The Evening Blues - 4-11-18


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Guitar Slim

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features New Orleans blues guitarist Guitar Slim. Enjoy!

Guitar Slim - Later For You Baby

"Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach."

-- Joseph Stalin

News and Opinion

Chris Hedges: The Campaign to Exterminate Muslims

The Israeli army’s wanton slaughter of unarmed Palestinians trapped behind the security barriers in Gaza evokes little outrage and condemnation within the United States because we have been indoctrinated into dehumanizing Muslims. Islam is condemned as barbaric and equated with terrorism. The resistance struggle against foreign occupation, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Gaza, sees Muslims demonized as the enemy. Muslims are branded as irrational and inclined to violence and terrorism by their religious beliefs. We attack them not for what they do but because we see them as being different from us. We must eradicate them to save ourselves. And thus we perpetuate the very hatred and counterviolence, or terrorism, that we fear. ...

Israel’s slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people, justified by the racism and Islamophobia that are central to Israeli identity, has entered a new, deadlier phase. No longer constrained by any pretense of respecting human rights or a peace process, Israeli soldiers, although they are not threatened, fire indiscriminately into crowds of unarmed Palestinians, killing or wounding men, women, children, the elderly and journalists. The sheer number of the dead and wounded—nine or more Palestinians killed by Israeli fire and hundreds injured on Friday alone—testifies to raking the crowd with gunfire. In a civilized world, Israel would be immediately slapped with sanctions, boycotts and divestment—the only mechanism left to protect the Palestinian people from extermination—but we do not live in a civilized world. We live in a world where murder and racism are state policy, where the oppressed are dehumanized and unworthy of life and where our mutant demagogues and despots revel in the rivers of blood they create. ...

The Israeli massacre of Palestinians is a prelude to a dystopian, neocolonial world where global elites, hoarding wealth and controlling the mechanisms of power, increasingly resort to widespread bloodshed to keep the oppressed at bay. What Israel is doing to Palestinians—impoverished and trapped without adequate food, water and medicine in the open-air prison that is Gaza, a strip of land subject to repeated murderous assaults by the Israeli war machine—will be done to desperate climate refugees and citizens who rise up to protest the pillage by global oligarchs. Those who resist will be as dehumanized as Muslims. They too will be branded as terrorists. The global elites have a plan for the future. It is visible in the killing fields of Gaza.

'I'm A Holocaust Survivor—Trump's America Feels Like Germany Before Nazis Took Over'

Stephen B. Jacobs has a warning from the past for America today: It’s happening again.

At 79 years old he is among the youngest of the living Holocaust survivors and was born six years after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. But Jacobs can remember life in the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald; what the Nazis did to him, his family, his friends. He worries about what’s happening right now in America, where he has lived and prospered since arriving a couple of years after Buchenwald’s liberation on April 11, 1945.

The American far-right appears emboldened since the election of President Donald Trump, who led an inflammatory, nationalist campaign. Since then, clashes like the one in Charlottesville are becoming almost commonplace.

“Things just go from bad to worse every day,” Jacobs, a successful New York architect who designed the Holocaust memorial at Buchenwald, tells Newsweek. “There’s a real problem growing.” So much so that Jacobs thinks there’s a “direct parallel” with Germany between the two world wars.

Perhaps more alarming than the far-right getting braver is the seep into mainstream politics of their hate, their talking points, their rhetoric. “It feels like 1929 or 1930 Berlin,” Jacobs speculated, ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018 on Thursday. “Things that couldn’t be said five years ago, four years ago, three years ago—couldn’t be said in public—are now normal discourse. It’s totally unacceptable.

Russia Has Devised New Generation Of Nuclear Weapons W/Oliver Stone pt 2

Trump’s Military Strike on Syria Will Be Illegal

With much of the world bracing for Donald Trump’s new missile strikes on Syria, the president’s legal authority to attack Bashar Assad is conspicuously AWOL. Assad isn’t subject to either of the two authorizations Congress passed after 9/11 to bless the use of military force. He’s not part of al Qaeda, nor a successor organization like the Islamic State—which is dubiously covered under the 2001 authorization as it is—nor is he part of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The closest Trump aides have come to providing a domestic legal justification for striking Assad, offered by his former secretary of state, is that Trump possesses the inherent authority to do so as commander-in-chief, a gigantic assertion last used—and ultimately abandoned—by George W. Bush’s administration. The implications are large and ominous, according to a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “If [Trump] strikes Syria without our approval, what will stop him from bombing North Korea or Iran?” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

Trump’s casus belli is the apparent chemical weapons assault Assad launched on the Damascus suburb of Douma on Saturday. That assault, from which at least 70 are dead after an estimated 500 people were exposed, is “correctly characterized as a war crime,” said Mary Ellen O’Connell, an international law specialist at the University of Notre Dame. But that doesn’t mean the U.S. can legally respond, absent a United Nations Security Council resolution, which Assad’s ally Russia will veto. “Military force against Syria will violate international law just as surely as the use of chemical weapons. President Trump wants to enforce the law by breaking it,” O’Connell said. ...

