The Evening Blues - 7-27-17


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: The Treniers

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b group The Treniers. Enjoy!

The Treniers - Rocking is our business

“What we revealed is that this spying system is devoted not to terrorists, but is directed to innocent people around the world. None of this has anything to do with terrorism. Is Angela Merkel a terrorist?”

-- Glenn Greenwald

News and Opinion

Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying

The National Security Agency and FBI violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama administration by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos that provide some of the richest detail to date on the spy agencies’ ability to obey their own rules.

The memos reviewed by The Hill were publicly released on July 11 through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union.

They detail specific violations that the NSA or FBI disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Justice Department's national security division during President Obama’s tenure between 2009 and 2016. ... Critics say the memos undercut the intelligence community’s claim that it has robust protections for Americans incidentally intercepted under the program.

“Americans should be alarmed that the NSA is vacuuming up their emails and phone calls without a warrant,” said Patrick Toomey, an ACLU staff attorney in New York who helped pursue the FOIA litigation. “The NSA claims it has rules to protect our privacy, but it turns out those rules are weak, full of loopholes, and violated again and again.” ...

The Hill reviewed the new ACLU documents as well as compliance memos released by the NSA inspector general and identified more than 90 incidents where violations specifically cited an impact on Americans. Many incidents involved multiple persons, multiple violations or extended periods of time.

Feds Crack Trump Protesters’ Phones to Charge Them With Felony Rioting

Officials seized Trump protesters’ cell phones, cracked their passwords, and are now attempting to use the contents to convict them of conspiracy to riot at the presidential inauguration.

Prosecutors have indicted over 200 people on felony riot charges for protests in Washington, D.C. on January 20 that broke windows and damaged vehicles. Some defendants face up to 75 years in prison, despite little evidence against them. But a new court filing reveals that investigators have been able to crack into at least eight defendants’ locked cell phones. Now prosecutors want to use the internet history, communications, and pictures they extracted from the phones as evidence against the defendants in court.

Evidence against the defendants has been scant from the moment of their arrest. As demonstrators, journalists, and observers marched through the city, D.C. police officers channelled hundreds of people into a narrow, blockaded corner, where they carried out mass arrests of everyone in the area. Some of those people, including a journalist and two allegedly peaceful protesters, are now suing for wrongful arrest.

Police also seized more than 100 cell phones from “defendants and other un-indicted arrestees,” prosecutors disclosed in a March filing. ... But a July 21 court document shows that investigators were successful in opening the locked phones. The July 21 filing moved to enter evidence from eight seized phones, six of which were “encrypted” and two of which were not encrypted. A Department of Justice representative confirmed that “encrypted” meant additional privacy settings beyond a lock screen.

Mosul's bloodbath: 'We killed everyone - IS, men, women, children'

The Iraqi soldier looks out from his tiny three-walled room across a wasteland of rubble that crumbles steeply down to the banks of the Tigris River and contemplates the last days of the savage fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

"We killed them all," he says quietly. "Daesh, men, women and children. We killed everyone."

What remains of this part of Mosul's Old City, where IS militants made their last stand, and what lies beneath betrays the horrific final days of the battle. Hundreds of corpses lie half-buried in the broken masonry and rubble that was once a bustling, historic quarter. The stench of decaying flesh, which comes fast in the 50C summer heat, overwhelms the senses. ...

Over the last week, armoured bulldozers have trundled back and forth over the crumpled houses, grinding uncounted corpses into the rubble. But the dead refuse to go away. Rotting body parts glow a reddish-brown amid the pale grey of the undulating heatscape of masonry, dust and broken buildings. "There are many civilians among the bodies," an Iraqi army major tells [Middle East Eye] MEE.

"After liberation was announced, the order was given to kill anything or anyone that moved."

An excellent piece worth reading in full. Here's a teaser:

How Media Spread CIA’s Sectarian, Anti-Iran ‘Mideast Cold War’ Narrative

A new Vox video (7/17/17) is the latest addition to a media onslaught that propagates numerous misleading talking points to demonize Iran—just as the US government, under Donald Trump’s vehemently anti-Iran administration, is ratcheting up aggression against that country. The 10-minute film, titled “The Middle East’s Cold War, Explained,” is a textbook example of how US government propaganda pervades corporate media. With the help of a former senior government official and CIA analyst, the Vox video articulates a commonplace pro-US, anti-Iran narrative that portrays the violent conflicts in the Middle East as sectarian proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In order to do so, the film grossly downplays US involvement in the region, treating Saudi Arabia as though it acts independently of the US. It also fails to ever mention Israel, totally removing one of the most important players in the Middle East from its “Cold War” narrative. Vox multimedia producer Sam Ellis likewise constructs a false equivalence for Iran, depicting it as a kind of Shia Saudi Arabia that is just as guilty of spreading sectarianism. The video correspondingly exaggerates Iran’s international influence, which is assumed to be dastardly and malign. ...

The crux of the video is an interview with a former top US government official, CIA analyst and think tank apparatchik who has spent years crafting US policy in the Middle East. Vox presents his deeply politicized views as unchallenged facts.

Kenneth Pollack, the only person featured in Vox‘s video, is identified simply as a “former Persian Gulf military analyst, CIA.” After several years as an Iran/Iraq military analyst at the CIA, Pollack went on to direct Persian Gulf affairs and Near East and South Asian affairs for the Clinton administration’s National Security Council. Pollack’s bio at the Brookings Institution notes “he was the principal working-level official for US policy toward Iraq, Iran, Yemen and the Gulf Cooperation Council States at the White House.”

President says Iran will 'respond' if US missile law passes

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday his country will respond if a bill in the U.S. Congress imposing sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program becomes law.

The House of Representatives passed the bill on Tuesday and it now goes to the Senate.

Without giving details, Rouhani said in a Wednesday cabinet meeting broadcast by state TV that Iran will "take any action that is necessary for the country's expedience and interests" and show "reciprocal" reaction to the law. ...

"If the enemy breaches parts of the deal, we will breach parts of it," Rouhani said. "If they breach the entire deal, we will breach it in its entirety."

"We will reinforce our whole defensive weapons without paying attention to what others say," he added.

Moscow warns new U.S. sanctions take ties into uncharted waters

Russia warned on Wednesday that new U.S. sanctions against Moscow approved by the House of Representatives take already battered ties into uncharted waters and said it was close to taking retaliatory measures of its own.

Russia was responding after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions on Moscow and to force President Donald Trump to obtain lawmakers' permission before easing any sanctions on Russia.

Moscow had initially hoped that Trump would work to repair a relationship which has slumped to a post-Cold War low, but has watched with frustration as allegations that Moscow interfered with last year's U.S. presidential election and concerns over Trump associates' Russia ties have killed off hopes of detente. ...

Russia has repeatedly warned the United States it will retaliate against what it sees as hostile moves and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made clear Moscow was growing tired of showing restraint. ... Konstantin Kosachyov, who heads the foreign relations committee in Russia's upper house of parliament, called on Moscow to devise a "painful" response to the U.S. move.

U.K. to send “colossal” new warships to the South China Sea

The U.K. government plans to send two “colossal” warships to the South China Sea next year in a “freedom of navigation operation” set to infuriate Beijing. Announcing the plans Thursday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the U.K. was taking the decision “not because we have enemies in the region but because we believe in upholding the rule of law.”

“One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation to this area to vindicate our belief in the rules-based international system,” Johnson told reporters in Sydney Thursday. ...

In what will be seen as a saber-rattling exercise, the U.K. move follows in the footsteps of the U.S. navy, which earlier this month sailed a warship close to a disputed island in the territory. China claims ownership over large parts of the South China Sea — one of the world’s busiest trade routes — and its program of island-building and militarization has unsettled western powers.

Bolivia's President Declares 'Total Independence' from World Bank and IMF

Bolivia's President Evo Morales has been highlighting his government's independence from international money lending organizations and their detrimental impact the nation, the Telesur TV reported. " ... Bolivia’s popular uprising known as the The Cochabamba Water War in 2000 against United States-based Bechtel Corporation over water privatization and the associated World Bank policies shed light on some of the debt issues facing the region. ... Since 2006, a year after Morales came to power, social spending on health, education, and poverty programs has increased by over 45 percent.

The Morales administration made enormous transformations in the Andean nation. The figures speak for themselves: the nationalization of hydrocarbons, poverty reduction from 60% to less than 40%, a decrease in the rate of illiteracy from 13% to 3%, the tripling the GDP with an average growth of 5% annually, the quadrupling of the minimum wage, the increasing of state coverage on all fronts, and the development of infrastructure in communications, transportation, energy and industry. And above all, stability, an unusual word in the troubled political history Bolivia, of which today, with the economic slowdown experienced by many countries in the region, is a real privilege.

U.S. slaps Venezuela with sanctions

Venezuela entered the second day of a nationwide mass strike Thursday, with millions expected to join a last-ditch attempt to pressure President Nicolas Maduro into scrapping plans for a new congress. But U.S. sanctions against 13 top Venezuelan officials announced Wednesday might offer the best chance of breaking the deadlock in the country’s political crisis, analysts say, by undermining crucial support for the government among its elite backers. ...

But on the surface, at least, Maduro and his allies have brushed off the U.S move with bravado. At a televised rally Wednesday night, Maduro presented some of the sanctioned officials with replicas of a sword belonging to revolutionary hero Simón Bolivar. “Congratulations for these imperialist sanctions,” he said. “What makes the imperialists of the United States think they are the world government?”

Maria Iris Varela, a key figure in efforts to establish the National Constituent Assembly who was one of those sanctioned, was less lofty in her response. “This is my response to the gringos, like Chavez told them, ‘Go to hell, you piece of shit Yankees,’” she wrote, in a tweet picturing her flipping the bird.

Jerusalem Tension: "It's not about religion, it's about equal rights"

Israel U-turns on al-Aqsa mosque security after Palestinian protests

Israel has yielded to days of growing Palestinian street protests by removing all additional security measures around the compound housing al-Aqsa mosque, following the removal of metal detectors earlier this week.

The reversal marks a victory for a campaign of civil disobedience that saw Palestinians refuse en masse to enter the compound, one of the city’s most revered sites, choosing to pray instead in the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City.

The remaining additional security measures that had been installed by Israel in the last fortnight – including barriers and infrastructure for new cameras – were removed by workers in the early hours of Thursday amid mounting fears of unrest during what were expected to be large protests around Friday prayers. ...

On Wednesday night Israeli police took a far more conciliatory approach at the main Lions’ Gate entrance to the compound, where they had previously been quick to respond to any problems by clearing the streets with stun grenades.

There have been signs that the prayer protest movement – which drew thousands each night to largely non-violent gatherings – has given an unusual sense of empowerment to Palestinians in East Jerusalem who have long lived without their own political institutions under Israeli occupation.

First Nations leader urges Canada to prosecute 'out of hand' hate speech

Amid growing online attacks on Canada’s indigenous peoples – laced with vitriol, stereotypes and even death threats – a prominent First Nations leader is urging the government to crack down on hate speech. “It’s getting out of hand,” said Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in the province of Saskatchewan. “Our people deserve to feel accepted. They shouldn’t feel that their lives are in danger.” ...

He pointed to last year’s fatal shooting of 22-year-old Colten Boushie, who was driving home with friends to Red Pheasant First Nation when a tyre blew out. The car pulled into a nearby farm, where Boushie was shot dead. Police charged the farm’s owner, 55, with second-degree murder, sparking a torrent of racist comments on social media. Some linked First Nations to crime while others praised the idea of vigilante justice. ...

This month, Barbara Kentner, a 34-year-old First Nations woman, died after a trailer hitch was thrown at her from a passing car in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Her sister said the pair had been walking in a residential neighbourhood when the metal hitch struck her sister in the abdomen. A passenger in the car yelled: “Oh, I got one,” she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

An 18-year-old man has been charged with aggravated assault relating to the incident. ...

The issue of online attacks was thrust into the spotlight in 2015, after the CBC said it had closed comments on stories about indigenous peoples. “We’ve noticed over many months that these stories draw a disproportionate number of comments that cross the line and violate our guidelines,” Brodie Fenlon, the broadcaster’s acting director of digital news, explained in a blogpost. “Some of the violations are obvious, some not so obvious; some comments are clearly hateful and vitriolic, some are simply ignorant. And some appear to be hate disguised as ignorance (ie, racist sentiments expressed in benign language).”

Steve Bannon Pushing For 44 Percent Marginal Tax Rate On The Very Rich

Top White House adviser Steve Bannon is pushing for tax reform to include a new 44 percent top marginal tax rate, hitting people who earn more than $5 million a year, with the revenue paying for tax cuts for the rest, according to three people who’ve spoken to him recently. The top rate is now 39.6 percent and most Republicans have been planning to lower it significantly as part of tax reform. The plan Trump put out previously would have only three brackets, with the top one brought down to 35 percent.

Raising taxes on the very rich has been a rare policy that President Donald Trump has publicly espoused throughout much of his life. On Tuesday, he told the Wall Street Journal, “if there’s upward revision it’s going to be on high-income people.”

“I have wealthy friends that say to me, ‘I don’t mind paying more tax,’” he said. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was pressed on Trump’s comment at a televised briefing Wednesday, and said that further specifics of the plan would be released shortly, with an emphasis on tax cuts for the middle class.

The Rolling Resistance: Meet Three Disability Rights Activists Fighting to Save Healthcare

Republican Sen. Steve Daines to make Democrats vote on single payer

Sen. Steve Daines is proposing an amendment to the Republican healthcare bill that would implement a government-run, single-payer insurance system in the U.S.

The Montana Republican doesn't support single-payer healthcare. But in a bit of political gamesmanship often seen in Congress, Daines wants to force vulnerable Democratic senators running for re-election in red states in 2018 to take a position on the liberal healthcare policy, which is gaining currency on the Left. ...

Daines' single-payer amendment is a carbon copy of one offered in the House by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. The Conyers bill, with more than 100 Democratic cosponsors, proposes to create a program the legislation describes as "Medicare for All." According to the bill's language, "all individuals residing in the United States would be covered." To pay for the program, Conyers proposes raising income taxes on the top 5 percent of earners, plus hiking taxes on payroll and self-imployment income, unearned income, and stock and bond transactions.

the horse race

Wall St. Democrats vs. Working Class Democrats

Lindsey Graham threatens to end Trump if he goes after Mueller

As rumors about Trump’s intentions to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions continue to fly, Lindsey Graham told CNN, “If Jeff Sessions is fired there will be holy hell to pay.”

Graham’s comments make clear that the political backlash for a firing spree like that may be too great if Trump wants to keep any friends in Congress. “Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency,” Graham said.

IT aide to ex-DNC chair Wasserman Schultz arrested as he tried to leave US

the evening greens

Pacific NorthWest LNG is Dead

Malaysia’s Petronas has cancelled plans to build the Pacific NorthWest LNG plant on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert, B.C., in a move seen as a major setback for B.C.'s LNG dreams and as a major win for those concerned about climate change and salmon habitat. The project would have involved increased natural gas production in B.C.’s Montney Basin, a new 900-kilometre pipeline and the export terminal itself.

In a press statement about the investment decision, Petronas cited “changes in market conditions.” ... The B.C. projects were predicated on exporting low-cost gas to Asia where prices were as much as five times higher than in North America in 2013. But by 2016, prices had plunged and have shown little sign of increasing. ...

The Petronas press release stated that the company and its North Montney Joint Venture partners “remain committed to developing their significant natural gas assets in Canada and will continue to explore all options as part of its long-term investment strategy moving forward.” But how without a West Coast export facility? Well, TransCanada announced in June that the company would spend $2 billion to expand its NOVA Gas (NGTL) system to connect northern B.C. and Alberta natural gas producers to “premium intra-basin and export markets.” That’s code for: our gas is going to go east, not west.

[Considerably more detail is available at the link. - js]

Cobalt Production as the Hidden Choke Point on Mass Conversion to Electric Vehicles

[As an air-pollution reduction measure, the UK government has mandated that by 2040, new gas and diesel vehicles will be banned. They are anticipating that electric vehicles will take up the slack. - js]

The UK has less than 1% of the world’s population, so let’s assume that it has 1 fossil fuel powered motor vehicle of some kind for every 2 citizens (The ratio in the USA is 1:1). So there would today be 30 million fossil fuel powered privately owned vehicles in the U.K. The 200+ mile on a single charge range of a Tesla using a 60-80 KWh battery requires 19kg of cobalt. 30 million such vehicles would therefore require 570,000 t of cobalt, which would be immobilized (taken out of the market) for 5-8 years (the currently projected lifetime of the Li/Co type of battery used in the Tesla. This is nearly 5 times todays annual output of new cobalt production.. So the UK’s less than 1% of the globe’s people would require by 2040 around 20% of the world’s production of new cobalt at today’s production rate to completely eliminate fossil fuel powered cars and replace them with vehicles with a 200+ mile range.

China in the meantime has mandated 5,000,000 EVs to be on the road in their country by 2020! This would require 95,000 t of cobalt immobilized in Chinese batteries within 3 years. This WILL require about 30% of all global new cobalt production between now and the end of 2020. ...

The conversion of today’s fleet of 1 billion vehicles totally to pure long range EVs would take ALL of the world’s known resources of cobalt MOST of which are not today recoverable economically, and therefore could not occur in much less than 50-100 years and then ONLY if direct financial profit were not the motive but rather quality of life. This is against the neoliberal agenda.

'There's no sport in that': trophy hunters and the masters of the universe

They’re known as canned hunts; captive mammal hunting ranches in the US which offer the chance to shoot a zebra or antelope or even a lion for several thousand dollars. The animals are fenced in and often unafraid of humans so the kills are easy, to the extent that some venues even provide the option of shooting them via the internet, with the use of a camera and a gun on a mount.

It’s estimated that there are more than 1,000 of them - completely legal. But many US hunters consider them a betrayal of every belief they hold dear. “I don’t consider that hunting,” said John Rogalo, a New Jersey hunter who has been stalking bears, deer and turkeys for nearly 50 years. “It’s a weird culture that has developed in this country in the past few years. I joke that you may as well ask the farmer if you could shoot his black Angus because at least you’d get more meat for it.” ...

On the other side of the divide from Rogalo are the “shooters”, as they are known. “The shooter will come over, check his Blackberry every few hours, kill something and go home. There are now more and more shooters – younger, more urban, masters of the universe. They will have bait put out, sit in a blind and shoot lions as they feed. There’s no sport in that. It’s like a selfie.”

Also of Interest

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

San Antonio Photographer Faces 70 Years in Federal Prison for Documenting Inauguration Day Protest

Mideast’s ‘Only Democracy’ joins push to Silence Al Jazeera: Netanyahu

Fear and Trepidation in Tel Aviv: Is Israel Losing the Syrian War?

The Deep State, Now and Then

How about a little accountability for economists when they mess up?

Your Personal Consumption Choices Can’t Save the Planet: We Have to Confront Capitalism

A Little Night Music

The Treniers - Rocking On Saturday Night

The Treniers - Day Old Bread And Canned Beans

The Treniers - Hadacol

The Treniers - Plenty Of Money

The Treniers - Cool It, Baby

The Treniers - Who Put The Ungh In The Mambo

The Treniers - Out of the Bushes

The Treniers - Everybody get together

The Treniers - Rock a Beatin' Boogie

The Treniers - It Rocks! It Rolls! It Swings!

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Azazello's picture

Here's a good article on Obama's Syrian adventure from The American Conservative.

But the decisive factor in pushing the administration toward action was the pressure from U.S. Sunni allies in the region—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—which began in autumn 2011 to press Obama to help build and equip an opposition army. Turkey was the leader in this regard, calling for Washington to agree to provide heavy weaponry—including anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles—to the rebel troops that didn’t even exist yet, and even offering to invade Syria to overthrow the regime if the U.S. would guarantee air cover.

In the ideology of the national security elite—especially its Democratic wing—regional alliances are essential building blocks of what is styled as the U.S.-sponsored global “rules-based order.” In practice, however, they have served as instruments for the advancement of the power and prestige of the national security bureaucracies themselves. The payoffs of U.S. alliances in the Middle East have centered on the military bases in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar that allow the Pentagon and the military brass to plan and execute military operations that guarantee extraordinary levels of military spending. But enormous Saudi arms purchases and the financing of any covert operations the CIA doesn’t wish to acknowledge to Congress have long been prime benefits for those powerful organizations and their senior officials.

Also, here's as good a political essay as I've read in a while: Trump and the Trumpists

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We wanted decent healthcare, a living wage and free college.
The Democrats gave us Biden and war instead.

joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the articles. i saw the gareth porter article earlier today and was kind of surprised to see his work published in pat buchanan's stomping grounds. i figured i'd keep my eyes open and see if it got published elsewhere in the next couple of days. Smile

the streeck article is interesting and makes a lot of good points.

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I have to admit that such analyses tend to annoy me by missing the fact that:

American voters were allowed no real electoral choice, even where some pretense was initially made;

the Dems blatantly cheated voters out of their nominee, who represented their interests;

in order to coronate as the Dem Presidential candidate a disgustingly and pathetically venal, absolutely and hazardously incompetent and corrupt, crazed and enormously destructive warmonger actively working against the public interest in order to dispossess and drain them so that those having already drained them of most could finally have it all at their expense;

while the Republicans nominated the most obviously impossible candidate ever, albeit one willing to lie about having the public good at heart and, importantly, who was not the Mad Bomber Fracking Queen Corporate/Billionaire-Lackey Clinton;

while the amazing increase in Green Party support somehow entirely failed to show in the vote count officially provided.

Given the choice between the Devil and the deep blue sea, many voters held their noses and plunged into the deep end, just in case Trump might prove more survivable, at least for a while, as seems likely, since at least this hasn't yet actually caused the country to flame into glassy craters, even some months later, as a Clinton win likely would have in very short order, had so many not voted to help keep Her out of reach of the Mutual Assured Destruction Button.

Somehow, Her won the popular vote and had not the Russians hacked the Electoral College, there would probably be nobody remaining to discuss this and especially not on a then no longer extant modern technology, such as the internet, which would have melted with the rest of us.

If we regard this election as being the legitimate result of people's voting in a no-actual-choice-allowed situation, I feel it would be more accurate to say that people almost certainly mostly did not vote Trump because they felt the fat-headed billionaire, lying, cheating braggart out for self-enrichment at the people's cost was the ideal President; Trump won because the impossibly bad Republican candidate was considered probably less immediately fatally disastrous than the impossibly bad Dem candidate who expected to be rewarded with an automatic win because It Was Her Turn And Her Billionaires And Corporate Interests Paid For This Result Regardless Of Voters And Votes And Her Had A Lot Of Promised Countries To Invade And Nuke For Her Paymasters.

Just sayin'.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

also taking a stand with McCain and several other Senators to insist that the 'skinny bill' go to regular order. Probably the reason that Schumer and the Dems* backed off offering hundreds of amendments after debate. (That news broke last night.)

Brace yourselves folks! This crew is pushing for a bill that kicks off ABAWDS (Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents), or that at the very least, limits the eligibility of ABAWDS to 5 years--like WJC's 'welfare reform' bill did.

Also, some of these Senators' respective Governors favor mandatory 'drug testing' for Medicaid ABAWDS (or, all Medicaid recipients--not sure on that one).

Basically, McCain admitted that he wants the skinny bill to go to conference.

So, as Dana Bash put it earlier today, the goal for some Senators is to shoot for a bipartisan effort, so that they can 'hold hands and walk together.' (I've always heard 'jump together.' Whatever.)

The advantage of this, is that bipartisan consensus would eliminate having the ACA present a contentious issue as an election cudgel (for either side) in future elections.

Needless to say, once this threat is totally removed, there will be little, if any, reason for lawmakers to support considering a single-payer system, anytime soon, since it would only serve to open up a new can of worms.

Hope to drop back by with a couple of excerpts. Thanks for tonight's excellent edition of News & Blues, Joe!

We're topping 100 again (real feel)! Haven't checked to see if rain is still slated for tomorrow, but since the temp was projected to drop by 8 degrees, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Have a nice evening, Everyone--stay cool!


[Edited: Added asterik.]


“I believe in the redemptive powers of a dog’s love. It is in recognition of each dog’s potential to lift the human spirit and therefore– to change society for the better, that I fight to make sure every street dog has its day.”
--Stasha Wong, Secretary, Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD)

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."--Lao Tzu

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures--they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive."--Gilda Radner

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."--Old English Proverb

Schumer and the Democratic Party Leadership*
Dem Party Leaders Mimic Keystone Cops

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

heh, perhaps i'm just feeling grumpier than usual, but the prospect of a bipartisan "solution" to the healthcare mess from this government fills me with dread. i realize that there is unlikely to be anything good to happen, but the rethugs and the dems aligning on this issue is likely to provide the worst outcome possible, given that obamacare was a rethug program that the democrats thought was great stuff.

it's been mercifully cool here for the past couple of days, only getting up into the high seventies at the peak of the day's heat. the last couple of nights have been in the 60's. woohoo!!! we're supposed to get deluged with rain this weekend, though.

also, i saw the first monarch butterfly of summer in ms shikspack's garden this afternoon. yay!

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack @joe shikspack

weather. Sounds like our weather for a couple days, about a week ago.

Admittedly, I can't identify Butterflies by type--only by color! Biggrin But, I've seen more of them than usual for the past two summers, as hot and miserable as the weather's been. Always makes my day to see one--saw a small yellow one last Sunday.

I'll have a third transcript (excerpt) to post of Bernie talking about a state-based 'public option' offering in the ACA Exchange. He was on CNN again this evening, but there's lag time--usually the next day--before transcripts become available. He also mentioned that he's 'loosely' talking to McCain and Graham--whatever that means.

(He was asked this question very directly, and answered hesitantly. Maybe I can find the video.)

Meant to mention--today is Milk Chocolate Day! (For real.)

Here you go,

National Milk Chocolate Day

[Edited: Fixed link.]


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

snoopydawg's picture

One of his legislation ideas that would hurt mainstream Americans, Schumer said that he was willing to work with him.
Schumer, Pelosi and the rest of the democrats aren't even bothering to try to hide the fact that there is one party in congress and that they are in agreement with whatever the republicans want to do.
Obama let the republicans take the blame for not allowing his legislation to go forward, yet again when the democrats should be going against everything that the republicans and Trump want to do, the complicit democrats are willing to work with them.
As more time goes by, we see the real damage that Obama did during his tenure. The upcoming war with Russia could actually be the last war that the human race starts. Obama and his neocon buddies think that they can survive nuclear war against Russia. The plan is to hit Russia with mini nukes or even regular nukes and wipe out Russia before they have a chance to fight back. They can't be dumb enough to not remember that Russia has nuclear weapons on its submarines that could wipe out Europe and this country.

The budget that is going to come out is going to wipe out what's left of the middle class and demolish the poor, elderly and disabled people.

Gawd there has to be some way to get their plan to backfire and take out the rich instead.

@Unabashed Liberal

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Unabashed Liberal's picture


a neighborhood ATM, will see you Guys at EB, later.

BTW, hope that you were able to get your pain med script(s) filled or refilled. I'm one who believes that Dems have miserably mishandled the entire issue.

(IMO, it didn't help that WJC nullified Social Security disability benefits for addicts in 1997. I'm going to work something about that into a 'sig line' soon. It is beyond hideous that no one ever brings this up when discussing the current-day opioid/heroin crisis.)

If we have a Photo OT this evening, I'll be posting a couple of photos from Puebla (Mexico), if I can get back in early enough. See ya!


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."--Lao Tzu

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures--they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive."--Gilda Radner

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

Big Al's picture

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Big Al

Sanders - yea"



They are all literally in on the big lie.

Some useful details:

The vote was taken on:

Amendment Number: S.Amdt. 232 to S. 722 (Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017)
Statement of Purpose: To impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation and to combat terrorism and illicit financing.

Only Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lee of Utah voted Nay; and Van Hollen of Maryland didn't vote.

The Senate website's degree of obfuscation in the name of so-called "order" rivals that of the Senate itself, of course.....


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"US govt/military = bad. Russian govt/military = bad. Any politician wanting power = bad. Anyone wielding power = bad." --Shahryar

"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

joe shikspack's picture

@Big Al

pretty much what i would have expected from sanders. he's just as bad as the rest of them on foreign policy issues.

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snoopydawg's picture

on this bill. Let's see how the kosbots spin her vote. I'm going with they won't even cover this at all.
Too busy writing diaries on the latest twiitler outrage or the Mueller investigation.
Gack!! @Big Al

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

enhydra lutris's picture

either. If those trophy hunters wanted some "sport", they'd go after an adult tiger on its home turf with only a four inch pocket knife. After all, the tiger ain't packing.

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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 --

Unabashed Liberal's picture

'canned hunts.' (The EB news roundup is so extensive, I sometimes inadvertently miss an article that would be of great interest to me.)

Absolutely sickening! I can't believe that this type of so-called 'hunting' is legal. I hope that wild life advocacy groups will step up their efforts to raise public consciousness regarding this disgusting practice. This is the first that I've heard of this--meaning, actually trapping animals in fenced areas before a hunt.


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."--Lao Tzu

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures--they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive."--Gilda Radner

0 users have voted.

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

Unabashed Liberal's picture

this evening, hope your doctor's appointment went well, and that you were able to get your pain meds refilled.

Have a good one!


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."--Lao Tzu

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures--they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive."--Gilda Radner

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."--Old English Proverb

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

Unabashed Liberal's picture

negotiation--thanks to John McCain. (Murkowski and Collins also voted 'Nay.')

Afterwards, Schumer stated that he's interested in the Collins-Cassidy Bill.

That is incredible--the bill would allow states to individually determine whether they want to keep ObamaCare!

From Vox,

Two Republican senators are pitching an Affordable Care Act replacement that they hope will appeal to the law’s supporters.

States that like Obamacare, they argue, should get to keep it.

Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) held a press conference Monday to roll out the Patient Freedom Act. They propose giving states three options: Keep Obamacare, switch to a different insurance expansion, or go forward with no coverage expansion at all.

“California and New York, you like Obamacare, you should keep it,” Cassidy said at the press conference. “It’s not for us to dictate.” . . .

Not to sound like a broken record, but if a bipartisan 'deal' is reached, I can't imagine that there will be a 'snowball's chance in hell' that a single-payer system with come to fruition--in my lifetime, anyway. The problem with Dems' negotiations is that they always turn out to be more--not less--conservative.

BTW, I didn't quite catch what McConnell said about the vote that Repubs set up Dems to take on a Medicare-For-All Bill, which was offered by Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines. I'll post the vote tomorrow, if I can find it.


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