The Evening Blues - 6-29-20



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Cecil Gant

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues piano player Cecil Gant. Enjoy!

Cecil Gant - What You Know Joe

"As long as dissent is relegated to the fringes, there is no actual free speech. Saying you have free speech because you’re allowed to make blogs or Youtube videos is like saying you have free speech because you can dig a hole in the ground and say whatever you want into it.

We have a media system which creates an inverse correlation between one’s access to influential platforms and how dissident their speech is. Allowing people free speech which has zero meaningful impact is not allowing free speech at all."

-- Caitlin Johnstone


News and Opinion

Worth a full read:

Black Lives Matter Wants to End Police Brutality. History Suggests It Will Go Much Further.

Huge numbers of Americans have been brutalized physically, emotionally, or financially by the coronavirus pandemic. And as the number of diagnosed cases trends ominously up, we have no idea what’s next. Everyone with eyes to see knows the path that brought the United States to this dreadful place is a dead end. The question is whether America can change enough to head anywhere else. The most promising direction isn’t well-known outside of activist circles. In 2016 the Movement for Black Lives, made up of dozens of Black-led organizations, issued a six-part platform called “A Vision for Black Lives.” The introduction stated, “Neither our grievances nor our solutions are limited to the police killing of our people,” and much of it is devoted to economic issues. This year the MBL also released specific policy demands in response to Covid-19.

The logic of history and the present time suggest that if the Black Lives Matter movement sustains itself, it will inevitably become about this larger agenda. Some who joined a movement because they hoped for comparatively modest reforms will find themselves bumping up against the limits of the current system, and learn from experience that everything has to change or very little will. ... While it’s largely been forgotten now — on purpose — the civil rights movement during the 1960s faced a similar reality, and confronted it head-on. Because of this, the movement was never just about ending America’s legal caste system; it always had a powerful economic component. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech at a 1963 rally that was officially named the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. One common sign at the march was “Civil Rights Plus Full Employment Equals Freedom.” ...

In a famous 1967 speech, King was clear about what would be required to get decent lives for African Americans: “We must honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. … The problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.” When King was assassinated the next year, he was planning to lead a Poor People’s Campaign to Washington, D.C., to get results via direct action.

America then successfully evaded and beat back these questions for 50 years. But they didn’t disappear, they stayed right here. Now the coronavirus pandemic has simultaneously demonstrated how high the stakes are, and that all of society’s supposedly iron-clad rules can be thrown out at a moment’s notice. If there ever were a time when Americans might be ready to rewrite the basic handbook, it’s now.

Health secretary: ‘Window is closing’ to stop coronavirus as US cases pass 2.5m

US health secretary Alex Azar has warned that “the window is closing” on the country’s chance to take action to effectively curb the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases surpassed 2.5m. The Health and Human Services secretary pointed to a recent surge in infections, particularly in the south and said people have “to act responsibly” by social distancing and wearing face masks especially “in these hot zones”.

For a third consecutive day on Saturday, the number of confirmed US cases rose by more than 40,000. In Arizona, cases have risen by 267% so far in June and jumped by a record 3,857 cases on Sunday, the eighth record-breaking increase this month. Overall, US deaths from Covid-19 have passed 125,000 with more than 2.5m confirmed cases, according to compiled by Johns Hopkins University, far more than any other country in the world.

The fresh surge in Covid-19 cases has been most pronounced in a handful of southern and western states that reopened earlier and more aggressively, with the support of the Trump administration, despite warnings by health officials to wait to see a steady decline in cases. Texas and Florida were among the states that reversed course on parts of their reopening plans last week as cases continue to increase.

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press program on Sunday morning, Azar was asked by presenter Chuck Todd why the US was failing to tackle the Covid-19 crisis, especially when so many other countries seem to be succeeding. Azar acknowledged the US was “seeing surging in cases” and that the majority of those are among people under the age of 35, which means a “large number of those” will be asymptomatic, presenting a different challenge for authorities trying to get a grip on outbreaks.

“This is a very serious situation,” Azar said, adding that “the window is closing” to stop the virus’s spread.

Massive Case of Denial: COVID Surges in US, Tops 10M Globally, as Pence Touts “Remarkable Progress”

Mike Pence Wants You to Pray the Coronavirus Away

Vice President Mike Pence might not have a new national plan to reduce the surge in coronavirus cases in the South. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have ideas. There’s always prayer.

“I’d just encourage every American to continue to pray,” Pence said Friday during the first White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing in weeks (Trump stopped them in late April, tweeting they weren’t worth the time anymore). “Just continue to pray that, by God’s grace, every single day, each of us will do our part to heal our land.”

And that’s about as much of a plan as Pence appears to have to stop spiraling outbreaks in states like Texas, California, and Arizona. One by one, task force members agreed that the rising cases are concerning. But Pence encouraged Americans to look to their mayors and governors for guidance. The White House, Pence insisted, wants to avoid a one-size-fits-all solution.

“What we’re seeing across the South, is really, outbreaks,” Pence said. “People ought to listen to their state and local authorities.”

Why defunding the police means defunding surveillance tech, too

Lots of additional details and documents at the link:

Law Enforcement Scoured Protester Communications and Exaggerated Threats to Minneapolis Cops, Leaked Documents Show

Newly leaked documents reveal that, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, local and federal law enforcement agencies repeatedly told police in Minnesota that they were under attack. The fears stoked by the warnings appear to have set the stage for the police’s escalating, violent response to the protests, including the widespread use of tear gas, percussion grenades, and rubber bullets, sometimes fired at close range.