Yet Congress typically does accept such broad assertions of presidential warmaking authority, as it’s the path of least political resistance. Congress stood idly by as Bill Clinton attacked Serbian forces in Kosovo in 1999 and as Barack Obama attacked Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011. Both of those were lengthy military campaigns, not one-off strikes like Trump’s 2017 cruise-missile strike on Shayrat.

With Latest Syria Threats, Trump Continues to Be More Confrontational Toward Russia Than Obama Was

The civil war in Syria began in 2011 and escalated for five years during the Obama presidency, yet Barack Obama — despite demands from leaders of both parties and think tanks across the spectrum — never once bombed Syrian government targets. Although the CIA under Obama spent $1 billion per year to covertly train and fund Bashar al-Assad’s enemies, it was never close to enough to topple him: just enough to keep the war going. But Obama never bombed Assad or his military assets: a decision which, to this day, is scorned across official Washington. ...

Indeed, not only did Obama refuse to risk military confrontation with Russia in Syria, he sought in 2016 — after Russia annexed Ukraine — to form a military partnership with Vladimir Putin to bomb agreed-to targets in Syria. In contrast to Obama’s efforts to avoid confrontation with Russia, his successor has been far more belligerent — not only in Syria, but elsewhere. In April of last year, Trump ordered the bombing of a Syrian military airfield near Homs; though it was quite limited, it was intended to send a message to Assad and Putin — and it was more than Obama was willing to do.

Over the past several days, Trump has made very clear that he intends to order another bombing campaign against Assad.

The exact danger Obama sought to avoid — military confrontation with Russia in Syria — is now upon us, being directly threatened by Trump. And Democrats — who spent years first scorning Obama for not becoming more militarily involved in Syria and then pushing Trump to be more hostile to Moscow — are, just as Clinton last year did, defending Trump’s military aggression. ... What makes this all the more dangerous is that Democrats, both because of ideology and political maneuvering, have painted themselves into a corner where they cannot possibly provide any meaningful, credible opposition to Trump’s increasingly dangerous path regarding Syria and Russia.

Trump says missiles 'will be coming' to Syria after suspected gas attack

As Nuclear Powers Trade Threats, Gorbachev Calls on US and Russia to 'Return to Sanity'

Amid escalating tensions between Russia and the U.S., former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev urged the two nations to "return to sanity" and said President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin should meet to engage in diplomacy rather than military confrontation over Syria.

Speaking to Interfax news agency, Gorbachev said Tuesday, "I am very alarmed."

"The situation hasn't been this bad in a long time, and I am very disappointed in how world leaders are behaving themselves. We see evidence of an inability to use diplomatic mechanisms. International politics has turned into exchanges of accusations, sanctions, and even military strikes," he said.

While he feels certain "no one wants a war," he noted the current "febrile atmosphere" and said that "ordinary people are not yet aware of the threat hanging over them."

Because Russia and the U.S. are at the sharp end of the current crisis, their leaders must meet," the Nobel Peace Prize laureate urged. "They need to meet half-way, for a day or two of serious negotiations with involvement from foreign and defense ministers."

Writing at TIME magazine last month—weeks before Trump warned that missiles "will be coming" at Syria and Russia's warning that any such missiles and their launch sites would be targeted in retaliation—Gorbachev argued that the achievements he and former President Ronald Reagan reached in terms of nuclear deescalation "are in jeopardy."

"More and more," he wrote, "defense planning looks like preparation for real war amid continued militarization of politics, thinking, and rhetoric."

As Tensions Soar, Turkey Warns US Bombing of Syria Could Set Entire Middle East 'on Fire'

As fears of a possible direct conflict between Russia and the United States mounted after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Moscow to "get ready" for missiles that "will be coming" at Syria in a series of tweets, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said in an interview Wednesday morning that a clash between the two nuclear powers in Syria could have devastating consequences across the Middle East.

"Just one spark may set the entire region on fire and open the door for the conflict," Canikli said in an interview on 24TV, a Turkish news broadcast.

"If an attack occurs against the forces [in Syria] backed by Russia or there is an attack by the U.S.-supported forces, Russia won't be able to stay away, otherwise it will lose its influence. So, serious clashes may start," Canikli added, urging the U.S., Russian, and Syrian governments to "act with restraint."

