The Evening Blues - 5-16-22



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Louisiana Red

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues guitarist Iverson "Louisiana Red" Minter. Enjoy!

Louisiana Red - Let Me Be Your Electrician

"They used to call you crazy if you warned that we’re being propagandized to support a war with Russia. Now they call you crazy if you don’t support the war with Russia."

-- Caitlin Johnstone


News and Opinion

Pentagon-Funded Think Tank Simulates War With China On NBC

NBC’s Meet the Press just aired an absolutely freakish segment in which the influential narrative management firm Center for a New American Security (CNAS) ran war games simulating a direct US hot war with China.

CNAS is funded by the Pentagon and by military-industrial complex corporations Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, as well as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, which as Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp notes is the de facto Taiwanese embassy in the US.

The war game simulates a conflict over Taiwan which we are informed is set in the year 2027, in which China launches strikes on the US military in order to open the way to an invasion of the island. We are not told why there needs to be a specific year inserted into mainstream American consciousness about when we can expect such a conflict, but then we are also not told why NBC is platforming a war machine think tank’s simulation of a military conflict with China at all.


It happens that the Center for a New American Security was the home of the man assigned by the Biden administration to lead the Pentagon task force responsible for re-evaluating the administration’s posture toward China. That man, Ely Ratner, is on record saying that the Trump administration was insufficiently hawkish toward China. Ratner is now the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs in the Biden administration.

It also happens that the Center for a New American Security has openly boasted about the great many of its other “experts and alumni” who have assumed senior leadership positions within the Biden administration.

It also happens that CNAS co-founder Michele Flournoy, who appeared in the Meet the Press war games segment and was at one time a heavy favorite to become Biden’s Pentagon chief, wrote a Foreign Affairs op-ed in 2020 arguing that the US needed to develop “the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours.”

It also happens that CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine has been featured all over the mass media pushing empire narratives about Russia and China, telling Bloomberg just the other day that the war in Ukraine could serve the empire’s long-term interests against China.

“The war in Ukraine could end up being bad for the pivot in the short-term, but good in the long-term,” Fontaine said. “If Russia emerges from this conflict as a weakened version of itself and Germany makes good on its defense spending pledges, both trends could allow the US to focus more on the Indo-Pacific in the long run.”

It also happens that CNAS is routinely cited by the mass media as an authoritative source on all things China and Russia, with no mention ever made of the conflict of interest arising from their war machine funding. Just in the last few days here’s a recent NPR interview about NATO expansion with CNAS senior fellow Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a Washington Post quote from CNAS fellow Jacob Stokes about the Chinese threat to Taiwan, a Financial Times quote from CNAS “Indo-Pacific expert” Lisa Curtis (who I’ve previously noted was cited by the mass media for her “expert” opposition to the US Afghanistan withdrawal), and a Foreign Policy citation of the aforementioned Richard Fontaine saying “The aim of U.S. policy toward China should be to ensure that Beijing is either unwilling or unable to overturn the regional and global order.”

As we’ve discussed previously, citing war machine-funded think tanks as expert analysis without even disclosing their financial conflict of interest is plainly journalistic malpractice. But it happens all the time in the mass media anyway, because the mass media exist to circulate propaganda, not journalism.

This is getting so, so crazy. That the mass media are now openly teaming up with war machine think tanks to begin seeding the normalization of a hot war with China into the minds of the public indicates that the propaganda campaign to manufacture consent for the US-centralized empire’s final Hail Mary grab at unipolar domination is escalating even further. The mass-scale psychological manipulation is getting more and more overt and more and more shameless.

This is headed somewhere very, very bad. Hopefully humanity wakes up in time to stop these lunatics from driving us off a precipice from which there is no return.

If Ukraine Is Winning Why Is The U.S. Requesting A Ceasefire?

Yesterday the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu.

Why?

The U.S. readout of the call says:

On May 13, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu for the first time since February 18. Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.

Austin initiated the call and the U.S. is seeking a ceasefire in Ukraine!!!

Are we not told that the Ukraine is winning the war? That it will soon push the Russian forces back over the border? The operation to 'weaken Russia', which Austin had publicly announced two weeks ago, does not seem to go that well.

The Chris Hedges Report: Ukraine and the Resurgence of American Militarism

Finland and Sweden confirm intention to join Nato

The leaders of Finland and Sweden have confirmed they intend to join Nato, signifying a historic Nordic policy shift triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that will redraw the security map of Europe.

Abandoning decades of military non-alignment, the two countries’ governments will present their proposals to their respective parliaments on Monday and are expected to formally submit a joint membership application to the 30-member alliance as soon as the decisions are ratified. ...

However, Turkey has expressed dissatisfaction over Finnish and Swedish membership, which requires the unanimous approval of the alliance’s members. The Turkish foreign minister said on Sunday that Sweden and Finland must stop supporting terrorist groups in their countries and provide clear security guarantees.

Speaking after a Nato foreign ministers’ meeting in Berlin, Mevlut Cavusoglu said he had met his Swedish and Finnish counterparts and they were seeking to address Turkey’s concerns, adding that Turkey was “not threatening anybody” but that while Finland’s approach was conciliatory, Sweden was not being so constructive.

“There absolutely needs to be security guarantees here. They need to stop supporting terrorist organisations,” Cavusoglu said. Ankara is particularly concerned about Sweden’s support for the PKK Kurdish militant group, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and the US.

Russia WARNS West As Finland, Sweden RUSH To Join NATO

Russia Cuts Off Electricity to Finland as Tensions Grow Over NATO Expansion

The small portion of electricity supplied to Finland by Russia was cut off Saturday just hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Finnish counterpart directly that it would be a "mistake" for his country to join NATO.

The call between Finland President Sauli Niinistö and Putin was the first direct talks between the two leaders since Finland said it will soon apply for NATO membership after decades of neutrality that has kept it out of the U.S.-European military alliance.

According to a report of the call released by the Kremlin, the two leaders "had a sincere exchange of views over the announced decision by Finland’s leadership to apply for NATO membership."

"Putin," the Kremlin said, "stressed that rejecting the traditional policy of military neutrality would be wrong since there are no threats to Finland’s security. Such a change in the country’s foreign policy course could have a negative effect on Russia-Finland relations, which have been built over the course of many years in the spirit of neighborliness and partnership cooperation and have a mutually beneficial nature."

A statement from the Finnish side after the call said Niinistö told Putin "how fundamentally the Russian demands in late 2021 aiming at preventing countries from joining NATO and Russia's massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have altered the security environment of Finland." Niinistö officially told Putin of Finland's intention to apply for NATO membership.

“The conversation," the readout continued, "was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important."

Earlier in the day, authorities in Finland confirmed the electricity supply from Russia—which makes up only about 10% of the nation's overall usage—had been choked off.

"It is at zero at the moment, and that started from midnight as planned," Timo Kaukonen, a manager at Fingrid, which controls the nation's electrical grid, told Agence France-Presse early Saturday.

While energy supplier RAO Nordic said the energy cutoff had to do with payments that had not been made, Russia earlier this week had said Finland should expect "retaliatory steps" if it moved closer to joining NATO. ...

Critics of further NATO expansion have warned that Finland and Sweden, though perhaps rightly concerned about their own security after seeing what Putin has done in Ukraine, still have very little to gain from joining the bloc and that much could be lost if such moves are finalized.

"By joining NATO, Finland is throwing away whatever remote possibility exists of playing a mediating role between Russia and the West, not just to help bring about an end to the war in Ukraine, but at some point in the future to promote wider reconciliation," wrote Anatol Lieven, a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute of Responsible Statecraft, on Friday.

Moreover, added Lieven, "Finnish and Swedish accession to NATO may also be seen to have marked the symbolic moment when European countries as a whole abandoned any dream of taking responsibility for their own continent, and resigned themselves to complete dependence on Washington."

Rand Paul OBJECTS To $40 Billion In Ukraine Aide Amid Warnings On Illicit Arms

India bans all wheat exports over food security risk

India, the world’s second largest producer of wheat, has banned all exports with immediate effect after a heatwave affected the crop.

A notice in the government gazette by the directorate of foreign trade, dated Friday, said a rise in global prices for wheat was threatening the food security of India and neighbouring and vulnerable countries.

A key aim is to control rising domestic prices. Global wheat prices have increased by more than 40% since the beginning of the year. ...

Even though it is the world’s second largest producer of wheat, India consumes most of the wheat it produces. It had set a goal of exporting 10m tonnes of the grain in 2022-23, looking to capitalise on global disruption to wheat supplies from the war and find new markets for its wheat in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Saudi oil giant Aramco reports 82% rise in quarterly profits

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, has disclosed an 82% rise in quarterly profits to a new record of $39.5bn (£32.2bn), boosted by an increase in demand and higher crude prices.

The company, which last week overtook technology group Apple to become the world’s most valuable company, said it would pay an $18.8bn (£15.3bn) dividend and hand $4bn (£3.2bn) in bonus shares to its investors after the better-than-expected performance.

Energy companies such as BP and Shell have posted their highest profits in at least a decade as a result of rising commodities prices fuelled by the unwinding of Covid-19 restrictions around the world and sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Energy prices have also been driven by strong demand in Asia for gas and a cold winter in 2020 which depleted supplies, leaving stocks low as temperatures dropped in the northern hemisphere last year. Profits have risen despite many groups taking a hit from exiting investments in Russia as Brent crude prices have soared by almost 70% to $107.91 (£87.99) a barrel in March compared with a year before. ...

OPEC+, the producers group which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, agreed this month to a modest increase in its monthly oil output target, but has said it is not possible for other producers to replace Russian exports of more than 7m barrels a day.

Chile’s constitutional assembly rejects plans to nationalise parts of mining sector

A constitutional assembly in Chile has rejected plans to nationalise parts of the crucial mining industry in a blow to progressive hopes of overhauling the neoliberal Pinochet-era political settlement. The proposal, known as article 27, would have given the state exclusive mining rights over lithium, rare metals and hydrocarbons and a majority stake in copper mines. ...

The country’s environmental commission submitted multiple variations of the article to a vote on Saturday, but they all failed to achieve the 103-vote supermajority needed to pass into the draft constitution. However, a separate clause, article 25, which states that miners must set aside “resources to repair damage” to the environment and harmful effects where mining takes place, did get a supermajority and will be in the draft constitution.

