The Evening Blues - 8-13-18
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features soul and blues singer Johnny Clyde Copeland. Enjoy!
Johnny Copeland - Mama Told Me
"Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them."
-- Jean-Paul Sartre
News and Opinion
Donald Trump’s anti-press rhetoric is “very close to incitement to violence” that would lead to journalists censoring themselves or being attacked, the outgoing UN human rights commissioner has said.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a Jordanian prince and diplomat, is stepping down this month as UN high commissioner for human rights after deciding not to stand for a second four-year term, in the face of a waning commitment among world powers to fighting abuses.
Zeid said the Trump administration’s lack of concern about human rights marked a distinct break with previous administrations, and that Trump’s own rhetoric aimed at minorities and at the press was redolent of two of the worst eras of the 20th century, the run-up to the two world wars.
In an interview with the Guardian, he singled out the US president’s repeated designation of the press as “the enemy of the people”. “We began to see a campaign against the media … that could have potentially, and still can, set in motion a chain of events which could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work and potentially some self-censorship,” Zeid said. “And in that context, it’s getting very close to incitement to violence.”
He said it would be up to a court but determine whether Trump was actually guilty of incitement depending on the circumstances, if say, a journalist was stabbed while covering a rally. He said Trump’s example was already being followed elsewhere, giving license to authoritarian leaders to crack down on the media in ways they had not previously dared to. Zeid pointed to the Cambodian leader, Hun Sen, who he said had used similar language when he closed down independent media organisations.
A senior Facebook executive told Australian media companies that if they didn’t cooperate with the social network, their businesses would die. According to a report by The Australian, Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, told a group of more than 20 broadcasters and publishers that she wanted to help media companies develop sustainable business models through the platform.
“We will help you revitalise journalism … in a few years the reverse looks like I’ll be holding your hands with your dying business like in a hospice,” she said, in comments corroborated by five people who attended the meeting in Sydney on Tuesday.
The Australian also reported that Brown said that Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, “doesn’t care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes”, although both Facebook and Brown vehemently deny this comment was made, referring to a transcript they have from the meeting.
Facebook would not release the transcript from the meeting
During the four-hour meeting, Brown also talked about the company’s decision to prioritise personal posts from family and friends over journalistic content within the news feed. The move has hit some publishers who rely heavily on referrals from Facebook hard. “We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals anymore. That is the old world and there is no going back – Mark wouldn’t agree to this,” said Brown.
Google's former head f free expression issues in Asia has slammed the internet giant’s plan to launch a censored search engine in China, calling it a “stupid move” that would violate widely held human rights principles.
As The Intercept first reported last week, Google has been quietly developing a search platform for China that would remove content that China’s authoritarian government views as sensitive, such as information about political opponents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest. It w>ould “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, according to internal Google documents.
Lokman Tsui, Google’s head of free expression for Asia and the Pacific between 2011 and 2014, read the leaked censorship plans and said he was disturbed by the details. “This is just a really bad idea, a stupid, stupid move,” he told The Intercept in an interview. “I feel compelled to speak out and say that this is not right.” ...
“In these past few years things have been deteriorating so badly in China – you cannot be there without compromising yourself,” Tsui said. Google launching a censored search engine in the country “would be a moral victory for Beijing,” he added. “Beijing has nothing to lose. So if Google wants to go back, it would be under the terms and conditions that Beijing would lay out for them. I can’t see how Google would be able to negotiate any kind of a deal that would be positive. I can’t see a way to operate Google search in China without violating widely held international human rights standards.” ...
Google has upped its presence in the country in recent years. Under the leadership of its current CEO Sundar Pichai, Google has launched translate and file management apps in China. The company has also opened an artificial intelligence research center in Beijing, and invested $550 million in the online Chinese retailer JD.com. These were baby steps, however, in comparison to the planned return of the search engine, which would be a massive strategic move for Google, with broad political implications. When Google pulled its search engine out of the country in 2010, it was a major rebuke to the Chinese government and its policies. Returning to China and embracing the censorship would send the opposite message, according to Tsui.
Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.
An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you've used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so. Computer science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP's request.
For the most part, Google is upfront about asking permission to use your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to location if you use it for navigating. If you agree to let it record your location over time, Google Maps will display that history for you in a “timeline” that maps out your daily movements.
Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects. So the company will let you “pause” a setting called “location history”. Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you've been. Google's support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.” That isn't true. Even with “location history” paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.
For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, such as “chocolate chip cookies” or “kids science kits”, pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude accurate to the square foot and save it to your Google account. The privacy issue affects about 2 billion users of devices that run Google's Android operating software and hundreds of millions of worldwide iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search.
Britain should back the United States in its dispute over the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. warned Sunday — threatening British companies with “serious consequences” if they continued to trade with Tehran.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, U.S. ambassador Woody Johnson said Britain should break rank with its European neighbours, who are working to keep the 2015 accord alive, and align itself with President Donald Trump. The White House pulled the U.S. out of the landmark deal in May, resulting in the first tranche of U.S. sanctions on Iran being reimposed last week.
In the article, Johnson urged the British government to rethink its position on the deal, under which the signatories agreed to lift sanctions on Iran in return for limits on its nuclear programme. He called for a “united front” among Western signatories to force Tehran to change its disruptive behaviour, and issued a stark ultimatum to British businesses, telling then to cease trading with Iran or face “serious consequences” for their dealings with America. ...
Johnson’s ultimatum ratchets up the tensions between the allies over Iran, in the first test of the relationship since Trump’s visit to the U.K. last month.
Fresh hope has been injected into the Afghan peace process after Taliban officials said groundbreaking preliminary talks with the US last month were “very helpful” and that another round will take place in Doha in September.
Four Taliban members met Alice Wells, a senior US state department official, at a hotel in the Qatari capital on 23 July for the first face-to-face talks in seven years. The diplomacy follows the White House’s decision to drop its opposition to bilateral talks with the Islamist insurgency it has failed to uproot in 17 years of war.
On Sunday fighting continued for the third consecutive day between the Taliban and Afghan security forces in the eastern city of Ghazni.
The US previously said it would sit on the sidelines of an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” peace process. The Trump administration changed tack, however, in recognition of the Taliban’s refusal to enter negotiations with the Afghan government without first discussing the removal of foreign troops in the US. The first round of basic contacts “were very helpful”, a senior member of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura told the Guardian. They requested anonymity as only the movement’s spokesperson is authorised to speak in public. ...
A sense of cautious optimism has spread through Washington after the unprecedented ceasefire during the Eid holiday in June, during which 20,000 unarmed Taliban fighters flooded city centres, posting selfies and dancing with soldiers and civilians.
The leaders of North and South Korea agreed Monday to meet for a third summit in less than six months — as negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington hit an impasse. Another sit-down between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In is scheduled for September — this time to be held in the North Korean capital. However, the joint statement released by both Koreas came as tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over denuclearization continue to simmer.
There is no set date for the summit, but it could coincide with North Korea’s celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the state’s foundation on Sept. 9, with Kim inviting a number of international dignitaries to Pyongyang for the event.
Moon has worked tirelessly over the last year to foster closer social and economic ties with Pyongyang, and the fact he is willing to travel to the North Korean capital is a sign of how much he wants his diplomatic efforts to succeed.
“Another inter-Korean summit is essential now. If left to the U.S. and North Korea alone, there’s unlikely to be any meaningful progress,” an editorial in the South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh said Monday. “When the planned North Korea-U.S. summit fell into crisis, we need to remember that it was the second inter-Korean summit at Panmunjom that broke the ice and allowed the historic Singapore talks to take place.”
A confidential report by Israeli military police investigators seen by The Intercept explains how a tragic series of mistakes by air force, naval, and intelligence officers led to an airstrike in which four Palestinian boys playing on a beach in Gaza in 2014 were killed by missiles launched from an armed drone. Testimony from the officers involved in the attack, which has been concealed from the public until now, confirms for the first time that the children — four cousins ages 10 and 11 — were pursued and killed by drone operators who somehow mistook them, in broad daylight, for Hamas militants.
The testimony raises new questions about whether the attack, which unfolded in front of dozens of journalists and triggered global outrage, was carried out with reckless disregard for civilian life and without proper authorization. After killing the first boy, the drone operators told investigators, they had sought clarification from their superiors as to how far along the beach, used by civilians, they could pursue the fleeing survivors. Less than a minute later, as the boys ran for their lives, the drone operators decided to launch a second missile, killing three more children, despite never getting an answer to their question.
Suhad Bishara, a lawyer representing the families of the victims, told The Intercept that Israel’s use of armed drones to kill Palestinians poses “many questions concerning human judgment, ethics, and compliance with international humanitarian law.” Remotely piloted bombers “alter the process of human decision-making,” Bishara said, and the use of the technology in the 2014 beach attack “expands the circle of people responsible for the actual killing of the Bakr children." ...
According to the testimony of one naval officer involved in the strikes, the mission was initially considered “a great success,” because the strike team believed, wrongly, that they had killed four Hamas militants preparing to launch an attack on Israeli forces. Within minutes of the two strikes, however, a group of international journalists who had witnessed the attack from nearby hotels reported that the victims torn apart by the missiles were not adult militants but four small boys, cousins who were 10 and 11 years old. Another four boys from the same family survived the attack, but were left with shrapnel wounds and deep emotional scars.
A state review into the treatment of immigrant teens held at a Virginia detention center confirms the facility uses restraint techniques that can include strapping children to chairs and placing mesh bags over their heads. But investigators concluded the harsh treatment described by detainees at the Shenandoah Valley juvenile center did not meet the state’s legal threshold of abuse or neglect, according to a copy of the findings issued on Monday by the Virginia department of juvenile justice and obtained by the Associated Press. ...
Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, ordered the review in June hours after first-person accounts by children as young as 14, who said they were handcuffed, shackled and beaten at the facility, were published by the news agency. They also described being stripped of their clothes and locked in solitary confinement, sometimes strapped to chairs with bags over their heads at the facility near Staunton, 150 miles south-west of Washington DC.
The state investigators said they were unable to interview the teens directly alleging abuse. Those who made the initial complaints as part of a federal class-action lawsuit filed in November 2017 were subsequently transferred or deported back to their home countries after the resolution of their cases. ...
Hannah Lieberman, a lawyer at the Washington Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, representing the Latino teens involved in the lawsuit, said the state report does not disprove the abuse allegations by her clients. She said the legal case against the facility will proceed.
As hundreds of people poured in to Washington D.C. on Sunday to protest what some feared would be a large white nationalist rally, a red pickup truck pulled into a Target parking lot outside of Alexandria, Virginia. A man in a blue suit stepped out of the truck. It was Jason Kessler, the organizer of Sunday’s “White Civil Rights rally,” and one of the key figures behind last year’s violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He’d arrived with Jovi Val, a far-right activist and a member of the Proud Boys, a far-right organization that was labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for the first time this year. Kessler is a white nationalist who has espoused to racist ideas, including that races can be ranked by their intelligence. ...
D.C. transit police escorted Kessler’s group, which included supporters of the internet conspiracy Q-Anon and people with Nazi symbols tattooed on their arms, down into the subway. There, they were relegated to their own subway car. When Kessler and his crew of just two dozen emerged at Foggy Bottom in Washington D.C., a large crowd of media and protesters were waiting.
Many of the most prominent participants in last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which left one dead and dozens more injured, have since faced serious consequences for their actions, including costly lawsuits and potential jail time. Most groups swore off Kessler’s event entirely and even discouraged others to attend. Anti-fascist protesters, meanwhile, turned out in droves, traveling from across the country, including Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee, to rally against Kessler’s movement.
Kessler and his cohorts proceeded up Pennsylvania Avenue, flanked by police on motorcycles and protesters chanting “Nazis go home” they made their way towards Lafayette Park. Kessler had reserved the park for 100 to 400 people. But only some two dozen people showed up to participate in Kessler’s rally. They were vastly outnumbered by counter-protesters, many of whom had rallied in Freedom Plaza earlier in the day and then marched to Lafayette Square. Police carved out two distinct areas for Kessler’s group and for counter protesters, separated by about 1,000 feet.
The white man who shot and killed a black man over a parking space in Florida will be charged with manslaughter after all, despite the sheriff’s office previously declining to pursue any charges due to the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.
Michael Drejka, the 47-year-old who killed Markeis McGlockton after he parked in a disabled spot outside a Circle K convenience store and gas station in Clearwater in July, was charged with manslaughter Monday, according to ABC. Drejka started an argument with McGlockton’s girlfriend — with their two young children in the car — after he noticed the family park in the spot without a permit. ...
The state attorney for Pinellas County, Bernie McCabe, announced his office would file charges against Drejka after receiving investigative reports from the local sheriff’s office. The charges are “consistent with the decision-making process established under Florida law in this case,” McCabe said. Drejka’s bond was set at $100,000, according to ABC.
McGlockton, 28, was in the car with his young children and girlfriend Britany Jacobs, 25, before he was killed. He went into the store with his 5-year-old son when Drejka, upset about his use of a disabled parking spot, began circling the vehicle. Surveillance footage from outside the store showed Drejka talking to Jacobs before McGlockton ran out of the store, stood between them, and pushed Drejka to the ground. Drejka then shot McGlockton.
Aretha Franklin is “gravely ill”, according to sources close to her family.
BREAKING NEWS: I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill. I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.
— Evrod Cassimy (@EvrodCassimy) August 13, 2018
Franklin, 76, has faced bouts of ill-health since 2010, when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, according to a family member who spoke to Detroit’s press. After an operation that year, she continued to undergo treatment, and told Us Weekly last year, following a hoax report of her death: “I’m doing well generally, all test have come back good. I’ve lost a lot of weight due to side effects of medicine, it affects your weight.” She cancelled two concert appearances in April on her doctor’s orders.
She announced a partial retirement in 2017, saying “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert”, before saying she planned occasional one-off performances: “I'll be pretty much satisfied, but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either.” Her last previous performance was in November, at a gala event for the Elton John Aids Foundation; the same month she released her most recent album, A Brand New Me.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation fired agent Peter Strzok — the agent who sent text messages critical of Donald Trump — on Friday, according to the Washington Post.
Strzok, who assisted in leading the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, exchanged the anti-Trump messages with another FBI official, his then-lover Lisa Page. The president had previously likened those texts to treason. Strzok was also integral to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
However, Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, told the Post that the firing was unusual, as Strzok was previously assigned a demotion and a 60-day suspension by the office that normally handles employee discipline. In the messages, Strzok had called Trump a “fucking idiot” and expressed disdain over his run for office. After the messages were discovered, Strzok was reassigned from the investigation in July 2017 to a role in human resources at the FBI.
The majority of Democrats feel positively about socialism, while less than half feel the same about capitalism, according to a new Gallup poll released Monday.
“The major change among Democrats has been a less upbeat attitude toward capitalism, dropping to 47 percent positive this year — lower than in any of the three previous measures,” Gallup wrote. In contrast, 57 percent of Democrats have a positive view of socialism, which is largely unchanged from Gallup’s previous polls in 2016, 2012, and 2010. The share of Democrats feeling positive about capitalism has never dipped below 50 percent in any the three previous surveys. The previous low-water mark for capitalism among Democrats came in 2010 in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and Wall Street bailouts. ...
Asked about democratic socialism at a CNN town hall in 2017, Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi said, “Thank you for your question, but I have to say, we are capitalist.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a potential candidate for president in 2020 and a frequent ally of Sanders, recently said at a town hall that she is a “capitalist to my bones” but that the current system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and powerful.
As climate change-fueled wildfires ravage the West Coast, the Democratic National Committee voted 30-2 on Friday night in support of a proposal to “welcome the longstanding and generous contributions of workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions’ or employers’ political action committees.” The move seemingly reversed a ban passed in June pledging that the body would stop taking contributions from corporate PACs connected to the fossil fuel industry.
The DNC resolution also references an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that directly contradicts the party’s commitment to curbing global warming.
DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa said the decision was made after “hearing concerns from Labor that this was an attack on workers, this resolution acknowledges the generous contributions of workers, including those in energy, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates.” She told the Huffington Post that the change did not represent a reversal on the previous policy, and did not comment on which unions in particular had approached the DNC about the rule change.
Chuck Idelson, a spokesperson for National Nurses United — a union that has been outspoken about the need to confront climate change, and which also backed Bernie Sanders’s primary bid — called the proposal a “blatant appeal to contributions from the fossil fuel industry, which is gorged with profits that they make off destroying the planet and poisoning working people.” The language of the proposal, though — brought by DNC Chair Tom Perez — centers heavily on the party’s support for organized labor, casting the decision as a matter of protecting workers in the energy sector.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Johnny Copeland - If Love Is Your Friend
Johnny Copeland - Ain't Nobody's Business
Johnny Copeland - You're Gonna Reap Just What You Sow
Johnny Copeland - Trying To Reach My Goal
Johnny Copeland - I Ain't Gonna Take It
Johnny Copeland - I Can Tell
Johnny Copeland - Every Dog Has His Day
Johnny Copeland - It's My Own Tears That's Being Wasted
Johnny Copeland - May the Best Man Win
Johnny Copeland - Rock & Roll Lily