FSM help us, Tucker Carlson says a couple of intelligent things. If you can get past the garbage about the Mexican border wall, his arguments are surprising.

'Foreign Policy by Viral Video': Tucker Rips 'Talk Show Generals' Calling for War in Syria

Tucker Carlson blasted those who feel the latest gas attack targeting Syrian civilians is a call to declare war on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Carlson said "talk-show generals" and war hawk politicians like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have "no real idea what happened." ...

Carlson noted that shortly before the attack, President Donald Trump said he would like to see an end to American involvement in Syria. "How would [gassing civilians] benefit Assad?" Carlson asked, calling instant calls for a response "foreign policy by viral video."

We All Need To Unite Against War In Syria

Last night Fox’s Tucker Carlson did what may have been the most amazing thing that has ever happened on American television. As the drums of war beat louder than they have in years, Carlson stared right into the camera and did the exact opposite of what every mainstream US pundit is doing right now: he told the truth. He told the truth about Syria. He told the truth about Yemen. He told the truth about the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma. He told the truth about the bipartisan war machine which drops all pretense of opposition the instant it’s time for bloodshed. He told the truth about what war is, what it costs, and what it does to our world.

He stood in stark, unequivocal opposition to the trajectory the Trump administration appears to be moving along. And he did it on Fox News.

For that reason we also need to stop attacking each other. People keep telling me I need to denounce Glenn Greenwald for advancing the mainstream narrative about chemical weapons and Bashar al-Assad, despite the fact that he’s been consistently and aggressively opposed to western interventionism in Syria. We don’t have that kind of luxury, people. We don’t have the luxury of rejecting anyone who’s willing to stand against the war machine, let alone a fellow leftist with a large and influential voice. We need all the help we can get.

Glenn cleans up a bit after a spill in aisle 9:

Tucker Carlson and Glenn Greenwald Discuss Authoritarian Behavior of American Media Clamoring For War

Video shows the NYPD killed Saheed Vassel just seconds after confronting him

It appeared to take just seconds for New York City police officers to pull up at an intersection in Brooklyn, get out of their vehicles, draw their weapons, and fire fatal shots at Saheed Vassel, a bipolar black man. The killing, which happened April 4, triggered unrest in Vassel’s community and comparisons to Stephon Clark, a black man shot in the back several times by Sacramento Police in March. In both instances, police thought the suspect had a gun — they did not.

At about 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the video, an unmarked vehicle plus a police SUV swerves up to an intersection in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Officers exit their vehicles swiftly, with what appear to be guns apparently drawn. There’s no audio, but at 2 minutes and 55 seconds, pedestrians start running for cover. Vassel, 34, was later transported to Kings County Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead.

The rapid sequence of events leading to Vassel’s death is in keeping with eyewitness accounts. Jaccbot Hinds, 40, told the New York Daily News that officers didn’t warn Vassel or try to de-escalate the situation before opening fire. “They just hopped out of the car,” Hinds said. “It’s almost like they did a hit. They didn’t say please. They didn’t say put your hands up, nothing.”

It turned out that Vassel didn’t have a gun. He was wielding a metal pipe.

Why the NYPD Killing of Saheed Vassell Has Locals Worried About Gentrification in Brooklyn

As a matter of protocol, the New York Police Department does not make 911 calls public. In the rare occasions when it does, it is often in the service of building a narrative to justify police action. Such was the case at the end of last week, when, in response to growing community and online anger over the police shooting of Saheed Vassell in Brooklyn, police released partial transcripts of the 911 calls bringing their attention to the 34-year-old black Crown Heights resident with a well known history of mental illness.

The NYPD released the edited transcripts of three calls in which two unnamed individuals tell police that a man is pointing what looks like a gun at people, and a third caller states outright that it is a gun. One caller described Vassell as a “crazy man.” The police also made public edited clips of CCTV footage showing Vassell brandishing a silver, shiny object at a number of passersby — not a gun, but a small piece of metal piping. The point of releasing the transcripts and footage was clear: to convince an angered public that the 911 callers truly feared that a black man was threatening people with a gun in Crown Heights, and it was to this fear that police were responding.

In this fear — and its use as grounds for swift death-by-cop — Vassell’s Crown Heights community sees no justification, but rather another site of structural violence: gentrification. ... Vassell was well known and well liked in the community. Locals were well aware of his history of mental illness, but knew him to be harmless. Neighbors recalled that he was a regular feature outside Dons & Kings Barber Shop on Utica Avenue, offering to do odd jobs and chores. To longtime residents, he was known by name — not as some “crazy man.” For many, the very act of calling the police on a disturbed black man was proof of a sort of privilege that does not recognize the risks the police pose to black life, particularly when mental illness is involved.

“You are visitors in our communities,” Hortencia Peterson told the protest crowd — a mixture of locals and activists, many of whom were white — via megaphone. Peterson is the aunt of Akai Gurley, a young black man who was shot dead by police in 2014, despite being unarmed. “Stop calling 911. Blood is on your hands,” she said. Another protester, according to freelance journalist David Klion, said, “This is what your 911 call did. Stop killing black people. Stop killing black men. These officers are trained to murder black and brown people.”

Yvonne Staples, singer-manager with the Staple Singers, dies aged 80

Yvonne Staples, who sang alongside her family in the gospel-soul group the Staple Singers, has died aged 80, of colon cancer she was diagnosed with just two weeks ago.

She died at home in the South Shore area of Chicago, in the care of her siblings Mavis and Pervis Staples – all three sang in the group at various points, along with their late father Roebuck “Pops” Staples and late sister Cleotha Staples.

the horse race

Mike Pompeo Could Go Down If Senate Democrats Decide to Fight

Democratic activists around the country have become energized by the nomination of Mike Pompeo as the new secretary of state, kicking off a bout of organizing around foreign policy that has little precedent outside the lead-up to an imminent invasion. The question now is whether that enthusiasm will transfer to Senate Democrats themselves, or whether they will usher him through as they did in January 2017 when he was confirmed as CIA director. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., voted to confirm Pompeo last year. ...

Pompeo, who previously represented Kansas in Congress, will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, where Republicans hold a one-member advantage. But with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., having already announced his opposition, that means a united Democratic front could reject Pompeo in committee.

A nominee can still be brought to the floor for a vote despite having been shot down in committee, but nobody has been successfully confirmed that way in at least 40 years. The last to try, coincidentally, was John Bolton in 2005, when the committee recommended against his appointment as U.N. ambassador. He was filibustered on the floor and ultimately snuck through as a brief recess appointment. ...

That Pompeo was nominated along with Gina Haspel has only added fuel to the opposition. Haspel, deputy director of the CIA, has been named to head the agency, but she was intimately involved with the Bush administration’s torture program. (Her confirmation hearing is expected to be scheduled later this month.) The selection of the uber-hawk Bolton to be national security adviser one week after Pompeo and Haspel’s nominations frightened people into action, said Stephen Miles, director of Win Without War. “When Donald Trump hired John Bolton, the fight over Mike Pompeo went from being about just another terrible Trump nominee to potentially the difference between going to war or not,” he said. “What we’re hearing from our activists and our partners are that people are fired up.” (Bolton’s first day in the White House was Monday.)

Paul Ryan stepping down is a gift to House Democrats ahead of the midterms

House Speaker Paul Ryan will not run for re-election in November, according to a report Wednesday from Axios — a move that will significantly bolster Democrats’ ambitions of retaking the chamber in the November midterms.

For the 48-year-old Republican, long rumored to be leaving office, the decision to stand down was taken in consultation with confidants Tuesday night, Axios reports.

the evening greens

Trudeau government refuses to release secret briefings about Kinder Morgan protests

The Trudeau government says it was warned by public servants about the risks of civil disobedience or protests in advance of its 2016 decision to approve the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project. But it wants to keep these warnings, delivered to ministers through internal briefings, a secret. Natural Resources Canada confirmed, in a new response to a request made by National Observer through access to information legislation, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet ministers were briefed internally about these topics in November 2016. But it has refused to release any of the material, citing a section of Canada's access to information legislation that allows the government to withhold records containing what it considers to be privileged information meant only for cabinet ministers.

"The documents which are relevant to this request have all been exempted from disclosure," the federal department said in its response to the access to information request in a letter dated April 9. ...

Revelations about the warnings have coincided with Kinder Morgan's threat to walk away from the project in the absence of guarantees that the federal government can ensure it can be built, despite strong opposition in British Columbia.

In Ottawa, Trudeau's cabinet held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss how to respond to what business leaders, bankers and oilpatch executives have described as a "crisis." A number of options are on the table, including investing taxpayer money to buy a stake in the fossil fuel project as well as invoking rarely-used constitutional powers to drive the project to its completion through B.C.

Starving polar bears are now the “poster species” for climate change deniers

When a video of an emaciated and bedraggled polar bear searching for food on dry land emerged as a viral symbol of climate change in December, skeptics came running. “I’ve called this practice of filming dead or dying bears and splashing the photos across the pages of newspapers and the internet 'tragedy porn' — a kind of voyerism [sic] that leaves people open to emotional manipulation,” wrote Susan Crockford, a zoologist on her blog at the time. “The internet laps it up.”

