The Evening Blues - 7-5-24


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Byther Smith

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues guitarist Byther Smith. Enjoy!

Byther Smith - Look Over Your Shoulder

"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom."

-- William Blake

News and Opinion

This Civilization Is Deeply Unnatural

There is nothing natural about this. The way things are. The way we are living. If this was the natural and healthy way for human society to exist, it wouldn’t require mountains of propaganda spin to keep it going.

Without copious amounts of mental narratives being fed to us by people in power, it would never occur to anyone that it’s a good or normal idea to commit to wars of aggression on the other side of the planet, or to back genocides, or to militarize globally with hundreds of military outposts around the world, or to foster systems which allow a few people to have far too much while others have far too little, or to destroy the biosphere we depend on for survival for the sake of shareholder profits. It would never occur to us to accept these things if we weren’t living our lives saturated in a nonstop barrage of narratives explaining that we should accept them.

We live like this throughout our entire lives. Through mass-scale psychological manipulation our minds are twisted into freakish and unnatural shapes to ensure that we will think, speak, act, work, spend and vote in ways we would never otherwise would, all to keep the wheels of this freakish and unnatural dystopia turning. If the powerful did not control the dominant narratives of this civilization, we would be living in a very different world than the one we live in today.

Narrative is how humans tend to get themselves into trouble. The believed thought stories in our minds are what drive us to hate, abuse, harm and kill our fellow humans. They’re what drive us into a state of anxiety even in moments when our bodies are completely safe and all our material needs are being met. They’re what have convinced humans to march out and fight wars and commit atrocities throughout the ages. Most of human suffering ultimately arises from believed thought stories.

But believed thought stories are what shape this civilization. The only reason why power exists where it exists, why nations and their borders exist as they do, why money operates the way that it operates, why laws are written and obeyed, is because we’ve all agreed to believe a bunch of made-up narratives saying that these things are true. Tomorrow Americans could all agree that Taylor Swift is the Dictator Supreme of the United States and that copper pennies are the only form of money with any value, and if enough people believed those narratives, those narratives would become reality.

That’s the power of narrative, and that’s why powerful people pour so much energy into harnessing it. Through the power of narrative, we can be convinced to consent to things as absurd as weapons contractors using their wealth to lobby for wars and militarism, which gives them more wealth that they can then spend on more lobbying. Or working forty hours a week making our boss far more money than we get paid in a company that’s killing our ecosystem just so that we can give our paychecks to some landlord in order to live in a building on the dying planet we were born on, solely because the boss and the landlord happened to luck into owning the company and the building. Or world leaders brandishing armageddon weapons at one another.

This backwards, insane civilization only looks normal to us because it has been deliberately normalized throughout our lives via careful narrative control by the people who benefit from it. Narrative rules our lives.

Without any believed narrative in your head, there’s just peaceful being with what is, and the human animal body tending to its few human animal needs. Add in a bunch of believed narrative and then all of a sudden you’ve got a self, others, desires, agendas, enemies, social standing, goals, inadequacy, stress, a painful past and a frightening future.

It is possible for the human organism to live without believed narratives in the shift in perception commonly known as spiritual enlightenment, and it is possible for humans as a whole to drop the believed narratives that are being imposed on us by the powerful in the same way. And just as enlightenment brings with it the realization that the old way of perceiving was actually an unnatural way of operating, awakening from the dominant narratives of our day will allow us to move into a much more natural way of existing with each other and with our ecosystem on this planet.

You can call this a lofty and unattainable goal if you want, but to me I’m just talking about the one and only adaptation that has any chance of steering our species away from annihilation. Every species hits an adaptation-or-extinction juncture at some point in its existence, and we’re arriving at ours right now. We’ll either transcend our unhealthy relationship with narrative, or we’ll wipe ourselves out via nuclear war or environmental destruction.

Every sign I’m seeing right now suggests we have the ability to go either way.

Israel-Hamas talks to resume, raising hopes of a Gaza ceasefire

Hopes for a ceasefire in Gaza and de-escalation on the boundary between Israel and Lebanon were raised on Friday, as Israel’s intelligence chief was dispatched by the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to Qatar to resume stalled negotiations as Hamas reportedly told its Lebanese ally Hezbollah it had accepted a ceasefire proposal.

An official for the Lebanese group, which said on Thursday that it had fired 200 rockets into Israel in retaliation for a strike that killed one of its top commanders, also told Reuters that the group would cease fire as soon as any Gaza ceasefire agreement takes effect, echoing previous statements.

“If there is a Gaza agreement, then from zero hour there will be a ceasefire in Lebanon,” the official said.

The efforts to negotiate a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages held for nearly nine months gained momentum this week as Hamas put forward a revised proposal outlining the terms of an agreement, and Israel expressed readiness to resume discussions that had previously come to a standstill. ...

The United States appears to hold high expectations regarding the recently resumed contact between Israel and Hamas, with the White House describing the latest Hamas ceasefire proposal as a “breakthrough” establishing a framework for a possible hostage deal.

Israeli Settler Attacks in West Bank Surpass 1,000 Since October 7

A coalition of aid agencies on Friday implored the international community to take concrete, punitive action against the Israeli government and settlers after the number of settler attacks in the occupied West Bank since October 7 surpassed 1,000.

The Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), a group of international organizations working in the occupied Palestinian territories, said in a statement that the rate of settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank has doubled since the same time last year, from an average of two per day to four.

"At least 10 people, including two children, have been killed during these attacks, and at least 234 have been injured, including 20 children. Since 7 October, 1,260 people, including 600 children, have been forcibly displaced amid settler violence and movement restrictions. The displaced households are from 20 herding and Bedouin communities throughout Area C of the West Bank. As one survivor of settler violence explained, 'No place is safe here.'"

"Settler violence is premeditated and orchestrated by organized groups from known outposts and settlements, with the support of Israel's government, including local and regional settlement councils," the group added, noting the limited sanctions that the United States and the European Union have imposed on individual settlers "have failed to reduce the frequency of attacks."

"While a few individuals have been detained, no civilian or soldier has been prosecuted in connection with any of these 1,000 attacks," AIDA said. "Reports indicate that some illegal outpost farms operated by sanctioned settlers—many of whom have been reported to be at the center of multiple violent incidents—have received hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of material support from the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Settlements, the Settlement Administration in the Ministry of Defense, and through local and regional settlement councils."

AIDA urged the international community to "adopt new restrictive measures which go beyond individual settlers to target identified organizations and state entities who promote violence and/or take part in attacks on Palestinian civilians and civilian infrastructure."

The group also argued that the far-right Israeli government "should be held accountable for the repeated and evidence-based allegations that the military and other state authorities are tolerating, enabling, and at times participating in settler violence."

Sitting ducks supporting an insupportable foreign policy.

US Official Says There Are No Plans To Withdraw from Syria

A State Department official has told Rudaw that the US has no plans to withdraw its troops from Syria.

The US has about 900 troops in eastern Syria and backs the Kurdish-led SDF, allowing Washington to control and occupy about one-third of the country’s territory.

The US claims the occupation is about fighting ISIS remnants, but the continued US presence is more about keeping Damascus and its ally Iran out of the area and controlling oil resources. The occupation is also part of the economic campaign against government-controlled Syria, which includes crippling sanctions that are specifically designed to prevent the country’s reconstruction.

Ethan A. Goldrich, assistant deputy secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, said the US wouldn’t leave Syria until its “mission” was completed, referring to the anti-ISIS operations.

Orban Meets Putin, Seeks Peace Terms, EU Horrified, Rus Advances Pokrovsk; Starmer UK PM Dismal Vote

Viktor Orbán visits Vladimir Putin to condemnation from fellow EU leaders

Viktor Orbán, Europe’s most pro-Russian leader, met Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Friday on a rare trip to Russia that drew strong condemnation from other European leaders. Orbán’s visit to Moscow came days after he made a similar unannounced trip to Kyiv, as the Hungarian prime minister attempts to position himself as a peace broker between Russia and Ukraine.

Shortly after landing in Russia for his first trip to the country since Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Orbán published a photo with the caption: “The peace mission continues. Second stop: Moscow.”

At the Kremlin, the two leaders held talks that a senior Moscow aide described as a “frank conversation” covering all issues related to Ukraine.

Speaking at a joint conference with Orbán afterwards, Putin signalled he was not ready to compromise on the maximalist demands he made of Ukraine last month. Putin repeated his earlier ultimatum to end the war, demanding Kyiv cede more land, withdraw troops deeper inside its own territory and drop its Nato bid. ...

Orbán this week assumed the rotating EU presidency until the end of the year and he told reporters in Moscow that he viewed his six-month tenure as a peace mission.

Pepe Escobar: Putin’s BOMBSHELL just Changed Everything and NATO is Done

Keir Starmer enters No 10 vowing to rebuild Britain ‘brick by brick’

Keir Starmer entered Downing Street as Labour prime minister with a promise to use his historic election victory to rebuild Britain “brick by brick” and provide security for millions of working-class families. He said now was the time to change course because for “too long now we have turned a blind eye” to people’s problems. It was inevitable they had lost trust in successive governments who had abandoned them, he added. “My government will fight, every day, until you believe again,” Starmer said in a speech outside No 10 that had echoes of Tony Blair’s vow to act as the servants of the people in 1997.

“From now on, you have a government unburdened by doctrine, guided only by a determination to serve your interests. To defy, quietly, those who have written our country off.”

In a dramatic landslide victory, Labour ended 14 years of Conservative rule, with the worst ever performance for the party that ushered in Brexit and delivered chaotic and at times dishonest government. The Tories lost dozens of constituencies they won for the first time in 2019 under Boris Johnson, with Liz Truss among those ousted.

Starmer’s party won 412 seats to the Tories’ 121, while the Liberal Democrats were on a record 71, the Scottish National party (SNP) on 10, Reform UK on five and the Greens on four. On Friday evening there was one seat left to declare.

However, an election campaign marked by voter apathy and more general disillusionment with the political system was reflected in turnout, which was estimated to stand at about 60%, the lowest since 2001 and down from 67% at the last general election.

Tories crushed. Labour, declining victory. Farage triumphs

Labour cannot afford to be complacent over pro-Gaza vote losses

When George Galloway roared to victory in the Rochdale byelection in February, his win was dismissed by many as an anomaly. And in many important respects, it was. Galloway is a uniquely charismatic politician. Labour’s campaign had imploded in an antisemitism row. And one issue above all loomed over the battle for the Pennines town: Gaza. Yet if commentators, pollsters and senior Labour figures had convinced themselves that Rochdale was a one-off, the results of the 2024 general election show how wrong they were.

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth is the most high-profile victim so far of this complacency. The Leicester South MP and former shadow minister may have expected to be sitting around the Cabinet table this weekend. Instead he is coming to terms with losing his seat to an independent, Shockat Adam, by fewer than 1,000 votes.

In Blackburn, Kate Hollern lost by fewer than 200 votes to the independent Adnan Hussain. And in Dewsbury and Batley, Heather Iqbal, a former adviser to the shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, lost by nearly 7,000 votes to Iqbal Mohamed. In Birmingham Perry Barr, Labour’s Khalid Mahmood lost an astonishing 15,317 majority to the pro-Gaza independent candidate Ayoub Khan.

Taj Ali, the co-editor of Tribune magazine, pointed out that pro-Gaza independents now account for four seats in parliament – the same as Nigel Farage’s Reform UK and the Green party. When including Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong pro-Palestine campaigner, that makes five.

In several other seats, high-profile Labour MPs were also run close by independent candidates, including Jess Phillips in Birmingham Yardley. Wes Streeting, the man who will almost certainly be shaping the future of the NHS as health secretary, was within 528 votes of losing his Ilford constituency to the 23-year-old British-Palestinian Leanne Mohamad. Luke Tryl, the director of the research group More in Common, tweeted: “Crikey. Every focus group we’ve done in the area suggests Wes is hugely popular, so I think this really does show that Labour have a bigger problem on the left – driven by Gaza – than we thought.”

Federal judge in Georgia blocks ‘most severe’ law on bail fund restrictions

A federal judge has temporarily blocked part of a new Georgia law from taking effect this week that would have stopped people and charitable organizations from posting bail for someone else more than three times a year. The judge’s order at the end of last month came in response to a lawsuit by the ACLU and the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University Law Center. They represent a non-profit organization and a church group that raise money and pay bail for low-income people who would otherwise remain behind bars before going to trial or otherwise having their cases resolved.

Andrea Young, the ACLU of Georgia’s executive director, said she was “quite pleased the judge ruled quickly, and prevented this cruel law from going into effect. It’s an indication we’re likely to prevail.” The complaint asserts that the section of the law limiting the number of times a bail fund can help others violates the constitutional freedoms of speech and association and the religious liberty of the plaintiffs. The section would also require people paying bail for others to meet the same requirements as bail bond companies – including having a certain amount of money in escrow, paying fees and holding a business license, as well as obtaining a sheriff’s approval. ...

Experts on the issue told the Guardian the law is both part of a nationwide pushback against bail reform and unique in one of its apparent motivations – stopping the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, or ASF. ASF is a non-profit organization that has bailed out most of the more than 100 people arrested in connection to continuing protests against a $109-m police and fire department training center colloquially known as “Cop City”. Young, of the ACLU of Georgia, said she has seen the Georgia legislature “make the effort to restrict protestors’ rights” every year for the seven years she has been in the state, calling SB 63 “part of a continuing pattern”. At the same time, “the law takes place in the context of the raid on [ASF], and the Rico indictment”, Young adds.

Police staged a Swat-style raid on the fund’s Atlanta house in May, seizing computers, cellphones and other devices. Members of the fund are now defendants in the state’s Rico case, in which the Georgia attorney general Chris Carr alleges that 61 people formed a criminal conspiracy in connection with the movement to stop Cop City. “The strategy or goal revealed from this legislation is that legislators, prosecutors and police departments see the bail system as a weapon against people they want to see prosecuted and put in jail without having to justify it – poor people, Black and brown people, marginalized people and political activists,” said Marlon Kautz, one of three ASF organizers.

the horse race

The elder abuse continues:

Joe Biden to blitz media over weekend to counter claims of mental decline

Joe Biden was gearing up on Friday for a three-day public relations blitz aimed at salvaging his floundering candidacy from the seven days of disarray sparked by last week’s disastrous debate performance, even as further revelations emerged that are likely to fuel concerns about whether he is suffering a mental decline.

In what is likely to be the most decisive set-piece event of his presidency, aside from the debate itself, Biden will give a television interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in which he will aim to dispel the growing perception that he lacks the acuity to continue in office for another four years.

The interview, scheduled to last between 15 and 25 minutes and conducted on Friday afternoon, will be aired in full at prime time on Friday evening, having been moved from its original scheduled Sunday slot. The president’s performance is certain to be scrutinised for any verbal slips or missteps reminiscent of last week’s stumbling display in the CNN debate with Donald Trump.

The interview will form the centrepiece of a weekend campaign schedule that will see Biden visit the battleground states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, both of which are seen as vital to the Democrats’ chances of retaining the White House.

A Second REVOLUTION?! Conservative Think-Tank Prez's CRYPTIC MESSAGE

the evening greens

Hurricane Beryl makes landfall in Mexico as category 2 storm

Hurricane Beryl has made landfall as a category 2 storm in Mexico’s top tourist destinations, triggering a red alert in the region following its deadly trail of destruction across several Caribbean islands.

The storm’s core shifted over the Yucatán, with winds slowing to approximately 100mph (160km/h) as it reached the north-eastern region of Tulum, famed for its white-sand beaches, lush landscapes and Mayan ruins.

While the storm’s center moving through Tulum resulted in slower winds and some downed branches, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) continues to anticipate dangerous winds, storm surges and destructive waves in the area of landfall.

Video posted on social media on Friday showed fierce winds battering Tulum’s downtown. A hurricane warning has been issued for the coast from Puerto Costa Maya to Cancún, including Cozumel.

Hurricane Beryl, the first of the 2024 Atlantic season, was at one point a category 5 storm, making it the earliest storm of that magnitude on record. This extraordinary storm season is believed by scientists to be fueled by the climate crisis.

Fast-moving wildfire forces residents near Yosemite to flee homes

A fast-moving wildfire burning near Yosemite national park is threatening rural communities and prompting residents to flee, as California and states across the US west swelter under a brutal heatwave.

The so-called French fire broke out on Thursday and grew to more than 840 acres by Friday. The fire is 5% contained with “multiple evacuations and road closures in place”, according to local fire officials.

Footage posted on social media showed flames and smoke billowing on Thursday night over the town of Mariposa, a gated community about 40 miles outside the national park. The area is under an excessive heat alert with temperatures expected to top 100F on Friday.

The fire is one of more than a dozen burning across the state, including several that broke out on the Fourth of July. Further north, firefighters were gaining ground against the Thompson fire near the city of Oroville in Butte County, which has burned more than 3,700 acres and prompted evacuation orders for thousands of people.

Also of Interest

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

'I Was Beaten Day and Night': Freed Gaza Detainees Allege Torture by Israeli Forces

'More Unhinged by the Minute': Senior Israeli Lawmaker Suggests Nuclear Attack on Iran

The Chances of an Israel-Lebanon War

Ex Biden Officials: ‘Undeniable’ US Complicity in Gaza

An Israeli air base is a source of GPS ‘spoofing’ attacks, researchers say.

Presbyterian Church (USA) Votes to Divest from Israel Bonds, Condemns Christian Zionism

Consequences of the British Election

Election In Britain

Washington’s Exclusive Trust in the ‘Five Eyes’

'Jewel Thief' Bolsonaro Among 12 Indicted for Alleged Embezzlement in Brazil

Powerful Democratic backers to pause donations until Joe Biden steps aside

Project 2025 Architect Signals Bloodshed If Left Opposes Trump-Led ‘Revolution’

#KHive: Kamala Harris memes abound after Joe Biden’s debate disaster

Can the climate survive the insatiable energy demands of the AI arms race?

Polling place pooches: dogs on UK election day – in pictures

"The Night Won't End": New Film Investigates Israel's Civilian Killings in Gaza and U.S. Role in War

Biden’s Family Doubles Down On Elder Abuse Of The President!

A Little Night Music

Byther Smith - Money Tree

Byther Smith - Mad Man

Byther Smith -: Live On And Sing The Blues

Byther Smith -: Tell Me How You Like It

Byther Smith -: Come On In This House

Byther Smith -: Love Me Like I Love You

Byther Smith -: Get Outta My Way

Byther Smith - Judge Of Honor

Byther Smith & The Night Riders - Mississippi Kid

Byther Smith - Byther Boogie

12 users have voted.


I am absolutely gobsmacked at the Presbyterians USA!
Let's see if the Zionists come out with sanctions and smears against good, almighty, non-Zionist Christians. All I can say is, they won't be pressuring students and professors, but a Christian church.
Thanks for the ebs, and after dinner, I will do a deeper dig.

12 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

christians with a conscience!?! whoda thunkit?

i have to admit, i was kinda gobsmacked, too.

have a great weekend!

9 users have voted.

peace is not an option in their collective minds.
Orban may ruffle a few feathers, but war must continue!
EU would be wise to disassociate from that cabal of warmongers
but lo and behold, they haven't the strength to cross Washington's

thanks for the EB's joe!

11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


if orban keeps insisting on this peace thing, it's gonna be a long 6 months for the eurocrats.

have a great weekend!

8 users have voted.
The Liberal Moonbat's picture

Then again, I guess the point of THIS video was he never really went away; guy's a trooper.

9 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!

joe shikspack's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

heh, the first few minutes are pretty good. thanks!

have a great weekend!

7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

So, a huge change in Britain's government isn't expected to really result in much change for the people. Sounds a hell of a lot like our system, just with more parties.

Have a great weekend.

be well and have a good one

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

yep, it looks like you can change your politicians all you want but you can't change the system without doing something other than voting.

have a great weekend!

7 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Hi all, Hey Joe,

Great guitar player man! Love that Chicago style, and he does it good.

Been too busy last few days... and too hot. Was hoping that great Texas drought buster was headed our way but now it looks like east Texas will get it more.

Hope all are well,

Thanks for the great sounds Joe!

happy trails all!

7 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture


yep, byther smith is an underrated player, probably more famous in europe than in the u.s. - go figure.

that drought buster looks like a pretty big system that you ought to get something out of, hopefully besides nasty humidity. i hope you get just the right amount of rain.

i hope that you get a break from your perpetual busy streak soon. have a great weekend!

6 users have voted.