The Evening Blues - 4-1-16



eb1pt12


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues singer Koko Taylor. Enjoy!

Koko Taylor - Wang Dang Doodle

“It's very, very difficult I think for us to have a transparent debate about secret programs approved by a secret court issuing secret court orders based on secret interpretations of the law.”

-- Tom Udall


News and Opinion

Reddit removes 'warrant canary', signaling US sought its user data

US national security authorities may now view Reddit as a way to spy on people.

A collection of message boards filled with notoriously vocal users, the pseudo-anonymous service on Thursday removed a line – a “warrant canary” – from its annual report on government data requests that said it had never received a secret request for user data under the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or Fisa.

So-called national security letters seeking data are usually secret by nature and the recipients often cannot acknowledge their existence. As a clever workaround, many technology companies put declarations on their websites or in their data request reports stating that, as of a certain date, they’ve never received a national security letter.

The understanding is that if they do ever receive such a letter, they will remove the declarations as a sort of early warning system, like the doomed birds in a coal mine.

On Thursday, Reddit appeared to do just that. For the website’s users, which are legion, it offers a sobering, if unsurprising, reminder that what they say and do on Reddit is just as likely to be targeted by investigators as Facebook posts and Gmail messages are.

Intelligence Community Olive Branch on Data Sharing Greeted With Skepticism

Top intelligence community lawyer Robert Litt has offfered a rare olive branch to privacy advocates on Wednesday, in the form of information. ...

The post, on Just Security, was essentially a response to reporting last month from the New York Times’ Charlie Savage that the NSA would soon be sharing with other government agencies the raw, unfiltered intelligence from the depths of its massive overseas spying programs. ...

The New York Times story raised concerns that the data, which inevitably includes information about Americans, would become too easily accessible by intelligence agencies including the FBI, potentially leading to fishing expeditions. ...

“I’m not reassured that the procedures won’t expand law enforcement agencies’ access to Americans’ information for use in regular criminal investigations,” wrote Liza Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice, in an email to The Intercept.

Litt’s post “says that there must be a valid foreign intelligence purpose for sharing the information. But once that purpose is met and the data is shared, what prevents FBI agents conducting ordinary criminal investigations from running searches on the data?” she asked.

Patrick Toomey, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, questioned Litt’s assumptions. “The premise of Litt’s response seems to be that there is an impermeable barrier—or ‘wall’—between the FBI’s intelligence and law-enforcement roles. But that’s the wall the IC spent the last 15 years tearing down,” Toomey wrote in an email.

Hacker claims he helped Enrique Peña Nieto win Mexican presidential election

Andrés Sepúlveda said he and other hackers installed malware to monitor opponents during 2012 campaign as part of ‘black propaganda’ operation

Andrés Sepúlveda, an online campaign strategist, claimed he had also helped to manipulate elections in nine countries across Latin America by stealing data, installing malware and creating fake waves of enthusiasm and derision on social media.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Colombian – who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence – boasted of his ability to hack into campaign networks and manipulate opinion. ...

In Mexico, however, he reportedly had a $600,000 budget to undermine the campaigns of Peña Nieto’s two main opponents on either side of the political spectrum: the ruling National Action party’s Josefina Vázquez Mota and the Democratic Revolution party’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

His team are said to have installed malware at the headquarters of the two candidates, which let them monitor phones and computers.

According to the report, Sepúlveda saw speech drafts, meetings plans and campaign schedules as they were typed into the keyboard.

Using this information, he used a “virtual army” of fake Twitter accounts to direct public debate towards subjects that would strengthen Peña Nieto – for example by acclaiming his plan to crack down on drug violence – or embarrass rivals.

Sepúlveda said he brought high-quality fake accounts that had been maintained for more than a year to make them look genuine, as well as generating 30,000 low-end Twitter bots that bumped up numbers of “likes” and “follows”, thereby creating memes and shaping discussion.

America's Nuclear Weapons in Europe Are the Nuclear Elephant in the Room

A little more than 60 miles from Brussels Airport, Kleine Brogel Air Base stands as one of six overseas repositories in the world where the United States still stores nuclear weapons. The existence of the bombs is officially neither confirmed nor denied, but it has been well-known for decades. ...

Public pressure led to nuclear weapons being withdrawn from a half-dozen countries. Greenpeace's Nuclear Free Seas campaign, which dogged US and Russian nuclear-armed ships while there were countless local protests in harbors around the world, became such a nuisance that the first Bush administration decided to remove all tactical nuclear weapons from naval ships. American nuclear weapons were even withdrawn from South Korea, where they were facing down the North Koreans. But the NATO bombs in Belgium and elsewhere in Western Europe survived, conventional wisdom in the new age of terrorism being that they were completely secure.

Today, the 150 bombs evade public attention to the extent that a post–terror attack nuclear scare in Belgium can occur without the bombs even being mentioned. And in terms of physical security, with five layers of control, every electronic gizmo known to the world of security, and 300 US and Belgian full-time guards, the bombs are safe. ...

"A Tunisian-born national was sentenced to 10 years in prison for plotting to bomb Kleine Brogel in 2003," Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project of the Federation of American Scientists, says. "Suspected terrorists have had their eye on one of the Italian bases, and the largest nuclear stockpile in Europe is in the middle of an armed civil uprising in Turkey less than 70 miles from war-torn Syria. Is this really a safe place to store nuclear weapons?"

The nuclear weapons still deployed in southeast Turkey, about 300 miles from the Islamic State capital of Raqqa, Syria, are an absurd anachronism, and according to Kristensen, millions of dollars are now being spent to improve the security of the US-Turkish airbase at Incirlik.

21 Generals Lead ISIS War the U.S. Denies Fighting

In the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the U.S. military is notably short on soldiers, but apparently not on generals.

There are at least 12 U.S. generals in Iraq, a stunningly high number for a war that, if you believe the White House talking points, doesn’t involve American troops in combat. And that number is, if anything, a conservative estimate, not taking into account the flag officers running the U.S. air war, the admirals helping wage the war from the sea, or their superiors back at the Pentagon.

At U.S. headquarters inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, even majors and colonels frequently find themselves saluting superiors at a pace that outranks the Pentagon and certainly any normal military installation. With about 5,000 troops deployed to Iraq and Syria ISIS war, that means there’s a general for every 416 troops, give or take. To compare, there are some captains in the U.S. Army in charge of that many people.

Defense officials defended the deployment of so many generals to The Daily Beast. In a war where there are so many different types of fighters, these officials said, you need generals to coordinate. Today’s warfighter is more lethal, thanks to improved technology, and therefore needs a commander with the appropriate authority to sign off authority on the use of that power. The intelligence reaching the front lines is so complex, it demands the talents of a one-star general, defense officials argued to The Daily Beast.

(Of course, it’s odd to brag about such lethality when the Defense Department has said repeatedly that American troops were “not in an active combat mission” in Iraq.)

EU-Turkey migrant deal overshadowed by claims Ankara expels refugees

Turkey Is Shooting Refugees and Illegally Sending People Back to Syria, Say Rights Groups

Turkey has illegally returned thousands of Syrians to their war-torn homeland in recent months, according to an Amnesty International report released on Friday — while another rights monitor alleged Turkish border guards had shot dead 16 refugees in the last four months, including three children.

Amnesty said it had gathered evidence suggesting Turkish authorities had been rounding up and expelling groups of around 100 Syrian men, women, and children almost daily since the middle of January. Many of those returned to Syria appear to be unregistered refugees, though the rights group said it had also documented cases of registered Syrians being returned when apprehended while not carrying their papers.

On Thursday, the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had gathered evidence detailing cases of 16 migrants shot dead as they attempted to cross the border from Syria into Turkey, and it believed the true number was much higher.

Turkey's actions highlight the serious dangers for migrants sent back to the country from Europe under a deal due to come into effect next week, according to Amnesty.

France accuses Syrian government of violating ceasefire

France has become the first major western power to directly accuse the Syrian government of violating the country’s ceasefire, saying airstrikes this week were intended to terrorise people and sap the international community’s efforts to find a political solution to the conflict.

Britain also produced a lengthy update on the state of the war, including numerous accounts of breaches of the partial ceasefire that came into force on 27 February.

A joint US-Russian monitoring operation based in Geneva is supposed to oversee ceasefire breaches, but there is no agreed mechanism for imposing sanctions on those responsible. The issue was discussed on Friday in Geneva, where peace talks are being held.

The condemnation from the French foreign ministry spokesman, Romain Nadal, came after airstrikes on the outskirts of Damascus reportedly killed 32 people, including civilians. ...

The Syrian government claims the al-Nusra Front and Isis operate in the area where the airstrikes took place.

This is what democracy looks like?

Libyan ‘Unity Govt’ Sneaks Into Tripoli, Spurned by Locals

Further complicating Libya’s status as an ungovernable desert full of warring factions, the UN-backed “unity government,” which was established in January, has finally managed to sneak into Libya, landing in the capital of Tripoli and setting up shop at a naval base.

The US loudly endorsed the arrival of this new government, and condemned the other governments as “obstructionists” for opposing the group, which itself was formed in Tunis with neither elections nor any real imprimatur from the Libyan people.

The only real backing this new government has, beyond the UN itself, is from many NATO nations that believe they can parlay a “unity government” into an endorsement to invade Libya, while the UN is dangling the possibility of freeing the nation’s massive sovereign wealth fund from sanctions if the unity government is in charge of it.

French media has a very different take on the new Libyan "unity" government...

Libya's unity government: UN-backed cabinet looks to assert authority in Tripoli

Brazilians Come Out in Droves to Support Rousseff's Scandal-Plagued Government

On Thursday, two days after Brazil's largest political party announced plans to abandon its governing coalition with President Dilma Rousseff's Workers' Party, an estimated 800,000 protesters took to the streets in 94 cities across the country in an attempt to blow wind into the sails of an administration that many have already declared a sinking ship.

Chanting "there will be no coup — there will be a fight!" demonstrations unfolded throughout Brazil on the 54th anniversary of the military coup that unseated Brazil's president in 1964. Leaning on the country's collective memory of the dictatorship that followed, organizers rallied protesters against what they believe to be a desperate attempt to use a major corruption scandal to unseat a democratically elected president. ...

"Those who will be most harmed in the case of a coup are the country's workers, and the second most impacted will be Brazil's youth," said Antonio Lisboa, the secretary of international relations for the Union Workers Central, one of the groups that organized the protests in the capital. The fall of the Workers' Party, he said, threatens to undo 70 years of work to ensure the rights of workers across the country.

