The Evening Blues - 2-20-18


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Papa Charlie Jackson

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues and ragtime singer and banjo player Papa Charlie Jackson. Enjoy!

Papa Charlie Jackson - If I Got What You Want

"We saw Jesse Jackson the victim of a smear campaign. People remember the Dean scream that was used against Howard Dean as a peace candidate who was doing well. So, in many ways, the Democratic Party creates campaigns that fake Left while it moves Right and becomes more corporatist, more militarist, more imperialist."

-- Jill Stein

News and Opinion

FBI Russian Indictments Used To Silence The Left

Jeremy Corbyn rejects spy 'smears' and takes on press critics

Labour leader denies being communist informant and issues warning to newspaper owners

Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed as “ridiculous smears” the idea he gave information to a communist spy during the cold war, saying the only reason some newspapers are publishing the claims are because they are worried about a Labour government. In his first substantive response to days of headlines about supposed meetings during the 1980s with Ján Sarkocy, a Czechoslovakian diplomat in London who was later expelled as a spy, Corbyn said some proprietors had reason to worry.

Labour would “stand up to the powerful and corrupt”, the Labour leader said in a video released by the party, not detailing what action this would involve.

Sarkocy has claimed he recruited Corbyn as an intelligence asset and that Corbyn and other Labour MPs were paid £10,000 by the Czechoslovak secret service (StB) for their work.

In his video, Corbyn said the newspapers reporting the allegations – the Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Daily Express – “have all gone a little bit James Bond”. Sarkocy’s claims were “increasingly wild and entirely false”, Corbyn said. ... The allegations have also been rejected by the director of the Czech security service archive, Světlana Ptáčníková, who told the BBC their files suggested Corbyn was seen as a potential contact but was not catalogued as an informant.

“Mr Corbyn was not a secret collaborator working for the Czechoslovak intelligence service,” she said. “He stayed in that basic category – and in fact he’s still described as that, as a person of interest, in the final report issued by the StB agent shortly before he [the agent] was expelled from the UK.”

Jill Stein Smacks Down MSNBC Host Over Russian Propaganda

Former US military commander warns against 'bloody nose' strike on North Korea

A senior former US military commander and intelligence chief has warned against a pre-emptive “bloody nose” strike on North Korea. Retired Admiral Dennis Blair said Washington needed to be ready to respond militarily if North Korea attacked the US or its allies in the region – “but not a first strike; it’s just high risk and unpredictable”.

The former director of national intelligence warned about the difficulty of destroying North Korea’s nuclear weapons, amid reports a targeted strike has been canvassed by the Trump administration. “With all the tunnels they have, with all of the difficulties of intelligence in that country, I don’t think an American-South Korean strike [on the North] would have a high probability of taking out all of their nuclear capability and then you’ve left them with not only with nuclear capability but also an aggrieved sense of it,” said Blair, who held the intelligence post from early 2009 to mid 2010.

There were risks of escalation if Kim Jong-un’s regime thought the country was about to be invaded, Blair told the Guardian. Any US-led action should be seen as a response to a North Korean provocation to avoid any misunderstanding. Despite Donald Trump’s desire to be seen as unpredictable, Blair said: “I think this business of treating unpredictability as a virtue in dealing with North Korea is a lot more dangerous than predictability. “We’re much stronger,” he added. “We need to be consistent and powerful and persistent. I think that’s a lot safer, so a lot of this talk about you know, sneak up on them and give them a bloody nose, be unpredictable, I think is not correct for dealing with a country like North Korea.”

Russia to U.S.: Don’t ‘play with fire’ in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov issued a stark warning to the U.S. on Monday for its support of the Kurds in Syria, saying Washington should not "play with fire" in the region.

“The U.S. should stop playing very dangerous games which could lead to the dismemberment of the Syrian state,” Lavrov said at a Middle East Conference in Moscow on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

“We are seeing attempts to exploit the Kurds’ aspirations," he continued.

Turkey says will confront Syrian forces if they enter Afrin to help YPG

urkey’s foreign minister warned on Monday that Turkey’s military would confront any Syrian government forces entering the northwest Afrin province to protect Kurdish YPG fighters. ...

"If it comes in to defend the YPG, then nothing and nobody can stop us or Turkish soldiers.” he told a news conference during a visit to the Jordanian capital Amman.

Pro-govt Syrian fighters begin entering Kurdish Afrin despite Turkish threats

Russia admits ‘several dozen’ of its citizens killed in Syria fighting

Russia’s foreign ministry has admitted that “several dozen” citizens of Russia and other former Soviet states were killed or wounded during a recent battle in Syria.

The announcement came shortly after reports that scores of Russian mercenaries fighting alongside pro-Syrian regime forces were killed by a US-led coalition airstrike in Deir ez-Zor, in eastern Syria, on 7 February. Moscow dismissed those reports last week as “classic disinformation”.

The ministry stressed on Tuesday that the combatants were not Russian servicemen and that no Russian military equipment was involved in the fighting. It gave no date or location for the clash, but said the wounded Russian citizens had received help to return home and were receiving medical treatment.

Israel ramps up support for Syrian rebels, arming 7 different groups

Analyst Elizabeth Tsurkov, who has followed events in Syria closely for the last several years and has interviewed many rebel militiamen and residents of the Syrian Golan, published a detailed survey of developments in southern Syria in the War on the Rocks blog last week.

Tsurkov said the scope of Israel’s involvement in southern Syria has changed in recent months in response to the regime’s successes in the civil war and Iran’s consolidation in Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns about the latter on every possible occasion and has repeatedly said Israel will work to thwart it.

According to foreign media reports, over the past few months Israel has begun carrying out airstrikes against Syrian army facilities and targets linked to Iran and its Shi’ite militias, in addition to its longstanding targeting of convoys carrying arms to Hezbollah. Tsurkov also reported on other developments taking place.

Dozens of rebels who spoke with Tsurkov described a significant change in the amount of aid they receive from Israel. Moreover, she said at least seven Sunni rebel organizations in the Syrian Golan are now getting arms and ammunition from Israel, along with money to buy additional armaments.

Israeli police just arrested several members of Netanyahu’s inner circle

Israeli police revealed Tuesday they had arrested several friends and confidants of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, increasing the pressure on the scandal hit premier, who faces allegations of corruption.

The arrests were part of an investigation known as “Case 4000,” which centers on whether two of Netanyahu’s associates – and potentially the premier himself ­– pushed legislation worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israel’s largest telecom, Bezeq, in exchange for favorable coverage of Netanyahu on a subsidiary news site, Walla.

The arrested include Netanyahu’s former spokesman Nir Hefetz and his former Communications Ministry Director-General Shlomo Filber. Shaul Elovitch, Bezeq’s controlling shareholder and a family friend of the premier, was also arrested, along with his wife and son, and Bezeq’s CEO, Stella Handler. ...

The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu is expected to be questioned under caution himself once investigators build enough of a case through questioning the existing suspects.

Yale University Under the Spotlight for Its Investment in Puerto Rican Debt

A coalition of activists uncovered late last year that Yale University’s $27.2 billion endowment had a direct investment in Puerto Rican debt instruments through a Cayman Islands-registered shell corporation. It is believed to be the first documented proof of a university endowment holding Puerto Rican bonds directly in its portfolio. But the investment manager that maintained the bonds, Cyrus Capital, quietly sold them in January, just as critics were finalizing a campaign to condemn Yale for profiting from the crisis in Puerto Rico.

Yale’s endowment still has hundreds of millions in the care of at least four hedge fund managers that carry Puerto Rican bonds among their investments. In addition, Yale’s top alumni donor, Charles Johnson, is the retired board chair and largest shareholder in Franklin Resources, which holds $1.8 billion in Puerto Rican debt. Student advocates for Puerto Rico plan to continue to pressure the university, hoping to channel the campus passion for racial justice into economic justice for those on the island.

The activist coalition, which includes state and local elected officials, and labor, community, and campus groups, released its findings on Tuesday, calling on Yale’s endowment to fully disclose any other direct holdings in Puerto Rican debt — and cancel it. ...

In order to pay bondholders, who include hedge funds backed by universities such as Yale and Harvard, Puerto Rico is slashing spending on education on the island, while pursuing extreme versions of privatization.

the horse race

Trump-Russia inquiry: lawyer who worked with Manafort charged with lying to FBI

Prosecutors investigating possible collusion between the Trump election campaign and the Kremlin scored another victory on Tuesday after a lawyer who previously worked with Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, was charged with lying to the FBI.

Alex van der Zwaan, who is reportedly married to the daughter of a Russian-Ukrainian oligarch, was charged with making false statements in connection to work he did in Ukraine. According to court documents filed in Washington and made public on Tuesday, Van der Zwaan failed to produce a 2014 email exchange with an unidentified person – referred to as Person A – to the special counsel investigating the Trump campaign and its ties to Russia. He is expected to plead guilty to the charge, and to appear in federal court in Washington on Tuesday afternoon. ...

It is unclear how - if at all - the case against Van der Zwaan, who according to reports worked in the London office of the Skadden Arps law firm, is connected to the broader question of whether or not the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin. But the indictment against a relatively obscure figure who is not known to be connected to the president shows the wide-ranging nature of the ongoing investigationbeing led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller Probe Heats Up: 13 Russians Indicted, Ex-Trump Aide to Plead Guilty, Focus on Kushner Grows

the evening greens

'Sloppy and careless': courts call out Trump blitzkrieg on environmental rules

In its first year in office, the Trump administration introduced a solitary new environmental rule aimed at protecting the public from pollution. It was aimed not at sooty power plants or emissions-intensive trucks, but dentists. Every year, dentists fill Americans’ tooth cavities with an amalgam that includes mercury. About 5 tons of mercury, a dangerous toxin that can taint the brain and the nervous system, are washed away from dental offices down drains each year.

In Trump’s first day in the White House, the administration told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw an Obama-era plan that would require dentists to prevent this mercury from getting into waterways. But in June, the rule was unexpectedly enacted. This apparent change of heart followed legal action filed by green groups, part of a cascade of courtroom standoffs that are starting to slow and even reverse the Trump administration’s blitzkrieg of environmental regulations.

“The Trump administration has been sloppy and careless, they’ve shown significant disrespect for rule of law and courts have called them on it,” said Richard Revesz, a professor at the New York University school of law. ...

In July, a federal court ruled that the EPA couldn’t suspend rules designed to curb methane emissions from new oil and gas wells. This was followed by a hasty retreat in August when the EPA agreed to not delay new standards to reduce smog-causing air pollutants, the day after 15 states and environment groups sued. Then, in December, a federal court told the EPA it couldn’t delay a new standard for dangerous levels of lead in paint and dust.

Other arms of the federal government have also been stymied from implementing Trump’s deregulatory agenda. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, stung by a lawsuit, listed the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered in March after initially delaying the decision. And on Thursday, a federal court told the department of energy it must implement four energy efficiency regulations it was looking to scuttle. ... The EPA now faces a fresh wave of opposition as it looks to craft replacements for major Obama rules such as the clean power plan, which sought to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the waters of the US rule, which greatly expanded clean water protections.

Plastic bans worldwide will dent oil demand growth, says BP

Bans around the world on single use plastic items such as carrier bags will dent growth in oil demand over the next two decades, according to BP. However, the UK-headquartered oil and gas firm said it still expects the global hunger for crude to grow for years and not peak until the late 2030s.

Spencer Dale, the group’s chief economist, said: “Just around the world you see increasing awareness of the environmental damage associated with plastics and different types of packaging of one form of another. “If you live in the UK that’s clearly been an issue, but it’s not just a UK-specific thing; you see it worldwide, for example China has changed some of its policies.” Theresa May has branded plastic waste an environmental scourge, and MPs have called for charges on plastic bags to be extended to disposable coffee cups.

Dale predicted such measures around the world could mean 2m barrels per day lower oil demand growth by 2040. But he said single use plastics were only about 15% of all non-combusted oil, which is used for petrochemicals, an industry that BP expects to be a big driver of global growth in crude demand.

Also of Interest

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

The Costs of US Wars Are Staggering, but Most Americans Continue to Ignore Them

A Crisis in Intelligence: Unthinkable Consequences of Outsourcing U.S. Intel (Part 3)

The Russian journalist who helped uncover election interference is confounded by the Mueller indictments

America’s Election Meddling Would Indeed Justify Other Countries Retaliating In Kind

President Trump, I'm Russian and I'm Not Laughing

Ex-CIA Director Thinks US Hypocrisy About Election Meddling Is Hilarious

Jeff Sessions’ war on legal weed is spooking banks

Homo erectus may have been a sailor – and able to speak

A Little Night Music

Papa Charlie Jackson - Skoodle Um Skoo

Papa Charlie Jackson - Drop That Sack

Papa Charlie Jackson - Shave 'Em Dry

Papa Charlie Jackson - Shake That Thing

Ma Rainey, Georgia Tom Dorsey, Tampa Red, Papa Charlie Jackson - Hustlin' Blues

Papa Charlie Jackson - Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine

Papa Charlie Jackson - I'm Alabama Bound

Papa Charlie Jackson - Hot Papa Blues

Papa Charlie Jackson - All I Want Is A Spoonful

Ma Rainey, Georgia Tom Dorsey, Tampa Red, Papa Charlie Jackson - Victim Of The Blues

Papa Charlie Jackson - You Put It In, I'll Take It Out

21 users have voted.


The Aspie Corner's picture

Said every right-wing idiot ever. Meanwhile, as 'Murica continues to be hollowed out as a result of end-stage capitalism, the war machine and the bourgeoisie still manage to make out like bandits. Even with all that, too many 'Muricans still believe they can become bourgeoisie or even petty bourgeois if they work hard enough. Suckers. This is 2018, not 1953.

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

yep, it's like the rubes don't read or understand trends.

In 1970, 30-year-olds had a 90 per cent chance — almost a guarantee — of earning more than what their parents earned at the same age, adjusted for inflation. Ten years later, a 30-year-old still had an 80 per cent chance of making more money than their parents.

This cornerstone of US identity — that if you put in hard work, a better future awaited — long separated the US from other countries in the American imagination. But in practice, that idea is increasingly evading the country’s young people.

In contrast to previous generations, about half of 30-year-olds in 2016 are earning less than their parents earned at the same age. And it is not just something about the age of 30. The trend also holds if you compare today’s 40-year-olds to their parents, according to a new paper by Raj Chetty and a team of economists that showed that US social mobility fell by more than 70 per cent in the past half-century.

or, for that matter, listen when a prophet speaks:

"The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it."

-- George Carlin

11 users have voted.
Bollox Ref's picture

known as B. Netanyahu, has friends...


11 users have voted.

from a reasonably stable genius.

joe shikspack's picture

@Bollox Ref

heh, at a certain point, a fellow like bibi stops having friends and begins having co-conspirators. Smile

8 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@Bollox Ref

3 users have voted.

It seems once credit card providers realize the pot shop is a pot shop, cut off access. You betcha this is going to invite a violent robbery as the cash purchases add up. The shop is in a strip mall and heard from another business owner that the manager of the property was fired by the corporate owners once they realized he gave a 10-year lease to the shop. Don't know if my imagination, but seems most shops are in single buildings. Very nice people.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


yep, apparently, beauregard likes the idea of a large black market economy.

8 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

Mountains, fast moving high clouds and Carolina blue skies put on a show today; after so many days of rain and fog; a treat.

Good to see teenagers protesting; may they find momentum and grow in numbers.

Thanks for the news and blues; step by step:

Have a great evening!

an encore: Smile

7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


it was a rather nice day here today, too. the fog burned off in the late morning and the temperatures got up into the low 70's - a bit of a tee shirt weather break in february.

the teenagers certainly seem to be getting favorable press. perhaps this time the outrage will make a difference.

5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture



9 users have voted.

The Democratic Party under Bill Clinton transformed itself into the traditional Republican Party, and the Republican Party moved, was pushed, so far to the right it became insane

The Aspie Corner's picture

@snoopydawg .....Never mind, this is a country that believes that every god damned mass shooting is a false flag to undermine a constitutional amendment most rubes outright ignore, especially the 'Well Regulated Militia' part.

6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

they know that they want to preserve it. they just don't remember why.

The Second Amendment Was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

5 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

@joe shikspack because he didn't want Black Panthers or even hippies armed during his tenure as CA gov.

6 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

by the covers (just started listening). It definitely beats the hell out of the news, but, frankly, Ma Rainey alone will do that 9 days out of 10. That, of course, raises the question of what the hell is Alabama Bound doing in that mix, but I haven't heard that version yet.

4 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

heh, i think that it's always a safe bet that the music will be much better than the news in the eb. Smile

have a great evening!

7 users have voted.
OLinda's picture

When we were discussing the recent Risen article about Russian interference, I almost posted that I'd like to see a line-by-line rebuttal by Greenwald, but he wouldn't because it published in The Intercept. Now look: Smile

I recall Risen being pretty gentlemanly and soft-spoken, so wonder how he'll do in a debate setting. This is for tomorrow's podcast.

10 users have voted.

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

OLinda's picture


Maybe I am mistaken about Risen's debate skills. Matt Taibbi posted:

Matt Taibbi
‏Matt Taibbi Retweeted The Intercept

This could be a Hagler-Hearns situation.

I had to look it up:


Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns … was a world middleweight championship boxing match between undisputed champion Marvin Hagler and challenger Thomas Hearns, the then reigning world's junior middleweight champion, who had gone up in weight for the bout. Won by Hagler by third round knockout, the fight is considered by many to be among the finest boxing matches in history, due to its constant action, drama, and violent back-and-forth exchanges.[1]

British fight publication Boxing News called it "eight minutes of mayhem", while The Ring called the fight "the most electrifying eight minutes ever," and it won fight of the year for 1985, despite lasting only three rounds.


11 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


i expect a gentlemanly discussion. even though i disagree with much of what risen wrote and take exception to his assumptions and framing, i think that (in general, over the course of his career) he's a pretty decent writer and a reasonably smart guy. i would expect that greenwald will challenge risen, but will not go after him in the same way as he might fillet some moron on twitter.

i am clearly biased and can't really feature greenwald losing an argument where there is so much advantage in arguing against bad assumptions and unsubstantiated assertions.

i look forward to hearing the arguments.

thanks for the heads up!

10 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

Mike Malloy gets a lot wrong, but this story is horrifying nonetheless. This kind of crap shouldn't be happening.

6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

the Jimmy Dore show of how Jill Stein was interviewed on MSNBC, tells me, that it is time to very seriously boycott and fight against MSNBC. This is so outrageous that every viewer in the US has to boycott that channel. Jill Stein needs to be protected. By you guys.

I can't believe what happened to the US. May be I will not be able to believe what happens to Germany in the upcoming months.

You have my sympathy and spiritual support and hope this site and doesn't get crushed out of existence.

6 users have voted.