The Evening Blues - 3-9-18


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Anson Funderburgh

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Texas guitarist Anson Funderburgh. Enjoy!

Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue - Sidetracked

"Silence never won rights. They are not handed down from above; they are forced by pressures from below."

-- Roger Baldwin

News and Opinion

Lessons of the West Virginia teachers strike

The nine-day strike by more than 33,000 West Virginia teachers and other public school employees ended on Wednesday morning. Teachers returned to work in districts throughout the state, amidst growing anger over the terms of the union-backed agreement rushed through the state legislature and signed by Governor Jim Justice on Tuesday. ...

Contrary to the proclamations of the unions, however, the deal reached to end the strike is not a victory for teachers. It does nothing to address teachers’ central demand—an end to escalating health care costs through the Public Employee Insurance Agency (PEIA) that effectively wipe out any pay raises. Moreover, the one-time five percent raise for public workers will be funded by deep cuts to social programs.

The attitude of the giant corporations that control the state to the settlement of the strike was articulated by an editorial in the right-wing Charleston Daily Mail, which last week attacked teachers for refusing to follow the orders of the unions and return to work. “Three cheers for Republicans in the Senate of West Virginia,” the newspaper enthused, for not “caving to the demands of an unruly crowd by passing higher taxes.”

Instead of taxing the wealthy and the energy corporations that dominate the state and control both the Democrats and Republicans, any additional funding for meager pay increases will come from the cancelation of a free community college tuition program, a $10 million reduction in the Medicaid health care program for low-income residents, the elimination of new funding for free health care clinics, and other cuts. The Daily Mail gleefully added that perhaps the “biggest opportunity for savings is the state and county education bureaucracy”—that is, the elimination of public employee jobs.

The framework of the agreement is a provocation. Teachers did not strike to see health care and essential services for other workers ripped away. They did not fight to have meager pay increases financed by the further impoverishment of their students.

Meanwhile, in a somewhat more decent country...

500 Canadian Doctors Protest Pay Raises Because They Already Make Too Much Money

Hundreds of Canadian doctors, medical specialists and residents, as well as medical students, have signed a petition protesting their own pay raises, instead asking that the money be reallocated to help nurses and patients in need.

“We, Quebec doctors who believe in a strong public system, oppose the recent salary increases negotiated by our medical federations,” reads the letter, originally posted in French, the official language in the Canadian province.

More than 700 people have added their names to the petition since it was published on February 25. As of Tuesday, at least 213 general practitioners, 184 specialists, 149 resident medical doctors and 162 medical students had signed the petition, according to CNBC.

The doctors took umbrage with the pay bumps while nurses and clerks were over overburdened and patients faced declining services because of budget cuts to the public health care system.

Trump says he'll meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un by May

After months of trading insults and threats of nuclear annihilation, President Donald Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by the end of May to negotiate an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, South Korean and U.S. officials said Thursday. No sitting American president has ever met with a North Korea leader.

The meeting would be unprecedented during seven decades of animosity between the U.S. and North Korea. The countries remain in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.

"Great progress being made," Trump tweeted after the South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, announced the plans to reporters in a hastily called appearance on a White House driveway. ...

Trump clearly relished the news of the planned summit. He had made a surprise visit to the White House press briefing room on Thursday afternoon to alert reporters of a "major statement" on North Korea by South Korea. When asked by an ABC reporter if it was about talks with North Korea, he replied: "It's almost beyond that. Hopefully, you will give me credit."

A Step Toward Peace? South Korea Announces Trump Will Meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un

Trump-Kim talks: US signals hardline stance as it scrambles to define position

Donald Trump will take a hardline position at his planned summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the White House said on Friday, as US officials scrambled to keep pace with the president after his sudden acceptance of Kim’s offer to talk.

In briefings after the surprise announcement – which would be the first ever meeting of leaders of the two countries – US officials made no mention of possible concessions that Trump might offer, other than saying that severe sanctions would stay in place until North Korea took verifiable steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme.