"The opposition has made it a priority to roll back workers' rights," he added. "And that is why people have come out across all of the states, all across Brazil, to defend democracy and renounce the prospect of a coup." ...

Last week, the legislature's lower house selected a committee that would lead impeachment charges against the president, claiming that she tinkered with the budget to improve appearances last year. In a twist that reveals the complexity of reforming the discredited Brazilian political system, more than half of the members of the impeachment committee are themselves facing charges of corruption or other serious crimes.

Of the 513 total members of the lower house, 303 face charges or are being investigated for serious crimes, while the same is true of 49 of the 81 Senate members.

Authorities in Monaco raid oil firm HQ in corruption investigation

Authorities in Monaco have raided the headquarters of an oil company, as well as the homes of some of its bosses, as part of a British-led investigation into a corruption scandal implicating businesses all over the world, the principality’s government has said.

In a statement released on Thursday, it said that the Monaco-based firm Unaoil was at the centre of the inquiry and that officials had acted after an urgent request for assistance from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

“These searches and interviews were carried out in the presence of British officials as part of a vast, international corruption scandal implicating numerous foreign oil industry firms. The information collected is going to be examined by the British authorities as part of their investigation,” the statement said.

It said that the executives had been interviewed over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Unaoil was at the centre of allegations published by the Huffington Post and Australia’s Fairfax Media on Wednesday. They said the business “systematically corrupted the global oil industry” by delivering millions in bribes on behalf of well-known multinationals to secure contracts.

Report Shows Breaking the Law 'Just a Cost of Doing Business for Big Pharma'

As a new report shines light on 25 years of puny penalties for pharmaceutical industry lawbreaking, health activists worldwide are gearing up for a "Global Day of Action Against Pharma Greed," scheduled to take place Friday.

The report, released Thursday afternoon by Public Citizen, shows that "stronger enforcement is needed to deter pharmaceutical manufacturers from continuing to break the law and defraud federal and state health programs," according to a press statement. An update to a previous study released in 2012, the report catalogues all major financial settlements and court judgments between pharmaceutical companies and federal and state governments from 1991 through 2015, which totaled $35.7 billion.

Within that 25-year span, overcharging of government health insurance programs—mainly drug pricing fraud against state Medicaid programs—was the most common violation, while the unlawful promotion of drugs was the single transgression that resulted in the largest financial penalties. Big Pharma giants GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer reached the most settlements (31 each) and paid the most in financial penalties—$7.9 billion and $3.9 billion, respectively—to the federal and state governments. ...

Expanding its indictment of the industry, Public Citizen will join other health advocacy organizations on Friday outside the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) office to demand Big Pharma stop charging unethical prices for medications—and for the U.S. government to stop doing the industry's bidding.

Largest Pay Raise for American Workers in History? NY & CA Approve $15 Minimum Wage Hike

100 CEOs Have More Saved Up for Retirement Than 41 Percent of U.S. Families Combined

Sometimes, there is a single bonkers statistic that encapsulates a troubling—but abstract—truth about the financial world. One example is when The New York Times calculated that there are fewer companies in the S&P 1500 run by women than there are companies run by men named John.

And now, courtesy of the Center for Effective Government, a nonprofit, and the Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank, here is another: Together, 100 American CEOs have more saved up for retirement than 41 percent of American families combined. ...

The report, in a way, obscures the crisis at hand. The comparison it’s making—between 100 exceedingly well-paid executives and tens of millions of Americans—suggests intolerable corporate excess. As the report makes clear, on the CEO side of the equation, there are beefy retirement accounts flush with more than $4.5 billion. But on the typical-American side of the equation, there are a huge number of people who have practically nothing saved up—for all American households nearing retirement age, the median retirement-account balance is about $12,000. So, it’s not so much that these CEOs have a lot (they do) but that everyone else has next to nothing.

Cherelle Baldwin on Being Found Not Guilty for Defending Self Against Abusive Ex



the horse race



"We Are Going to Win New York": Thousands Flock to See Sanders on Clinton's Turf

"You are the heart and soul of this revolution," Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders told a diverse crowd of an estimated 18,000 supporters in the Bronx on Thursday.

In an "electric" 45-minute speech at Saint Mary's Park in the Mott Haven neighborhood, Sanders trumpeted his New York roots as well as his plans for overhauling the campaign finance and criminal justice systems, raising the minimum wage, and undoing a rigged economy.

"It looks like the South Bronx is prepared to tell the billionaire class that they cannot have it all," he told an overflow crowd of about 2,000 people who were outside the official event area. "It looks like the South Bronx wants to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent."

He drew pointed comparisons between himself and rival Hillary Clinton, the former senator from New York, who is reportedly "preparing to spend far more in New York than she originally budgeted, according to people close to the campaign, a fact that underscores how the campaign is girding for a fight and knows it needs to spend money to win."

Clinton is bringing the sleaze, and MSNBC's propaganda machine is throwing buckets of it at the voting public.

Hmm, That's Strange... Why Would Clinton Use Trump Abortion Remarks to Attack Sanders?

Even though Bernie Sanders immediately took to Twitter and called Donald Trump "shameful" for his comments on Wednesday regarding "punishment" for women who would have abortions, Hillary Clinton is now using  the incident as an opportunity to attack her Democratic rival on the campaign trail by suggesting to voters that Sanders does not take the issue of women's choice seriously enough.

