The Evening Blues - 7-10-18
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Louisiana swamp blues musician Clarence Garlow. Enjoy!
Clarence Garlow - Bon Ton Roula
"All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian."
-- Pat Paulsen
News and Opinion
A US federal judge on Monday rejected the Trump administration’s request to allow long-term detention of illegal immigrant children, a key part of President Donald Trump’s executive order to end the separation of immigrant families. ...
The government asked Judge Dolly Gee to suspend the Flores settlement’s requirement that immigrant children be held only in facilities that meet state child welfare licensing regulations, so as to allow whole families to be detained together.
Gee said there was “no state licensing readily available for facilities that house both adults and children”.
As usual, Glenn Greenwald has been catching heat all over Centrist Twitter, this time for conducting a brief interview for Russian state media outlet RT after a panel appearance in Moscow. RT, in typical fashion, titled the interview “Greenwald: I came to Russia to combat US’ toxic view on the country,” which, while technically an accurate reflection of part of something Greenwald said in the interview, also happens to make perfect retweet fodder for lying sociopaths like MSNBC’s Malcolm Nance. Nance, along with US state media outlet Polygraph, helped circulate a completely evidence-free conspiracy theory that Greenwald is “an agent of Trump and Moscow.” Nance also smeared Greenwald for having appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson.
This is an ongoing debate that has increased in shrillness recently that I’d like to briefly address. The argument goes that antiwar journalists who are critical of the US power establishment like Max Blumenthal and Glenn Greenwald should not be making appearances on Fox News or RT, because it lends those outlets credibility. If people see a reputable journalist appearing on Fox News, the argument goes, they will assume that that lying propaganda firm is trustworthy, and they will give it more credibility than a more liberal-aligned outlet like MSNBC, which is theoretically (*cough*) closer to the antiwar left on the ideological spectrum. ... If RT will have Max Blumenthal on to discuss opposition to longstanding neoconservative war agendas and CNN will not, RT comes off looking more credible than CNN in that respect for a lot of people. If Tucker Carlson will have Glenn Greenwald on to talk about the gaping plot holes in the establishment Russia narrative, then in some eyes that elevates Fox News above CNN in that respect.
But whose fault is that? Are antiwar leftists actually to blame for the fact that MSNBC and CNN shut them down at every turn?
Centrist pundits would have you believe that Greenwald should be shunned and reviled for going to Fox News to share his own ideas before a large television audience. They spin the narrative to falsely suggest that Greenwald chooses to speak at outlets like RT and Fox News because he hates America and love Trump and Putin. The responsible, respectable thing for an antiwar leftist to do would be to wait until MSNBC will have him on to talk about his antiwar ideas, and keep waiting, and waiting, and just keep on waiting until we all die in a nuclear holocaust. ...
When centrists whine about an antiwar leftist appearing on Russian or right-wing media because it “lends those outlets credibility,” what they are actually doing is whining that those leftists are exposing the complete lack of credibility that outlets like CNN and MSNBC have. Their doors are always open to lying, depraved intelligence community insiders like James Clapper and John Brennan and Iraq-raping neocons like Bill Kristol, but to antiwar leftists that door is slammed shut except for the occasional Jill Stein appearance a couple times a year so that Chris Cuomo can wag his finger at her and publicly insinuate that she supports the Kremlin. The blame for the fact that critics of the US power establishment are forced to find weird platforms to get their voices heard rests solely upon all the other outlets which slam the door on them.
There’s a category of story we call “Them Not Us”—US media reporting on problems abroad, and seemingly not noticing that they have the same problems at home. There’s a great example of that in the New York Times (7/8/18), headlined “Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: AI, Shame and Lots of Cameras.”
Reporter Paul Mozur writes:
Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.
Is it really so unprecedented, though? The US National Security Agency in 2011 described its “New Collection Posture” toward global electronic communication as “Know It All…Collect It All…Process It All…Exploit It All.” Hard to get much vaster than that, isn’t it? As for embracing technologies like facial recognition with crucial help from a thriving technology industry, here’s a headline from the Guardian (7/6/18) that came out two days before the Times piece:
"Thanks to Amazon, the Government Will Soon Be Able to Track Your Face" ...
The China piece does have a couple of acknowledgements that these issues are not totally foreign to the United States. At one point it notes: “Already, China has an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras — four times as many as the United States.” Not noted: China has a bit more than four times the population of the United States. At another point, it mentions that the US director of national intelligence held an “open contest for facial recognition algorithms” in 2017—which a Chinese company won. But you won’t likely see New York Times headlines about the “dystopian dreams” of the US surveillance state.
In an indication that surveillance isn’t the only area where the Times has the ability to report on woes in other countries without recognizing that its own country has troubles that are similar or worse, the article describes the impetus behind China’s population-monitoring drive: “China’s economy isn’t growing at the same pace. It suffers from a severe wealth gap.” ... Would the New York Times ever cite the US’s wealth gap and slowing growth as an explanation for the expansion of the NSA’s powers?
Emmanuel Macron has promised to overhaul the French welfare state and cut public spending, telling MPs at the Palace of Versailles that his only ideology is to strive for “French greatness”. The pro-business, centrist leader, who beat the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in an election a year ago, denied seeking to help the wealthy at the expense of the poor as he sought to shake off accusations that he is a “president of the rich”.
Macron’s approval ratings have dipped particularly among the left and working-class voters, and a majority of French voters question whether they will benefit from his flagship policies including loosening labour laws, cutting corporate taxes and changing the workings of the state rail operator SNCF in the face of union strikes.
An Odoxa survey last week found just 29% of French people thought his policies were fair. He has slashed France’s wealth tax and recently complained that the state spent too much on social security. ...
His view of a new welfare state essentially amounts to a move away from a model of redistribution towards a Nordic-style system of “flexi-security” in which the labour market is loosened and the focus is on changing from a rigid labour code to a society of individuals moving between jobs. Macron promised changes to unemployment benefits, pensions and the health system. He said one in five children in France were living in poverty, and said his overhauled welfare state would mean “getting people out of poverty”, not distributing benefits that kept them in poverty.
Just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was about to leave for denuclearization negotiations in Pyongyang, a spate of media stories reported that North Korea is deceiving the Trump administration by seeking to hide some of its nuclear facilities. Those stories suggest an effort by some Trump administration officials, led by National Security Adviser John Bolton, to derail the US-North Korea negotiations by pressuring Trump and Pompeo to embrace the narrative that Kim Jong Un is deceiving the US. Before becoming national security adviser, Bolton had made no secret of his opposition to any Trump effort to reach an agreement with North Korea.
On July 1, The New York Times reported a conflict between Bolton and Pompeo over the timetable for denuclearization. The story said Bolton was determined to limit the period during which North Korea would be required to substantially disarm to one year, while Pompeo had publicly suggested it could take the remainder of Trump’s first term. That same day on “Face the Nation,” Bolton said Pompeo would be “discussing” with North Koreans “how to dismantle all of their [weapons of mass destruction] and ballistic missile programs in a year.” But Bolton made it clear that it would be based on a “full disclosure” by North Korea of all its activities and facilities.
Over the weekend, Pompeo presented a US demand to North Korean senior official Kim Yong Chol: A declaration by North Korea of all its nuclear- and missile-related activities before any other steps in the timetable for a denuclearization agreement. In the 48 hours before Bolton’s “Face the Nation” appearance, however, both NBC News and The Washington Post reported that anonymous officials were touting an intelligence assessment as evidence of North Korean intention to deceive the administration by maintaining one or more covert enrichment facilities.
The timing of the two stories, appearing within hours on June 29 and 30, suggests that the decision to leak the intelligence assessment to the two news outlets was part of an effort to create pressure on Trump to integrate the narrative of deception by Kim Jong Un into his negotiating policy.
