of these women in bringing these matters to light it has become apparent that some officers, acting undercover while seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative, and wrong," Met Police Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said.

In his statement, Hewitt also agreed it was "irrelevant" whether the undercover men had feelings for the women or not.

"I acknowledge that these relationships were a violation of the women's human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma. I unreservedly apologize on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service… Sexual relationships between undercover police officers and members of the public should not happen."

Jamar Clark protesters vow to continue despite shooting near demonstration

Protesters in Minneapolis have vowed not to be intimidated after five people were shot near the site of an ongoing demonstration over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a police officer.

The victims were transported to two local hospitals and are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the Minneapolis police department said in a statement.

Police were called to the scene just before 11pm on Monday night. The shootings occurred in an alley about a block away from the fourth precinct station, where protesters have been conducting a sit-in since the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on 15 November, the Star Tribune reported.

On Twitter, the department said it was searching for three white male suspects. No arrests had yet been made as of Tuesday morning, police said.

Witnesses Say 'White Supremacists' Behind Shooting at Black Lives Matter Protest

Gunmen described by witnesses as voicing white supremacist remarks shot and wounded five Black Lives Matter protesters as they gathered in Minneapolis on Monday night to protest the police killing of unarmed African-American man Jamar Clark earlier this month.

"Tonight, white supremacists attacked the ‪#‎4thPrecinctShutDown‬ in an act of domestic terrorism,"Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said on Facebook. The group explained that the unarmed demonstrators were shot "by white supremacists who were asked to leave [and] followed out." ...

Meanwhile, reports are emerging that, in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the police maced witnesses and at least one person filming the attack. The police department declined to respond to those charges in its statement.

Journalist on Shooting of Laquan McDonald By Chicago Police Officer: “It Was An Horrific Execution”

Chicago officer who shot black teen 16 times to face murder charge, reports say

A charge of murder is expected to be filed against a white Chicago police officer accused of shooting a black teenager 16 times, just one day before a deadline by which a judge has ordered the city to release a squad-car video of the incident.

Veteran officer Jason Van Dyke is expected to be indicted on Tuesday on a murder charge in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, an official close to the investigation told the Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt an announcement of the charges.

City officials and community leaders have been bracing for the release of the video, fearing an outbreak of unrest and demonstrations similar to what occurred in Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities after young African American men were slain by police. The judge ordered the dash-cam recording to be released by 25 November after city officials had argued for months it could not be made public until the conclusion of several investigations.

Several people who have seen the video say it shows the teenager armed with a small knife and walking away from several officers on 20 October 2014. They say Van Dyke opened fire from about 15ft and kept shooting after the teen fell to the ground. An autopsy report says McDonald was shot at least twice in his back. It also said PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, was found in the teen’s system.

Days of Revolt: Militarizing Education

Car Dealers Have Their Way With Congress

Last Wednesday, 88 Democrats joined 244 Republicans in the House to advance a bill that amounts to a stand-down order to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If it becomes law, CFPB will no longer be able to crack down on racial discrimination in auto lending that costs individual African-American and Hispanic consumers hundreds of dollars, while earning dealers hundreds of millions in ill-gotten profits. ...

This victory is far from the only perk auto dealers have secured. Thanks to a dealer-friendly provision inserted into the bill that created the CFPB in the first place, the agency cannot monitor dealers directly. In the cases of racial discrimination, for instance, CFPB can only fine the lenders who finance car purchases, not the dealers who make the markups. ...

In all, 65 Democrats, all with auto dealers in their districts, co-sponsored the bill, including an astonishing 15 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, representing communities harmed by racial discrimination. ...

While over 60 civil rights and consumer groups worked to limit Democratic defections — and did manage to flip a few of the bill’s co-sponsors — the National Automotive Dealers Association outmatched them.

Bankers still overpaid, says top German banker

Bankers still earn too much for simply turning up to work to handle other people’s money, according to John Cryan, the joint boss of Deutsche Bank.

Cryan, who took over as the co-chief executive of Germany’s biggest bank in July, included his own pay deal in his criticism of rewards more akin to those earned by self-made tycoons. He also said that, seven years after the financial meltdown, traders were rewarded too quickly for profits that could evaporate.

