The Evening Blues 8-31-15

This evening's music features "The Mother of the Blues," Gertrude "Ma" Rainey.

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants."

-- Omar Nelson Bradley

German Envoy: US Considered Nuking Afghanistan After 9/11

In comments to Der Spiegel, German Ambassador Michael Steiner, who is retiring this summer, revealed that the Bush Administration was seriously considering carrying out a nuclear attack against Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, apparently at a loss for what to do. ...

How close the US was to actually nuking a site in Afghanistan may perhaps never be known, and without details we can’t possibly estimate just how many civilians would’ve been killed in such an attack. Ultimately, the US decided on an open-ended military occupation as an alternative, which itself has killed tens of thousands of people over the past 14+ years.

Uh oh, wingnut explosion at West Point...

West Point professor calls on US military to target legal critics of war on terror

An assistant professor in the law department of the US military academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants.

In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.

Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.

“Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, [dissenting] scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are – at least in theory – targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism,” Bradford wrote. ...

Bradford’s article, Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column, appeared in the most recent issue of the National Security Law Journal, a student-run publication at the George Mason School of Law. Bradford clarifies that the term means “treason of the professors”, itself an allusion to a famous attack on French intellectuals from the 1920s.

Extraordinary Brutality Inflicted on Civilians in Yemen By US-Backed Saudis

So, how long is it going to take the US to figure out that the Saudis strategy in Yemen is genocide?

Saudi Coalition Bombs Yemen Water Bottling Plant, Killing Dozens of Civilians

In the midst of a war-fueled water crisis, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition reportedly bombed a water bottling plant in northern Yemen on Sunday, adding to mounting civilian casualties as the military onslaught enters its sixth month.

"The corpses of 36 workers, many of them burnt or in pieces, were pulled out after an air strike hit the plant this morning," resident Issa Ahmed told Reuters of Sunday's bombing in the province of Hajjah. ...

Coalition spokesperson Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri denied that the bombing hit a civilian target. However, this claim contradicts reports by residents and medical officials.

The apparent bombing follows a series of attacks targeting civilian infrastructure and neighborhoods. Coalition strikes killed 65 people in Taiz late last week, the vast majority of them civilians. Furthermore, the bombing of a milk factory in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida in July killed 65 people.

In a report released earlier this month, humanitarian aid agency Amnesty International criticized the coalition's "pattern of strikes targeting heavily populated areas including civilian homes, a school, a market and a mosque. In the majority of cases no military target could be located nearby."

Turkey Duped the US, and ISIS Reaps Rewards

There are signs of a growing understanding in Washington that the US was duped by the Turks, or at best its negotiators deceived themselves when they agreed their bargain with Ankara. Senior US military officers are anonymously protesting in the US media they did not know that Turkey was pretending to be going after ISIS when in practice it was planning an offensive against its 18 million-strong Kurdish minority.

Further evidence of misgivings in Washington came last week with an article in The New York Times entitled “America’s Dangerous Bargain with Turkey” by Eric S Edelman, former US ambassador to Turkey and under-secretary for defence policy, who is normally regarded as a neo-con of good standing. He accuses Mr Erdogan of unleashing “a new wave of repression aimed at Kurds in Turkey, which risks plunging the country into civil war” and he goes on to suggest that this might help the AKP win back its majority, but will certainly undermine the fight against ISIS. He says: “By disrupting logistics and communications between the PKK in Iraq and the PYD in Syria, Turkey is weakening the most effective ground force fighting the Islamic State in Syria: the Kurds.”

In fact, there is growing evidence that the Turkish government has gone even further than that in weakening US allies opposing ISIS in Syria, Arab as well as Kurd. For several years the US has been trying to build up a moderate force of Syrian rebels who are able to fight both ISIS and the Syrian government in Damascus. ... But in July, the US plan to create such a moderate force was humiliatingly knocked on the head when Jabhat al-Nusra attacked and kidnapped many of this US-trained force as they entered Syria from Turkey. It now seems certain that Nusra had been tipped off by Turkish intelligence about the movements of the US-backed unit known as “Division 30”. Turkey apparently did this because it does not want the US to have its own surrogate in Syria. ... [The US-backed forces] disintegration would leave the US with no alternative but to train Turkish-sponsored rebel groups whose primary aim is to topple Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. ...