The vice-president, Mike Pence, said that Kim’s invitation to suspend nuclear tests and meet the US president proved that Trump’s strategy was working. The North Koreans “are coming to the table despite the United States making zero concessions and, in close coordination with our allies, we have consistently increased the pressure on the Kim regime”, Pence said in a statement. “Our resolve is undeterred and our policy remains the same: all sanctions remain in place and the maximum pressure campaign will continue until North Korea takes concrete, permanent, and verifiable steps to end their nuclear program.”

It remained unclear what Kim might want in return for meeting Trump. Pyongyang had not commented officially on the summit plans since they were revealed by a South Korean delegation on Thursday night. A previous deal, the 1994 Agreed Framework, involved deliveries of fuel oil and the promise to build civilian nuclear reactors for North Korea. But Kim has consistently demanded an end to what Pyongyang calls Washington’s “hostile policies” which involve its military presence on and around the Korean peninsula and joint exercises with its ally, South Korea.

Donald Trump accepts to meet Kim Jong-Un: Why did North Korea's leader extend this invitation?

A lot of people think Trump meeting Kim Jong Un is a really bad idea

The stunning announcement that Donald Trump will personally meet with Kim Jong Un to discuss North Korea denuclearization divided opinion Friday, delighting world leaders and vexing diplomats and experts.

Thursday’s bombshell news caught everyone by surprise, especially as it follows the yearlong taunting session between “Little Rocket Man” and the White House “dotard.”

The decision was made by Trump alone, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, currently in Africa. White House staff were also reportedly in the dark until the news was announced publicly. ...

Robert Kelly, an expert in inter-Korean affairs, has said he hasn't seen much in the way of praise among his peers for the announcement, suggesting Trump has overreached in an attempt to claim a "win."

Experts urge senators to back bill ending US involvement in Yemen war

A group of experts, advocates, former officials and others are urging senators to support a bipartisan effort to end U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war.

“We strongly encourage you and your Senate colleagues to cosponsor and vote for S.J.Res 54, which defends the constitutional linchpin of Congress’s sole authority to declare war and promises to help end what aid groups consider the worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” the 37-person group wrote in a letter sent to every senator Thursday and obtained by The Hill.

Signatories include former U.S. ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche; Bruce Ackerman, a Yale Law School professor who has previously challenged the legal authorization of recent U.S. wars; Nobel peace laureates Jody Williams and Tawakkol Karman; retired Lt. Col. Daniel Davis; retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell; Bruce Fein, associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration; and former Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.).

The legislation at issue is a joint resolution from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) that would remove U.S. forces from hostilities in Yemen between a Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Houthi rebels who receive weapons from Iran.

Turkey, Iraq to carry out joint operation against Kurdish militants in Iraq

Turkey and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad will carry out a joint operation against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Cavusoglu’s comments came as Turkey pushed ahead with a cross-border military operation against the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria’s Afrin region.

Speaking to reporters on his flight from Germany to Austria, Cavusoglu said the Afrin operation, launched on Jan. 20, will be completed by May, according to broadcaster CNN Turk.

Cavusoglu was quoted as saying the joint cross-border operation with Iraq may start after Iraq holds parliamentary elections scheduled for May 2018, signaling Turkish troops may move to northern Iraq following the ongoing offensive.

How Media Shamelessly Pushes Endless Military Spending

Under Trump, U.S. Launched 8 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Libya. It Disclosed 4.

The United States military has carried out twice as many airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Libya since President Trump took office as it has publicly acknowledged, raising questions about whether the Pentagon has sought to obscure operations in the strife-torn North African nation. ...

On its website and in news releases, the Africa Command has acknowledged only four airstrikes in Libya in the last 14 months against the Islamic State, also called ISIS, ISIL or Daesh. All of the attacks have been carried out since September. But on Thursday, a spokesman for the command, Maj. Karl J. Wiest, said four other previously undisclosed airstrikes had been carried out against Islamic State militants, most recently in January.

