The Evening Blues - 6-21-19


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Sam and Dave

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b singers Sam and Dave. Enjoy!

Sam and Dave - I Thank You

"We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it."

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

News and Opinion

After Approving Strike on Iran Backed by Bolton, Pompeo, and Haspel, Trump Called Off Attack at Last Minute

Just hours after he brought the United States to the brink of war Thursday night by approving a military strike against Iran, President Donald Trump abruptly called off the attack before any missiles were fired.

That's according to the New York Times, which reported that as late as 7 pm Thursday, "military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president's top national security officials and congressional leaders." ...

The military strike—which was approved after Iran shot down an American surveillance drone that it said violated its airspace—was reportedly backed by national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and CIA director Gina Haspel, a team critics have described as the president's "war cabinet."

According to the Times, Trump "initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries."

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in response to the Times report that the "place we have arrived at tonight on Iran is Donald Trump's choice."

"He chose escalation over diplomacy," Murphy tweeted, "without any idea how to get out of the downward spiral he set in motion."

Trump Pulls Back from Iran Attack as Bolton & Pompeo Continue to Push for War

Trump says he stopped airstrike on Iran because 150 would have died

Donald Trump has said he cancelled an airstrike on Iran with 10 minutes to go because it would not have been proportionate to kill 150 people in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned US drone.

It was reported overnight that Trump gave approval for the US military to launch the strikes on Iran but pulled back at the last minute. Planes were in the air and ships were in position but no missiles were fired before word came to stand down on Thursday night, the New York Times quoted an unnamed official as saying.

US military and diplomatic officials were expecting strikes on a handful of radar and missile sites after the president’s leading national security officials and congressional leaders gathered at the White House, the paper said. The military operation was called off at about 7.30pm ET (12.30am BST).

Trump calls off retaliation against Iran: strategy or change of heart?

Democrats call for oversight after Trump's Iran airstrikes reversal

Senior US Democrats led the outcry on Friday against Donald Trump’s dramatic almost-launch of military action on Iran and the last-minute pullback – calling the crisis “self-inflicted” by America and pressing for a swift de-escalation.

They also demanded oversight from Congress on decisions involving any eventual strikes. ...

While most Democrats were focused on the risk of war, some decried the almost haphazard manner in which Trump had called off airstrikes with just minutes to spare. Trump said he made the decision after he was informed that the strikes could cause the loss of up to 150 Iranian lives – but in that case, Democrats wanted to know, why was he informed so late in the process?

Anthony Brown, the Democratic vice-chairman of the House armed services committee, told CNN: “But 10 minutes before a potential strike against Iran – that demonstrates a broken system, a lack of understanding and knowledge by our commander-in-chief.”

Congress Is Terrified Trump Is Being Manipulated Into a War With Iran

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill fear members of President Trump’s inner circle are pushing the commander-in-chief into starting a war with Iran — and they’re taking steps to stop it. ... Wednesday the House of Representatives tried to take away his ability to order a strike on Iran by voting to repeal the two-decades-old Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), the 9/11-era law authorizing the war against terror that former President George W. Bush used to invade Iraq and that his successors have used to carry out military missions in the Middle East.

The House vote marked the first time either chamber of Congress has voted to revoke the war powers granted to the executive branch; the AUMF is also one of the legal underpinnings the administration is using to justify any potential military conflict with Iran. But it comes as many prominent Republicans are telling the president he can launch airstrikes and other military operations without having to come to Congress. ...

In the House, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) is working to attach language to a must-pass defense authorization bill that explicitly says the current AUMF doesn’t apply to Iran while also threatening to cut off funding to any military activity in Iran that isn’t approved by Congress.

“I don’t think Trump wants to go to war,” Khanna told VICE News in between votes just off the House floor. “I think Bolton and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo are trying to create the conditions that will force his hand. He’s using them to appease the right-wing base and thinks he can call the shots, and the danger is that there’s some risk of miscalculation that escalates.”

Senate Deals Blow to US-Saudi/UAE Arms Deal

Republican-controlled Senate votes to block Trump’s arms sales to Saudis

The Republican-controlled US Senate has voted to block the Trump administration from selling arms to Saudi Arabia, launching a new challenge to Donald Trump’s alliance with the country amid rising tensions in the Middle East.

Trump had already promised to veto the measures. The White House said stopping the sales “would send a message that the United States is abandoning its partners and allies at the very moment when threats to them are increasing”.

While all the resolutions of disapproval voted on in the Senate on Thursday will probably pass the Democratic-controlled House, supporters fell well short of a veto-proof margin.

Two of the resolutions passed with 53 votes, while another group was approved narrowly, with 51 votes. Overturning a presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate.

Seven Republicans broke with Trump to reject at least some of the arms sales. Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Todd Young of Indiana all supported at least some of the votes to block weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

'Rare Piece of Good News for the People of Yemen' as UK Court Finds Weapons Sales to Saudis Unlawful

In an "historic" Thursday ruling, the U.K. Court of Appeal declared unlawful the government's decision to allow weapons sales to Saudi Arabia while it wages war on Yemen without assessing breaches of international humanitarian law. The judgment (pdf) came in response to a judicial review brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)—joined by Amnesty International, Rights Watch U.K., and Human Rights Watch. Amnesty's Lucy Claridge called the ruling "a rare piece of good news for the people of Yemen."

"We welcome this verdict," CAAT campaigner Andrew Smith said in a statement, "but it should never have taken a court case brought by campaigners to force the government to follow its own rules."

"The Saudi Arabian regime is one of the most brutal and repressive in the world, yet, for decades, it has been the largest buyer of U.K.-made arms. No matter what atrocities it has inflicted, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of the U.K.," Smith added. "The arms sales must stop immediately."

U.N. Concludes That Saudi Arabia Needs to Be Held Accountable for Khashoggi. Here’s Why That Won’t Happen.

On Wednesday, the United Nations released the results of a five-month investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. ... The report’s author, Agnes Callamard, the U.N. human rights agency’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, places guilt for the murder squarely on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, emphasizing the “individual liability” of many senior officials. There was “credible evidence,” the report said, of the direct involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Describing Khashoggi’s murder as a “deliberate, premeditated execution” and an “extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law,” Callamard called on the U.N. secretary general to establish an international criminal investigation.

Callamard singled out the U.S., calling on the country to recognize its duties to Khashoggi as a legal U.S. resident and its jurisdiction to investigate, and prosecute, possible stateside links to the plot. It also called out the American government for failing to honor multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the Committee to Protect Journalists for documents related to the CIA’s investigation of the crime.

Despite the chilling and highly documented details of the report, Callamard’s articulate arguments are likely to go unheeded. From the beginning of the Khashoggi affair, President Donald Trump set himself firmly in defense of the Saudi government and bin Salman, in particular. Trump has repeatedly and openly dismissed accusations against the crown prince, calling him a “very good ally” and refusing to accept the findings of his own intelligence community. Rather, he’s reassured Riyadh both rhetorically and materially, invoking the veto power to sustain U.S. support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen and using emergency powers to pursue massive arms deals with the kingdom. Trump’s unequivocal, lavish support of the Saudi regime has garnered a rare level of bipartisan opposition, yet so far, the executive branch has largely won out.

Without a strong rebuke from the U.S., any international outcry is unlikely to influence Saudi behavior. Bolstered by a fawning president and strategic alliances with the United Arab Emirates and Israel, Riyadh has proven remarkably immune to anyone else’s critiques. ... The implications of this pattern are grave — and the consequences are accelerating. With bin Salman’s erratic, violent tendencies unchecked, Saudi Arabia has taken an increasingly aggressive position in a region already beset by conflict. Recent strikes between Houthi fighters and Riyadh promise only escalation in war-battered Yemen, exacerbating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Confrontations in the Persian Gulf stoke an anti-Iran rhetoric in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. alike, now approaching a fever pitch. Meanwhile, Saudi courts are on track for a record number of executions, while scores of human rights activists and other civilians remain in prison. With the stakes continually rising, and Callamard’s carefully argued plea for justice likely to go unheeded, the potential body count of Mohammed bin Salman’s reign is likely to rise much further still.

Trump Wanted Venezuela to Be an Easy Win. When It Wasn’t, He Checked Out.

President Donald Trump’s attention span isn’t exactly the stuff of folklore. ... Trump has reportedly lost interest in the crisis in Venezuela, a once-key issue for the White House. With Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro still in power months after his supposed ouster, “the president, officials said, is losing both patience and interest in Venezuela,” the Washington Post reported in a piece published on Thursday. ...

An unnamed former official told the Post that Venezuela was “always thought of . . . as low-hanging fruit” on which Trump “could get a win and tout it as a major foreign policy victory.”

“Five or six months later . . . it’s not coming together,” the official added.

As the Post noted, whereas Trump once regularly tweeted and pontificated about Venezuela, the issue has been moved to the backburner in the last month or so. In early May there was lots of talk about (and fears over) potential military intervention, which has seemingly cooled in the month or so that followed.

Ecuador embassy spied on Assange – recorded ‘extortionists’

German neo-Nazis are threatening more killings after the murder of a pro-refugee politician

German authorities are already grappling with the recent murder of a pro-refugee politician believed to have been carried out by a far-right extremist. Now, they’ll have to deal with two new threats of deadly right-wing violence.

On Wednesday an email containing death threats was sent to two pro-immigration German mayors, Henriette Reker and Andreas Hollstein, warning that the recent killing of Walter Lübcke, was only the first strike in a wave of “impending purges.”

Both of these politicians have received threats before, and both have been the victim of violent attacks by right-wing extremists: Reker, mayor of Cologne, was stabbed in the neck while on the campaign trail in October 2015, while Hollstein, mayor of Altena, was attacked in the same way two years later. But the latest messages, arriving just weeks after Lübcke, a pro-immigrant politician, was fatally shot execution-style in his home in Kassel, have stoked national alarm as Germany confronts the rising threat from its increasingly radicalized far-right. ...

Police investigating the threats say they believe it came from the right-wing extremist scene, but have yet to establish whether there is any connection with Lübcke’s death. On Saturday, authorities arrested a 45-year-old right-wing radical identified as Stephan E., named by German media as Stephan Ernst, in connection to Lübcke’s killing, after DNA found on Lübcke’s clothes matched a sample taken from Ernst after he tried to blow up a refugee shelter in 1993.

US must spend $4.5bn to prevent more child migrant deaths at border, warns CBP

More children may die in the detention of the US government unless Congress passes a $4.6bn emergency fund for immigration services at the US-Mexico border, the head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has warned. John Sanders, CBP’s acting commissioner, blamed the rising number of deaths of child migrants in US detention on a lack of federal funding to care for them, in an interview with the Associated Press.

Referring to the death last month of Carlos Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old from Guatemala who contracted the flu but was kept on a concrete bench in a cell, the border patrol chief said: “The death of a child is always a terrible thing, but here is a situation where, because there is not enough funding … they can’t move the people out of our custody.”

At least seven migrant children have died in US custody since late 2018, as a combination of policies spearheaded by Donald Trump as part of his much-vaunted immigration crackdown have led to scenes of chaos and meltdown at the border. Children and families are being held for days longer than the 72 hours allotted in grossly overcrowded facilities in which medical provisions are scanty at best. ...

Despite the growing evidence of extreme conditions and hardship at US border facilities, Trump appears to have no concerns and has vowed to step up the chaos.

Trump has heaped all responsibility for the crunch on his Democratic opponents in Congress, for their resistance to his demands for funding for his determined efforts to build a border wall. But all indications suggest that the president’s crackdown has been self-defeating – the number of families with children turning up at the US border largely from Central America has shot up, in direct proportion to Trump’s threats.

A Jerusalem hospital where Palestinian babies die alone

Critically ill Palestinian infants taken from impoverished and war-battered Gaza to the better equipped Makassed hospital are suffering and dying alone.

Israel allows temporary exit from Gaza for medical reasons in some cases, but not all. At the same time, it prevents or seriously delays many parents of patients from leaving, and others never apply in the first place, fearing that extensive security checks for adults will hold up their child’s exit permit and lose vital time.

Since the beginning of last year, 56 babies from Gaza were separated from their mothers and fathers, six of whom perished without a parent present, according to the hospital.

In one case, a 24-year-old mother from Gaza was permitted to travel to Jerusalem to give birth to gravely ill triplets two months early. Two weighed less than a bag of sugar. But Hiba Swailam’s permit expired and she had to return to Gaza. She was not there when her first child died at nine days old, or two weeks later when her second baby also died. She was informed by phone. The surviving child, Shahad, spent the first months of her life cared for by nurses, and Hiba could only see her daughter in video calls. While the baby was ready for discharge since February, no family member was able to pick her up.

After being approached for comment, Israeli authorities allowed Swailam to exit Gaza. She was permitted to travel to Jerusalem the same day Israel responded to the Guardian’s request for comment on 29 May.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, an Israeli medical non-profit, said more than 7,000 permits were issued for minors from Gaza last year. Less than 2,000 permits for parents were granted, suggesting most children travelled without their mothers and fathers. Mor Efrat, the group’s director for the occupied Palestinian territories, said “the Israeli government should be held accountable for the human suffering”.

The Trump Administration Just Got the Green Light to Cut Millions from Planned Parenthood

The Trump administration can implement a rule that could strip Planned Parenthood and other health care organizations of millions of dollars in federal funding, a panel of three judges from U.S. Courts for the Ninth Circuit ruled in a scathing opinion issued Thursday. Under the rule, announced in February, health care providers that offer abortions or refer patients for the procedure will be cut off from Title X. The $286 million federal program currently caters to four million low-income people and offers them access to services like birth control, as well as cancer and STD screenings.

If they want to keep the money, providers must now maintain a “clear physical and financial separation” between abortion-related treatment and their other work — like building a completely separate facility to perform abortions in. They’re also generally forbidden from referring patients for abortions.

It’s also already illegal to use federal funding to pay for most abortions, but Trump administration officials have said that the new rule is necessary to ensure taxpayer dollars are not involved in the procedure at all.

The rule was originally scheduled to take effect in May, though Title X beneficiaries would have had until March 2020 to comply with the physical separation requirement. Planned Parenthood has already vowed to seek emergency relief from the Court of Appeals.

“Planned Parenthood will not let the government censor our doctors and nurses from informing patients where and how they can access health care,” Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “We will continue to fight the Trump administration in the courts and alongside champions in Congress to protect everyone’s fundamental right to health care.”

72 Police Officers in Philly Just Got Put on Desk Duty for Writing Violent and Racist Facebook Posts

The Philadelphia Police Department has put 72 officers on desk duty for writing hundreds of racist, violent, and homophobic Facebook posts, according to the results of a recent investigation.

A group of Philadelphia-based attorneys, the “Plain View Project," revealed the misconduct earlier this month when they released the public-facing Facebook accounts of officers at eight jurisdictions across the United States. So far, officials in three of those jurisdictions — Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Phoenix — have taken concrete steps to address the posts.

At least several dozen of the 72 officers in Philadelphia will be disciplined, and others will be fired, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Wednesday. The decision comes after protests in the city over the racist posts. “We are equally as disgusted by many of the posts that you saw and, in many cases, the rest of the nation saw,” Ross added.

the horse race

Biden Somehow Wants Cory Booker to Apologize After the Former VP Praised a Racist

Joe Biden’s going on the offensive after getting called out by the 2020 Democratic field for bragging about his constructive and civil relationships with white supremacist legislators.

“Apologize for what?” Biden told CNN when he was asked about Sen. Cory Booker’s calling on the former vice president to apologize. “Cory should apologize,” Biden said. “There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career.”

Booker, along with several other 2020 challengers, came for Biden on Wednesday after he reminisced about the civility of politicians from the Jim Crow-era South who he worked with in Congress in the '70s. Politics are so partisan now, Biden said, but back then, Democrats and vocal segregationists could get things done together. ...

Biden citing a whole career fighting for civil rights is a bit of a stretch.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Joe Biden: Better than Trump is a very low standard

'An existential threat': Bernie Sanders faces mounting opposition from moderate Democrats

Moderate Democrats have stepped up their opposition to Bernie Sanders as part of a concerted effort to isolate him from the sprawling field of otherwise “mainstream” and “electable” presidential candidates running for their party’s nomination in 2020.

Last week, Sanders delivered a searing defense of democratic socialism that set himself apart from the rest of the Democratic party, whose opposition he said he not only anticipated but welcomed. Days later, at a gathering of nearly 250 political moderates convened by the centrist thinktank Third Way in South Carolina, some of the party’s most prominent center-left voices took the bait.

“I believe a gay midwestern mayor can beat [Donald] Trump. I believe an African American senator can beat Trump. I believe a western governor, a female senator, a member of Congress, a Latino Texan or a former vice-president can beat Trump,” said Jon Cowan, president of Third Way, hours before Donald Trump formally launched his re-election campaign with a rally in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday. “But I don’t believe a self-described democratic socialist can win.”

In speeches and on panels over the course of two sticky days in Charleston earlier this week, moderate lawmakers, strategists and donors inveighed against the Vermont senator’s populist economic vision. The approach elevated a conversation that has largely taken place behind closed doors about how to thwart Sanders, who moderates believe would alienate crucial voting blocs in a general election. “He has made it his mission to either get the nomination or to remake the party in his image as a democratic socialist,” Cowan told the Guardian. “That is an existential threat to the future of the Democratic party for the next generation.” ...

Sanders campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement that the party’s moderate faction had effectively “declared war on Senator Sanders” and denounced Third Way as a “Washington thinktank that takes Wall Street money.”

Obama paid $600,000 for a single speech

In the two years since leaving the White House, former President Barack Obama has spent his time raising and solidifying his position in the uppermost echelons of the top one percent of Americans. Obama has raked in exorbitant amounts of money for public speaking events and made deals worth millions with multiple companies. Despite his quip, made during the depths of the Great Recession, that “at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” there seems to be no such limit for the Obamas. His family has amassed so much wealth that even Obama himself said he was surprised in a speech in South Africa last year.

Since he left office, the former president has given an estimated 50 speeches a year to corporate audiences for hundreds of thousands of dollars per event. In 2017, the same year he left office, Obama was officially recognized as one of the top ten highest paid public speakers in the US.

Just last month, Obama was reported to have been paid nearly $600,000 to speak at the EXMA conference in Bogotá, Colombia. According to the Bogotá Post, EXMA is Colombia’s largest marketing and business event of the year and one of the largest in Latin America. Simply titled, “A conversation with President Barack Obama,” his talk purportedly addressed “influential growth strategies” in marketing and other aspects of the marketing economy.

Notably, Obama’s purse was nearly triple the amount Hillary Clinton was paid for her notorious speeches to Goldman Sachs that revealed her and the Democratic Party as Wall Street stooges. Former President Bill Clinton was paid just $200,000 per speech when he toured Latin America in 2005. A key factor in Obama’s newfound and growing wealth are those who profited from his presidency. A number of his public speeches have been given to big Wall Street firms and investors. Obama has given at least nine speeches to Cantor Fitzgerald, a large investment and commercial real estate firm, and other high-end corporations. According to records, each speech has been at least $400,000 a clip.

the evening greens

Oregon's Republican senators flee capitol to delay vote on emissions reduction plan

Oregon is poised to become the second US state after California to impose a cap and trade program aimed at reducing industrial carbon emissions. But ahead of a vote on the legislation Thursday, all 12 Republican state senators fled the capitol in a bid to delay the process. Several claimed to have left the state, beyond the reach of state troopers dispatched by the governor in order to get the legislative session back on track.

Senate Republican leader Herman Baertschiger Jr wrote in a statement that the walk-out was “exactly how we should be doing our job”.

If passed into law, the clean energy jobs bill would place a cap on emissions from power, transportation and other industries in the state, and establish a system to auction and trade them. The program would begin in 2021, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 45% of 1990 carbon levels by 2035, and 20% of 1990 levels by 2050. Not unlike the principles of the Green New Deal, Oregon’s “cap and invest” program would earmark funds generated by the program for clean energy, climate-related upgrades to infrastructure in order to better retrofit the state for increasing extreme weather events and green jobs training. ...

While cap and trade schemes enjoy broad and in many cases passionate support among Democrats, carbon pricing has critics on the left and the right. ... Some environmental activists say carbon pricing isn’t just an inadequate tool for addressing climate change, but a potentially destructive one. Cap and trade critics argue a market-based strategy to influence corporate behavior shirks regulatory responsibility and disproportionately impacts low-income communities, by creating pollution hot spots exacerbated by companies buying the right to emit, raising fuel prices that poor rural drivers will struggle to pay.

Central European countries block EU moves towards 2050 zero carbon goal

A trio of central European countries have blocked the EU from inching closer to a net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050. European leaders meeting in Brussels sparred over the EU’s role in tackling the unfolding climate emergency, which threatens to significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat, poverty and destruction of wildlife around the world.

Dashing earlier hopes of a compromise, Poland and the Czech Republic refused to sign up to a text that referred to a climate-neutral EU by 2050 – a target that was already seen as too vague by green activists. In a further blow, the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, joined his neighbours in opposing the EU text, despite earlier signs the country was ready to compromise.

Major global investor drops US firms deemed climate crisis laggards

An ethical investment operation by the UK’s largest asset manager has dumped shares in a string of US companies it has deemed climate crisis laggards, including oil giant ExxonMobil and insurer Metlife.

Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM) said it had cut five companies – ExxonMobil, Metlife, Spam maker Hormel Foods, US retailer Kroger and Korean Electric Power Corporation – from its umbrella of ethical investment funds worth a total of £5bn.

LGIM added the climate laggards to a list which already includes China Construction Bank, carmaker Subaru, Japan Post Holdings, Canadian retailer Loblaw, US food and service conglomerate Sysco Corporation and Russian oil giant Rosneft, which is part-owned by BP.

Meryam Omi, head of responsible investment at LGIM, said investor engagement with companies can be “a powerful tool” if there are “consequences”. L&G retains shareholdings in the blacklisted companies at other funds in its £1tn investment empire and will now use those shares to vote against board appointments at the named and shamed businesses.

Also of Interest

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

Iran Shoots Down Strategic U.S. Drone - Is Ready For War - Puts "Maximum Pressure" On Trump

'This is all stolen land': Native Americans want more than California's apology

An Invitation You Can’t Refuse: How Rep. Steny Hoyer Makes Sure AIPAC’s Israel Junket Is Well Attended

Sudan’s Military Is Killing Pro-Democracy Protesters. Trump Doesn’t Care — but We Should.

Morsi denied treatment for 20 minutes after courtroom collapse

Which 2020 Democrats are powering their campaigns on fossil fuel donations?

There Are No Democratic Adults in the Room

Donald Trump accused of sexually assaulting New York writer

What does Biden have in common with Trump? Delusional nostalgia

Antigua: sprawling 'Chinese colony' plan across marine reserve ignites opposition

A Little Night Music

Sam & Dave - Soul Man

Sam and Dave - I Need Love (First Record)

Sam And Dave - Ooh, Ooh, Ooh

Sam and Dave - Soul Sister Brown Sugar

Sam and Dave - Wrap It Up

Sam and Dave - Gimme Some Lovin'

Sam & Dave - A Place Nobody Can Find

Sam & Dave - Soothe me

Sam and Dave - You Don't Know Like I Know

Sam and Dave - Hold On, I'm Coming

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joe shikspack's picture

i'm off to a solstice party tonight, so i'll catch up with you all later.

have a great weekend!

9 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

to Third Way, is that the other evening, he reiterated a pledge to support whatever conservative/corporatist DP candidate the Party manages to cough up, when all is said and done. (assuming he doesn't get the nomination, of course)

Gotta run to the Credit Union, now, but, will try to get back by, and post the link to the CNN interview, where he makes this assurance, yet, another time. It puzzles me--I thought that this was what made some (not all) of his supporters angry, after 2016. Anyhoo, for the life of me, I can't understand how this is helpful to his cause. IMO, if he, or Gabbard, for that matter, would run outside of the DP--if they don't garner the nomination--a lot of lefties who aren't willing to vote for a Dem, would probably gravitate to them. To me, it's not rocket science. Biggrin

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To SD - Due to travel (either at 2:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning), I may not have a chance to re-find a link to the Medicare Advantage 'penetration' map that I posted. I have found a very similar one, but, it's in a long study, and would be a hassle to scroll down to. I know there's another post at KHN, 'cause I hadn't seen the study I stumbled upon looking for it. It's very instructive, and detailed, though. So, glad I searched for it. Sure I'll be quoting from it, later.

Part of it makes the point that I've tried to make about NOT implementing the Medigap 'reforms' that Dems are pushing. They will destroy the Medigap market for 'seniors.' The Kaiser study outlines just how much more expensive it is if insurers begin to cover the SSDI "under 65" folks (who are mostly quite seriously ill, some terminally ill) in the same Medigap program.

It would make much more sense to remove the 'asset barrier,' and allow ALL SSDI beneficiaries to become Medicare dual-eligibles, so that they'd have complete, and excellent health coverage--and the cost would be borne by the American taxpayer dollars, state and federal.

IOW, not just by the 11 to 13 million senior citizens in the private Medigap insurance market, with no subsidy. Bad

But, nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo--they'd rather punish a handful of 'seniors.'

(Meaning, Medigap beneficiaries, who enroll at age 65, under the current Medigap policy rules and regulations.)

Clearly, their intent it so make it impossible for 'average' people to afford the coverage. And, it will achieve this goal, if any of their various proposals pass.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hopefully, I can find a 'good news' piece to post, later. I'm still looking!

Hey, found one--a "Good News" story, that is!


This turtle lost both his back legs so vets built him a very fancy wheelchair

By AJ Willingham, CNN

This fine specimen is Pedro the handicapable turtle, a patient of Louisiana State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Baton Rouge.

When Pedro was adopted, he was already missing one hind leg. He recently ran away for a few months, and when he returned home, the prodigal box turtle had somehow managed to lose the other one.

His owners brought him to LSU and vets concluded that, other than being inexplicably accident-prone, Pedro was just fine.

"There was nothing medically wrong with him," Ginger Guttner, the communications manager for LSU's School of Veterinary Medicine told CNN. "But of course he didn't have any back legs, so our doctors quickly had to figure out what they were going to do."

They found their answer where so many great medical puzzles are solved: The toy store.

A zoological intern at the hospital picked up a Lego car kit, and using some syringe parts and animal-safe epoxy, vets MacGyvered a sweet little rig for Pedro's caboose.

Look! The wheelchair can even be snapped off the bottom of his shell so Pedro stays clean. Does he understand how much people care for him? Can he feel how much he is loved?

Guttner says such ingenuity, Lego-based or otherwise, is pretty common in the field.

"Veterinary medicine often requires this MacGyver-like quality," she says. "I would say the majority of special equipment we use has been fashioned or re-fashioned for a specific case."

Here's link to CNN transcript with Cuomo's/Sanders' June 19 interview.


Have a good evening, All, and Happy Summer Soltice!

Postcript: Wish I were in Interior Alaska for the 'Midnight Sun' (10K) Run, tomorrow.



[Edited: Added 'Good News' story about turtle.]


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

GreatLakeSailor's picture


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Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

snoopydawg's picture


The democrats are charging people to see their kabuki debate where no one will be allowed to speak at length? This is actually very funny don't you think? This just further shows how out of touch the democrats are with their members. LMAO! There really is nothing else to do.

Did you read the responses to this tweet? Here's an article on this.

Turns out you can see the Democrats debate live in Miami. But it will cost you

Following the results of the 2018 midterm elections, we take a look at the Democrats who could run for president in the 2020 election. By
Thought you couldn’t get a ticket to the first presidential debate in Miami?

If you’ve got about $1,750 to burn, you’re in luck.

According to a private invite obtained by the Miami Herald from a Democratic politician, the Florida Democratic Party is offering exclusive access to the highly sought-after event in the form of sponsorship packages.

For $4,500, a sponsor gets two tickets to a pre-debate reception on June 26 and two tickets to both debate nights. For $3,000, a sponsor will get the two tickets to the reception and two tickets for one of the debate nights, though it is unclear if the person gets to pick which night. A $1,750 donation to the party covers one ticket to the reception and one ticket for a single debate night.

Only have $250 to spare? That will buy your way into the private reception, the location of which is not disclosed on the invite.
The FDP did not immediately respond to requests for comment on how many tickets are being set aside for the sponsorship packages, but said it has set aside 270 of its 300 allotted complimentary tickets for grassroots supporters, elected officials and community leaders.

By virtue of subtraction, that would leave just 30 tickets for sale to the lucky sponsors.

The Miami-Dade Democrats were also given a block of tickets, which were allotted to grassroots activists and Democratic leaders who were active in voter registration and “Democratic engagement,” chairman Steve Simeonidis said. The distribution of the tickets was agreed upon by the county party’s leadership team of elected officers.

Oh well. Warren thinks that people can afford to pay $500 month for their drugs so why not just throw half of it away on a reception?

11 users have voted.

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

GreatLakeSailor's picture


Most (all?) felt the way we do: Dumbocrats proving they're outta touch and no longer bother to hide their fuckery.

7 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

Shahryar's picture


that's filling the crowd with people who favor corporatists. I wonder if the DNC realizes that!

11 users have voted.

@Shahryar of that.
At. All.
I can't be trusted to see what I clearly see because I am not one of "them" AND WILL NEVER BE.

12 users have voted.
Shahryar's picture

@on the cusp

(as well as mine)

7 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture


Tuesday is the 25th.
You'd think the well compensated Dims would get the grift right - that's their bread'n'butter & number one job!?!?
So far only Miami Herald is reporting this.

6 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

snoopydawg's picture

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill fear members of President Trump’s inner circle are pushing the commander-in-chief into starting a war with Iran.

Why is no one naming the other person who has Trump's ear and is pushing him to attack Iran? This has been Bibi's dream for decades and yet people are acting like it's just Bolton and Pompeo who are pushing him to do it. Okay lots of people think that it's Putin who is telling him to do it or that he called Trump at the last minute and got him to stop. Now why would Putin want Trump to attack Iran? Because it would help Russia when oil prices go up.

Remember when Obama wanted to close the revolving door between government and special interests? Yeah that ship has sailed too. In one of his speeches he bragged to the bank CEOs about how much money he made them. He also said that he missed the signs of growing income inequality because the economic numbers looked so good. $600,000 just to talk to some folks?

Great article on how Biden isn't that much different than Trump. But Joe isn't the only one who thinks that when Trump is gone that things will go back to normal. Look at how many people are wishing that Obama was still president.

One of Biden’s favorite fictions about the past is that there was an era when gender relations were less contentious, and when it was appropriate to treat women and girls with patronizing dismissiveness. He is fond of touching women in strange, inappropriate and overly intimate if not outright sexual ways that betray an obliviousness to their discomfort at best and an entitlement to their bodies at worst.

AOC was asked about the aborted attack on Iran. Here's her response:

How do you interpret this?

9 users have voted.

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

mimi's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg
from where I am in Germany. So, my interpretation is that AOC's answer is just a blank page.

Obama's speeches, they come to four a month if he has really made 50speeches a year. NOw, no wonder that he can do the speeches in his sleep. I am sure his wife wonders what he is talking about in his sleep out loud all the altime.

Calling for a doctor to cure sleepwalking and sleeptalking. You know when you are asleep you can walk the talk. So, it is better to not wake up as walking your talk when awake is just a fata morgana. Hallelujah.

6 users have voted.

Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

dystopian's picture

Thanks for the great tunes JS! Sam and Dave were awesome. Groundbreakers they were. The Blues Brothers covered a bunch of them very well too. Steve Cropper was a great player!

Thanks for the tunes all week! Have a great weekend!

6 users have voted.

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

enhydra lutris's picture

4 users have voted.

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

travelerxxx's picture

... whereas Trump once regularly tweeted and pontificated about Venezuela, the issue has been moved to the backburner in the last month or so. In early May there was lots of talk about (and fears over) potential military intervention, which has seemingly cooled in the month or so that followed.

Well, now that the Iran thing has cooled a few degrees, Venezuela had best be on the lookout. Or perhaps some other place? The dude seems to have the attention span of a gnat — unless the subject is Donald Trump.

Somehow we've got to get this guy interested in something benign ... like maybe start a PR campaign claiming that Trump is the one of the greatest golfers ever. Plaster pictures all over the papers of Trump on the links. Photoshop them to make him resemble Palmer or something. Anything to feed that ego and keep him away from the likes of Bolton.

I read in the latest issue of Harpers that many leaders of foreign nations had gifted Trump with a portrait of Trump himself. Often it was gilt-edged, or somewhat regally appointed — a fantasy. Evidently, others in this world have figured him out quite well.

Or we could get so lucky that John Bolton steps out in front of a bus.

7 users have voted.
mimi's picture

wwIII is approaching us. That's a sin, Joe. A no, no. Repent, or else.

I need a cool beer. But it is too early in the morning. That would make me an alcoholic. That's a no no too, so I am not gonna sin.

Have a good weekend, all. I hope you all realize how outstanding joe's news article collections are. I feel like Alice in Wonderland reading them.

7 users have voted.

Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko