The Evening Blues - 12-8-15
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features a r&b, jump blues and early rock and roll band, led by identical twins Cliff and Claude Trenier, The Treniers. Enjoy!
The Treniers - Rocking is our business
“Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.”
-- Terry Pratchett
News and Opinion
America’s Reckless War Against Evil
Oh, no! Not another American war against evil!
This time, it’s the Islamic State (IS). After the attacks in Paris, Barack Obama, spokesman-in-chief for the United States of America, called that crew “the face of evil.” Shades of George W. Bush. The “evildoers” are back. And from every mountaintop, it seems, America now rings with calls to ramp up its war machine. ...
Barack Obama called the Paris tragedy “an attack on all of humanity,” which means that, even for the president, IS fighters stand outside that category. They are evidently some other species and merely appear to be human. And this was the mildest of descriptions in this overheated political season of ours. “The face of evil” sounds modest indeed compared to the vivid images offered by the Republicans vying to replace him. For Ben Carson, IS are a bunch of “rabid dogs”; for Ted Cruz, “scorpions.” Donald Trump calls them "insane," "animals." ...
In fact, the presidential candidates of this moment all demand annihilation and nothing less. In Donald Trump’s words, “bomb the shit out of ‘em.” In Hillary Clinton’s more demure formulation, “crush ISIS... break the group’s momentum and then its back.” Even Bernie Sanders agrees: “Our priority must be... to destroy the brutal and barbaric ISIS regime.”
The dream of a war of annihilation against evil has a long, long history in white America. It began in 1636 when Puritans in New England wiped out the Pequot tribe, promising that such a lesson would prevent further attacks by other tribes. In fact, it created a spiral of violence and counter-violence, and a war-against-evil template that the country still follows nearly four centuries later in its “war on terror.” The current conflict in Iraq and Syria seems only to be locking us into that template and its guaranteed cycle of violence ever more firmly.
Woodrow Wilson Perfectly Embodies U.S. Hypocrisy. That’s Why We Should Remember Him.
From the genteel halls of Princeton University, students are trying to pull another American hero from his pedestal. It turns out that Woodrow Wilson, who was president of Princeton before becoming president of the United States in 1913, was an outspoken racist. Therefore, the reasoning goes, Princeton should change the name of its Woodrow Wilson School for International and Public Affairs.
This would be a lamentable mistake. Wilson is the ideal person for whom to name such a school. He perfectly represents the duplicity that lies at the heart of much American foreign policy. Removing his name from the school at Princeton would be a way of hiding or downplaying his legacy. Instead, we should study and learn from it.
Like many American leaders, Wilson preached peace but crashed recklessly into countries around the world. He is the United States much of the world sees: blathering about freedom while acting to crush it. Whether this image is fair today or not, Wilson reminds us of why so many people believe it. ...
Wilson preached the supreme value of self-determination, which he called the right of all people “to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live.” In office, though, he sent American troops to intervene in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Russia. No other president invaded as many countries as this sworn promoter of self-determination. Like his predecessors—and successors—Wilson insisted that he was doing it for the good of the target countries. Americans would leave them alone, he promised, as soon as they learned “to elect good men.” That meant, of course, men who would place the interests of the United States above the interests of their own countries. ...
Wilson’s capacity for mendacity, hypocrisy and self-delusion makes him the ideal person for whom to name a school dedicated to studying American foreign policy. He embodies all of its deepest contradictions. Rather than change the school’s name, Princeton should deepen its study of Wilson and what he represents. Perhaps it could even broaden its focus to study the legacy of John Foster Dulles and his brother, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, two other Princeton men. A curriculum like this would help students understand how the United States came to its current predicament in the world.
"I Want a World of Peace": In Exclusive Interview UK Labour Head Jeremy Corbyn Opposes Bombing Syria
Amnesty: Most weapons used by IS were seized from Iraqi army
Decades of reckless arms trading and the poorly regulated flow of weapons into Iraq have contributed to the Islamic State group's accumulation of a "vast and varied" arsenal which is being used to commit war crimes on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria, an international rights group said Tuesday.
Amnesty International's report, based on expert analysis of verified videos and images, says most of the extremist group's weapons, ammunition and equipment were looted from the Iraqi army. It says the weapons were manufactured and designed in more than two dozen countries, including Russia, China, the U.S. and EU states.
IS swept across Iraq in the summer of 2014, capturing the second largest city, Mosul, and taking weapons left behind by fleeing Iraqi security forces, including U.S.-supplied arms and military vehicles. The extremist group has also snatched arms from Syrian forces after capturing military bases there.
"The vast and varied weaponry being used by the armed group calling itself Islamic State is a textbook case of how reckless arms trading fuels atrocities on a massive scale," said Amnesty researcher Patrick Wilcken.
War & Climate Change: Jeremy Corbyn on the Brutal Quest for Oil & the Need for a Sustainable Planet
Oil fuels war and terrorists like Isis. The climate movement can bring peace
Greed for petroleum has produced plenty of war. War can be defined narrowly, as conflict between nations, or broadly, as large-scale violence in pursuit of gain. This is why so many see the climate movement as a peace movement – especially after the recent massacres in Paris.
In the fossil-fuel era, some oil corporations became powers equal to states, and some states became petroleum corporations in drag, and both were eager to fight horrific wars over resource control. The abuse of power and the destruction go all the way back to the early history of the petroleum industry in particular (though coal and natural gas extraction and industries have plenty of ugly achievements of their own).
Consider that the legitimately elected prime minister of Iran was deposed in a 1953 coup because he had nationalized the oil industry. BP wasn’t going to give up its profits without a fight, and the dirty fight was carried out by the United States and Britain. The Iran coup was just one of many interventions in the Middle East driven by oil.
It’s not just war and foreign-backed coups – even the current bout of terrorism can be largely traced back to oil policy. While the 2003 Iraq war is sometimes blamed for the rise of Isis, that invasion was justified as a response to al-Qaida’s 2001 attack on targets in the US and one of al-Qaida’s biggest objections was the US presence in Saudi Arabia before 9/11 – which was also oil-related. ...
There is no monopoly on sun and wind, so it’s hard to imagine wars over those resources. The dispersal of power generation as wind and sun and other renewable sources replace fossil fuels correlates nicely to the dispersal of political power –which is what we mean by democracy.
Excluded From Rebel Talks, Syrian Kurds to Hold Their Own Conference
Saudi officials are making much of their conference of Syrian rebel factions, being held this week in Riyadh. The effort to secure unity among rebels, however, is significantly undermined by the large number of rebel groups excluded, including every Kurdish group.
Undaunted, the Kurdish YPG and other factions have decided to hold their own conference in the Hasakeh Province, saying they’re also inviting Assyrian Christian groups and some secular Arab factions that were excluded from the Saudi talks.
Interestingly, the Saudis deny excluding the Kurds, though the YPG’s political wing has reiterated that they’ve still not received any invitation, and nor does any other Kurdish faction appear to have gotten one.
Turkey refuses to withdraw troops sent to north Iraq base
Turkey has said it will not withdraw hundreds of soldiers who arrived last week at a base in northern Iraq, despite being ordered by Baghdad to do so within 48 hours.
The arrival of such a large and heavily armed Turkish contingent in a camp near the frontline has added yet another controversial deployment to a war against Islamic State fighters that has drawn in most of the world’s major powers.
Ankara says the troops are there as part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight against Isis. The Iraqi government says it never invited such a force, and will take its case to the UN if they are not pulled out.
Washington, which is leading an international coalition against Isis that includes Turkey, Arab states and European countries such as Britain and France, has told the Turkish and Iraqi governments to resolve the standoff, and says it does not support deployments in Iraq without Baghdad’s consent. ...
Political analysts saw last week’s deployment by Turkey, which has the second biggest army in Nato, as an attempt to assert its influence in the face of increased Russian and Iranian involvement in Syria and Iraq.
ISIS Oil Empire - Iraq PM al-Abadi accuses Turkey of facilitating ISIS smuggling
Manufacturing Fear: America’s Growth Industry
Obama appears statesmanlike when compared with the Republican opposition, salivating to press forward with total war; yet his own remarks are fraudulent and contrived, invoking the spirit of Dr. King’s “We Shall Overcome” and praising America as exceptionalist and possessing unsullied democratic values. In truth he deep-down reflects the same contempt for democracy as his Republican opposition. Would ISIS have had the same recruiting success, indeed genesis, absent the US record of war, intervention, covert action, regime change, drone, assassination, embargoes, etc. etc, a long shadow of disgraceful imperialism and global military hegemony?
In a profound sense, America created ISIS by its pattern of military-financial-commercial globalization, playing up to, if not creating, dictatorial regimes to smoothe the way to market penetration and related activities. As for the US’s previous record on attacking ISIS, Obama’s critics have a point that America has been slow and desultory, but they don’t ask WHY. Perhaps Obama and the US found (until the situation, as now, got out of hand) ISIS was useful to have around, justifying the full dimensions of counterterrorism policy, e.g., massive surveillance within the country itself, and of course legitimating ever-expanding military budgets at the expense of both infrastructure and the social safety net.
America is declining not because of terrorism but its moral collapse in furthering the agenda of an advanced stage of capitalism.
Obama administration to roll out new fear-inducing addition to its terrorism product line...
U.S. Will Add a Third Level to Warnings of Terrorism
The Department of Homeland Security plans to change the terrorism alert system so it can provide general advisories to the public about threats, national security officials said on Monday.
Under the current system, there are two levels for threats: imminent and elevated. A new level will be added to cover less serious threats, though officials declined to say what it will be called.
“It wouldn’t be specifics like time and place,” one of the officials said. “It would be along the lines of terrorists have expressed interest in attacking this type of target.”
The department has never issued a warning under the current system, which was established in 2010. It replaced the five-color warning system created by the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. That program was widely criticized because it scared many people when it was elevated, but provided few details about what the public should do or what the threat was.
Obama Countering Terror with Terror
Number of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria doubles in a year, report finds
The number of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria has more than doubled since last year to at least 27,000, according to a new report by an intelligence consultancy, highlighting the global dimension of the conflict.
The figures, compiled by the Soufan Group, indicate that efforts by countries around the world to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria and blunt the appeal of violent organisations such as Islamic State (Isis) appear to have made little impact. ...
“The Islamic State has seen success beyond the dreams of other terrorist groups that now appear conventional and even old-fashioned, such as al-Qaida.
“It has energised tens of thousands of people to join it, and inspired many more to support it.” ...
It has sought to recruit followers via social media, prompting growing alarm in the west, with the European Union launching a forum this month to bring together internet giants like Google and Facebook as well as law enforcement agencies to combat online extremism.
The Soufan Group noted, however, that “while the power of the Islamic State’s social media outreach is undeniable, it appears more often to prepare the ground for persuasion, rather than to force the decision”.
“As hotbeds develop, recruitment through social media becomes less important than via direct human contact, as clusters of friends and neighbours persuade each other to travel separately or together to join the Islamic State.
Google's Eric Schmidt calls for 'spell-checkers for hate and harassment'
Google’s Eric Schmidt has called on the technology industry to put its collective intelligence behind tackling terrorism on the internet, by building “spell-checkers, but for hate and harassment”.
Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, wrote in the New York Times that individuals, tech companies and governments all have a role to play in ensuring the internet is only used for positive ends.
He wrote: “We should make it ever easier to see the news from another country’s point of view, and understand the global consciousness free from filter or bias.
“We should build tools to help de-escalate tensions on social media — sort of like spell-checkers, but for hate and harassment. We should target social accounts for terrorist groups like the Islamic State, and remove videos before they spread, or help those countering terrorist messages to find their voice.”
Quoting the influential cyberlibertarian John Perry Barlow, Schmidt argued that, in many ways, the internet has delivered on its promise of “a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity”.
But, he said: “For all the good people can do with new tools and new inventions, there are always some who will seek to do harm. Ever since there’s been fire, there’s been arson.”
Terrorists Mock Bids to End Use of Social Media
In the hours after 14 people were killed in San Bernardino, Calif., a familiar voice celebrated the attacks on Twitter: “California, we have already arrived with our soldiers. Decide how to be your end, with knife or bomb.”
That comment was posted from the 335th Twitter account of a pro-Islamic State group that calls itself Asawitiri Media. Twitter has repeatedly tried to cut off the authors of the account, most recently known to its thousands of followers as @TurMedia335, @TurMedia334 and @TurMedia333.
As soon as Twitter suspends one account, a new one is created. After the group’s 99th account was suspended, it taunted Twitter by creating @IslamicState100, posting images of birthday candles, cake, trophies and fireworks.
Politicians and even some technologists say that account, and hundreds just like it, show how Silicon Valley’s efforts to crack down on the use by terrorists of social media have been toothless. And Washington is using the latest terrorist attacks to renew its calls for Silicon Valley to roll back the encryption in their products. On Sunday, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, called on tech companies to become more aggressive.
Obama Hints at Renewed Pressure on Encryption, Clinton Waves Off First Amendment
President Obama and Hillary Clinton made statements on Sunday indicating that the post-San Bernardino focus on rooting out radicalized individuals is going to lead to heightened pressure on social media sites and tech companies that provide unbreakable end-to-end encryption.
In his Oval Office speech on Sunday night about the fight against ISIS, President Obama devoted one line in his speech to the topic. “I will urge high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice,” he said.
Meanwhile, Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, gave a talk at the Brookings Institution where she urged tech companies to deny ISIS “online space,” and waved away concerns about First Amendment issues. ...
A “senior administration official” told Reuters that the White House intends to talk to tech companies in the coming days about developing a “clearer understanding of when we believe social media is being used actively and operationally to promote terrorism.” Major social media sites are already deeply engaged in combating online propaganda and recruitment by Islamic militants. ...
In his comments, Obama was echoing statements by FBI Director James Comey, who is the administration’s chief advocate for finding a way to give law enforcement some sort of special doorway into encrypted communications that does not unduly jeopardize the security of those communications.
The tech industry, however, along with other experts and privacy researchers, have been adamant that no such way exists. Any “backdoor” for law enforcement use could inevitably be abused by bad actors as well, they say.
On the left: Trump's remarks on the Internet & free speech everyone is making fun of.
On the right: Hillary Clinton pic.twitter.com/FK4bxdowtC
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) December 8, 2015
US Donors Gave $220 Million to Israeli Settlements
A new report from Haaretz reveals that, from 2009-2013, US donors gave at least $220 million to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, a scheme that is run through scores of US-based nonprofit groups who accept the donations as tax deductible.
The money was largely sent to settlements as grants, allowing them to spend money on whatever they want, be it construction or legal aid for convicted terrorists backed by the settler movement. This included Honenu, an Israeli settler group that supports the families of Israelis imprisoned for killing Palestinians, and also raised money for Yigal Amir, who assassinated former Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin. ...
The money ultimately means that even as the White House insists they oppose the settlements, and are making it a matter of policy that those settlements imperil the peace process, the US is also ultimately behind a good chunk of the funding keeping the illegal endeavor going.
Icelanders flock to religion revering Sumerian gods and tax rebates
Icelanders opposed to the state funding of religion have flocked to register as Zuists, a movement that worships ancient Sumerian gods and – perhaps more importantly – promises its followers a tax rebate.
More than 3,100 people – almost 1% of Iceland’s population – have joined the Zuist movement in the past two weeks in protest at paying part of their taxes to the state church and other religious bodies. Followers of Zuism will be refunded the tax element earmarked for religion.
Icelanders are required to register their religion with the state, with almost three-quarters of the population affiliated to the established Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland. There are more than 40 other registered religious bodies that qualify for “parish fees” paid through the taxation system. The amount set in next year’s budget is the equivalent of about $80 (£53) per taxpayer over a year. ...
The English section of the Zuists’ website says: “The religious organisation of Zuism is a platform for its members to practise a religion of the ancient Sumerian people. Zuists fully support freedom of religion, and from religion, for everyone. The organisation’s primary objective is that the government repeal any law that grants religious organisations privilege, financial or otherwise, above other organisations. Furthermore Zuists demand that the government’s registry of its citizens’ religion will be abolished.”
Zuism, it adds, “will cease to exist when its objectives have been met”.
Days of Revolt: The Revolution Will Be Local
Chicago Police Commander Goes to Trial for Shoving Gun Down Man's Throat
A day after the US Justice Department announced a federal probe into the Chicago Police Department, and as protests continue over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teen, one of the force's commanders faced trial Tuesday for allegedly shoving his gun down a suspect's mouth.
Commander Glenn Evans, 53, will go on trial on Tuesday on charges that he took suspect Rickey Williams into an abandoned building in the city's South Side, put his gun "deep" into his mouth, held a Taser to his groin and threatened to kill him on January 30, 2013.
Evans was charged last year with aggravated battery and official misconduct after the incident. Evans was removed from his commander's post after authorities reportedly found Williams's DNA on the barrel of the cop's .45-caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun. Evans is currently on paid desk duty.
Donald Trump Just Called for a 'Complete Shutdown' on Muslims Entering the US
Donald Trump, the current frontrunner in the US Republican presidential primary race, called for a "total and complete shutdown" of all Muslims coming to the US.
"Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension," Trump said in a press release emailed to the media on Monday afternoon. "Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life." ...
Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told the Associated Press that the ban would apply to "everybody," including tourists, immigrants, and refugees.
Donald Trump’s “Ban Muslims” Proposal is Wildly Dangerous But Not Far Outside the U.S. Mainstream
Hours after a new poll revealed that he’s trailing Ted Cruz in Iowa, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump issued a statement advocating “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our representatives can figure out what’s going on.” His spokesperson later clarified that this exclusion even includes Muslim-American citizens who are currently outside the U.S. On first glance, it seems accurate to view this, in the words of The Guardian, as “arguably the most extreme proposal to come from any U.S. presidential candidate in decades.”
Some comfortable journalists, however, quickly insisted that people were overreacting. “Before everyone gives up on the republic, remember that not even a single American has yet cast a vote for Trump,” said New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. The New York Daily News Opinion Page Editor Josh Greenman was similarly blithe: “It’s a proposal to keep Muslims out of the U.S., made in a primary, being roundly condemned. We are a long way from internment camps.”
Given that an ISIS attack in Paris just helped fuel the sweeping election victory of an actually fascist party in France, it’s a bit mystifying how someone can be so sanguine about the likelihood of a Trump victory in the U.S. In fact, with a couple of even low-level ISIS attacks successfully carried out on American soil, it’s not at all hard to imagine. But Trump does not need to win, or even get close to winning, for his rhetoric and the movement that he’s stoking to be dangerous in the extreme.
Professional political analysts have underestimated Trump’s impact by failing to take into account his massive, long-standing cultural celebrity, which commands the attention of large numbers of Americans who usually ignore politics (which happens to be the majority of the population), which in turn generates enormous, highly charged crowds pulsating with grievance and rage. That means that even if he fails to win a single state, he’s powerfully poisoning public discourse about multiple marginalized minority groups: in particular inciting and inflaming what was already volatile anti-Muslim animosity in the U.S.
Hillary Clinton proposes several new taxes 'to rein in Wall Street'
Hillary Clinton previewed a slew of ideas “to rein in Wall Street” on Monday, including fines for executives whose companies break the law and an “exit tax” on companies moving abroad.
The Democratic presidential frontrunner outlined her proposals in part to reassure progressive voters that she has the will to fight bankers who have backed her. ...
The former secretary of state has proposed several new taxes, some in more detail than others. She suggests a tax on carried interest for fund managers, another on “harmful” high-frequency trading, and a “risk fee” for banks with more than $50bn in assets, to “discourage the kind of hazardous behavior that could induce another crisis”.
She also wants executives to suffer cuts to their bonuses when a company settles with the government over wrongdoing, and for that company to admit guilt in any settlement.
Campaign officials also described what they called an “exit tax”, for companies that merge with others abroad to escape US taxes, a practice known as corporate inversion. ...
Clinton has moved closer to Sanders’ position in recent months, for example with a rejection of bank bailouts like those she voted for in 2008, during the depths of the worst financial crisis. Her op-ed offered a laundry list of new finance reforms that similarly favor more regulation but do not go as far as Sanders, who has called for the government to break up the biggest banks.
Saudi Arabia accused of trying to wreck Paris climate deal
Saudi Arabia stood accused on Tuesday of trying to wreck the Paris climate summit in order to protect its future as one of the world’s largest oil producers.
As the talks entered the home stretch, developing country negotiators and campaigners became increasingly vocal in their complaints that the kingdom was getting in the way of a deal. ...
The Saudis objected even to the mention of 1.5C – a new more ambitious target for limiting warming now endorsed by more than 100 countries including vulnerable low-lying states and big polluters such as the European Union and US.
The kingdom balked at the goal of decarbonising the economy by 2050.
The Saudis have also objected to demands for periodic reviews of climate plans, according to accounts from negotiators and observers. Saudi delegates complain that submitting a climate plan before Paris was difficult enough. ...
Saudi negotiators have also demanded that if tiny islands like Kiribati be compensated for climate change, they should also be protected from loss of future oil income, and they have sought financial aid to acquire new green energy technology.
[Hey Saudi Arabia, I bet if you stopped spending so much money on armaments and bombing the crap out of your neighbors, you'd have plenty of cash to convert to green energy. - js]
Trade Unions and Climate Change: A Conversation with Naomi Klein and Jeremy Corbyn
Beijing's 'airpocalypse': city shuts down amid three-day smog red alert
“Create a paradise,” urges the motto of Beijing’s Baijiazhuang primary school – a message stamped on to its front gate in bright red calligraphy.
On Tuesday morning, as China’s smog-choked capital declared its first ever air pollution red alert, the school, normally buzzing with over-energetic 10-year-olds, was almost silent. A pungent mist hung over the outdoor basketball courts and running track. ...
Across Beijing, thousands of other schools and nurseries were in a similar state of almost total shutdown after the city’s authorities announced a three-day state of emergency because of the pollution.
Building sites and factories were forced to close; millions of cars were ordered off the roads; and teams of environmental inspectors fanned out across the surrounding region to ensure that coal-fired power stations and steel mills were not secretly churning out even more filth into the already putrid atmosphere. ...
At 7am, when the red alert – the first in Chinese history – officially came into force, a thick gloom hung over Beijing.
Pollution levels were already nearly 15 times higher than the World Health Organisation deems safe.
Beijing Covered by Record-Breaking Smog
Saving Face in France, US Cancels Federal Auction of Dirty Fuels at Home
"The Obama administration clearly recognized that it couldn’t present itself as a climate leader in Paris if it was peddling fossil fuels at home."
U.S. climate campaigners are claiming victory for their new and growing "keep it in the ground" campaign on Monday after the Obama administration postponed an auction for fossil fuel leases that was scheduled for later this week.
Given that approximately half the known fossil fuel reserves in the U.S. soil are beneath public lands managed by the federal government, climate activists have made ending exploitation of those deposits a key demand in the global fight to curb global warming. Following an announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that the auction in Washington, D.C. on Thursday would be "rescheduled" until March of next year, campaigners took it as a sign that their message is getting through.
#Fossilfuel auction delayed after #climate activists shame #Obama admin. https://t.co/2VPwGGKdJ7 #KeepItintheGround pic.twitter.com/fBIgxAsQ2y
— Center for Bio Div (@CenterForBioDiv) December 8, 2015
According to Taylor McKinnon from the Center for Biological Diversity, "If the administration can’t handle the optics of auctioning fossil fuels while negotiating a climate deal in Paris, it shouldn’t be auctioning off fossil fuels at all. It’s time to end the federal fossil fuel leasing program to align public lands management with our climate goals and keep up to 450 billion tons of carbon pollution in the ground."
Speaking from Paris, campaigns director for Oil Change International David Turnbull said, "Selling off public lands to the oil and gas industry amidst the Paris climate talks would have been the height of hypocrisy. We’re delighted to see this lease sale delayed but will be even more so once this fossil fuel leasing program is ended for good. Those of us working hard in Paris for a successful climate agreement need all the support we can get, and this victory for the keep it in the ground movement should put a little more wind in our sails."
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
Joseph Stiglitz: Inequality is now killing middle America
Donald Trump’s real threat is making extreme bigots seem moderate
Can Washington Separate Its Iran Policy From Israel?
Germany Still Paying Pensions to Spanish Fascists Who Fought With the Wehrmacht (But Nothing for Greece)
Popping Bubble Wrap Sends Air Force Base Into Lockdown
A Little Night Music
The Treniers - Get Out Of The Car
The Treniers - Trapped (In The Web Of Love)
The Treniers - Out of the Bushes
The Treniers - Rockin' on Sunday
The Treniers - Day Old Bread
The Treniers - Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie
The Treniers - Go Go Go
The Treniers - The Moondog
The Treniers - Ragmop
The Treniers - It Rocks! It Rolls! It Swings!
The Treniers - Everybody Get Together
The Treniers - Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)
The Treniers - Hey, Sister Lucy, It's a Quiet Town
The Treniers - We Want a Rock and Roll President
Off to discussion group on Naomi Klein's book
this time the final chapter and the conclusion
I read the book a year ago and off and on since and going back to the book reminds me of how excellent it is.
Jeremy Scahill was asked about the book and he pointed out how brave she was to call out the economic implications
Rereading the conclusion the challenge of economics is the root issue and she points out that other than slavery, major change has almost never addressed deep economic issues. Maybe the new deal... But in recent decades, economics has held sway and the distributed nature of climate solutions means that oligarchs will fight to maintain their power
Thanks for the article on Saudi Arabia trying to block and/or slow down climate talks.
With friends like Israel and Saudi Arabia we have a lot to atone for, not to mention being the war monger of the world.
Interesting how Turkey is getting into the mess by buying oil from ISIL (also Israel)
Juan Cole calls ISIL the new pirates and that requires a different approach than the path of the major powers
economic change on the scale that klein is calling for will have to arranged as a grassroots up action. there is no chance that the powers that be will accede to the sort of change that is needed.
have a great time at your book discussion!
Hi Joe, thanks for the news and blues
Thanks for the link yesterday for the candor translation of Obama's speech. I had a vid of it on to actually watch it, but he gave me an urge for coffee and I got up and had to start grinding the coffee while he was talking and I couldn't hear a thing. It was all subconscious. Reading the candor edition was much better.
