The Evening Blues - 4-10-19



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Johnny Dodds


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features New Orleans jazz clarinet player Johnny Dodds. Enjoy!

Johnny Dodds w/New Orleans Bootblacks - Flat Foot

"There are always too many Democratic congressmen, too many Republican congressmen, and never enough US congressmen."

-- Author Unknown


News and Opinion

There's a foreign lobby meddling in U.S. elections. I don't suppose that anything will be done about it, though. After all, they're not russians.

AIPAC Targets Bernie Sanders in Facebook Ads Focused on Key Democratic Primary States

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who could be the first Jewish president of the United States two years from now, is currently the target of a pressure campaign on Facebook paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group known as AIPAC. The sponsored post urges Facebook users to add their names to an online petition telling Sanders that “America stands with Israel.”

[image of the ad at link. -js]

According to data from Facebook’s Ad Library, three versions of the sponsored post paid for by AIPAC are currently running across the country, focused mainly on users in three important Democratic primary states: California, Texas and Florida.

The text of the post makes no mention of why the lobbying group thinks the independent senator from Vermont needs such a reminder, but its only other current paid ads on Facebook all target Rep. Ilhan Omar, a progressive Muslim Democrat who has questioned the lobbying group’s influence. Sanders has been one of the few congressional voices to rise in defense of Omar. ...

AIPAC did not immediately reply to a request to explain why it chose to target Sanders with the Facebook ads.


A Vote to Maintain Apartheid? Israel’s Netanyahu Set to Win 5th Term After Vow to Annex West Bank

Netanyahu Set for Victory as Israelis Vote for Never-Ending Military Rule of Palestinians

Voters in Israel delivered an overwhelming endorsement of the status quo by re-electing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has promised to simply ignore waning international pressure to end Israeli military rule over a captive population of millions of Palestinians living, without civil rights, in the territories it seized in 1967.

With more than 97 percent of the vote counted for Tuesday’s election, Netanyahu was in a commanding position to assemble a coalition of ethnic nationalist parties in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, including openly racist extremists who want to strip non-Jews of their citizenship and expel Palestinians from the occupied territories. ...

On the eve of the election, Netanyahu had appealed to ultranationalist voters by promising to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, where more than 400,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements that are illegal under international law, and maintain Israel’s military control over even those Palestinian population centers with limited self-government.


The prime minister’s pledge seemed to make formal what has been clear for the past decade of his rule: that Israel has no intention of ever honoring its commitments under the Oslo Peace Accords to facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state, and plans instead to continue ruling over a de facto single state in which nearly half of the population is denied citizenship or the right to vote based on ethnicity.

The scale of his victory can be judged by the fact that the party that posed the largest threat to his leadership was led by former generals who boasted of their role in pummeling Gaza and offered no plan to end the occupation.

Palestinians react to Israeli election

They need to tank the Pentagon budget regardless of social spending. Military spending is too high period, not just too high relative to other spending.

Progressive Democrats Threaten to Tank $733 Billion in 'Crazy' Pentagon Spending If Social Programs Not Also Boosted

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are threatening to wield their significant power in the House to tank a key budget measure unless the Democratic leadership agrees to boost healthcare, education, and other domestic social spending in line with the Pentagon's budget increase.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairs of the 104-member CPC, are leading the push for an amendment that would add around $33 billion per year to domestic spending programs as part of a crucial two-year spending bill, which could receive a vote as early as Tuesday. The legislation would hike Pentagon spending to $733 billion per year. ...

While the House Democratic leadership has agreed to bring the progressives' amendment on the floor for a vote, Politico reported late Monday that senior Democrats "privately hope it won't pass."

"House Democratic leaders are whipping the budget caps bill, but as of Monday night, the measure still didn't have enough votes to pass," Politico reported.

Update:

House Democratic leaders canceled a vote on the spending measure late Tuesday afternoon amid progressive backlash over the Pentagon budget. ...

"For us and for progressives... this is a big victory in that it became clear that without real, strong progressive inclusion into the process of a bill, we're not going to be able to get there," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in a statement. "Hopefully everybody understands now that the best success for a united caucus is for us to be consulted and be at the table."

Bill to End Yemen Siege Passes—No Thanks to MSNBC

Progressives—along with a handful of libertarian-leaning Republicans—finally passed a bill in both houses of Congress last week to invoke the War Powers act and end US support for the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen, an entirely one-sided war that’s killed thousands of Yemeni civilians over the last four years with assistance and direction of the US military.

The bill’s proponents achieved this human rights victory with virtually no help from America’s leading liberal cable network. As activist pressure on lawmakers mounted over the past few months, the nominally liberal media powerhouse MSNBC was once again AWOL. The 24-hour cable news channel has yet to cover the war in all of 2019, repeating a similar no-show record when activists were attempting to end the war last spring; MSNBC ignored Yemen entirely from September 2016 through July 2018 (FAIR.org, 3/20/18).

In August 2018, after almost two years of not doing a single segment on the US war on Yemen (August 31, 2016–August 9, 2018), Chris Hayes finally reported on a US-made bomb that killed over 40 children in a Yemen school bus. ...

The October 2, 2018, murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents, and the subsequent bipartisan, CIA-sanctioned outrage by US media that one of their own was killed, did provide cover for a handful of MSNBC segments on the Yemen siege in the final three months of 2018. But as that outrage receded, so too did the interest of Hayes (and MSNBC’s other big name hosts) to highlight Yemen.

Ecuador reminds Assange embassy stay can't be permanent

Ecuador reminded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange once again Tuesday that he can't stay in the nation's London embassy indefinitely.

Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said a permanent stay in the embassy's cramped quarters isn't a viable option for anyone.

"It wouldn't be good for his state of mind, his health," Valencia told broadcaster Teleamazonas.

The remarks come as relations between Ecuador and Assange grow increasingly tense.

The Looking Glass Splinters

Wherever one looks, it is evident that the post-war Establishment élites are on the backfoot. They maintain a studied panglossian hauteur. But whether it is in Britain, where a PM seems ready to sacrifice her own party’s future on the altar of maintaining the cosy nexus between big business and Brussels’ smug ambitions to be a global economic player, rivalling the US or China. Or, whether it is Trump’s readiness to put America’s financial system into fiscal and debt jeopardy, in order to keep the cogs and wheels of the Military Industrial Complex whirring and spinning comfortably – at a time when US government over-spending already threatens to break dollar ‘trust’. ...

More fundamentally, the question is rarely asked: can America truly Be Made Great Again (MAGA), its military totally renewed, and its civil infrastructure refurbished, when starting out from a position today (year to date) where its shortfall of Federal revenue to expenditure is 30%; where its debt is now so great that the US may only survive by again repressing interest rates to a (zombifying) near zero? And again, is it truly feasible to force manufacturing jobs back to a high-cost base America, from their low-cost, offshoring in Asia – against the backdrop of an America made progressively ‘higher-cost’, through its locked-in monetary inflation policies – except by crashing the value of the dollar to make this high cost base platform globally competitive again? Is MAGA realistic; or will the re-capture of jobs back to the US from the low-cost world end by triggering the very recession which the Central Banks so fear?

And as the post-war élites in America and Europe become more and more desperate to maintain the illusion of being the vanguard of global civilisation, how will they cope with the re-appearance of a ‘civilization-state’ in its own right: i.e. China? How will the EU respond to a Pentagon obsessed with China, China, China, when that China is building its BRI [Belt and Road Initiative] right into Europe? Will it – like America – opt for protectionism, and promote mergers and mega entities to compete with heavy US and Chinese corporations? Is Europe even capable of restraining the US, as the latter builds its military containment of China, and expects Europe to play along?

In Europe, the push-back against an entrenched élite French ‘system’ benefitting the few, and failing the many, threatens to upturn the political coherence of France. In the UK, Brexit threatens to blow the British political party system apart. Differences over the UK’s relationship with the EU have never been deeper, more salient, and more entrenched than they are now. The differences between the urban cosmopolitan élite of London and rest of the country have never been more marked. ... Brexit is becoming bigger than ‘Brexit’. Old party allegiances no longer operate, and are being surpassed. The two major parties are split. Formerly loyal activists are calling their party leaderships treacherous – or worse. The party signifier is no longer class, or historic family adherence: It is ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’. ...

It may be satisfying to think that this is an insular British reaction to Brexit, of little wider import. But that would be wrong. We are on the cusp of inflection. Is not similar occurring in the US, with the ‘deplorables’ (as latter day ‘Confederates’) facing-off against the northern urban liberals, much as in the US Civil War?

Brexit: May's hopes dashed as EU targets delay of up to a year

Theresa May’s request for a short Brexit delay has been torn up, putting the EU on track to instead extend Britain’s membership until 2020. Despite the prime minister’s desperate dash to Paris and Berlin to convince leaders of her plan to break the Brexit impasse, the European council president, Donald Tusk, signalled EU politicians’ lack of faith in her cross-party talks.

Against a backdrop of growing support among the EU27 for a lengthy Brexit delay, Tusk picked apart May’s appeal for a shorter delay to 30 June in a letter to the leaders inviting them to Wednesday’s summit, where they will agree the new end date. An EU diplomat said on Tuesday, following a late-night meeting of ambassadors, that the two end dates crystallising in EU capitals were the end of December or the end of March 2020.

A cabinet source voiced doubts over whether May could survive after presiding over such a long delay to Brexit, after previously having said she could not “as prime minister” accept a longer delay than 30 June. The source said some in No 10 now accept it is nearly game over and described all options as very difficult for the prime minister, raising questions about whether she can keep her warring party together much longer.

May signals she would accept EU offer of longer Brexit delay

Theresa May has signalled that she would accept the EU’s likely offer of a lengthy Brexit delay at a summit of leaders as the UK would still be able to leave when the withdrawal agreement is approved.

Arriving in Brussels, the prime minister said it would still possible for Britain to quit by 22 May if the Commons chose to approve her Brexit deal in the coming weeks.

Brexit limbo: how long does London need?

The first congressional hearing on white nationalism since Charlottesville was a train wreck

The House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on hate crimes and white nationalism was meant to be an opportunity to discuss the rising threat of far-right extremism and come up with targeted solutions. Instead, Tuesday’s hearing regularly veered off course — and into some of the most bitterly partisan debates of the moment.

The congressional hearing was the first since the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, to specifically address the threat posed by white nationalists. But Republican committee members and some of the panelists they’d invited railed against the media’s treatment of President Donald Trump, asked why they were discussing white nationalism instead of antifa, and yelled about Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, one of only two Muslim women ever elected to Congress. ...

“What I think the hearing illustrated is just how deep the political divisions are: so deep that we can’t have unanimity about hate crimes and white nationalism,” said Brian Levin, a national expert in hate crimes who heads the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “We’re on thin ice with all kinds of extremism — white nationalism in particular — and we missed a real opportunity to explore the risk.”

For example, Mohammad Abu-Salha, a grieving Muslim physician and father whose two daughters and son-in-law were murdered in an apparent hate crime at UNC Chapel Hill in 2015, was repeatedly made to answer for the crimes committed by fanatical jihadists. At one point, Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America and a staunch Trump supporter, proceeded to lecture Abu-Salha about Islam. “I am confused when the good doctor says that Islam does not promote hatred of Jews,” Klein said. “We need to have Muslims step up.” ...

Klein, who previously refused to apologize for using the term “filthy arab,” also spent his moments on the soapbox railing against Omar. He called her out by name at least three times.

Louisiana: advocates concerned after three black churches burned in a week

After three churches in central Louisiana were destroyed by fire in little more than a week, civil rights advocates have expressed concern that black congregations are being targeted. ... Authorities have called the fires “suspicious”. Late last week, Louisiana Fire Marshal H “Butch” Browning said “patterns” had been discovered. “There certainly is commonality and whether that leads to a person or persons or groups, we don’t know,” he said. ...

In the same two-week span, a fire was “intentionally set” at a predominantly white church in Caddo Parish, Louisiana and at a building housing a social justice not-for-profit group in New Market, Tennessee. At the Tennessee blaze, which destroyed the headquarters of the Highlander Center, authorities found graffiti associated with the white power movement. According to the center’s executive directors, the fire destroyed “decades of historic documents, speeches, artifacts and memorabilia” from the civil rights movement.

According to FBI data, hate crimes have been on the rise in the US since 2015. Johnson tied the fires to “emboldened racial rhetoric and tension spreading across the country”.

Trump says he's 'not looking' to restart family separation immigration policy

Donald Trump has said he will not reinstate the widely-condemned policy of separating children from parents who had illegally crossed the US-Mexico border, amid concerns over a renewed hardening of the White House’s stance on immigration. ...

Trump’s week began with turbulence in his cabinet after Kirstjen Nielsen, the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was ousted on Sunday following a disagreement on the best way to handle border security. The White House plans to remove more personnel in a purge of DHS leadership, an official familiar with the matter told the Associated Press. Trump, reportedly acting on the advice of his hardline immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, also announced the departure of the director of the Secret Service, Randolph Alles, on Monday.

Last week, Trump abruptly withdrew his nominee to lead Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (Ice), saying he wanted someone “tougher”. Top Republicans have cautioned Trump against more shakeups in the department, and the president faced bipartisan pushback on the idea of renewing the controversial family separation policy.

Oh looky, it's an impeachable offense.

Trump Reportedly Told Border Patrol to Refuse to Let Migrants in the US

During a visit to Calexico, California last Friday, President Donald Trump reportedly told Border Patrol agents to defy U.S. law and refuse to allow migrants into the country."Behind the scenes," CNN reported Monday, citing two anonymous sources, "the president told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don't have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, 'Sorry, judge, I can't do it. We don't have the room.'"

"After the president left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the president said they would take on personal liability," according to CNN. "You have to follow the law, they were told." ...

The president also aggressively pushed to reinstate his family separation policy, CNN reported, confirming earlier reporting from NBC. "He just wants to separate families," an anonymous senior administration official told CNN. ...

The president's increasingly erratic immigration rhetoric comes as he is carrying out staff changes that critics warn could make his policies toward migrants even more brutal.

Trump threatens tariffs on $11bn of EU imports such as food and wine

Donald Trump has threatened to impose US tariffs on $11bn (£8.4bn) of goods from the EU, raising the stakes in the transatlantic trade dispute between the world’s two largest economic superpowers.

The Trump administration announced the additional levies on EU goods – including roquefort and stilton cheese, wine and aircraft parts – as a response to subsidies for Airbus, the European aerospace and defence group, which it said were harmful to the US.

The latest threat by the White House to slap higher import tariffs on a major trading partner comes after a long-running dispute between the US and the EU over their state subsidy support for Airbus and Boeing, the world’s two biggest civil aerospace firms.

Obama Rips Progressives As Purists - Here’s Why

A Harvard Professor Filed a Shareholder Lawsuit to Restrict Shareholder Rights

Over the past two years, some senior officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission have indicated that they would be open to corporations foisting mandatory arbitration on their shareholders, and now a team of pro-corporate players are ready to put them to the test. Two lawyers have joined with a high-profile Harvard professor on a pivotal case that could strip away shareholders’ rights to sue public companies. The Harvard professor, Hal S. Scott, runs a Wall Street advocacy group supporting deregulation. The lawyers both made their names busting labor unions; one of them, Jonathan Mitchell, is a current Trump nominee, and social media posts link the other, Wally Zimolong, to discriminatory views.

