The Evening Blues - 7-18-18


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Eddie Shaw

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues saxophone player Eddie Shaw. Enjoy!

Howlin' Wolf & Eddie Shaw - Sittin' On Top Of The World

"The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage and whup their supporters into and orgiastic frenzy - then go back to the office and sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece."

-- Hunter S. Thompson

News and Opinion

The Intelligence Community Is Neither

At the big “Treason Summit” “Russopocalypse” “Catastrovent” on Monday, journalist Sam Husseini tried to ask a question about banning nuclear weapons, and was physically hauled out of the room by officials from the “Land of Press Freedom,” Finland. Meanwhile, an Associated Press reporter was permitted to ask a perfectly respectable question pushing a blatant lie that risks nuclear war. Yay for press freedom!

The AP reporter claimed that “every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that” the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election of 2016. In fact, the report that this common lie always refers to was concocted by a group of “hand-picked” (James Clapper’s description) people from three agencies out of 18 or so. The three were the NSA, FBI, and CIA — none of which ever, ever lie or get things wrong, ever. The INR and DIA were excluded along with all the others.

That’s why the Associated Press told a lie. Here’s why it’s a blatant and dangerous lie. The same report didn’t conclude a damn thing. It just “assessed,” which is a weasel word for guessed. Of the three agencies involved, two assessed with high and one with moderate confidence that Russia did something or other to benefit Trump. Whether that something was revealing to the public the DNC’s slanting of its primary against Bernie Sanders we are not told. We are also not offered any evidence for whatever it was. We are also not told Trump was involved in it, or offered any degree of assessment of that, much less any evidence. We are also not given any claim that informing us about the DNC’s shenanigans, or any other actions, had any impact on the outcome of the election. We also are not presented any case that keeping the rigging of primaries secret from the public is essential to the sanctity and freedom of our democracy.

But here’s where it gets frightening. Unknown people produced an unread report that claims very little on behalf of very few but has not only become the gospel handed down by the “Intelligence Community,” but thousands of writers, bloggers, and tweeters between Monday and Tuesday have announced that one must choose either to believe this gospel or to side with The Russian Enemy. And the unknown propagandists who produced the ridiculously vacuous report have been turned into The Troops, and The People Who Risk Their Lives to Protect Us — this language now being used by all sorts of people clogging up my social media, including some pretty well-known ones like Michael Moore. ...

Endless indisputable impeachable offenses by Donald Trump continue to pile up. And nobody cares. Top Democrats have found what they stand for. A sustainable earth? Peace? Justice? Social prosperity? Clean elections? Are you crazy? They stand for Russophobia. Now if Trump were to actually be impeached, even if for a legitimate reason, what would be President Pence’s best move to reassure liberals? Bombing Russia.

Two Big “Russia! Russia!” Stories Released Days Before Trump-Putin Summit

In an article for The Nation dated July 11, the internationally renowned US-Russia relations expert Stephen F. Cohen warned of possible attempts by peace-hating beltway stalwarts to sabotage the Helsinki peace talks between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin that is scheduled for this coming Monday. ... And, lo and behold, right before the summit we are seeing two major news stories loudly promoting Russia hysteria blasted onto the front pages on the very same day.

An indictment of 12 Russians has finally been issued by the Robert Mueller Special Counsel on various charges of conspiracy against the United States, an action the counsel has been sitting on for months. The indictment contains no evidence and will likely never be defended in any court of law, the correct response to which, in a post-Iraq invasion world, is always to dismiss the story and file it under “Noises US government officials sometimes make with their face holes.” ...

On the same day as all this drama erupted, Dan Coats (who replaced the lying, Russophobic Russiagate architect James Clapper as America’s top intelligence officer at the beginning of this administration) has declared that the warning signs of future Russian cyberattacks are akin to the warnings received prior to the September 11 attacks. Because if history has taught us anything, it’s that there’s absolutely nothing to worry about when US government officials start invoking 9/11 to warn us about a nation that had nothing to do with it. ...

Stephen Cohen isn’t psychic, he’s just been watching trends and behavioral patterns in US-Russia relations for decades, and noticing the headlines in plutocrat-owned media about the approaching peace talks. ... This notion that we should all be worried, terrified and literally shaking that two nuclear superpowers might ease tensions between one another is so Rick and Morty alternate dimension bass ackwards it’s amazing that it’s been able to stick to the extent that it has, but that just shows you the power of mass media propaganda. The social engineers are so adept that self-identified progressives can be made to cheer for the FBI, self-identified nationalists can be made to cheer for neoconservative regime change agendas against Iran, and self-identified liberals can literally be made to fear a movement away from the possibility of nuclear holocaust.