The US campaign against ISIS is failing and the US-Turkish deal will not reverse that failure and may make it more complete. Why did US negotiators allow themselves to be deceived, if that is what happened. No doubt the US air force was over-eager for the use of Incirlik so it would not have to fly its planes from Jordan, Bahrain or carriers in the Gulf.

But there is a deeper reason for America’s inability to confront ISIS successfully. Ever since 9/11, the US has wanted to combat al-Qaeda-type movements, but without disturbing its close relations with Sunni states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Gulf monarchies. But it is these same allies that have fostered, tolerated or failed to act against the al-Qaeda clones, which explains their continuing success.

As Al Jazeera Journalists Are Jailed for 3 Years in Egypt, Will U.S. Stop "Cozying Up" to Regime?

Global Rights Groups Call for Turkey to Release Detained VICE News Journalists

Global rights groups have issued calls seeking the immediate release of four journalists working for VICE News who have been detained in Turkey since Thursday without being charged.

Turkish authorities took British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury into custody while they were reporting with two other colleagues — a fixer and a driver — in the city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey.

While security sources initially said the journalists were being detained for filming without government accreditation, they have since been accused of supporting the so-called Islamic State (IS). The journalists are expected to appear in court on Monday.

Authorities also seized camera equipment that belonged to the journalists, and searched their hotel rooms.

Amnesty International, PEN International, and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) have all condemned the detentions.

Preserving Borders vs. Preserving People: Death Toll Rises as Refugees Head to Europe Seeking Safety

ISIS Fighters Seize Part of Syrian Capital of Damascus

Battles are reportedly ongoing in the Syrian capital city of Damascus after a sudden attack by ISIS fighters has left them with possession of part of the Qadam District, the first time any rebel faction has had anything meaningful inside the capital itself.

Actually how much is held in the city is unclear, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claiming that ISIS only holds a couple of streets, but ISIS themselves saying they hold half of the very significant district, and showing video of their fighters advancing significantly.

ISIS’ main target in the area near Damascus has long been the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, which had been a de facto suburb of the capital before the war. Now, the fighters are pushing into the city itself, something that was once seen as unthinkable.

Islamic State Claims to Mint Gold Coins in Effort to Drive US to Financial Ruin

The self-styled Islamic State (IS) claims it is now minting its own gold coins and other currency, according to a lengthy propaganda video released Saturday by the militant group. ...

In the video, which goes on for nearly an hour, the narrator explains that the new currency is aimed at strengthening the group's self-proclaimed caliphate and harming the US economy. It says the new currency will deliver a "second blow" to the US and its "capitalist financial system of enslavement" after 9/11.

Speaking about the American bond market and how it relates to oil sales, the narrator calls the system the "Achilles heel" of the US economy. "When struck, it will mark the death of this oppressive bank note and bring America the symbol of injustice and tyranny to her knees," he says.

The new IS coins will purportedly be minted from precious metals that are "made from measures of wealth that Allah created." The narrator says that as the IS currency "surges into the financial sphere" it will cast the "fraudulent dollar note" into ruins.

Ukrainian guardsman killed in far-right protests against vote on rebel autonomy

Demonstrators have brawled and lobbed grenades outside Ukraine’s parliament, killing one officer from the interior ministry’s National Guard and injuring up to 100.

The violence was in protest against a parliamentary vote to grant concessions to territories held by Russian-backed rebels.

The interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said one officer died from shrapnel wounds and around 10 more were seriously injured. Most of the protesters appeared to come from Svoboda, a far-right political party that was part of the Maidan movement which overthrew the president Viktor Yanukovych last year but did badly at the polls and only has a handful of MPs.

Court: We Can’t Rule on NSA Bulk Data Collection Because We Don’t Know Whose Data Was Collected

On Friday, an appeals court overturned a U.S. District Court decision last May that had declared that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records was beyond the authorization of the law. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit kicked the matter back to the lower court for additional deliberation.

The decision did not declare the NSA’s program, which was revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, to have been legal or constitutional. Rather, it focused on a technicality: a majority opinion that the plaintiffs in the case could not actually prove that the metadata program swept up their own phone records. Therefore, the plaintiffs, the court declared, did not have standing to sue. ...