If one community has come to symbolize the demise of the two-state solution, it is Khan Al Ahmar. It was for that reason that a posse of European diplomats left their air-conditioned offices late last week to trudge through the hot, dusty hills outside Jerusalem and witness the preparations for the village’s destruction. That included the Israeli police beating residents and supporters as they tried to block the advance of heavy machinery.
Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain submitted a formal protest. Their denunciations echoed those of more than 70 Democratic lawmakers in Washington in May – a rare example of US politicians showing solidarity with Palestinians. It would be gratifying to believe that Western governments care about the inhabitants of Khan Al Ahmar – or the thousands of other Palestinians who are being incrementally cleansed by Israel from nearby lands but whose plight has drawn far less attention. After all, the razing of Khan Al Ahmar and the forcible transfer of its population are war crimes.
But in truth, Western politicians are more concerned about propping up the illusion of a peace process that expired many years ago, than the long-running abuse of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Western capitals understand what is at stake. Israel wants Khan Al Ahmar gone so that Jewish settlements can be built in its place, on land it has designated as “E1”. That would put the final piece in place for Israel to build a substantial bloc of new settler homes to sever the West Bank in two. Those same settlements would also seal off West Bank Palestinians from East Jerusalem, the expected capital of a future Palestinian state, making a mockery of any peace agreement.
The erasure of Khan Al Ahmar has not arrived out of nowhere. Israel has trampled on international law for decades, conducting a form of creeping annexation that has provoked little more than uncomfortable shifting in chairs from Western politicians. ...
Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ veteran peace negotiator, recently warned that Israel and the US were close to “liquidating” the project of Palestinian statehood. Sounding more desperate than usual, the Europe Union reaffirmed this month its commitment to a two-state solution, while urging that the “obstacles” to its realisation be more clearly identifed. The elephant in the room is Israel itself – and its enduring bad faith. As Khan Al Ahmar demonstrates all too clearly, there will be no end to the slow-motion erasure of Palestinian communities until western governments find the nerve to impose biting sanctions on Israel.
A group of more than 40 human rights activists have filed a petition with the High Court of Justice, demanding the cessation of Israeli arms exports to Ukraine. They argue that these weapons serve forces that openly espouse a neo-Nazi ideology and cite evidence that the right-wing Azov militia, whose members are part of Ukraine’s armed forces, and are supported by the country’s ministry of internal affairs, is using these weapons. An earlier appeal to the Defense Ministry was met with no response.
The ministry’s considerations in granting export licenses for armaments are not disclosed to the public, but it appears that the appearance of Israeli weapons in the hands of avowed neo-Nazis should be a consideration used in opposing the granting of such a license. Nevertheless, this is not the first time in which the defense establishment is arming forces that embrace a national socialist ideology.
In the past, Israel has armed anti-Semitic regimes, such as the generals’ regime in Argentina, which murdered thousands of Jews in camps while its soldiers stood in watchtowers guarding the abducted prisoners with their Uzi submachine guns. Israel has also armed Nazis, such as the war criminal Klaus Barbie in Bolivia. In the case of Ukraine forces using Israeli weapons are openly stating their support for racist and anti-Semitic ideas, in various publications. The Azov militia was established in Ukraine following the Russian invasion of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. The militia’s emblems are well-known national socialist ones. Its members use the Nazi salute and carry swastikas and SS insignias. ...
Last January the U.S. Congress prohibited any support for the Ukrainian militia. Since Israel’s defense ministry does not divulge any information on arms exports, particularly not to Ukraine, for fear of Russian wrath, it’s difficult to assess the extent of the ties with Kiev, but these are certainly in place. The petition, submitted by attorney Itay Mack, contains abundant evidence showing the arming of the Ukrainian regime and its Azov forces. Thus, for example, Ukrainian soldiers have been seen carrying Israeli-made Tavor rifles in military parades in Kiev. In February 2016 it was revealed that Elbit Systems will be part of a group investing in Ukraine’s defense establishment.