“Many people in the sector still believe they should be paid entrepreneurial wages for turning up to work with a regular salary, a pension and probably a healthcare scheme and playing with other people’s money,” Cryan said at a conference in Frankfurt on Monday. “There doesn’t seem to be anything entrepreneurial about that except the compensation structures,” he added, according to Bloomberg News.

Cryan made his comments weeks after warning that staff bonuses must reflect the cost of Deutsche Bank’s fines for past misconduct and as bankers plot to extract the biggest payout from their firms in the new-year bonus round. Traders, in particular, are still paid for short-term profits that are subject to clawback if their deals go awry. ...

Deutsche Bank does not intend to pay a dividend this year or next year and is reported to be planning cuts of at least 8,000 jobs in the coming years.

The bank warned in October that it would lose more than €6bn (£4.4bn) – a record loss – in the third quarter of its financial year because of large impairment charges. The bank also set aside €1.2bn for litigation costs. Like other banks, Deutsche was caught up in the Libor-rigging scandal and it faces a separate investigation in Switzerland for alleged price fixing in the precious metal market.

JFK assassination film: woman sues US government for return of 'lost' footage

A woman whose grandfather shot a home [movie] of the assassination of president John F Kennedy that has since been misplaced is suing the US government, demanding the film be returned or that she be paid $10m in compensation.

Gayle Nix Jackson filed the lawsuit in federal court on Saturday, one day before the 52nd anniversary of Kennedy’s death. The film was shot by her grandfather Orville Nix and shows the assassination in Dealey plaza in Dallas on 22 November 1963.

Jackson’s lawsuit claims the film is as important as the assassination footage captured by Abraham Zapruder with his movie camera. The federal government settled with Zapruder’s heirs in 1999 to purchase the film for $16m. ...

The eight-millimetre film was taken from the opposite side of the president’s limousine from where the Zapruder film was shot.

Orville Nix sold his film to the UPI news agency for $5,000 in 1963 with an understanding it would be returned after 25 years. During that period, it was turned over to the US government for the Warren Commission and other official investigations of the Kennedy assassination, the lawsuit said.

The film was last known to be in possession of the government for the House select committee on assassinations in 1978. Its whereabouts have been unknown ever since, the lawsuit said.

the horse race

Donald Trump on waterboarding: 'Even if it doesn't work they deserve it'

Donald Trump touted the benefits of waterboarding in a campaign rally on Monday night, telling a crowd that “you bet your ass” he would bring it back into use.

Addressing thousands of people in Columbus, Ohio, the Republican frontrunner praised waterboarding, an interrogation method that has been called torture. “I would approve more than that,” he said.

Trump told supporters: “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would. In a heartbeat. I would approve more than that. It works.”

The Republican frontrunner then added “… and if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway for what they do to us”.

Influential Rapper Delivers Impassioned Speech for Sanders' Revolution

"I don’t trust the church or the government. A Democrat or a Republican. A Pope or a bishop or them other men," declared activist and hip-hop star Killer Mike, reciting his own lyrics to a boisterous Atlanta crowd on Monday night.

"But after spending five hours tonight with someone who has spent the last 50 years radically fighting for your rights and mine, I can tell you that I am very proud tonight to announce the next president of the United States: Senator Bernie Sanders," thundered the Atlanta-born rapper, whose real name is Michael Render.

Before the Democratic candidate took the stage for his campaign rally, Killer Mike spoke for six minutes about the need for "political revolution," invoking the legacy of another "son of Atlanta," Martin Luther King—the revolutionary who fought the "war on poverty," and the "war machine that uses your sons and your nephews to go to other lands and murder."

the evening greens

WTO Ruling on Dolphin-Safe Tuna Labeling Illustrates Supremacy of Trade Agreements

International trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) need to be carefully examined piece by piece because they can take precedence over a country’s own laws.

Case in point: the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Friday ruled that dolphin-safe tuna labeling rules – required by U.S. law, in an effort to protect intelligent mammals from slaughter — violate the rights of Mexican fishers.

As a result, the U.S. will have to either alter the law or face sanctions from Mexico. ...

The WTO has ruled in Mexico’s favor on four separate occasions since 2011, most recently last Friday, in a final ruling that cannot be appealed. Though the U.S. changed its label standards several times, most recently in 2013, the WTO said that the law discriminates against tuna caught in Mexico, relative to other countries. Informing consumers of the fishing practices used to catch their tuna, the WTO concluded, represented a “technical barrier to trade.” ...

The same language that enabled the WTO to rule for Mexico and against U.S. sovereign law is replicated in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to the Sierra Club. ... This calls into question the numerous claims from the Administration that no trade agreement can force the U.S. to change its laws. In the case of tuna labeling, that has already occurred, and now may happen again.

[The global trade deal sword cuts both ways. Mexico may have won the right to dump its dolphin-unsafe tuna onto the American market, but it may lose its food-plant biodiversity to Monsanto. See this excellent article: Ultimate Weapon in Existential Struggle: Using the TPP for Hostile Takeover of Mexican Agriculture - js]

Climate Talks Must Address Human Cost of Extreme Weather Disasters: UN

Underscoring yet another reason why an ambitious climate deal must come out of upcoming COP21 talks in Paris, a new United Nations report warns of the "high price" of extreme weather disasters that are spurred in large part by a warming globe and rising sea levels.

"Weather and climate are major drivers of disaster risk and this report demonstrates that the world is paying a high price in lives lost," said Margareta Wahlström, head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), in a press release on Monday.

The report and analysis compiled by UNISDR and the Belgian-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)—entitled The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters (pdf)—demonstrates that since the first UN climate change conference (COP1) in 1995, 606,000 lives have been lost and 4.1 billion people have been injured, left homeless or in need of emergency assistance, as a result of weather-related disasters including floods, storms, heatwaves, and droughts.

And the numbers have been climbing along with global temperatures, as weather-related disasters occurred almost daily over the last decade. In total, an average of 335 such disasters were recorded per year between 2005 and 2014, an increase of 14 percent from 1995-2004, and almost twice the level recorded during 1985-1995.

Surprising? Really, Washington Post? You're kidding, right? Who writes the Post's headlines?

Why are so many Americans skeptical about climate change? A study offers a surprising answer.

Climate change has long been a highly polarizing topic in the United States, with Americans lining up on opposite sides depending on their politics and worldview. Now a scientific study sheds new light on the role played by corporate money in creating that divide.

The report, a systematic review of 20 years’ worth of data, highlights the connection between corporate funding and messages that raise doubts about the science of climate change and whether humans are responsible for the warming of the planet. The analysis suggests that corporations have used their wealth to amplify contrarian views and create an impression of greater scientific uncertainty than actually exists.

“The contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust,” said Justin Farrell, a Yale University sociologist and author of the study, released on Monday in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Also of Interest

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

They Sow the Cyclone – We Reap the Blowback

Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire

After Paris, Syrian Refugees Face a Darkening Future

Syria: What Would Boots on the Ground Look Like?

Blowback, Money and the Washington War Party

The New York Times and Washington Post are ignoring civilians killed by US drone strikes

Wall Street's Reprieve Expires

Why has this Amazonian tribe suddenly started to make contact with outsiders?

A Little Night Music

Champion Jack Dupree - Jack's Boogie

Champion Jack Dupree - Alberta

Champion Jack Dupree + King Curtis - Poor Boy Blues

Champion Jack Dupree - Everything's Gonna Be Alright

Champion Jack Dupree - Drunk Again

Champion Jack Dupree - Junker's Blues

Champion Jack Dupree - Strollin'

Champion Jack Dupree - Nasty Boogie

Champion Jack Dupree - Bring Me Flowers While I'm Living

Champion Jack Dupree - One scotch one bourbon one beer

Champion Jack Dupree - Shakin' mother for you

Champion Jack Dupree - Big Leg Emma

Champion Jack Dupree - My Home In Louisiana

Champion Jack Dupree - When I've Been Drinking

Champion Jack Dupree - Shim Sham Shimmy

Lightning Junior (Jack Dupree) - Somebody Changed the Lock on My Door

Champion Jack Dupree - Barrelhouse Woman

Champion Jack Dupree - Shake Baby Shake

Champion Jack Dupree - Tongue Tied Blues

Champion Jack Dupree w/Mickey Baker - Under Your Hood

Champion Jack Dupree - Sneaky Pete

Champion Jack Dupree - Stumblin' Block

Champion Jack Dupree - Hamburger Blues und Boogie Festival

13 users have voted.


all connected

and we feed ISIS at the same time we fight it

there was an article earlier in the week and here is another one today

Road to Islamic State was paved by America’s Faustian bargain with Saudi Wahhabism

I know that some here and especially Joe have been following the events in Turkey. It is moving quickly from a secular state to a Islamic state.

It has been holding the Syrian refugees thus keeping the EU from criticizing their race to authoritarianism, and their head, Erdogan, is all out for power and his position. Closing down opposition media and sending journalists to jail and stirring the war with PKK and the Kurds

And today shooting down the Russian military plane

It is going to take a rabbit out of the hat to settle the middle east now.

The long, long time middle east correspondent points out (this is the title of the article)

Robert Fisk: We still haven’t grasped that this is war without frontiers
Isil was quick to understand that borders imposed by colonial powers 100 years ago have lost their meaning, says Robert Fisk. And in a borderless world, the days when we could fight foreign wars and be safe at home may be long gone

The point, of course, is that the West had grown so used to attacking Arab lands - France had become so inured to sending its soldiers and air crews to Africa and the Middle East to shoot and bomb those whom it regarded as its enemies - that only when Muslims began attacking Western capital cities did we suddenly announce that we were "at war".

there has never been a map of Israel. They want to spread out and out...

Just as any incomprehension we express about the borderless world into which the Arabs think they are moving carries no reference to that most borderless of Middle East nations, Israel. Our support for an Israel that has not told us the location of its eastern border runs logically alongside our own refusal to recognise - unless it suits us - the frontiers of the Arab world. It is, after all, the West which is allowed to draw "lines in the sand" or "red lines". It is we Europeans who decide where civilisations begin and end.

But when the Arabs themselves decide to dispense with the whole fandango and seek their future in "our" lands rather than "their" lands, this policy breaks down.

The days are long gone when Western nations can have foreign adventures and expect to be safe at home. New York, Washington, Madrid, London, Paris all tell us that. Perhaps if we spoke more of "justice" - courts, legal process for killers, however morally repugnant they may be, sentences, prisons, redemption for those who may retrieve their lost souls from the Isil midden - we would be a little safer in our sceptered continent.

There should be justice not just for ourselves or our enemies, but for the peoples of the Middle East who have suffered this past century from the theatre of dictatorships and cardboard institutions the West created for them - and which have helped Isil to thrive.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

the destabilization of the middle east by the west has been a long-running project. the us took over from european powers in the post war era, but the west reserves the right to determine where the borders are drawn and who shall rule the territories that they delineate. the "great powers" have little regard for the lives and interests of the peoples of those lands. moves to self-determination are unwelcome.

i suspect that as long as the elites can remain secure in their luxury lairs, they care little more for the rest of us than they do the people of the middle east, so terrorism responses here are not as unwelcome as the elites televised reactions would have one believe as it makes for good business for our largest industries.

8 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

This kind of hypocritical mocking of mere millionaires while bowing down to billionaires is known in the spirituality and ethics biz as — see Matthew 23:24 — "straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel."

2 users have voted.

Joe, thanks again for the links and overview.

you have been paying attention to international relations for some time and giving us some highlights

Here is something for discussion

As you probably know, the French have shut down the street protests at the climate convention which begins at the end of the month. I saw somewhere that 200,000 were expected to march. So these sharp people are going to figure out something. There has been fairly good coverage on including a couple of pieces by Naomi Klein. I am waiting to see what they come up with as actions with people there. As Naomi points out, those who suffer the most are denied a voice because of national security concerns of the major nations. And the impoverished seldom have a time to be heard and this was going to be their chance.

Yes, the climate is more important than the ISIS attacks in Paris. But one sure would not know that from the corporate media.

The efforts to hold climate deniers accountable in court is an interesting move and it hopefully will lead more people to realize how serious this issue is.

As you may know there are global climate marches on Nov 29 and you can find one in your area or start one.

Here is a link to a web page on Global Climate March. What are the odds to getting the 10 million who protested against the invasion of Iraq?

They published this on that page

UPDATE: Citing the heightened security situation in Paris, the French government is prohibiting the Global Climate March planned in Paris for 29 November. While this tragedy makes it difficult to go forward with our original plans, we will still find a way for people in Paris to make the call for climate justice heard.

