The Evening Blues - 2-14-18



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Mojo Buford

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues harmonica player Mojo Buford. Enjoy!

Mojo Buford - Don't Go No Farther

"Even though we call this country a democracy it's turning out to be more and more a candy-coated dictatorship."

-- Frank Zappa


News and Opinion

Elizabeth Warren Votes for Massive Increase of War Budget

On September 18, Elizabeth Warren, the much beloved poster child of the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party, voted for a bill that authorizes $700 billion in defense funds. This includes $640 billion for the Pentagon and an additional $60 billion for military operations in countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This bill increased military spending by $80 billion, which far surpasses the increase requested by America First President Trump ($54 billion). There were 8 no votes (against 89 yes votes) and three abstentions, but Warren was not one of them.

The defense policy bill (National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA) has passed 56 years in a row, and this time the vote was nearly unanimous, with both Republicans and Democrats supporting S.1519 and the massive increase in military spending it sets forth. It may not be surprising that both capitalist parties would vote for pro-imperialist policies, but Warren’s yes vote definitely flies in the face of her image as “anti-establishment.”

Warren, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and John McCain, chairman of the committee, are on the same side in ratifying a bill that takes more taxes from workers and funnels it into foreign wars, leading to more deaths of innocent people, sponsors Israel’s war against the Palestinians ($705 million), and invests additional hundreds of millions in anti-Russian military build-up in Ukraine and the Baltic ($600 million).

The senator attempts to minimize her incredibly reactionary decision by saying that the bill only authorizes but does not appropriate funds yet. She also claims that she will fight for non-defense spending increases later on when Congress votes on the entire budget. On her website, she boasts: "The defense bill has a long tradition of bipartisan cooperation and I was glad to join that tradition" and that “this NDAA will make a real, positive impact on the lives of Americans."

US destroys Russian tank in Syria, reportedly killing three

A U.S. drone, acting in self-defense, destroyed a Russian-made T-72 tank in eastern Syria over the weekend, the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command told reporters Tuesday. News reports indicate that three people inside the tank were killed.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian said U.S. forces for several hours used drones and B-52 bombers to strike fighters after they came under fire from the tank. “We detected and saw a tank that took a shot at us,” Harrigian said via teleconference from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. ...

Harrigian refused to say if those inside the tank were Russians. “I don’t know who was driving it. … I’m not just going to speculate on that,” he said.

The strike is the second by U.S. forces against fighters loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad since last week. U.S. forces on Wednesday killed “scores” of Russians in a strike east of the Euphrates River in Deir ez-Zour province, according to multiple reports.

Damascus warns Israel of 'more surprises' in Syria

Israel will face “more surprises” should it again attack Syrian territory, Damascus said on Tuesday, after Syria’s air defenses shot down an advanced Israeli warplane during the fiercest flare-up between the old foes in 36 years.

The F-16 jet was hit over northern Israel on Saturday as it returned from a raid on a Syrian position blamed for launching an Iranian-made drone across the border. Iran is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s near seven-year civil war.

“Have full confidence the aggressor will be greatly surprised, because it thought this war - this war of attrition Syria has been exposed to for years - had made it incapable of confronting attacks,” Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Sussan said.

“God willing, they will see more surprises whenever they try to attack Syria,” Sussan said during a Damascus news conference.

Ahed Tamimi trial: The conditions of detention of under-aged Palestinians

'54 Palestinians die' as Israel refuses medical permits

Israel was responsible for at least 54 Palestinian deaths last year as it rejected hundreds of medical permit requests it received from Gaza residents seeking treatment outside the besieged strip, rights groups have said.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), and Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), highlighted the immediate need for Israel to end its decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip.

In 2017, Israeli authorities approved fewer than half the medical permit requests it received, which were tied to appointments and treatment sessions in hospitals across the occupied territories and Israel - the lowest level since 2008. More than 25,000 permit requests were submitted to Israeli authorities. Of those, 719 were refused, often under the pretext of security.

Another 11,281 applications are still pending approval - meaning thousands of people are in a state of jeopardy.

Samir Zaqout, Al Mezan director, told Al Jazeera that there is no "real rational reason" why patients in need of urgent medical assistance are denied hospital access.

Taliban publish letter calling on US to start Afghan peace talks

In an unexpected overture at a time of increasing bloodshed in Afghanistan, the Taliban have published an open letter expressing a desire for peace talks and calling on the “American people” and “peace-loving congressmen” to pressurise the Donald Trump administration into negotiations.

The letter, released by the Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, comes amid deteriorating conditions for US and Afghan coalition forces on the battlefield and after a month in which two major Taliban assaults on Kabul killed 150 civilians.

The Trump administration has sent mixed messages about its readiness to have contacts with the Taliban, but it has insisted that all substantive negotiations would have to be led by the Afghan government.

For its part, the Taliban refuses to talk to the Afghan government without first discussing the withdrawal of foreign troops with its powerful ally.

“If the policy of using force is continued for another one hundred years,” the letter reads, “the outcome will be the same ... as you have observed over the last six months since the initiation of Trump’s new strategy.”

Time is running out for US to confront 'existential' North Korea threat, Director of National Intelligence says

America will need to soon decide how to confront the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, a top official said.

“Decision time is becoming ever closer in terms of how we respond to this,” US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates told the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Our goal is a peaceful settlement. We are using maximum pressure on North Korea in various ways”. ...

Mr Coats warned that North Korea’s expansion of its military arsenal — both its burgeoning stock of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads and its “longstanding” chemical and biological weapons initiatives — would “constitute a major threat to the United States and to our allies”.

“North Korea will be the most volatile and confrontational WMD threat in the coming year”, Mr Coats said, adding that North Korea posed an “existential problem for the United States”.

WikiLeaks founder Assange says he has three months to appeal UK ruling

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Tuesday he had three months to appeal against a British court ruling that means he still faces arrest for breach of bail conditions if he steps out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: Trump’s Immoral Budget Punishes the Poor, Sick & Elderly

Intel chief: Federal debt poses 'dire threat' to national security

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned lawmakers Tuesday that failing to curb the national debt could jeopardize national security.

Coats, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he’s concerned that the U.S. government’s “increasingly fractious political process, particularly with respect to federal spending, is threatening our ability to defend our nation, both in the short term and especially in the long term.” ...

Coats, former chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and member of the Senate Finance Committee, said the U.S. fiscal situation “is unsustainable as I think we all know and represents a dire threat to our economy and national security.” ...

Coats is the latest national security official to warn of security risks posed by the national debt, which is now roughly $20 trillion. A slew of former intelligence and military leaders have insisted that a fiscal crisis involving rising borrowing costs spurred by the ballooning national debt could leave the U.S. vulnerable to attack.

Trump Proposes Eliminating Fresh Food For Poor People

The Vampire Squid doing God's work speaks:

Goldman Sachs boss on Trump tax plan: 'Odds of a bad outcome have gone up'

The Goldman Sachs boss, Lloyd Blankfein, has added his voice to the chorus warning that Donald Trump’s $1.5tn tax cut and spending plans could lead to an overheated US economy. “The odds of a bad outcome have gone up,” Blankfein told CNN on Wednesday.

Trump outlined a budget this week that could add $7tn to the nation’s debt over the next decade. Blankfein warned that over-stimulating an already healthy economy could prove “too much of a good thing”.

“Don’t forget, all of these deficits have to be paid for,” he said.

Blankfein said the current upbeat mood reminded him of the optimism that preceded the global financial crisis of 2007-8.

“What could possibly go wrong? I haven’t felt this good since 2006,” he joked. “If the economy starts to overheat, and the Fed feels that it’s behind on inflation, it will need to act,” he added. Blankfein stopped short of issuing an-all out warning. But “with the Fed raising rates, with the withdrawal of QE, with the budget deficit widening out, I wouldn’t say this is the time I would max out on my risk.”

Trump refuses to yield on immigration, causing more division on Capitol Hill

Donald Trump reaffirmed a hardline position on a prospective immigration deal on Wednesday, throwing a wrench into fraught negotiations over how to protect hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

As the US Senate scrambles to broker an agreement by the end of the week, Trump made clear in a statement that any immigration bill must include drastic changes to legal immigration in order to earn his signature.

The president also threatened to veto any legislation that did not meet the threshold of accomplishing the “four pillars” laid out in a framework released by the White House last month, and he endorsed a proposal authored by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, that mirrors Trump’s preferred approach.

The Grassley bill would offer a pathway to citizenship for roughly 1.8 million Dreamers, provide funding toward Trump’s promised wall along the US-Mexico border, terminate a so-called visa lottery program for immigrants from underrepresented countries, and scale back legal immigration based on family reunification.

As Lawmakers Debate Future of DACA, What Will It Take for Democrats to Protect DREAMers?

Protestors with disabilities were handcuffed and dragged out of a House committee meeting

Disability rights advocates were dragged from Congress on Tuesday as they protested reforms to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Footage posted to social media shows U.S. Capitol Police forcibly removing demonstrators, several of whom had disabilities, in handcuffs from the House Rules Committee meeting, where lawmakers were debating a bill that would reform the decades-old law. ...

The changes to the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas, would ease businesses’ responsibility to make themselves accessible for the disabled. Poe said the changes will avoid “unnecessary abusive lawsuits” against small businesses, while disability advocates contend the bill would essentially strip the laws requiring businesses to accommodate people with disabilities with equipment like ramps.

California launches investigation following stunning admission by Aetna medical director

California's insurance commissioner has launched an investigation into Aetna after learning a former medical director for the insurer admitted under oath he never looked at patients' records when deciding whether to approve or deny care.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones expressed outrage after CNN showed him a transcript of the testimony and said his office is looking into how widespread the practice is within Aetna.

"If the health insurer is making decisions to deny coverage without a physician actually ever reviewing medical records, that's of significant concern to me as insurance commissioner in California -- and potentially a violation of law," he said. Aetna, the nation's third-largest insurance provider with 23.1 million customers, told CNN it looked forward to "explaining our clinical review process" to the commissioner.



the horse race



Squirrel!!!

Trump’s lawyer admits giving cash to Stormy Daniels — but claims it was his own money

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer admitted Wednesday that he paid porn actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in the weeks preceding the 2016 election, the New York Times reported.

Trump has denied reports that his campaign paid “hush money” to the adult film star, with whom he reportedly had an affair in 2006.

But Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal attorney, conceded Stephanie Clifford (Daniels' real name) did receive the cash but said the money came out of his own pocket.

Cohen refused to explain exactly why he would hand over a large bundle of money to an adult film star with whom his boss, then running for office, had allegedly had an affair.

More squirrels!!!

House Russia investigation has 'abundance' of evidence against Trump, says top Democrat

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Wednesday that the panel had seen an “abundance” of evidence of collusion with Russia and obstruction by Donald Trump’s campaign and administration that is not yet public.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Schiff said a lot of information was already in the public domain that pointed to extensive contacts between the Trump campaign team and the Kremlin, and later efforts by the Trump entourage to cover up those contacts. But Schiff said there was much more to come out.

He said: “There is certainly an abundance of non-public information that we’ve gathered in the investigation. And I think some of that non-public evidence is evidence on the issue of collusion and some … on the issue of obstruction.” ...

Schiff, from California, added on Wednesday that the intelligence committee had also seen evidence pointing towards money laundering involving Trump’s circle, but had been hindered by the partisan deadlock that has paralysed its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He said: “It is a tried and true maxim. As a former prosecutor, you follow the money. We have not been able to adequately follow the money. And I think the allegations on money laundering are credible enough that we ought to, in the exercise of due diligence, see if this was one of the other vectors of the Russian active measures campaign.”



the evening greens


Candidate Thrown Out of West Virginia Legislature for Reading Off Fossil Fuel Donors Raises Historic Sum of Campaign Money

Lissa Lucas, a first-time Democratic candidate for the statehouse in West Virginia’s District 7, was outraged that the legislature was considering expanding the rights of gas drillers at the expense of property owners. So she drove 100 miles to the state capitol and read off the list of fossil fuel donors to lawmakers at a public hearing. The presiding official, Republican Delegate John Shott, equated this recitation of public information as a personal attack and promptly expelled her from the chamber. ...

It has certainly helped her fundraising.

As of this writing, her campaign has raised more than $50,000. Lucas told The Intercept that this is a nearly elevenfold increase from the $4,000 she had raised prior to her address at the legislature. “I’m blown away,” she said.

The significance of this amount cannot be overstated. The website Ballotpedia tracks the total campaign contributions in District 7 for every campaign cycle going back to 2000. Lucas’s sum raised so far is more than twice the $17,498 raised by all three candidates in 2016. It is larger than the total funds raised during any cycle in the district in the 21st century. (The second-highest fundraising was $23,994, raised by four candidates in 2006). The current amount raised by the incumbent, Republican Jason Harshbarger, is not yet publicly available, but he raised just $9,300 in 2016.

Woman Dragged From Podium - Lissa Lucas Tells Her Story

Iceland’s bitcoin miners may leave the country without enough energy

Bitcoin mining in Iceland is sucking up so much energy that officials are worried they soon won't have enough power to run the country. In the last six months, miners have been flocking to the island nation, where abundant and cheap renewable energy and arctic air (to keep servers from overheating) make it a bitcoin miner’s paradise. But the energy-intensive process of mining cryptocurrency threatens to overwhelm the country’s energy infrastructure. If it continues apace, it’ll eat more energy than all of Iceland’s residents would consume before the end of the year. ...

The way bitcoin works, miners, as they’re called, task themselves with verifying bitcoin transactions on a global ledger, where all bitcoin transactions are recorded. In exchange, they’re rewarded in bitcoin. The way the currency is structured, there will eventually be a cap at 21 million bitcoin in circulation, which means there are about 4 million left to mine. The more bitcoins are in circulation, the more computing power it takes to verify the transactions.

As a result, miners are constantly seeking out cheap and reliable energy sources to power their computers. And Iceland has plenty of that. The country’s grid is powered entirely through its abundant sources of renewable energy, a combination of hydroelectric and geothermal power.

Bitcoin mining is using a ton of energy globally. A single transaction uses the same amount of energy as the average U.S. household in a week, and, as of November, bitcoin was using more energy than about 160 countries. It’s expected to use more power than the entire world does today by 2020.

Coal execs spent federal money to clean themselves, instead of coal

The Department of Energy agreed to spend $450 million in 2009 to fund a clean coal development from a Texas energy company. But the agency didn’t keep tabs on the cash, according to a report published Tuesday from the Department of Energy’s internal watchdog. Not only was the project never completed, but some of $38 million of federal money appropriated for the project was used on “social” expenses, like “catering on a private jet.”

The project, which sought to fund a coal plant that would capture 90 percent of its carbon emissions, was greenlit as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package. The funding was a big, early demonstration of the promise of “clean coal” tech. After years of missed deadlines, however, the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy pulled the plug on the project in 2016. It never even broke ground.

But that didn’t stop the company, Summit Texas Clean Energy, from spending the money before filing for bankruptcy last year.

Summit spent $2.5 million of the federal cash on “potentially unallowable” expenses, according to the watchdog’s report. Those include:

  • $650,000 in charges from a consultant for spa services, booze, first-class travel, limos, and business meals that were either prohibited or not adequately accounted for.
  • $325,000 in costs that “appeared to be social in nature,” like “banquet room rental expenses” and catering for the company’s private jet
  • $1.2 million on three lobbying consultants for support for a project with federal grant money. (Federal law prohibits federal funds from being used to influence the government.)

The rest of the $38 million was spent on other questionable expenses. Summit spent $7 million on seven executives, “who held positions for multiple entities affiliated with Summit,” according to the report — all for a project that was never completed. Still, the Department of Energy reimbursed Summit for the entire $38 million.

President's proposed budget cuts Great Lakes restoration funding

President Donald Trump announced his 2018-2019 budget and it includes a 90 percent cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The new budget would cut funding from $300 million to $30 million.

Last year the Trump Administration proposed ending the federal support of the program but Congress fully funded the program for 2018.

The program has strong bipartisan support in Michigan and other Great Lakes states.


Also of Interest

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

Intercepted Podcast: America’s Distribution of Violence

Honduras Nearing Ten Years of Stolen Elections, Neo-Colonial Rule

Are You Ready To Consider That Capitalism Is The Real Problem?

While the Media Panicked About Campus Leftists, the Far Right Surged

In Leaked Chats, WikiLeaks Discusses Preference for GOP Over Clinton, Russia, Trolling, and Feminists They Don’t Like

How Trump's budget would cut the safety net for the poorest Americans

As More Americans Rely on Charity to Pay Medical Bills, Local Seattle News Station Buys and Forgives $1 Million of Debt

'Declaration of war': liberals divided as California mulls housing push

An Aetna “Fake Accounts” Level Scandal? Medical Director Admits He Never Reviewed Medical Records Before Denying Care

Decline in krill threatens Antarctic wildlife, from whales to penguins

Corbyn's Labour Party Unveils Plan to Make UK 'World Leader on Animal Welfare'


A Little Night Music

Mojo Buford - Deep Sea Diver

Mojo Buford - Mean Old World

Mojo Buford - Jealous Of My Baby / Mo's Stroll

Mojo Buford - Watch Dog

George 'Mojo' Buford - Mo's Boogie

Mo-Jo Buford - Whole Lotta Woman

Mojo Buford - Gone and Left Me

Mojo Buford - Mojo Woman

Mojo Buford - Chicken Shack

Mojo & His Rhythum Quartette - Knockin' On My Door


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divineorder's picture

Looks like Syria is encouraging a sort of California Gold Rush style international participation in retaking it's oil fields. Dangerous biz for us all.

You were right, looks like Zuma is going to step down. Next buffoon to step down DT? Heh.
We had planned to kayak again but it was raining so we used that as an excuse for a down day today to relax, edit some photos and write some travel stories to upload to our blog.

019 (800x533).jpg The water bus driver of the 'Public C'ollectivo' bringing travelers and locals to Tortuguero shouted 'Crocodeel, Crocodeel' and all eyes turned left and riveted on this magnificent specimen racked out on a huge diameter log by the bank. Note the teeth that pierce up through the upper part of its maw ! Knarly!

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

divineorder's picture

@divineorder a SA source

https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/news-just-in-president-jacob-zuma-re...

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

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

what a nice, toothy grin! friendly-looking critters down there in c.r. sorry to hear that you guys got rained out today.

yep, i'm glad to see that zuma is toast. hopefully, by the time you guys get to s.a. there will have been an orderly transfer of power to somebody who is considerably less corrupt and more interested in helping out the people.

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https://lissalucas.com/
Especially her letter to Frank Rich, under top posts.

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@pindar's revenge I hope it gets some attetion. Love the opening "Dear Frank Rich. Screw you."

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@MrWebster
Ms. Lucas is worth keeping an eye on. Her rebuttal was fantastic: "high moral ground" while wishing death and disease on poor people. I had to stop lurking on Dem sites when they started that evil crap, not good for blood pressure. They started sounding classic Thuglican: poor life choices, poverty their own fault, etc. FDR rolling in his grave.

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joe shikspack's picture

@pindar's revenge

that's a great response to the clueless frank rich, thanks for the link!

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@joe shikspack
you do, compiling the days news, plus all the music links. I'm impressed at how you keep finding so many good musical themes, lots of blues artists I don't know. Plus - you add a descriptor to the gugletube links. I run NoScript, so all the tube links are black empty rectangles. That text you add helps a lot.

In a lot of threads, that makes it hard to follow a discussion if I can't see the name of a song, for example. Even if I click the link, all I get is a list of the spyware scripts that gugletube wants to run on my puter, so that doesn't help. Having a little text to say what's in the link, like you do, helps. Thanks.

I hope you also enjoyed the Derf link. He really nails it.

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lotlizard's picture

My first thought was, oh, it’s those nasty Republicans again — but I was wrong.

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/pagedetails.action?packageId=BILLS-115h...

Sponsors: Ted Poe (TX)

Cosponsors: Scott H. Peters (CA); Ken Calvert (CA); Ami Bera (CA); Jackie Speier (CA); K. Michael Conaway (TX)

Check it out: it’s bipartisan. Three of the six sponsors are Democrats from California.

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divineorder's picture

@lotlizard veterans 'for their service' rather than helping them and others in any useful way. Sickening to Californians on the same list but hey how bout them Callie Dems! /s

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

joe shikspack's picture

@lotlizard

yep, the neoliberal screwing of americans is completely bipartisan. the trump/schiff outrage circus is giving them cover for whatever the dark overlords want done.

the closets are open and the skeletons are having an all night dance party.

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divineorder's picture

If AZ can do it, so can NM, TX and others!

Talk it, Jill ! After all the attacks from left, right and center, Stein is still leading for a better way. No regrets for my two votes for her. None.

Happy Valentines Day from jb and I to C99ers. More power to us all.

And some special luv fo you, joe, for all the many great tunes and digests. On on!

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

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

and, as we used to say, "happy vd to you, too!"

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divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack

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

OLinda's picture

From the Also of Interest section:
In Leaked Chats, WikiLeaks Discusses Preference for GOP Over Clinton, Russia, Trolling, and Feminists They Don’t Like

You might see my comment over there: "This is not a good look for you, Micah Lee."

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- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

mimi's picture

@OLinda
it felt like a smear piece, but had info in it that one can't ignore either.