A trust run by Scott, an emeritus professor at Harvard Law School, sued Johnson & Johnson in a New Jersey federal court last month, seeking to force the company to allow shareholders to vote on a proposal that would take away their right to sue the company in court. Johnson & Johnson, relying on a determination by the SEC that such a measure would risk violating New Jersey state laws, declined to present the proposal to shareholders in advance of its April 25 annual meeting. On March 26, the trust sought a court injunction to force the company to include the proposal. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Shipp denied the injunction but allowed the litigation to proceed.

The Doris Behr 2012 Irrevocable Trust lawsuit is in some sense perverse: a shareholder is seeking to restrict shareholder rights. But Scott has long decried class-action shareholder lawsuits as a boondoggle for lawyers and a burden on shareholders who bear the costs of defending and settling the suits. As president of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, he was an early proponent of rescinding shareholders’ rights to sue, suggesting in 2006 that shareholders be allowed to decide whether the companies they invest in should force arbitration. The Committee, according to a 2010 nonprofit filing, has been funded by such Wall Street titans as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Fidelity Investments, Deloitte, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and hedge fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin. In an op-ed in February, Scott said that most shareholder class actions “have no merit, damage shareholder interests, and tarnish the attractiveness of our public capital markets.” ...

What Scott has in common with attorneys Zimolong and Mitchell, according to F. Paul Bland, executive director at the watchdog organization Public Justice, is “an enormous zeal for the overdog.” ... Bland argues that a win by proponents of mandatory shareholder arbitration would wipe out the ability of small investors to fight back against fraud.



the horse race




#YachtCocaineProstitutes is trending all because of Devin Nunes

The #YachtCocaineProstitutes hashtag trending on Twitter Tuesday portrays Rep. Devin Nunes as a bumbling media critic ramping up a legal assault on his local newspaper. But the California Republican’s underlying lawsuit shows how public figures can use the courts to attack news organizations for coverage they don’t like. Nunes is suing the McClatchy Company, which owns 29 newspapers, for its reporting on an allegedly drug- and sex-filled party on a boat owned by a Napa Valley-based winery in which Nunes is a passive investor. Filed in a Virginia state court Monday, the defamation suit seeks $150 million in damages for what it says amounts to “character assassination.” ...

In his defamation suit in response to the Fresno Bee’s reporting, Nunes argues the media outlet “conspired” to push the narrative with Republican political strategist Liz Mair, who shared the article and other negative reports about Nunes on Twitter during his 2018 campaign. An outspoken critic of Nunes, Mair is named as a defendant in both the congressman’s lawsuit against McClatchy and a similar lawsuit he filed just weeks ago against Twitter. The complaint filed Monday framed Mair’s criticism of Nunes, the Bee’s reporting on the yacht rager, and McClatchy’s promotion of the piece across several of its newspapers as a nefarious plot to “interfere with [Nunes’] Congressional investigation of corruption by the Clinton campaign and alleged ‘collusion’ between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential Election.”


Americans fed up with Russiagate narrative of Dem campaigns… is it likely to change?



the evening greens

Two-thirds of glacier ice in the Alps 'will melt by 2100'

Two-thirds of the ice in the glaciers of the Alps is doomed to melt by the end of the century as climate change forces up temperatures, a study has found.

Half of the ice in the mountain chain’s 4,000 glaciers will be gone by 2050 due to global warming already baked in by past emissions, the research shows. After that, even if carbon emissions have plummeted to zero, two-thirds of the ice will still have melted by 2100.

If emissions continue to rise at the current rate, the ice tongues will have all but disappeared from Alpine valleys by the end of the century. The researchers said the loss of the glaciers would have a big impact on water availability for farming and hydroelectricity, especially during droughts, and affect nature and tourism. “Glaciers in the European Alps and their recent evolution are some of the clearest indicators of the ongoing changes in climate,” said Daniel Farinotti, a glaciologist at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and one of the research team. ...

In February, a study found that a third of the huge ice fields in Asia’s towering mountain chains were also doomed to melt because of climate change, with serious consequences for almost 2 billion people downstream.

Judge Rules Valve Turner Ken Ward Must Be Allowed to Present 'Necessity Defense' for Climate Action

The Court of Appeals for the state of Washington on Monday overturned valve turner Ken Ward's burglary conviction because he was not allowed to present a climate "necessity defense" of his role in the multi-state action to shut down tar sands pipelines in 2016.

"Kenneth Ward appeals his conviction for burglary in the second degree after he broke into a Kinder Morgan pipeline facility and turned off a valve, which stopped the flow of Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in Skagit and Whatcom Counties," wrote Judge David Mann, who sent Ward's case back to a lower court for a third trial.

"Ward intended to protest the continued use of tar sands oil," Mann added, "which he contends significantly contributes to climate change, and the inaction by governments to meaningfully address the crisis of climate change."

If Ward's case goes to trial once again, he will be allowed to present the necessity defense, explained the Civil Liberties Defense Center, which represented Ward.

'Radical Agents of Physical and Social Chaos': Campaigners Target Big Banks Over Destructive Fossil Fuel Projects

Environmental campaigners this week are pressuring a pair of big banks to stop pouring billions of dollars per year into destructive fossil fuel projects that drive the global climate crisis. A coalition of more than 100 groups sent a letter (pdf) to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan on Tuesday urging him "to refrain from any further financing of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and to urge other financiers to do the same."

If completed, the ACP would carry fracked gas 600 miles across West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. The pipeline is about two years behind schedule and $2 billion over budget, per an investor report released last month by Friends of the Earth and Oil Change International, which both signed the letter.

"As lead arranger and bookrunner for a loan to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, and especially as a multinational corporation that calls North Carolina home," the letter states, "Bank of America has a special responsibility to drop its support for this reckless project. The letter warns that "the ACP is economically and environmentally irresponsible; raises serious environmental justice, human rights, and climate crisis concerns; and does not build long-term shareholder value for its investors." It also faces several legal and regulatory hurdles.


"The pipeline would devastate diverse communities, cultures, ecosystems, and the climate along its route," said Friends of the Earth senior campaigner Donna Chavis. "Bank of America will share blame for the environmental disruption caused by this project." Bank of America is one of the top funders of fossil fuel projects, according to the most recent Banking on Climate Change report, published in March. The bank ranked fourth overall and invested more than $33 billion in dirty energy projects in 2018 alone. Its three-year total was more than $106 billion. Citi ranked third, and Wells Fargo second.

The top funder of fossil fuel projects—JPMorgan Chase, which spent nearly $64 billion last year and over $195 billion since 2016—is also under fire from campaigners this week. Similar to protests held last year, advocacy groups are organizing a national day of action for Wednesday, with #ShutDownChase actions planned at branches in over 20 cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.


Also of Interest

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

Intercepted podcast: Immoral Compass

Ray McGovern: Unaccountable Media Faced with Dilemma in Next Phase of Deep State-gate

Runaway Inequality Is a National Emergency, Billionaire Banker Warns

Wendell Primus, the Most Powerful Staffer in Congress, Represents a Generational Divide on the Left

In the land of El Dorado, clean water has become ‘blue gold’

Packed Primary May Let Superdelegates Screw Progressives Again

Nancy Pelosi and Cheri Bustos Continue Dividing Democratic Party, Take New Swipes at Ocasio-Cortez

Black hole picture captured for first time in space breakthrough

hat tip azazello:

Profiles In Ruling Class Chutzpah


A Little Night Music

Johnny Dodds & Blind Blake - South Bound Rag

Johnny Dodds' Washboard Band - Bucktown Stomp

Johnny Dodds Washboard Six - Weary City

Johnny Dodds Orchestra - When Erastus Plays His Old Kazoo

Johnny Dodds w/New Orleans Wanderers - Perdido Street Blues

Johnny Dodds and his Chicago Boys - Wild Man Blues

Johnny Dodds - Clarinet Wobble

Johnny Dodds Hot Six - Too Tight

Johnny Dodds - Come on and Stomp, Stomp, Stomp

Johnny Dodds - Piggly Wiggly

Johnny Dodds - Pencil Papa

Johnny Dodds and his Beale Street Washboard Band - Forty and Tight


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Comments

detroitmechworks's picture

Which means that the arrests and prosecution will be coming shortly. For the activists, I mean. The bankers won't even notice because they have people who deal with that for them.

Now, here's an idea that would just ensure that they get arrested and thrown in jail... go after AIPAC for contributing to the destruction of the environment through the billions of dollars in MIC spending that is never accounted for or acknowledged... Also bring up how many weapons and weapon technologies are test bedded in Israel, or as I think of it "America's R&D Division".

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8 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@detroitmechworks

yep, if you want to stop climate change, which is caused by capitalism run amok, cut off the destructive activity's capital supply.

considering the billions of dollars that are backing these profitable economic activities, the people standing in the way of those billions will be labelled "terrorists" and subjugated with all the force that government thugs can get away with applying.

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12 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

joe shikspack's picture

@dkmich

good for gravel for living his values.

thanks for the info, have a great evening!

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8 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

@dkmich
.
.

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2 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

Raggedy Ann's picture

I'm all for family separations - let's separate Herr Drumpf's grandkids from their parents. It might let them know how it feels to not know where your child is, if they are ok, if they are being abused, if they are in cages, if they are dying, etc. I say let's separate them NOW!

After the Israeli elections, I am having a hard time having any good thoughts about the people there who voted for more death and destruction of the Palestinian people. Fuck them.

Okay - now I feel better.

Have a beautiful evening, everyone! Pleasantry

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10 users have voted.

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”

-- Voltaire

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

yeah, it's great that a group of europeans could escape a stinking racist attempted ethno-state so that they could go inhabit the land that "god gave them" to form their own stinking racist ethno-state.

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10 users have voted.

The Russiagate Industrial Index numbers went down after the Mueller report. However, new markets in Russian Interference look to be emerging with profits particularly strong in defense, media, and academia.

Sorta ironic in a way with Trump putting tariffs on French cheese. Man, he knows how to kick the American elites in the nuts. Same thing happened when Putin put in counter sanctions cutting off EU agri-products into Russia. Russian upper middle classes lost their beloved French cheeses. BUT, then the Russian cheese industry I believe got subsidies and took off.

Ha, EU smugglers will not be smuggling in heroin, etc, but cheese into NYC. The new French Connection.

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joe shikspack's picture

@MrWebster

heh, i would surmise that the tariffs won't change the behaviors of the elites at all. inequality means that it will only be the mass distribution products consumed by price-sensitive middle class people that suffer. the wealthy elites don't object to paying more to demonstrate their good taste - in fact, if price creates a barrier to those they see as their lessers, the elite class seem to enjoy it all the more.

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lotlizard's picture

@joe shikspack  
advertised in glossy upscale magazines.

Apparently, rich people actually go for that sort of thing.

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5 users have voted.

@lotlizard
sold online.

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5 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

joe shikspack's picture

@lotlizard

yeah, i don't get it, either. i can sort of understand unique works of art commanding a stratospheric price, but a watch? really?!?

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4 users have voted.

@joe shikspack The elites can buy it. Only enhances their status when they get the shit we can't.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

has proposed a bill to destroy Medigap insurance--today, found out that Bernie's bill has the same provision. This won't stand--there are millions of seniors who are enrolled in Medigap plans/policies, who will promptly tell them to stick it. What on earth are they thinking? You'd think it'd be enough that Dems destroyed much of the private individual and group health insurance market when they cooked up the ACA--now this!

I'm pushed this evening, so, don't have time to outline everything. Maybe tomorrow. If I get a chance this evening, I'll swing back by and post a screenshot directly from Bernie's bill. Hopefully, it will be self-explanatory.

This is surreal. Now, I'll be forced to advocate against repealing the phase-out of Plans F and C, since his Bill will destroy those plans, too--if he manages to 'repeal their sunset' next year.

To top it off, I've heard no talk of them dropping their generous OAP benefits. One evening real soon, I'll post Bernie's physician's letter--the one that shows that's he's been using that benefit for all of his career.

Here's a blurb from the OAP entry (Wikipedia):

Routine care

OAP provides members of Congress with physicals and routine examinations, on-site X-rays and lab work, physical therapy and referrals to medical specialists from military hospitals and private medical practices. When specialists are needed, they are brought to the Capitol, often at no charge to members of Congress.[4]

Members of Congress do not pay for the individual services they receive at the OAP, nor do they submit claims through their federal employee health insurance policies. Instead, as of 2009, members pay a flat, annual fee of $503 for all the care they receive. The rest of the cost of their care is paid for by federal funding, from the U.S. Navy budget. The annual fee has not changed significantly since 1992.[4]

Gotta walk the Pup. Hopefully, I'll feel better, afterwards.

Increasingly, I'm beginning to believe that our entire federal bureaucracy is occupied by a bunch of sociopaths. And, frankly, that's a relatively charitable assessment.

Bad

On a happier note, the weather was absolutely gorgeous all day--although verging on a little too warm, to suit me. That was offset (somewhat) by a pleasant light breeze, most of the day. Of course, being April, we're looking for rain by the end of this week.

Hey, Everyone have a nice evening!

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

[Edited: Added bracket.]

PleasantryMollie

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8 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

heh. i was listening to national propaganda radio today when i went out to get lunch. they said that sanders had introduced his legislation today with a number of co-sponsors and that it would (if implemented) end private health insurance. furthermore, they stated that sanders-care (or berniecare) would pay for everybody's healthcare with no co-pays or out-of-pocket costs. employers would pay (from memory) about a 7.5% income-based premium and regular folks would pay a 4% income-based premium.

as i remember it, that was pretty much all of the detail that was presented.

so, my question is - does sanders-care really cover everything for everybody with no additional out of pocket expenses?

i suppose that if it does, then medigap insurance would be superfluous, so i'm guessing based upon your complaint that it doesn't cover everything.

what doesn't it cover that one would want medigap insurance for?

have a great walk with the pup (who i hope is doing well?) and have a great evening!

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snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Bernie was asked if private insurance would go away and he said pretty much. They will still be around in case people want their ears lifted or other non medical treatment. Elective surgery. So it sounds like medigap won't be needed. This sounds too good to be true, but it sure sounds nice.

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7 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack

about Medigap coverage?

Well, for one thing, Sander Levin's proposed bill goes after Medigap as a standalone policy 'reform.' IOW, it has nothing to do with the possibility of the passage of a MFA Bill. I'm 'guessing' that the intention behind his proposal is to pave the way for the passage of one of the Medicare Buy-In Bills.

In addition, it appears that the PtB are proposing changes in Medigap regulation/policy in order to set up a scenario in which more seniors feel comfortable electing to enroll into the privatized version of Medicare, or, Medicare Advantage (MA), instead of Traditional Medicare. I surmise this based upon a Kaiser study I've read--which claims that the prescribed 'reforms' would likely encourage more seniors to enroll in MA.

Also, if folks are wondering 'why' Bernie even addressed Medigap policies, it's because his proposal phases-in over a 4-year period. So, even if his MFA Bill was passed tomorrow, it would be 4 years before his "Medicare-like" managed-care system would be fully operational. Therefore, seniors would need to stay enrolled in Traditional Medicare and Medigap (or, Medicare Advantage) until such time as the new Universal Medicare program is up and running.

You may remember that I posted a blurb from Jayapal's Bill which flatly stated that once her MFA bill is enacted, no no more medical services will be rendered under Title XVIII--which 'is' the Traditonal Medicare program. This exact same blurb is in Bernie's 2019 Bill. So, no, in spite of Jayapal's dissembling with Amy and Juan on DN, neither her MFA bill, nor Bernie's, just "expands" the Traditional/Original 1965 Medicare program. They both completely dismantle Title XVIII. Their proposed bills explicitly spell that out.

Remember, though--I'm not in favor of any of the MFA Bills/Buy In Bills that I've seen, thus far, since all of them are reforming our system into managed care.

And, as far as we're concerned, we've been very well served by the combination of TM and Medigap Insurance--Mr M has received care from some of the best physicians/surgeons in the US, since his initial collapse in September of 2016. And, he hasn't had to seek the 'permission' of any person/insurer/gatekeeper in the course of determining his treatment plan.

Hey, I'll post the screenshot about the Medigap policy change, tomorrow. I could be wrong, but, I imagine that a good number of seniors who're currently enrolled in a Medigap plan, will be adamantly against the policy change. Others, especially seniors enrolled in MA, perhaps, not so much.

Wink

BTW, I hope that folks will bother to do the math. We did. (Based upon Bernie's 2017 MFA Bill.) And, using the proposed 4%, his MFA would be more costly for us than carrying the premiums for Traditional Medicare, Part D, and Medigap. Now, since we did that, the entire tax law's been reformed. So, we'll need to re-run the figures, and see where we stand.

Have a good one!

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

Mollie

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3 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

it looks like there are a lot more devils details to sort out.

i ran across this article a couple of minutes ago at commondreams that might or might not help you with your cost calculations...

'How Will You Pay for It?' Bernie Sanders Tackles Key Question on Medicare for All

...

The paper lists a number of policy changes that could help raise revenue for Medicare for All, including:

  • A 70 percent top marginal tax rate on Americans earning over $10 million per year;
  • A 77 percent top tax rate on estates above $1 billion;
  • A tax on "extreme wealth";
  • A "fee on large financial institutions";
  • A "7.5 percent income-based premium paid by employers, exempting the first $2 million in payroll to protect small businesses"; and
  • A four percent "income-based premium paid by employees, exempting the first $29,000 in income for a family of four."

now, how much income gets exempted from the 4% tax on a couple... i dunno.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack

info, Joe. I hadn't had a chance to try and ferret out info about the financing of this Bill, but, read that it's similar in some aspects to the 2017 MFA Bill. Of course, there has to been some differences, since the tax code has changed.

Also, appreciate the well wishes regarding Kaity. Last evening, in my rush to answer you before you turned in for the evening, I inadvertently failed to acknowledge your kind words.

I'll post a screenshot of the benefits of Plan F this evening. Excepting Part D RX's--and Congress could change that--all of a beneficiary's medical services/costs are paid for--without even having to lift a finger to file a claim, since it's automated, now, from POS with both the providers' offices, and, with Medigap insurers.

Easy-peasy.

SmileMollie

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

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2 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

janis b's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

I hope you both enjoyed the walk. I bet with your love and support, whatever challenges Katie is facing they will resolve themselves in a good way. Stay strong and all the best to your other halves as well.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@janis b

appreciate your kind and encouraging words. Little 'Kaity' definitely has a serious health challenge. We're just hoping that other organ systems aren't severely impacted, as well. (Which more advanced testing/imaging should shed some light on.)

Had a very nice walk. Of course, at this point, suppose I should say that "she walks me." Smile Both 'other halves' say thank you for the well wishes!

PleasantryMollie

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

up
2 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

janis b's picture

Thanks joe for the news and blues.

Johnny Dodds - Pencil Papa ... perfect old-fashioned strip-tease music!

I read the following two articles this morning regarding the discussion between Arab Israelis about whether or not to boycott yesterdays election. I’m sure it will sound familiar in some respects to discussions here regarding the efficacy of voting.

From, Should Israeli-Arabs boycott the election? Two Palestinian scholars debate …

“Parties still operate as the main organizing mechanism for political, social, civil and national issues,” Ali said, explaining that this transforms the elections from simply an electoral battle to one over Palestinian representation more broadly.

“Boycotting the Knesset elections does not, on its own, qualify as a strategy,” said Hawari, who completed her doctorate at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. “Rather, it must be a tactic that is part of an overall vision for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Those wanting to help create a new Palestinian political strategy must harness the momentum gained from the boycott campaign to develop alternative political spaces outside of Israeli institutional politics.

Here is an article that addresses the same discussion, but provides a lot more historical context.

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joe shikspack's picture

@janis b

yep, some of those arguments look pretty doggone familiar. it's well to remember that a campaign against voting is an electoral strategy. it is just another way to contest an election - and usually not a successful one in the absence of some other means of making change.

my sense is that if you want to use a boycott to make change, you need your boycott to challenge something that is more than merely symbolic. it needs to challenge something essential to the operation of the state.

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janis b's picture

@joe shikspack

like develop alternative political spaces outside of institutional politics, which have the potential to catalyse change in a more effective way than voting? What they would really need is to have a powerful voice in the Knesset, like Rabin was. Because there isn't that possibility in modern Israeli politics, what difference does voting really make?

The boycott was symbolic, and a statement of distrust in anything constructive happening, regardless of Arab representation in the Knesset. There seems to be little faith in the existing Arab party in parliament.

“Rather, it must be a tactic that is part of an overall vision for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Those wanting to help create a new Palestinian political strategy must harness the momentum gained from the boycott campaign to develop alternative political spaces outside of Israeli institutional politics.”

Enjoy the rest of your evening.

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joe shikspack's picture

@janis b

i am thinking particularly about things like work stoppages, etc. things that have an economic effect.

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5 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@joe shikspack

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dystopian's picture

AIPAC running ads against Bernie, the politician that probably has done as much of the right thing for the most people in America the last 40 years as any, against the most popular politician in America, shows how little interest they have in America or its people's well-being. AIPAC cares only about itself, its own agenda, the selfish egotistical bastards that they are, violating the law not registering as foreign agents. Lock THEM up!
One politician has been trying to do the right thing as much as possible within the framework he has, and they attack him. AIPAC is scum.

It is like the DNC running 3 establishment neolib candidates against Tulsi. Obviously they too do not care about the people's wishes, but only what they want, like the selfish children they are.

I can't believe Bibi won (it appears) again. The voters there have gone as far right as here. The poor Palestinians. Poor us.

So what are the odds on the Republicans coming up with a health plan before May gets a Brexit deal?

Obama is far too dirty a conman to criticize anyone for their purity. Talk about the shit calling the toilet bowl dirty!

We should send a thank you letter to Google and Devin Nunes' lawyer.

good tunes as always... thanks maestro!

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10 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture

@dystopian

yep, aipac is really working hard to demonstrate that they are an extremist group. bernie sanders is firmly within the mainstream of american political opinion on israel - and further, he has opposed bds - one of aipac's major bugaboos.

aipac claims to want bipartisan support, but it clearly demonstrates that it cannot live within the mainstream of even the highly-constricted bipartisan opinion.

and the horse they rode in on!

i am disappointed in obama. he called people out for "purity" but he failed to use the term "sanctimonious." must be an election year.

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lotlizard's picture

@joe shikspack  
Obama, calling torturers patriots who “have a difficult job” . . . people who think torturers ought to be prosecuted, on the other hand, Obama called “sanctimonious” —

It was one of the more loathsome moments in Obama’s administration that makes my blood boil when I think of it, so I prefer not to think about it.

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joe shikspack's picture

@lotlizard

sorry. there are some things that i have difficulty forgiving and/or forgetting. obama's attacks on people who operate from common decency still piss me off.

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janis b's picture

@dystopian

One politician has been trying to do the right thing as much as possible within the framework he has, and they attack him. AIPAC is scum.

AIPAC are 'unverschaemt'.

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snoopydawg's picture

lol AIPAC ain't being subtle about interfering with the election are they? That Israel has been playing with our government for a very long time should have made people laugh their hynies off at Russia doing it. But no... people bought hook, line and sinker and even though it's been debunked, as Mr. Webster says, the Russian interference story is still going strong. The only ones that looked at the DNC computers was CrowdStrike which has ties to the Atlantic Council.

Voters in Israel delivered an overwhelming endorsement of the status quo by re-electing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has promised to simply ignore waning international pressure to end Israeli military rule over a captive population of millions of Palestinians living, without civil rights, in the territories it seized in 1967.

There really isn't anything we can say about Israelis doing that since we were ready to elect Hillary and we knew what she did and wanted to do. And people were apparently willing to overlook Obama's warmongering. 

And I'm betting that Trump gets reelected

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9 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

heh, israel loves the more crooked war criminal.

like you, i would not be surprised in the least if the american elections came down to a choice between war criminals and the electorate chose the most obviously corrupt one.

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lotlizard's picture

@snoopydawg  
in Germany.

At any rate, German leaders, intellectuals, and pop-culture figures appear to be dependent on their approval, which hinges on prioritizing “far-sighted” globalism (E.U., NATO, “free trade”, the “Washington consensus”) and Israel ahead of “near-sighted” concern for the wants and welfare of actual German voters and audiences.

Guilt, guilt, guilt! History, history, history!

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snoopydawg's picture

@lotlizard

The Atlantic Council is full of people who used to be in our government, from NATO and many people foreign countries are involved with it. And our government helps pay the bills for them. It's almost like some people don't see borders between countries. The world is their playground and we are just renting space to play on it.

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6 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

enhydra lutris's picture

ok to have one or two things that were non-negotiable, that it was ok to have some principles that you would not sacrifice. Do you have any idea what, if any, his were? Did he ever draw a line in the sand, as far as you recall, other than that he would not accept drug importation or re-importation to be permitted under Obamacare?

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5 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

well, frankly, when some smooth-talking fella like obama decides that it's ok to torture whistleblowers or drone bomb 16 year old american kids because obama didn't care for their pedigree - any moral red line that obama might have strikes me that it would be laughably inconsequential.

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8 users have voted.