In truth, no one knows if melting sea ice caused that particular bear’s food shortage. The bear could have been sick, not starving because of climate change, as scientists pointed out. Without an autopsy, no one can know for sure.

But a new study, published online Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal BioSciences, revealed that polar bears have, in fact, become a “poster species” for climate skeptics and deniers. Looking at 90 blogs — half of which recognized humans' role in climate change and half of which denied it — the researchers found that bloggers who deny melting sea ice or the plight of the bears also peddle misinformation to their readers about climate change. These bloggers exploit the difference between what scientists know for sure and what they can say is very likely, the researchers found. ...

Even one of the scientists who co-authored the study urged caution after the polar bear video went viral. “We cannot say, from the footage captured here, that this bear’s malnutrition was caused by global warming and its associated sea ice loss,” Steven Amstrup of Polar Bears International wrote in a blog post at the time. But climate-denying bloggers, out to prove that global warming is a hoax, have latched onto that uncertainty and used it to push climate denialism. “The climate-denying blogs were saying that any level of uncertainty creates an opening for doubt,” Meena Balgopal, a professor of biology at Colorado State University and one of the study’s authors added.

Nicaragua fires: aid from Costa Rica rejected as blaze destroys rainforest

Fires have raged in one of Nicaragua’s most important protected areas of tropical forest for more than a week, but the government has rejected an offer of assistance from neighbouring Costa Rica. Environmentalists in the Central American country have called on the government to appeal for international help to battle the blaze, which broke out in the Indio Maíz biological reserve on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast on 3 April and is estimated to have consumed more than 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres) of tropical rainforest.

“This is possibly the most dramatic ecological disaster ever experienced by Nicaragua, because it’s affecting a tropical rainforest – a very delicate and valuable ecosystem,” the prominent environmentalist Jaime Incer Barquero told the newspaper La Prensa.

Earlier this week, Costa Rica dispatched a team of firefighters – equipped with trucks, pumps and drones – to its northern border with Nicaragua, but they were turned away, the Costa Rica government said in a statement. The statement added that Nicaraguan officials said they would use the country’s own resources to fight the fires and Costa Rican assistance was unnecessary. But the environmentalist Gabriel Jaime, a member of the Nicaraguan environmental NGO Fundación del Río, noted that “relations between the countries have not been the best” due to a long-running border dispute.

A Mexican air force helicopter equipped for fighting fires has been allowed to operate in the affected area, and Nicaraguan officials say at least 800 soldiers have been dispatched. The Nicaraguan government says fires have charred 3,585 hectares in the reserve, but environmentalists warned the figure was likely to be much higher.

Also of Interest

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

Intercepted Podcast: A Nation Addicted to War

When A Government Declares A Verdict Before An Investigation, It’s Because There’s A Preexisting Agenda

A Little Night Music

Guitar Slim - Quicksand

Guitar Slim - I Got Sumpin' For You

Guitar Slim - If I Should Lose You

Guitar Slim - I'm Guitar Slim

Guitar Slim - Stand By Me

Guitar Slim - Standin' At The Station

Guitar Slim - Oh yeah

Guitar Slim - Trouble Don't Last

Guitar Slim - You Give Me Nothin' But The Blues

Guitar Slim - Think It Over

Guitar Slim - Letter to My Girlfriend

20 users have voted.


mimi's picture

...I think it feels like Germany after the Nazis took over.

Good Evening, Joe and EB friends. Thanks for the EB.

11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


well, it feels to me like the evolution is different here. the government and the police are already fascist, but a lot of the public hasn't quite caught on. to me it feels like that frank zappa quote:

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

-- Frank Zappa

11 users have voted.
OLinda's picture

@joe shikspack

That certainly fits with my feeling (awareness) that we have no freedom at all, and any person in any kind of position of authority can do whatever they want to you at any time. Your only recourse is if the ACLU takes it on, or if it happens to get seriously picked up by the national media. Then TPTB may back down in the publicity in order to continue the facade. Maybe you will get some money AFTER you have been irreparably harmed and damaged.

4 users have voted.

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

mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
... may be the ones who haven't caught on today are as intimidated as the ones who hadn't caught on back then ... just saying.

but a lot of the public hasn't quite caught on. to me it feels like that frank zappa quote:

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

... for whom it will become too expensive to believe in the illusions of freedom, equality and justice? If it's not the missing corporate profits of money that makes a change of the stage setting necessary, I think it is the missing morals and ethical consciousness that breaks down the spirit of the population.

I am not so sure if such a break down would just lead the population to go along pulling back the curtain and rearrange the tables and chairs on the stage. Could it not be that the desperate people will storm on the stage and smash the setting, run with their heads against the brick wall and set the theater on fire?

Inciting hate feelings, reckless hate speech is hurting too many people's feeling of not being taken seriously - worldwide. I don't think they will go along with "rearranging the tables" on the set. Loss of profits is one thing, loss of dignity and justice consciousness is another. The second one bites more and hurts longer and often is not forgotten for three generations.

I admit I am way behind in reading. But it is rare to witness such open public hate speech among 'certain circles' on the world's political stage.

I don't know anymore, if I should hope the hate inciters will get paid the proper price for their 'deals' or not.

I need to read more. It's too difficult to follow and also too painful. I want the hate inciters being contained in appropriate straight jackets. May be I am out of my mind.

4 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


... for whom it will become too expensive to believe in the illusions of freedom, equality and justice?

you accidentally changed a key word in that sentence, giving it a different meaning.
the sentence should read: "too expensive to maintain in the illusions of freedom, equality and justice"

it refers to the powers that be (ptb). there is a calculus suggested by zappa, which is that the ptb go to some effort and expense to foster the idea in the public mind that americans experience freedom, equality and justice.

i would note that many average americans reflexively believe that they experience these things, despite the fact that they may at some points complain of ways in which their experience of these things is diminished by government actions. if challenged with the contradiction, most of these folks will fall back on patriotic rhetoric about the usa being the most free/equal/just country on earth. (the stadium version of this is, "we're number one! usa! usa! usa!")

this reflexive response is no accident. there is a machinery that perpetuates it.

zappa's point is that there may come a time for some reason, perhaps a cognitive contradiction arises that is so large and so prevalent that it defeats the effect of the acculturation/propaganda machinery, that the ptb will simply resort to the exercise of raw power.

as such, our current regime of "friendly fascism" would end.

0 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

What's up with that?

Ever since he went to the Intercept he has shown a disturbing propensity to pull punches and advance narratives the old Glenn would have called BS on without a second thought.

Reminds me of Taibbi's mysterious Hillbot conversion in 2016.

Maybe they've had some sort of brain chip implanted that makes them involuntarily advance establishment claptrap?

11 users have voted.


joe shikspack's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

yeah, i've been surprised at greenwald's tolerance at the intercept for what i would have thought were things that he would have called out in a previous incarnation. i was somewhat heartened when he finally stood up and challenged james risen for some of the ridiculous things that he put into an article recently.

i'm not ready to throw him under the bus, though, as he remains mostly sensible.

11 users have voted.
OLinda's picture

@joe shikspack

Good evening, joe!

Glenn has pointed out that he is not an editor or editor in chief. There are others who hold those roles. The Intercept grew and he is just one of many reporters to hear him say it. I'm not sure if that jibes well with his being co founder of the place. Seems some say so should come with that, but apparently he relinquished it. Of course in general you don't want anyone calling the shots and saying what each reporter can and cannot report on, hmm?

His clarification of his position came up during the Reality Winner fiasco when everyone was blaming Glenn, when he had no involvement with the story either in the writing of it, or checking it and verifying, etc. He should have had involvement in planning security procedures for the place, imho.

Wonder when Risen's next installment will occur. Supposed to be on collusion. The wind may be a little out of his sails.

4 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


i am quite in support of journalists (even those i disagree with) having the platform to print and discuss the product of their investigations and thinking. i would have thought as well that greenwald would feel more, i don't know, responsible for or involved with the material that the site he founded publishes.

while much of what i read there is quite good, there have been some real clunkers (like risen's piece) that could have profited from some editorial attention.

5 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
I think we do ourselves a disservice when we do that. People will say, "such-and-such a person said something wrong, they sold out, I will never trust them again." I'm not sure that's wise. Ideas are ideas. I try to judge them on their merits. I guess I agree with FoxNews and Tucker Carlson now, at least on Syria. I thought Amy Goodman blew it when she fell for the "White Helmets" bullshit, but I still listen.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i'm with you on that.

6 users have voted.

propaganda footage & then she transitions into something really important. Facebook hearings!
Thank you Tucker Carlson for roasting that jackass congressman about this illegal war in Syria.

10 users have voted.

chuck utzman

TULSI 2020

joe shikspack's picture


it was quite a surprise to hear carlson making sense, but certainly not unwelcome.

6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack
Tucker Carlson video?
as of TC 6:51

He suggest one should support the Lindsay Graham constitutional amendment, which is supposed to state this: (this is not an accurate transcript, there might be words sligtly misplaced, but I think it's accurate enough - I took it from the video's text).

Congress ought to consider a new amendment. Let's call it the Lindsay Graham amendment. It should say: Congress should topple no government until it finishes rebuilding the last government. And furthermore talk show Generals shall be required to personally visit the battle field of every war. That would have an immediate and positive effect. Let's hope it passes.

What? Is he kidding me or himself or what kind of bs amendment is that supposed to be? It makes everything he said before ridiculous, imo. If Tucker Carlson didn't mean that as snark, which he never should do on TV without making it very clear, I won't consider his weasel art of being confusing.

Also, he talks about Howard Dean riding on Lindsay Graham's coat tails.

See as of TC 0:51
I's about Lindsay Graham and Howard Dean agreeing. Howard Dean saying he "wants total war on Syria" in one of his response twitters.

Do I remember that correctly? Wasn't Howard Dean raised in a more Republican oriented well-to-do household in his youth in Vermont? I read through Howard Dean's Wikipedia page. If you read through the section on Howard Dean's Yale years (in case you are interested), you will see that he is 'well versed' with racial and civil rights issue and knows how to navigate them.

Well, that is the nice way to express myself about him. Because I see that differently. But what the heck. Now he wants total was on Syria. Great move, Howard Dean. And more idiotic and slimy as Lindsay Graham's supposed amendment apparently is, it can't get - again in my most humble opinion of course. Bless both, Lindsay's and Dean's heart. And I mean it. Arggh.... I guess I have to inform myself of what is in that Graham amendment text. Shit.

Nope, just because some talking show host figures that it's time to consider some cold feet he is getting and trying to wiggle them out of what will be seen their own biggest nonsense they talked in the past, doesn't mean much to me. I think there is a limit to how far you try to go to turn your coat.

Sigh. Sorry. I am slow to catch up reading and listening. Meanwhile something is happening in Syria. Something, something, I think it has to do with war, police etc. Can't read as fast as I try to respond here.

1 user has voted.
joe shikspack's picture


What? Is he kidding me or himself or what kind of bs amendment is that supposed to be? It makes everything he said before ridiculous, imo. If Tucker Carlson didn't mean that as snark, which he never should do on TV without making it very clear, I won't consider his weasel art of being confusing.

i think that it was indeed intended as a kind of snark.

i imagine it would be kind of like a german news commentator suggesting that there ought to be a law called the "alternative fur deutschland be nice to refugees and immigrants law."

I's about Lindsay Graham and Howard Dean agreeing.

howard dean has (as they say in the politics business) "evolved" considerably over the years. he has morphed from a "peace candidate" into a raving lunatic warmonger. he and lindsey graham, who has never seen a brown person he didn't want to bomb, have become virtually the same political person.

their agreement is not at all surprising these days, but the comparison is a legacy of political campaigns of the past.

0 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

How many times since 2006 have those words been written? Too damn many times to think that they will do what people want them to that's for sure . Both Pompeo and Haspel will be confirmed because the rule of law is dead in this country. Who was the last war criminal that was even charged?

I'm not that surprised that Glenn has drunk the kook aid. Or that Amy had him on her show. Amy sold herself out a few years ago for only a million dollars. Who did she sell out to? The Carnegie foundation as well as the Ford foundation. Soros might have been involved in the deal too. She had one of the worst pro Syrians on her show last year who lied his buttocks off to convince people that the Syrian war was righteous.

Oh yeah. While the world is up in arms about the possibility of war with Russia, congress spent the day talking to Zuckernburf about the Facebook data. Zuck told them that social media might need to be regulated one day. This makes me feel like the Facebook hearings are all about the upcoming censorship that's going to happen on many websites. Fun times.

11 users have voted.

The public has been conditioned over time—in ways that would make Pavlov’s dawg seem like an in independent thinker

joe shikspack's picture


yeah, i'm certainly not getting my hopes up that the senate democrats will make a modest moral stand that would not be necessary if obama had not been a slimy, weaselly, forward-looking war criminal. i'm sure that there are enough war-loving jackass democrats in the senate to make sure that some bloodthirsty, torture-loving, war-mongering jackals get installed in the executive.

heh, of course social media will eventually require the tender ministrations of the thought police.

8 users have voted.
OLinda's picture

I don't have a problem with Glenn. I'm not as up on Syria as I should be, and haven't watched the video w/Glenn yet. Apparently, he thinks it was the Assad govt responsible for the chem attack. But, that's his opinion, and he says it should be investigated and evidence shown. He is obviously saying he has not seen evidence; it's just his thought. I would like to ask him why he thinks it was Assad. What informed his thinking? Sounds partly like he thinks that because they have been responsible in the past. But, that's just one tweet, so not fair to use it to judge him completely.