"Last night, Sen. Sanders agreed Donald Trump’s comments were shameful," Clinton said during a campaign rally in Purchase, New York on Thursday. "Then he said they were a distraction from the, and I quote, 'serious discussion about serious issues facing America.'"

This was a reference to remarks Sanders made in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night just after news about Trump's were making headlines nationwide.

"Shameful," Sanders told Maddow during their exchange, "is probably understating [my] position.  First of all, to me, and I think to most Americans, women have the right to control their own bodies and they have the right to make those personal decisions themselves. But to punish a woman for having an abortion is beyond comprehension."

He continued, "So obviously, from my perspective, and if elected president, I will do everything that I can to allow women to make that choice and have access to clinics all over this country so that if they choose to have an abortion, they will be able to do so."

Though MSNBC acknowledged in its online reporting that Sanders never used the word "distraction" to describe either the issue of abortion or Trump's comments—and clarified that only later in their exchange did Sanders make a larger critique about how the media has consistently given too much attention to whatever absurdity comes out of the bombastic billionaire's mouth—Clinton made no such distinction in her speech on Thursday. ...

The insinuation that Sanders does not consider a women's right to choose as a "serious issue" compared to Clinton then became a story-line repeatedly put forth by MSNBC anchors throughout Thursday afternoon.

[Full transcript of Sanders' remarks at link. - js]

Clinton's most sleazy surrogate, David Brock is up to his old tricks:

Leader of Clinton’s Dark Money Alliance Files Ethics Complaints Against Sanders

A group known to be a “dark money ally” of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has filed ethics complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against her opponent, Bernie Sanders.

Clinton’s ally specifically alleges Sanders failed to disclose who paid for a “sponsored” advertisement, which appeared on Facebook after the New Hampshire Democratic primary. It filed a complaint against Sanders campaign treasurer, Susan Jackson, for allegedly accepting “excessive contributions” from individuals. Most strikingly, a complaint against National Nurses United and “People for Bernie” was filed as well.

The complaints were made by the American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF), which was founded by David Brock, whose fingerprints have been on many of the dishonest attacks against Sanders during the 2016 election.

The latest Clinton campaign has pioneered what Bloomberg described as “the outsourcing of routine campaign functions to outside groups that are permitted to raise money in unlimited amounts.” This kind of unprecedented coordination has unfolded between the Clinton campaign and another one of Brock’s super political action committees, Correct the Record.

Correct the Record is a spin-off from American Bridge 21st Century, another Brock super PAC. It receives money from a 501(c)4 foundation which does not have to disclose how it is funded. ...

Jeff Weaver, a campaign manager for Sanders, told MSNBC on March 30, “Just one day after the Clinton campaign said we needed to change our tone, the leaders of their coordinated super PAC, which is funded by millions from Wall Street, filed baseless and frivolous complaints with the FEC. Tells you all you need to know.”

New York is about to become a madhouse: Why this unexpectedly fierce primary is going to get very interesting

New Yorkers are now faced with the unfamiliar sight of presidential candidates who actually care about their vote and who will spend considerable time trying to get it from them. ...

On the surface, Hillary Clinton would seem to have no worries in New York, the state she represented in the Senate and has adopted as her home. The most recent polling puts her very far ahead. But Bernie Sanders isn’t going to let New York go without a fight. After all, anybody with that thick a Brooklyn accent can can claim the place as their own just as much as Clinton can. Politico reported that both he and Clinton have been studying the insurgent gubernatorial campaign of Zephyr Teachout, whose very Sanders-like—and, given the odds she was fighting, successful—2014 clash with Andrew Cuomo stunned the state’s political establishment. Sanders will hope to wound Clinton similarly. He also has the backing of the Working Families Party, a potent force in New York politics.

Clinton will be desperate to avoid such a situation. To be rebuked by New York will be a stinging blow to her, both personally and politically. So it’s not surprising that her campaign is already at bitter loggerheads with Sanders. Even their dueling Brooklyn headquarters are richly symbolic. Clinton’s are at the edge of old, moneyed Brooklyn Heights. Sanders has set up shop in Gowanus, also known as hipster heaven. It’s like a Twitter fight in miniature.

Clinton goes off on Greenpeace activist: “I am so sick” of you bringing up my fossil fuel money

Hillary yells angrily at an environmental protester and misleadingly implies she is not receiving fossil fuel cash

At a Clinton rally on the State University of New York at Purchase campus, Eva Resnick-Day, an activist with the environmental justice group Greenpeace, asked Clinton, “Will you act on your word to reject fossil fuel money in the future in your campaign?”

Clinton quickly lost her patience. Her smile promptly morphed into a scowl and she yelled at the environmental activist, “I do not have — I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies.”

“I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me,” Clinton shouted, pointing angrily at Resnick-Day.

It is true that Clinton’s campaign has not gotten money directly from fossil fuel corporations, or any other companies, as this would violate election law. Rather, many of the people raising money for Clinton’s campaign work for large oil and natural gas corporations.

“Nearly all of the lobbyists bundling contributions for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign have at one time or another worked for the fossil fuel industry,” Mother Jones revealed in a July exposé.

Hillary Clinton may consider debating rival Bernie Sanders in Brooklyn

A debate grows in Brooklyn.

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she’d consider debating her rival Bernie Sanders in the borough of his birth.

During a campaign stop in LaCrosse, Wisc., Clinton told reporters she was open to the idea — but didn’t suggest a date.

Donald Trump’s Social Security heresy: Taking on Paul Ryan and the privatization push

One of the most fascinating things about Donald Trump as a presidential candidate is how he effortlessly and effectively rips holes in the Republican policy agenda despite a) not really having a policy agenda of his own, and b) not really knowing what he’s talking about at any given time. ...

Perhaps the most significant area of disagreement between Trump and mainstream Republican thought is Social Security. On entitlements generally, the Republican position is to cut, privatize, and in every other way possible reduce the government’s role in these programs. And as it just so happens, the one Republican in Congress who has led the fight in slashing entitlements, Paul Ryan, is now the man in charge of the House of Representatives. Ryan’s famous budget blueprints have prescribed deep and painful cuts to Social Security, and Ryan himself has been an advocate of privatizing Social Security. He more than anyone has crystallized the conservative position on entitlements. ...

Donald Trump phoned in to WROK radio in Rockville, Illinois [...] to talk politics this week. When asked about entitlements, Trump said flatly that Ryan and pretty much the rest of the party are dead wrong:

Well, Paul, who I like a lot, he called me last week, I think he’s a really nice guy. But I disagree with him on this. You know, Paul wants to knock out Social Security, knock it down, way down. He wants to knock Medicare way down. And, frankly – well, two things. Number one, you’re going to lose the election if you’re going to do that. That’s going to be easy. I was watching Bernie and Hillary debating, and they can’t give enough on that. So you’re going to lose the election. So that’s not the purpose of it. We have to do what is right, but you will lose the election if you do that. But more importantly, in a sense, I want to keep it. These people have been making their payments for their whole lives. I want to keep Social Security intact. Now, I want to get rid of waste, fraud, and abuse. I want to do a lot of things to it that are going to make it much better, actually. But I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that.



the evening greens


ExxonMobil Investigation Reminiscent of Tobacco Wars of 1990s

Did ExxonMobil mislead its investors and the public by hiding the fact that burning fossil fuels significantly contributes to climate change? That's a question that 20 attorney generals say they will be looking into in the coming months. What triggered this investigation was a report by news outlet Inside Climate News. It exposed internal memos between Exxon Mobil senior executives. They state that as early as 1978 the oil giant knew that the emission of carbon dioxide when you burn fossil fuels significantly contributes to climate change. ...

DESVARIEUX: So, Dan, we have two more state attorney generals saying they are going to investigate Exxon along with New York State attorney generals who said that they will investigate Exxon Mobil. What's the significance of this expansion?

ZEGART: Well, it's, this is an extremely important development for several reasons. One is that for those who have followed the tobacco wars, who did follow the tobacco wars back 20 years ago when the attorneys general took on the tobacco industry, this is a very familiar pattern that took place then. Of course, that resulted in 50 attorney generals suing the tobacco industry and eventually bringing them to the table for an almost $300 billion settlement and some significant changes in the way they did business in the United States.

So when we see other attorney generals jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, it's a clear indication that politically they view this as feasible, and secondly that they believe that there is a legal theory and that they can use their offices to prosecute that theory under fraud statutes and under other remedies that they have at hand to potentially bring companies like Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel giants to the table, or get some kind of a judgment against them to make them do business in a different way.

Groups Sue FDA Over 'Unlawful and Irresponsible' Approval of Frankenfish

A coalition of environmental, consumer, and fishing organizations on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving the first-ever genetically engineered (GE) animal for commercial sale and consumption—an Atlantic salmon, known colloquially as the "Frankenfish."

The lawsuit (pdf), filed by the Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Earthjustice, and other groups, states that the FDA does not have the authority to regulate GE animals and that approving the salmon paves the way for other GE fish, as well as farm animals like chickens, cows, and pigs, which the coalition says are currently in development.

"FDA's decision is as unlawful as it is irresponsible," said George Kimbrell, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety and one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. "This case is about protecting our fisheries and ocean ecosystems from the foreseeable harms of the first-ever GE fish, harms FDA refused to even consider, let alone prevent."

The salmon, which is being engineered by the biotechnology firm AquaBounty, was approved in November despite widespread outcry from advocates who said the fish pose too many risks to public health and the environment to authorize. The company plans to manufacture the eggs on Prince Edward Island in Canada, then ship them to laboratories in Panama, where they will be grown to full size.

From there, they will be sent to the U.S. for sale and consumption.

"We Need to Electrify As Much Transportation As We Can"

DESVARIEUX: Okay. there are some folks that are saying that this isn't as big of a game changer as people are making it out to be, because essentially you're getting power to charge your electric vehicle from fossil fuel sources like coal. Do you agree with that?

HEINBERG: Not entirely. First of all, the energy mix is different in different parts of the country. Some parts of the country, electricity is mostly coming from coal. In other parts of the country the mix is more oriented toward natural gas, hydro and renewables. So, first of all, it depends on where you're getting your electricity from.

And second, you know, if you look out at the energy transition that we're just beginning right now, away from fossil fuels toward renewables, it's clear that one of the main strategies that we'll have to pursue during this energy transition is electrification. Right now only about 20 percent of the final energy that we use in the United States is in the form of electricity. The rest is in the form of liquid fuels for transportation, energy for high heat industrial processes and so on.

We have to electrify as much of that energy usage as we can, because most of our renewable sources of energy produce electricity. That's true of solar and wind, geothermal and hydro power. So we need to electrify as much transportation as we can.

Tesla Model 3 pre-orders stack up as Elon Musk unveils lower-priced car

Tesla Motors has finally unveiled its long-anticipated lower cost electric car, the Model 3, at its design studio in Los Angeles.

Costing $35,000 and up, before government incentives, the Model 3 is less than half the cost of Tesla’s previous Model S and Model X SUV and aimed at the mass market. The car car will go at least 215 miles (346km) on a full charge, which is around 85 miles less than the more expensive Model S, but about double what drivers of competitors cars costing similar, such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3. ...

At the launch of the Model S in the UK, Musk said that his goal was to produce an electric car for the mass market, funding its development through sales of high-end cars. ...

The Model 3 won’t go on sale until the end of 2017, but already had 115,000 of pre-orders before the unveiling and tens of thousands of buyers putting down deposits of $1,000 each. The company experienced long lines of buyers, similar to those found at flagship smartphone launches, at its stores around the world.


Also of Interest

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

Foreign Money Is Flowing Into U.S. Elections, Alito’s Lying Lips Notwithstanding

In Shift, Netanyahu Now Seeks Aid Deal Before Obama Leaves Office

A ‘Silent Coup’ for Brazil?

Poor Whites Trashed

CIA left explosive material on Loudoun County school bus after training exercise

Paul Ryan Sorry for Calling Americans “Takers." Let's Talk About the Real Takers.

Cenk Uygur: 'Bernie Sanders is the political revolution, we are the media revolution'


A Little Night Music

Koko Taylor - I' m a Woman

Koko Taylor - Walking The Backstreets

Koko Taylor - Ernestine

Koko Taylor - Twenty Nine Ways

Koko Taylor - Hound Dog

Koko Taylor - Hey Bartender

Koko Taylor Live



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Miep's picture

White-nose in bats has been found in WA State. First time it's been found west of the Rockies.

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Stay on track. Stay in lane. Don't throw rocks.

pfiore8's picture

man. i should stayed off my computer.

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“There are moments which are not calculable, and cannot be assessed in words; they live on in the solution of memory… ”
― Lawrence Durrell, "Justine"

joe shikspack's picture

that's bad news, i hear that it's been wiping out populations in the northeast. if this keeps up, we are going to be awash in bugs.

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Miep's picture

In individual bats, but the spread cannot be realistically stopped. Bats congregate. Bats in Asia have evolved immunity. What bats survive here will have to as well.

The limiting factors to spread, as far as I know, have to do with cool enough cave temperatures, though I don't see any reason to expect the fungus could not evolve to tolerate warmer temperatures. Also I have only read of it killing bats who hibernate, as the irritation from the fungus wakes them up too soon and they starve.

Human interference with habitat makes their situation that much more precarious.

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Stay on track. Stay in lane. Don't throw rocks.

TrueBlueinWDC's picture

Intensive farming limits diversity was one theory behind the stunted growth of a type of bee important to strawberries and apples. Greenwire ran an article about it today, subscription only, though. It says some growers have been using less known bees due to mites and colony collapse killing off the honeybees. www.eenews.net/greenwire/2016/04/01/stories/1060034937. If you can't access the article, here's the link to the study published on Mar 4: journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0150946

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"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." Stephen Hawking

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Gerrit's picture

doing well, my friend,

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Resilience: practical action to improve things we can control.
3D+: developing language for postmodern spirituality.

OLinda's picture

Way back when when NSA letters were first in the news, I read about a library where during their weekly meeting, whoever it was that was in the know, would always report during her/his part of the meeting that "No national security letters were received during the week." Members would know what it meant if she failed to say that.

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

joe shikspack's picture

librarians were way ahead of the curve on national security issues, perhaps because of the bush admin's threats to subpoena people's library records. they were on it well before a lot of media and even some lefty first and fourth amendment hawks.

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Your library records are completely safe and confidential
No request has been made to access them
Please watch for the removal of this sign
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They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway
They say that life's a game and then they take the board away
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
And leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret-- A. Moore

TrueBlueinWDC's picture

Thanks for the Evening Blues, Joe S. Enjoy your weekend off. Just skimmed 'em, will need to read more closely later.

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"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." Stephen Hawking

NEW: http://www.twitter.com/trueblueinwdc

joe shikspack's picture

happy reading! i may be out for a while this evening, i'm going to go do dinner with the kids tonight.

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Lookout's picture

Another news filled evening. Did a quick scan, and now off to make my own music...every Friday night for thirty umpteen years. I'll do the Mean Old Birmingham Blues for you. I think spodify has my version if you want to hear it. Sorry I don't have a way to post it for you here.

Thanks for all your work!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

joe shikspack's picture

happy jamming!

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Bisbonian's picture

Big fan, from way back.

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"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

OLinda's picture

for the news and blues. Hope all is well with you and all Bluesters this evening.

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joe shikspack's picture

things are going well, i'm tidying up some of today's projects and getting ready to head out for dinner with the kids, so things are looking up.

i hope all is well for you, too.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

This is fun... Smile

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Please help the Resilience Resource Library grow by adding your links.

First Nations News

joe shikspack's picture

thanks!

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Gerrit's picture

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Resilience: practical action to improve things we can control.
3D+: developing language for postmodern spirituality.

Thanks for news and blues, Joe. Hope you
have a great evening out with your kids.

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Only connect. - E.M. Forster

joe shikspack's picture

dinner was great! thanks for stopping by!

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And that's that (dusting hands)

Turkey’s government has forced thousands of Syrian refugees to return to their war-torn country in recent months, exposing the perils of an agreement that allows Greece to send refugees arriving by boat back to Turkey, Amnesty International said in a report issued Friday.

Amnesty, a human rights group that has its headquarters in London, said it had collected witness testimony in Turkey’s southern Hatay Province and found that the Turkish authorities had been “rounding up and expelling groups of around 100 Syrian men, women and children to Syria on a near-daily basis since mid-January.” Among the cases the group documented were three young children who were forced to return to Syria without their parents.

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joe shikspack's picture

it will be interesting to see just how long europe can keep ignoring the fact that turkey is pretty far from being a safe state.

i think that there's a corollary that applies to nations being formed to upton sinclair's observation, “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

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stevej's picture

-You've earned it!

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“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” -Voltaire

joe shikspack's picture

thanks!

i'm looking forward to relaxing with your photography article tomorrow.

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stevej's picture

Hope that it isn't a letdown -I've scheduled it for 7.00AM CT so we'll see how that works.

A bit of photography history in this one - some of the great names post WW1 Strand, Adams, Lange, Steiglitz etc. (my favorites) and some other bits on composition.

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“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” -Voltaire

Miep's picture

From a few days ago, sorry if this has been addressed already.

Secular Americans Vote Mississippi “God’s Army” Legislation Worst State Bill in the Nation

Washington, D.C.-- Today the Secular Coalition for America announced that Mississippi House Bill 786, the "Mississippi Church Protection Act", has won the title of "Worst State Bill" in America. The legislation would legalize killing a person while acting as a participant of a church or place of worship security team, deeming the act a "justifiable homicide."

The announcement marks the conclusion of the Bad Bill Madness campaign, a parody of the popular college basketball tournament. The Secular Coalition for America placed 16 bills from different states into a 1 vs 1 tournament bracket and asked supporters to vote on which bills most violated the separation of church and state. Voting took place in four rounds over a two week period which saw more than 1,300 votes cast.

The "Mississippi Church Protection Act" would allow churches to empower designated members of their congregation as part of a security team with a "shoot to kill" authority equivalent to a police officer but with less government oversight. The bill contains few restrictions regarding where one may act within this capacity, allowing a church's volunteer security personnel to exercise this authority in public and private venues outside of the church.

- See more at: https://www.secular.org/news/secular-americans-vote-mississippi-%E2%80%9...

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Stay on track. Stay in lane. Don't throw rocks.

Miep's picture

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Stay on track. Stay in lane. Don't throw rocks.

joe shikspack's picture

i wonder if that shoot to kill law has an emanating penumbra that applies to exorcisms?!?

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detroitmechworks's picture

And not only Holy Orders, ones that don't even require oaths of service or actual training before they can go out and shoot somebody.

Of course the American Holy Warriors would first get the authority to kill. Hell with that wanting a place for contemplation, meditation, or service. Fuck that shit, we wanna blow away the enemies of the FAITH!

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

joe shikspack's picture

praise the lord and pass the ammunition!

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Miep's picture

There are plenty of people in Mississippi who are victims of the culture and have no easy exit strategy. There are doubtless many good people in Mississippi who find these sorts of cultural excesses appalling as well.

That said...

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joe shikspack's picture

There are doubtless many good people in Mississippi who find these sorts of cultural excesses appalling as well.

of course there are. i've met lots of them.

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Miep's picture

And I've run across a lot of good people online from Texas, just a few miles away. Majority rule and various sorts of election shenanigans obscure how varied populations really are.

Speaking of Texas:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/31/texas-forced-this-woman...

I am being Debbie Downer here. I'll try to make a point of fetching you something more upbeat soon.

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Stay on track. Stay in lane. Don't throw rocks.

NCTim's picture

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

Knucklehead's picture

Joe,
Great featured lady in the music section.
I haven`t been in an EB diary for I don`know how long.
It feels like home.

DSCN7003

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I`m already against the next war

OLinda's picture

So nice to see you. Hope all is well with you.

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joe shikspack's picture

it's great to see you! we missed you, it's been a long time.

how's everything going in your earthly paradise?

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old buddy, what's shakin'?

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Shahryar's picture

good to see you

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NCTim's picture

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

shaharazade's picture

They all need to be impeached. They are all out of order and are hurting my poor brain. Nice to hear from you. More pictures, please that make me go OHHHH. Life is good and you know how to capture it.

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Gerrit's picture

basket still.

Today, NY is 54-42. I predict a Bernie win in NY: around 53-47. You can put me in the stockade after and chuck tomatoes if I'm wrong :=)
Best wishes mate. Listening to Koko now.

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Resilience: practical action to improve things we can control.
3D+: developing language for postmodern spirituality.

joe shikspack's picture

i'm seeing hopeful signs regarding new york, too. if bernie can make a good margin in wisconsin and win by even a couple of points in new york, i think that it will give him the credibility with voters that he needs to do really well in california which can put him over the top. heh, that's my version of the math today.

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Love the blue music, will look at the sad news later. I did notice the cool new Tesla for an almost affordable price? Wow.

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joe shikspack's picture

thanks for dropping by!

i'm happy that tesla is out there pushing the market to create electric cars. i would rather that we were creating lots of public transit, but barring some major changes a rapid change over to renewable-based electric cars would be a good incremental change, particularly if somebody worked out retrofitting older fossil-fuel powered cars so that there wouldn't be so much demand for extraction.

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NCTim's picture

Certainly by comparison.

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

Raggedy Ann's picture

Great news collection, tonight. Leading off is my very own Senator Udall, who has performed his job relatively well. I've disagreed with some of his stances, but I agree much more than I disagree.

I heard Cherelle Baldwin on "Democracy Now!" driving home. I was happy she was found not guilty. Her lawyer was with her and they both made great points on how broken our criminal justice system really is, pertaining to domestic violence. It needs attention. I, too, was a victim in my first marriage.

So if the other campaign files a complaint, does that involve Bernie spending money to address it? If so, it's a way for them to spend money on that crap instead of winning an election. Needs to be watched.

Drumpf is no fool. He understands people, as rude as he us. He employees thousands. I think he's more in touch with people at many levels than meets the eye. Occupational hazard. On the other hand, Cruz wants to eliminate Social Security. He is the more dangerous candidate, in my opinion.

Great music. Been listening and typing. Smile

Have a beautiful evening, my friends, and Joe - ditto - enjoy your weekend off. We'll be looking for the EB Monday. Smile

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The UFO’s are coming to unify us.

joe shikspack's picture

so sorry to hear about your struggle with domestic violence. it's not just the criminal justice system that's broken, it's the broader lack of human rights in a dog-eat-dog, force and coercion-based capitalist system that teaches and rewards violence that is the problem. the criminal justice system is just a utility of the capitalist exploiters in that dog-eat-dog system.

yes, when the sleazy clinton surrogates file frivolous lawsuits to harass the sanders campaign, it means that the campaign must divert time and resources to defend itself against the clinton sleaze. it's dirty politics at work.

cruz is far more dangerous than trump, in my view. trump only wants to have his ego stroked, cruz wants to carpet bomb and make the desert glow. cruz is a lunatic.

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NCTim's picture

Here and gone. I am beat.

I got to give Koko Taylor a hug, after a show @ Moondog's.

That voice comes out of maybe five feet of woman.

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

joe shikspack's picture

koko may have been small in stature, but she was much bigger on the inside than she was on the outside.

have a great evening!

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NCTim's picture

I made it back quickly, but have a bunch of care giving hanging over me to get Sweetie into bed. I used today's OT to try to encourage constructive participation. Judging from the comment, most from my usual visitors, it sounds like we are going to start a crying room. Just like church.

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

joe shikspack's picture

it's a subject that needs to be gently broached and you did a great job.

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NCTim's picture

I usually take things head on. It took a few iterations and help from a friend.

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

triv33's picture

A laughable bit of bullshit tonight from Al Jazeera:
Michael Hayden on Snowden, surveillance and NSA The former NSA director stands by his comment that Edward Snowden is a defector.

In part two of Mehdi Hasan's interview with Hayden, the general defends the NSA's mass surveillance and stands by his comment that Edward Snowden is a defector.

"Whistle-blowing requires someone to actually point out a violation of law and [Snowden] has not done that," Hayden says.

The former NSA director also discusses the secret programme, Stellar Wind, which was authorised after the 9/11 attacks. Under the programme the NSA collected Americans' internet metadata without court-approved warrants.

When pressed by Mehdi Hasan, Hayden says: "I didn't believe it was illegal, the attorney general at the time did not believe it was illegal and ... my lawyers at NSA were very conservative about these kinds of things - they didn't think it was illegal either."

Yeah, I'm kinda conservative on my fourth amendment rights, Mike. Fuck you.

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I shave my legs with Occam's Razor~

joe shikspack's picture

i find it hard to listen to michael hayden, so much of what he says makes me want to throw things.

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triv33's picture

If I'm not throwing things, at the very least I'm grinding my teeth, hard. That's no good. Sometimes I wish I didn't feel the need to know this stuff.

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I shave my legs with Occam's Razor~

Bisbonian's picture

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"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

Bisbonian's picture

Both shoes, in fact, if you get the double post.

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"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

cthulhu.png
cthulhu2.png

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trump4_0.png

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joe shikspack's picture

and with the demise of clinton, cthulhu, the lesser evil moves forward! Smile

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Bluesee's picture

LOL I had to turn off the "All Night Long" song because it was fing w my narrative. "Does the fish know its wet?"

Tonight, those of us with eyes see that the regime is become unhinged. If there is no Democratic Party and there is no Republican Party, how then will an orderly transition proceed?

Should Bill Moyer come over to our side? Because, make no mistake, this is no less a factionalization than the Tea Party split. It's just reduced to the internet test tube dimensions. Which are indeterminate.

So, a lesson I learned, to get back to the "does fish know wet" thesis is that - ah shit wife has some comedic thing on TV... I can't comment, my comments would be skewed by what is coming in my ear right now. This is axiomatic, do you agree?

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Bernie is a win-win.