Ah, no, one can ignore everything, if it's better for your own mental health. In this case I felt it's better to forget the whole article. for my own good.

These days I don't trust many site's articles that I used to trust. So, I think, I can skip reading, as it doesn't make sense reading stuff that might be not trustworthy, right? Wink

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mimi

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

it is a smear piece. the author (micah lee) has an ongoing, long-running feud with julian assange.

this is an ugly piece of work, full of unsubstantiated assertions that the intercept is tarnished by publishing.

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snoopydawg's picture

@OLinda

Good job. Sheesh, ugly article. Micah said that he gave him time to respond to it and that Assange didn't. I said that I wouldn't bother replying to it either. Gah!

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

OLinda's picture

@snoopydawg

snoopydawg. Smile

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- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

OLinda's picture

@snoopydawg

said in a tweet that Wikileaks was not contacted. Don't know on this. Seems likely they would have been, but hard to say in this case.

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- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

divineorder's picture

@OLinda @OLinda Like a canary in a coal mine cage he is trapped as an example. Hell, I dont even care if he said those things given what he has been through. Heh, some trust could the sickeningly transparent Republicans to do the predictable vs the traitorous corpadems lying and scheeming kabuku bull shit..

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

joe shikspack's picture

@OLinda

yep, that was a pretty nasty smear piece. i debated with myself about whether to include it - and the thought that folks needed to know what was out there won out. i expect that there will be considerable discussion about this steaming pile among lefty types as well as the reliability/bias of certain writers at the intercept.

i'm glad to see the ferment in the comment section and hope that it will get the attention of whatever passes for editorial oversight at the intercept.

the fact that the whole article rests on the dubious presumption that the material tweeted by wikileaks staff account is written by julian assange is indicative of the (lack of) concern for accuracy and substantiation throughout the article.

one of the comments included a link to a tweet demonstrating the despicable way that micah lee "developed" material from the leaked chat transcripts. it seems to be quite damning:

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snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Glad to know that you're still sane... you had me worried there for awhile.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

mimi's picture

and thanks for that link to the leftvoice.org. First time I have seen that site. It has an international network link on it and I found that quite interesting to browse through. Thanks.
Elizabeth Warren crossed over to me in the past as too careful and too easily scared over threats that I did not consider to be some. That was years ago though.

The intercept article about the leaked chats from Wikileaks are very "igittigit" (yucky). Changed my perception about Assange quite a bit. I hope they release him and he can get free and live somewhere a normal life, so that his mind can start to heal.

The other articles are all too sad or worrisome to comment on. No comment stories so to speak.
Thanks for all your work.
Good Night.

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mimi

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

yeah, i've been very disappointed by warren's performance as a senator. some of her populist stances (regarding accountability for financial institutions) are laudable, however, she is virtually indistinguishable from a warmongering neocon on some very important issues.

see my response to you above about the wikileaks smear piece in the intercept.

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@mimi Way back when Warren was becoming a name among progressives, someone at TOP warned me she's not what she seems. I was skeptical but since then, Warren has proved it again and again.

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Idolizing a politician is like believing the stripper really likes you.

snoopydawg's picture

WTF? This seems to be more of a hit job on him than an unbiased opinion. I read the comments and it seems that others feel the same way. Wonder what the author's point was in writing it. It would go over well on ToP though.

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0 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

OLinda's picture

@snoopydawg

Yes, exactly. To me it was "I'll show him! Grrrr!"

There's been an ongoing feud with Micah and Julian for awhile now. A Twitter feud, heh. Micah criticizes and Julian defends. Some of it sounds valid, but still not worth tweeting about in public.

One tweet by Micah said Julian hid at the embassy to escape rape charges in Sweden. That's the one that tore it with me. That facts on this point are correct in the current article, probably because it had an editor go over it.

Yes, I was glad to see a lot of pushback in the comments, too. Maybe now Micah will shut up!

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snoopydawg's picture

@OLinda

Micah should have known the details of the charges against Assange. The woman who accused Assange of rape walked back their statements early on and they didn't want anything to do with the case. The charges were dropped then and then the prosecutor got pressured into charging him again. This was all because the USA wanted him locked up so they could get to him. Same with the U.K. judge not letting him leave the embassy. This country still wants him.

But once a false story is out it's hard for the facts to be known. Journalists everywhere should be writing about this case because one day they might be facing the same charges.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

mimi's picture

@snoopydawg

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: WikiLeaks / Sunshine Press
Date: Sat, Dec 1, 2017
Subject: WikiLeaks/Assange response to strange FPF "ultimatum"
To: [Freedom of Press Foundation board]

It is ironic that the organization John Perry Barlow and I conceived
in 2011 to protect WikiLeaks and its donors from politically induced
financial censorship is now apparently considering doing just that.

Shockingly, I received an email (via my lawyer Jennifer Robinson)
from the Freedom of the Press Foundation giving WikiLeaks a previously
undiscussed unilateral 10-day ultimatum.

The pressure against WikiLeaks, its staff and its allies has increased
as a result of our CIA and Democratic party publications. The
financial censorship of WikiLeaks is ongoing in various ways as is
our litigation in response.

WikiLeaks is in the middle of publishing the largest CIA leaks in
history (Vault7 and Vault8). December 7 marks the eighth year of
my arbitrary detention which continues in violation of two UN
rulings. The U.S. grand jury against WikiLeaks has been expanded
to include our CIA publications. Randy Credico, a free speech
activist, comedian, and political commentator has just been subpoenaed
by the House Intelligence Committee to appear on December 15. He
will likely go to jail for refusing to testify in the witch hunt
against WikiLeaks. Trump's CIA chief Mike Pompeo takes every
opportunity he can to attack WikiLeaks, vows to "take down" WikiLeaks
and states that WikiLeaks has no 1st Amendment protections.

US donors are the majority of our donor base. FPF's anonymizing
structure and tax-deductibility have been very important in reassuring
donors that it is safe for them to support WikiLeaks. We don't
advertise the banking blockade because we found that doing so creates
anxiety in donors as to the legality of donating to WikiLeaks.

Our litigation in the US, and at the EU Commission have reached
impasses. The case in Iceland, which follows a contractual chain
to VISA International in California has proceeded to the damages
phase at the Icelandic Supreme Court. WikiLeaks does not engage
with any of the financial services companies directly due to blockades
and the elevated risk of blockades, of which the FPF ultimatum is
somehow a bizarre reflection. Wau Holland is not WikiLeaks. It
performs a similar proxy role as FPF for Europe.

The FPF originated in a meeting between John Perry Barlow and me
at the Frontline Club in London in 2011 and subsequent phone calls.
This is not to diminish extraordinary work of numerous others who
subsequently became involved. The financial blockade was one of
several fronts we faced, along with a US grand jury, a Pentagon
"war room" (their term, not mine), and an intense propaganda offensive
by the US military, the political class and virtually all establishment
media.

Barlow and I decided it was critical to set up a First Amendment
organization in the US to improve WikiLeaks prospects for survival
since the majority of its donors are in the United States.

Free speech organizations are typically captured because they rely
on foundations and indirect government grants to survive. Some are
cold war relics, others are tools of current US foreign policy or
have become service organizations to the establishment press. None
were brave or resilient enough to take press freedoms seriously.

John, who had co-founded EFF in 1990, brought them in. On their
legal advice, WikiLeaks would conceal its role in initiating FPF
to discourage financial intermediaries from extending their blockade
to FPF and to strengthen its litigation opportunities. But in
reality, WikiLeaks and its lawyers (including Michael Ratner and
Jennifer Robinson) were directly involved in not only the idea to
create FPF, but in its establishment. Its mission statement derives
from my draft and I and secured most of FPF's seed funding. I
nominated Glenn Greenwald, Daniel Ellsberg, John Cusack, Laura
Poitras to the board to join John Perry Barlow.

In an email from August 23rd, 2013, Timm refers to FPF's mission
statement as "the mission statement WikiLeaks wrote when we first
started FPF last year".

The WikiLeaks and EFF sides synced with a conference call between
me, JPB, Rainey, Timm, Marcia Hoffman, Michael Ratner, Shane Kadidal,
Baher Azmy, Renata Avila, Cindy Kohn and Jennifer Robinson in early
March 2012. By mid April, Timm (who was then at EFF and whose Twitter
account was "@WikiLeaksLegal") informed us that Rainey was trying
to find a web developer, and that he was working on incorporation
and finalising the board: "I am waiting to hear back from Barlow
and Michael Ratner about a couple other possible board members. So
I am going to finalize the board, and then when we are officially
incorporated and have the website, we can all schedule a call again
to talk about roll out." By 23 May, we were informed that a developer
had been newly hired and "Barlow is working on raising our start-up
costs". By August 1, 2012, the web developer had created 80% of the
website, and papers had been submitted for incorporation. Timm wrote
"a sincere apology for not getting this all up sooner, as we wanted.
Our day jobs seem to have gotten in the way! But we are super excited
to finally launch." Start-up costs were estimated at USD 15,000.

We secured two-thirds of the initial USD 15,000 seed funding which
was sent from the Bertha Foundation.

But beyond the process itself, it is important to recall why FPF
was set up.

John and I felt strongly that donating to WikiLeaks was an act of
free speech and free association. The fundamental motivation of the
FPF was not only to protect WikiLeaks' directly but also to protect
its US readers' speech and associational rights in their act of
donating to WikiLeaks. FPF was also designed to litigate on behalf
of WikiLeaks and its donors. Its name was chosen for the impression
that it would convey on a docket.

The structure of FPF is the way it is because it was customized to
counter political and legal pressure against WikiLeaks, its donors,
and upstream financial intermediaries. FPF was set up to anonymize
WikiLeaks donors by also collecting for other organizations so that
financial records could not be used to determine which organization
received funds from which donor.

The FPF faces criticism for receiving donations on our behalf, but
that is its function. If it bows to political pressure it becomes
part of the problem it was designed to solve and yet another spurious
free speech organization--of which there are plenty. WikiLeaks
cannot be 'cycled off' as political pressure increases or as FPF
seeks to embrace establishment foundations such Ford, whose historical
relationship with the CIA is well documented. To do so is a betrayal
of the FPF's founding purpose.

Even before FPF's letter, I had sought and obtained legal advice
from my DC-based defense attorney, Barry Pollack, in relation to
the possibility of setting up a 501c3 that could receive WikiLeaks
contributions in the US. I was not confident that all FPF board
members would able to stand the political pressure over our
publications. WikiLeaks will never forego asserting its rights,
even in the face of such potential conflicts. Barry advised against
setting up a 501c3 in the United States as it would increase the
DoJ's ability to assert jurisdiction and hence make it easier to
prosecute our staff.

Through a Daily Beast article by "Kevin Poulsen", who interviewed
former FPF board member Xeni Jardin, I learned that the board's
weakening resolve is due to a Micah Lee initiative asking his fellow
board members to "cut ties" with WikiLeaks.

Poulsen is a key actor in the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, and
a confidant of Adrian Lamo. Poulsen and Lee have both been developers
of SecureDrop. Poulsen manipulated the alleged Manning-Assange chat
logs in an attempt to frame WikiLeaks (see for example Glenn
Greenwald's article "The worsening journalistic disgrace at Wired"
for more background. As the article puts it: "At the heart of the
WikiLeaks/Manning saga lies the efforts of a self-proclaimed
journalist [Poulsen] to conceal the truth"). This is the person
Jardin used to publicize the move to cut WikiLeaks off from its
donor base on Lee's initiative.

When I learned that Jardin had been put on the board in December
2012, I sent a message to Timm: "I've no recollection of ever meeting
Xeni and have definitely never worked with her yet she goes around
saying [I] have.. penning dozens of snide, unhelpful articles in
BoingBoing about us. We've seen her as an opponent for a long time
based on those articles. Perhaps she's shifted her politics given
the new opportunity... I don't know, but her politics are not
anti-censorship. Not anti-war. Not anti-empire. I don't think she
has any politics. She's an exhibitionist and a networker--what's
to stop her swapping sides when she gets a better offer? Be careful."

Although I have never met or communicated with Lee and know little
of him. But research shows that starting in early 2016 he has engaged
in an online vilification campaign against WikiLeaks (and me). Some
examples:

"..Julian [is] a rapist, liar, & ally to fascists";
"I wonder, now that Obama has commuted @xychelsea's sentence, will
Julian Assange turn himself in for US extradition";
"Julian Assange is not a co-founder of @freedomofPress. This is
another lie. I know, I'm a co-founder";
"We can't trust them [WikiLeaks]";
"Assange's fall to bigotry";
"WikiLeaks/Julian also champion far-right conspiracy theories";
"Assange makes up a narcissistic, self-serving, offensive conspiracy
theiry (sic) to make @xychelsea's story more about him";
"This is just Julian defending a Nazi" in response to my tweet
["US 'liberals' today celebrate the censorship of right-wing UK
provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos over teen sex quote."]

Like Jardin, this is not a person who takes his legal and ethical
responsibilities as an FPF board member or director seriously. FPF's
founding purpose was to defend WikiLeaks and its donors from
persecution not to contribute to it.

The Lee initiative to cut WikiLeaks off from its US donors is a sad
business.

Should FPF decide to "cut off" WikiLeaks, the timing, transfer, and
auditing of funds, the notification sent to all past and current
WikiLeaks donors, and how to deal with monthly donors, should be
agreed between FPF and WL.

Julian Assange

Financial censorship. It's all about the money and how it's used to oppress. Sounds familiar.

I am too stupid, all I know is that nothing is not dirty in the whole Lee-Assange fight. I want to forget this crap.

All I know is that Assange needs to get released and live somewhere like a normal human being without being arrested or harassed.

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mimi

OLinda's picture

@mimi

Thanks, mimi. That was interesting. I saw this comment (that is included in your post) from Micah awhile back in the middle of their feud :

"Julian Assange is not a co-founder of @freedomofPress. This is
another lie. I know, I'm a co-founder";

No you aren't! I am! Brother. Now I see the rest of the story.

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OLinda's picture

@snoopydawg

snoopydawg, I don't think there were even any actual charges brought. Sweden opened, closed, then reopened and closed again an investigation. There was an arrest warrant for Assange as he was wanted for questioning. The Swedish prosecutor finally went to the U.K. and interviewed Assange there, and then closed the case for the final time after that.

His whole situation is sickening.

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joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

i got to the paragraphs where it says that they "assume that the wikileaks account is controlled by julian assange himself,' and thought, "this is bullshit." then i checked to make sure that i was really on the intercept site, that it wasn't a spoofed address. i read the rest of the piece shaking my head and trying to decide whether to include it, whether to rip it apart or ignore it. i wound up deciding to include it without comment so folks could make up their own minds.

i'm gratified to see that so many people read it in much the same way that i did.

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Azazello's picture

US Intelligence Invites Citizens To Dismiss Dissent As Part Of Russia’s Efforts To Undermine Midterm Elections

“There have been some, aided and abetted by Russian internet bots and trolls, who’ve attacked the basic integrity of the FBI and Justice Department,” Warner added. “This is a dangerous trend. This campaign of innuendo and misinformation should alarm all of us regardless of our partisan affiliation.”

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said, “We need to inform the American public that this is going to happen, that this is real, and the resilience needed for us to stand up and say we’re not going to allow some Russian to tell us how to vote, how we ought to run our country. And I think there ought to be a national cry for that.”

Press in the United States universally repeated the feverish statements without bothering to offer any skepticism as to whether Russia could achieve any success in impacting the midterm elections.

The result is a pernicious narrative that affords government agencies, politicians, tech companies, think tanks, and media commentators the ability to dismiss any dissent as the product of Russian influence.

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It didn't have to be this way.

snoopydawg's picture

@Azazello

One person had the guts to question whether Russia changed any votes and boy did he get piled on for it. From there's always one person who has to throw crap at the wall and see what sticks, to there has been plenty of evidence released already that shows that Russia's actions had a huge effect on the election. The lie that all 17 intelligence agencies agree that Russia interfered with the election is still being repeated even though it's only 3 agencies and two of the people have stated that nothing happened. Clapper and Brennan have both been caught lying.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

OLinda's picture

@snoopydawg

I still hear that all the time! We have 17 intelligence agencies?? Who the heck are they??

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snoopydawg's picture

@OLinda

the upcoming elections where the DNI is warning us about Russia being determined to muck them up. Apparently this propaganda attack is working so well that they are going to be keeping it going. And it's working. Numerous articles and discussions about appeared today and people are hyperventilating over it. They just can't see how anyone can not believe it. Oh and they're upset that Trump isn't doing anything about it. Thought that was DHS job?

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

joe shikspack's picture

@OLinda

just for grins and giggles:

office of the director of national intelligence
cia
nsa
defense intelligence agency
fbi
dept of state - bureau of intelligence and research
dept of homeland security - office of intelligence and analysis
dea - office of national security intelligence
dept of treasury - office of intelligence and analysis
department of energy - office of intelligence and counterintelligence
national geospatial-intelligence agency
national reconnaissance office
air force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
army military intelligence
office of naval intelligence
marine corps intelligence
coast guard intelligence

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snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Jethro would have solved this case in less than 40 minutes and still have time for a beer while working on his boat.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

OLinda's picture

@joe shikspack

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joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

heh. get ready to be an agent of russian influence. i wonder if i'll have to turn in my jill stein yard sign to be used as evidence against me.

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smiley7's picture

Recall "How can you tell he's king?" Now that the US of A has one, he wallows in it.

Strange culture our country is. Or is it the meaning of is is off?

Life was simpler before these robed people, ... maybe.

Thanks for the news and blues and have a good evening!

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joe shikspack's picture

@smiley7

heh, this gives me a mildly amusing thought of my own:

Recall "How can you tell he's king?" Now that the US of A has one, he wallows in it.

i vaguely remember (a possibly attributed) confucius saying, a warning against malign gossip, "in order to spit poison, one must first have it in one's own mouth."

perhaps to reword it for the trump era, "in order to fling poo, one must first get it on one's own hands."

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Bollox Ref's picture

Pretty much sums up the world today.

Arrogant assholes doing their thing... screw everyone else.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

joe shikspack's picture

@Bollox Ref

yep. it also demonstrates the nasty, ill-considered side effects of some economic systems and how their built in incentive structures can collapse a culture if left to run without regulation.

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Meteor Man's picture

Great opinion piece at Fast Company about the growing popularity of socialism and spot on conclusion:

The choice is stark, and it seems people are waking up to it in large numbers: Either we evolve into a future beyond capitalism, or we won’t have a future at all.

The also of interest link:

https://www.fastcompany.com/40439316/are-you-ready-to-consider-that-capi...

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

joe shikspack's picture

@Meteor Man

glad you liked it. it's a great piece.

have a good evening!

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The Aspie Corner's picture

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

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

it's great to see the progressives in virginia giving big energy a run for its money and at the same time defeating the unprogressive democrat governor, who would have signed the law if the progressives hadn't stopped it.

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They voted against the defense bill and I think they voted against the FISA bill. This is on both Senate and House side. Several supported TPP but can't get it all right all the time. They many times are on a small list of representatives who voted Nay on stuff all the other democrats went in on.

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joe shikspack's picture

@MrWebster

yep, oregon goes progressive on a lot of issues. unfortunately, ron wyden is a free trader, though on the good side, he is a stalwart on privacy issues.

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enhydra lutris's picture

Day to all, and all like that. FWIW, back before there was an ADA, there was a very contentious fight throughout CA over instituting assorted state and local laws and regulations regarding the same issue. Center for Independent Living (Berkeley) was a tireless force for change.

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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 --

divineorder's picture

@enhydra lutris We met a gay couple from SF on the beach one night in Isla de Mujeres in early 80s. One was a great storyteller, abd we remained friends through his death from HIV in the 90s. He was vivacious and at heart quite sypatico. He did tend to go off on the other abled in Berkeley who would come into the Paris Blues outlet just to rag on the clerks for the lack of access. Funny in his telling but understand how Californians were pioneers. People in Austin did great things for the ' deaf' and ''blind' as far as signage aslerys, Braille, etc but always behind CA.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

yep, it is worth mentioning that california, for all of its difficulties, often leads the nation in promoting and implementing progressive ideas.

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GreatLakeSailor's picture

for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 from back in September...if you want to look up how your PINO most recently sold you out.

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cf...

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Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor.

divineorder's picture

@GreatLakeSailor

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

joe shikspack's picture

@GreatLakeSailor

thanks for digging that up! not a progressive to be found in my "blue" state.

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So much to get angry about in the evening blues tonight but thanks for your nightly report. Thinking about how close to the edge some people exist. Viewed theuour utility bill online for our cabin this past month after the city ownedutility rate increases today . Ours was highest in 10 years of summer or winter. Whatspurred us tocheck was seeing Locals in the littlecity had posted on FB shock at no way they could pay thehugeincrease.

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Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

joe shikspack's picture

@jakkalbessie

sorry to hear about the energy rate increases in your area and what they will do to people with limited finances. it seems like public service commissions everywhere are in the pockets of the utilities and despite the drop in energy costs, utility bills only seem to rise while infrastructure rots. gosh, i wonder where those excess profits are going?

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enhydra lutris's picture

its theme song.

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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

time for me to go out into the kitchen and make a cool water sandwich. Smile

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