The documents show that law enforcement leadership warned of potential threats from antifa and “black racially motivated violent extremists,” as well as vaguely described social media users. Federal and local agencies collected intelligence drawn from private online messaging groups and Slack channels, according to the documents. The agencies also tracked Facebook RSVPs to peaceful protest events, including a suburban candlelight vigil.

The window into the police’s internal memos came thanks to a trove of documents called Blueleaks, which were published on the website Distributed Denial of Secrets. The site’s founder told Wired that the documents came from the hacking collective Anonymous, or someone claiming to be affiliated with the group. Government officials whose files appeared among the documents told the Intercept they were “illegally obtained,” but no questions have been raised about their authenticity. The documents on Minnesota are from a host of local and federal law enforcement agencies and coordinating offices that worked to share information between them.

Corporate Media Looks to Purveyors of State Violence Abroad to Condemn State Violence at Home

Anti-racist protests have swept across the country over the past month, demanding justice for George Floyd, police accountability and the defunding of law enforcement.

In response to these uprisings, President Donald Trump publicly toyed with the idea of deploying active-duty military to American cities—a proposal that most corporate media, with a few glaring exceptions, have condemned as an abuse of power.

However, when we look at who media have called upon to denounce the Trump administration’s response, a revealing pattern emerges. Rather than providing a platform for protesters, who were met by heavily armed law enforcement toting chemical agents and flashbang grenades, media decided to turn to the enforcers of state violence abroad: the US national security apparatus. Several outlets asked current and former intelligence officials to weigh in on Trump’s response, utilizing their testimony to equate the crackdowns with those in other countries:

  • Washington Post (6/2/20): “CIA Veterans Who Monitored Crackdowns Abroad See Troubling Parallels in Trump’s Handling of Protests”
  • Independent (6/2/20): “I Asked Police, Veterans and a Former CIA Agent What They Think of Trump’s Response to the Protests. Even They Are Horrified.”
  • International Business Times (6/3/20): “George Floyd White House Protest: Donald Trump Acting Like Dictator During Racial Tensions, Intelligence and Defense Officials Warn.”
  • These articles are correct in pointing out that Trump’s militarized suppression of dissent at home has “troubling parallels” with authoritarian crackdowns abroad. The testimony of US state officials, especially former ones, can aid the public in taking cognizance of these parallels, given that they are responsible for enforcing similar crackdowns around the world. But because media present these sources uncritically and refuse to include vital context, they fail to examine our own empire, and ultimately make all the wrong connections.

    In response to the Trump administration’s handling of the protests, the Post article includes a quote from Marc Polymeropoulos, who spent 26 years in the CIA:

    “It reminded me of what I reported on for years in the Third World,” Polymeropoulos said on Twitter. Referring to the despotic leaders of Iraq, Syria and Libya, he said: “Saddam. Bashar. Qaddafi. They all did this.”

    While it’s true that Trump’s response has been militant, these articles present this reaction as a disturbing departure from otherwise morally sound US leadership throughout history. Trump may be the first US president to tweet the words, “When the looting starts, the shootings starts,” but despite media’s historical amnesia, violent government crackdowns on anti-racist protests in the US have always been the norm, not the exception.

    Take, for example, the FBI’s COINTELPRO program, which targeted thousands of activists through tactics like psychological warfare, blackmail and assasination. Or when the Philadelphia Police Department dropped a bomb on a residential neighborhood in order to disband a Black liberation group, killing nearly a dozen people and leaving hundreds of residents homeless. More recently, the FBI’s counterterrorism division has labeled “Black identity extremists” as a domestic terror threat, due to their “perceptions of police brutality against African Americans.”

    By relying on CIA testimony, media shift the focus away from the tyranny in our own backyard in favor of pointing fingers at the “despotic leaders” of “the Third World”—never mind the fact that the US has no qualms with oppressive leadership in the Middle East when it aligns with our interests, as evidenced by our alliance with Saudi Arabia.

    [Much more at the link. -js]

    Mentally Replace Everything Before “U.S. Intelligence Says” With “Blah Blah We’re Probably Lying”

    “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill Troops, U.S. Intelligence Says”, blares the latest viral headline from The New York Times. NYT’s unnamed sources allege that the GRU “secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops”, and that the Trump administration has known this for months.

    To be clear, this is journalistic malpractice. Mainstream media outlets which publish anonymous intelligence claims with no proof are just publishing CIA press releases disguised as news. They’re just telling you to believe what sociopathic intelligence agencies want you to believe under the false guise of impartial and responsible reporting. This practice has become ubiquitous throughout mainstream news publications, but that doesn’t make it any less immoral.

    Whenever one sees a news headline ending in “US Intelligence Says”, one should always mentally replace everything that comes before it with “Blah blah blah we’re probably lying”. In a post-Iraq invasion world, the only correct response to unproven anonymous claims about a rival government by intelligence agencies from the US or its allies is to assume that they are lying until you are provided with a mountain of independently verifiable evidence to the contrary. The US has far too extensive a record of lying about these things for any other response to ever be justified as rational, and its intelligence agencies consistently play a foundational role in those lies. ...


    “It’s totally outrageous for Russia to support the Taliban against Americans in Afghanistan. Of course, it’s totally fine for the U.S. to support jihadi rebels against Russians in Syria, jihadi rebels who openly said the Taliban is their hero,” tweeted author and analyst Max Abrams.