Commanders decided to reveal those strikes only if a reporter specifically asked about them, a practice the Pentagon calls “responses to questions,” Major Wiest said via telephone and email from the Africa Command’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. He said journalists, usually tipped off by local reporting in Libya, have called about some but not all of the four strikes.

Major Wiest said the additional four strikes were not disclosed when they happened to protect American-backed forces or diplomatic issues. “We’re not trying to hide anything,” he said. “Our goal is always to be as transparent as possible while taking into account operational security, force protection and diplomatic sensitivities.”

He could not explain why the command did not announce the strikes some days later, after the sensitivities were presumably resolved or otherwise went away. Of the previously undisclosed airstrikes, one was launched in September, two in October and one in January.

Le Pen strives to unite Front National as members revolt

The Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, will attempt to pull her divided far-right party together when it meets this weekend for its first conference since she lost to Emmanuel Macron in the final round of the French presidential election. Beset by political and personal rifts, and with her popularity in the post-election doldrums, Le Pen is facing opposition to her plan to rename the party in an attempt to improve its electoral chances. The move is seen by the traditional wing of the FN, founded by Le Pen’s father in the 1970s, as a betrayal of the party’s heritage. The new name will be voted on after it is unveiled on Sunday.

Ten months ago, the party was on a high after Le Pen saw off the Socialist candidate to take the FN into the second round of the presidential election with unprecedented support, though not enough to defeat Macron. However, this weekend’s conference to transform and “refound” the party is threatening to fall short of its goals of unity and optimism. Bruno Cautrès of the Centre for Political Research at Sciences Po, said the party was undergoing a “crisis of Marine Le Pen’s leadership”. ...

A recent opinion poll by Kantar Sofres confirmed the diagnosis, with 55% of respondents saying they did not wish Le Pen to be the FN candidate at the next presidential election, and fewer than one in five believing she inspired confidence.

Since taking over the party in 2011 with her father’s blessing, Le Pen has embarked on a process of “de-demonising” the FN, which has involved shrugging off its xenophobic, antisemitic, bully-boy image. n the presidential election, it appeared this strategy had paid off, as Le Pen gained more than 10 million votes (33.9%) in the final round, despite her bizarre and catastrophic performance in a debate with Macron, which cost her support. However, a questionnaire sent to party members found immigration remains the biggest preoccupation of FN supporters. The responses to the pre-conference survey, to be revealed on Saturday, are likely to echo warnings from Florian Philippot, Le Pen’s closest aide and strategist until he quit the FN last year, that it risked an “absolutely terrifying” return to its dark past, which he claimed was alienating voters.

How Amazon Is Screwing America

Amazon Partnership with British Police Alarms Privacy Advocates

Police in Lancashire, a county in northwest England, have rolled out a program to broadcast crime updates, photos of wanted and missing people, and safety notifications to Amazon Echo owners. ... The program marks the latest example of third parties aiding, automating, and in some cases, replacing, the functions of law enforcement agencies — and raises privacy questions about Amazon’s role as an intermediary. Lancashire County will store citizens’ crime reports on Amazon’s servers, rather than those operated by the police. ...

But broadcasting is just the beginning of the county’s plans. The next iteration of the pilot program, expected to launch by year’s end, will allow users to report crimes directly to their smart speakers. After that, Rob Flanagan, Lancashire Constabulary innovations manager, imagines that Alexa might be used not just by civilians, but internally by officers for briefings and important information. “The cop [would] be able to say ‘Give me the warrant details for Joe Blocks,’ and then it would read back that person’s warrant and details and send the information to the offices mobile device that they have on their person,” Flanagan told Gizmodo.

To David Murakami Wood, a scholar of surveillance, the program serves as a startling reminder of the growing reach that technology companies have into our daily lives, intimate habits, and vulnerable moments — with and without our permission. Alexa is hardly the first of our personal devices to be transformed into a police hotline. And given the sensitive nature of crime reporting, civil liberties experts wonder whether storing reports with a third party like Amazon might pose an obstacle to citizens hoping to report crimes anonymously.

