The Evening Blues - 3-30-23


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Tiny Bradshaw

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features jump blues and r&b singer and bandleader Tiny Bradshaw. Enjoy!

Tiny Bradshaw - The Train Kept A'Rollin'

"Always stick to the story. It was when you started backtracking that people got in trouble. Interrogation 101."

-- Nicholas Sparks

News and Opinion

Imagine If All Officials Were Interrogated By Reporters Like This

A fascinating exchange took place at a UN press briefing the other day between China Global Television Network’s Xu Dezhi and the UN’s Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Farhan Haq about the US military occupation of Syria. The exchange is interesting both for the wild pro-US bias shown by a UN official, and for the way it illustrates how much truth can be exposed when journalists do what they’re supposed to do in the press gallery.

Xu, who has done on-the-ground reporting in Syria in the past, asked Haq some challenging questions about an attack on a US military base in eastern Syria last week which injured multiple American troops and killed an American contractor. In his response, Haq made the extremely incorrect claim that there are no US armed forces in Syria, and refused to say whether the US military occupation of part of the country is illegal.

Here’s the UN’s transcript of the key part of this exchange (emphasis added by me):

Xu: Do you not urge everyone to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria?

Haq: Well of course, that’s a given, and obviously it’s important that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria is respected. At the same time you are aware of the complexity of the situation of foreign forces, but we call for them to exercise restraint.

Xu: But, do you think the presence of the US military in Syria is illegal or not?

Haq: That’s not an issue that we’re dealing with at this stage. There’s been a war.

Xu: But, is that… because it sounds very familiar this week. We talk a lot about the UN Charter, the international law and relative resolutions.  But, it sounds to me, a foreign ministry based presence in another country without invitation, sounds like something else to me.

Haq: I’ll leave your analysis to you.  That there’s… At this stage there’s no…

Xu: What’s the difference between the situation in Syria and the situation in Ukraine?

Haq: There’s no US armed forces inside of Syria.  And so I don’t have a… It’s not a parallel situation to some of the others.

Xu: You’re sure there’s no US military personnel in Syria?

Haq: I believe there’s military activity.  But, in terms of a ground presence in Syria, I’m not aware of that.

Xu: Okay.  Five US service members were injured in that attack.  If there were no US service members in Syria, how could they got injured?  That’s weird, right?  Should I ask you about that?  And by the way, if you’re talking about the resolution, the international law here is the resolution from Security Council 2254 (2015), I believe, it says in its PA [preambular] paragraph, “reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations”.

Haq: Yes.  I’m aware of that.  And as you see, that is accepted by the members of the Security Council itself.

Xu: Yeah.  So, again, back to my question, is that illegal to have presence in Syria for the US base, according to the relevant resolution that I just read out?

Haq: The relevant resolution does call for that and we call on all countries to respect that.  I wouldn’t go beyond that at this stage.

To be absolutely clear, this is a UN official. Haq has been in his current position as deputy spokesperson for almost a decade, and routinely answers questions about Syria as part of his capacity in that position.

It is not some obscure esoteric secret that there are US military personnel in Syria; it’s in the mainstream news constantly. Just the other day The New York Times reported that “America still has more than 900 troops, and hundreds more contractors, in Syria.”

It is not some obscure esoteric secret that there are US military personnel in Syria; it’s in the mainstream news constantly. Just the other day The New York Times reported that “America still has more than 900 troops, and hundreds more contractors, in Syria.”

Haq was either ignorant of this extremely important and relevant piece of common knowledge, or was dishonestly pretending to be. The most charitable interpretation of his actions at this press conference is that he sincerely did not know the US has armed forces in Syria.

To put it into perspective, this is like being a UN official and routinely taking questions about Ukraine from the press, but not knowing that Russia invaded Ukraine and has been fighting a war there since last year.

Haq is the son of a Pakistani politician but speaks with a pristine American accent, and his acrobatics in dodging around Xu’s US-critical questions would impress even Jen Psaki. My favorite part is when he says “I’ll leave your analysis to you,” because it’s such a brilliant deflection that can be used on any inconvenient question you can imagine (“Sir why are you holding a severed human head in your hands right now?” “Look, I’ll leave your analysis to you.”)

Xu’s straightforward, intellectually honest questions were all it took to get Haq to expose himself as an airheaded empire lackey, and I can’t help but fantasize about how wonderful the world would be if this happened all the time.

I mean, compare this oppositional interrogation with the shit show that erupted in the White House press gallery earlier this month when Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba interrupted some silly publicity appearance by the cast of Ted Lasso to complain that White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had not called on him in seven months.

The entire press corps immediately leapt to the defense of the White House official in the most sycophantic way imaginable, turning against their fellow journalist and paternalistically telling Ateba to shut up and mind his manners when he accused Jean-Pierre of “making a mockery of the First Amendment.”

Reporters from immensely influential platforms like Reuters, AP and CNN shouted Ateba down with calls of “Be respectful!” and “Mind your manners,” with one woman even shrieking “Decorum!” at the top of her lungs like an overwhelmed child. AP’s Zeke Miller even apologized for Ateba’s “display”, saying “I just want to express our apologies in the press corps to the folks watching at home for the display we saw earlier.”

Those are the sort of groveling bootlickers who insulate the press secretary of the most powerful government office on this planet. Imagine what would happen if the press were as oppositional to Jean-Pierre as Xu Dezhi was to the UN’s Farhan Haq. Imagine what contradictions could be exposed, what hypocrisy illuminated, what inconvenient questions pursued until a fruitful response was arrived at.

Instead we get the world’s most powerful government represented by people whose only traits are the ability to skillfully avoid providing meaningful answers, receiving slobbering rim jobs from power-worshipping cronies who want nothing more than to be their friend. This is the exact opposite of a healthy dynamic, and the exact opposite of a functioning free press.

It should not take a reporter from Chinese state media to ask inconvenient questions about the most powerful and destructive government on earth; western journalists should be falling all over themselves to ask those questions, because that’s what the job is supposed to be. The fact that this isn’t what happens shows that the free press has been replaced with propaganda, and accountability has been replaced with the blind service of power.

US Senate votes to repeal measure that gave go-ahead for 2003 invasion of Iraq

The US Senate voted on Wednesday to repeal the resolution that gave a green light for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, an effort to return a basic war power to Congress from the White House 20 years after an authorization many now say was a mistake. ... “This body rushed into a war,” said the Virginia senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat who has pushed for years to repeal the powers, adding that the Iraq war has had “massive consequences”.

Senators voted 66-30 to repeal the 2002 measure and also the 1991 authorization that sanctioned the US-led Gulf war.

If passed by the House, the repeal would not be expected to affect any current military deployments. But lawmakers in both parties are increasingly seeking to claw back congressional powers over military strikes and deployments and some lawmakers who voted for the Iraq war now say that was a mistake.

“Americans want to see an end to endless Middle East wars,” said the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, adding that passing the repeal “is a necessary step to putting these bitter conflicts squarely behind us”.

Supporters, including almost 20 Republican senators, say the repeal is crucial to prevent future abuses and to reinforce that Iraq is now a strategic partner. Opponents say the repeal could project weakness as the US faces conflict in the Middle East.

US BLOCKS Nordstream Investigation At UN

Zelensky Says if He Loses Bakhmut, He Will Be Pushed to ‘Compromise’ With Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told The Associated Press on Wednesday that if the Donbas city of Bakhmut falls to Russia, he would be pressured to “compromise” with Moscow.

“Our society will feel tired” if the Russians win in Bakhmut, Zelensky said. “Our society will push me to have compromise with them.”

He said if Bakhmut falls, Russian President Vladimir Putin could “sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran” as leverage to seek a ceasefire deal that would involve Kyiv ceding territory to Moscow. “If he will feel some blood — smell that we are weak — he will push, push, push,” Zelensky said. ...

The US and its allies want Ukraine to give up on Bakhmut and to launch a counteroffensive against Russia this spring, but the prospect seems increasingly unlikely. A senior Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post earlier this month that Ukraine doesn’t have enough people or weapons to launch an offensive.