    On the flip side all the McResistance pundits have been speaking of this baseless allegation as a horrific event that is known to have happened, with Rachel Maddow going so far as to describe it as Putin offering bounties for the “scalps” of American soldiers in Afghanistan. This is an interesting choice of words considering that offering bounties for scalps is in fact one of the many horrific things the US government did in furthering its colonialist ambitions, which, unlike the New York Times allegation, is known to have actually happened.

    It is true as many have been pointing out that it would be fair play for Russia to fund violent opposition the the US in Afghanistan, seeing as that’s exactly what the US and its allies have been doing to Russia and its allies in Syria, and did to the Soviets in Afghanistan via Operation Cyclone. It is also true that the US military has no business in Afghanistan anyway and any violence inflicted upon US troops abroad is the fault of the military expansionists who put them there; the US military has no place outside its own easily-defended borders and the assumption that it is normal for a government to circle the planet with military bases is a faulty premise.

    But before even getting into such arguments, the other side of the debate must meet its burden of proof that this has even happened. That burden is far from met. It is literally the US intelligence community’s job to lie to you. The New York Times has an extensive history of pushing for new wars at every opportunity, including the unforgivable Iraq invasion which killed a million people based on lies. A mountain of proof is required before such claims should be seriously considered, and we are very, very far from that.

    I will repeat myself: it is the US intelligence community’s job to lie to you. I will repeat myself again: it is the US intelligence community’s job to lie to you. Don’t treat these CIA press releases with anything but contempt.


    Top Brazil newspaper in pro-democracy drive as unease grows about Bolsonaro

    One of Brazil’s leading newspapers has launched a major pro-democracy campaign as unease grows about the threat many fear Jair Bolsonaro and his most militant supporters pose to the country’s political future. Unveiling the initiative on Sunday, the Folha de São Paulo said systematic attacks from pro-Bolsonaro extremists were putting Brazilian democracy through its greatest “stress test” since the return of civilian rule in 1985.

    The broadsheet urged readers to wear yellow in support of democracy and said voters needed to urgently remember the dark days of Brazil’s 1964-85 military regime, when hundreds of political opponents were killed or disappeared. “We saw, and will never forget, the horrors of dictatorship, and we will always champion democracy,” the Folha de São Paulo declared.

    The century-old publication announced that until Brazil’s next elections it would change the motto on its masthead from “a newspaper at the service of Brazil” to “a newspaper at the service of democracy”. It would also offer a free online course examining the social, economic, environmental, cultural and political impact of the dictatorship. Folha’s editor-in-chief, Sérgio Dávila, said the campaign was born out of the realisation that more than half of the country’s population were too young to remember a period that for all its abominations is still celebrated by Brazil’s far-right leader and many of Bolsonaro’s devotees.

    Saagar and Ryan Grim: Jon Stewart calls out idiocy of bailing out corporations and not people

    Trump’s COVID Directive May Force Workers To Pay To Go Back To Work

    As businesses reopen, laid off and furloughed workers will lose access to unemployment benefits if they stay home out of fear that their workplaces are unsafe. Now, a move by the Trump administration to protect health insurance profits may force workers to fork over money for the privilege of being forced back to jobs that jeopardize their lives.

    Many businesses want their workers to be screened for the virus before returning to workplaces, where they could unknowingly spread the disease to co-workers and customers. But thanks to a new Trump administration guidance, if businesses do require their employees to undergo coronavirus tests before being rehired, employers or their employees -- not health insurers -- could end up paying for it.

    The directive comes as insurers have been pushing for relief from testing mandates -- and it is a potential jackpot for the industry, whose profits are already booming during the pandemic. It’s an extra kick in the ass when some states have enacted liability protection measures blocking employees and customers from suing businesses if they are infected with COVID, and Congress is weighing the idea nationally, too.

    Last week, Trump officials issued the guidance declaring that health insurance companies are not required to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing for employment purposes under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The legislation was passed by Congress to prevent patients from dealing with copays or out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus tests.

    The new guidance provided by the U.S. Labor Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Treasury Department says that insurers only need to pay for tests that are determined to be “medically appropriate” by a health care provider. That loophole could allow insurers to avoid covering the costs of back-to-work tests. The bills will likely fall on businesses -- or workers, if their employers don’t want to pay. The costs of tests can be quite expensive, ranging from about $150 all the way up to $7,000, according to Politico.

    'Outrageous': Trump Administration Waived Ethics Reviews for Lawmakers and Federal Officials Seeking Small Business Loans

    The Trump administration in April quietly issued a sweeping waiver exempting members of Congress and other federal officials from ethics rules in order to allow them and their families to apply for small business coronavirus relief loans without facing conflict of interest reviews.

    The existence of the ethics waiver was reported Friday by the Washington Post and met with alarm by good government advocates who warned the "blanket approval" from the Small Business Administration (SBA) opens the door to abuse of Paycheck Protection Program funds designed to help struggling small businesses stay afloat. ...

    The Post noted that lawmakers and federal officials who own small businesses and want to apply for loans must typically be approved by the SBA's Standards of Conduct Committee.

    "But in a rule the administration issued April 13," the Post reported, "the administration disclosed that the approval requirement had been suspended for all entities seeking funds from the $660 billion [Paycheck Protection Program] 'so that further action by the [ethics committee] is not necessary."

    Josh Gotbaum, a guest scholar in the Brookings Institution's Economic Studies Program, told the Post he was "appalled" by the sweeping ethics waiver. "The idea that the Small Business Administration can, without any review or publicity, secretly let all of its employees arrange loans for their family members or associates is outrageous," said Gotbaum.

    Coronavirus IX: Evictions: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

    Fed’s Stress Tests Results Based on GDP Decline of 8.5 Percent; Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow Forecast Says GDP Will Decline by 46.6 Percent

    Yesterday the Federal Reserve released its highly awaited stress tests on the biggest and most dangerous banks in America. The stress test results fill an 83-page document with dozens of charts showing what would happen to the banks under a hypothetical “severely adverse scenario.”

    This scenario, unfortunately, was previously prepared and pales in comparison to the actual economic damage rendered by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the severely adverse scenario for this year’s stress tests imagined the U.S. unemployment rate climbing to a peak of 10 percent in the third quarter of 2021. The unemployment rate is currently 13.3 percent. But far more frightening, the Fed’s severely adverse scenario for GDP imagined a decline of “8½ percent from its pre-recession peak, reaching a trough in the third quarter of 2021.”

    As of yesterday, June 25, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate was for U.S. GDP to decline by a staggering 46.6 percent in the second quarter.

    Princeton to remove Woodrow Wilson's name from school over racist history

    Ivy league Princeton University has announced it will remove President Woodrow Wilson’s name from the institution’s School of Public and International Affairs due to his history of racism. In a statement released Saturday, the university president, Christopher Eisgruber, said the decision came after a “thorough, deliberative process”, five years after a group of student activists occupied his office in protest against the faculty’s dedication to the controversial 28th president.

    The removal of Wilson’s name from the faculty – which will now be known as the School of Public and International Affairs – comes as many institutions across the US are facing protests and campaigns over controversial dedications and monuments. ...

    In a statement, Princeton’s trustees said they had considered “whether it is acceptable for this University’s school of public affairs to bear the name of a racist who segregated the nation’s civil service after it had been integrated for decades”. ...

    While he is remembered as a progressive, internationalist statesman, Wilson’s reputation is clouded by his racist policies in other areas of government when he was president from 1913 to 1921.

    Mississippi votes to remove Confederate symbol from flag

    Mississippi lawmakers vote to remove Confederate emblem from state flag

    Mississippi legislators have voted to replace the state flag, the last in the nation to feature the Confederate battle emblem, which has been condemned as racist.

    The state House and the Senate voted to remove the current flag on Sunday and create a commission that will design a new flag that cannot include the Confederate symbol and that must have the words “In God We Trust”. Mississippi governor Tate Reeves has signalled he will sign the measure in the coming days.

    The flag’s supporters have resisted efforts to change it for decades, but rapid developments in recent weeks have changed dynamics on this issue in the state, which has a long history of systemic racism and saw more lynchings of African Americans than any other state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    As protests against racial injustice recently spread across the US, including Mississippi, leaders from business, religion, education and sports have spoken forcefully against the state flag. They have urged legislators to ditch the 126-year-old banner for one that better reflects the diversity of a state with a 38% Black population.

    The state House and Senate met Saturday and took a big step: by two-thirds margins, they suspended legislative deadlines so a flag bill could be filed. Spectators cheered as each chamber voted, and legislators seeking the change embraced each other.



    the horse race



    Obama advisor says progressives need to be more like never Trumpers

    With Election Just 4 Months Away, FEC Essentially Defunct as GOP Member Leaves for Koch-Funded Group

    After 10 months, the Federal Elections Commission in May regained a quorum with the confirmation of Republican appointee Trey Trainor—and promptly lost it just over five weeks later on Friday when commissioner Caroline Hunter resigned to join the Koch-funded group Stand Together, leaving the regulatory body again essentially powerless as the November general election draws closer.

    "The FEC's brief period of functioning appears to be over," tweeted Public Integrity reporter Carrie Levine.

    Hunter's last day is July 3.

    "Republican FEC commissioner leaving to joining the Koch network's dark money fundraising apparatus," tweeted Dig Left researcher Andrew Perez. "Says a lot!"

    In a statement reacting to the resignation, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the chair of the Committee on House Administration, said the news "makes abundantly clear the shortsightedness of the Senate Majority's naked partisanship in abandoning a longstanding tradition of confirming bipartisan pairs of Commissioners."

    "The FEC just emerged from a nine-month period without a quorum—the longest running period of the commission's history—during which it was hamstrung from doing its job," said Lofgren. "Upon commissioner Hunter's announced departure on July 3, the FEC will lose its quorum again for the third time since the commission's establishment, with just four months to go before November's general election."



    the evening greens


    Chesapeake Energy, fracking pioneer, files for bankruptcy owing $9bn

    Chesapeake Energy, the shale gas drilling pioneer that helped to turn the United States into a global energy powerhouse, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The Oklahoma City-based company said on Sunday that it had been forced to enter chapter 11 protection because its debts of $9bn were unmanageable.

    It has entered a plan with lenders to cut $7bn of its debt and said it will continue to operate as usual during the bankruptcy process.

    The oil and gas company was a leader in the fracking boom, using unconventional techniques to extract oil and gas from the ground, a method that has come under scrutiny because of its environmental impact. Other wildcatters followed in Chesapeake’s path, racking up huge debts to find oil and gas in fields spanning New Mexico, Texas, the Dakotas and Pennsylvania.

    But those companies are now under pressure to service those debts. More than 200 oil producers have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past five years, a trend that was expected to continue as the Covid-19 pandemic saps demand for energy and depresses prices further.

    Louisiana Activists Face 15 Years for “Terrorizing” Oil Lobbyist with Box of Plastic Pollution

    'Warning Sign of Major Proportions': Number of Siberian Forest Fires Increase Fivefold in Week Since Record High Temperature

    The number of fires in the vast north Asian region of Siberia increased fivefold this week, according to the Russian forest fire aerial protection service, as temperatures in the Arctic continued higher than normal in the latest sign of the ongoing climate crisis.

    The news of the increase comes a week after the small Siberian town of Verkhoyansk reported a high temperature of 100.4° F on June 20, a reading that, if confirmed, would mark the hottest day ever recorded in the region.

    "While fires are common at this time of year, record temperatures and strong winds are making the situation particularly worrying," the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, which is monitoring the situation, said in a statement.


    As the Associated Press reported:

    According to figures reported Saturday by Avialesookhrana, Russia's agency for aerial forest fire management, 1.15 million hectares (2.85 million acres) were burning in Siberia in areas that cannot be reached by firefighters.

    The worst-hit area is the Sakha Republic, where Verkhoyansk is located, with 929,000 hectares (2.295 million acres) burning.

    The Sakha Republic's fire service reported 127 natural fires in the Russian federal sector.

    The fires and heat are due to the climate crisis, Weather Channel meteorologist Carl Parker told Newsweek.

    "What climate change is doing is moving the distribution of weather events, such that historically low-frequency, extreme events occur more frequently," said Parker. "Had the climate not changed due to man-made greenhouse gases, the heat we've seen in parts of Siberia would have been a 100,000-year event."

    Parker warned that the fires are part of a dangerous feedback loop in the northern region.

    "What's scary about the warming in Siberia is that there are huge quantities of carbon in permafrost, which can be unleashed during periods like this, particularly as fires develop in the region," said Parker.


    Also of Interest

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

    Intercepted: Scholar Robin D.G. Kelley on How Today’s Abolitionist Movement Can Fundamentally Change the Country

    How the NYPD Weaponized a Curfew Against Protesters and Residents

    Here's What's in the 'George Floyd Justice in Policing Act' the House Just Passed

    This Russia-Afghanistan Story Is Western Propaganda At Its Most Vile

    Only Idiots Believe The CIA, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

    Rewriting History & Rehabilitating George W Bush

    Bombing People Is Not Feminist, No Matter How You Spin It

    Greens surge in French local elections as Anne Hidalgo holds Paris

    Michael Hudson on Coronavirus and Debt Winners and Losers

    How Trump’s Deportation Flights Are Putting Latin America and the Caribbean at Risk

    Fed Launches Corporate Bond Buying Program, Gobbling Up Fossil Fuels and Tobacco Bonds

    Scientists Pin Blame for Some Coronavirus Deaths on Air Pollution, PFAS, and Other Chemicals

    BLM leader: America is an 'experiment' ready for 'change'

    Flight Attendant Union President: Do police unions deserve to be part of the labor movement?


    A Little Night Music

    Cecil Gant - Rock Little Baby

    Cecil Gant - Am I to Blame?

    Cecil Gant - Nashville Jumps

    Cecil Gant - Another Day, Another Dollar

    Cecil Gant - I Wonder (Alternate Take 1)

    Cecil Gant - Playin' Myself the Blues

    Cecil Gant - Boozie Boogie

    Cecil Gant - That's the Stuff You Gotta Watch

    Cecil Gant - Cecil Boogie No.2


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    Comments

    ggersh's picture

    EDIT: Hey Joe, thanks for the blues! Stay safe everyone

    up
    15 users have voted.

    “Awesome! I always wondered what it was like to live during the times of the Civil War, Spanish Flu, Great Depression, Civil Rights Movement, Watergate, & the Dust Bowl. Not all at once mind you, but ya know, ‘beggars/choosers” and all.”

    enhydra lutris's picture

    @ggersh

    be well and have a goo one.

    up
    7 users have voted.

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

    joe shikspack's picture

    @ggersh

    thanks for the video. what a travesty.

    up
    7 users have voted.
    enhydra lutris's picture

    from the Guardian of all sources:

    First Thing: the pandemic has broken Europe's trust in American leadership

    This could be the start of something big, so to speak.

    Also great news:

    Law Enforcement Scoured Protester Communications and Exaggerated Threats to Minneapolis Cops, Leaked Documents Show

    Not specifically that, but the leak, which I just learned about. Humongous dump by a group calling itself DDoSecrets. Finally a little sunlight on police operations including their spying and dossier building. I'm hoping to do an OT Wednesday on it, but here's an article in Ars Technica: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/06/an-embattled-grou...?

    Thanks for the EB also, too.

    be well and have a good one.

    up
    15 users have voted.

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

    joe shikspack's picture

    @enhydra lutris

    yep, it looks like europe has had its fill of trump and is divided over whether he is the result of a long-running trend or an anomalous appearance. it looks like some of europe is ready to move on and others are hoping that the u.s. comes to its senses.

    glad to see that there is a group ready to pick up where wikileaks left off.

    have a good evening!

    up
    8 users have voted.
    lotlizard's picture

    @enhydra lutris  
    with European political, economic, and cultural elites who have slavishly acted as one with the U.S.

    Europe's trust in American leadership

    When it came to making deals for arms sales to dictators … waging war around the globe under the NATO label … fomenting instability, sowing mayhem, and leaving naked chaos in their wake … creating the conditions for human trafficking, re-emergence of slavery, and mass migration, with entire populations in flight from the violence of allies like ISIS … the European establishment was always, always there.

    European elites are just mad at Trump because he’s laid the game bare for all to see, whereas Clinton, the Bush clan, and Obama were better at letting them cover up the consequences of their followership, complicity, and cowardice.

    up
    5 users have voted.
    snoopydawg's picture

    “In the weeks since Floyd’s death, we have seen many videos and pretty well substantiated reports of unjustified police use of force. ‘What were they thinking? They knew the whole world was watching.’ The most cogent explanation is fear.

    How does that explain the way cops in other states went after the peaceful protesters with overwhelming violence? And as the guy mentioned in the article says this is how cops treat most protests going back to 1966. And if cops were so afraid of people becoming violent towards them then why didn’t they freak out when the mostly white group of men took their guns to their protests on opening up the country? Yeah cops are afraid of unarmed people, but just at ease with armed ones.

    Just imagine what the country would be like if MLK and RFK hadn’t been killed. How far would either of them have been able to take their visions?

    Just imagine if they had been black.

    Well now this is pretty damning isn’t it? And yet I haven’t heard anything from Bernie or even anyone else from his campaign. They Shirley had access to this information.

    Wanna bet that this won’t be covered by the msm? Maybe CBS will let Catherine discuss it since she works for them. She has been talking about the Flynn case.

    Joe did you watch what Rachel said about this? Scalps! And boy did she seem torqued.

    up
    10 users have voted.

    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

    joe shikspack's picture

    @snoopydawg

    surely fear is not the only motivation. the cops have roots in slave patrols and have never really changed their orientation despite whatever protestations they make about not being racists.

    the dnc ripped off bernie, again? gosh, what a surprise.

    if cbs does cover it, i would imagine that it their machine won't run it on the spin cycle.

    i saw a twitter clip of rachel. small doses are all that i can take. she's a nutter, pretty much in line with the women in florida that called wearing masks satanic.

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    @snoopydawg I know next to nothing about guns and self defense but even I could play spot all the mistakes in these pictures. Richie Rambo might want to not hold the side of the gun where the spent and hot cartridges come out right against his polo. He also might want to stop pointing that thing at his wife, who looks like she’s doing a PowerPoint presentation with hers. Oh, and if you really think the angry mob is coming for you, you might try taking a position of cover rather than charging right out into the open where you could be easily picked off, assuming you didn’t shoot each other first.
    I’ve seen a lot of Karens and Kens recently, but I think those two are the most pathetic.

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    snoopydawg's picture

    @Dr. John Carpenter

    Someone said on Twitter they are telling their daughter that this is Hillary. But man look at her eyes. And I don’t own a gun either, but yeah if you’re feeling threatened you don’t stand in the open. Nor do you point your gun at people. Or put your finger inside the trigger guard until you are ready to pull the trigger.

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    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

    snoopydawg's picture

    So people can see what’s coming soon.

    I don’t know if I should say OMG or LMAO

    Look at what is being loaded next in the Russian/Trump/Comey/FBI/Hillary/Obama election saga.

    Comey Miniseries Gets Pre-Election Airdate, After Director Pleads For Chance To Sway Voters

    Further down in the letter, Ray envisioned billboards screaming, “Comey Vs. Trump” in the heat of the election battle.

    “The Comey Rule” is based on former FBI director James Comey’s recent memoir, “A Higher Loyalty” and “more than a year of additional interviews with a number of key principals,” according to Showtime PR.

    The source material suggests the production will be highly critical of President Trump. Through his book and other public platforms, Comey has frequently reviled the president while justifying his own conduct throughout the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation of now-debunked allegations of collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign

    On June 24, the day after Ray's letter was published by Deadline, Showtime announced "The Comey Rule" would air on consecutive nights Sept. 27-28. Showtime gave no reason for the time shift, but the news came the same day as two breaking news items tied to Comey’s tenure.

    - A federal appeals court ordered charges against Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser, to be dropped. Gen. Flynn had previously plead guilty to making false statements in connection with an offshoot of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.

    - In aother development, declassified notes taken by anti-Trump former FBI agent Peter Strzok appeared to reveal that Comey thought Flynn's late-2016 phone calls to then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were "legit” long before federal agents quizzed Flynn on the matter.

    The news further erodes Comey’s narrative related to both Gen. Flynn and the Russian investigation. Last year’s Mueller Report failed to tie Trump to impeachable acts. More recently, we learned public officials who warned cable news viewers about Trump’s alleged Russian ties confessed under oath they lacked evidence to back up their charges.

    Jeff Daniels stars as Comey, while Brendan Gleeson portrays President Trump.

    “The Comey Rule” will air Sept. 27 and 28 at 9 p.m. EST on Showtime.

    This will hit the air waves right around the time Durham releases his report on the origins of Russia Gate and he will either nail Comey and the FBI to the wall or say that they were right to open up an investigation into Trumps ties to Russia. Isn’t there a rule against doing something that gives either party an advantage in elections? But seriously this will just further distract the country right in the middle of the election. But how much of a normal election are we gonna see since the country will still be dealing with COVID and economic turmoil?

    Vote:

    1-OMG

    2-LMAO

    3- BOTH

    4- WTF per traveler triple X

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    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

    joe shikspack's picture

    @snoopydawg

    more russiagate. i can't wait.

    glad i don't watch teevee.

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    The adjuster who came to check out the fire damage to my office drew a complaint from me to my agent, so he is forever fired.
    This evening, some arson investigator with a high school education asked to meet with me.
    I told him when he reads the reports from the county fire Marshall, the State Fire Marshall, the State Police, and still had questions, he could call me, set up an interview. Or not.
    I will NOT be interrogated again.
    By the time I ripped on his ass, made sure he knew if he said a single insulting or threatening word to me, he, too, would be fired.
    Ok. TLOML and I, who are oldsters who act like teens, refer to each other as "Ma" and "Pa". Our way of dealing with this stress is ice cream, beer, and other activities.
    I suspect I might get banned if I do not behave myself, so "other activities shall remain up to everyone's imagination.
    Stay healthy, get happy.
    Thanks,joe, for all you do.

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    joe shikspack's picture

    @on the cusp

    glad to hear that you are keeping everybody in line and on their toes. Smile

    i hope that everything is working out well and you are able to keep your business running in the midst of all of the stress.

    beer and ice cream sound good. perhaps a nice chocolate stout and some belgian chocolate ice cream?

    have a great evening!

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    snoopydawg's picture

    @on the cusp

    What did he do to deserve it?

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    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

    @snoopydawg @snoopydawg Told me I would be dealing with "the Man". And I would find out how things "worked".
    I will not tolerate that.
    He can do a decent job, or get fired, get a job hauling garbage. But he will not be aggressive and threatening to me or my companion about building, mold, repair, and arson, in this life.
    Fuck him and the horse the fucker rode in on.
    The subsequent adjuster is treating me with kid gloves.

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    GreatLakeSailor's picture

    ..."misappropriated" $600M to fund his wall, but I didn't know from where he snatched it.

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    Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

    joe shikspack's picture

    @GreatLakeSailor

    but, but, i thought that mexico was going to pay for it!?!

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    GreatLakeSailor's picture

    @joe shikspack

    his avid supporters not to notice the difference?

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    Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

    joe shikspack's picture

    @GreatLakeSailor

    could be, i am half expecting trump to help guaido to fail upwards and appoint him president of mexico next.

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    US health secretary Alex Azar has warned that “the window is closing” on the country’s chance to take action to effectively curb the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases surpassed 2.5m. The Health and Human Services secretary pointed to a recent surge in infections, particularly in the south and said people have “to act responsibly” by social distancing and wearing face masks especially “in these hot zones”.

    What an idiot! At best, the US had only four weeks from 25 January to put public health policies in place to stomp on the coronavirus. Instead HHS, Trump, and Congress dithered and denied until implementing the most costly and bluntest instrument that only temporarily slowed the infection rate. Only prevented the health care systems in the March hotspots from quickly collapsing. Fauci, CDC, HHS denied that masks were of any use for the general publc. Still not informing the public that 'close contact' means that a high percentage of infections are happening in the home and not providing any guidance on how those who don't live alone can limited such infections,

    The hoped for reduction and disappearance of the virus during warmer weather hasn't happened. It's now spreading rapidly in India and Mexico (at that's based on reports that may be wildly inaccurate as to cases and deaths).

    So, we've moved into a chronic phase of the disease with hope now pinned on an effective vaccine appearing before 'herd immunity' is developed naturally. With no idea of the long-term health consequences for the tens of millions that have recovered from the virus. Many of whom won't be as fortunate as this man. And getting tested daily, as Trump and presumably everybody around him is, isn't preventative nor inexpensive.

    On his handling of this one major issue, Trump should be down and out at this point. That he's not is a credit to the DP lining up with another truly lame nominee.

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    joe shikspack's picture

    @Marie

    yep, it looks like the u.s. government has engineered a die-off. and donald trump is the lucky recipient of the democrat's love offering of a wimpy, demented opponent.

    things are going great here in the good ol' you ess of ay!

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    snoopydawg's picture

    @joe shikspack

    https://theintercept.com/2020/06/29/ppe-china-export-airlifts/

    Why in hell were masks being allowed to be shipped out of the country when we had problems getting our medical staff some? Yes I’m sure that they got bucco bucks for them, but it makes no sense. Nor does it of them shipping them to other countries. Ventilators went to Russia when we didn’t have enough here? This again tells me that they wanted the results we’re getting. Lots of boomer deaths. Plus I’m seeing people who have disabilities and are in care homes are also dying and of course we’re doing nothing to keep people in prisons from dying. This is culling the herd at its best. And its criminal.

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    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

    joe shikspack's picture

    @snoopydawg

    yep, i just read it a couple of hours ago, it'll be in tomorrow's eb.

    to give the benefit of the doubt, this event occurred early in the pandemic outbreak while trump was still in the denial stage, perhaps even as early (i don't see any flight dates and my memory is that it was very early) as when trump was claiming that america would not be affected by the virus. (remember that one?)

    if trump was just faking stupidity, knowing that the materials would be desperately needed in the u.s. - if he was secretly scheming with stenchly henchmen to decimate the u.s. population is a speculation that i just don't have enough evidence to support. however, there is plenty of evidence to support a bumbling moron, utterly over his head, creating a lethal mess out of a situation that a person with a smaller ego and average intelligence might have easily obtained a better outcome from.

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    @snoopydawg Commerce, capitalism.

    purchased key medical supplies involved in the response to the coronavirus from U.S. suppliers over the first few months of this year. Over 600 tons of face masks of left U.S. airports for China in February alone.

    U.S. firms, such as Intel, W.W. Grainger, and Pfizer, also shipped masks from the U.S. to China in February, according to Chinese customs disclosures. The shipments, company representatives said, were made to help secure employees based in China.

    US suppliers sell whatever they have in inventory or can quickly get their hands on to whoever is buying at the highest price. That was China in the first weeks after 25 January and then Italy and Spain. US hospitals/clinics, municipalities, states, and feds weren't buying at that point because they were stuck believing that only an infintesimal number of infections would get out of China and they could handle those cases with their existing supplies. Also believed that China had overreacted and it wasn't all that infectious or deadly (a position that a large number of the US public has been spouting from then until now). Didn't compute for them that Chinese medical professionals and government officials were smart and competent enough to figure out that shutting down its economy was the least bad option. Didn't notice that there were identified COVID-19 cases in many countries (including the US) by 25 January.