I highly doubt he has sold out.

Guess I better watch the video.

6 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


it would probably be worth your while to watch it and see what all the shouting is about.

in my view, the problem revolves around part of one sentence that glenn uttered, "... the evidence is quite overwhelming that the perpetrators of this chemical weapons attack, as well as the previous ones, is the assad government..."

greenwald (as of last night when i read his twitter thread) has characterized the outcry against this as a complaint against his failure to support a particular left orthodoxy.

i disagree with him there. he stated something pretty emphatically as fact, was asked to provide support for his assertion and has failed to do so.

i don't know whether greenwald is aware of the considerable body of evidence that counters the assertion that assad is responsible for numerous chemical attacks that have occurred since he surrendered his chemical weapons and manufacturing facilities - but i think that it is incumbent upon him as a journalist speaking to the topic to make a diligent and somewhat rigorous investigation of the evidence available such that he can support the assertions that he makes.

as far as i am concerned, in our current atmosphere of information warfare, all analyses of culpability for one or all of the incidents in question are speculative at this point.

i personally feel that the evidence that i have read (from folks like robert parry, theodore postol, etc.) suggest that it is not appropriate to conclude that assad is definitely behind all of the recent chemical attacks in syria.

if greenwald has made a reasonable effort to investigate the available evidence and leans toward another conclusion, that is fine with me - but i feel that he needs to be willing to discuss the matter candidly if he is going to make blanket conclusive assertions.

one last small point:

i think greenwald is wandering into logical fallacy territory here.

if someone other than assad is responsible for the recent chemical weapons attacks, let's say, oh for instance al qaeda (or whatever they are calling themselves in syria these days) did it, acknowledging that fact would not be "support for dictators."

we don't live in a world where, if assad's enemies do something bad, it makes assad "the good guy." it is quite possible in the world we live in for lots of people, organizations or governments to all be doing bad things in the same theatre of war.

i think greenwald may be going a little overboard to protect his failed contention.

that said, on the whole, i agree with his other points on the issue. so there you go.

not that you asked for my opinion. Smile

9 users have voted.
OLinda's picture

@joe shikspack

joe, I always want your opinion!

I see he says there is overwhelming evidence, and then also - from a tweet in your essay - that chemical weapons were used & that Assad did it should be fully accepted only after a credible investigation and evidence presented.

So, he has evidence, but not real, actually seen evidence? He certainly did muddle it.

he stated something pretty emphatically as fact, was asked to provide support for his assertion and has failed to do so.

I didn't see where he was asked to provide support. That was one of my comments - that I'd like to know what it was that formed his opinion. My thought is the same, - fine if he thinks a certain way, but just tell me why you (Glenn) think that.

Thank you for your comments!

4 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


I didn't see where he was asked to provide support.

i saw that on his twitter feed.

if you check out this thread, you'll find folks making various iterations of that question, like this one, for example:

4 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@joe shikspack

Something you say things less than ideally. I think the most likely perpetrator of this attack is Syrian Govt. I think evidence is overwhelming for prior attacks. I don't think one can say "overwhelming" for this attack. I am 100% against western intervention.

...he still pushes the false narrative of Assad's complicity in past attacks and continues to claims the evidence is 'overwhelming' - when it is anything but.

Glenn surely knows better, yet even in retreat he still pushes the Big Lie on Assad and WMD.

IMO Glenn deserves everything he's gotten on this. It's hardly an exaggeration to say we are dangerously close to WWIII, which makes the stakes far too high to tolerate limited hangouts and fake news even (especially) by those trading on their past credibility.

5 users have voted.


joe shikspack's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

IMO Glenn deserves everything he's gotten on this.

i think that it is completely appropriate for people to push greenwald hard to support his claims, particularly since he seems resistant to doing so.

he is a journalist, he is responsible for what he says in a way that joe bloviator down at the corner bar is not.

It's hardly an exaggeration to say we are dangerously close to WWIII, which makes the stakes far too high to tolerate limited hangouts and fake news even (especially) by those trading on their past credibility.

i am not ready to attribute to malice what can easily be explained by hubris at this point. i certainly agree with you on the stakes here. i believe that it is important to continue to pressure greenwald to address this matter honestly and forthrightly in his capacity as a journalist.

3 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

But 'Murica would rather have disease and addiction management.

8 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

yes, yes, but where's the profit in that? /s

5 users have voted.