There has never been a greater need for Global Climate Marches throughout the rest of the world, and they will continue as planned. Love will win out over fear, and our movement will win over injustice. We encourage everyone around the world to join a Global Climate March and raise their voices louder than ever

11 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

We were in Paris the Sunday before the attacks, in Venice during the attacks.

What often goes through my mind when reading joe's excerpts is how much of a particular fail action is from the Disaster Capitalism playbook.

8 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.

shaharazade's picture

the climate talks are more important then the madness of ISIS and the ME. I can't help thinking however that these endless summits and talks with the perpetrators and facilitators of global warming including the global masters of endless war, money and dominion are just another Kabuki show. This is global political kabuki instead of domestic. These so called world leaders are not going to do a damn thing to mitigate burning up the planet. They are too invested in and owned by the market. Look at how Wall Street soars whenever a disaster occurs. They don't call this disaster capitalism for nothing. These foxes having a summit to resolve the hen house slaughter is so absurd it rivals the current definition of diplomacy for resolving the endless bloody war.

Flips reality on it's head and should not be even considered anything but what it is absolute bs. The Davos crowd wringing their hands about economic disparity comes to mind. Meanwhile blow the shit out of the ME and stop Putin and Russian's petro dollars while we of the west heat up the world with the race to the top. Who gives a shit about this geopolitical madness other then the psychotic powers that be? Most humans other then the truly delusional want to stop this shit.

I find it ironic that Brussels where the EU fuckers keep their funny money is now in military lock down. Growth that's the ticket. Can't have the people of the world rejecting getting of the grease in the ground or having peace break out. The free market would collapse and people would all go over those cliffs of mass deception. Why has the ratio of huge motherfucking SUV's and jacked up 4x4 trucks increased in my neighborhood? Hey it's a good thing as it cranks up the market in earth destroyers. Any way I'm done with looking for any solution to any global issue from the fuckers who make a profit off of our and the planets misery and killing.

5 users have voted.
MarilynW's picture

at these climate talks. But there will be no marches this year thanks to ISIS and now French security. The rise of ISIS can be partially traced to climate - the original uprising in Syria was the result of the long drought, food shortages and high food prices.

The changes to mitigate climate chaos are coming from the people. People are changing their eating habits, forcing General Foods to buy Annies Organic. People are ignoring the center aisles full of franken-foods, they are sticking to the the outer aisles with fresh produce. More and more people are buying local organic. They have the power to change the corporations. People are cleaning up shorelines with no government or political leadership. The drivership in the US has gone down. Not enough to reduce our emissions to a great extent but it's going down. More and more people are riding bikes. It's grass roots initiatives that will change things. Let the powers go to the outskirts of Paris for their elegant talks and limits that are never met, my faith is in the people.

4 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

Hope all is well! Thanks for the digest.

Back on US time now so can comment/contribute more for a while. We had several months of very rewarding, safe and peaceful travels, wish the same for all.

Driving up from Austin we stopped over in Roswell, NM hotel last night and had a rare evening watching MSNBC cable news. As you may recall, we have never in our 45 years of marriage watched TV news unless over at friends or relatives or in situation like this last night.

Rachel Maddow reamed Trunk pretty good, enjoyed Chris Hayes, but we especially enjoyed hearing an exchange between Phyllis Bennis and Howard Dean on The Last Word about the WAPO poll which left out Bernie but showed Hillary preferred over all the other conservative clowns re: Security.
Bennis reamed Hillary good, talked some reality to Dean who supported Hill. Good stuff, was surprised.

Can't figure out how to embed it. Doesn't have a direct link. Have to go to and scroll down and find it:

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell 11/23/15
Poll: Voters trust Clinton most on terrorism
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton beats all of the GOP candidates on terrorism in a new national poll. Howard Dean, Phyllis Bennis, and EJ Dionne discuss whether Hillary Clinton's plan to defeat ISIS in Syria is the best way forward.
Duration: 9:26

Anyways, helps me to focus on the goal and the good. Here's a call to action shared by UPFJ legislative list.

Call for December 10th Human Rights Day/Syria Actions November 22, 2015

All of these wars have been preventable. All have peaceful, diplomatic alternatives.

The Human Right to Peace Must Be Honored.
Families, villagers, citizens have the right not to be violated by war. Our only planet itself has the Right to Peace. The enormous and irreplaceable resources spent on war are far better spent to address desperate human needs.

Let those countries that created the crises rapidly accept and provide for refugees.

Let us demand the Human Right to Peace.

For December 10, International Human Rights Day we call all our friends who cherish peace to join us, to engage in creative peaceful, militant actions in towns and cities throughout the world calling for ceasefires, an end to these wars, peaceful, inclusive negotiations.

We call on the International Peace Movement to:

Mobilize public meetings
Create vigils, rallies and demonstrations
Generate church sermons
Engage in nonviolent Civil Disobedience
Contact Members of Congress, Parliaments, Foreign Ministers and Heads of Governments
Call our brothers and sisters in the other mass movements to join us

With these messages to our governments:

Pursue diplomacy and negotiations to end the wars in Syria, including the governments of Iran, Russia and Syria.
Remove all foreign troops from and pursue diplomacy and negotiations to end the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Ukraine and Somalia, including the relevant governments.
Honor the commitment not to move NATO a centimeter closer to Russia from Western Europe.
Remove all NATO troops from the Russian borders.
Retire the Cold War NATO Alliance
Accept and abide by the human rights of the millions of refugees created in these wars.
Support peaceful negotiations among nations bordering the South China Sea (East Sea) based on the UN Charter and the Law of the Sea.

For more information about Peace & Planet see:

Tags: call to action, Dec. 10, human rights, peace, peace rally for syria, sub featured, Syria

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Related Posts:

URGENT House vote to Dismantle Refugee Program Thurs, Nov. 19
Our Campaign Cannot Exist Without You. Contribute $5 to Peace Today!
Statement on Recent Attacks and Global Violence

AUDIO: Listen to the National Peace Conference Call on Syria with Phyllis Bennis
We Urgently Need Your Member Group Dues

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Call for December 10th Human Rights Day/Syria Actions | United For Peace and Justice - November 22, 2015

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Call for December 10th Human Rights Day/Syria Actions November 22, 2015

Namaste, ya'll.

12 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

i'm always glad to hear that you and jb are safe and well at home after a good ramble. i'm especially delighted to hear that you missed the blowback episode in paris. it's great that you guys will be around to hang out in real time for a while until the road calls you again.

wow, msnbc had phyllis bennis on? that's kind of surprising as she seems a bit further left and more peacenik-oriented than war-industry-owner general electric probably appreciates.

i didn't see any obvious way to embed that segment here although there is what msnbc says is a direct link to the segment available in its "post to social media" doojigger.

thanks for the heads-up about the dec 10 ufpj action.

8 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

and protests in Greece (we were only on Santorini), student riots against electricity shutdowns on Madagascar.

For next year have been researching going to the Pantanal in Brazil as a stopover on the way to South Africa. Did not realize the details of what going on over there:

Brazilian Political Crisis 2015
Although this shouldn't be a reason not to visit Brazil, visitors should be aware that Brazil is currently passing through a difficult political and economic period. Brazilian politics has always been rife with corruption and self-serving bureaucrats - however, the scale and systematic nature of this corruption has been highlighted dramatically with a Federal Police investigation code-named Lava Jato (or "carwash"). It began as a small investigation of bribes, kickbacks and money laundering involving a chain of gas stations in the state of Paraná - but has since expanded nationwide to encompass corruption at Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras, and electricity company, Electronuclear - with the total value of stolen funds reaching R$ 6.2 billion (as at Sept 2015). Many of the kickbacks have been traced back to politicians in the ruling Partido do Trabalhadores (PT) party and their allies (PMDB, PP, and PTB). It follows a similar corruption scandal, Mensalão,involving many of the same politicians a decade ago - showing that, despite promises and prison sentences (many suspended or shortened by Presidential decree) nothing changed. If anything it got worse.
Continued revelations, political infighting, worsening economic situation and other fallout has seen the approval rating of Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, drop to 7% - the lowest ever for a sitting President. Public frustration and anger have resulted in calls for impeachment and large nationwide street protests involving millions of people. The president has even stopped appearing on national television due to a phenomenon known as panelaço - where residents stand in their windows and apartment balconies, flashing lights, shouting, and beating cooking pans together to show their displeasure. In addition to the Federal level, other corruption scandals have also erupted at the State and city government levels. As of late 2015, focus has turned to economic matters as the government coalition has unraveled, and lack of political goodwill and leadership has blocked much-needed action to balance the country's accounts and fix an inefficient and bloated government infrastructure where, for decades, new ministries and departments were opened to create roles for political allies and supporters.

Although Brazil is still open for tourism, and most Brazilians are continuing with their daily lives as they did before the crisis, it is something to be aware of if travelling. Further strikes and protests are likely to continue periodically.

Video: Satirist John Oliver explains Brazil's Political Crisis
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.

divineorder's picture

5 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

but, from what i hear from friends who have been to brazil, it's got some amazing places to experience.

5 users have voted.

recall that Edward Snowden said that Drake and Manning created him

he saw how they were intimidated and figured out another path. As you probably know, it was an exciting escape. How much better off we are that he is able to speak out rather than being hidden away in prison.

here is Thomas Drake

Thomas: I decided I would not remain silent. I took an oath to defend the constitution. Here I am finding myself defending the constitution against my own government, a government that I did not recognise, an alien form of government. I had to stand up to it. So for many years I blew the whistle for every channel that existed. I was a witness on a number of government investigations including two 9/11 congressional investigations, as well as others.

I just hate it when Hillary says that Snowden should have worked through channels. THAT IS A FLAT OUT LIE AND SHE KNOWS IT.

He stood up to power. For us and the US. He went through the channels. And was almost sent to jail for decades as a traitor. There was recently a poster that included murders, spies and also on the poster was Drake, Binney and Edward Snowden.

This is a short interview. Learned some new stuff.

After Paris, be careful what you ask for: an interview with Thomas Drake

8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

We have to protect ourselves against those – and yet the government failed in Paris. It failed to protect the people and did not keep people out of harm’s way. Why is that? Why isn't that question being raised?

I would say it's not raised, because to answer it would mean to admit that there might be so many potential "men and women out there to act as human bombs" so that no police force or intelligence services would be able to know where they are, where they would develop, when they would "snap" and become "radical believers and followers" and how to weed through the thousands of "signals" they get and know which ones are important and which ones they can ignore.

The article and interview is very long. Drake explains it very well, but I haven't read it through the end yet.

Thomas: It was targeted surveillance. It was not mass surveillance. In fact it actually protected individuals, entities, right? It didn't look at everything, it didn't have to – that was the whole thing. That was the part of the problem of mass surveillance: the more you collect the less you know. People think, ‘the more I collect the more I'll get to know, or if I collect it all I’ll get to know it all.’ Really? Well, you get to know more and more about less and less…

The danger is in the minds. It's not that easy to "read minds". It's also not easy to predict when "minds will change" and become "fanatical potential murderers".

All of them are dangerous, because nobody is capable of taking humiliation without the urge to "slap back and revenge". Not only the "terrorists" but also those in the public, who fight them.

Thanks for the link to the interview and video, Don.

5 users have voted.

Love is all we have to give.

MarilynW's picture

French levels of government NOW overreacting with their lock downs and security. But further examination shows that they knew of these murderers and had them on their watch list. They let one of the murders go by after the crime, he was stopped and then let go. More and more evidence is coming out that the governments municipal and federal slipped up. As if to take the focus off their past laziness, they are going full on paranoid security crazy.

"Be careful what you ask for." Paris appears to be asking for a Patriot Act and even their Constitution is in peril right now.

Didn't they learn anything from 9/11?

I always like to hear from Thomas Drake.

3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

it's the place to go for getting the right amount of poisonous foreign news. I never know, if the dosage is too high and harmful to my health, or if the dosage is too low and is harmful to my intelligence. I think so far it's the right amount. I survive it every evening... Smile

Good Night.

9 users have voted.

Love is all we have to give.

joe shikspack's picture

glad to hear that it's still working for you and you haven't overdosed on bad news or become incurious.

have a great evening.

6 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

6 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)

riot after murder charge to policeman

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

and tangible change follows.

the video that i saw in the twitter stream depicts an inexcusable, cold-blooded murder.