Trump is right about who’s to blame for bad relations with Russia

US President Donald Trump offended the entire political spectrum with a tweet this morning blaming Washington for poor relations with Russia. “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity,” the president said, and he is entirely correct. By this, I do not mean to say that Russia is a beneficent actor in world affairs or that Russian President Vladimir Putin is an admirable world leader. Nonetheless, the president displayed both perspicacity and political courage when he pointed the finger at the United States for mismanaging the relationship with Russia. [Or, alternately, they say that a blind hog finds an acorn from time to time. - js] ...

Unfortunately, the delusion that the United States would remake Russia in its own image persisted through the Bush and Obama administrations. I have no reason to doubt the allegations that a dozen Russian intelligence officers meddled in the US elections of 2016, but this was equivalent of a fraternity prank compared to America’s longstanding efforts to intervene in Russian politics. The United States supported the 2014 Maidan uprising in Ukraine and the overthrow of the Yanukovych government in the hope of repeating the exercise in Moscow sometime later. Then Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland pulled whatever strings America had to replace the feckless and corrupt Victor Yanukovych with a government hostile to the Kremlin. She didn’t say it in so many words, but she hoped the Ukraine coup would lead to the overthrow of Vladimir Putin. ...

The Maidan coup was the second American attempt to install a Ukrainian government hostile to Moscow; the first occurred in 2004, when Condoleezza Rice was Secretary of State rather than Hillary Clinton. As I wrote in Asia Times a decade ago, “On the night of November 22, 2004, then-Russian president – now premier – Vladimir Putin watched the television news in his dacha near Moscow. People who were with Putin that night report his anger and disbelief at the unfolding ‘Orange’ revolution in Ukraine. ‘They lied to me,’ Putin said bitterly of the United States. ‘I’ll never trust them again.’ The Russians still can’t fathom why the West threw over a potential strategic alliance for Ukraine. They underestimate the stupidity of the West.”

American efforts to promote a democratic opposition to Putin have failed miserably, and as John Lloyd wrote recently at Reuters, the Russian president remains genuinely popular. This remains a source of perpetual frustration for the neoconservatives, who cannot fathom why dictatorships still exist. Russia is a brutal country that always has been governed by brutal men. No one talks about Ivan the Reasonable. Compared to Peter the Great or Alexander II, let alone Stalin or Ivan the Terrible, Putin is one of Russia’s gentler heads of state.

Russia is in crisis, but Russia always is in crisis. Russia has a brutal government, but Russia always has had a brutal government, and by every indication, the people of Russia nonetheless seem to like their government. If they want a different sort of government, let them establish one; what sort of government they prefer is not the business of the United States. America’s attempt to shape Russia’s destiny, starting with the Clinton Administration’s sponsorship of the feckless, drunk and corrupt Boris Yeltsin, had baleful results. So did the State Department’s attempt to manipulate events in Ukraine in 2004 and 2014. That’s why President Trump’s tweet this morning is entirely correct.

Putin says he told Trump that Russia prepared to extend START treaty: Fox News

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview broadcast on Monday that he told U.S. President Donald Trump that Russia is prepared to extend the New START nuclear treaty that expires in 2021.

“I reassured President Trump that Russia stands ready to extend this treaty, to prolong it, but we have to agree on the specifics at first, because we have some questions to our American partners,” Putin told Fox News in an interview after a summit with Trump on Monday in Helsinki.

“We think that they are not fully compliant with the treaty, but this is for experts to decide,” Putin added. ...

Both sides say they met the treaty caps earlier this year, but Russia has raised questions about the U.S. conversion of some submarines and bombers to carry conventional weapons, saying it has no way to verify they cannot also be used for nuclear arms.

All 30,000 of the Clinton e-mails went automatically to a foreign country - (not Russia)

FBI Peter Strzok – the philandering FBI chief investigator who facilitated the FISA surveillance of Trump campaign officials in 2016 – has been exposed for ignoring evidence of major Clinton-related breaches of national security and has been accused of lying about it.

Hillary Clinton’s emails, “every single one except for four, over 30,000 of them, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert said on Friday. And they went to “an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.” The information came from Intelligence Community Inspector General Chuck McCullough, who sent his investigator Frank Rucker, along with an ICIG attorney Janette McMillan, to brief Strzok.

