The Evening Blues - 11-6-18



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: J.B. Lenoir



Hey! Good Evening!


This evening's music features Chicago blues singer, songwriter and guitarist J.B. Lenoir. Enjoy!



J.B. Lenoir - Round And Round

“The major problem — one of the major problems, for there are several — one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

-- Douglas Adams


News and Opinion


Even the FBI Thinks Police Have Links to White Supremacists — but Don’t Tell the New York Times

Over the weekend,  the New York Times Magazine published a lengthy and in-depth piece on how U.S. law enforcement has willfully ignored the threat of white supremacist extremism for decades. The author, Janet Reitman, takes an ostensibly deep dive into how law enforcement — particularly federal agencies — has neglected the growth of the violent far right, in part owing to Republican political agenda setting. For a story framed around a “blind spot,” though, the piece itself is hobbled by an egregious case of sightlessness. The Times tells a story about law enforcement failing and struggling to deal with white supremacy. The elephant in the room, unmentioned by Reitman or any of the sources she chose to cite, is that U.S. law enforcement doesn’t do enough about violent racists because as an institution, U.S. law enforcement is violently racist and contains explicit white supremacists in its ranks. ...

It has been well-reported that not only is racism endemic to American police culture, but that, in the exact decades Reitman looks at, white supremacist groups infiltrated law enforcement agencies around the country. Somehow, in Reitman’s interrogation of the FBI dealing with far-right extremism, she fails to mention that the agency itself was internally investigating white supremacist infiltration in law enforcement. “Although these right-wing extremists have posed a growing threat for years,” The Intercept’s Alice Speri reported last year, “federal investigators have been reluctant to publicly address that threat or to point out the movement’s longstanding strategy of infiltrating the law enforcement community.” Speri’s story was based, in part, on a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from 2015, which noted that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers.”

Speri’s report cited numerous examples from the past decade of white supremacist police activity, including the case of a local sheriff’s department in Los Angeles that was found to have formed a neo-Nazi gang in 1991; a Chicago detective and rumored Ku Klux Klan member who was found to have tortured 120 black men while on duty (before eventually being fired and prosecuted); and cops in Cleveland who scrawled neo-Nazi graffiti in their locker rooms. ...

The least we might expect from the Times story — which, according to the author, took over a year to report — would be for it to include federal agencies’ own admissions of white supremacist infiltration in policing. A true reckoning with law enforcement’s role in American white supremacy would address the dark and unfinished history of policing as a racist institution, from its birth in the slave patrols of the 18th century, to its historic presence in the KKK, to the innumerable instances of racism by the police and the continued threat policing poses to black life. ... Reitman’s Times piece mentions that police have shown a tendency to target Black Lives Matter protesters above neo-Nazis, but declines to mention that Black Lives Matter — the central anti-racist movement of our time — is a movement against racist police brutality. Reitman’s piece reads as if the message of Black Lives Matter — that white supremacy undergirds U.S. policing — has fallen on deaf ears.

Has America Gone Insane?

What does United States of America stand for nowadays if political division is at an all time high? Is it still the land of the free if America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world? Are we still the home of the brave if we refuse to stand up to injustice, because it would compromise our pocketbook? This disconnection from reality is the definition of psychosis. Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, best-selling author, and activist Chris Hedges, has made it his life’s work to highlight this inequity and combat the complacency of the consumerist culture. In a 2010 essay published on Adbusters, Hedges caught the eye of filmmaker Amanda Zackem, when he succinctly spelled out the problems with totalitarian capitalism and corporate power. Those ideas deeply resonated with Zackem and caused her to reach out to Hedges about bringing his essay into the cinematic realm in order to expose them to a larger audience.

“We live in an unbalanced, exploitation-based system and that’s not morally right or just. The issues of totalitarian capitalism and totalitarian corporate power need to be discussed more openly and honestly in our national dialogue,” says Zackem. “To be clear, totalitarian capitalism is not sustainable and should not be intertwined with our government. Most people don’t realize how their consumer choices negatively impact the world – environmentally, socially, culturally, politically, globally.” Without going deep into the trenches, the short documentary illuminates many of these issues. However, with its hard-lined perspective, “American Psychosis” serves as a vital entry point to critically observing, thinking, and acting on the imbalances one sees in society. “I learned long ago that you can’t change anybody unless they want to change themselves. With this in mind, my intention when making this film was to encourage people to begin to think critically about the world we live in as opposed to just going through our daily motions. Most of us aren’t even aware of the oppressive, inequitable systems we are a part of, or if we are, we choose not to look, or not to talk about it, because it is uncomfortable. I want people to question the world we live in, the systems we’ve set up. I want people to self-reflect and take personal responsibility for our current situation. Why do we allow it to continue? What are we afraid of? How can we co-create and help each other live and thrive as individuals and as a community?”

'People are despairing': Iranians brace for sanctions to bite

Iranians were bracing themselves for a period of economic hardship on Monday after sweeping US sanctions came into full force, leading Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, to describe the situation as “economic war”.

The Iranian economy has been under strain since May, when Donald Trump exited the 2015 nuclear agreement – designed to curb Iran’s nuclear programme – and announced the return of sanctions. His first set of sanctions were reimposed in August. Those measures hit the country’s access to dollars, gold, precious metals and the car-making sector, amid growing street protests. And on Monday Trump unilaterally reimposed further sanctions, despite opposition from the US’s European partners of the nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The new sanctions were timed to coincide with the anniversary of the 1979 US hostage crisis.

“For ordinary people, sanctions mean unemployment, sanctions mean becoming poor, sanctions mean the scarcity of medicine, the rising price of dollar,” said Akbar Shamsodini, an Iranian businessman in the oil and gas sector who lost his job six months ago as European companies started to pull out of Iran in fear of US sanctions. “By imposing these sanctions, they want to force Iranians to rise up in revolt against their government but in practice, they will only make them flee their country,” he said, adding that ironically it would be Europe that would have to bear the burden of such a mass migration. ...

Rouhani said the US was using the language of “pressure and threats” against the people of Iran. He said Washington was isolated in its anti-Iran stance, except for a few allies, in what appeared to be apparent references to Saudi Arabia and Israel. He said: “The US is proud of backing a regime that kills the people of Palestine every day, putting them under bombing. They are proud of supporting a regime that is killing the people of Yemen every day.”

European 'clearing house' to bypass US sanctions against Iran

A special clearing house designed to allow European companies that trade with Iran to bypass newly reimposed US sanctions will be set up in Europe within months, possibly in France or Germany. The clearing house, known as a special purpose vehicle (SPV), is seen as critical to reassuring Tehran that the EU genuinely wishes to reward Iran for signing the 2015 deal on its nuclear programme by expanding business with the country. ...

The Iranian deputy foreign minister, Kazem Sajjadpou, speaking in London, expressed his frustration at the pace with which the SPV is being set up, saying: “What is lacking is both speed and efficiency.” Tehran had been hoping for an announcement at the weekend on the next steps for the SPV, which was announced in principle two months ago. The SPV would serve as a barter exchange neither connected to the US dollar-denominated international financial system nor requiring monetary transfers between EU countries and Iran. An Iranian firm selling into Europe would accumulate credits that could be then used to buy a product from a different European firm.

The three main European signatories to the 2015 deal – France Germany and the UK – are still working through the detailed implications of the US move. Key areas of concern include threats to humanitarian trade and the ability of Iran to access income from those countries granted a waiver to continue purchasing oil from Iran for at least six more months. There has also been speculation that no European country has been willing to act as the host for the SPV, fearing US reprisals.

Did someone try to break into Ecuadorian Embassy to snatch Assange?

New York Times ramps up smear campaign against Julian Assange

A pair of blaring headlines appearing in Friday’s edition of the New York Times purported to show that the newspaper had obtained damning new evidence of collusion between WikiLeaks, the Trump campaign and the Russian government to damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton in 2016. The latest round of smears appearing in the Times, the journalistic mouthpiece of the Democratic Party and sections of the military-intelligence apparatus opposed to Trump, is aimed at preparing public opinion for an eventual indictment on espionage charges of WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange, preparations for which are already in full swing. The Times articles appeared amid widespread media speculation that special counsel Robert Mueller could begin handing down indictments soon.

The government of Ecuador, eager to curry favor with Washington, is rapidly moving to expel Assange from its embassy in London, where he has been trapped since he first sought political asylum there in 2012. Assange would be arrested by British police immediately upon setting foot outside the embassy, after which he could be extradited to the United States, where a secret grand jury has reportedly long been convened to hear charges against him. Consortium News reported on Saturday that Assange was the target of a failed break-in two weeks ago, according to Assange’s legal team. While the details of the incident are still unclear, it demonstrates the severity of his situation as well as total abdication by the government of Ecuador of responsibility for Assange’s security, which appears to now be virtually nonexistent. Assange apparently was able to foil the intruder only because he had set a booby-trap in his room.

The incident has been totally unreported in the American press more than two days after the story broke.

Last month, a bipartisan group of lawmakers headed by Democrat Eliot Engel published an open letter to the Ecuadorian government demanding that President Lenin Moreno hand over Assange, branding the WikiLeaks publisher “a dangerous criminal and a threat to global security,” who “should be brought to justice.”


Not on the Agenda – America’s Wars Are a Non-Factor in Today’s Midterm Elections

The United States military is actively fighting in seven Muslim-majority countries; and no one cares. As Americans go to the polls today in a ritual pretense of democracy, they will vote for one of the two major political parties on issues ranging from healthcare to immigration to the basic personality of President Donald Trump. The three mainstream networks – from "liberal" MSNBC to "conservative" Fox News – have reported on little else for the last several months. The whole charade is little more than politics-as-entertainment, like some popular sporting event in which the opposing sides wave the flag for the blue team or the red team.

For weeks now, my television, and yours, has been saturated with political commercials for and against local legislative candidates. Some are attack ads focused on corruption and the supposed left or right-wing extremism of the opposing candidate. Others center on taxes, healthcare, and the ostensible "hordes" of immigrants approaching the U.S. in a troublesome caravan. But none, I repeat, none, say a thing about American foreign policy, the nation’s ongoing wars, or the exploding, record defense budget. You see, in 2018, despite being engrossed in the longest war in US history, the citizenry – both on Main Street and Wall Street – display nothing but apathy on the subject of America’s clearly faltering foreign policy.

Why should we be surprised? The de facto "leaders" of both parties – the Chuck Schumers, Joe Bidens, Hillary Clintons and Mitch McConnells of the world – all voted for the 2002 Iraq War resolution, one of the worst foreign policy adventures in American History. Sure, on domestic issues – taxes, healthcare, immigration – there may be some distinction between Republican and Democratic policies; but on the profound issues of war and peace, there is precious little daylight between the two parties. That, right there, is a formula for perpetual war.

'Absolute Fraud': After Billions in Taxpayer Subsidies Championed by Trump, Ryan, and Walker, Foxconn to Import Chinese Workers for Wisconsin Jobs

Wisconsin's Koch-funded Republican Gov. Scott Walker lavished the Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn with over four billion in taxpayer subsidies last year in a deal that he claimed would create 13,000 jobs in the state, but that agreement is increasingly looking like a massive con-job amid new reports on Tuesday that Foxconn is planning to bring in Chinese workers to fill spots that the governor insisted would be filled by Wisconsinites.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Foxconn "is considering bringing in personnel from China to help staff a large facility under construction in southern Wisconsin as it struggles to find engineers and other workers in one of the tightest labor markets in the U.S." President Donald Trump and outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have both openly championed the Foxconn agreement as a boon for Wisconsin workers. Last year, Trump took credit for convincing Foxconn to build a factory in Wisconsin.

"The company, the Taiwanese supplier to Apple Inc., has been trying to tap Chinese engineers through internal transfers to supplement staffing for the Wisconsin plant," the Journal reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. "Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou is looking to company engineers in China to transfer." While Foxconn issued a statement denying the Journal's reporting, critics of Walker—who is locked in an extremely close race with Democratic challenger Tony Evers—were quick to highlight the company's alleged plans as further evidence that the governor's "deal" with the Taiwanese multinational has been a massive fraud from the start. ...

As the New Yorker's Dan Kaufman noted in a detailed look at the Foxconn deal over the weekend, the agreement—which is rapidly declining in popularity among Wisconsin voters—includes "taxpayer subsidies to the company totaling more than $4.5 billion, the largest subsidy for a foreign corporation in American history."

"Since Wisconsin already exempts manufacturing companies from paying taxes, Foxconn, which generated a hundred and fifty-eight billion dollars in revenue last year, will receive much of this subsidy in direct cash payments from taxpayers," Kaufman observes. "Depending on how many jobs are actually created, taxpayers will be paying between two hundred and twenty thousand dollars and more than a million dollars per job."

“Smoking Gun” Evidence Shows Trump Admin’s Top Anti-Immigrant Officials Trying to Rig the Census

Democratic candidates praise Trump’s attacks on immigrants as troops arrive at the border

Hundreds of armed soldiers have deployed to the US-Mexico border, setting up over 170 miles of razor wire, erecting barricades at border crossing points and staging armed military drills in full view of immigrants waiting to cross. Speaking at a campaign rally Saturday, President Donald Trump said: “We have our military on the border. And I noticed all that beautiful barbed wire going up today. Barbed wire used properly can be a beautiful sight.” ... Thousands more soldiers—up to 15,000 in all—are en route to the border. The Pentagon claims 3,500 are already staging at bases near the border, including 1,000 Marines in California. They will be deployed in both uninhabited desert regions and major metropolitan areas such as San Diego, California, and El Paso, Texas.

The Democratic Party has signaled that should it take control of one or both houses of Congress in Tuesday’s midterm elections, it will collaborate with Trump’s crackdown against immigrants. Almost all of its Senate candidates in closely contested races have endorsed Trump’s attack on immigrants.

Joe Manchin (West Virginia) said he is open to rescinding the 14th Amendment’s establishment of birthright citizenship. Joe Donnelly (Indiana), who has declared his support for ending birthright citizenship, is running advertisements denouncing immigrants. Claire McCaskill (Missouri) said she supports Trump’s decision to deploy troops to the border “100 percent.” Phil Bredesen (Tennessee) is also campaigning in support of Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and warns that the immigrant caravan moving north from Honduras will bring “chaos.” Two other candidates—Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) and John Tester (Montana)—won the endorsement of the fascistic union representing border control agents. Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) echoed Trump when she said in August, “ICE does provide some important functions. ICE is responsible for removing dangerous criminal aliens, aliens who hurt other people by engaging in rape or murder.”

The Democratic Party has explicitly abandoned the slogan to “abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).” Senators Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) and Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), who both called for “abolishing ICE” in the spring when Trump began separating child immigrants from their parents, have now pulled back and said they do not support abolishing the agency anymore. NBC News reported that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member and Democratic Party congressional candidate, “despite making ‘Abolish ICE’ a major part of her campaign over the summer, has tweeted about the topic just twice since Sept. 1. A campaign spokesman told NBC News she was unavailable for comment about the issue.”

Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) has maintained total silence on Trump’s fascistic moves against immigrants. ... In a CNN interview on Friday, Sanders was asked twice whether he would defend the immigrant caravan. He responded each time by ignoring the question and pivoting instead to healthcare. ... The New York Times reported that when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked about the Democratic Party’s position on Trump’s threat to revoke birthright citizenship, she replied, “Clearly, Republicans will do absolutely anything to divert attention away from their votes to take away Americans’ healthcare.”

Migrant caravan converges on Mexico City after three weeks on the road

Thousands of Central American migrants headed towards Mexico City on Monday after three weeks of walking, pleading for rides and depending on the solidarity of Mexicans of modest means. One group of at least 1,000 caravan participants headed out at daybreak from the town of Córdoba, in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, hoping to hitchhike the remaining 300km, past the towering Pico de Orizaba – Mexico’s highest mountain – to the national capital.

They were following in the footsteps of about 500 marchers who reached Mexico City on Sunday night, where the local government has converted a sports complex into a camp for more than 5,000 people. The caravan’s arrival in Mexico City marks an improbable achievement for the ragtag band of impoverished migrants who set out from Central America with little more than hope, dreams and a few scant possessions on an odyssey toward the US border.

They have hitchhiked about 1,500km, crossing two international borders – despite the barrage of warnings from Donald Trump who has thundered against the caravan as a national security threat ahead of US midterm elections on Tuesday.

Mexico’s government said on Saturday that around 5,000 migrants were still winding their way through the country in at least three caravans; 2,793 have applied for asylum.

US military rejected White House request to build migrant detention facilities

The US military declined a draft request from the Department of Homeland Security last month to build housing for detained migrants, during early discussions in the Trump administration about the military’s role on the border, according to officials. By voicing its opposition, the Pentagon helped ensure that its mission was tailored to providing support only to government personnel on the border.

After initial discussions about the issue, there was no mention of troops building migrant housing facilities when the DHS later made a formal request to the Pentagon for help on the border, the officials said.

Trump then said in a speech at the White House last week that he plans to build “massive cities of tents” to detain migrants, who would be held in those facilities indefinitely while the authorities weighs their asylum request. The president thanked the Army Corps of Engineers for their help, without giving details of their activities or specifying whether any tents have yet been erected on military bases to accommodate migrants apprehended after crossing the border. There has been speculation, however, that the huge Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas, could be a prime target.



the horse race



Progressive Caucus prepares to shake up Democrats after midterms

If Democrats reclaim the House on Tuesday night, the progressives in their midst are planning for anything but politics as usual on Capitol Hill. Leaders of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) have been laying the groundwork to transform what was described as a one-time “social club” and an “informal coalition” into a more powerful political force pushing the party to the left. “We’ve always had the largest membership within the Democratic caucus, but we kind of had skinny, weak arms,” said CPC chairman Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin. “We didn’t have the muscle to flex because we didn’t have a structure to do that.”

The CPC, which was established by then congressman, now senator Bernie Sanders in response to the rise of liberal centrism in the early 1990s, has 78 members and currently represents more than one-third of the House Democratic caucus. Yet despite a large membership, the caucus has struggled in the past to leverage its numbers in a meaningful way. Pocan said the caucus has become “more sophisticated and more hungry” in recent years. And next year, he predicts, the CPC will be “in a position to be a much more powerful entity” – a posture that could invite high-profile clashes with Democratic leadership.

His caucus will compete for influence with an equally ambitious coalition of moderate Democrats. The groups are already armed with dueling analyses of how the House majority may be won. Moderates argue that a Democratic takeover will come from left-of-center candidates in Republican-leaning and conservative districts – not economic populists in the solidly liberal corners of the country. Progressive are making the case that a majority of the Democrats in competitive House races are running on at least one of plank of their economic platform and that their ideas can resonate in conservative America. ...

Privately some progressives are skeptical that a caucus of its size can be corralled to vote as a bloc and believe the formation of a “sub-caucus” is inevitable. The idea of building a progressive “sub-caucus”, floated by Ocasio-Cortez in an interview earlier this year, would mirror the Freedom Caucus, which was formed by conservative hardliners within the Tea Party movement that upended Republican politics.

Mysterious Facebook group is using Bernie Sanders’ image to get liberals to vote for the Green Party

A Facebook page for a group called “America Progress Now” is running ads online urging progressives to vote for Green Party candidates in seven competitive races in the Midwest. “People of Color NEED Marcia Squier in the Senate to represent them,” one of the ads says, promoting a Green Party candidate in Michigan. “Americans don't have control over our government anymore. We've lost it to greedy, corporate capitalists,” says another, calling for voters to support Ohio Green Party candidate Joe Manchik.

The page features ads with images of prominent progressive politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Problem is, America Progress Now hasn’t registered with the Federal Election Commission, as all groups making independent political expenditures are required to do. Six of the Green Party candidates being promoted by America Progress Now say they have no affiliation with the Facebook page, and most say they’ve never heard of the group.

And there’s no sign of America Progress Now at the address listed on its Facebook page. When we visited 605 E. 132nd St. in the Bronx on Monday morning, none of the tenants we spoke to had ever heard of America Progress Now. The building’s landlord, Stephen Rosenfeld, said in a phone call that he hadn’t not heard of the group either and that no tenants by that name were in his building. After reaching out to America Progress Now, the page removed its Bronx address.

The ads caught the attention of Sanders’ Senate office, which asked Facebook to take the ads down, but so far the company has refused to do so. Two of the ads mention Sanders and one insinuates that he supports voting for third-party candidates. “Bernie Sanders is leading the way,” the ad states. “It's time to send him some allies in Washington. This November, don't vote for a party, vote for Progressive values.”

“We asked Facebook to remove the ad last week because it is clearly a malicious attempt to deceive voters,” Sanders spokesman Josh Miller-Lewis said in a statement. “It is deeply troubling that after Facebook was used in similar ways by foreign actors in 2016 to swing the election, the company still refuses to act to combat deceptive and misleading ads run by anonymous organizations." In an email to a Sanders staff member that was shared with VICE News and ProPublica, Facebook said it had investigated America Progress Now and found no violations of its policies. Facebook said it had verified that America Progress Now is authorized to run ads with “America Progress Now” in its “Paid For by” disclosure.

'Instilling Fear in the 11th Hour': Experts Warn Trump DOJ Poll Monitors Being Sent to Intimidate Voters, Not Protect Them

In a move civil rights groups denounced as a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to intimidate minorities, spread hysteria about non-existent voter fraud, and suppress turnout, the Justice Department announced on Monday that it is dispatching personnel to "monitor" 35 voting locations in 19 states during Tuesday's midterms just as President Donald Trump warned in a tweet that any "illegal voting" will be punished with "maximum criminal penalties."

"We condemn the Justice Department's announcement regarding the deployment of federal observers," Kristen Clarke, president and CEO of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement. "In stark contrast to how these observers have been deployed in the past, Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not have his eyes set on voter suppression and last-minute intimidation but is instead exploiting this moment to push a false narrative about voter fraud."

"At every turn, this Justice Department has failed to take action to enforce the Voting Rights Act and protect the interests of minority voters. And the latest announcement from DOJ makes clear that this is still the case," Clarke continued. "This is a Justice Department that has abandoned its mission and lost its way."

States the Justice Department said it plans to monitor during Tuesday's midterm elections include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, where extremely close and significant races have drawn national attention. In a press release on Monday, the Justice Department provided a full list of counties it plans to watch.


Fox News hosts are now stumping for Trump at rallies — and attacking their co-workers as “fake news”

Sean Hannity said Monday he would not be joining Donald Trump on stage at his final campaign rally in Missouri, despite the president’s team billing him as a “special guest.” Just 12 hours later, the Fox News host was on stage, acting as Trump’s hype-man by insulting real journalists — including his own co-workers — as “fake news.”

Hannity had earlier insisted he would only be at the rally in Cape Girardeau in a journalistic capacity. “I am covering final rally for my show,” he tweeted. “Something I have done in every election in the past.” But as soon as Trump took the podium in Missouri for his third rally of the day, he summoned Hannity to join him. The Fox News host obliged, and immediately attacked his colleagues in the media, parroting one of Trump’s favorite lines. “By the way, all those people in the back are fake news,” he said, referring to a pool of reporters, which included Fox News reporters. Hannity went on to offer an effusive endorsement for Trump: “The one thing that has made and defined your presidency more than anything else: Promises made, promises kept.”

The appearance highlighted the extent to which the right-wing network has acted as a mouthpiece for the White House, dispensing with any pretense of journalistic objectivity to actively stump for Trump ahead of Tuesday’s crucial vote. ... Hannity was not the only Fox News personality on stage; Jeanine Pirro made an appearance to explicitly instruct those gathered to vote Republican. “If you like the America that he is making now, you’ve got to make sure you get out there tomorrow if you haven’t voted yet, everyone you know,” Pirro said. “Get them out there to vote for Donald Trump and all the people who are running for the Republican Party.”

Earlier, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh had warmed up the crowd in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, offering ominous warnings about a fifth column imperilling the United States.





the evening greens


2 years to Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction, warns UN

The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief. Ahead of a key international conference to discuss the collapse of ecosystems, Cristiana Pasca Palmer said people in all countries need to put pressure on their governments to draw up ambitious global targets by 2020 to protect the insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water and carbon sequestration.

“The loss of biodiversity is a silent killer,” she told the Guardian. “It’s different from climate change, where people feel the impact in everyday life. With biodiversity, it is not so clear but by the time you feel what is happening, it may be too late.” Pasca Palmer is executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – the world body responsible for maintaining the natural life support systems on which humanity depends. Its members – 195 states and the EU – will meet in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, this month to start discussions on a new framework for managing the world’s ecosystems and wildlife. This will kick off two years of frenetic negotiations, which Pasca Palmer hopes will culminate in an ambitious new global deal at the next conference in Beijing in 2020.

Conservationists are desperate for a biodiversity accord that will carry the same weight as the Paris climate agreement. But so far, this subject has received miserably little attention even though many scientists say it poses at least an equal threat to humanity. The last two major biodiversity agreements – in 2002 and 2010 – have failed to stem the worst loss of life on Earth since the demise of the dinosaurs.

Pasca Palmer says there are glimmers of hope. Several species in Africa and Asia have recovered (though most are in decline) and forest cover in Asia has increased by 2.5% (though it has decreased elsewhere at a faster rate). Marine protected areas have also widened. But overall, she says, the picture is worrying. The already high rates of biodiversity loss from habitat destruction, chemical pollution and invasive species will accelerate in the coming 30 years as a result of climate change and growing human populations. By 2050, Africa is expected to lose 50% of its birds and mammals, and Asian fisheries to completely collapse. The loss of plants and sea life will reduce the Earth’s ability to absorb carbon, creating a vicious cycle.

“The numbers are staggering,” says the former Romanian environment minister. “I hope we aren’t the first species to document our own extinction.”

Oil & Gas Industry Giants Spend Millions in Attempt to Defeat Anti-Fracking Proposition in Colorado

Worth a full read:

Why Plans to Turn America’s Rust Belt into a New Plastics Belt Are Bad News for the Climate

The petrochemical industry anticipates spending a total of over $200 billion on factories, pipelines, and other infrastructure in the U.S. that will rely on shale gas, the American Chemistry Council announced in September. Construction is already underway at many sites. This building spree would dramatically expand the Gulf Coast’s petrochemical corridor (known locally as “Cancer Alley”) — and establish a new plastics and petrochemical belt across states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. If those projects are completed, analysts predict the U.S. would flip from one of the world’s highest-cost producers of plastics and chemicals to one of the cheapest, using raw materials and energy from fracked gas wells in states like Texas, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Those petrochemical plans could have profound consequences for a planet already showing signs of dangerous warming and a cascade of other impacts from climate change. ... The petrochemical and plastics industries are notoriously polluting, not only when it comes to toxic air pollution and plastic waste, but also because of the industry’s significant greenhouse gas footprint — affecting not only the U.S., but the entire world. “The chemical and petrochemical sector is by far the largest industrial energy user, accounting for roughly 10 percent of total worldwide final energy demand and 7 percent of global [greenhouse gas] emissions,” the International Energy Agency reported in 2013. Since then the numbers have crept up, with the IEA finding petrochemicals responsible for an additional percentage point of the world’s total energy consumption in 2017.

Carbon emissions from petrochemical and plastics manufacturing are expected to grow 20 percent by 2030 (in other words, in just over a decade), the IEA concluded in a report released October 5. A few days later, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that by 2030, the world needs to have reduced its greenhouse gas pollution 45 percent from 2010 levels, in order to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to a less-catastrophic 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). The petrochemicals industry has so far drawn relatively little attention from oil and gas analysts and policy makers. “Petrochemicals are one of the key blind spots in the global energy debate, especially given the influence they will exert on future energy trends,” Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said in a statement this month. “In fact,” he added, “our analysis shows they will have a greater influence on the future of oil demand than cars, trucks and aviation.”

The new investments, which will rely on decades of continued fracking in the U.S, offer the oil and gas industry a serious hedge against competition from renewable energy, even in the event that climate policies push fossil fuel energy to the margins.



Also of Interest

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

Assange Case Shows Support for Free Speech Depends on Who’s Talking

Business Lobbyists, GOP Operatives Plot to Take Down Wave of Ocasio-Cortez-Style Democratic Socialists in Midterms

Restricting Election Reporting to Issues That Don’t Matter

Don DeLillo on Trump's America: 'I'm not sure the country is recoverable'

Watch the film the Israel lobby didn’t want you to see

Everyone knows settlers cut down Palestinian olive trees. But Israel doesn't care

New discovery throws light on mystery of pyramids' construction


A Little Night Music


J B Lenoir - I'll Die Trying

J B Lenoir - Voodoo Music

J.B. Lenoir - Born Dead

J.B. Lenoir - Slow Down

JB Lenoir - What About Your Daughter

J.B. Lenoir - She Don't Know

J. B. Lenore - Mama Your Daughter Is Going To Miss Me

J.B. Lenoir - Tax Paying Blues

J.B. Lenoir - Feelin' Good

J.B.Lenoir - Alabama Blues



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QMS's picture

How lovely of the media to go out of the way to protect us from the real issues, hey Jo!
~
Nice blues. Thx

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10 users have voted.

Question authority = civil disobedience

WindDancer13's picture

@QMS

Our parents warned us (most of us anyway) to not get too close to fire. Mainstream media feels it is their duty to protect us by leaving us in the dark.

Fire can be a good thing when handled properly, which we learn from investigation and experience.

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8 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

if only we could get the kardashians to run for high offices, the "news" could complete the circle and reach its greatest relevance ever.

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2 users have voted.
WindDancer13's picture

One of Trump's many pre-election promises was to drain the swamp in Washington DC. What he has actually done is just replace rotting vegetation with rotting vegetation of a different color.

Trump Already Won the Midterms

Regardless of how the midterm elections turn out Tuesday night, President Donald Trump will have at least one thing to celebrate: His mission to remake the Republican Party in his own image has been an unequivocal success.

The MAGAfication of the GOP that Trump first set in motion three years ago has continued apace this campaign season—with disloyal Republicans getting primaried and purged, formerly fringe media outlets gaining mainstream influence, and key party institutions mutating into weapons of presidential culture war. There’s little sign these trends will abate with a defeat at the ballot box.

...

Three years later, Trump’s conquest of the Republican Party is complete, and the former “fringe” has become so thoroughly intertwined with the “establishment” that the two are virtually indistinguishable. Trump will leave office one day, and a new generation of Republicans may come along and try to disentangle these elements. But for now, this is the party that Trump built—and that’s a legacy that will live on past Tuesday.

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9 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

joe shikspack's picture

@WindDancer13

trump has already won so much, i'm totally tired of watching him win.

it will take more time than the human race has on this earth to rebuild the governmental structures needed to rein in the .1% and their death cult in some sort of peaceful, democratic manner.

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4 users have voted.
Alphalop's picture

@joe shikspack

it will take more time than the human race has on this earth to rebuild the governmental structures needed to rein in the .1% and their death cult in some sort of peaceful, democratic manner.

I've given up hope of it happening peacefully, the corrupt are too thoroughly entrenched at all levels.

I've sadly reached the opinion that in order for any meaningful change to take place some heads will need to be separated from some shoulders.

When the overwhelming majority of the population repeatedly expresses one goal and the politicians do the opposite consistently you don't have a democratic republic.

You have a corporatist oligarchy at best...

And they own the process.

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3 users have voted.

"I used to vote Republican & Democrat, I also used to shit my pants. Eventually I got smart enough to stop doing both things." -Me

WindDancer13's picture

Designer voting machines?

China grants more trademark approvals for Ivanka Trump firm - including voting machines

BEIJING (Reuters) - China last month granted initial approval for 16 new trademarks for the fashion brand of U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter and adviser Ivanka, including voting machines, a search of official records on Tuesday showed.

...

The latest China trademarks cover things like shoes and jewelry, but also more offbeat items like voting machines and nursing homes, according to a search of records on the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce's Trademark office.

The trademarks were applied for in 2016.

How do you trademark a nursing home?

How is a business that has reportedly shut down going to use those trademarks?

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9 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

QMS's picture

@WindDancer13
Only Diebold knows for sure. BTW, who supervises the Diebold contract? One of them secret security agencies, if not several, be my guess.

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6 users have voted.

Question authority = civil disobedience

WindDancer13's picture

@QMS

as an honest voting machine, imo. Two things that need to be worked on (prior to 2020):

1. Get rid of all voting machines. As in go back to paper ballots. This will need some design features to keep them from being "tampered" with (e.g., no hanging chads).

2. A law that requires all ballots be held for a period not less than two years. they can be stored in less space than the defunct voting machines.

Personally, I would like to see all voting be available by Internet. If my bank and creditors can figure out a way to protect my accounts, then so can the people in charge of elections.

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6 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

QMS's picture

@WindDancer13
They got our ident. Vote at the ATM. Make it convenient.

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7 users have voted.

Question authority = civil disobedience

lotlizard's picture

narrative on not just one, but two channels.

The “Arte” channel is showing two hours of docudrama portraying the New York Times in a heroic, “All the President’s Men”–like light opposing Trump in “Mission Truth.”

The “Phoenix” channel is showing a 45-minute documentary “Trump and Putin,” to be followed by U.S. election night coverage.

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12 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@lotlizard

heh, i guess that means that the cia/democrat team figures that it will need germany in its pocket to get its war on with the russkies.

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5 users have voted.
Raggedy Ann's picture

Getting my feet back on the ground! Loved my travel and my time at home and now back at work. I need to go half time - what am I doing??? Maybe next summer. I'm desperately trying to save to drill a new well (ours barely produces, so we go to the laundromat, we have to haul water to give our trees, plants, etc. a drink, etc.). I think I can make it another 8 months or so.

People need to open the picture of that poor child who starved in Yemen. This is how we have lost our humanity. I am included in that. What am I doing to alleviate the suffering? Nothing is coming to mind.....

I'm interested to see how the vote turns out in my state. Many close races - neck and neck - according to our local political bloggers. If a dem can be elected instead of a rethug in the south of the state, that will be a tremendous accomplishment.

Have a beautiful evening, folks! Pleasantry

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13 users have voted.

"If there is not justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government." Emiliano Zapata

WindDancer13's picture

@Raggedy Ann

that if someone were to Photoshop the starving children to make them blue-eyed, blond, and pale skinned that someone might pay attention. I have not yet determined the ethics of doing that though.

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11 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

QMS's picture

@WindDancer13
~Just Do It.

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9 users have voted.

Question authority = civil disobedience

Raggedy Ann's picture

@WindDancer13
Pleasantry

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7 users have voted.

"If there is not justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government." Emiliano Zapata

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

People need to open the picture of that poor child who starved in Yemen. This is how we have lost our humanity. I am included in that. What am I doing to alleviate the suffering? Nothing is coming to mind.....

i feel the same way, perhaps my imagination is impoverished, but, having tried a lot of different avenues of protest and "working within the system" over the years, i am pretty much out of practical, achievable ideas for ways of compelling the u.s. government to stop slaughtering people in my name.

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6 users have voted.
Raggedy Ann's picture

@joe shikspack
It’s heart wrenching.

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4 users have voted.

"If there is not justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government." Emiliano Zapata

Azazello's picture

Evening all,
Not a single mendacious political flyer in the mail today, five pounds of mail order catalogs instead. Saw my first Xmas ad on TV last week, it's the reason for the season.
I thought this was interesting.
Here's the article Max and Stacy are talking about: Marshall Auerback: So Far, the Big Trade War Loser Is China, Not the U.S.

The troops are arriving in Tucson, setting up a tent city at D-M. That's about 2 miles south of my house. You couldn't ask for better camping weather, clear skies, highs in the low 80s.

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9 users have voted.
WindDancer13's picture

@Azazello @Azazello

Credit: In the last two months, two of my credit cards have raised my credit limit by $6000 total. I think Keiser just explained why.

FANG: Nice acronym for Facebook, Apple, Netscape, Google. Need to figure out how to keep the theme and add a few more in there.

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6 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

Azazello's picture

@WindDancer13
They fly C-130s and A-10s mostly, all day long. I hope the troops won't be bothered by the noise.

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8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Azazello
gives me the following page:

451: Unavailable due to legal reasons

We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact jspitz@tucson.com or call 800-695-4492.

Explain D-M tent city. D-M stands for what?

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3 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@mimi @mimi
in Tucson, AZ, near the border. Some of our troops will be staying there, in tents, while they defend the Homeland.

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8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Azazello

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4 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@mimi
At least I hope that's what these tents are being erected for.
I hope they're not building some kind of lager.

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6 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@Azazello
It's another attempt at making immigrants welcome in the land of plenty. Maybe we should change the brand image a bit. America is no longer an asylum for the poor. But the prison / military complexity can sho 'nuff make money on y'alls. Meanwhile the media spins it as an opportunity for the militias to be patriotic and shoot the stone throwers. Yee haw! Hope the kids and chickens are safe when the bullets fly.

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9 users have voted.

Question authority = civil disobedience

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

heh, my phone went crazy today with people wondering if i was going to vote. i even got a call from barack obama. no snail mail flyers today, either, but boy was my email box full of crap from all sorts of people.

as much as i hate the commercialism that goes with xmas, i think that it will be a relief after all of the negative flyers telling me how awful this or that politician is.

have a good one!

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5 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack

Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) echoed Trump when she said in August, “ICE does provide some important functions. ICE is responsible for removing dangerous criminal aliens, aliens who hurt other people by engaging in rape or murder.”

Good ole' Kyrsten. This AZ Senate race is the very definition of Lesser of Two Evils. You have to do the arithmetic to figure it out. One votes with Trump 90% of the time, the other only 60%. Which candidate will represent me best ? Shit.

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4 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

well, at least you know shit when you see it and you aren't going to feel like you were betrayed when the shitty candidate turns out to be a shitty representative.

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4 users have voted.

I’m so old, I remember when the Democrats weren’t afraid to speak out against Trump’s immigration policies. I mean, they wouldn’t actually do anything, but at least they didn’t try to change the subject to “ protecting” Obamacare healthcare.

Other than his tweets and general boorishness, is there any anti-Trump stance the alleged resistance won’t walk back? Could they be any more worthless?

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8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

I can't imagine how. Why people are thinking that if they take the house and/or the senate that anything will change is just mind boggling because they have given no indication that they would do anything to stop Trump and his GOP muppets. Why don't people see them for who they actually are?

The minute Trump won many democrats said that they were looking forward to working with him. Remember what McConnell said after Obama won? "I'll do everything I can to make him a one term president." Geez .. he didn't have to work very hard because Obama didn't do much of anything that McCain or Romney wouldn't have done. Heh, McConnell saved SS during Obama's tenure. Not sure why unless he wanted the credit for dismantling it himself.

Check out this list of Obama's real legacy. I'd add that the Donald is president to it.

Obama's Legacy

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9 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

Could they be any more worthless?

no. they are willing to make deals and share governance with white supremacists.

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4 users have voted.
dervish's picture

is the fact that her alleged brothers didn't show signs of wasting or anorexia. Kids are starving in Yemen, but there might be something wrong with this particular example.

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7 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

WindDancer13's picture

@dervish

in almost all cultures. Males are favored to survive by getting that extra crust of bread more.

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4 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

joe shikspack's picture

@dervish

it's hard to tell what might have caused the wasting disease. it's possible that she was infected with some organism that her siblings were not. there is currently a cholera epidemic in yemen, for example.

i wouldn't automatically assume that because her siblings appear healthy that there was some subterfuge.

i haven't seen a full medical report on amal hussain, but this piece suggests that her death was due to something other than a food shortage:

The hospital that struggled to control the girl's nonstop bouts of diarrhea and vomiting had to release her to make room for new patients, in a nation where hundreds of thousands of displaced or isolated people are now under siege from disease and starvation. She was taken back to a teeming, disease-laden refugee camp where Amal — the human face of a genocide that the world has yet to come to terms with — died a few days later.

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Former SS guard, 94, weeps at testimony of Holocaust survivors

The defendant, who is being tried under juvenile law because he was aged between 18 and 20 at the time of the alleged crimes, is “accused in his capacity as a guard of participating in the killing operations”, the Dortmund prosecutor, Andreas Brendel, told AFP.

70 years after this happened this guard is being prosecuted for murder while numerous Nazis were brought to this country because of their knowledge. Men who water boarded people were executed by us and now we promote the ones who do and did this as well as other atrocities or just watch as they go about their lives.

Hypocrisy ... I'm at a loss for other words for this. Yeah I know... the winners always get to make the rules.

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9 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

as leona helmsley might have put it - rules are for the little people.

heh, she was a pretty good judge of at least one character, apparently:

I wouldn't believe Donald Trump if his tongue was notarized.

-- Leona Helmsley, Playboy, Nov. 1990

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6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

For the time being, yes.

Good Night.

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8 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@mimi
Massively tho not individually at the same level. Gute Nacht.

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6 users have voted.

Question authority = civil disobedience

mimi's picture

@QMS
media-00jo6aa3pm50djj6ckgpdw.jpg

Hope you succeed.

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5 users have voted.

@mimi Sorta seems that way to me right now.

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8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@lizzyh7
FUBAR Europe is, you would feel good about yourself.

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3 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@lizzyh7
~
Never approached sanity to begin with. With ya liz.

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3 users have voted.

Question authority = civil disobedience

snoopydawg's picture

@mimi

What with Trump rolling back every regulation he can think of to the petrochemical industry building factories to make plastic products while the rest of the world is trying to get them out of their countries.

The petrochemical and plastics industries are notoriously polluting, not only when it comes to toxic air pollution and plastic waste, but also because of the industry’s significant greenhouse gas footprint — affecting not only the U.S., but the entire world.

Now Trump and the insane companies are deliberately trying to make things worse for us. I'm seriously thinking that they do have somewhere else to go when they have completely destroyed the planet.

Hmm, wonder if a democrat becomes president if they would reinstate the EPA and other regulations? Anyone want to give it a guess?

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9 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

america brought its insanity from europe, where it has festered:

I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did any where. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe.

-- Thomas Jefferson January 1787

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
of that. FUBAR is an international state of conditions.

I am so sorry for what the Europeans did bring to the US and so sorry for what Americans bring back to Europe in return.

I have completely given up and never see either of the two sides worse or better, even if I sound like it when I voice my criticism of US policies and conditions.

See, my hopes have died and so I am going to die with them.

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2 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

No doubt the US has a hand in this shit. Fucking pigs.

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6 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

thanks for the video. looks like all that is really needed now is some sort of provocation. i bet it happens.

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3 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

a few themes that should be memes. Meanwhile, the blue rinse appears stalled. I wonder how prematurely they will start calling some California races to improve appearances.

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3 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

yep, i thought that film was a nice distillation of some of hedges' major themes in a way that might connect with folks. i hope that the film gets around.

have a great evening!

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3 users have voted.