I saw a saying last week, from one of those great achievers. Something like
-you do your very best work and you live a good life as much as possible in spite of all that life throws at you.-
That's it, life is throwing stuff at all of us. Right now, for me it's dynamite, the actual blasting material. Two doors away a construction company is blasting rock down to 40 feet. It's been going on for two months. The damages to our building are growing, broken windows, cracked walls, cracked light fixtures, and now more seriously it has destabilized our plumbing. First it was the outflow and on Saturday a hot water pipe burst on the first floor causing extensive damage to storage lockers and our once beautiful lobby. The restoration company is still using giant fans to dry the flooring. In the meantime the blasting not only continues but the strength of the charges has increased. Shouldn't there be laws against this? I have put my daughter-in-law on the case because she has been known to make grown men tremble. In the meantime the strata council is hiring a building inspector for $5,000. to get an official list of damages. At least my dog Max doesn't shake after each blast, he is so used to them. I wouldn't even complain about them except for the thought of the damages. So that's what life has thrown at me lately among other things. This too will pass, but not until April 2016.
To thine own self be true.
i have no idea what your local laws are, but i can't imagine that a construction company would be allowed to damage a standing building pursuant to its work two doors down the street.
where i live, the people who handle the explosive charges are licensed by the state and complaints are the last thing that they are interested in having.
We do have strict laws according to the seismologist
But they are being ignored and as far as I know the blasting company has not changed the strength of their blasts in spite of reports of damage to our building. It's hard because by the time we fight this and have our day in court, the blasting will be over. We need a "cease and desist" order but I don't know if that's applicable. Developers are king in Victoria right now. They own the city.
Here's his [blah blah blah BS] response to my letter after a blast set off our fire alarm.
I am writing to the Mayor of the City and posting my letter on Facebook.
To thine own self be true.
give 'em hell, marilyn!
Evening Joe & C99%-ers.
Ira Chernus article is very good. Initially I was put off by his finger-wagging at the psychos/axis of evil that is our political class. As if those psychos care about what a disaster Iraq is etc etc. They want chaos & destruction in the ME, as long as it doesn't get to their quislings Israel, Saudi etc. And they will have a free ride as long as there is no accountability - at home or abroad. But lots to like in the article. Esp under mistake #4, it is a one-stop shop for analysis of what drives IS fighters. Have seen some of those but need to read them.
Teju Cole nailed it on Trump and the US ruling class. IMHO, I think TPTB are pissed at Trump not because he is a fascist, but because he is openly saying what many of them think secretly. I include the ruling class and their accomplices/minions in the lamestream media. Dems spout from their mouths & from their asses - Obomba's terrorism speech is a good e.g. Repubs are pretty efficient - they just spout from their mouths. Obomba already has the internment camps equivalent for undocumented workers and has been deporting them - Trump will extend it to Muslims, as does liberal darling Wes Clark. The Internet & free speech tweet by Trevor Timm is yet another example.
yeah, when i first skimmed the chernus article, it sounded a little preachy, but his analysis is spot on. the fact that people are still buying the good vs. evil crap that the politicians and the media are serving up steaming platefuls of is pretty amazing. americans just love narratives of reduced complexity, and the donald is an expert at creating pablum for the masses. "when fascism comes to america, it will have its own reality show wrapped in the flag and carrying an alternate history of america's national greatness."
Amnesty International is a corrupt propaganda pusher.
Sometime, recently, they were bought by the Neocon elites, and have been reduced to worm-tongues who bury the lying Neocon narratives inside of their "research".
They're like SPL moonlighting as KKK. Grotesque.
(The Neocons want us to think ISIS weapons came from stupid, cowardly Iraqis, whose nation we destroyed. That preposterous deflection from reality is absurd, but certainly understandable. And they got their massive fleet of Toyota* SUVs with mortar mounts in the back from ... uh… carjacking?
h/t dancing rabbit
The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
there's going to continue to be awkward assertions over where isis' resources come from. the numbers just don't add up. isis has a large army in the field that it pays better than all of the other militias in the area. it has been fighting a fairly intense ground war for at least a year and a half now. a military campaign such as they have been waging cannot be supported solely by scavenging from the iraqi army - they are getting massive assistance from somewhere in order to pull this off. financial and materiel transfers this large are hard to hide. the idea that their origin is unknown to the united states with all of its spying resources is hard to credit.
Do you have some links about what has happened to them?
Most institutions have been corrupted by money and the oligarchs
I have a vague memory about Amnesty International but don't recall anything
I did a search on Amnesty International Glenn Greenwald and Glenn spoke at their 2014 annual meeting
Do you have any links?
may be this link ?
Amnesty's Shilling for US-NATO Wars.
I also remember vaguely that there was a bit of amazement that some money donated to the US branch of AI was not ending up where it should have been. But that was a long time ago and it's just a vague shadow memory. No link. No proof etc.
That's an excellent link, mimi
I actually didn't have a link to anything.
I saw the corruption of Amnesty by observing it. I remember the first time I saw an abrupt propaganda distortion (re Afghanistan) coming out of Amnesty, I was just sick. And stunned.
It's been disgusting to behold ever since, but I didn't know anyone else had noticed, because this kind of propaganda generally goes unnoticed is the US.
(I really like the comment attached to that article. It speaks for me, as well. Thanks.)
The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
Glenn Greenwald & the Nossel
Read the Letters and Comments of PEN Writers Protesting the Charlie Hebdo Award
Below are the key documents giving rise to the controversy that has erupted inside PEN America over the award the group is bestowing on Charlie Hebdo, which you can read about here. They include the key correspondence between the writer Deborah Eisenberg (pictured, above left) and PEN’s Executive Director Suzanne Nossel (above, right), which sparked the controversy, as well as the full comment given to the Intercept by the writer Teju Cole, who has withdrawn as a table head. The Intercept has also submitted several questions to Nossel, which are posted below; we will prominently post PEN’s responses as soon as they are received
Thank you, Don! The exchanges between
Eisenberg and Nossel are priceless for
both quality of writing and lack thereof,
which tell their own tales.
I totally missed this PEN dust-up, but,
honestly, it's been quite some time
since I've paid any attention to
whomever TPTB - like PEN and the
Noble Peace prize deciders- award
their laurels to. In fact, books, writers,
politicians, films and film-makers,
journalists, et cetera, that receive such
awards I tend to approach with the
understanding that they are officially
"approved" - and therefore are likely
not to be good for me (and most of us).
A few good people and works do make
it through the "award machine," but not
enough for me to give much weight to
a work or creator just because they've
been rewarded with an award.
It was fun reading your link, though.
Only connect. - E.M. Forster
One's lying eyes
often do not require links or 'facts' brought to you by the spinners of mass deception. Lot's of these so called orgs. that profess to work for peace,democracy or truth or the benefit of mankind do nothing of the sort but instead are front's that have long ago been eaten by the blood sucking giant squid on humanities face. Me I don't believe for a minute what any offical org., 'charity', foundation or think tank says. This includes ex president Carter and any other promoters of the West's humanitarian intentions. Our politics are meaningless and most of the so called humanitarian orgs. that try to mitigate the damage this Empire does are nothing but PR for the current bloody madness we are living through.
Mim- thanks- search for Suzanne Nossel chris hedges
and that is where I saw it!!!
and on Real News
thanks, Don, I will read it all, slowly but surely and fully /nt
Don, I read the Hedges article now, strong piece,
I was a bit amazed that he included "Human Rights Watch" under those ngo's that are also somewhat co-opted.
I didn't know that and would not have expected the Physicians for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch be included. Something like that makes me crazy, because you end up believing in nothing anymore and that can't be it either. So, may be I try to find some more about it.
Glad you showed me the link. Thanks.
Thanks for the link, Don.
Interesting how you picked right up on this. Always very sharp.
Human Rights Watch is another group that's been making me vomit a little in my mouth, lately. They've been utterly depraved in both Ukraine and Syria via propaganda. But, again, Americans have a terminal case of Putin Derangement Syndrome, so it seemed like wasted effort to push that particular boulder up the hill. Especially when the American people cannot name a single Human Right, from the 20th century, that they possess.
Nevertheless, when I see "NGO" or that horrific term "humanitarian intervention" somewhere in the news feed about a geopolitically significant place — I know for certain that tens of thousands of innocents will soon be slaughtered in proxy war. What the Neocons are planning to do to Africa next, will cover that continent in blood. All this in a doomed attempt to thwart China's influence during the great rise of the Eurasian Century.
The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
BAR is as BAR does - always nailing it.
Native American humor :
seems to a tough thing to be an Indian chicken...:-) /nt
No comment, just thank you.
I wished we had a "Corbyn" in Germany. The Hedge interview was good, because it showed you by example, what rights the citizens over the local land area don't have. Awful. And I can't believe that Eric Schmidt really believes and calls for technology applications to check on "hate speech". I can imagine that Clinton and Obama will gladly follow his lead.
Yep, they are certainly involve in producing online propaganda as well. Eric Schmidt is one of those tech companies HRC and Obama certainly talk to.
I don't want to comment any more. Who knows may be an app sees hate speech in my whining? They outsource hate speech detection to software programs? Like some car companies think it's so cool to develop software that basically outsources the human senses and human intelligence to a software programs just for the car to drive on its own? Why? Who needs those cars? People can't think for themselves and drive for themselves? They are much more clever than any frigging program, fer Chris sake. If some scientists and engineers think they are very smart, have the coolest ideas and get paid to have them and doing research on them, the stupidity starts right there.
Good article collection. Thank you as always.
eric schmidt is a card carrying member of the elite. he's been working assiduously at ingratiating himself to the power elite.
have a good evening!
yes, I know, I saw him in person speaking
and thanks for the link.
I was blown away by this Fax News person's fear mongering directed at the nation's rubes. I don't watch TV so I was quite shocked at the tone of this. And it seems Herr Trumpf didn't invent the thing about not letting any more Muslims into the country. The clip is from Dec. 6.
Unrelated, John Lennon was killed thirty-five years ago on December 8.
Thanks for the scoops, Joe!
i have never met a muslim in america that scares me as much as that lady who has been given a platform by fox news.
How much do you think she was paid for this piece of real Dreck?
... and you know if a German calls someone's writings or words "Dreck", it's nothing to take lightly. It's a major insult. There are quite some "Dreck" women around in the msm media.
If you get scared of those women, then it's time to get courageous.
it's not so much that she is individually frightening...
she's just a loony. it's the fact that she is being assisted by a major network to spread her lunacy to others in hopes of forming a mass movement of heavily-armed lunatics.
Number one, gyet a gyun!
And don't let anyone talk you out of it . . . I was really shocked to see this. It was on Facebook and I went to where it came from, their Fox News Facebook page, and made a comment saying that I though she was overcompensating because she looks MUSLIM. I wonder if they got my joke? Oh well, doesn't matter. Our nation is very heavily armed. Fox News is telling people to own guns. It is telling them to adore the police. To fear (brown) foreigners. And to hate those liberals!
i expect within a couple of months, at least one of the rethug candidates for president will propose legislation requiring every man, woman and child in america to be armed at all times.
Canada is bringing in 50,000 refugees in the next year
it's driving the neocons in the USA crazy and making them talk about a 5,000 mile wall between our two countries.
These refugees mostly from Syria do not scare me at all, I welcome them. They have nothing to do with the murderers in San Bernadino.
To thine own self be true.
i guess when the rethugs take over...
there will be lots of new jobs building walls.
HRC scares me
in much the same way. Maybe because I am a woman I find it hard to understand the how these vicious, psychotic women have become powerful and are given a public platform and credibility in our society. Breaking corporate glass ceilings, promoting hatred/fear and being a bad ass bloody warrior has nothing to do with equality. Racist and sexist have been stood on their heads as just because a demagogue is female or black, or couches their insanity in well written double speak, they have no humanity and are the last people who should have power. Whether it's Fox news or the Guardian pumping this kind of inhumanity, hatred and fear it's scary as it has created a geopolitical reality and mind set that surpasses the wildest wet dreams of past propagandists who have tapped into the dark side of the human psyche. The world wide web gives these people a global platform to spread their disease.
This is exactly why I try to make it clear that
I am not only a feminist, but a working class & socialist feminist.
And also why so many biographers of Mother Jones think she was somehow anti-women, when, in fact it was the rich women that Mother blasted. She stood shoulder to shoulder with working-class women and was beloved by them.
I will definitely not be voting for Hillary Clinton. She is not a friend of working class women (nor of working-class men). She is 100% for the ruling class. Her feminism is of the type that's wants the women within the wealth-holding class to get to do their fair and equal share of ruling over the rest of us.
Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.-Lucy Parsons
seems about time that Herr Trump kicks Frau Jeanine's
ass, err behind. I was shocked today getting some money out of the ATM machine in a little sandwhich shop with Fox loudly running a show about "chasing Herr Hitler". May be Lady Clinton and Sir Obama teach the Foxes some manners.
Hard to know whether to laugh, or cry
over that performance.
I knew that she's certifiable, because a couple of months ago I landed on the Fox News Channel (XM Radio), and heard a screed from her which was very similar to this, before I could change stations.
Have a good one!
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."--Japanese Proverb
Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.
Corbyn on Palestine :
corbyn appears to be a magnet for political bullies. i hope that he holds up.
After the German guvmint rebukes its own intel for
going there, now Merkel's VP goes there :
I thought only Obomba team spouts from the mouth as well as the ass.... But I guess it is indicative of the US & quislings policy in Mid East. I feel their pain - must be so difficult keeping track of who they are funding vs fighting at any given time. So confusing it must be.....
it looks like the german system is leaking truth.
oh my ...
it looks like Mr. Gabriel will run for office against Merkel in the future and he finally realizes that he has to distance himself bit from her as a member of the SPD
Yes, but now SPD Gabriel has the chance to reflect that he is in opposition to that official policy of the coalition ... in preparation of the next election it's about time. The Social Democrats are very weak and third parties on the left and right take away votes from the SPD. I am not into this, lotlizard might know much better what it is. But to me Gabriel could have been much more forthcoming much earlier.
oh you didn't know? Our (I mean German) Social Democrats
are as weak and servile Democrats for the corporate and conservative powers as most of the US Democrats are. Confusing? What is confusing? They are not stupid. They are not confused, politicians are probably scared to shit...and always follow their leaders in the US. I think they don't like themselves for it, but that's what they do.
Greetings, Joe and Bluesters! Quick (friendly) drive-by
to say thanks for the excellent news and blues roundup.
I'm almost too pooped to comment this evening, but I'm glad that I stopped by--never heard a word about the taser death of Philip Coleman (the video and blurb in the link to Vice News).
What I can't figure out is "how is it that some many young minority (especially black) males have been killed willy-nilly for so many years, and the mainstream media never picked up on it?"
Thank goodness the silence has finally been broken.
Not thrilled with the increasing push to end encrypted media, especially if that includes email.
Concerned that the Elite will 'use' the tragic San Bernardino shootings to get all kinds of noxious (and mostly unnecessary) laws on the books. (I'm not referring to laws restricting guns.) Later, I'll post a couple of pieces that I've read regarding this topic.
Hey, have a great evening, Everyone!
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."--Japanese Proverb
Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.
surely the elites will not let a crisis go to waste. i hope that the part of the political spectrum that actually gives a damn about its civil rights is up to applying pressure, because the it appears that the great media wurlitzer is being rolled out into the hall...
evening, Joe. Great column as usual. Thanks.
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 --
thanks el! nt
This is one of the best EBs yet, thanks.
Obama's hypocrisy of calling ISIS the evil doers along with the article about Wilson sums up the U.S. hypocrisy when it comes to blaming the terrorists for all the evil in the world.
Since 1945 the U.S. has killed between 20-30 million innocent people because of all the things its done as explained in the article about Wilson. And how many people have they killed before 1945 after the Monroe doctrine was signed staring that the U.S. would work towards global hegemony?
Any country or group that attacks the U.S. could be called self defense since the U.S. has committed so many heinous acts with their wars of aggression, coups, training other country's military to do their dirty work for them.
That tweet to Trump sums it all up quite well.
Too bad that so many American people believe the propaganda they've been fed since kindergarten.
I'm glad to see Putin pointing out that the U.S. has no intention of bombing ISIS's convoys of oil going to Israel and the other countries that are buying their oil.
I've tried to tell people these things, but they believe that the troops are fighting for our freedoms or that we have to "fight them over there so that we don't have to fight them here".
I feel like I’m riding in the backseat of a '66 Thunderbird with Thelma at the wheel and Louise riding shotgun whilst heading towards a cliff.