“Today’s ruling is merely a procedural decision,” said Alexander Abdo, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued against the program at the U.S. District Court. “Only one appeals court has weighed in on the merits of the program, and it ruled the government’s collection of Americans’ call records was not only unlawful but ‘unprecedented and unwarranted.’”

Despite Friday’s decision, the bulk collection program will end later this year in accordance with the USA Freedom Act, passed by Congress in June.

Chris Hedges: The Great Unraveling

“The old is dying, the new struggles to be born, and in the interregnum there are many morbid symptoms,” the theorist Antonio Gramsci wrote.

These “morbid symptoms” will expand until we radically reconfigure how we relate to each other and the ecosystem. But there is no guarantee such a reconfiguration is possible, especially if the elites manage to cling to power through their pervasive global security and surveillance apparatus and heavily militarized police forces. If we do not overthrow this neoliberal system, and overthrow it soon, we will unleash a Hobbesian nightmare of escalating state violence and counterviolence. Masses of the poor will be condemned to misery and death. Some will try to violently resist. A tiny elite, living in a modern version of Versailles or the Forbidden City, will have access to amenities denied to everyone else. Hatred will become the primary ideology.

The attraction of Islamic State, which has up to 30,000 foreign fighters, is that it articulates the rage felt by the wretched of the earth and has thrown off the shackles of Western domination. It defies the neoliberal attempt to turn the oppressed into human refuse. You can condemn the group’s medieval vision of a Muslim state and its campaigns of terror against Shiites, Yazidis, Christians, women and homosexuals—which I do—but the anguish that inspires this savagery is genuine; you can condemn the racism of white supremacists who are flocking to Trump—as I do—but what they are responding to is their similar frustration and despair. The neoliberal order, by turning people into superfluous labor and by extension superfluous human beings, orchestrated this anger. The only hope left is to re-integrate the dispossessed into the global economy, to give them a sense of possibility and hope, to give them a future. Short of that, nothing will stem the fanaticism.

Islamic State, much like the Christian right in the U.S., seeks a return to an unachievable purity and utopianism, a heaven on earth. It promises to establish a version of the seventh-century caliphate. Twentieth-century Zionists seeking to form Israel used the same playbook when they called for the re-creation of the mythical Jewish nation of the Bible. ISIS, as the Jewish fighters who founded Israel did, is attempting to build its state (now the size of Texas) though ethnic cleansing, terrorism and the use of foreign fighters. Its utopian cause, as was the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War, is attractive to tens of millions of youths, most of them Muslims cast aside by the neoliberal order. Islamic State offers a vision of a broken society made whole. It offers a place and sense of identity—denied by neoliberalism—to those who embrace this vision. It calls for a turning away from the deadening cult of the self that lies at the core of neoliberal ideology. It holds up the sanctity of self-sacrifice. And it offers an avenue for vengeance.

Until we dismantle the neoliberal order and recover the humanistic tradition that rejects the view that human beings and the Earth are commodities to exploit, our form of industrialized and economic barbarity will collide with the barbarity of those who oppose us. The only choice offered by “bourgeois society,” as Friedrich Engels knew, is “socialism or regression into barbarism.” It is time we make this choice.

Activists Reject Claims That Black Lives Matter Led to Shooting of Houston Deputy

Texas law enforcement officials have arrested a suspect in the murder of a sheriff's deputy at a gas station in suburban Houston on Saturday, but they do not believe the gunman had any interaction with the victim before the shooting, and are still searching for a motive in the case. ...

When speaking about possible motives, the Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman mentioned he was concerned about angry rhetoric toward police related to ongoing nationwide protests aimed at drawing attention to police brutality and race relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

"Any point where the rhetoric ramps up where calculated, cold-blooded assassination of police officers happen, this rhetoric has gotten out of control," he said. "We've heard black lives matter, all lives matter, well cops lives matter too. So let's just drop the qualifier and say lives matter."

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson also called for a halt to violent or threatening rhetoric against police. ...

DeRay Mckesson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, posted several tweets on Saturday that forcefully rejected the efforts to link the Houston shooting with activism against police brutality.