In April 2016 the chief of Ukraine’s air force met a representative of an Israeli defense company to discuss the upgrading of communications systems in that country’s warplanes and helicopters. The Ukrainian company “Fort” got Israel’s approval for making Tavor, Negev and Galil rifles. In the city of Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine there is a military training school. Its website indicates that training there is provided former IDF officers and that its instructors were trained by Israelis. The website has a photo of shooting practice with a Tavor rifle. It notes that the school trains units of the National Guard, whose members include Azov militiamen.
A federal lawsuit accusing two dozen neo-Nazis and white nationalists of organizing the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last summer with the intention of committing violence has enough legal standing to move forward, a judge ruled Monday.
“Plaintiffs have, for the most part, adequately alleged that defendants formed a conspiracy to hurt black and Jewish individuals, and their supporters, because of their race at the August 11th and 12th events,” wrote Judge Norman Moon of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia in his opinion.
The suit was brought by Integrity First for America, a nonprofit, on behalf of 11 residents of Charlottesville who say they suffered physical or psychological injuries as a result of the white supremacist gathering last August, in which a young neo-Nazi rammed his vehicle into a crowd of protesters, sending bodies flying, killing Heather Heyer, a protester, and leaving dozens wounded.
“Hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists traveled from near and far to descend upon the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, in order to terrorize its residents, commit acts of violence, and use the town as a backdrop to showcase for the media and the nation a neo-nationalist agenda,” the complaint, filed October 2017, states.
Roberta Kaplan, a New York-based lawyer representing the plaintiffs, is perhaps best known for winning the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down a provision in federal law that explicitly banned gay marriage, laying the groundwork for a later ruling that made gay marriage legal nationwide.
President Donald Trump just announced his new pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court: Judge Brett Kavanaugh. ...
Trump had said he would only choose a conservative justice committed to overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide. Most recently, Kavanaugh ruled in favor of the Department of Health and Human Services in a case brought by an undocumented teenager attempting to seek an abortion in federal custody against the administration’s wishes. ...
Replacing Justice Kennedy, known as the swing vote on the bench, with Judge Kavanaugh will undoubtedly solidify a more conservative majority on the court. Kennedy, 81, cast key votes for legalizing same-sex marriage, affirming Roe v. Wade as precedent, and shielding juveniles and disabled people from the death penalty.
See article for more details of Kavanaugh's judicial record.
After graduating from Yale Law School, Kavanaugh clerked for the very justice he’s now attempting to replace on the Supreme Court from 1994 to 1997. And he briefly worked in the office alongside Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s previous Supreme Court appointee.
Once he left Kennedy’s side, Kavanaugh stepped onto the Starr Investigation, which attempted to chronicle various abuses of power within the Clinton White House, including the suicide of White House aide Vince Foster. Kavanaugh lead that specific arm of the investigation and later wrote much of the Starr report as a whole, which included graphic details of Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Following the Starr report, Kavanaugh’s time working alongside presidents wasn’t over: He served as one of George W. Bush’s lawyers during the Florida recount and later, one of his a close aides for several years. Then in 2003, Bush nominated Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a bench that’s launched several of its member to the high court.
Vows to #StopKavanaugh After Trump Nominates 'Narrow-Minded Elitist Who Would Favor Wealthy and Powerful' to Supreme Court
As Vox's Dylan Matthews wrote in a profile of the nominee, "He's a veteran of every conservative cause you can imagine, from the 2000 Florida recount to the fight against Obamacare."
"Kavanaugh would almost certainly fall to the right of Anthony Kennedy as a Supreme Court justice, and enable a rightward shift in the court's jurisprudence for years or decades to come," Matthews continued. "Even more concerning for liberals, he has suggested enhancing the president's power to block criminal and civil actions against him, a potentially worrisome position when the president nominating him is under investigation and facing multiple lawsuits."
"This nomination is a 100 percent political decision, and one that will have a profoundly negative effect on the lives of working people of this country for decades to come if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in an email to supporters Monday night.
"Kavanaugh's record has made it clear he will use his position on the court to protect corporations at the expense of workers, to allow corporations and the wealthy to buy elections, and to undermine voting rights," Sanders added.
Noting that "in key cases, Judge Kavanaugh has favored unduly limiting federal regulatory powers that are central to keeping Americans safe, and has argued for restricting the rights of people to access our court system," Earthjustice president Trip Van Noppen warned that his nomination also "jeopardizes people's ability to rely on the courts to protect their health, safety, and the environment."
"He has a notoriously anti-clean air, anti-worker, anti-healthcare track record as a federal judge," summarized Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn Civic Action. "Kavanaugh's history makes clear he is a narrow-minded elitist who would favor the wealthy and powerful. Everything from women's basic rights to healthcare to clean air, and from civil rights to workers' rights to immigrants' rights, is at stake in this fight."
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business
This means: Neither house of Congress can do business without a quorum, defined as a simple majority. What if a majority is not present? Section 5 continues:
a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
This means: If there's no majority present, the minority can compel absent members to attend. But how? Here's there's no answer, and in fact nowhere in our government is there a mechanism but shame for compelling congressional attendance. ...
[There are currently 50 Republican Senators (including the ailing and generally absent John McCain) -js] Fifty senators is not a majority. It would take a truly unusual ruling by the Parliamentarian to allow the Vice President to help constitute a quorum. If Democrats are truly serious about blocking any Trump-nominated Supreme Court justice, there is a way. But they have to actually want to block the nomination, not just say they want to.
Just after arriving in Washington to work for President Trump, Kellyanne Conway found herself in a downtown supermarket, where a man rushing by with his shopping cart sneered, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Go look in the mirror!” ... For as long as the White House has existed, its star occupants have inspired a voluble mix of demonstrations, insults and satire. On occasion, protesters have besieged the homes of presidential underlings such as Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s political strategist, who once looked out his living room window to find several hundred protesters on his lawn. Yet what distinguishes the Trump era’s turbulence is the sheer number of his deputies — many of them largely anonymous before his inauguration — who have become the focus of planned and sometimes spontaneous public fury. ...
“Better be better!” a stranger shouted at Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser and the architect of his “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, as he walked through Dupont Circle a few months ago. Miller’s visage subsequently appeared on “Wanted” posters someone placed on lampposts ringing his CityCenterDC apartment building. One night, after Miller ordered $80 of takeout sushi from a restaurant near his apartment, a bartender followed him into the street and shouted, “Stephen!” When Miller turned around, the bartender raised both middle fingers and cursed at him, according to an account Miller has shared with White House colleagues.
On Saturday, as Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former strategist, browsed at an antiquarian bookstore in Richmond, a woman in the shop called him a “piece of trash.” ...
A week ago, a Sidwell Friends teacher interrupted her lunch at Teaism in Penn Quarter to tell Scott Pruitt — eating with an aide a few feet away — that he should resign as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. By Thursday morning, nearly half a million viewers had clicked on a video of the confrontation that the teacher, Kristin Mink, had posted on Facebook. By late Thursday afternoon, Pruitt quit. ... After Pruitt resigned, she tweeted: “Hey @realDonaldTrump where are you going for lunch tomorrow?”
Monsanto has long worked to “bully scientists” and suppress evidence of the cancer risks of its popular weedkiller, a lawyer argued on Monday in a landmark lawsuit against the global chemical corporation. “Monsanto has specifically gone out of its way to bully ... and to fight independent researchers,” said the attorney Brent Wisner, who presented internal Monsanto emails that he said showed how the agrochemical company rejected critical research and expert warnings over the years while pursuing and helping to write favorable analyses of their products. “They fought science.”
Wisner, who spoke inside a crowded San Francisco courtroom, is representing DeWayne Johnson, known also as Lee, a California man whose cancer has spread through his body. The father of three and former school groundskeeper, who doctors say may have just months to live, is the first person to take Monsanto to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the Roundup brand is linked to cancer. Thousands have made similar legal claims across the US.
The case is significant in part because the judge has allowed Johnson’s lawyers to present scientific arguments. The suit centers on glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, which Monsanto began marketing as Roundup in 1974, presenting it as a technological breakthrough that could kill almost every weed without harming humans or the environment. Over the years, however, studies have suggested otherwise, and in 2015, the World Health Organization’s international agency for research on cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. ...
Wisner, who said the trial would include commentary from 10 current or former Monsanto employees, also read aloud internal corporate documents obtained during the case. In response to one critical study about glyphosate exposure, Donna Farmer, product protection lead, wrote in an email: “How do we combat this?” Wisner also referenced an email from Farmer in which she gave colleagues guidance on how they could publicly talk about science, writing: “You cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer.” The Monsanto lawyer later said this comment had been taken out of context and presented in a misleading way.
Wisner further cited Monsanto emails from decades prior, in which the company was working with a genotoxicity expert who reviewed a series of 1990s studies. He raised concerns about Roundup impacts on humans and suggested further areas of research. After the expert’s analyses, Monsanto representatives began considering finding a different expert and also started working on a press statement saying the product carried no risk, according to Johnson’s lawyer. Wisner also read documents that he said showed how Monsanto strategized plans to “ghostwrite” favorable research.
Photographs of military armored vehicles uprooting and crushing trees and vegetation within the Gaza Strip are not foreign to Israelis, but what is less widely known is that since 2014 Palestinian fields are also being razed through the use of herbicides sprayed from the air — as first publicized by the website 972. Officially, the spraying is only done on the Israeli side of the fence, but as Palestinian farmers on the other side, along with the Red Cross, have testified, the resulting damage can be seen deep inside Palestinian territory. ...
But the sprayed material does not recognize the fence or the border. It is carried by the wind westward, deep into the Strip. The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza documents the spraying and investigates the damage caused to farmers. The Palestinian Agriculture Ministry estimates that since 2014, some 14,000 dunams of agricultural land in Gaza has been damaged by the spraying, and crops like spinach, okra, corn, parsley, wheat, peas and barley all were irreparably damaged. The ministry also estimated that some 8,200 dunams of pasture land have been damaged this year by the spraying. The spraying is carried out between October and January and in February and March, using three herbicides: glysophate, the main one, as well as oxyfluorfen and diuron.
“According to our observations, including a chemical analysis of the herbicides in an Israeli laboratory, crops as far as 2,200 meters from the border fence were damaged by the herbicides”, the Red Cross wrote to Haaretz. “Some of the crops located between 100 and 900 meters were completely destroyed, including in some of the areas rehabilitated by the ICRC. [as part of a project to renew the earning capacity of farmers on land damaged by IDF attacks – A.H.] Irrigation pools located within one kilometer were also contaminated. The chemicals used for spraying stay in the soil for months and even years, and may have negative health consequences for people who consume contaminated crops and/or inhale the herbicide.
The Red Cross message is clear. The damage goes beyond the immediate economic damage caused by the loss of the crops; the spraying has far-reaching health implications. The main herbicide used for spraying near the Gaza Strip is glysophate. While it is the most widely used herbicide in the world, including in Israel, it may have a long-term, adverse effect on health.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Clarence Garlow - Sunday Morning
Clarence Garlow - Sound the Bell
Clarence Garlow - Make Me Cry
Clarence Garlow - I'm In A Boogie Mood
Clarence Garlow - I Feel Like Calling You
Clarence Garlow - Crawfishin´
Clarence Garlow - Route 90
Clarence Garlow - Dreaming
Clarence Garlow - She's So Fine
Clarence Garlow - No No Baby