Gohmert nailed Strozk at the open Congressional hearing on Friday the 13th in Washington, but Strzok claimed no recollection. Gohmert accused him of lying. Maybe Strzok’s amnesia about the briefing on Hillary Clinton’s email server is nothing but standard FBI training: i.e., when in doubt, don’t recall. It’s far more likely that there is a campaign of deliberate obstructing justice, selective prosecution, and political targeting by top officials embedded in the permanent bureaucracy of the Justice Department, FBI, and broader IC. Strzok is not alone. And what “foreign entity” got Hillary’s classified emails? Trump haters in British Intelligence and those in Israel who want to manipulate the US presidency – whatever party prevails – come to mind. Listen closely and you may hear rumors around Washington that it was Israel, not Russia, that was the foreign power involved in approaching Trump advisers. Time to follow that thread.

Both Representatives Gohmert (TX) and Trey Gowdy (SC) did a great job trying to pierce the veil of denials. But, right after Strzok’s amnesia in Congress, the Justice Department announced the indictment of GRU members. Change of subject.

imagine if you will

Putin Claims U.S. Intelligence Agents Funneled $400 Million To Clinton Campaign

"Vladimir Putin made a bombshell claim during Monday's joint press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, Finland, when the Russian President said some $400 million in illegally earned profits was funneled to the Clinton campaign by associates of American-born British financier Bill Browder - at one time the largest foreign portfolio investors in Russia. The scheme involved members of the U.S. intelligence community, said Putin, who he said "accompanied and guided these transactions."

Browder made billions in Russia during the 90's. In December, a Moscow court sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in prison for tax fraud, while he was also found guilty of tax evasion in a separate 2013 case. Putin accused Browder's associates of illegally earning over than $1.5 billion without paying Russian taxes, before sending $400 million to Clinton."

After offering to allow special counsel Robert Mueller's team to come to Russia for their investigation - as long as there was a reciprocal arrangement for Russian intelligence to investigate in the U.S., Putin said this:

For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder, in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia and never paid any taxes neither in Russia or the United States and yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent [a] huge amount of money, $400,000,000, as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well that’s their personal case.

It might have been legal, the contribution itself but the way the money was earned was illegal. So we have solid reason to believe that some [US] intelligence officers accompanied and guided these transactions. So we have an interest in questioning them.

No Nerve Agents Found - The OPCW Interim Report On Douma

Noam Chomsky has observed that 'propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state'. This is certainly true for social control at home, but propaganda also allows nominally democratic states to wield their military bludgeons abroad in much the same way as totalitarian states. Thus, in April, it happened again: the entire corporate media system rose up with instant certainty to damn an enemy state for crimes against humanity on April 7, in Douma, Syria. This was not acceptable death by bomb and bullet; this was a nerve gas attack. The villainous agent on every journalist's lips: sarin, a highly toxic synthetic organophosphorus compound that has no smell or taste, but which quickly kills through asphyxiation. ...

On 6 July 2018, the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued an interim report on the FFM's investigation regarding the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. The passage that jumped out of the report:

'No organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties.'

No sarin! ... The skwawkbox website noted that the BBC had covered, and distorted, OPCW's July 6 report. A BBC headline read:

'Syria attack was chlorine gas – watchdog

'The deadly attack in Douma in April left dozens of civilians dead and caused and international outcry.'

This was complete invention. As skwawkbox commented: 'the OPCW report emphatically does not say that chlorine gas was used'. The report actually said:

'Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites, for which there is full chain of custody. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is on-going. The FFM team will continue its work to draw final conclusions.'

Chlorinated organic chemicals are extremely common, found in degreasers, cleaning solutions, paint thinners, pesticides, resins, glues, and many other mixing and thinning solutions. ...

As Off-Guardian noted, the headlines should have read: No nerve agents found.

Possible provocations? Reports claim White Helmets are evacuating Syria

Can Truth Survive Trump? WaPo Fails to Ask How Well Truth Was Doing to Begin With

Carlos Lozada, the non-fiction book critic for the Washington Post, promised "an honest investigation" of whether truth can survive the Trump administration in the lead article in the paper's Sunday Outlook section. He delivers considerably less. Most importantly and incredibly, Lozada never considers the possibility that respect for traditional purveyors of "truth" has been badly weakened by the fact that they have failed to do so in many important ways in recent years. Furthermore, they have used their elite status (prized university positions and access to major media outlets) to deride those who challenged them as being unthinking illiterates.

This dynamic is most clear in the trade policy pursued by the United States over the last four decades. This policy had the predicted and actual effect of eliminating the jobs of millions of manufacturing workers and reducing the pay of tens of millions of workers with less than a college education. The people who suffered the negative effects of these policies were treated as stupid no-nothings and wrongly told that their suffering was due to automation or was an inevitable product of globalization. These claims are what those of us still living in the world of truth know as "lies," but you will never see anyone allowed to make these points in the Washington Post. After all, its readers can't be allowed to see such thoughts.

This was far from the only major failure of the purveyors of truth. The economic crisis caused by the collapse of the housing bubble cost millions of workers their jobs and/or houses. While this collapse was 100 percent predictable for anyone with a basic knowledge of economics, with almost no exceptions, our elite economists failed to see it coming and ridiculed those who warned of the catastrophe. Incredibly, there were no career consequences for this momentous failure. No one lost their job and few probably even missed a scheduled promotion. Everyone was given a collective "who could have known?" amnesty. This leaves us with the absurd situation where a dishwasher who breaks the dishes get fired, a custodian that doesn't clean the toilet gets fired, but an elite economist who completely misses the worst economic disaster in 70 years gets promoted to yet another six-figure salary position.

And, departing briefly from my area of expertise, none of the geniuses who thought invading Iraq was a good idea back in 2003 seems to be on the unemployment lines today. Again, there was another collective "who could have known?" amnesty, with those responsible for what was quite possibly the greatest foreign policy disaster in US history still considered experts in the area and drawing high salaries. When we have a world in which the so-called experts are not held accountable for their failures, even when they are massive, and they consistently look down on the people who question their expertise, it undermines belief in truth. It would have been nice if Lozada had explored this aspect of the issue, but hey, it's the Washington Post

Bill Black: Trump Sees Europe as a “Foe” Because of Key Misinformed Advisor

Israeli army told to prepare for large-scale military operation in Gaza

Israel’s political leadership has reportedly instructed the army to prepare for a military offensive in the Gaza Strip, to be initiated if the launching of incendiary devices from the Hamas-run coastal enclave into Israeli territory continues.

According to a Channel 10 news report Tuesday, Israel has set Friday as a deadline for the flaming kite and balloon launches to cease. If this does not happen, Israel may decide it has no choice but to embark on a military campaign in the Strip, the report said. ...

On Sunday, the IDF’s 162nd Armored Division launched an exercise simulating a war in the Gaza Strip, including the capture of Gaza City. While the military said it was planned in advance and was not related to the weekend’s exchange of fire, the manner in which the exercise was publicized by the military led many to see it as a tacit threat to Hamas.

Hamas is manning some 60 percent of its positions along the border fence in order to stop the launches, according to the TV report, and is expected to dispatch its forces to all of its posts by Friday.

The EU’s record $5 billion antitrust Android fine will take Google two weeks to pay off

The European Union handed Google a record €4.3 billion ($5 billion) fine Wednesday for misusing its dominant position in the smartphone market — and now companies and trade groups are calling on U.S. regulators to do the same. Even more damaging for Google is a ruling making it illegal to force smartphone makers such as Samsung to install Google’s own search app and browser — opening the door for companies including Microsoft to take a larger share of the search market.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief and a woman reviled in Silicon Valley, laid out the bloc’s reasoning for levying such a huge fine. “Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement its dominance as a search engine. These practices have denied rivals a chance to innovate and to compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefit of effective competition in the very important mobile sphere. And this is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

Vestager has given the company 90 days to end its “illegal conduct” by ending the restrictions it has imposed on mobile phone makers. Google immediately said following the ruling that it will appeal the Commission’s decision.

The $5 billion fine is the largest financial penalty ever levied by Europe against a single company, but for Google represents just over two week’s of revenue.

Four Years After Eric Garner’s Killing in Police Chokehold, His Family Still Seeks Accountability

U.S. judge suspends deportations of reunited immigrant families

A federal judge temporarily barred the U.S. government on Monday from the rapid deportation of immigrant parents reunited with their children, while a court considers the impact on children's rights to seek asylum. ... The American Civil Liberties Union said in court papers on Monday that, once reunited, immigrant parents who face deportation should have a week to decide if they want to leave their child in the United States to pursue asylum separately.

"A one-week stay is a reasonable and appropriate remedy to ensure that the unimaginable trauma these families have suffered does not turn even worse because parents made an uninformed decision about the fate of their child," the rights group wrote.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego asked the government to respond and set a July 24 date for the next hearing. In the meantime, he halted rapid deportations.

Senate Democrats unveil bill to reunite immigrant families 'immediately'

Democratic senators on Tuesday unveiled a new family reunification bill that they said would “immediately” reunite the 2,600 immigrant children still separated from their parents as a result of the White House’s zero-tolerance enforcement policy. The measure would “ensure that never again will the United States government have the ability or the power to separate children from their parents in the way that has been done”, Senator Kamala Harris, a sponsor of the bill, said at a press conference.

Harris introduced the bill alongside senators Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, and Catherine Cortez Masto, of Nevada. The senators said their visits to detention facilities along the border helped inform the legislation. ...

The Democrats’ bill would codify some of what has been ordered by courts but would go further to address some of the challenges to reunifications, which included parents not being able to afford the cost of transportation to bring their children back to them and a lack of coordination between agencies.

Among other things, the bill would:

  • Require the departments of homeland security and health and human services to publish guidance on how they plan to reunify families
  • Allow for the release of parents of separated children so that the reunifications do not happen in detention
  • Ensure children have access to legal counsel
  • Restore a case management program for asylum seekers that was ended last year
  • Establish a presumption that parents are not deported until their child’s immigration proceeding is complete
  • Protect privacy around the use of DNA testing

the evening greens

The U.S. and Canada Are Preparing for a New Standing Rock Over the Trans Mountain Tar Sands Pipeline

In British Columbia's southern interior, on unceded land of the Secwepemc Nation, Kanahus Manuel stands alongside a 7-by-12-foot “tiny house” mounted on a trailer. Her uncle screws a two-by-four into a floor panel while her brother-in-law paints a mural on the exterior walls depicting a moose, birds, forests, and rivers — images of the terrain through which the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will pass, if it can get through the Tiny House Warriors’ roving blockade. The project would place a new pipeline alongside the existing Trans Mountain line, tripling the system’s capacity to 890,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen flowing daily from Alberta through British Columbia to an endpoint outside Vancouver. ...

Should construction begin as scheduled in August, the Tiny House Warriors expect waves of allies from Indigenous nations inside Canada and beyond to join them as they wheel 10 of the houses into the pipeline’s path. Near the pipeline’s terminus outside Vancouver, members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation have constructed a traditional “watch house” from which to monitor the progress of construction.

Resistance to the pipeline is already escalating: On July 3, seven pipeline opponents rappelled from Vancouver’s Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in a daylong blockade of tanker traffic associated with the existing Trans Mountain line. Last week, the Tiny House Warriors wheeled the homes into a provincial park that sits on the site of a historic village near Clearwater, British Columbia, in an assertion of their title to the land. On Saturday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police singled out and arrested Manuel, whose livestream of the incident has garnered more than 500,000 views on Facebook. She was detained on a charge of “criminal mischief” and released later that day. The struggle against the expansion, Manuel told The Intercept, could become “the Standing Rock of the north.”

That’s exactly what law enforcement agencies on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border fear. For more than a year, U.S. and Canadian authorities have been girding for a mobilization comparable to the 2016 resistance in North Dakota, according to law enforcement communications and government reports obtained by The Intercept. In Canada, Trudeau received a Cabinet memo discussing the implications of Standing Rock for Trans Mountain one week after his administration approved the pipeline expansion.

In Washington state, where a branch of the existing Trans Mountain line feeds processed tar sands bitumen to four refineries along Puget Sound, law enforcement agencies are preparing for the anti-pipeline struggle to spill over to the U.S. side of the border. The sheriff’s office in Whatcom County monitored activists’ plans to travel to British Columbia for a recent Trans Mountain protest, and information collected was shared with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Washington State Patrol, and the Washington State Fusion Center. The sheriff’s office has arranged at least two multiagency law enforcement trainings on protest response in the last year and a half. The documents underscore the heightened scrutiny and surveillance Indigenous-led movements fighting resource extraction have faced in the wake of the mass mobilization at Standing Rock.

How Trump’s wildlife board is rebranding trophy hunting as good for animals

Donald Trump has called big-game trophy hunting a “horror show”, despite his own sons’ participation in elephant and leopard hunts, and in 2017 he formed an advisory board to steer US policy on the issue. But rather than conservation scientists and wildlife advocates, it is composed of advocates for the hunting of elephants, giraffes and other threatened, charismatic species. And observers say that since Trump took office, court rulings and administrative decisions have in fact made it easier for hunters to import the body parts of lions, elephants and other animals killed in Africa.

Members of Trump’s advisory board, called the International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC), argue that the sport, in which wealthy hunters pay tens of thousands of dollars to shoot endangered megafauna, is a laudable method of conservation abroad. “This council will be focused on making hunting a better tool for conservation,” said John Jackson III, a member of the IWCC and founder of Conservation Force, an international hunting non-profit. Only two of the council’s 16 members are not active advocates for trophy hunting – the rest belong to groups such as Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association. Instead of discussing whether the sport should be limited, the group is focusing on how to broaden its reach.

Trophy hunters hold immense clout in the Trump administration. The president’s sons, Donald Jr and Eric, frequently hunt in Africa. And the hunting advisory council operates under the auspices of the interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, who received $10,000 from the Safari Club during his 2016 congressional campaign. The lopsided composition of the council has critics worried its decisions will protect their chosen pastime, not the animals. “People who consider themselves conservationists don’t consider trophy hunting conservation,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s an elite, bourgeois activity.”

The US cannot ban its residents from hunting in another nation, but it does regulate the importation of trophies – the body parts of animals killed abroad. Hunters seeking to import the remains of species protected under the Endangered Species Act must provide proof that killing an individual animal broadly enhances the species’ odds of survival. n 2017, Trump’s interior department eased Obama-era restrictions on trophy hunting, and the president used Twitter to voice displeasure with the practice, writing it was unlikely he would “change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal”. The department then reinstated the ban, but a subsequent court ruling found that it was not based on proper rule-making procedures, and imports continue. Irrespective of Trump’s comments, the Fish and Wildlife Agency, which oversees trophy imports, holds that well-regulated sport hunting is beneficial to the survival of endangered species.

Also of Interest

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

Russia Liquidates Its US Treasury Holdings

The National Insecurity State and the United States of Inequality

Lying by Omission: Mainstream Media’s Distortion of the OPCW Report on Douma

Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda

Venezuela to Launch Local Defense Committees as Maduro Makes Changes to Top Military Brass

Inside the Failed Plot to Overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Child Separation Coverage Focused on Beltway Debate, Not Immigrant Voices

EPA proposal to limit role of science in decision-making met with alarm

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Your Personal Information

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders Are Trying to Prove Their Case in Kansas

A Little Night Music

Eddie Shaw - Riding High

Eddie Shaw - Movin' And Groovin' Man

Rodney Brown and Eddie Shaw - There Is Something On Your Mind

Eddie Shaw - Ship Made of Paper

Eddie Shaw - Big Leg Woman

Eddie Shaw and The Wolfgang - Hoochie Coochie Man

Eddie Shaw - 300 Pounds of Heavenly Joy

Eddie Shaw - Stoop Down, Baby

George Thorogood w/Eddie Shaw - Howlin For My Baby

Eddie Shaw & The Wolfgang - Chicago Blues Festival 2016

19 users have voted.


Lookout's picture

nice lead tune Joe. I guess Helsinki is pretty close. Did you see the essay here on c99 titled "what the Helsinki"? Clever writers here.

My though has been ..."Talking heads explode - leaving only a puff of dust". What a weird mix of sabotauge indictments, NATO/EU bullying, and Russia summit. Wow.

It really has been bizaire. We must be cursed cause it's interesting times.

All the best and thanks for the news!

13 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


interesting times, indeed. well, at least there is no shortage of information to pay attention to. Smile

there has never been a better time to blow up your teevee!

7 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

I could be wrong but I don't remember hearing that term before 2016 or so. I think it was invented by the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger Community to put a happy face on the A-holes who lied us into Iraq, and etc. etc. etc. Didn't Eisenhower leaver office heaping praise on the Military Industrial Community for their selflessness and patriotism ?
Here's Stephen Cohen on Fox News: Real Clear Politics
File this under None Dare Call It Empire: naked capitalism
And finally, this one is pretty long but it's about the best thing I've read on Helsinki: Zero Anthropology
Have a nice night.

10 users have voted.


He "warned" America about the Military Industrial Complex of which he had been a significant part since his attendance at West Point. And he issued this alleged warning after eight--count 'em, folks, eight years as President and CIC and many years in the upper echelons of the military, during which he had done zero about curbing the MIC. I wonder what Eisenhower thought people who had zero say over the Pentagon were going to do with his "warning?"

Oh, and he did not invent an interstate highway system, either. FDR had, but World War II, then death, got in the way of FDR's implementing his vision.

As far as "guns and butter," we can thank the war tax Congress, under FDR, levied when the US was more honest about the financial cost of war. Truman, who presided over the Korean "Police Action" (whatever the hell that means), did not revoke it and neither did Ike. We can also thank what we did to German and Japanese manufacture after WWII, clearing the way for US manufacturers to be the only show on the planet, for all intents and purposes.

Ike was a lazy President who lacked vision.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, not that the democrats are doing this, but sometimes you just have to appreciate the irony of a statement by a particular speaker.

for example, the slave-owning writer of "notes on virginia" wrote some pretty amazing things about freedom and the equality of mankind, that at least when i quote them, i appreciate the rich irony.

eisenhower said/wrote some pretty interesting things, and given his practically life-long membership in the military elite, his saying them gives them a special irony, but it doesn't necessarily diminish the value that may be found in the words.

9 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

but I would never praise Ike for saying it on his way out of office, after spending most of his life as part of the MIC.

4 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

country club in Bethesda, Maryland, as a regular thing.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin carried Drew Pearson’s column The Washington Merry-Go-Round and Fletcher Knebel’s column Potomac Fever. I mostly didn’t understand what they were talking about but sometimes they seemed to be poking fun at the president.

At times the papers would be full of Ike’s health problems — heart attack(s). An operation on his small intestine.

Eisenhower visited Hawaii and our elementary school turned out to see in person our supreme ruler from far away across the ocean.

I remember an elderly, balding, avuncular haole man standing up, smiling, and waving from an open-top convertible slowly moving down Kalakaua Avenue past Fort DeRussy.

As the president passed by I snapped a photo with a Kodak Brownie that came out blurred because I hadn’t thought of needing to track a subject in motion.

It seemed to me there was hardly any security surrounding the procession — I would later have reason to think back on this, just a few years later.

7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


I don't remember hearing that term before 2016 or so. I think it was invented by the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger Community to put a happy face on the A-holes who lied us into Iraq, and etc. etc. etc.

now that you mention it, i don't either. beyond putting a happy face on the assholes for the public, it might also be an instrument for creating a perceived unity within the somewhat insular group of intelligence assholes and discourage disclosures from whistleblowers, etc.

it's sad that fox news is the only mainstream place that cohen could put this into the public mind:

I want my president to do --I didn't vote for this president-- but I want my president to do what every other president has done. Sit with the head of the other nuclear superpower and walk back the conflicts that could lead to war, whether they be in Syria, Ukraine, the Baltic nations, these accusations of cyber attacks.

Every president has been encouraged to do that an applauded by both parties. Not Trump.

for fox, perhaps he should alter his terminology and refer to the beltway consensus about russia as a "bipartisan suicide pact" or a "death cult."

7 users have voted.
mimi's picture

is too long for my taste, who feels like wandering around in a 'German Glassirrgarten' reading it.

From paragraph to paragraph I wished the author would come to an end and a final conclusion.
But he went on and on adding more real good thoughts over and over. It was tough to find the exit, like when you go through this... Glas Irrgarten ...

Thanks for the link. Smile

4 users have voted.

Love is all we have to give.

But thanks, Joe, as always.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


yep, it's a dusty old world. but i haven't given up on it yet.

i hope that you're feeling well.

6 users have voted.

@joe shikspack Thanks man, I appreciate it. I'm doing alright, all things considered. Hope you are too.

3 users have voted.

How come Hillary's botched attempt, under Obama. to "press the reset button" on American-Russian relations was wonderful and Trump's attempt to "restore" American-Russian relations is, at the very minimum, "treason adjacent?"

Speaking of "restoring," when were relations between Russia and the US good? Under the Tsars? The alliance of necessity during WWII that so pained FDR?

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


well, see, according to the media wurlitzer, hillary was good. therefore, what she did was good. trump is bad, so whatever he even attempts is bad. it's really that simple.

regarding us-russian relations, azazello might be able to better answer that than me.

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

This is a fun little article that shows how Mueller was pretty much absent during his tenure as FBI director. He was as worthless as Eric Holder was when it came to looking the other way on crimes that should have been a slam dunk.


A former colleague recently characterized Robert Mueller as “ramrod straight” and “utterly incorruptible.” Similar language was breathlessly repeated in mainstream media biographies on Mueller in Politico, BBC, and Time magazine. Mueller’s Vietnam-era service in the United States Marine Corps and 2004 tag-team with then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey to save American democracy from warrantless spying are mainstays of these biographies, which always send a clear message that his integrity is beyond reproach.

It’s always suspicious when anyone’s credibility is oversold like this, but that goes double when the same person was FBI director for 12 years—spanning across both the Bush and Obama administrations from 2001 to 2013—yet most people can’t remember anything about him. We should remember actions he took to impartially uphold the law. Sadly, that is not the case.

What stands out most during then-FBI Director Mueller’s term in office is the two-tiered system of justice, when obvious crimes and scandals involving government officials and private-sector elites were ignored or even covered up by the FBI. What Mueller failed to do to protect our country says more than anything he did.

These are just a few of the cases Robert refused to investigate, but this one takes the cake.

Mexican Drug Cartels:

From 2002 to at least 2009 (and possibly much longer), HSBC bank laundered billions of US dollars for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s murderous Sinaloa Cartel and similar groups. In 2009, Forbes placed El Chapo at #41 on its “World’s Most Powerful People” list. The same year, many experts agreed that Mexico’s drug war had rendered it a “failed state.” By 2012, the Sinaloa cartel alone was estimated to have annual revenues of $3 billion, which were comparable to Facebook or Netflix. By April 2013, toward the end of Mueller’s term, the Sinaloa and other Mexican cartels had become the number one importer and distributor of narcotics inside the United States (with many of the cartel’s top agents living inside the United States), El Chapo had become “public enemy no. 1,” and 70,000 murders and nearly 27,000 disappearances were attributable to the drug war inside Mexico.

Not only did he and his buddies in the Justice department fail to arrest anyone involved in what HSBC did, after the case was closed more shenanigans followed.

James Comey Joins HSBC’s Board of Directors:

Less than two months after the 2012 deferred prosecution agreement, HSBC appointed James Comey to its Board of Directors as head of the Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee.

When he joined HSBC, Comey left a job working as general counsel for Bridgewater Associates hedge fund, where he earned over $6.6 million per year, for a position at a disgraced criminal bank—one recently charged with laundering El Chapo’s money—that paid under $200,000 per year (approximately three percent of his salary at Bridgewater). It’s hard to say why anyone would take that job, and that pay cut, unless there was some additional incentive.

While Comey may have provided HSBC with a Norman Rockwell-type face for its money laundering reform program, it doesn’t appear that Comey actually reformed any of the bank’s practices. During the time Comey was on the Board, HSBC was involved in laundering hundreds of millions of dollars from Russia into the British banking system—a scheme with direct ties to the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin. Apparently Comey missed this activity while he led the search for “vulnerabilities” in HSBC’s “financial system.”

Comey left HSBC in July 2013 to become FBI Director when Mueller stepped down.

Mueller Became Partner At The Law Firm That Represented HSBC:

Less than one year after leaving the FBI, the “utterly incorruptible” Mueller took a lucrative position as a partner at the same law firm that represented HSBC in 2012, working in the “government investigations practice” section of the firm. Although it’s unknown whether Mueller ever handled HSBC’s matters personally, Wilmer Hale still includes HSBC in its list of “representative clients.” In 2016 alone, profits per partner at Wilmer Hale were $1.81 million.

In May 2017, Mueller left the firm to become Special Counsel for the Russia investigation.

I highly recommend reading the full article because there is so much more information in it and many links to follow if you're so inclined.

The justice department is very incestuous, but then so are all of our government that come and go through the revolving doors.

This is who the Russia Gaters are pinning their hopes on for Trump being removed from office.


12 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


good article, thanks!

my memory of mueller's service is that he was the fbi director well before, during and after the wall street crash (brought on by world-class corruption) and that the fbi did not do much about it. mueller blamed his lack of prosecutions on 9/11. maybe he was channeling rudy guliani.

6 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@joe shikspack  
for prosecutions were supposedly destroyed when World Trade Center 7 collapsed (the third skyscraper to fall into its own footprint that day although it had not been struck by a plane) — making it impossible to proceed in a whole raft of notorious cases of corporate fraud.

Anyway, that’s what they say.

5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Clinton foundation received up to $81m from clients of controversial HSBC bank

Leaked files reveal identities of wealthy donors with accounts in Geneva
Donors gave as much as $81m to Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation
Hillary Clinton expected to make inequality a key issue of any 2016 campaign


FBI director James "slick" Comey received millions from Clinton Foundation. Why you ask ?? Well..his brother’s law firm does Clinton’s taxes! A review of FBI Director James Comey’s professional history and relationships shows that the Obama cabinet leader — now under fire for his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton — is deeply entrenched in the big-money cronyism culture of Washington, D.C. His personal and professional relationships — all undisclosed as he announced the Bureau would not prosecute Clinton — reinforce bipartisan concerns that he may have politicized the criminal probe. These concerns focus on millions of dollars that Comey accepted from a Clinton Foundation defense contractor, Comey’s former membership on a Clinton Foundation corporate partner’s board, and his surprising financial relationship with his brother Peter

I read this comment on common dreams a few months ago that shows how far back not only Comey has worked with the Clintons, but Rosenstein and Mueller too. This is quite a doozy of history that they have had with them.

The 1% have their own gatekeepers for keeping them out of prison.

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

enhydra lutris's picture

news and commentary. My wife showed me the chlorine propaganda report, forcing me to explain how the entire narrative had changed and should've been "look ma, no sarin", which would totally expose ad discredit the white hardhats. Heh.

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

@enhydra lutris

heh, it's a wonder that those guys don't get hernias from moving the goalposts.

1 user has voted.