Another major concern is cybersecurity. We don’t really know who has access to our communications with Alexa or a similar service, explained Sam Lester, an expert on consumer rights with the Electronic Privacy Information Center or EPIC, but we know that authorities have long sought evidence from our mobile phones, laptops, social media, and video games.

White cop to face charges for beating suspected jaywalker: “You’re going to get fucked up hardcore”

A white North Carolina cop who beat, choked, and used a Taser on a black man he suspected of jaywalking has resigned and will face assault charges.

Officer Christopher Hickman, 31, of Asheville, North Carolina, was removed from patrol the day after the incident occurred last August. On Thursday, Hickman officially resigned, and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest on counts of assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury, and communicating threats.

Betsy DeVos Just Tried to Take Away the Ability of States to Crack Down on Abusive Student Debt Collectors

The Department of Education issued a new declaration into the federal register Friday morning that would curtail the ability of states to regulate student loan debt collectors.

For months, it had been rumored that the Trump administration was considering imposing the mandate, which is not an official rule, that would shield student loan servicers like Navient and Nelnet from state regulation. It would instead place the responsibility for regulating these companies on the federal government — which is what these companies have argued for in court.

The Education Department calls the language it issued an “interpretation,” which leaves it wide open to legal challenges from state prosecutors eager to take on student-lending firms.

The move comes at a time when attorneys general in several states are pursuing servicers for what they claim are abuses against student borrowers.

the horse race

The CIA Democrats

An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored “star” recruit.

A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, “homeland defense” and cyber warfare. ...

The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call “spy vs. spy.”


Trump’s porn star scandal now has its own email drama

Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, said in February that neither Trump the presidential candidate nor Trump the businessman had anything to do with the $130,000 that Cohen paid to Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, a few weeks before the 2016 election.

But an email obtained by NBC News shows that Cohen used his Trump Organization email to transfer the funds to a Manhattan bank that would later be used to guarantee the silence of the ex-porn star, who had an affair with Trump around the time his son Barron was born, in 2006, and into 2007. Cohen has claimed that he used his own money (not Trump’s) to pay Clifford.

"I think this document seriously calls into question the prior representation of Mr. Cohen and the White House relating to the source of the monies paid to Ms. Clifford in an effort to silence her," Michael Avenatti, an attorney representing Clifford, told NBC News. "We smell smoke."

the evening greens

Trump official under fire after granting broad access to mining and oil firms

A key Trump administration official scheduled roughly twice as many meetings with mining and fossil-fuel representatives as with environmental groups, public records requests have revealed. Further investigation shows that some of the firms she met later benefited directly from administration decisions that weakened wilderness and wildlife protections.

As is the case with other prominent interior department officials appointed by the department secretary, Ryan Zinke, the official work calendar of his senior adviser Kathleen Benedetto indicates the remarkable access that the extractive industries have to the Trump administration.

“It makes it look like [Benedetto] is the fixer for mining companies,” said Aaron Weiss, a staffer at Center for Western Priorities, an environmental group. The interior department did not respond to multiple requests for comment. ... Benedetto, who helps oversee the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is a longtime supporter of the mining industry. Before joining the administration, she worked as a mining adviser and geologist and was the co-founder of the Women’s Mining Coalition, a grassroots group that advocates on Capitol Hill. She was also a longtime staffer on the House natural resources committee.

Benedetto made her sympathies clear during a Denver meeting she attended with BLM staff in July. “A large amount of federal estate is being managed for conservation purposes,” which limits other uses, she said, according to notes from the meeting compiled by the BLM Wyoming state director, Mary Jo Rugwell, and obtained by the Western Values Project. “She stressed that it takes minerals (as a raw material) to drive progress.”

Benedetto’s work calendar reveals that she makes herself readily available to mining companies and lobbyists. Between March and November in 2017, she had approximately 45 meetings or calls with mining groups and more than 30 each with oil and gas groups and with environmental groups. Her calendar also shows her attending a “mining association awards luncheon” at a Washington DC hotel late last year. Many of these meetings were followed by official decisions that benefited the private companies or trade groups in question.

Ahead of Major Protest to Stop Kinder Morgan Pipeline, Company Files Injunction Against Water Protectors

Ahead of a massive anti-pipeline demonstration planned for British Columbia on Saturday, the energy company Kinder Morgan has filed an injunction against more than a dozen Canadians who have protested the company's expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

While Earle Peach, one of the individuals named in the injunction, told the National Observer that more than 15 people are specifically listed in the lawsuit, it also lists "John Doe" and "Jane Doe," which the environmental group Stand warned "would imply that any member of the public now risks arrest by coming within 50 meters of Kinder Morgan facilities."

Stand campaign director Karen Mahon explained, "Kinder Morgan's action is an obvious SLAPP lawsuit designed to intimidate everyday citizens and stop people from speaking out against its dirty pipeline expansion," referring to "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation" suits that are often filed by corporations against environmental protesters in an effort to undermine free speech.

"This lawsuit tries to prevent someone from so much as standing on the side of the road and holding a sign," Mahon added. Houston-based Kinder Morgan reportedly seeks "an injunction, including an interim injunction" to prevent protesters from "obstructing roads that Trans Mountain requires" to access construction sites, as well as damages. ...

On Saturday, opponents of the expansion are slated to launch the Indigenous-led "Protect the Inlet" or Kwekwecnewtxw initiative with a mass mobilization in Burnaby, B.C. that's being coordinated by Coast Salish spiritual leaders.

Will George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, a spokesman for the Protect the Inlet initiative, told The Seattle Times, "It is going to be like Standing Rock," when thousands of "water protecters" protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota two years ago. So far, more than 7,400 people have pledged to show up on Saturday.

"The similarity is we are standing up to protect our water. And we are going to do this in a peaceful way," George noted. "It is going to mark a day in history; it will be a massive mobilization."

"We intend to stop this unwanted and destructive project like we stopped the Northern Gateway Pipeline and Energy East from ever seeing the light of day," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said earlier this week. "I am looking forward to marching with thousands of people on March 10th to send a strong message that we love the land and love the water, and will not let Kinder Morgan trample on our rights and the environment."

How an Alabama Town Is Fighting Against Cancerous & Toxic Coal Ash Dumping—No Thanks to Trump’s EPA

Also of Interest

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

The Illusion of War Without Casualties

Israeli Army’s Lies Can No Longer Salvage Its Image

Google and Facebook don't qualify for first amendment protections

'The Issue of Our Time': Sanders, Warren, and Moore Will Explore Oligarchy's Destruction of Middle Class in Town Hall

George Nader, Cooperating Witness in Mueller Probe, Was Arrested for Child Pornography in the 1980s

A Little Night Music

Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets - Make a Little Love Tonight

Anson Funderburgh & Rockets The Featuring Sam Myers - Change In My Pocket

Anson Funderburgh & Sam Myers - Blue Shadows

Little Charlie Baty & Anson Funderburgh - Hideaway

Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue - Walkin' With Mr Lee

Anson Funderburgh & Sam Myers - Changing Neighborhoods

Sam Myers w/Anson Funderburgh - Monkey Around

Anson Funderburgh and Big Joe Maher - You Can't Keep A Big Man Down

Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets - Let the Good Times Roll

Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets - Texas Flood

Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets - She Knocks Me Out

18 users have voted.


A new class of superconducting material has made fusion possible and viable. No more wars for oil, no more Koch Brothers, no more climate change. Unlimited, low-cost, carbon free, energy forever. We can all go home now. OK we still got a shitload of problems, but a lot of them come from oil.

9 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

joe shikspack's picture


heh, well, perhaps in 15 years. if we don't blow ourselves up first. Smile

have a great weekend!

5 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

High School in the early sixties.

7 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 --

OLinda's picture

Robert Kelly, an expert in inter-Korean affairs, has said he hasn't seen much in the way of praise among his peers for the announcement, suggesting Trump has overreached in an attempt to claim a "win."

Another comment from Robert Kelly:

"This is a prestige bid by Kim JU - him meeting POTUS as equals - and Trump can’t see it."

Does everyone recall? This is the Korea analyst who co-starred as his kids and wife starred in his BBC interview:

7 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


heh, there's been a lot of opinion slinging going on about trump meeting with kju.

if they do actually meet, it should be interesting. i suspect that kim is a lot smarter than trump.

6 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@joe shikspack Who do we have to bribe to escape the rule of these psychotics? Hell, I'd give Kim or Putin the $27.00 if they could erase the idiots hogging 'our' bandwidth at this point.

3 users have voted.

ilk. Never trusted them.

Have a great weekend.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i think yours is a good policy. Smile

have a great weekend!

4 users have voted.
NCTim's picture

5 users have voted.

Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you're an asshole.

joe shikspack's picture



6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
I would like to come through.

"Melania Trump, show some guts, divorce Trump, be a better first lady then HER."

Jeez. I try to 'see' the media coverage of such an event. First Lady divorces the President of the United States! How many dead corpses would you think will that movie have? Just a simple question.


2 users have voted.

“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.” -- Mark Twain

QMS's picture

Because Putin put the chicken-hawks back in the coup. Yeah, like another trillion is going to fix the MIC failures. Hah. When will they ever learn?

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


when will they learn? either after they go broke or we all glow.

heh, a trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you're talking real money. Smile

5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

because it doesn't have congressional approval. Just because they are using the AUMF which has nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorists. They aren't doing this because of the cost to the citizens. That would be a better reason to stop helping the Saudis commit genocide.

S.J.Res 54 directs the removal of U.S. forces from such unauthorized hostilities within 30 days unless and until a declaration of war or a specific statutory authorization is enacted,” they wrote. “As such, the resolution is purely procedural and constitutional in scope: it does not prevent the president or members of Congress from pursuing and obtaining either of the two legal requirements needed to engage U.S. forces in hostilities alongside Saudi Arabia and against the Houthis.”

There is no reason for one person to have as much money as Bezos does. Or Gates and all the other billionaires because of the cost to humanity. Sociopaths, indeed.

8 users have voted.

Sessions would have taken Jesus away from his homeless refugee parents

joe shikspack's picture


well, you know, we couldn't just stop killing brown people for no reason! there are congressional prerogatives to be considered here.

There is no reason for one person to have as much money as Bezos does.

well, you know, a fella needs some walking around money.

3 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

And I'll bet he isn't completely wrong.

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

an argument that homer is more right than wrong, imo, could easily be constructed with great hopes to prevail amongst serious interlocutors.

2 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

Protecting Pipelinistan

While the bulk of the Western pundit class are busy bravely obsessing over the innumerable evils of Putin, it turns out that the upper echelons of the US military are asking some uncomfortable questions about how we got to where we are.

A study by the US Army’s Command and General Staff College Press of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth reveals that US strategy toward Russia has been heavily motivated by the goal of dominating Central Asian oil and gas resources, and associated pipeline routes.

The remarkable document, prepared by the US Army’s Culture, Regional Expertise and Language Management Office (CRELMO), concedes that expansionist NATO policies played a key role in provoking Russian militarism. It also contemplates how current US and Russian antagonisms could spark a global nuclear conflict between the two superpowers.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, i'm sure that in the bowels of every huge state bureaucracy, there is an agency like crelmo (great name! i am completely amused by a military office for the management of language) leaving crumbs for future historians. certainly their work is not to be considered in the present by those actually manufacturing history.

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

in case it's needed... /s

5 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

by Pepe Escobar. Where the hell do these people live?

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 --

"One quarter of all the Democratic challengers in competitive House districts have military-intelligence, State Department or NSC backgrounds. This is by far the largest subcategory of Democratic candidates. National security operatives (57) outnumber state and local government officials (45), lawyers (35), corporate executives, businessmen and wealthy individuals (30) and other professionals (19) among the candidates for Democratic congressional nominations."

This right here is why I will never trust these assholes again, no matter what they pretend to offer. This is their alternative? MIC and billionaires? CIA and plutocrats? Fuck off. I'm done with you. Go chase after your suburban Republicans, it's not as though you are of any use to anyone else.

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


lately i've been quite impressed with how the powers-that-be are no longer even trying to hide what used to be verboten to speak of.

6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@joe shikspack

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

― Frank Zappa

8 users have voted.
zoebear's picture

@joe shikspack

stealing it...

2 users have voted.

"World is a multi-dimensional reality. At lower levels, it is full with unconsciousness and competitiveness. At higher level, it is full of beauty, bliss and divinity. Focus on higher dimensions"
~Amit Ray

Lily O Lady's picture

and are currently running their countries into the ground should have a lot in common.

7 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

zoebear's picture

it's difficult to choose which news report "wins".

The media pushing military spending seems to dovetail quite conveniently with the CIA and ex-military personnel vying for congressional seats in unprecedented numbers, doesn't it? And certainly rates on the scale of reprehensible.

But then so does Jimmy Dore's piece about Jeff Bezos and his $112 billion net worth which I learned is enough money to abolish homelessness and hunger in this country and still leave Bezos with more money than Bill Gates. Imagine that? Kinda came to me as a bit of a surprise. But not as much as learning that he'll actually get a refund from the federal government come tax time because he offers his poorly paid serfs stock options.

Hey, Jeff, how about in addition to those tax deductible stock options you give in lieu of a living wage, you also cough up some money for some air conditioning so your workers don't keel over from heat exhaustion?

Yeah that story was definitely reprehensible.

But the "winner" for me in the reprehensible contest was CounterPunch's story about the Israeli military and how recklessly and indiscriminately they are at killing children and then lying about it afterwards. This was especially disturbing for me coming on the heels of watching the Al Jazeera documentary that a fellow poster included in another thread detailing how incestuously tied the Israeli lobby and U.S. Government is in the subjugation, murder, and human rights violation of the Palestinian people.

Here are a few of the things I learned:

1. BLM supports Palestinians right for freedom because they see obvious corollaries between how the Israeli military murder Palestinians and lie about it and how our own police force treats the black community.

2. After the devastating news reports covering the massacres in Beirut in the 1980's, the Israeli Government scrambled to put together a better PR spin to counteract the "bad" (i.e. accurate) press they were getting from news agencies around the world. So they gathered the "best minds" in the advertising and PR business on how to "present unpalatable policies" to the American people through the media. Frank Luntz put together a study and came up with favorable talking points that in the years that followed every politician and every talking head repeated verbatim. And guess what? It worked.

3. After the Luntz study, the "Conversation" in the media was relentlessly focused on terrorism NOT territory. That is because when the conversation focused on the territory, justification for what Israel was doing polled badly.

4. There is now not enough land left in Israel to give to the Palestinian people for a 2 state solution because Israel kept building settlements on treaty protected Palestinian land.

The documentary that the U.S wants to label espionage and has been banned in every film festival in the U.S. is something I'm sure the readers at. c99 would find illuminating. So I hope you don't mind, Joe, if I post it in your thread.

All this news is hard to digest, so I think I'll go now and watch "Lincoln" on Netflix. I know it's another hagiography on Lincoln, but it soothes me to go back in time when a U.S. Congress could vote on legislation like the 13th Amendment that actually was in interest of the people.

Plus, James Spader as WM Bilbo is such a fun performance to watch Smile

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"World is a multi-dimensional reality. At lower levels, it is full with unconsciousness and competitiveness. At higher level, it is full of beauty, bliss and divinity. Focus on higher dimensions"
~Amit Ray