The Evening Blues - 7-5-17


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Big Bill Broonzy

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features country blues singer and guitarist Big Bill Broonzy. Enjoy!

Big Bill Broonzy - Hey Hey

"If you’re worried that Trump is taking this country down some horrible uncharted path – leading us into the great unknown of orange demise – you can worry no longer! In some ways Trump is boldly and predictably behaving exactly like many, if not most, former presidents. I’m speaking specifically about lying us into war.

So I’m saying – Have no fear that Trump is unpredictable; his reasons for shooting explosive devices into foreign lands are AS false as those of so many American leaders before him. He is following a grand tradition of lying to the American citizenry in order to gain their ill-informed yet blisteringly enthusiastic support for blowing up other nations (or rather bits of other nations – but usually the important bits). So if you’re looking for the comfort and security of routine, you have found it."

-- Lee Camp

News and Opinion

Tony Blair should be prosecuted over Iraq war, high court hears

The Chilcot inquiry’s conclusion that the invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and undermined the United Nations requires the prosecution of Tony Blair, the high court has heard. In his opening argument calling for a war crimes trial in Britain, Michael Mansfield QC said that the offence of waging an aggressive war has effectively been assimilated into English law.

The attempt to bring Blair – with the former foreign secretary Jack Straw and the former attorney general Lord Goldsmith – to court has been launched by the former Iraqi general Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat. Rabbat, said Mansfield, was motivated by last year’s publication of the report of the Chilcot inquiry into the 2003 Iraq war.

Mansfield summarised the report’s findings as: “Saddam Hussein did not pose an urgent threat to the UK, intelligence reporting about [Iraqi] weapons of mass destruction was presented with unwarranted certainty, that the war was unnecessary and that the UK undermined the authority of the UN security council.”

“Nothing could be more emphatic than these findings,” he said. “It was an unlawful war.”

Tony Blair should be prosecuted for Iraq War, high court hears

Canada to compensate ex-Guantanamo inmate, opposition furious

Canada's Liberal government will apologize to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr and pay him around C$10 million ($7.7 million) in compensation, two sources close to the matter said on Tuesday, prompting opposition protests. A Canadian citizen, Khadr was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 at age 15 after a firefight with U.S. soldiers. He pleaded guilty to killing a U.S. Army medic and became the youngest inmate held at the military prison in Cuba.

Khadr later recanted and his lawyers said he had been grossly mistreated. In 2010, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Canada breached his rights by sending intelligence agents to interrogate him and sharing the results with the United States. The case proved divisive: defenders called Khadr a child soldier while the then-Conservative government dismissed calls to seek leniency, noting he had pleaded guilty to a serious crime.

"Meet Canada's newest multi-millionaire – Omar Khadr," said the Conservatives as they unveiled a protest petition. Tony Clement, the Conservative Party's public safety spokesman, said "it is one thing to acknowledge alleged mistreatment, but it is wrong to lavishly reward a convicted terrorist who murdered an allied soldier who had a wife and two children".

Khadr spent a decade in Guantanamo before being returned to Canada in 2012 to serve the rest of his sentence. He was released on bail in 2015 and lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

Widow goes after money Canada will give ex-Gitmo prisoner

The lawyer for the widow of an American soldier killed in Afghanistan said Tuesday they have filed an application so that any money paid by the Canadian government to a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner convicted of killing him will go toward the widow and another U.S. soldier injured.

Lawyer Don Winder made the comments as a decision by the Canadian government to apologize and give millions of dollars to Omar Khadr came under mounting criticism.

An official familiar with the deal said Tuesday that Khadr will receive 10.5 million Canadian dollars (US$8 million). The official was not authorized to discuss the deal publicly before the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity. The government and Khadr's lawyers negotiated the deal last month.

The Canadian-born Khadr was 15 when he was captured by U.S. troops following a firefight at a suspected al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of an American special forces medic, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer and injury of Sgt. Layne Morris, who lost an eye. Khadr, who was suspected of throwing the grenade that killed Speer, was taken to Guantanamo and ultimately charged with war crimes by a military commission. ...

The widow of Speer and Morris filed a wrongful death and injury lawsuit against Khadr in 2014 fearing Khadr might get his hands on money from his $20 million wrongful imprisonment lawsuit.

Will Trump Seek Talks with North Korea or Counter Missile Test with More U.S. Military Aggression?

Experts: North Korea’s missile was a ‘real ICBM’ — and a grave milestone

The North Korean missile that soared high above the Sea of Japan on Tuesday was hailed by state-run television as a “shining success.” But to U.S. officials, it was a most unwelcome surprise: a weapon with intercontinental range, delivered years before most Western experts believed such a feat possible.

Hours after the apparently successful test, intelligence agencies continued to run calculations to determine precisely how the missile, dubbed the Hwasong-14, performed in its maiden flight. But the consensus among missile experts was that North Korea had achieved a long-sought milestone, demonstrating a capability of striking targets thousands of miles from its coast. ...

If flown in a more typical trajectory, the missile would have easily traveled 4,000 miles, potentially putting all of Alaska within its range, according to former government officials and independent analysts. A missile that exceeds a range of 3,400 miles is classified as an ICBM. “This is a big deal: It’s an ICBM, not a ‘kind of’ ICBM,’ ” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “And there’s no reason to think that this is going to be the maximum range.” ...

North Korea’s apparent accomplishment puts it well ahead of schedule in its years-long quest to develop a true ICBM. The Hwasong-14 tested Tuesday could not have reached the U.S. mainland, analysts say, and there’s no evidence to date that North Korea is capable of building a miniaturized nuclear warhead to fit on one of its longer-range missiles. But there is now little reason to doubt that both are within North Korea’s grasp, weapons experts say.

North Korea missile test new world threat, says US amid show of force

The US has ramped up pressure on North Korea after Tuesday’s successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, making a show of force off the Korean peninsula and warning that any country harbouring North Korean workers was abetting Kim Jong-un’s regime.

Officials in Seoul said the US-South Korean live-fire ballistic missile exercise early on Wednesday was intended as a warning to Pyongyang.

The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, said it would demonstrate the allies’ determination to counter North Korean provocations with deeds and not just words of condemnation. “We need to clearly show our missile defence readiness to North Korea,” the presidential Blue House said in a statement. ...

Kim Jong-un delivered his own message on Wednesday, with the state Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoting him as saying: “American bastards would be not very happy with this gift sent on the July 4 anniversary.” ...

Kim was quoted as saying the North’s long confrontation with Washington had entered the “final stage” and that Pyongyang would not put its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles up for negotiation “unless the US hostile policy and nuclear threats come to an end completely”.

Pentagon withholding nuclear weapons inspection results

The Pentagon has started withholding the results of inspections of its nuclear weapons operations, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Overall inspection results, such as "pass-fail" grades, at the country's nuclear weapons facilities were previously made public. But the Pentagon told the AP that by ending such disclosures, it's hoping to withhold key information about the U.S. nuclear arsenal from the country's adversaries.

U.S. nuclear weapons operations have faced a bevy of embarrassing failings and shortcomings in past year stemming from security blunders, substandard performance, insufficient funding and poor leadership.

The Price of America’s Endless Wars

Several veterans of U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have written persuasive memoirs about the wastefulness of their deployments, accusing commanders of sending them on futile missions. Major Daniel Sjursen, writing for Tom Dispatch, describes the ostensible reasons for the entire U.S. war in Afghanistan as fantasies. He argues that U.S. generals gained promotions and notoriety for strategic proposals designed to win what they knew was an unwinnable war. He describes the squandering of soldiers’ lives to secure villages that had been largely abandoned, and the pointlessness of paying high-tech military contractors billions for weapons useless against homemade enemy bombs:

“That’s right, the local ‘Taliban’ — a term so nebulous it’s basically lost all meaning — had managed to drastically alter U.S. Army tactics with crude, homemade explosives stored in plastic jugs. And believe me, this was a huge problem. Cheap, ubiquitous, and easy to bury, those anti-personnel Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, soon littered the ‘roads,’ footpaths, and farmland surrounding our isolated outpost. To a greater extent than a number of commanders willingly admitted, the enemy had managed to nullify our many technological advantages for a few pennies on the dollar (or maybe, since we’re talking about the Pentagon, it was pennies on the millions of dollars).”

In a spate of recent articles, Sjursen and other veterans of U.S. war in Afghanistan have shredded each of the various rationales U.S. generals and pro-war think tanks have given to defend the wreckage and ruin the U.S. has caused during 16 years of “generational war” in Afghanistan, throughout which U.S. people have been told that the war protects Afghans from the Taliban. War profiteers and self-marketing politicians have no interest in helping U.S. people understand that war itself is a tyrant, that the sound of nearby gunfire or a drone attack is as much of an order to flee one’s home as any command from a Taliban warlord. Children displaced by war, living in the relative safety of Kabul’s refugee camps find scant protection from hunger, disease, and the harshest winters, while mothers repeatedly tell us that if it weren’t for the children bringing scraps of food scavenged at the market place and working as child laborers in the streets, the families would starve. When will the U.S. end, when will it depose, this war that it has made into a ruler of Afghanistan? ...

U.S. politicians endlessly promise us humanitarian wars meant to create stable, democratic regimes wherever our bombs level buildings, reservoirs and electricity plants, dismembering whole economies and countless civilian bodies, creating endless reservoirs of panic and rage and grief from which democracy might grow. ... War has its own agenda and remains the worst of many dark outcomes for Afghanistan until the U.S. resolves to contribute nothing more to the region but the plentiful reparations it will owe once its pointless war is surrendered, and its troops have gone home.

Slow learners infest the US Senate:

US still has no path to peace in Afghanistan, bipartisan senators say

After more than 15 years in Afghanistan the US still does not have a strategy for winning peace and is making that goal even more unattainable by hampering diplomacy, a bipartisan group of US senators said in the Afghan capital on Tuesday. The criticism came as the Trump administration considers the deployment of thousands of additional soldiers, without publicly explaining what they are meant to achieve.

In Kabul, the Republican senator John McCain excoriated 15 years of US efforts in Afghanistan, which, he said, pursued a goal amounting to “don’t lose”, rather than winning. McCain – accompanied by the Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse, and fellow Republicans Lindsey Graham and David Perdue – said the delegation shared concerns about the worsened security in Afghanistan since the drawdown of coalition troops in 2014.

“Each of us may describe that concern in our own way but none of us would say that we’re on course to a success here in Afghanistan,” he said. Warren added that without a clear plan, political patience in the US could run out. “We need a strategy in the United States that defines our role in Afghanistan, defines our objective and explains how we’re going to get from here to there,” she said.

Russia-China Tandem Shifts Global Power

Whether or not Official Washington fully appreciates the gradual – but profound – change in America’s triangular relationship with Russia and China over recent decades, what is clear is that the U.S. has made itself into the big loser.

Gone are the days when Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger skillfully took advantage of the Sino-Soviet rivalry and played the two countries off against each other, extracting concessions from each. Slowly but surely, the strategic equation has markedly changed – and the Sino-Russian rapprochement signals a tectonic shift to Washington’s distinct detriment, a change largely due to U.S. actions that have pushed the two countries closer together. But there is little sign that today’s U.S. policymakers have enough experience and intelligence to recognize this new reality and understand the important implications for U.S. freedom of action. Still less are they likely to appreciate how this new nexus may play out on the ground, on the sea or in the air.

Instead, the Trump administration – following along the same lines as the Bush-43 and Obama administrations – is behaving with arrogance and a sense of entitlement, firing missiles into Syria and shooting down Syrian planes, blustering over Ukraine, and dispatching naval forces to the waters near China. But consider this: it may soon be possible to foresee a Chinese challenge to “U.S. interests” in the South China Sea or even the Taiwan Strait in tandem with a U.S.-Russian clash in the skies over Syria or a showdown in Ukraine.

A lack of experience or intelligence, though, may be too generous an interpretation. More likely, Washington’s behavior stems from a mix of the customary, naïve exceptionalism and the enduring power of the U.S. arms lobby, the Pentagon, and the other deep-state actors – all determined to thwart any lessening of tensions with either Russia or China. After all, stirring up fear of Russia and China is a tried-and-true method for ensuring that the next aircraft carrier or other pricey weapons system gets built.

US Secretary of State says 'Syria's fate is in Russian hands now'

The US Secretary of State has reportedly told the United Nations Secretary General that he thinks the fate of Syria and its leader is now up to Russia. Rex Tillerson held a private meeting with Antonio Guterres at the State Department when he said the US was limiting its mission to defeating terror group Isis, according to Foreign Policy.

Citing three diplomatic sources with knowledge of the exchange, Mr Tillerson said that though the US is committed to the 2012 Geneva Process that stated it, Russia, and other western countries would put a transition government in place, the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be in Russia's purview.

The US has "limited tactical goals–deterring future chemical weapons attacks and protecting U.S. backed-forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria–not weakening the Assad government or strengthening the opposition’s negotiating leverage".

Israel seizes solar panels donated to Palestinians by Dutch government

The Netherlands has lodged a complaint with the Israeli government after dozens of Dutch solar panels donated to a West Bank village were confiscated by Israeli authorities.

The hybrid diesel and solar power electricity system was installed last year in remote Jubbet al-Dhib, a village home to 150 people in an area of the West Bank occupied by Israel.

The panels were not built with proper permits and permissions, the authorities said, confiscating equipment belonging to the £307,000 humanitarian project last week.

Critics points out that building permissions for new Palestinian homes and infrastructure are almost impossible to obtain.

Qatar economic outlook downgraded hours before crunch Gulf meeting

Ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded Qatar’s economic outlook as political uncertainty swirled ahead of a crunch meeting between Arab nations on Wednesday in Cairo. A quartet of Arab nations said early on Wednesday it had received Qatar’s response to its demands for ending a diplomatic crisis gripping the Persian Gulf. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates said only that they would respond “in a timely manner”. ...

What Qatar said in response to the demands remains unclear. It already had called the demands, which include shutting down its al-Jazeera satellite news network, expelling Turkish military forces based in the country and paying restitution, as an affront to its sovereignty.

The crisis has become a global concern because neither side appears to be backing down. Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, hosts some 10,000 American troops at its sprawling al-Udeid air base. US secretary of state Rex Tillerson has been trying to ease tensions, while President Donald Trump’s comments on Qatar funding extremist groups back the Saudi-led countries’ position. ...

Some Arab media outlets have suggested a military confrontation or a change of leadership in Qatar could be in the offing, but officials have said those options are not on the table. ...

Though Qatar Airways’ routes over its neighbours have been cut, along with the country’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia, the country has been able to source food from other countries. Its economy, fuelled by its natural gas exports, continues to hum along though there has been pressure on its stock market and currency.

Hamburg braced for huge, violent protests in run-up to G20 summit

Hamburg is bracing itself for an escalation of violence on the eve of Friday and Saturday’s G20 summit after a fleet of hi-tech water cannons was used to disperse crowds partying near the conference venue, and police warned that protesters could be hoarding weapons at secret locations across the city.

Authorities in Germany’s second-largest city are preparing for the arrival of an unprecedented lineup of controversial world leaders including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as thousands of international protesters ranging from anti-capitalist activists to middle-class families keen to voice dissent.

Police say they expect a core of about 5,000 violent protesters to gather in the city’s historic port area for a “Welcome to Hell” march just as world leaders and international delegates start arriving at Hamburg airport on Thursday afternoon.

The Hamburg police chief, Ralf Martin Meyer, expressed concerns that the city would see “not just sit-in protests but massive assaults”, as anarchists from Scandinavia, Switzerland and Italy joined up with local activists in a city with a long tradition of leftwing protest and annual May Day riots.

Hackers who targeted Ukraine clean out bitcoin ransom wallet

The hackers behind the NotPetya ransomware, which wiped computers in more than 60 countries in late June, have moved more than £8,000 worth of bitcoins out of the account used to receive the ransoms. The transfer has added credence to messages purporting to be from the attackers offering to decrypt every single infected computer for a one-off payment of £200,000, after security researchers suggested they may be state-sponsored actors.

It is possible to see the movement of the ransom payments thanks to the public nature of the bitcoin currency: all transfers are recorded on the public blockchain, although the real-world identities of the individuals or organisations behind a particular payment address can be near-impossible to discern.

The £200,000 offer has created more uncertainty about the motivations behind the ransomware. While it originally appeared to be created with the intention of earning a lot of money through ransom payments, researchers quickly pointed out that a number of features of the software made it appear that the ransom element was a smokescreen, with the real goal being widespread damage.

Why Wall Street Should Be Viewed as a Major National Threat

The day before the 4th of July, when most Americans were hustling about preparing for family barbecues, the New York Times finally decided to publish an editorial warning about Wall Street’s potential threat to the nation. Unfortunately, it did so with the kind of timidity we see regularly from cowed or compromised Wall Street banking regulators. The editorial writers noted that: “It’s entirely possible that the system is more fragile than the Fed’s stress tests indicate,” and they called for “heightened vigilance of derivatives in particular” without providing any detailed data.

A more accurate assessment of the situation would have been this: There is only one industry in the United States that has twice in a period of less than 100 years brought about a devastating economic crisis in the country. Wild speculation coupled with poor regulation of mega Wall Street banks brought about the Great Depression in the 1930s, leading to massive job losses, bank failures, poverty and economic misery for tens of millions of innocent Americans. The precise same combination of wild speculation and crony regulators created the Wall Street crash of 2008, throwing millions of Americans into unemployment and foreclosure while creating obscene bailouts and bonuses for bankers, and leaving the U.S. with such a low economic growth rate to this day that many Americans feel they are still living in the Great Recession.

If a foreign country did this kind of damage to the U.S. economy with a military weapon, that country would have been reduced to bombed-out, smoldering ruins by now. But despite research coming directly from our own Federal government illustrating that Wall Street’s threat to the nation is more dangerous than ever, both the Obama and Trump administrations appointed Wall Street’s own former lawyers as regulators and allowed the derivatives bomb to re-arm itself and point directly at the heart of the nation’s economy.

the horse race

One wonders why there was a need to make up fake stories, when there are so many true stories that make Hillary look like crap.

Investigators explore if Russia colluded with pro-Trump sites during US election

The spread of Russian-made fake news stories aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton on social media is emerging as an important line of inquiry in multiple investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Investigators are looking into whether Trump supporters and far-right websites coordinated with Moscow over the release of fake news, including stories implicating Clinton in murder or paedophilia, or paid to boost those stories on Facebook.

The head of the Trump digital camp, Brad Parscale, has reportedly been summoned to appear before the House intelligence committee looking into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee carrying out a parallel inquiry, has said that at least 1,000 “paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia” were pumping anti-Clinton fake news into social media sites during the campaign.

Warner said there was evidence that this campaign appeared to be focused on key voters in swing states, raising the question over whether there was coordination with US political operatives in directing the flow of bogus stories.

Progressives Explain Why Centrist Tech Billionaires Won't Save the Democrats

In a move already being denounced by progressives as "tone-deaf" and "literally the stupidest f------ idea" ever, tech billionaires Mark Pincus and Reid Hoffman have launched an initiative titled Win the Future (WTF) with the goal of bringing the Democratic Party back from the political wilderness. Recode's Tony Romm first reported on the billionaires' plans and lofty objectives, which include pushing Democrats to "rewire their philosophical core" and recruiting candidates to challenge Democratic incumbents. The recruits, according to Romm, will be called "WTF Democrats."

The tech moguls have "contributed $500,000 to their still-evolving project" so far, Romm notes, and they have been "aided by Jeffrey Katzenberg, a major Democratic donor and former chairman of Disney, as well as venture capitalists Fred Wilson and Sunil Paul." Pincus, the co-founder of Zynga, signaled that the WTF platform will be "pro-social [and] pro-planet, but also pro-business and pro-economy."

"I'm fearful the Democratic Party is already moving too far to the left," Pincus said. "I want to push the Democratic Party to be more in touch with mainstream America, and on some issues, that's more left, and on some issues it might be more right." Progressives reacted to the project—and to the comments of its founders—with a combination of scorn and dismay, portraying the effort as just the latest in a series of misguided attempts to push the Democratic Party rightward. If the self-interested elites behind "Win the Future" want to be helpful, say critics, they should go save the Republican Party instead.

#CNNBlackmail: CNN Commits Felonies, Challenges 4Chan To A Meme War

CNN’s investigative team KFILE (who CNN hired last year from “Which Powerpuff Girl Are You?” novelty clickbait site Buzzfeed) located the Reddit troll who claimed to have made the heinous infuriating worse-than-genocide Trump wrestling video clip.

Upon being found out by CNN’s crack team of sleuths (who for all their free time cannot be bothered to investigate the water in Flint, why the government keeps killing any movement toward economic justice, Saudi war crimes, the gaping plot holes in Russiagate, or what the fuck is actually happening in Syria), the Reddit troll posted an apology and deleted his post, saying he feared public retaliation. In a stunning “kiss my ring or I’ll break your thumbs” Mafia-style exhibition of dominance, CNN wrote that they would not be publishing the troll’s identity since he posted an apology for the offending anti-CNN video, that he “showed remorse” and “said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again”, but added that CNN “reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”

That’s right, the multibillion dollar media giant CNN blackmailed a garden variety internet troll into obedience by threatening to dox him. ...

Needless to say, this has been taken as a direct challenge by the pro-Trump online troll army, which is legion. GIFs depicting The Donald beating up CNN are now plastered throughout all of social media, and show no sign of relenting. Troll capitol of the internet 4chan’s political subforum /pol/ has made it known that it considers CNN’s behavior a declaration of meme war, so that will continue to get interesting.

the evening greens

G20 public finance for fossil fuels 'is four times more than renewables'

The G20 nations provide four times more public financing to fossil fuels than to renewable energy, a report has revealed ahead of their summit in Hamburg, where Angela Merkel has said climate change will be at the heart of the agenda. The authors of the report accuse the G20 of “talking out of both sides of their mouths” and the summit faces the challenge of a sceptical US administration after Donald Trump pulled out of the global Paris agreement.

The public finance comes in the form of soft loans and guarantees from governments, and, along with huge fossil fuel subsidies, makes coal, oil and gas plants cheaper and locks in carbon emissions for decades to come. But scientists calculate that to keep global warming below 2C, most fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground, requiring a major shift of investment to clean energy.

The new report by a coalition of NGOs found that the G20 countries provided an average of $71.8bn of public finance for fossil-fuel projects per year between 2013-2015, compared with just $18.7bn for renewable energy. Japan provided the most at $16.5bn per year, which was six times more than it allotted for renewables. ...

“When the G20 countries committed to the Paris agreement, they made a pact with the world that they would take meaningful steps to reduce their carbon emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis,” said Nicole Ghio of the Sierra Club, one of the groups that compiled the report. “But as we now know, these countries have been talking out of both sides of their mouths. It’s unconscionable that any nation would continue to waste public funds on fossil fuels when clean energy sources are readily available [and] more cost-effective and healthier for families and communities across the globe.”

Grandson of Former VP Henry A. Wallace on Standing Rock's Fossil-Free Future & American Fascism

Also of Interest

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

Lee Camp: Have No Fear – Trump Is Lying Us Into War Just Like All The Presidents Before Him

For the US and Its Allies, the Road to Tehran Runs Through Damascus and Southern Lebanon

‘Democracy is Broken’: US Federal Courts Powerless Over Civilian Drone Deaths

The ‘Forgotten’ US Shootdown of Iranian Airliner Flight 655

The Useful Idiots Who Undermine Dissent on Syria

America Celebrates Lateral Transition From Monarchy To Corporatist Oligarchy

The Democratic Party’s Deadly Dead-End

Why do we think poor people are poor because of their own bad choices?

How to hike the Grand Canyon

Why Roman concrete still stands strong while modern version decays

A Little Night Music

Big Bill Broonzy - Black, Brown and White

Big Bill Broonzy - Keep Your Hands Off Her

Big Bill Broonzy - Guitar Shuffle

Big Bill Broonzy - Getting Older Every Day

Big Bill Broonzy - How You Want It Done

Big Bill Broonzy - Crawdad Song

Big Bill Broonzy - Why did you do that to me

Big Bill Broonzy - Too Too Train Blues

0 users have voted.


So some high tech millionaires think "... the Democratic Party is already moving too far to the left." In what world do these guys live in? Like on what issues? Single payer? It was destroyed in a democratic controlled state. The infamous $15/hr min. wage? Establishment democrats absolutely oppose it witness the mayor of Baltimore vetoing it. Free college tuition? Not in Hillary's lifetime. Is Ro Khanna (D-Silicon Valley) going off the reservation?

These guys want to primary certain democrats. Given what the article said, sounds like they will primary the more progressive law makers. I bet they start with the list of House dems who signed onto HR 676 which institutes single payer.

Only comment on Russia story is that like clock work, something is leaked that keeps it on the front pages. Actually a rehash of an old charge--Putin targeted swing states. Which goes to my point about dems hiring Putin. Putin unlike the dem party leadership, knew the Rust Belt was in play. The most explosive charge will be that Putin placed a mole in Hillary's campaign.

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joe shikspack's picture


the creation of the wtf democrats indicates that the rich folks are still terribly nervous. while they managed to make sure that their lackey (perez) was installed as the dnc chair, it looks like they expect to spend a bunch of money to maintain control of the party. i suspect that they will be able to maintain their control, but maybe, just maybe enough people will jump ship this time to end their fantasy.

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@joe shikspack This could be the action which drives many away from the party. Up to this point, the pressure was building on medicare for all at very visible town hall meetings where many a democrat was showed up for being full of right wing shit.

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joe shikspack's picture


the question at this point really is, will people get caught up in the dead end of party reform or will they finally pack their bags and move on?

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@joe shikspack You may be right, the Dem establishment might be getting nervous. They are joining forces with Morton Kondracke. He was on C-SPAN this morning promoting Third Way and its sister centrist organization. I remember seeing Mort on tv panels during the Clinton years singing the right wing song. What brought about this change?

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It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. Carl Sagan

GreatLakeSailor's picture

The DCCC actually floated this:
What the actual fuck?

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Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor.

joe shikspack's picture


heh, they are pretending that it is possible to distinguish between democrats and "the other guys?" pfffffftttt!!!

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GreatLakeSailor's picture

@joe shikspack

I'll "prove" it:

Nea Fool

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Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor.

SparkyGump's picture

My first overriding reaction is there actually is an astroturf group called WTF Democrats! Unbelievable. Third Way not working with the focus groups anymore? If those awesome patriotic billionaires actually wanted to help, all they'd have to do is give it to Bernie. But that's not their goal, is it?

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The real SparkyGump has passed. It was an honor being your human.

@SparkyGump that WTF part anyway....lovely irony there.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

joe shikspack's picture


it does seem like a near-perfect name, it just requires a ? for punctuation. Smile

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enhydra lutris's picture

an invading army is termed "murder". My recollection is that there is a right of resistance and that it is perpetual. Invading and occupying troops are legitimate targets, forever.

I'm surprised that the Dutch didn't expect that. Anything that would in any way ease the burdens of life for the Palestinians is sure to be destroyed, or, if possibly of use to the Israelis, seized. How can they not have anticipated that?

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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 --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

apparently, not only history is written by the victors, but also law.

and, of course, the law is circumstantial, hence the nuremberg law doesn't apply to tony bliar or dubya.

i would imagine that neither the dutch, nor the palestinians were surprised by israel's barbaric behavior. presumably, there is nothing to be done about it. i doubt that the dutch will make a principled stand over this.

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mimi's picture

your EB from today. But I just got notice about this video, which might interest you. German/French TV channel ARTE has this video up:
Meeting Snowden .
Haven't watched it yet. It has English subtitles, though the narrative is in French, I thought I point it out to you. May be some might enjoy it when they have some quiet time to watch it. It's 48 minutes logn.

Onwards to reading. And thanks as always for the EB article collection. Always appreciated. I am so behind in reading. Seufz.

Good Night.

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joe shikspack's picture


thanks! that's an awesome film. it's an excellent conversation.

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lotlizard's picture

Basically, by using the stem of a German verb as if it were onomatopoeia (words that imitate sound like “meow” or “thud”), Dr. Erika Fuchs invented a new grammatical form, which in German grammar is often jocularly referred to as the “Erikativ,” in her honor.

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mimi's picture

in the links, is truly not a comment anybody would have to "duck" down for. That's a wonderful lecture. My brain is less "verkaest" und much less "verdunstet" thanks to you. Very amusing read.

I always enjoy your comments and links. I think you are a fuchsian erikativ-ist. Lovely, only on an American blog, right?

Give rose

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lotlizard's picture

Also: FaceBook is evil, but for those who consider it a necessary evil in their lives, the Erika Fuchs Museum operates an FB channel with many amusing vintage Donald Duck illustrations as examples, with the original American English and Erika’s German translations side by side:

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Because the damn Ruskies were planting all those mean stories about the actual things Her did. What choice they have but to hire their own army of trolls to shutdown the conversation?


Also, the CNN thing...ugh. Nice to know my cynicism hasn't gotten so great that I can still be offended by something like that.

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Idolizing a politician is like believing the stripper really likes you.

joe shikspack's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

i find that my cynicism can't possibly keep up with reality, but my sense of offense has no problem with that. Smile

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snoopydawg's picture

This is absurd.

"It is one thing to acknowledge alleged mistreatment, but it is wrong to lavishly reward a convicted terrorist who murdered an allied soldier who had a wife and two children".

The guy should have read Smedley Butler's book before he joined the military.

Or listened to Kissinger who had a high regard for the troops he sent to war.


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I feel like I’m riding in the backseat of a '66 Thunderbird with Thelma at the wheel and Louise riding shotgun whilst heading towards a cliff.

joe shikspack's picture


we live in absurd times. i'm sure that if tables were turned and the aggrieved widow's husband had murdered the teenager, she would be equally vocal about how awful things sometimes happen in war, but her husband was somehow blameless.

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thanatokephaloides's picture


"It is one thing to acknowledge alleged mistreatment, but it is wrong to lavishly reward a convicted terrorist who murdered an allied soldier who had a wife and two children".

The guy should have read Smedley Butler's book before he joined the military.

And he sure as fuck should have read it before deciding to being children into the world!

If the military is your best career choice, you really should not breed. Children need their parents, and they need them whole, thank you.

And war is still not healthy for children and other living things!


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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


good to see you, i hope all is going well.

wow, that sounds like one hot mess! i haven't been following the evergreen college story, but if that former administrator's rendition of things is true, i can't imagine how that school can continue to function when there is no accepted basis for respect among people there.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

LeChienHarry's picture

How did the then 15 y/o supposed child soldier get to Afganistan? I kept wondering during my reading 'how does a mid teen get to a war zone?' Other, older idealists, go of their own free will.

For me it's like juvenile detention, if he ever really participated. His record, especially after being captive of the US, should have been punishment enough, if it didn't turn him against the US.

That he's living in Alberta, the plains of Canada, should indicate a quiet life. My goodness, how old is he now? Mid twenties?

What a mess. I'm with the group talking about setting up a commune with enough resources for self sufficiency.

I already recommended:
founder of Territorial Seeds

But might look at how people lived before oil and NG:

As we look around at how people live especially in the areas out side of villages and towns, we feel in a month or two, the country could be pretty self sufficient.

Macron is the Ronald Reagan of France. I read his platform which is much more nuanced than being presented, and find it more mixed than black and white. People are against austerity, privatization and corporate ownership of ag practices.

Many initiatives were announced this week but I need time to slow read French to understand what they might mean. Example: the thousands of civilians removed from civil service is a broad statement. In the platform, it states they will be redeployed, and more teachers will be incentivized to teach in rural areas. Also willing to keep schools open with classes under 12 in number. This means many rural locations will keep their small school houses, which under Sarkozy and Hollande were being closed and consolidated.

I must finish reading the platform, which is long and complex (the leader of the party must follow the platform, or become a lame duck.) I also need to understand what is being proposed this week. It's the agenda for the next while.

I'll be watching for the French moves on Global Climate Change.

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joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the info on macron's program. i'd be interested in hearing more once you've had time to digest it. here in the us, there is virtually no coverage of it and my high school french lessons have pretty much worn off. Smile

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