"It is sad that some have chosen to politicize this tragedy by falsely attributing the officer's death to a movement seeking to end violence," Mckesson wrote. "I do not condone killing," he added later. He also argued against using the slogan "All lives matter," or "lives matter," in place of Black Lives Matter, as the Houston sheriff suggested.

As Trial Approaches, What Has Changed Since Freddie Gray's Killing?

Indecision replaces hope in buildup to Greek elections

Seven months is a long time in politics. In July, 21-year-old Lydia Markou did not honour the charismatic Syriza leader’s call to vote against the excoriating demands of creditors in a referendum that infuriated Brussels and set Europe alight. And now, like so many of Tsipras’ erstwhile supporters in the aftermath of his embrace of the very policies he had vowed to overturn, she is far from sure who she will support in what will be a third ballot for Greeks this year. “He made so many promises. He should have said less,” she snapped. “He did everything he pledged he wouldn’t do. Of course I’m disappointed.”

Markou is far from being alone. The fate of Europe’s first radical left party to have been catapulted into power on a platform of eradicating austerity lies in the hands of the vast number of erstwhile supporters who have indicated, ahead of the vote, they remain undecided.

A barrage of polls has clearly caught Tsipras – and his new-found allies in EU capitals – by surprise. Backing for Syriza has not only fallen among the party’s own constituency, it has dropped precipitously for the once firebrand leader.

Echoing the findings of three other surveys, a University of Macedonia poll commissioned by Skai TV showed that the former prime minister’s popularity ratings had fallen by more than half – from 70% to 30% – following acceptance of the tax increases, spending cuts and sale of public assets he had formerly pledged to wipe out.

Syriza’s ratings have also plummeted – from around 33% before Tsipras agreed in July to the tough terms of a third bailout from the EU and International Monetary Fund – to 23%, according to the left-leaning Syntaktwn newspaper. Undecided voters represented as much as 25.5% of those polled. ... The likelihood of the leftists not being able to win an outright majority has raised the prospect of the EU’s most volatile member – only recently pulled back from the brink of euro exit – being plunged, once again, into political uncertainty.

Stocks down as investors worry over China and prospects of US rate rise

Global stock markets dipped again on Monday as worries over China’s economy and the timing of the first increase in US interest rates in a decade rattled investors.

US markets all opened down as investors digested more falls in Asia and comments from the Federal Reserve vice-chairman, Stanley Fischer, over the weekend that suggested a rate increase could come sooner than some expected.

'Fighting for Their People,' Puerto Rico's Faith Leaders Condemn Austerity

Denouncing new austerity plans and proposed "fiscal adjustments" that they say will adversely impact Puerto Rico's poor and needy people, the island's faith leaders on Monday called for debt relief and a resolution to the financial crisis that eschews further austerity.

With a working group restructuring plan due to be delivered to Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla on or before September 8, the letter from religious leaders (pdf) comes as the U.S. territory struggles to address crippling debt and double-digit unemployment.

Two recent reports, one commissioned by a group of hedge funds who purchased the island's distressed debt and the other authorized by Puerto Rico's own government, suggest new austerity plans to pay off portions of the debt—including reducing the minimum wage along with cuts to education and healthcare programs.

Citing the Biblical concept of debt relief, or Jubilee, the letter's signatories express concern about "predatory hedge funds which seek to benefit from our distress and push our economy to the brink of collapse" while calling for full-scale debt restructuring "that invests in Puerto Rico’s people."

the horse race

Sanders highlights differences with Clinton after Iowa poll shows tight race

After a new poll showed Bernie Sanders trailing Hillary Clinton in Iowa by only seven points, the Vermont senator seized a chance to differentiate himself from the establishment favourite for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Appearing on CNN, Sanders listed a number of his policy positions, including on Wall Street reform, climate change and entitlements. He repeated after each one: “That is not Hillary Clinton’s position.” ...

The Iowa poll, carried out by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics, was released late on Saturday. It showed Clinton leading among likely Democratic voters in the early voting state but down 20% on her position in the last such poll in May. It is the first time she has polled well under 50% in the state in this campaign cycle.

Sanders attracted 30% support, one-third of Clinton’s previous support having transferred allegiance. ...

In [an] appearance on ABC, Sanders was asked about his votes against military force in Iraq and in Syria, as well as the first Gulf War. In 2001, after 9/11, he voted in support of the invasion of Afghanistan.

“There are times when you have to use military force,” he said, “no question about it. I am prepared to do it, but that is the last resort, not the first.

“I think historically, in too many instances, the United States has gone to war often unilaterally when we should not have.”

Tremendously disappointing:

Bernie Sanders Says He Will Not End Drone Program If Elected President

Sanders said that he wouldn't end the drone program but would try to limit the number of innocent civilians killed.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Sunday that if elected president he would not end the U.S.'s controversial drone program in the Middle East.

Sanders told ABC's "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos that he would continue with the targeted killing campaign but suggested he would somehow reform the program so that drones don't kill innocent people abroad.

"I think we have to use drones very, very selectively and effectively. That has not always been the case," Sanders said.

Nine times more strikes have occurred under Obama than under former President George W. Bush. The Obama strikes have killed almost six times more people and twice as many civilians than those ordered in the Bush years. At least seven American citizens have been extra-judicially killed by drones, including one 16-year-old, meaning they were never given a trial as required by the Constitution, according to the National Journal. Obama himself directly ordered many of the strikes.

The Evening Greens

Obama defends Arctic drilling decision on eve of Alaska climate change trip

Barack Obama has been forced to defend his decision to allow the hunt for oil in the last great wilderness of the Arctic, on the eve of an historic visit to Alaska intended to spur the fight against climate change.

The three-day tour – which will include a hike across a shrinking glacier and visits to coastal communities buffeted by sea-level rise and erosion – was intended to showcase the real-time effects of climate change.

But a defensive White House was forced to push back against campaigners who accuse Obama of undermining his environmental agenda by giving the go-ahead to Shell to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea, only weeks after rolling out his signature climate change plan.

Obama, in his weekly address on Saturday, insisted there was no clash between his climate change agenda and Arctic drilling.

America was beginning to get off fossil fuels, he said. But Obama went on: “Our economy still has to rely on oil and gas. As long as that’s the case, I believe we should rely more on domestic production than on foreign imports.”

Climate Leaders Don't Drill The Arctic

Ahead of his trip to the Arctic, President Obama said ‘alarm bells are ringing’ about climate change. Here in Alaska, sirens have been sounding for decades

When I grew up in Point Hope, 50 years ago, we used dog sleds for transportation, seal oil for warmth, whale bones and sod for shelter. All these energy sources came from our land and our ocean through the animals to us.

We were an independent sovereign culture. Fossil fuel was introduced to us. We weren’t looking for it. It changed our way of living; it made life easier, more comfortable, it afforded us luxuries - but it certainly came at a price. We have become dependent on an outside energy source; just like any other modern community in the world.

Shell believes there is oil in our ocean. But extracting it comes at too big a risk for the indigenous people of the Arctic. The Inupiaq culture is centered around the harvest of marine mammals. We are who we are because the animals give themselves to us on their yearly migration. ...

The US government predicts a 75% chance of an oil spill happening. Even in the small likelihood there is no spill, the drilling itself will disturb our animals. Shell itself estimates in its last environmental permit application that drilling activity will harass 13% of endangered species like bowhead whale, grey whale and ringed seals. ...

Climate change is already here for us. The ice has changed. It comes late, it leaves early. It has become unreliable and hard to read, making it dangerous to cross during hunting. Our ice cellars are melting and eroding, making it difficult to store our subsistence food. It rained this past winter, it never rains in the winter. The ice in the fall used to protect our coastline from heavy waves. Now the waves wash away our shores. ...

For the sake of the Inupiaq and for the sake of the earth, leave the oil in the Arctic and put the government’s money and energy into perfecting the technology to unlock natural renewable energy sources that are available to everyone. We need energy sources that can be used locally and that will give us back our independence - and we need it now.

Also of interest:

Militarism Run Amok: Russians and Americans Get Their Kids Ready for War

Japanese-American Internment & Roosevelt’s Domestic ‘War on Terror’

Citizens Taking Video of Police See Themselves Facing Arrest

On Taking Climate Action, Even Wall Street Asks: 'Why Would You Not?'

How Austerity Economics Is Fraying Europe’s Social Contract

Palestine Overwhelmed by Illegal American Immigrants

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... that "See See Rider" went all the way back to Ma Rainey. Another adventure on the Evening Blues.

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joe shikspack's picture

yes, it's a very old song, probably what they refer to as a "trad." it has been around so long, it's got its own wikipedia entry.

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I thought the Animals wrote that. And then come to find out its so old nobody really knows how old it is.

I love stumbling on strange stuff. Or at least strange to me stuff.

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mimi's picture

language link for the Steiner piece and interview. You might want to us that link perhaps?
Ex Schröder Aide on 9/11: 'We Thought the Americans Would Overreact

Back to reading.

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talking is silver, silence is golden

joe shikspack's picture

so often when i'm linked to der spiegel i get the german edition and there is no english version of the article, i just assumed that it didn't exist. B)

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mimi's picture

if they make one at all. Usually at least half a day later or so.
So, you are now fluent in German and read it all? Very super cool. Smile

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talking is silver, silence is golden

joe shikspack's picture

some of my grandparents were fluent in german and my mom was fluent in flemish, which has some similarities to german, so sometimes if i sound things out (not easy when they make their words so damnably long) i can get the gist of some simple things.

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A few thoughts from tonight:

First, what is the difference between Iranian "terrorism" and Saudi "terrorism"?
Second, I'm also disappointed that Sanders won't end the drone program, but I trust him with national security far more than anyone from the "bomb first, ask questions later" wing of the Democratic party.
Third, how sad is that renaming a mountain is Obama's climate change legacy?

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joe shikspack's picture

iranian terrorism really pisses of israel, hence it makes american legislator's trigger fingers itch. the saudis, on the other hand, well, they sell us oil and purchase a lot of our expensive weapons systems - adjustments must be made.

i agree that bernie is probably a better choice than any of the other bipartisan candidates. on the other hand, i would like to see if maybe he can be forced more to the left.

i can picture obama sitting in his office trying to think of a goodwill gesture that costs him nothing, is quite uncontroversial and will make it appear that he is actually sensitive to the needs of the people whose lives he is about to destroy.

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he moved on from giving Shell the ok to drill the arctic. Quick, look over there.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

mimi's picture

he doesn't even think about it. Comes natural to him in a "heart-warming", "charming" way and he believes in his own "charisma". I wonder, when he will see through himself and may be also through his father. I think he got his presentation and political "skills" from his father, which he, I believe, didn't know well enough. He constructed an image of him as a young man and kept this vision of his father's dreams as a base of his own actions, I believe.

Sigh, it's all so sad and depressing. There are lots of people hurt and in pain over him being "uncontroversial". But then, we are all human with tons of failures. Who am I do judge?

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talking is silver, silence is golden

gulfgal98's picture

I am traveling right now and my on line time is very limited. But I really wanted to welcome you here. You are one of the Cool people! Please feel free to not only comment, but post your own essay. I am very glad to see you here. Biggrin

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy


(AP) -- Mothers holding their children's hands stood in the sprinkling rain, some carrying anti-war placards, while students chanted slogans to the beat of a drum against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his defense policies.

Japan is seeing new faces join the ranks of protesters typically made up of labor union members and graying leftist activists. Tens of thousands filled the streets outside Tokyo's parliament on Sunday to rally against security legislation expected to pass in September.

"No to war legislation!" "Scrap the bills now!" and "Abe, quit!" they chanted in one of the biggest protests in recent memory. The bills would expand Japan's military role under a reinterpretation of the country's war-renouncing constitution.
The security bills would permit the military to engage in combat for the first time since World War II in cases of "collective defense," when Japan's allies such as the U.S. are attacked, but Japan itself is not.

Abe's government argues that the changes are needed for Japan to respond to a harsher security environment, including a more assertive China and growing terrorist threats, and to fulfill expectations that it will contribute more to global peacekeeping.

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joe shikspack's picture

are so eager to destroy the best thing that their constitution has - article 9.

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mimi's picture

similar to article 9? I was under the impressions that mostly the Germans wrote their Grundgesetz themselves with the US and Allied Forces being may be "advisors" and having to give their "nod" to the text, but they were not really the authors. I guess the Americans would not say that and consider themselves the good guys who wrote the German Grundgesetz. Sigh, I have to read my books. It's all there in boxes (real ones and digital ones).

It's all unraveling now, right? We are going backwards. Slip into wwwIII unnoticed.

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talking is silver, silence is golden

joe shikspack's picture

which in some ways resembled japan's article 9 inserted in its postwar constitution, at least that's what a quick google turned up. (go to the historical background section)

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Shahryar's picture

wouldn't it be cool if we had an Evening Merseybeat?

No? Well, I'd like it. Perhaps starting very soon it'll be a blip that shows up in the Evening Blues.

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an Evening Gregorian Chant.

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enhydra lutris's picture

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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 --

Brother el.

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enhydra lutris's picture

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
Mercy, Mercy,
Have Mercy, baby
Mercy, Mercy, Me

awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, Mercy!

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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

once i move entirely over here, i would be more than happy to have you guest dj. i do the blues because i know the genre well (and it's been a lifetime passion) but i like lots of other music and it's fine with me if we stretch the format, so to speak.

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Big Al's picture

claims coming from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). It's really amazing how a known
war propaganda front continues to be taken seriously three years after being outed.

As for Sanders, it's well known he's all in for the war OF terror, U.S. imperialism, and the MIC. So
his statements on the illegal drone war isn't surprising, it's expected. We'll hear more of the same in the
months ahead. There will be no substantive change to the military Empire if Sanders is elected.

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mimi's picture

force him to considerable changes with regards to the military empire. I hate it to give up on that.

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talking is silver, silence is golden

joe shikspack's picture

i'm guessing because they are the only group that is gathering the information. it's a difficult environment for journalists to collect facts in, the government (all governments involved) lie like baghdad bob about what is happening, so perhaps they don't have a lot of choice.

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lotlizard's picture

I seem to recall reading that SOHR was basically just this one guy with an axe to grind, operating out of his home while somehow having the right connections to the public relations wing of the U.S. spying and warmaking machine.

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Big Al's picture

him his information. Evidently linked to MI6, that's who's bankrolling him/them maybe along with Soros who
likes to fund opposition "human rights" organizations.
Many of the mainstream articles that routinely use the SOHR as their sole source usually say something like,
"can't be independently verified" if they say anything at all.
The problem is the same articles are routinely linked in the alternative media and most people still don't question
the source, which at this point, we all should be questioning every source. The waters are very muddy.

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I haven't written about Iraq recently because not much has happened there. This article sums it up pretty well.

Iraqi government forces and allied militia are struggling to make headway almost two months into a campaign to retake the key cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, casting further doubt on their ability to rid the country of ISIL.
Despite vastly outnumbering the extremist militants, Iraqi forces have taken a cautious approach, working their way through the countryside of Anbar province against determined resistance to encircle the two cities first.
When the campaign was launched on July 13, prime minister Haider Abadi’s government saw victory in Ramadi and Fallujah as a first step towards retaking all of Anbar, paving the way for the liberation of Mosul and the total defeat of ISIL in Iraq, but these goals now seem far-fetched.
“At best, for the foreseeable future I only see a reversion to the prior status quo where neighbourhoods of Ramadi are repeatedly contested, and the same scenario for Fallujah if parts of it can be retaken at all,” said Aymenn Al Tamimi, a fellow at the Washington-based Middle East Forum think tank.

The offensive has failed to surround either Ramadi or Fallujah, despite claims that they were both surrounded several weeks ago.
Also, the Iraqi army is taking a terrible beating from suicide bombers. Five days ago two Iraqi generals were killed by a suicide attack. That came just days after 50 soldiers were killed in another suicide attack, and a few days after 18 soldiers were killed in yet another suicide attack.
Stuff like that has to suck the morale out of the Iraqi army.

That's not to say that the offensive is a total failure. While its been going on ISIS hasn't launched a single offensive in Iraq.
Their resources are limited.
But what is happening now is a recipe for stalemate.

As for the Iraq Kurds, they did recently take 10 small villages in northern Iraq, almost without a fight.
It's been the only offensive by the Kurds in months. Why? Because they are on the borders of Kurdistan. They have no interest in Anbar.

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