    In a cooperative world, it would have been appropriate to rush surplus supplies to China in the first few weeks, BUT not without addressing how and where new supplies would be manufactured. Perhaps they did that by assuming that China would be back to pumping out supplies for the world within a month. However, more likely, none of the what ifs were considered, much less dealt with, in the US.

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    Azazello's picture

    @Marie

    Those ungrateful Euros. Europe Set to Extend Travel Ban for U.S. Residents on Tuesday

    The region’s governments will say that they will only be allowing visits from countries where the average number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks is similar or below the level of the EU and that the trend of new cases is declining. The list will be subject to biweekly updates, though EU governments could take urgent measures if a situation in one of the approved countries deteriorates, according to the document.

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    @Azazello

    The (presumed) location of infection acquisition of the 12 imported cases are: America (3), Europe (1), Asia excluding China (8) (Philippines=2; Bangladesh=2; Kazakhstan=2; Russia=1; Pakistan=1).

    Those twelve cases were confirmed on 29 June. Entry date not supplied, but on a daily basis they do provide where the case was identified. Of those twelve, five were detected at the point of entry and seven in the community. The reports indicate practically no community transmission by these imported cases that were not picked up a POE. I doubt that, particularly as SK has been doing contact tracing since its first case in January and yet in the past two months numerous new clusters keep popping up for which they haven't disclosed or can't find the index case and source of infection.

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    snoopydawg's picture

    My uncle just sent me a graphic with Trump blowing off Russia’s paying for American scalps and it was one that he sent to everyone in his address book.
    I said that I can’t believe that anyone is believing this story from the NYT and asked if they remembered how they lie to us every time they support our marching off to war. WMDs anyone? I also explained how Mueller’s investigation fell flat on its ass. How CrowdStrike admitted that they found no evidence that Russia hacked the DNC computers. Told them to follow the links in the article.... so I’ll see if anyone says anything to me. Of course my uncle loves Rachel and never misses her show and told me she’d never lie to HIM. He’s as opinionated as I am but maybe this will get through to him. Maybe I can get at least one of them to wake the f’ck up and see that they swallowed a boatload of propaganda.

    the erstwhile “paper of record” has earned a new moniker — Gray Lady of easy virtue.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2020/06/29/ray-mcgovern-russiagates-last-gasp/

    7674FD50-8B8A-4CB8-9D91-DF55BD9F606C.jpeg
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    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

    Pluto's Republic's picture

    @snoopydawg

    Why are the major propaganda outlets in the US publishing these insultingly stupid neocon lies. After all, they could be leading the charge against President Trump based on his real war crimes and his army's false flag attacks, which all Americans have witnessed?

    Why now are the Neocons pushing another provocation of Russian hatred in the US? Are they distracting from news featuring their own seditious activities during and after the 2016 elections? Or are they fomenting another false flag attack against the US to distract from the fact that the US has lost narrative control over the Pandemic?

    Are they sweating the risk of a brain-impaired Biden exposing his condition on the televised Presidential debate stage? With the election less than five months away, are the 'authentic' election meddlers mounting another fake Russian scandal to serve as a further drag on Trump's campaign, while making a hot war with Russia more possible?

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday joined other lawmakers — including leading Republicans — in expressing concern and calling for the administration to provide Congress with an explanation.

    .

    A sane human leader in Congress would demand that we bring our troops home from Afghanistan without delay. Any other response comes from a damaged mind.

    When are the Washington Leaders going to tell the American People that they lost the war in Afghanistan 16 years ago and have accomplished absolutely nothing whatsoever to benefit the nation?

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    Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

    — Martin Luther King

    snoopydawg's picture

    @Pluto's Republic

    I thought it was to derail the peace talks, but Ray thinks it might be to derail the Durham investigation into the origins of Russia Gate. Might be both, but boy are they giving it their all to give this story legs.

    Again here’s the republicans going along with the Russia Gate saga and I’m wondering which of their donors want more sanctions on Russia? Democrats were up to their eyeballs in the Ukraine corruption and maybe this is to derail whatever information Rudy has on Biden and his son? Democrats took a huge chance on going after Trump on the Ukraine phone call when they are guilty of what they accused him of doing.

    And where will Burisma fall in the scheme of things? Stay tuned.

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    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

    Pluto's Republic's picture

    @snoopydawg

    ...to Trump restoring the G-8 to eight, with the inclusion of Russia.

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    Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

    — Martin Luther King

    snoopydawg's picture

    @Pluto's Republic

    The media puts that in every article I’ve seen. Didn’t Macron also talk about letting Russia back in it too?

    Did you and I talk about cashless society? If so message me and let’s talk about this. The centrists have fallen in love with the Lincoln Project which is made up of neocon republicans. Go figure.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/personal-finance/covid-crisis-supercharged-war...

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    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

    mimi's picture

    Good Evening, I will read the remainder later.

    Please stay healthy, sane, and hateless. That seems to be a huge challenge these days.

    Thank You for your continuous support.

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    “Trauma is not what happens to you.
    Trauma is what happens inside you,
    as a result of what happens to you.”
    — Dr. Gabor Maté

    lotlizard's picture

    in the name of the whole nation. An interesting experiment that ended in 2018:

    https://digg.com/2018/sweden-twitter-account-deactivating

    Also: why don’t northern European voters and taxpayers want their countries to begin bearing EU-wide shared responsibility for Mediterranean countries’ debts? Because in the back of their minds there’s an impression left by generations of stories like this:

    https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/0430/Greek-island-of-the-bli...

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