Russia Storms Central Bakhmut; Kiev, US in Denial; Zelensky Depressed; Putin Upbeat Econ; EU NatGas

Russia Says Ukraine Using Longer-Range US-Provided Rockets

Moscow announced that it downed for the first time a longer-range rocket that the US has provided to Ukrainian forces.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it downed a Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), a munition made by Boeing that can hit targets up to 94 miles away, nearly twice the range of the missiles Ukraine’s armed forces have been using with the US-provided HIMARS rocket systems.

“In the past 24 hours, air defense capabilities intercepted 18 rockets of the HIMARS multiple launch rocket system and one GLSDB guided munition,” a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

Zelensky INVITES China's Xi To Ukraine

French Constitutional Council might strike down 'part' of pension bill but won't reject 'legal age'

Paris breathes easier as refuse workers’ strike called off and rubbish cleared

The smell of spring is in the air in Paris. It makes a change from the stench of overflowing bins that had hung over the French capital for the last three weeks after refuse collectors went on strike and up to 10,000 metric tonnes of festering rubbish piled up on the streets.

Hours after the CGT trade union announced it was suspending the industrial action and lifting a blockade of incinerators serving the city, much of the rubbish had gone. ...

One resident of the central 5th arrondissement on Paris’s Left Bank posted a picture of a huge pile of rubbish bags and household detritus outside their front door in the process of being cleared by refuse collectors. “Hallelujah! First trash collection since March 6,” they wrote. ...

The strike, part of a wave of protests and industrial action against Emmanuel Macron’s pension law, was reportedly called off after the number of refuse collectors taking part dwindled. Strikers in France lose their wages when they stop work, and strike funds, mostly financed by donations, are insufficient to compensate for lost pay.

At the time of the strike suspension on Tuesday afternoon, City Hall said an estimated 7,000 tonnes of rubbish remained uncollected, despite officials’ attempts to engage private refuse companies.

Foreign maids and no military service: South Korea criticised over ideas to boost birthrate

South Korea’s search for ways to lift its record low birthrate is becoming increasingly desperate, as the country pushes to reverse the trend that risks sending it toward economic disaster.

Among the proposals to have emerged in recent days are exempting men who have three or more children by the age of 30 from compulsory military conscription. Another is to provide significant “gift” tax breaks to parents based on the number of children they have. A further proposal put forward by a dozen lawmakers would allow foreign domestic workers to work in South Korea for less than the minimum wage, in a bid to relieve families of the burden of household chores.

The moves have angered sections of South Korean society, drawing a range of criticisms from sanctioning modern-day slavery, to favouring men over women. The push for fresh ideas comes as the country continues to grapple with the world’s lowest birthrate, falling to another fresh record last year.

“The government’s proposals show a lack of consideration for women’s needs and perspectives,” said Kim Yun-jeong, a 31-year-old designer and art instructor from Gyeonggi province. “The gender wage gap in Korea is still significant, and women face many more challenges in balancing work and family life,” she said.

Women’s rights activists slammed the conscription exemption idea as only benefiting men, claiming that the problem was not the low birthrate but discrimination. “What we need is not exemption from military service, but a society where women’s careers are not interrupted even after giving birth … and it is natural for men to share childcare and housework,” they wrote in a joint statement.

Jeremy Corbyn Leaves Labour Party, Will Run As Independent!

Black Californians may be owed $800bn in reparations, economists tell state

The leader of California’s first-in-the-nation reparations taskforce on Wednesday said it would not take a stance on how much the state should compensate Black residents whom economists estimate may be owed more than $800bn for decades of over-policing, disproportionate incarceration and housing discrimination.

The $800bn is more than 2.5 times California’s $300bn annual budget and does not include a recommended $1m per older Black resident for health disparities that have shortened their average lifespan. Nor does the figure count compensating people for property unjustly taken by the government or devaluing Black businesses, two other harms the taskforce says the state perpetuated.

“All forms of discrimination should be considered in reparations,” Thomas Craemer, a public policy professor at the University of Connecticut, told the panel on Wednesday. “The taskforce should feel free to go beyond our loss estimates, and determine what the right amount would be.”

Black residents may not receive cash payments anytime soon, if ever, because the state legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom will ultimately decide whether any reparations are to be paid. The taskforce faces a 1 July deadline to recommend the forms of compensation to be awarded and who should receive it, along with other remedies.

But the panel’s chair, Kamilah Moore, said on Wednesday it was up to the state legislature to ascribe a restitution amount based on the methodology economists recommended, and which the taskforce approved on Wednesday. “The taskforce is pretty much done regarding the compensation component. Our task was to create a methodology for calculation for various forms of compensation that correspond with our findings,” she said in an e-mail.

the horse race

Trump Grand Jury DISBANDS For 1 Month>

the evening greens

"Nothing will fundamentally change..."

US puts Italy-sized chunk of Gulf of Mexico up for auction for oil drilling

An enormous swathe of the Gulf of Mexico, spanning an area the size of Italy, was put up for auction on Wednesday for oil and gas drilling, in the latest blow to Joe Biden’s increasingly frayed reputation on dealing with the climate crisis.

The president’s Department of the Interior offered up a vast area of the central and western Gulf, including plunging deep water reaches, for drilling projects that will stretch out over decades, despite scientists’ urgent warnings that fossil fuels must be rapidly phased out if the world is to avoid disastrous global heating. The auctions also come despite Biden’s own pre-election promise to halt all drilling on federal lands and waters.

A total of 313 tracts of ocean, spanning 1.6m acres, received high bids during the auction, the administration announced on Wednesday afternoon. There were 32 fossil fuel companies involved in the auction, collectively bidding $309.7m for drilling rights. The amount offered by the federal government was much larger than this, however. The bids will be evaluated by the government in the coming months before leases are issued.

In all, 73.3m acres (30m hectares), an area roughly the size of Italy, was made available to drilling companies, less than a month before the 13th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. The sale, known as lease 259, had the potential to extract more than 1bn barrels of oil and 4.4tn cubic feet of gas over the next 50 years, according to the US federal government.

The auctions come just two weeks after Biden’s administration approved the controversial Willow project, a drilling endeavor in the remote tundra of Alaska’s arctic that will remove more than 600m barrels of oil over its lifetime, and the two actions have caused major alarm among those in favor of a livable climate, including Biden’s usual allies.

East Palestine Water PULLED From Supermarket Shelves

Melting Antarctic ice predicted to cause rapid slowdown of deep ocean current by 2050

Melting ice around Antarctica will cause a rapid slowdown of a major global deep ocean current by 2050 that could alter the world’s climate for centuries and accelerate sea level rise, according to scientists behind new research. The research suggests if greenhouse gas emissions continue at today’s levels, the current in the deepest parts of the ocean could slow down by 40% in only three decades.

This, the scientists said, could generate a cascade of impacts that could push up sea levels, alter weather patterns and starve marine life of a vital source of nutrients.

A team of Australian scientists looked at the deep ocean current below 4,000 metres that originates in the cold, fresh and dense waters that plunge down off Antarctica’s continental shelf and spread to ocean basins around the globe.

Prof Matt England, of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and a co-author of the research published in Nature, said the whole deep ocean current was heading for collapse on its current trajectory. “In the past, these circulations have taken more than 1,000 years or so to change, but this is happening over just a few decades. It’s way faster than we thought these circulations could slow down."

Also of Interest

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

The ICC’s Selective Prosecution

Why America Will Probably Lose The New Cold War

Russian Embassy Says US Wants to Play Down Involvement in Nord Stream Blasts

Aaron Mate spars with British diplomat over Syria cover-up

Iran may set deadline for nuclear talks, says FM Amir-Abdollahian

European Gas Prices Extend Gains As French Strikes Block LNG Imports

Biden Veto Expected After 4 Senate Dems, Sinema Help GOP Gut Water Protections

Ex-Starbucks Worker Jaysin Saxton Describes Being Fired After He Helped Organize Union

Jamie Dimon FORCED To Testify In Epstein Case

Blackstone STEALING Homes From Working Class Americans

Russia arrests US journalist on espionage allegations

A Little Night Music

Tiny Bradshaw - I'm Going To Have Myself A Ball

Tiny Bradshaw - Bradshaw Boogie

Tiny Bradshaw - I'm A Hi-Ballin' Daddy

Tiny Bradshaw - Breakin' Up The House

Tiny Bradshaw - Heavy Juice

Tiny Bradshaw - Well Oh Well

Tiny Bradshaw - Soft

Tiny Bradshaw - Boodie Green

Tiny Bradshaw - The Blues Came Pouring Down

Tiny Bradshaw - Gravy Train

14 users have voted.


Once again, the Chinese show their American counterparts how it's done.

Thanks joe for your efforts.

11 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

@QMS Even the UN spokeperson at one point gave a little smile
like he knew he was totally bullshitting him.

When the empire of lies is built on lies this eventually becomes
the result.

Thanks for the EB's Joe, hope you also enjoyed your concert

9 users have voted.

"It is an American disease. Redefining words to browbeat
opponents in the absence of evidence."

joe shikspack's picture


heh, that kirby guy does a great job of shilling for a lawless empire. the logic he employs is so potent. /s

yep, the dollar is going down. i can only imagine the thud after the republicans force a default.

7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i very much enjoyed that, too. it's sad how infrequently such moments of accountability happen.

have a great evening!

8 users have voted.

Expand for a better view.

10 users have voted.

A New York grand jury indicted Donald Trump for his alleged role in a scheme to pay hush money to a porn actress during the 2016 presidential campaign – thrusting the country onto uncharted and uncertain legal and political ground.

8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


That should get the news off of congress voting to give away what’s left of our rights to the WHO and its owners. Yeah I’m this cynical. Both Obama and HerHeinous committed campaign finance violations and yet they only had to pay a fine for theirs. And didn’t Stormy recently say that she never slept with Trump?

7 users have voted.

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.

joe shikspack's picture


well, now this should make for a great clown show.

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

How convenient was it that Obama rescinded the Smith-Mundt Act just before we got hit with never ending propaganda starting with Russia Russia Russia and now China China China and all the mis, dis, and fake information that needs more government oversight on free speech and daily catastrophes.

A State of Never-Ending Crisis: The Government Is Fomenting Mass Hysteria

“This country has been having a nationwide nervous breakdown since 9/11. A nation of people suddenly broke, the market economy goes to shit, and they’re threatened on every side by an unknown, sinister enemy. But I don't think fear is a very effective way of dealing with things—of responding to reality. Fear is just another word for ignorance.”
—Hunter S. Thompson

We have become guinea pigs in a ruthlessly calculated, carefully orchestrated, chillingly cold-blooded experiment in how to control a population and advance a political agenda without much opposition from the citizenry.

This is mind-control in its most sinister form.

Much like the fabricated universe in Peter Weir’s 1998 film The Truman Show, in which a man’s life is the basis for an elaborately staged television show aimed at selling products and procuring ratings, the political scene in the United States has devolved over the years into a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize, propagandize and control a population.

A populace that cannot think for themselves is a populace with its backs to the walls: mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all.

12 users have voted.

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.

joe shikspack's picture


i can't wait until we all have to report our thoughtcrimes.

6 users have voted.

he so far still appears on YouTube.

8 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@humphrey by a member of the European Parliament:

What's the best way out of the war in Ukraine?

Here's what this individual says:

Certainly, military, political and economic support for Ukraine will have to continue. However, it must be ensured that neither the EU states nor NATO become a war party.

That sets limits on arms deliveries.

The discussion below this paragraph suggests a policy of "detente," which concludes as follows:

Detente requires a systematic step-by-step, while possible setbacks will have to be coped with by efforts to de-escalate and solve the conflict even if there are no blueprints for steps to be taken. However, these steps should apply the lessons learned from détente rather than pursuing a policy of confrontation that may look simpler but would ultimately be devastating.

But this isn't reality, at least not as reported by Scott Ritter. If Scott Ritter and a number of other observers are to be believed, the war ends as follows:

1) The Russians conquer the whole of Ukraine before Zelensky destroys it first. Such a conquest may itself destroy Ukraine -- I doubt they care at this point.

2) The Pentagon tells the President to demand a doubled military budget, to be paid-for through fresh printings of money.

3) Inflation ensues, and there is a vast devaluation of US Treasury bills and the US Dollar as the major holders of these things dump them on the global market. The petrodollar is replaced by the petroyuan.

4) Joe Biden is forced to the peace table.

How about those results, nice liberals with big egos? Back in 2020 y'all thought you were saving America by telling the world that "the Left must save America by voting and campaigning for Joe Biden." Do your brains NOW recognize their own shortcomings?

7 users have voted.

"The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation." -- Terrence McKenna

snoopydawg's picture


"It’s a misdemeanor revised as a federal crime that has a 2 year statute of limitations. The justice department refused to prosecute Trump and its legally pathetic."

Of all things to indict a president for this has to be the most asinine thing ever and especially when Bush had people tortured under his watch and Obama said that we should just look fcking forward. Obama droned weddings and rescues and even a hospital…still rubbing noses with the rich.

I wonder what happened to the exculpatory evidence that Cohen or Trump’s lawyer gave to Bragg who didn’t give it to the grand jury? Stay tuned this could get interesting.

6 users have voted.

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.

joe shikspack's picture


this will be quite the clown show. it should be laughed out of court. there are plenty of real crimes that trump could be credibly indicted for. this is a joke.

8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


The outrage by the WH mouthpiece is quite hypocritical after we have targeted Assange for decades and are persecuting him for his reporting on American war crimes.

8 users have voted.

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.

joe shikspack's picture


and as the recent government harassment of matt taibbi indicates, the u.s. is ramping up its attacks on critical voices.

7 users have voted.
The Liberal Moonbat's picture

I don't know how many of you were reading comic-books in the late '70s/early '80s, but if you did, you may remember the infamously-goofy ads DC and Marvel did for HOSTESS (or you may be like me and simply have heard through osmosis and secondhand references). Turns out, someone made a website to compile and enshrine the lot of them:

What a country!

3 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!

joe shikspack's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

the only comic book that i was reading back then was howard the duck, which i don't remember as having hostess ads. howard would probably have been a bad fit for hostess. Smile

have a great evening!

3 users have voted.
Pricknick's picture

"I think I'll go out and kick a bear in the nuts while taking bamboo away from a panda?"

I didn't think so.

Tanks joe.

6 users have voted.

Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

joe shikspack's picture


i don't think so either. it would certainly be memorable if i'd heard it. Smile

have a great evening!

3 users have voted.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i would guess that he'll be remembered as the nocturnal stumblebutt that went to the fridge at the white house for some late night ice cream, pissed in a closet thinking it was a powder room and then accidentally destroyed the capability of the united states to continue as the world's hegemon.

11 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


if nothing else it allows me to remain amused at times while we're here in the handbasket. Smile

8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

That certainly sums up Biden. And thanks so much for the stomach cramping chuckles! Smile Smile Smile
You win the internet today!

6 users have voted.

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.

7 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

... a temporary contraction in economic growth:

Foreign maids and no military service: South Korea criticised over ideas to boost birthrate

Conversely, stabilized or lower population growth could cause an economic boost and economic opportunities and advantages for those already alive — particularly in developed nations — and as automation and artificial intelligence are integrated into commerce.

The early adopters of non-population-growth nations would be giving a great gift to the world and to future generations. They would be pushing back against extinction events and loss of biodiversity caused by the effects of rapid climate change. Nations that established managed populations will become the path-finders for the rest of the world. Their example can rescue our species from certain extinction, currently timelined to occur sometime in 2400 AD.

I think that all population-growth nations should pledge to pay a modest tax on their GDP into a fund that helps nations that maintain stable-populations, if or when the transition results in economic setbacks along the way. If the human species on this planet were really destined to survive, there would be global consensus about this idea.

The only people I see who become frantic about low population growth in places ike China are white Anglo-Saxon cavemen and slogan-spouting know-nothings, who cannot adjust their calculations about the costs of "early retirement" or "livable wages" verses how many full-time workers it takes to support such "indulgences." These are capitalist dead-enders, who are ideologically blind to the zero cost of mass-usage automation and artificial intelligence. Our culture must recognize that we can already afford to live with human dignity (and Human Rights like affordable housing and adequate nutrition) if we have the will to do so. In fact, this may be the Key to the survival of humankind.

4 users have voted.


The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
lotlizard's picture

It's so great that Samantha Power (@PowerUSAID) wrote passionately about the genocide in Cambodia in her prize winning book "A Problem From Hell" and then went on to accept an award FROM THE GUY WHO DID IT

7 users have voted.

...consistently eliminate the people who have ideas on how to address to inability of young South Koreans to form households and then if they are able to achieve that, to have the time and money to raise children. Na Kyung-won, a conservative and former PPP party floor leader in the Assembly, probably imagined herself as a political ally of Yoon Suk-yeol, as her husband in his judicial capacity stonewalled a lawsuit brought against Yoon, his wife and mother in law, by someone the latter two defrauded in a business deal. Na was appointed to a government commission to address the declining birth rate issue and make policy recommendations. When she came up with a plan, which offered financially generous support for families which produced children and raised them, Na was fired from the position by Yoon's office. Then there was speculation that she would run for PPP party leader. Evidently she must have been threatened (with prosecution), because she dropped her bid to lead the party.

I am by no means a fan of Na Kyung-won, in fact, I dislike her. In my opinion, people like the democratic presidential candidate that ran against Yoon, Lee Jae-myung, would more effectively achieve legislation to encourage young South Koreans to obtain suitable housing, form families, and have children. But one thing that Na, and Lee have in common, is that by proposing such plans, they become the targets of Yoon's vengeance.

Yoon is a psychopath. He has contempt for ordinary people about whom he said "have no concept of what freedom is." Further he proposed not only a 69 hour work week, which reveals the corporate exploitation mindset he and the people who support him favor, but when the issue of burdensome work hours was first addressed to him by media, he mocked any reform by stating that people should be able to work 120 hours a week. For the Guardian to look to Yoon for some kind of resolution to this social problem is ridiculous. They barely addressed his incompetent and demeaning perspective on the problem. Nor did they note that Yoon's disapproval rating in South Korea is now 73 percent. Only 19 percent of the electorate has a positive image of him. There is a reason for that. He's done nothing about their plunging economy and stressful economic conditions. They have an abnormally high suicide rate, and have been shown to have the unhappiest population among the advanced countries.

I saw this editorial in the Hankyoreh after I watched a couple of South Korean commentaries on the shake up in the foreign policy/national security presidential office staff in March.

[Editorial] Shocking resignation of Yoon administration’s foreign policy chief
Posted on : Mar.30,2023

...Before Kim’s replacement, Kim Il-bum stepped down as protocol secretary ahead of a South Korea-Japan summit and Lee Moon-hee was replaced as foreign affairs secretary. South Korean diplomacy is currently at a crucial crossroads: in addition to that summit with Japan, there are also Yoon’s upcoming visit to the US on April 26 and a planned G7 summit and trilateral summit with the US and Japan on May 11–13.

At a time when every ounce of energy is needed to fine-tune Seoul’s strategy, we have instead witnessed an unprecedented exodus of related officials. As the rumor mill continues to churn, no clear explanations are being given for these resignations either.

One of the factors behind Kim Sung-han’s resignation being mentioned is the friction that erupted during the coordination of Yoon’s US visit schedule. Apparently, Yoon raked him over the coals for omissions in reporting on the scheduling of a joint performance by the group Blackpink and the singer Lady Gaga.

This is surely not the only factor. The foreign affairs and national security team has been plagued with difficulties, including rampant speculation of discord between Kim Sung-han and Kim Tae-hyo — who was first deputy director of the NSO to Kim Sung-han’s director — and feuding between the presidential office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Lady Gaga/Black Pink conundrum is the giveaway on the March purge occurring on the presidential staff. This undoubtedly reflects the untoward influence of the First Lady on South Korean policy. Who is running the country anyway?

There were a total of 5 foreign policy/national security staff forced out in the purge which began March 3. When the chief of protocol resigned on March 10, he was replaced by a colleague of Kim Gon-hee who attended the same masters program she did. (Allegedly one of the advanced degrees KIm received by plagiarizing much of the required thesis). So this is another tell of who is actually running the presidential office.

Another clue is that a principal figure in the purge, is the First Deputy National Security Advisor who forced Kim Sung-han out, namely, Kim Tae-hyo. Kim Tae-hyo, it is reported resides in the Acrovista luxury apartment complex. The one Kim Gon-hye cohabited with Yoon and another prosecutor before before she married Yoon. It was apparent, the First Lady was loathe to move into the Blue House soon after Yoon was elected. By refusing to move there, they were able to stay at the Acrovista for several more months at least after Yoon took office. In fact, I no longer hear any reports on the status of the official residence in Hannan dong being renovated for them (the former Foreign Minister's official residence). Nor do I hear of daily security escorts to Acrovista.

The point here is that Kim Tae-hyo's influence over Yoon's foreign policy and staffing comes from his proximity to Kim Gon-hye. The appointment of her friend as protocol office chief says it all. It is also significant that Kim Tae-hyo has a history of pro-Japanese views, and is considered the architect of the Yoon Japan summit policy, in which all was surrendered to Japan in return for nothing (a rice omelette). KIm Tae-hyo has advanced degrees from Cornell, and University of Chicago which makes him a useful US conduit like Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan.

The South Korean semiconductor and high tech battery industries are placed between a rock and a hard place by US demands as reflected in the Inflation Reduction Act and Chips initiatives aimed at cutting China off from high tech trade. Yoon will probably get nothing from the US during the summit for commitments he already made to Biden during previous meetings. Yoon's disgraceful diplomatic activity in Japan, could hardly be characterized as "negotiations." This foreshadows what is likely to happen when Yoon and party go to the US for their state visit.

So one of the commentaries I watched 시사건건 (current events discussion) laid out the corrupted chain of command through the South Korean Presidential Office. The first Lady Kim Gon-hee gets advised by the illiterate cult leader, Cheon Gong. Then she meets Kim Tae-hyo in or near one of the Acrovista venues, maybe one of Yoon's drinking holes. Or perhaps after talking to him on the phone, she sends him over to Yoon's drinking haunts to discuss policy. No matter what is happening, Yoon is said to leave the office every day at six, allegedly to hit the lounges he frequents to drink. These are near the Acrovista.

There are hints of another informal avenue which is used to feed American recommendations and political tactics to Yoon. Allegedly it leads from a top South Korean law firm serving US corporate interests which has indirect ties to current Minister of Justice Han Dong-hun. After Han gets his tips, he and Kim Gon-hee discuss them on the phone. This is just what I would surmise from a detailed investigative report I once watched. I can't provide details, these things are alleged. My opinion on this is more in the nature of an "assessment."

Han's phone transcripts were never obtained in a political corruption case involving reporter Lee Dong-jae from Donga Ilbo. Han's Iphone was seized but never decrypted. Kim Gon-hee admitted in the 7 hours plus of phone recordings that she spoke to Han regularly. In an unrelated phone recording in another criminal case involving election law violations, Lee was recorded as seeking approval from "baldy." This apparently a nickname for Han who allegedly wears a toupee.

The investigation of Lee Dong-jae, did not proceed to prosecution. The complaint was based upon the theory that Han and Lee colluded to have Lee unlawfully induce a witness, Lee Chol, in prison for financial crimes, to perjure himself to incriminate a political figure Yoo Shi-min. According to statements by Lee Chol, and an informant, Lee Dong-jae, on behalf of prosecutors, offered sentencing mitigation and alternatively, threats of criminal prosecution of his family. Lee Chol was asked to make a written statement that former democratic minister and influential political pundit, Yoo Shi-min (a vocal critic of Yoon), had received large unlawful bribes, from an investment company Sillagen-VIK.

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