8 users have voted.
Crider's picture

I saw a big article about how Walmart spies on their workers in regards to unionization. Except its in Bloomberg

"The details of Walmart’s efforts during the first year it confronted OUR Walmart are described in more than 1,000 pages of e-mails, reports, playbooks, charts, and graphs, as well as testimony from its head of labor relations at the time."
. . .
"Internally, however, Walmart considered the group enough of a threat that it hired an intelligence-gathering service from Lockheed Martin, contacted the FBI, staffed up its labor hotline, ranked stores by labor activity, and kept eyes on employees (and activists) prominent in the group. "

7 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

the excellent graphic.

Had a good acquaintance years ago (a Wal-Mart General Manager)--there is a 'rapid response' team that descends from Bentonville, Arkansas, if the word 'union' is even muttered by those in the ranks.

Management is serious as a heart attack about squashing potential union activity!!!


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)

joe shikspack's picture

i guess that since it's on bloomberg that means a lot of the people reading it are taking notes on how to implement walmart's fascist policies in their own businesses.

2 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

and its growing unpopularity--including with some Dems.

Thanks for the excellent roundup, Joe. Trying like crazy to finalize my blog formatting, so, I won't go on a long rant this evening. I will be watching with interest, the ensuing blog name contest! Wink

From HuffPo,

Views On Obamacare Shift Negative
Americans had more positive views earlier this year.

Views on Obamacare have taken a negative shift, according to a November Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Tuesday.

Forty-five percent of Americans now say they have a negative view of the Affordable Care Act, while 38 percent have a positive view. This represents a reversal from earlier this year when, for the first time in three years, a greater number of Americans were in favor of the law than against it. . . .

If Dems don't stop eliminating all the employer mandates, setting up the 'consumer' to absorb higher and higher premiums and OOP costs, it will eventually cost them at the polls.

They are actually lucky that they aren't running for the White House in, say, two more years. I say this, because by 2019, many of the radical cost shifts will be fully in affect, and/or become more apparent to greater swaths of Americans.

As of last evening (corporate open enrollment), we've just been hit with a just-under $600 group health insurance premium increase--in a plan that only covers two adults. Just heard a radio show host, and CNN Cable Host whining because his current ACA Health Exchange plan for "5"--two adult early 50's, three children, probably teenagers--will increase by $500 for 2016. (He's switching plans.)

Of course, many group plan beneficiaries don't have that luxury, or option.

Dash 1

Hey, I'll try to stop complaining for at least a few days, in honor of Thanksgiving festivities. Pleasantry

Have a nice evening, Everyone!


"Integrity and courage are powerful weapons. We have to learn how to use them. We have to stand up for what we believe in. And we have to accept the risks and even the ridicule that comes with this stance. We will not prevail any other way."

Chris Hedges, Journalist/Author/Activist, Truthdig, 9/20/2015

8 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

They are actually lucky that they aren't running for the White House in, say, two more years. I say this, because by 2019, many of the radical cost shifts will be fully in affect, and/or become more apparent to greater swaths of Americans.

i'm sure that the people who designed the act were quite aware of the anger that will result when regular folks who were told about this wondrous health benefit that the democrats designed get the bill for providing welfare to the insurance companies that the act was really designed for. no doubt they arranged for the bill to come due well after obama left office and in an off year for presidential elections.

i bet that when 2019 rolls around the dems have a strategy to point their fingers at republicans and scream that it's the republicans fault because they undermined the act and raised the costs.

5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

To be the scam many of us thought it was.
BFD that millions more have insurance. Yes it has helped many, but many more people were thrown out of their plans and couldn't see their doctors m
Millions more can hardly pay for the never increasing premiums and then don't have enough money left to use their insurance because of the high deductibles.
And those subsidies for insurance go directly to the insurance companies.
Now with the employer mandates never being enforced, how many people are not going to be able to afford any insurance?
Obama ran the two biggest cons ever on Americans.
One his campaign where he duped so many of us into believing his shit of " Yes we Can" and now the ACA.
Look at how many insurance companies are getting out of the exchanges.
I guess there was one more con.
That he wouldn't continue PNAC's goal of destabilizing the Middle East.
Or commit the coups in Honduras and Ukraine.
4- his bogus fight against Isis.
Instead he's creating more terrorists organizations with his funding, arming and training them.
Boy I can't wait to see what Hillary has in store for us.

4 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

enhydra lutris's picture

4 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

thanks for dropping by!

3 users have voted.