The assembly also approved banning mining in glaciers, protected areas and regions essential to protecting the water system. Articles guaranteeing farmers and Indigenous people the right to traditional seeds, the right to safe and accessible energy and protection of oceans and the atmosphere were also approved.

Uh-oh, are Democrats losing Democracy Now?

Abortion Activist Renee Bracey Sherman: Democrats Demand Our Votes But Fail to Protect Our Rights

I just love this headline.

Nancy Pelosi: supreme court ‘dangerous to families and to freedoms’

The supreme court is “dangerous to families and to freedoms in our country”, Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday, as justices prepare to finalize a draft ruling stripping almost have a century of abortion rights in the US.

The House speaker railed against conservative judges appointed by former president Donald Trump in an interview Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, in which she urged Democrats to keep their “eye on the ball” to protect other freedoms she sees under threat.

“Beware in terms of marriage equality, beware in terms of other aspects,” she said.

“Understand this. This is not just about terminating a pregnancy. This is about contraception, family planning.

“This is a place where freedom and the kitchen table, issues of America’s families, come together. What are the decisions that a family makes? What about contraception for young people? It’s beyond just a particular situation. It’s massive in terms of contraception, in vitro fertilization, a woman’s right to decide.”

Speaking the day after hundreds of protest events took place nationwide, Pelosi insisted Democrats had done what they could in terms of protecting abortion rights through legislation. She pointed out the House had passed a bill before the women’s health protection act failed in the Senate on Wednesday, and she said she was still optimistic of a resolution with the support of pro-choice Republicans.

‘We will not go back’: thousands rally for abortion rights across the US

Thousands of people were taking part in protests across the US on Saturday to decry the supreme court’s expected reversal of the landmark 1973 law that made abortion legal in America.

Organizers said there were more than 380 protest events in cities including major ones in Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago to demand that the right to an abortion is not stripped away by the court, which is dominated by rightwing justices. ...

In the US capital, protestors gathered at the Washington Monument before marching to the supreme court, which is surrounded by a security fence. Some held pictures of coat hangers to symbolize the dangerous measures some people resorted to for illegal abortions prior to the Roe v Wade ruling. “If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get,” said Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, one of the groups, along with Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet and MoveOn that organized Saturday’s demonstrations, which they called “Bans Off Our Bodies”.

“We have to see an end to the attacks on our bodies,” Carmona added. “You can expect for women to be completely ungovernable until this government starts to work for us.”

Krystal Ball: COLLAPSE Imminent, Baby Formula Shortage is Just the Beginning

Tone Deaf Baby Formula Response

Margaret Thatcher statue egged within hours of it being installed

Warnings that a new statue of Margaret Thatcher would attract egg-throwing protests came true within two hours of it being installed in her home town of Grantham on Sunday.

The bronze statue was, without ceremony, placed on a 3-metre (10ft) high plinth to make it more difficult for protesters to inflict any damage.

Shortly afterwards a man was seen throwing eggs from behind a temporary fence and, when one connected, a cry of “oi” could be heard. ...

After it was installed on a warm Sunday morning, a number of people stopped to take selfies. But loud booing could also be heard from passing motorists.



the evening greens


Green Groups Push DeJoy to Hand Over Secret Documents From Polluting Truck Deal

A pair of green groups on Thursday appealed the U.S. Postal Service's rejection of a Freedom of Information Act request seeking to uncover details about the mail agency's contract to purchase more than 160,000 new delivery trucks, 90% of which are expected to be gas-powered. ...

The groups are specifically pressing the Postal Service to release the proposal that Oshkosh Defense, a Wisconsin-based company, submitted before it won the lucrative 10-year deal to manufacture the new mail vehicles. ...

Last month, green groups joined forces with 16 state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit that aims to halt the Postal Service's agreement with Oshkosh, contending that the environmental impact analysis underpinning the deal is so shoddy that it violates the National Environmental Policy Act.

With their filing on Thursday, Sierra Club and Elders Climate Action alleged that the USPS is "improperly withholding records" related to the Oshkosh contract, which is worth billions of dollars.

"As USPS proceeds to implement the Oshkosh contract over the objections of the White House and many others," the filing states, "it should not keep the proposal leading to that contract secret."

Sierra Club and Elders Climate Action filed their initial FOIA request for records surrounding the agreement more than a year ago.

‘Everything was orange’: US wildfires burning at furious pace early this year

Extreme conditions have fueled an explosive start to what’s expected to be yet another intense season of big blazes, with months to go before wildfire threats typically peak across the west.

Wildfires have charred close to 1.3m acres nationwide this year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), outpacing the 10-year average for this time of year by more than 71%. Predictions for the rest of the spring do not bode well for the west, with the drought and warmer weather brought on by the climate crisis worsening wildfire danger.

“We all know it’s really early for our fire season and we’re all in awe of what we’ve already experienced,” said Dave Bales, commander on a New Mexico fire that is the largest burning in the US.

From a California hilltop where mansions with multimillion-dollar Pacific Ocean views were torched to remote New Mexico mountains burned by a month-old monster blaze, similar conditions set the stage for the fires, which fire crews are still fighting to contain. Exacerbated by the climate crisis, rising temperatures spurred dryness, turning parched vegetation into fuel. Gusty winds have complicated firefights, carrying embers and fanning the flames through the drought-stricken region.

South Africa’s April floods made twice as likely by climate crisis, scientists say

The massive and deadly floods that struck South Africa in April were made twice as likely and more intense by global heating, scientists have calculated. The research demonstrates that the climate emergency is resulting in devastation.

Catastrophic floods and landslides hit the South African provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape on 11 April following exceptionally heavy rainfall.

The South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa called the floods a “catastrophe of enormous proportions” and “the biggest tragedy we have ever seen”, later declaring a national state of disaster. At least 453 people were killed and the port of Durban, the largest in Africa, was closed, causing global disruption in the supply of food and minerals.

Other recent studies found that the heatwave in the Pacific Northwest region of North America in 2021 would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, and that global heating exacerbated the extreme floods in Europe in July 2021 and the storms in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique in January.

“If we do not reduce emissions and keep global temperatures below 1.5C, many extreme weather events will become increasingly destructive,” said Dr Izidine Pinto, at the University of Cape Town and part of the team that conducted the analysis. “We need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a new reality where floods and heatwaves are more intense and damaging.”


Also of Interest

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

Shireen Abu Aqleh: ‘Cold-blooded’ killing and funeral chaos leave West Bank in turmoil

Israel’s PR Problem, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Rand Paul Blocks $40 Billion Ukraine Funding Bill

Sanctions Hurt U.S. More Than Russia Say Americans

Sen. McConnell Expects Wednesday Vote on $40 Billion Ukraine Aid

Evidence Links Spanish, EU Arms Sales to Saudis to Yemen War Crimes

Latin America’s Renewed Chance at Integration

Secret British ‘black propaganda’ campaign targeted cold war enemies

Ireland says UK risks sending message it will break treaties in Brexit row

Operation Surprise: leaked emails expose secret intelligence coup to install Boris Johnson

Corporate Media Ignore Left Critiques of Government's New 'Disinformation' Board

'Reprehensible': Biden Slammed for Urging States to Spend Untapped Covid Funds on Cops

The Demented - and Selective - Game of Instantly Blaming Political Opponents For Mass Shootings

‘Cash, coal, cars and trees’: what progress has been made since Cop26?

Caesar’s favourite herb was the Viagra of ancient Rome. Until climate change killed it off

Polling: 75% Say US On WRONG TRACK Under Biden

FDA BEHIND Curve On Formula Shortage, Families Now Paying The Price: Fmr Official

Gas-for-rubles is pulling down Euro. US intel & Ukrainian Twitter. North Donbass developments


A Little Night Music

Louisiana Red - Freight Train to Ride

Louisiana Red - Red's Dream

Louisiana Red - Driftin'

Louisiana Red - Valerie

Louisiana Red - I Been Down So Long

Louisiana Red - I Done Woke Up

Louisiana Red - I´m Louisiana Red

Louisiana Red - Leaving Town

Louisiana Red - Little Girl Take Your Time

Louisiana Red - The Seventh Son


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18 users have voted.

Comments

Tough one, but I will go with China winning. Usually of course, the US wins these and if not buries the story. So why would the Chinese win? Well, now neocons have a propaganda weapon to justify expanding the Pentagon and intel agencies. See that is why the US lost. If only more money was spent. Yah, a board game played by rank amateurs and phony experts.

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9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@MrWebster

heh, by the time the u.s. finishes punishing russia by destroying the u.s. economy, i doubt that the u.s. will be able to afford simulations much less the budget for a major war.

i guess we'll see.

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7 users have voted.
CB's picture

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@CB

it will be interesting to see if the french medical worker presented here is able to present his evidence to a genuine tribunal. videos of azov people shooting disarmed pows should be pretty damning evidence one would think.

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5 users have voted.
QMS's picture

to gear up the public response to another crucial error, now
we are in the middle of the Russian roulette game hosted by the MIC
and it is about to be Chinese checkers next? Why call it games?
This is about as real of a deal as we get anymore.
Nobody wins at these kind of games. The rulers gain, that's it.

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10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

yep, they are being pretty transparently malevolent, yet nobody has figured out a way to make them stop.

i wonder what it's going to take.

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5 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2022/05/debt-rattle-may16-2022/

I'm also guessing Finland thought it had it too good so they had to
apply for NATO membership death cult

https://www.stat.fi/tup/satavuotias-suomi/suomi-maailman-karjessa_en.html

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13 users have voted.

“Those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”
— Hannah Arendt

joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

heh, that's good. thanks for posting it!

i heard it said somewhere that finland's prime minister was one of the world economic forums' "young leaders" trainees.

if it's true, that might explain a great deal.

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10 users have voted.

@CB
signing up with Azov. Weirdly the cause for both appears to be the same -- anti-liberalism.

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3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Well the weekend flew by fast and here we are with the crappy news picking up where it left off Friday. But the extra sources articles are just as bad as the highlighted news is.

Caitlin nails it:

“The Squad” isn’t a political faction, it’s a soundtrack to an empire. It’s soothing noises people can listen to while the US hegemon destroys the world.

Why is Rand Paul the only person who wants to make sure the $40 billion is accounted for? How is it that once again Bernie's voice is nowhere to be found on the ungawdly amount of money flowing to Defense Company’s CEOs when so many Americans are falling through the cracks? Or being deliberately shoved through them? Funny how Manchin isn’t concerned about the money causing more inflation, but giving really poor people a little help would.

Umm no they ain’t sleepwalking into the health care disaster. They are wide awake and driving the buggy to make sure that they lose bigly.

Democrats are "sleepwalking into a healthcare disaster that's entirely of their own making."

"Democrats are on the verge of dooming millions of Americans to huge new healthcare bills," Walker added, "which will in turn serve to ruin any hope Democrats have of winning the midterms."

I sincerely doubt that democrats wanted to win in Georgia nor do they give a tinker's damn if they lose the senate. Again it’s funny how Mitch McConnell can drive his agendas through, but Schumer just can’t seem to get anything done. Lots of republican bills have been getting passed too whilst democrats are in power.

The Greyzone article is fascinating. It should get lots of coverage for those in the back who still think that voting does anything to change our lives. The people who actually run countries never have to face a vote.

Psakiopath couldn’t understand why the press thought it was the WH's job to make sure that everyone could get treatment for Covid and find the money to pay for it. Politico is reporting that vaccines will have to be rationed this fall because Biden can’t find any money for them. Meanwhile Biden’s telling the corrupt cops to take any leftover Covid funds and use it themselves. You can’t make this sh*t up except in a failing country that’s on its way to being a 3rd world one.

I think instead of people protesting and going out on strike we all just stay home and don’t spend money on anything and that would get government’s attention that we’re done with them ruining the country for their donors.

Yeah I’m chatty tonight. I’m also pissed at the people who still support anyone in government after they’ve spent the last 50 years screwing us. And spending all the money on the military while the country goes to hell.

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10 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@snoopydawg

It has been this way for the past 30 years, at least.

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12 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

Why is Rand Paul the only person who wants to make sure the $40 billion is accounted for? How is it that once again Bernie's voice is nowhere to be found on the ungawdly amount of money flowing to Defense Company’s CEOs when so many Americans are falling through the cracks?

you've got to wonder why bernie seems so focused on a few particular billionaires and companies.

you'd think that he'd be howling to nationalize the big defense contractors like lockheed martin, northrop grumman, general dynamics, boeing and raytheon whom the government showers with billions upon billions in contracts. i haven't looked it up recently, but i remember a while ago that lockheed and general dynamics made over 70 percent of their revenue from uncle sugar. these companies pretty much exist to service the u.s. government at a steep profit. surely a good case can be made for nationalizing them.

heh, i think that both parties actually try to lose midterms, it's sort of a different application of the "rotating villain" concept.

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11 users have voted.

@joe shikspack
on foreign policy -- it's not his thing. He routinely votes against major wars (ie Iraq War) when there's sufficient "leftish" opposition. Rails against mega funding for the MIC when his vote/voice don't matter. However, he doesn't have any clear and coherent stance on foreign policy; therefore, wouldn't have pushed back by much compared with other recent Presidents.

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Marie

yep, i remember that when he ran in 2016, his foreign policy webpage was essentially blank for a good part of the campaign. i kind of figured that the deal was that if he was elected, he would let the deep state run the foreign policy and he would posture and tinker with the domestic policy as much as congress would allow.

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6 users have voted.

@joe shikspack
than I did. I knew he wasn't good on FP, but didn't expect that he would roll over completely to the deep state. His embrace of Russiagate disabused me of my assessment and made me indifferent to his 2020 run.

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5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Marie

by 2020, i thought of bernie as the "least bad" candidate on the ballot. i figured that if by some miracle he won, i really didn't expect him to do much in office except perhaps occasionally express outrage at appropriate times and occasionally ask congress to do things that it would never do and then express disappointment.

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5 users have voted.

@joe shikspack
(Tulsi was better than that on FP, but mostly undefined on domestic issues.) A miracle did happen in 2020 -- Bernie won the first three primary contests and came in 2nd in the fourth, but the guy that finished 4th in IA, 5th in NH and a weak 2nd in NV, got the nom for winning SC. Democrats could save a lot of money by junking the primary contests and just let Clyburn choose the nominee.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

I was sitting on a bench and heard this loud ker-plunk and saw that she was in the pond. I couldn’t tell if she was having fun or panic swimming cuz she couldn’t climb out on the cement.

FB6E5F33-9AA1-4BF4-AA2A-3EB415C33D06.jpeg

I called her back to where she went in and she got out. Then we both had a good laugh about her finally swimming. I was surprised that she got that close to it today but maybe she was thinking that she would try it again. Maybe she thought she’d just stand on the board and didn’t know the water was there?

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11 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

glad to hear that sam is having a good time in the water. please dispense a scritch for me. Smile

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3 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@snoopydawg

Reading about Sam’s developing relationship with water, I am reminded of how we all need whatever time it takes to find and trust in our true nature, whatever that may be.

Thank you for relating your experiences with Sam.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@janis b

She just loves to be in the water. Yesterday a bit later on I was sitting on another bench and saw a huge plume of muddy water a way off and out pops Sam from the mud hole with the biggest smile on her face. Today the sprinklers came on at the cemetery and my friend and I watched as she ran at them and jumped to bite the spray over and over and over….soaking wet when we moved on.

I watched a few videos of her playing in the mud hole last year. I forgot how many times she had done that. I’ll take her to the dam again soon and see if she wants to swim now that she knows she can. I get hours of entertainment from watching her.

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5 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

janis b's picture

@snoopydawg

popping out of a plume of muddy water.

What a balm she is to the mostly joyless state of affairs. Tell her thanks from me ; ).

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@janis b

She blew kisses…

On the pond escapade it’s not very noticeable, but she has her head under the fence which she went under when she fell jumped into the pond. It’s also lower there so it can empty into the canal. I was freaked when it first happened because if she had panicked it would have been hard for me to get over the fence and then get both of us out. Guess I’d have to have climbed under the fence. The fence there used to be tighter so animals wouldn’t get in, but it’s gotten stretched somehow. It seemed like hours to get her out, but probably less then 2 minutes. I couldn’t tell if she was panicking. I know I did at first.

Stay tuned for more escapades with the Sam dawg.

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5 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

janis b's picture

@snoopydawg

I think you'll have to add wire cutters to your pockets ; ).

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@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

Politico is reporting that vaccines will have to be rationed this fall because Biden can’t find any money for them.

And that's a bad thing? We do want to be careful in our critiques not to speak out of both sides of our mouths. If one supports 100% Covid vac rates, then Biden is failing. OTOH, if one views the vaccines as crap (ineffective) or even very dangerous and killing people, then props to Biden (not that his funding decision would have been made for the right reasons).

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Marie

at the drop of the hat, but no funds for Covid. Or he tells states to use whatever they have left and give to the cops but nothing for those who have no insurance or can’t afford to see doctors for what used to be free. It’s not just vaccines, but testing and the other things that comes from the funding. Plenty of people think the vaccines work and will want to get boosters and other treatments that Biden is telling them to pay for it themselves.

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7 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

@snoopydawg
Or did he whip out the USG platinum credit card?

From a wider perspective, the USG funding the COVID vaccines was a subsidy to health insurers and avoided any price negotiations by them with the drug companies. Not the best or most prudent government funding programs. Ending it probably won't leave many that believe in the vaccine out in the cold. Those that trust the most in US medical care have the most complete health insurance. They'll get their booster shots and have little to no trouble covering any co-pays.

Russia's entire defense spending for 2022 is projected to be $70 billion. The 2022 US defense budget is $813 billion (that only included $682 million for Ukraine). This is a nation of "defense" junkies. Nobody can say no to it. And as long as we're not actually paying for it, we'll remain addicts to this unhealthy aspect of our country.

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5 users have voted.

@Marie The vaccine hypocrisy is showing, and it sort of adds to the argument that they are of no use anyway.

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5 users have voted.

@on the cusp
I wasn't addressing USG hypocrisy; so thick in DC these days that it's become pointless to mention it. Nor do I think that there's been a USG or US medical establishment reconsideration of the COVID so-called vaccine. At the government level the change is who/what will pay for individuals to obtain testing and the vaccine. All health insurance covers vaccines and with the Affordable Care Act, most are supposed to provide the coverage without co-pays. It's interesting that the USG instituted and paid for universal COVID vaccine coverage. It probably maximized vax rates, but my guess is not by much as the most accepting of the vaccine already had adequate health insurance coverage anyway. So, to use a right wing federal government spending trope, why did the USG pay for Bill Gates' COVID vaccine?

My original point was simply if one opposes the COVID vaccine, it's hypocritical to criticize Biden for letting the USG vaccine funding to expire. The funding expiration also makes it more difficult for the USG to enforce vaccine mandates on the general public.

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2 users have voted.
Pricknick's picture

was staggering.
Frozen cod at $11 if you can find it. All other fish are limited or not available.
Large navel oranges $1.85 each.
Apples $2 a pound regardless of variety.
Good quality wide mouth canning lids limited to two twelve packs if they have them. I go through between 175 and 250 yearly and the cheap ones do not work. I've been hoarding for years so I'm good for now. I've also learned how to reuse them once successfully.
Luckily I have access to grass fed beef at $3.25 a pound and am searching for pork of the same quality.
It's going to get brutal even for those of us who plant and harvest.
Those who don't are in deep shit.

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10 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Pricknick

there's a fish market near me that i go to and the prices of just about everything have skyrocketed. most fish are half again what they were a few months ago. i particularly like their wild caught salmon which is getting on the pricy side. last time i was there for their special on shrimp salad i looked up at their board and was blown away by the price of crabs. male #2 bay crabs are nearly $500. a bushel. i know that they're out of season, but that tops any price i have ever seen for a bushel of crabs by a few hundred dollars.

i'm thinking that i ought to take a week off, go get some chicken necks and go crabbing, it would be like catching pure gold.

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6 users have voted.
Pricknick's picture

@joe shikspack
I'll deal with the bones of a Bluegill or Crappie before I'll pay a middlemen ten dollars for nothing.
The thing we have to watch for in southern Michigan is the level of heavy metals and other pollutants in the fish such as fert runoffs. You have to go with the short lived species as they have less time to accumulate said nasties.
And damn.....gills are good eats.

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7 users have voted.

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

janis b's picture

@Pricknick

"You have to go with the short lived species as they have less time to accumulate said nasties."

That's also true of lamb that's not grown organically. Because it's young it has ingested less of the nasty stuff. Sad.

As for fish, I am lucky to live in a fisherman’s paradise, and have fishermen friends with generous hearts. Even so, the future of ocean life here is severely threatened. Greenpeace, and the support it still has continues to be helpful, but so much more support is needed to ensure a healthy future. Over the 25 years I’ve lived here the Green Party, which once had a more tangible influence is dissolving into the mediocrity that is the current political climate. I care at least as much for the social state of the people as I do the earth's survival. I’ve always had more faith in the earth’s capacity for survival than the vulnerability of humans. At the moment there is a strong possibility that our next election (in 16 months) will seat a government that will be extremely regressive. I hope we come to our senses before more destructive measures are adopted.

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7 users have voted.

@Pricknick
the price of most items has increased 20%. Not many items haven't increased in price. A few have only increased by 10%. Unfortunately, there are also many items that have increased by 25% to 100%. Then there are items with only a slight or no increase but the size is smaller. My basket of goods a year ago cost $35 to $40 and now runs $48 to $53. (At better at less cost during the first six months of the pandemic, but was a function of a larger supply going to grocery stores and less to restaurants.)

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6 users have voted.
Pricknick's picture

@Marie
inflation is only 8%.
You must be one of the many who spread disinformation. We need a special department for those like you.
Smile

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8 users have voted.

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

@Pricknick
doesn't calculate inflation the same way real people do. According to the gubmint, people are supposed to alter their purchases if the prices for their usual marketbasket get too high. And 8% is the average increase of the substitution products in that basket. Thus if on a weekly basis, one generally buys a pound of lean ground beef at $4.99 and it's now $6.49 (30% increase), the gubmint measures the price increase of bulk regular ground beef from $2.77 to $2.99 - 8%. And if that gets too pricey, there's always catfood.

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4 users have voted.

John Fetterman

John Fetterman isn’t like most politicians, and not just because of his tattoos, his goatee, his 6ft 8in frame and his penchant for sweatsuits.

What really sets the frontrunner in Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate primary apart is his demeanor. Fetterman is a bit awkward, the opposite of the stereotypical smooth-talking politician. He tends to stumble through debates, and in personal interactions he doesn’t always hold eye contact. On the campaign trail, it sometimes looks as though he just doesn’t want to be here. And maybe that’s part of the secret to his success.

“It’s hard to brand him as a politician,” says Lara Putnam, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who studies grassroots politics, “because he literally shows up in shorts everywhere, year-round – with such commitment that it’s not a gimmick.”
...
Yet Fetterman’s ideology is hard to peg. He’s an enthusiastic union supporter who says he would vote for Medicare for all, but does not support scrapping the electoral college or defunding the police. He’s a longtime proponent of legalizing marijuana, but he also cares passionately about the minutiae of prison policy. When asked about the precise targeting of a wealth tax proposal, he shrugged and said, “You know it when you see it.”
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According to his college roommate and football teammate, Fetterman was a conservative too.

But as a volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters he was exposed to an America far beyond the exurban gentry class. Instead of going into business, he attended Harvard’s Kennedy School for Government and got a job teaching in a GED program in the deeply depressed steel town of Braddock, a mostly Black community where from a peak of 21,000 the population has fallen to less than 2,000.

His students persuaded him to run for mayor, and he won the 2005 election by one vote.

And his opponent? Corporate democrat Conor Lamb.

Representative Conor Lamb was supposed to be a Democratic rising star — a Marine veteran, former prosecutor and Pennsylvania moderate who had won in Trump territory and swing suburbs alike. Scores of Democratic officials endorsed him in his run for Senate, eager to pick up a Republican-held open seat and have him roll into Washington next year to bridge the partisan chasm.
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“I look at him as another Joe Manchin,” said Elen Snyder, a Democrat and member of Newtown Township’s board of supervisors in Bucks County, referring to Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the Democrat who has stymied the White House on many issues.
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Mr. Fetterman has made his lack of endorsements into a kind of badge of honor: He has long disdained glad-handing other elected officials and is an unpopular figure even in the statehouse, where he officially presides over the State Senate.

Still, his progressive politics — he was an early backer of Bernie Sanders — and iconoclastic style have made him well-liked by the party base and created an online fund-raising juggernaut. Mr. Fetterman’s approval with Democrats in the state was 67 percent in a recent Franklin & Marshall College Poll, compared with 46 percent for Mr. Lamb.

And the polls say that Fetterman is absolutely crushing it!

The poll of 325 Pennsylvania Democratic voters found Fetterman with 53% support, followed by Congressman Conor Lamb with 14% and State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta with 4%. Kevin Baumlin, who has dropped out of the race, and Alex Khalil each received 1% and 22% were still undecided.

Support for Fetterman is up from 41% in the April Franklin & Marshall College Poll, while Lamb is down 3%.

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4 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@gjohnsit

for a pennsylvania politician fetterman seems quite likely to be able to do well in all parts of the state. the usual joke is that pennsylvania consists of two cities (philly and pittsburgh) with kentucky between them. fetterman seems to do well in the "pennsyltuckey" area and also has progressive support in philly and pittsburgh. naturally, the democrats are beside themselves trying to take him down by dumping wads of cash on his opponent, lamb.

fetterman had a stroke a couple of days ago, but i read that he's doing okay.

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6 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

...is how Gonzalo explains the shift toward a China conflict. Interesting hypothesis...

The Pentagon Says: Russia No—But China Yes

Difficult to believe we're so foolish, but that's where we are.

Thanks for the EB and music js.

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8 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

the u.s. has spent the time since wwii looking around the world for somebody that they can beat in a war. so far, no luck (not for lack of trying a bunch of much smaller, weaker nations). but maybe after they get done losing to russia, they can try china.

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6 users have voted.
CB's picture

joe shikspack's picture

@CB

according to what i've read in the propaganda outlet, the guardian, the headline is grossly misleading.

as i understand the guardian's reporting, 260 wounded ukronazis were evacuated to a hospital in a city under russian control. the able-bodied ukronazis remain in the factory. presumably this means that whatever food, water and supplies they have will now last longer.

the ukronazi high command "ordered" the azov mariupol branch to give up their wounded, there is no suggestion that the combat mission is over/complete/finished.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

260

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8 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

CB's picture

@joe shikspack
The point of my comment was it will be spun by western media. I wonder when the rest of them will follow suit.

Report from reporter on the ground

https://t.me/intelslava/29002

According to preliminary information, about 300 militants left Azovstal. About 50 of them were wounded. They are now being taken to the Central Regional Hospital of Novoazovsk, where they will be provided with the necessary medical care. The rest were taken away by buses in the direction of Yelenovka

Report from Tass, Russian News Agency:

President Zelensky confirms evacuation of troops from besieged Azovstal plant in Ukraine
The Ukrainian president said that Kiev hoped to return all of them to their country as soon as possible.

KIEV, May 17. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky confirmed in his video address that an evacuation of national troops from Azovstal steelmaking complex in Mariupol had started.
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The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Monday that an agreement was reached to evacuate wounded Ukrainian troops from the Azovstal steel plant and a humanitarian corridor was opened for this purpose.

The ministry added that a ceasefire had been introduced in the surrounding area of the embattled plant and a humanitarian corridor was opened to provide exit for wounded Ukrainian troops to be taken to a medical facility in Novoazovsk in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).

The Ukrainian side announced earlier that 53 severely wounded Ukrainian military servicemen were evacuated on May 16 from Azovstal plant in Mariupol to Novoazovsk (in DPR), while 211 more Ukrainian troops were evacuated from the plant through a humanitarian corridor to the city of Yelenovka (also in DPR).
...

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7 users have voted.
CB's picture

@CB
civilians with their illegal missiles if they think their own troops will get hurt.

Russia-Ukraine war
15th March, 2022 18:15 IST

Donetsk Volunteer Saved Miraculously After Attack By Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russia Claims

Russia has accused Ukraine of war crimes for firing a missile Monday, killing 20 people in Donetsk, which is under the control of Russia-backed separatists.
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Donetsk volunteer Andriy Lysenko came under Ukrainian fire on his way from Donetsk to Yelenovka while delivering food packages to civilians in the frontline areas. He said that he was miraculously saved during the firing that reportedly killed 20 people in Yelenovka, which is around 25 kilometres away from Donetsk.

According to the volunteer, as Russian media claims, the target was probably the Yelenovsky bakery, but the fragments flew in front of the car, miraculously not causing him harm.
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Russia accuses Ukraine of war crimes in rebel-held Donetsk

Russia has accused Ukraine of war crimes for firing a missile Monday, killing 20 people in Donetsk, which is under the control of Russia-backed separatists.

According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov, the projectile was a Tochka-U tactical missile.

He said the permission to use such a missile would have come from high-ranking commanding officers in the capital city Kyiv, involving the Ukrainian authorities in the attack.
...

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snoopydawg's picture

@CB

I’ve seen rumors that lots of NATO bigwigs have been captured and are in the hands of Russia.

Pepe Escobar has a great read on this conflict and how Russia is running circles around Biden, the CIA and especially Europe who are sacrificing their economies and America is laughing to the bank.

https://thecradle.co/Article/columns/10277

He too calls it a money laundering scheme for the government and defense industries. Boy congress should get a huge Xmas bonus this year.

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8 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

CB's picture

@snoopydawg

We'll have to wait. The Russians will debrief those they have captured and get more info on who's down there. I suppose they can weld the doors shut and wait some more.

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6 users have voted.

@CB
Kiev/Zelensky vowed that there would be no surrender at the Mariupol steel works. Thus, Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers evacuated from steel plant to Russian-held territory

A new synonym for surrender has been born.

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6 users have voted.
CB's picture

surrendering in Mariupol. They are being searched and given basic medical triage before embarking on buses. These are the lucky ones. They are still alive.

https://vk.com/video-133441491_456259026 (Video in Russian)

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7 users have voted.