The Evening Blues - 8-10-16


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues singer and songwriter Lil Green. Enjoy!

Lil Green - Rock Me Baby

"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

-- Proverbs 13:20

News and Opinion

Ex-CIA Director Who Endorsed Clinton Calls for Killing Iranians and Russians in Syria

Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell said in an interview Monday that U.S. policy in Syria should be to make Iran and Russia “pay a price” by arming local groups and instructing them to kill Iranian and Russian personnel in the country.

Morell was appearing on the Charlie Rose show on PBS in the wake of his publicly endorsing Hillary Clinton on the New York Times opinion pages.

Clinton has expressed support for increased military intervention in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government. Iran and Russia are backing Assad. ...

Morell said the killing of Russians and Iranians should be undertaken “covertly, so you don’t tell the world about it, you don’t stand up at the Pentagon and say ‘we did this.’ But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”

Morell also proposed that U.S. forces begin bombing Syrian government installations, including government offices, aircraft and presidential guard positions. The former acting CIA director said that he wanted to “scare Assad.” Morell clarified that he wasn’t actually calling for Assad’s assassination.

I Ran the C.I.A., Defended Torture, Now I Work For a Longtime Clinton Ally's Consulting Firm and Am Endorsing Hillary Clinton

On Friday, the New York Times ran an op-ed penned by Michael Morell, a 33-year veteran of the Central Intelligence agency who served as its acting director and deputy director from 2010 to 2013. Contravening political conventions of non-partisanship, Morell not only endorses Hillary Clinton for president but even goes so far as to suggest that Donald Trump “may well pose a threat to our national security.” ...

Even as Morell touts his three decades of non-partisan service to his country and his (heretofore private) bi-partisan voting record, he fails to disclose that he left the CIA in 2013 to join Beacon Global Strategies, a consulting firm founded by longtime Clinton aide and ally Philippe Reines.

'Russians and Iranians should be killed to pay a price in Syria' - ex-CIA chief backing Clinton

Speaking of the company she keeps, there are new revelations about Hillary Clinton's war criminal mentor:

Kissinger hindered US effort to end mass killings in Argentina, according to files

Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger jeopardized US efforts to stop mass killings by Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship by congratulating the country’s military leaders for “wiping out” terrorism, according to a large trove of newly declassified state department files.

The documents, which were released on Monday night, show how Kissinger’s close relationship to Argentina’s military rulers hindered Jimmy Carter’s carrot-and-stick attempts to influence the regime during his 1977-81 presidency.

Carter officials were infuriated by Kissinger’s attendance at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina as the personal guest of dictator Jorge Videla, the general who oversaw the forced disappearance of up to 30,000 opponents of the military regime.

At the time, Kissinger was no longer in office after Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election, but the documents reveal that US diplomats feared his praise for Argentina’s crackdown would encourage further bloodshed. ...

The newly declassifed cables show how Kissinger lauded Videla and other officials for their methods during his 1978 visit. “His praise for the Argentine government in its campaign against terrorism was the music the Argentine government was longing to hear,” says one of the documents. ...

Kissinger even held a private meeting with Videla without the presence of the US ambassador to Buenos Aires, Raúl Castro, at which human rights and Carter’s foreign policy were discussed. ... In another off-the-record meeting with the Argentinian Council of International Relations (CARI) – a group of conservative and highly influential Argentinian diplomats – Kissinger went even further, stating that “in his opinion the government of Argentina had done an outstanding job in wiping out terrorist forces”.

FBI probe of Clinton's emails prompted by espionage fears, secret letters say

Two secret letters the FBI sent to the State Department have revealed for the first time that the bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, and the classified emails sent through it, stemmed from a so-called "Section 811" referral from the Intelligence Community's Inspector General (ICIG). The ICIG determined that classified, national security information in Clinton's emails may have been "compromised" and shared with "a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power."

Section 811 of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1995 "is the statutory authority that governs the coordination of counterespionage investigations between Executive Branch departments or agencies and the FBI." A Section 811 referral is a report to the FBI about any unauthorized information that may have been disclosed to a foreign power. ...

"The potential compromise was identified when, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request [by VICE News], the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the ICIG reviewed electronic mail (email) communications from the private email accounts previously used by a former Secretary of State during her tenure at DoS," [Charles H. Kable IV, section chief of the FBI's counterespionage section] wrote. "An initial review of this material identified emails containing national security information later determined by the US Intelligence Community to be classified up to the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information Level." ...

Last month, the FBI turned over to VICE News documents revealing that Clinton exchanged nearly two-dozen top secret emails from her private server in 2011 and 2012 with her deputy chief of staff, Jacob Sullivan, her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. The State Department said the contents of the 22 emails were so highly classified that not even the subject matter could be disclosed.

New batch of Hillary Clinton emails obtained by legal group

State department releases emails Democratic nominee failed to turn over, and include interactions with lobbyists and donors as secretary of state

The US state department has turned over 44 previously unreleased Hillary Clinton email exchanges that the Democratic presidential nominee failed to include among the 30,000 private messages she turned over to the government last year. They show her interacting with lobbyists, political and Clinton Foundation donors and business interests as secretary of state.

The conservative legal group Judicial Watch obtained the emails as part of its lawsuit against the state department. They cover Clinton’s first three months as secretary of state in early 2009, a period for which Clinton did not turn over any emails to the state department last year. The government found the newly disclosed messages during a search of agency computer files from longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

In one instance, Clinton exchanged messages with a senior Morgan Stanley investment executive whom she met with later that year at her office in Washington. They were among 246 pages of Abedin messages turned over to Judicial Watch.

Man used as test subject in CIA torture program to ask for Guantánamo release

A man the CIA used as a guinea pig for its post-9/11 torture program will plead his case for freedom from Guantanámo Bay later this month, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday, in perhaps the hardest challenge to date for Barack Obama’s intentions to empty the infamous detention center.

Zayn al-Ibidin Muhammed Husayn, better known as Abu Zubaydah, is one of three men the CIA acknowledged that it waterboarded, a process simulating drowning, at an unacknowledged prison in Thailand. At some point during his 14-year captivity by the US, he lost the use of his left eye.

The 23 August hearing, Guantánamo’s equivalent of a parole board, will present the first time Abu Zubaydah will have an opportunity to speak about his captivity – an opportunity that contradicts the CIA’s preferences. The CIA, per a landmark 2014 Senate investigation, has contended that he ought to be held incommunicado until he dies.

Abu Zubaydah presents the hardest test thus far for the Obama administration’s last-ditch attempt at vacating the Guantánamo detention facility through the quasi-parole process. While the much-tortured Abu Zubaydah may or may not be too dangerous to release – the criterion that a multi-agency Guantánamo tribunal known as a Periodic Review Board (PRB) will evaluate later this month – he knows a vast amount about CIA torture, which makes his ultimate release doubtful.

Russia accuses Ukraine of armed Crimea incursion

Russia’s federal security service says it has thwarted an armed Ukrainian incursion into Crimea designed to target critical infrastructure, and that a Russian soldier and FSB employee had been killed in clashes.

The FSB said the attempted incursions had taken place over the weekend.

US Ground Forces Active in Libya Fighting Around Sirte

US special forces have been on the ground in Libya for months, though when the war against ISIS was expanded into the country last week with airstrikes on Sirte, Pentagon officials were quick to insist that there was no ground component to the new operation. That didn’t last long.

Now, officials are conceding that a “small number” of special forces are operating out of a unity government base on the outskirts of Sirte, supporting the ongoing attempts by the unity government’s forces to conquer the city, as well as forwarding targeting information to US warplanes bombing the city.

Spies-for-Hire Now at War in Syria

It’s not just U.S. troops battling ISIS. Now the Army is sinking millions of dollars into private intelligence contractors for the fight.

Every day at 5 p.m., the Pentagon releases a list of that day’s contracts worth more than $7 million. On July 27, buried in the daily email was an eye-catching detail: Military contractors would be working inside Syria alongside the roughly 300 U.S. troops already deployed there.

This appears to be the first time the Pentagon has publicly acknowledged that private contractors are also playing a role in the fight against the so-called Islamic State inside Syria, and it’s one more signal that the U.S. military is deepening its involvement in the fate of the country.

The contract announcement said Six3 Intelligence Solutions—a private intelligence company recently acquired by CACI International—won a $10 million no-bid Army contract to provide “intelligence analysis services.” According to the Pentagon, the work will be completed over the next year in Germany, Italy and, most notably, Syria.

Beyond this, details are scant. ... But Sean McFate—a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, the author of Shadow War, and a former gun-for-hire himself—told The Daily Beast: “This is no ordinary contractor… Six3, which gets the bulk of its work from the intelligence agencies, specializes in biometrics and identity intelligence—figuring out who people really are—as well as cyber and reconnaissance. Its former CEO has said that 95 percent of the company’s staff has the highest level of security clearance.

U.S. to Turkey: Back off

The Obama administration has a message for Turkey: Tone it down.

A day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed frustration that Secretary of State John Kerry had yet to visit his country in the wake of a failed coup attempt, a State Department official said the U.S. is increasingly concerned about the language emanating from its longtime NATO ally.

Much of that language has been deeply anti-American, with Turkish media peddling allegations that the Obama administration was behind the coup attempt and even suggesting a Washington think tank had a role. Erdogan has, to some extent, fanned the flames, while simultaneously reaching out to U.S. rival Russia, which he visited Tuesday.

"This sort of conspiracy theory, inflammatory rhetoric ... is absolutely not helpful," State spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said during Tuesday's daily briefing. ... Her admonition hints at growing frustration within the Obama administration over how to deal with an increasingly fickle — but still important — partner in the fight against the Islamic State. It's a frustration shared in Congress, where aides say bipartisan skepticism about Turkey's reliability has hardened since the mid-July coup attempt.

Erdogan also blasted the U.S. in particular for not quickly extraditing Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based Muslim leader whom Turkey says masterminded the coup attempt — with some Turkish officials saying the U.S. is putting its entire relationship with their country at risk over Gulen. ...

In his talk with Le Monde, Erdogan alluded to reports — which the State Department will not confirm — that Kerry will visit Turkey later this month. "It is late, too late," he said. "This makes us sad. What more do Americans need? Their strategic ally is facing a coup and it takes them 45 days before sending anyone over? This is shocking."

U-Turn: Possible reasons behind Turkey's rapprochement with Russia

Woodrow Wilson Center, D.C. think tank, rejects charges of helping spur Turkish coup

The Woodrow Wilson Center, one of Washington’s best-known think tanks, is defending itself against charges that it played a role in the failed military coup against the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month.

The charges, played up prominently on Turkish newspapers in recent days, are a sign of a sharp deterioration in U.S.-Turkish relations in the wake of the coup. Although the Obama administration denounced the abortive military takeover, Mr. Erdogan and his supporters have been angered by criticism of the crackdown launched against coup supporters and the U.S. refusal to quickly deport a Pennsylvania-based Turkish cleric that Ankara contends was behind the coup.

The failed takeover, which resulted in more than 200 deaths, coincided with a three-day conference for academics organized by the nonpartisan think tank on the island of Buyukada near Istanbul.

Wilson Center officials say the conference, organized by Middle East Program Director Henri Barkey, had been planned since last December in collaboration with Istanbul Kultur University and had noting to do with the attempted ouster of Mr. Erdogan.

Front-page accounts in pro-Erdogan newspapers over the weekend, complete with photos of Mr. Barkey and other conference attendees, suggested they were CIA agents who helped instigate the coup.

US to Sell $1.15 Billion in Arms to Saudis, Including Over 130 Tanks

With Saudi Arabia continuing to escalate their war in Yemen, the Obama Administration has announced the approval of another $1.15 billion in arms sales to the country, including over 130 Abrams battle tanks, a move which officials said “conveys US commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security.”

The US has long made a point of wanting to support Saudi Arabia’s “security,” but the country faces no real threats at this point, and its military is heavily focused on attacking its neighbor to the south, which it’s been doing for almost a year and a half.

Vietnam sends rocket launchers to the South China Sea

Vietnam has fortified several islands it controls in the South China Sea with mobile rocket launchers able to strike Chinese military bases in the region, one of the most assertive moves in decades.

Diplomats and military officers told Reuters Hanoi had shipped the launchers from the Vietnamese mainland into positions on five bases in the Spratly islands in recent months. They said the launchers could be made operational, if needed, with rocket artillery rounds within two or three days.

The Guardian was unable to verify the report, which cited unnamed western officials, and Vietnam’s foreign ministry said the information was inaccurate.

Yet the report entrenches fears of militarisation and potential conflicts in the South China Sea, the most contentious issue in east Asia.

Brazil impeachment: Senate approves putting President Rousseff on trial

Brazil senate votes to hold Dilma Rousseff impeachment trial

Brazil’s senate has voted 59-21 to accept charges against Dilma Rousseff and put her on trial for breaking budget laws, in an impeachment process that is expected to end 13 years of leftist rule by her Workers party.

A final verdict could come at the end of August and will require two thirds of the votes in the 81-member senate. Media surveys of the senate point to a defeat for the suspended president in that vote.

If Rousseff is convicted and definitively removed from office, the interim president, Michel Temer, will serve out the remainder of her term through 2018.

With Brazil’s attention focused on the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, senators in the capital, Brasilia, were deciding the country’s political future in a raucous session presided over by the chief justice, Ricardo Lewandowski. ...

The outcome of the vote was a foregone conclusion because opponents of Rousseff, who was suspended in May, needed only a simple majority in the senate to put her on trial.

Brazilians Can Protest Against Temer Inside Olympic Venues, Court Rules

A federal judge in Rio de Janeiro issued an injunction late Tuesday night barring the police from ejecting spectators from Olympic venues simply for protesting against Brazil’s unpopular interim president, Michel Temer, by wearing T-shirts, waving signs or chanting slogans against him. ...

The ruling came after images of ticket holders being forced from their seats by the police, soldiers or Olympic volunteers went viral on social networks over the weekend, prompting a wave of anger at the censorship of political speech.

Padre João, the president of Human Rights Commission in Brazil’s House of Representatives, wrote to the nation’s attorney general on Tuesday to argue that a special law governing behavior at Olympic venues — signed in May by President Dilma Rousseff before she was suspended — clearly prohibits only signs or other forms of demonstration that are racist, xenophobic or encourage discrimination. The display or chanting of the slogan “Fora Temer,” or “Temer Out,” must be permitted, the commission president wrote.

Venezuela's President Maduro being voted out this year is unlikely

The head of Venezuela's electoral authority has announced that it is unlikely that the next stage of the effort to force a recall referendum for President Nicolás Maduro can start until the end of October.

That date would essentially rule out the possibility that a referendum could not only lead to the end of the Maduro presidency, but to a general election as well.

Tibisay Lucena, who heads the National Electoral Council, said she cannot allow the political opposition to start collecting the signatures it now needs from 20 percent of the electoral register to force the referendum until all the regulations are fulfilled.

"The collection of the 20 percent of signatures could start at the end of October," she said. "If all the requirements are met."

This would make the end of January the earliest date for the vote to take place. This is weeks after the halfway point in the Maduro presidency, which falls on January 9, before which a new election would automatically be called if Maduro lost a recall vote. After that date, Maduro could still be removed from office if he loses the vote, but he would be replaced by his vice president who would then be allowed to govern until the end of his term in 2019.

'Two Baltimores': DoJ investigation into police finds vast racial disparity

The Baltimore police department regularly conducted unlawful stops and used excessive force on residents of the city, federal officials found in a civil rights probe.

The damning findings by the US justice department (DoJ), set to be officially announced Wednesday, identify a “pattern or practice” of unconstitutional conduct in the city. ...

The report found a vast racial disparity in enforcement, especially in stops, searches, and discretionary misdemeanor arrests. African Americans, for instance, account for 91% of “failure to obey” and trespassing charges, and over 80% of charges such as making a false statement to an officer or disorderly conduct, even though they account for roughly 60% of the population. African Americans were arrested for the possession of drugs more than five times as frequently as their white counterparts, although drug use, the report notes, is roughly the same.

Justice department officials found that residents believe there are “two Baltimores” including “one wealthy and largely white, the second impoverished and predominantly black”, the report reads. “Community members living in the City’s wealthier and largely white neighborhoods told us that officers tend to be respectful and responsive to their needs, while many individuals living in the City’s largely African-American communities informed us that officers tend to be disrespectful and do not respond promptly to their calls for service. Members of these largely African-American communities often felt they were subjected to unjustified stops, searches, and arrests, as well as excessive force.”

DOJ Finds Baltimore Police Routinely Violate Black Residents Constitutional Rights

BROWN: There were some really egregious things that came out of this report. Including but not limited to many police or not many rather, a certain number of police that prosecutors had on their do not call list because there were concerns about the integrity and the ethics about these police officers and the prosecutors were reluctant to put them on the stand. What do you think about that?

COLBERT: Well the report confirms what many of us already knew. Those of us who have been part of the criminal justice system and have been critics of police activity, we have been well aware that there are police officers that violate people’s constitutional rights, who use the system by arresting people without even hoping or thinking that a conviction will result. But knowing that once people are arrested they will come into the system, the will spend one or two months in jail before charges are dismissed. So in many ways when you have a list of officers who have shown to be not credible which is a nice way of saying that they cannot be believed. That they don’t, that they’re saying things that are not truthful, then that shows right away that there’s something fundamentally wrong with elements within the police department.

BROWN: And some of the other details included in the report have to do with how people are stopped and frisked the way that police engage with the public at large. One man reportedly was stopped, I believe 40 times over a 4-year period with no charge, no arrest ever. How does this effect how the community views the police as a whole and how they engage with them and the level of public trust there?

COLBERT: Well the community cannot trust police when so many people are being arrested who are African American. When race becomes a reason to stop people, to frisk them, to arrest them, to charge them with crimes, that ultimately are not crimes at all, you cannot expect a community to believe in the trust of an impartial police department. So what we’re seeing here is 95% of the people who were stopped more than 10 times. 95% were African American. This will come as a shock and news to most of the white community. But this is a well-known reality for people living in our city who are African American.

St Louis-area municipalities sued over alleged discriminatory 'debtors' prisons'

A class-action civil rights lawsuit filed late Tuesday alleges that more than a dozen St Louis-area municipalities are engaged in the discriminatory and unconstitutional practice of jailing people for unpaid debts in order to raise state revenue, a situation the suit says amounts to a system of modern-day “debtors’ prisons” that primarily affects poor residents of color.

The suit alleges a widespread system of local government abuse that targets primarily black communities, where poor people are routinely imprisoned because they cannot escape from the burden of fees generally associated with petty offenses.

“Defendants have created or revived de facto debtors’ prisons, using them as a tool to cow poor people into financing municipal government,” the suit states. “Such flagrant abuse is not consistent with the values this country holds dear, with the rule of law, or with the constitutional guarantee of due process.”

The suit was launched on the second anniversary of the police killing of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, whose 2014 death sparked major protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and beyond, and reignited a national debate about the bias against minorities prevalent in the US justice system.

That case led to increased scrutiny of St Louis County, a jurisdiction made up of a maze of 90 constituent municipalities – including Ferguson – 81 of which are responsible for their own police and court systems.

the horse race

Assange hints murdered DNC staffer could've been Wikileaks source, offers $20k reward for info

WikiLeaks offers $20K for info on DNC staffer's killing

WikiLeaks announced Tuesday on Twitter that it is offering $20,000 for information leading to a conviction in last month's shooting death of Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich.

Police say Rich, 27, was shot multiple times at around 4:19 a.m. Sunday, July 10, while walking to his apartment in the Northwest Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Bloomingdale.

The WikiLeaks announcement, however, appears to be related to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that Rich’s death could have been politically motivated.

Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange seemed to suggest during a Dutch TV interview on Tuesday that Rich was the source of the leak of DNC officials' emails.

“Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks. As a 27 year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington,” he told Nieuwsuur.

“I’m suggesting that our sources take risks.”

When pressed, however, Assange said Wikileaks does not comment on who its sources are.

Donald Trump Under Fire After Hinting Gun Owners Could Assassinate Hillary Clinton

Abandonment of Donald Trump spreads across Republican party

Some Republicans fear Donald Trump is reaching the point of no return as party stalwarts turn against him and his national poll numbers continue to plunge.

Susan Collins of Maine, the most senior Republican woman in the Senate, on Monday announced her intention not to vote for her party’s nominee, while 50 of the GOP’s former national security officials signed an open letter calling Trump the most reckless candidate in history.

Opinion polls show Hillary Clinton consolidating a significant lead. A Fox News survey shows her up by 10 percentage points; an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll puts her nine points ahead; and a Washington Post/ABC News survey gives her a margin of eight points. Real Clear Politics’ current polling average gives Clinton a lead of 7.5 points. ...

There are growing signs that Republicans who sense Trump cannot win might move to ostracise him, whether out of principle or self-preservation or both. Tyler added: “The peeling off is remarkable. You have a conservative, Ted Cruz, and now the most moderate Republican in the Senate, Susan Collins, not endorsing Trump.

“It’s very problematic. You have Republicans on both ends of the spectrum distancing themselves from Trump. It represents an ideological schism; the party is substantially divided.”

"The Making of Donald Trump": David Cay Johnston on Trump's Ties to the Mob & Drug Traffickers

Paul Ryan beats outsider 'mini-Donald Trump' challenger in Wisconsin primary

Paul Ryan, the Republican party’s most senior elected official, has survived an insurgent challenge in his own backyard from an outsider candidate dubbed a “mini-Donald Trump”.

The US House speaker comprehensively beat maverick businessman Paul Nehlen in Tuesday’s Republican primary in Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district.

Nehlen leapt to national attention when he earned praise from Trump last week. The presidential nominee stirred party tensions further when he initially declined to endorse 46-year-old Ryan.

But Trump finally gave in to pressure and gave his endorsement last Friday at a rally from which Nehlen was barred.

In reality Nehlen was always a long shot trying to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the century. Indeed Trump himself struggled to make an impact in Wisconsin, where he was soundly beaten by Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries. He lost the 1st congressional district by 19 percentage points.

the evening greens

At Least Six Million Americans Are Drinking Toxic 'Teflon Chemicals' With Their Water

At least six million Americans in 33 states are being exposed to unsafe levels of industrial perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) chemicals in their drinking water, found a study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

"And the available water data only reveals the tip of the iceberg of contaminated drinking water," said study co-author Dr. Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

The Washington Post details the researchers' findings:

194 of 4,864 water supplies across nearly three dozen states had detectable levels of the chemicals. Sixty-six of those water supplies, serving about six million people, had at least one sample that exceeded the EPA's recommended safety limit of 70 parts per trillion for two types of chemicals — perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

PFOA and PFOS chemical compounds—including C8, popularly known as the Teflon chemical—are extremely dangerous to human health, and despite an EPA advisory released earlier this year and increasing calls for action, research shows they are near-ubiquitous in the United States.

Moreover, the study also notes that research suggests "that exposure to these chemicals can make people sick, even at or below the concentration recommended as acceptable under the EPA health advisory," according to the Gazette-Mail.

Colorado Readies for 'All Out War' as Anti-Fracking Measures Advance to Ballot

The government of Colorado has so far managed to quash efforts to halt the spread of fracking in that state, but come November, residents will finally have the chance to overpower the will of politicians and Big Oil and Gas.

Petitioners on Monday submitted more than 200,000 signatures backing two separate initiatives to amend the Colorado constitution, specifically in regards to the controversial drilling method.

"This is a good day for Colorado, and it’s a good day for democracy," said Lauren Petrie, Rocky Mountain Region director of Food and Water Watch. "These initiatives will give communities political tools to fend off the oil and gas industry’s effort to convert our neighborhoods to industrial sites. This is a significant moment in the national movement to stem the tide of fracking and natural gas."

Initiative 78 would establish a 2,500-foot buffer zone protecting homes, hospitals and schools, as well as sensitive areas like playgrounds and drinking water sources, from new oil and gas development. This expands the current mandate of a 500-foot setback from homes and, according to Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED), is based upon health studies that show increased risks within a half mile of fracked wells and the perimeters of real-life explosion, evacuation, and burn zones. 

Colorado regulators say that, if passed, Initiative 78 could effectively halt new oil and gas exploration and production in as much of 90 percent of the state.

Initiative 75 would establish local government control of oil and gas development, authorizing local municipalities "to pass a broad range of more protective regulations, prohibitions, limits or moratoriums on oil and gas development—or not," according to the grassroots group.

This measure challenges a May ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court which said that state law overrides local fracking bans.

The Colorado Secretary of State's Office now has 30 days to authenticate the signatures before they make the ballot. The announcement is expected to be made by September 7.

Warming seas could lead to an 'unprecedented' rise in cholera infections

Warming seas might be making us sicker. Researchers have found that Vibrio bacteria — small organisms that can cause lethal infections such as cholera in humans — have become more abundant in coastal regions of the North Atlantic as water temperatures increased over a 50-year period. And that change might be responsible for an "unprecedented" rise in human infections, scientists say. ...

Vibrio bacteria infect both fish and humans, and the results aren't pretty. Some bacterial species can cause cholera, whereas others poison people through their food, causing symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and chills. And this happens a lot; Vibrio bacteria are responsible for around 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the US each year, according to the CDC. So, having more of these little critters in coastal waters probably isn't a good thing.

Also of Interest

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

Are There Any Limits on Obama’s Drone War, Really?
The Propaganda War With Putin

“U.S.A.” Chant: Hegemonic Unity in Global Domination

Let the Battle of the Lesser Evils Commence

Most Americans don't care that Peter Thiel crushed Gawker

The Post-Convention Crash: Cleveland Gets Back to Work on Policing and Race Relations

Heated Presidential Primary Lives on as Clinton Stumps for Wasserman Schultz

Wall Street’s Dream Senator

Russ Feingold Wins Wisconsin Primary to Take Back Senate Seat in November

“Capitalism Is a Lot More Important Than Democracy,” Says Donald Trump’s Economic Adviser

This is When the Jobs “Recovery” Goes KABOOM

Assange files appeal on UN ruling

Facebook will start bypassing adblockers on desktop browsers

A Little Night Music

Lil Green - Why Don't You Do Right

Lil Green - Romance In The Dark

Lil Green - Cherry Tree Blues

Lil Green - Knockin' Myself Out

Lil Green - Every Time

Lil Green - Give Your Mama One Smile

Lil Green and Her Orchestra - No Good Man

Lil Green - If I Didn't Love You

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Fails sress test

Deutsche Bank had the highest potential capital shortfall, 19 billion euros ($21 billion), in a study of 51 European banks using U.S. Federal Reserve stress test methods, German economic research institute ZEW said.
"European banks lack sufficient capital to offset the losses expected in the case of another financial crisis," the ZEW said in a statement on Tuesday.

It's bad

Martin Hellwig said stress tests carried out by the European Central Bank revealed the Deutsche Bank would be left in a precarious position in the event of another financial crisis.
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joe shikspack's picture

which probably means that (given how interconnected the large financial institutions are globally) if there's a eurocrash that takes down deutsche bank it's likely that some large american bank(s) might also be in big trouble. on the other hand, some big american banks' "living wills" are considered substandard, too.

i can't wait.

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Shockwave's picture

Central banks are printing money as though the global economy is in freefall

Central banks around the world are now spending $200 billion a month on emergency economic stimulus measures, pumping this money into their economies by buying bonds. The current pace of purchases is higher than ever before, even during the depths of the financial crisis in 2009.

And yet, despite the extraordinary support of so-called quantitative easing (QE), the global economy is not in great shape. What was supposed to bolster economies temporarily during times of crisis has become a routine tool for policymakers, who long ago cut interest rates to zero (or below) but haven’t seen the pick-up in activity they would have hoped.

If it happens I hope it is after Nov 7.

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The political revolution continues

JekyllnHyde's picture

Here's an interesting article about The Metamorphosis.


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A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

riverlover's picture

I am hiding listening to my premier hardwired smoke detector alarming due to an old 9V battery. I went to the grocery for new 9Vs, because my local Riteaid is resetting to be a Walgreen's. Talk of Kafka is nothing like this. Post-concussion 8 days now.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

joe shikspack's picture

somehow, i don't think i could retain my appetite if a giant cockroach was serving jamon.

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riverlover's picture

And I don't know they way: national strike? Failing to pay taxes? (1099 filers only). I am late to the monkeywrench gang.

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joe shikspack's picture

a national strike combined with civil disobedience might be an interesting thing to give a whirl. i remember when a whole bunch of farmers from the eastern shore of maryland decided that they had had it with one of our governors and drove their tractors into the state capitol causing total gridlock.

gridlock on a national scale might get the job done.

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Lookout's picture

sure is fun. Thanks for the news too.

Not too surprising to hear the ex-CIA chief is for Killery. Kissinger soon to follow I guess.

Heard a great discussion today with Sy Hersh and Tariq Ali about his revelations concerning the chemical attack at Ghouta, Syria in August 2013. It's 30 min

If anyone missed Hersh's revelation about the Bin Laden raid here's part 1 of their discussion (also 30 min)

debtors prison.jpg

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

joe shikspack's picture

thanks for the link! hersh is one of my favorite journalists of all time.

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riverlover's picture

Has the entire US or just the lower 48 had a lateral earthquake? Like 5-6 feet? [does anyone understand the frustration listening to a weak alarm 9' off a third floor hallway?] This may be my undoing, 8 days' post concussion.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

snoopydawg's picture

First the US and its allies have no right to depose Assad. They blamed him for using sarin gas on his people when it was the US' terrorists that used it after the CIA gave it to them.
Then he says that Hillary should kill Russians and Iranians because they fund terrorists.
Did he forget that our biggest ally Saudi Arabia does too? And that they funded the terrorists that attacked the towers which is an act of war, but because they are friends of the Bush family and have a lot of money tied up in this country, I guess it's okay for our allies to get away with attacking us.
Just like Israel did when they attacked the Liberty and have killed at least 3 Americans.
Great job with on the EBs tonight, joe.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

joe shikspack's picture

excellent observations.

it makes you wonder how a moron like that can get appointed acting director of the cia.

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snoopydawg's picture

Between Russia and Ukraine?
I know that the US was the force behind the coup in 2014 and has funded the neo-nazis in Ukraine. (think about that. Didn't we spend 4 years fighting the Nazis? I know, we also created Al Quada, fought against them in Afghanistan and Iraq and now are fighting alongside them in Syria)
But I can't get a straight story of what's happening in Crimea. It was a Russian base for a long time, right and the people in Crimea voted to stay with Russia, but the US said it wasn't a real election and that's why they have put sanctions imposed on Russia.
Anyone know the truth about what's actually happening?

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

enhydra lutris's picture

living there. Khruschev added it to the Ukraine as an internal political unit, and then when the Ukraine went external, it took Crimea along because it was now part of Ukraine. There was, as you know, a coup, instigated by US and NATO, and eastern Ukraine and Crimea rejected, each in their own way, going along with that. Now it is jusst mostly festering.

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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 --

snoopydawg's picture
This is where my confusion comes from. I don't understand what is happening and what the goals are.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

enhydra lutris's picture

probably was at least one incursion or bomb or both. I consider it likely that the forces involved were either Ukranian government forces of some sort, under orders or with tacit government approval, or fascist/neo-nazi militia with tacit government approval. What exactly they hoped to accomplish and why, I won't even try to guess.

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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

but i have done a considerable amount of reading over a period of time.

these are some things that i think are true about the situation in crimea.

the crimea (or the crimean penninsula) has been in the russian orbit for hundreds of years. the russian empire annexed it in 1783. the vast majority of people living in the crimea now are ethnic russians:

According to the (2001 census), the ethnic makeup of Crimea's population consists of the following self-reported groups: Russians:1.18 million (58.3%), Ukrainians: 492,200 (24.3%), Crimean Tatars: 243,400 (12.0%), Belarusians: 29,200 (1.4%), other Tatars: 11,000 (0.5%), Armenians: 8,700 (0.4%).

there are also some other ethnic groups, notably the tatars, a turkic people, that lived in the crimea for many hundreds of years.

crimea has been contested territory for centuries and has been the sport of empires. great powers have devastated the place time and again, purging populations repeatedly.

russia has significant strategic military interests, most notably its port in sevastapol. the idea that it would give up its mediterranean access without a fight is laughable. in fact, it fought the combined forces of the french, british, and ottoman empires in the mid 19th century and later the nazis to maintain its hold on crimea.

if the us is seriously looking to have a war with russia, the crimea would be a great place to start it in. they will get their war.

the crimea has notably attempted to obtain its independence from ukraine repeatedly in the post soviet era, with a compromise being reached in the late 1990's naming crimea an autonomous republic.

there was an election in 2014. 96% of those voting voted to join russia.

the vote was not accepted by the ukrainian government, nor the kaganate of nulands us.

On the other hand, you can hear resignation in some of the west's best propagandists reporting:

Life in Crimea: One year on from Russia's takeover

A year ago, reporting from Simferopol about the takeover of Crimea by Russia was a tense and difficult business.

At any moment, as the gangs of activists who had flooded across the border swaggered through the city streets, violence seemed on the point of breaking out. Today, Simferopol is completely peaceful.

There are no soldiers on the streets, and no one stops us as we set up our television camera in the main square, overlooked by its statue of Lenin, or asks us for accreditation.

The reason is simple: the transfer of Crimea from Ukraine to Russia has become an accepted fact. ...

According to an opinion poll in February conducted by pollster GfK, 93% of the people asked said that they were happy that Crimea was under Russian control.

Such an overwhelming figure might look distinctly Soviet, or even North Korean; but the polling organisation which conducted it was Ukrainian, not Russian.

And even though plenty of people no doubt thought it would be better to give the safe answer, the general sense of peace and quiet on the streets seems to indicate that they accept what has happened.

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Yes, it's a thing

When not hunting Islamic State terrorists in Iraq, U.S. troops are finding time to pursue Pokémon. While it may be a good way to relieve boredom, participation in the popular augmented-reality video game Pokémon Go could pose security concerns.

According to a report in Stars and Stripes, a U.S. Apache attack helicopter pilot said: “Some of our crew chiefs have been playing it. The only problem is that you can only seem to find the [darn] desert Pokémon.”

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enhydra lutris's picture

need right now.

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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

glad to be of service. Smile

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Ladies & gentlemen, presenting to you the champion warmonger Neocon Bill Kristol - he is doing a happy dance :

Sad but true. Between this & the Mike Morrell pronouncements, gaaaahhhh...... And that is just in the first half of this week.

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joe shikspack's picture

wow, i've got to mark today on my calendar. it's not often that i agree with that simpering moron kristol's analysis of anything, but today is the day.

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have always been as hawkish as their fellow neocons, if not more so.

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idolise them but enjoyed their polemic style going after the elites, racists, silicon valley etc. Too bad they are lumped with the Big Media by the public who are justifiably pissed with the lamestream media.

Haha! Nice reminder of Stephen Moore coming out & saying it openly that he doesn't care about Democracy. Guve him credit - not many elites say it openly.

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janis b's picture

From The Guardian piece on Baltimore cops and Freddy Gray …

"In one case, while DoJ officials shadowed officers on patrol, a supervisor advised a patrol officer to “make something up” in order to justify a stop.”

It appears that the police are being trained to learn bogus justifications for murder, rather than ways to protect lives, which was at one time their purpose. All they are protecting these days are themselves. Sad and disgraceful.

"Rock Me Baby"

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joe shikspack's picture

yep, i would imagine that the sort of thing described happens in just about every large city's police department in america.

hell, we have the freaking fbi advising local police departments (including the baltimore police) in how to create "parallel constructions" - i.e. making up a false narrative as to what information caused them to investigate a suspect in order to obfuscate the fact that their lead came from a special electronic spying device (a stingray).

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janis b's picture

Now, we have to go further underwater ...

Stingray ...

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Shockwave's picture

Bernie Sanders Denounces Brazil’s Impeachment as Undemocratic, Calls for New Elections

VERMONT SENATOR BERNIE Sanders yesterday denounced in harsh terms the impeachment of Brazil’s democratically elected president. As the Brazilian Senate heads toward a final vote later this month, Sanders described his position, set forth in a statement posted on his Senate site, as “calling on the United States to take a definitive stand against efforts to remove Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff from office.” He added: “To many Brazilians and observers the controversial impeachment process more closely resembles a coup d’état.”

Sanders also condemned the unelected center-right coalition under Michel Temer that has seized power during Rousseff’s suspension and is now trying to install themselves through 2018. “After suspending Brazil’s first female president on dubious grounds, without a mandate to govern,” he said, ” the new interim government abolished the ministry of women, racial equality and human rights” and “replaced a diverse and representative administration with a cabinet made up entirely of white men.” They are now attempting to implement radical policies that could never be democratically ratified: “impose austerity, increase privatization and install a far right-wing social agenda.”

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The political revolution continues

joe shikspack's picture

good on bernie for that.

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mimi's picture

in "covert actions" telling Charlie Rose in public what he would do covertly...

Morell said the killing of Russians and Iranians should be undertaken “covertly, so you don’t tell the world about it, you don’t stand up at the Pentagon and say ‘we did this.’ But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”

It's kind of "enchanting" to know what kind of idiotic jerks have lead the CIA. ... I get a headache reading through the EB. Excellent collection, but toxic to digest. Something is seriously wrong with the world. May be you should become an adivsor on foreign policies in Eastern Europe, Joe.

Thanks for Lil Green. Her voice is fitting as a response to the news. Hopefully tomorrow we hear something good for a change.

Good Night.

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Don't laugh. You and I pay these fools.

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Slightkc's picture

"She will deliver on the most important duty of a president—keeping our nation safe." —Michael Morell on Hillary

Keeping our nation safe, while a common-sense presidential concept, is NOT the most important duty of a president... in fact, it's not even mentioned in the oath of office!

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The Constitution - not "the People" is what is defended. (Tho, argument could be made for both being symbolically equal.) And, IMO, over the last several decades, the poor Constitution has taken many a severe beating at the hands of those whose Oath commands they protect it and defend it. (sigh)

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On some of those recordings, Lil Green seems to just "belt them out," like Ethel Merman, which is not my favorite "song styling." On some, though, Lil sounds a bit like Billie Holiday. but not as good as Holiday. However, the sax, piano and guitar are a joy to listen to.

The US state department has turned over 44 previously unreleased Hillary Clinton email exchanges that the Democratic presidential nominee failed to include among the 30,000 private messages she turned over to the government last year. They show her interacting with lobbyists, political and Clinton Foundation donors and business interests as secretary of state.

So, the emails she sought to keep away from everyone's eyes were not all about her daughter's wedding and her mom's funeral? Shocker! Maybe her statements about Chelsea's wedding and her mom's funeral were a tad misleading? Another shocker!

Clinton fans seem to love pointing to the fact that the Clintons have never been formally charged with any crime (apart from Bill Clinton's impeachment and disbarment, of course), let alone convicted. However, avoiding formal criminal charges may not be really all that difficult if you are both Ivy League trained lawyers, you take over two years to respond to a subpoena or an FOIA request while you try to get rid of the stuff you'd rather not have anyone see, you are willing to lie under oath (and not under oath) to avoid adverse consequences, and at least one of your friends was willing to take an a sentence of 18 months in jail for contempt of court, rather than answer questions about you.

Oh, and the only thing of which Al Capone was ever convicted was tax evasion, but tax evasion was very likely not the only crime he ever did committed.

Thank you, Joe, for another wonderful evening post. Great music does take some of the sting out of the awful news.

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Meteor Man's picture

Colorado regulators say that, if passed, Initiative 78 could effectively halt new oil and gas exploration and production in as much of 90 percent of the state.

Initiative 75 would establish local government control of oil and gas development, authorizing local municipalities "to pass a broad range of more protective regulations, prohibitions, limits or moratoriums on oil and gas development—or not," according to the grassroots group.

Damn peons complaining about clean air and clean water again. What do they want? People before profits? God damn commies! Why do they hate our freedom to poison the planet?

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn