The Evening Blues - 9-8-15
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Texas country blues guitarist, cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins, Frankie Lee Sims. Enjoy!
Frankie Lee Sims - She Likes To Boogie Real Low
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
-- Emma Lazarus
News and Opinion
Who says we don't make anything in America anymore?
Inscribed on a plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is a poem by Emma Lazarus titled “New Colossus.” The sonnet waxes lyrical about how different its subject is from ancient colossal statues, and how that symbolizes the contrast between American ideals and those of empires since antiquity. ... The new country would not bestride the world like a colossus, but would, like its great statue, stand straight and stable, holding aloft a torch as a welcoming beacon of hope and freedom. ...
But by the late 19th-century, the Colossus had its fill of local lands and craved more exotic fare. And so, beginning with Spanish-American War, Manifest Destiny set out to sea, and the American overseas empire was born. ... And for the past 14 years, the American Colossus has been on a Godzilla-like rampage, trampling over the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia: squashing people, flattening homes, and demolishing communities.
Now its specialty is not offering refuge, but making refugees. Not welcoming huddled masses, but mass-producing them. The Iraq War displaced millions. The chaos it engendered, including the rise of ISIS (which didn’t even exist before the war) displaced millions more.
Due predominantly to this rampage, the number of “internally displaced persons” surged to 38 million in 2014 (4.7 million higher than in 2013) . And the total number of refugees in that year swelled to 60 million, the highest number ever recorded.
Tens of millions consigned to utter desperation: severed from their homes, communities, and livelihoods; hunted by armies and militias toting American weapons; striving against all odds to save the lives of their children. And now Europe, whose governments have extensively helped America sow the winds of war, is reaping a whirlwind of refugees.
The refugee chaos that is now pushing deep into Europe – dramatized by gut-wrenching photos of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey – started with the cavalier ambitions of American neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks who planned to remake the Middle East and other parts of the world through “regime change.”
Instead of the promised wonders of “democracy promotion” and “human rights,” what these “anti-realists” have accomplished is to spread death, destruction and destabilization across the Middle East and parts of Africa and now into Ukraine and the heart of Europe. Yet, since these neocon forces still control the Official Narrative, their explanations get top billing – such as that there hasn’t been enough “regime change.”
For instance, The Washington Post’s neocon editorial page editor Fred Hiatt on Monday blamed “realists” for the cascading catastrophes. Hiatt castigated them and President Barack Obama for not intervening more aggressively in Syria to depose President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime neocon target for “regime change.”
But the truth is that this accelerating spread of human suffering can be traced back directly to the unchecked influence of the neocons and their liberal fellow-travelers who have resisted political compromise and, in the case of Syria, blocked any realistic efforts to work out a power-sharing agreement between Assad and his political opponents, those who are not terrorists.
In early 2014, the neocons and liberal hawks sabotaged Syrian peace talks in Geneva by blocking Iran’s participation and turning the peace conference into a one-sided shouting match where U.S.-funded opposition leaders yelled at Assad’s representatives who then went home. All the while, the Post’s editors and their friends kept egging Obama to start bombing Assad’s forces. ...
It should have been clear by mid-2014 that if the neocons had gotten their way and Obama had conducted a massive U.S. bombing campaign to devastate Assad’s military, the black flag of Sunni terrorism might well be flying above the Syrian capital of Damascus while its streets would run red with blood.
But now a year later, the likes of Hiatt still have not absorbed that lesson — and the spreading chaos from neocon strategies is destabilizing Europe.
Looks like David Cameron wants to be just like Obama - judge, jury and executioner.
Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament on Monday that he had approved an air strike against a vehicle carrying a British jihadist in Syria who he said was plotting attacks against Britain. ...
Human rights groups and some lawyers criticized the decision to authorize the strike, which was carried out in August, saying the government needed to give details about what evidence it had that attacks were planned and to disclose the legal basis for the attack.
They said the action mimicked controversial US drone strike policy and blurred the lines on what Britain was prepared to used such tactics for.
"The fact that David Cameron has bypassed parliament to commit these covert strikes is deeply worrying — as is his refusal to share what legal advice he was given," said Kat Craig, a legal director at rights group Reprieve.
The concept of an always-on international assassination campaign run by drones was initially a US-exclusive thing, but as other nations obtain the capabilities, they are launching them as well, with Britain the latest to follow in America’s footsteps by extra-judicially assassinating their own citizens. ...
British media are largely following the US media’s example too, in buying the excuses, with the Daily Telegraph taking a claim that one of the men was planning to attack an event that the Queen was going to attend as a “plot to kill the Queen.”
The assassination was carried out in a drone strike against the Syrian city of Raqqa, which makes it doubly difficult for Cameron to justify, since the parliament explicitly voted against granting him the authority to carry out attacks inside Syria, and similarly never empowered him to assassinate citizens.
Cameron is following Obama’s example, shrugging off the criticism and bragging about how great the planning was behind the attack and how there was “no other way.”
The Associated Press is reporting that Turkish ground forces today crossed the border into Iraq for a "short-term" offensive against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.
A government official told the AP that the troops moved into Iraq in "hot pursuit" of PKK fighters accused of involvement in a bomb attack that killed 16 Turkish soldiers on Sunday. The anonymous official added that "this is a short-term measure intended to prevent the terrorists' escape." ...
Also on Tuesday, four Turkish police officers were wounded in a rocket-propelled grenade strike by PKK fighters in the southeastern town of Cizre on Tuesday, a security source told Reuters. ... Earlier in the day, a bomb attack on a minibus killed 13 police officers in a Turkish province bordering Armenia and Iran, a government official said, the edge of a region beset by fighting between Kurdish militants and the Turkish state.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has pledged to "wipe out" Kurdish PKK rebels in their strongholds after a deadly bomb attack on the Turkish army.
"The mountains of this country, the plains, highlands, cities will be not abandoned to terrorists," he said.
At least 16 Turkish soldiers died in Sunday's attack in the south-eastern Hakkari province, the army said.
In retaliation, Turkey carried out several air strikes on PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) targets on Monday.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Mr Davutoglu said: "You cannot discourage us from our war on terror. Those mountains will be cleared of these terrorists. Whatever it takes, they will be cleared."
Greek officials are confirming today that they have received requests from the US government asking them to block Russian aid flights into Syria from using their airspace. The Greek government has not yet responded but says they are “considering” the matter.
US officials are said to be mad about recent Russian shipments of military aid to Syria, and believe that the move risks making the situation in the country even worse, though they also say Russia’s aid is entirely centered on helping Syria’s government fight against ISIS, who the US is also fighting.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry appeared perplexed about the sudden US anger at the shipments, noting that they have been sending similar shipments to Syria throughout the civil war, adding “we are supporting them, we were supporting them, and we will be supporting them” against ISIS.
Germany could take 500,000 refugees each year for “several years”, the country’s vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, has said, as fresh clashes broke out overnight between police and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos and thousands of people gathered amid chaotic scenes on the Greek border with Macedonia.
“I believe we could surely deal with something in the order of half a million for several years,” he told ZDF public television. “I have no doubt about that, maybe more.” Germany expects to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year, four times the total for 2014.
Gabriel also stressed that other European countries must also accept their fair share as refugees flee war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa and head for the EU.
As Greece struggled to cope with an influx of refugees – many from war-ravaged Syria – Donald Tusk, the EU president, warned that the refugee “exodus” could last for years. “The wave of migration is not a one-time incident but the beginning of a real exodus, which only means that we will have to deal with this problem for many years to come,” he said.
Throughout the day, US officials have issued denials of reports that they were responsible for the latest in a long line of “friendly fire” incidents in Afghanistan, when an airstrike killed a number of Afghan narcotics police in the Helmand Province.
The reports ultimately appear to have been accurate, however, as Afghan officials confirmed the recovery of at least 13 bodies from the site, saying they were all killed in an airstrike along the border between Helmand and Kandahar Provinces.
Saudi Arabia has announced plans to send “huge reinforcements” into Yemen to conquer the remaining cities under the control of the Shi’ite Houthi forces, as they and other GCC member nations plan to send thousands more ground troops into the country to escalate the ongoing war.
Qatar is the first of the GCC nations talking numbers, announcing they are sending 1,000 ground troops into the country today, along with 30 Apache attack helicopters and 200 armored vehicles. Bahrain also talked up sending more troops.
The military command at Guantánamo Bay has stopped honoring security clearances for attorneys representing the only detainee who has agreed to testify against the 9/11 defendants, the Guardian has learned. A doctor specializing in the treatment of torture victims has also lost her ability to visit the base.
Katya Jestin, a former federal prosecutor, is no longer able to see her client, Majid Khan, jeopardizing Khan’s own case and posing yet another challenge for the long-stalled 9/11 military commission.
Nor is Dr Sondra Crosby able to visit detainee Abdel Rahim Nashiri, whose attorney, Rick Kammen, described the situation as inexplicable.
Joint Task Force-Guantánamo (JTF-GTMO), which operates the indefinite detention center, had previously honored the two clearances. Without them, attorneys and defense-team doctors have no way of passing through the Guantánamo gates to visit their clients.
Since July, Jestin and Crosby have not been able to enter the base.
The chains of command and associated bureaucracies at Guantánamo Bay compound the lawyers’ frustrations. Military commission judges have no authority over the detention center itself, and cannot order JTF-GTMO to do anything.
Army colonel James Pohl, the judge in Khan’s case, has ordered government prosecutors and defense lawyers to come to a resolution that provides Khan’s attorneys with access. But that depends on a military command deciding to comply.
Apple has rebuffed a court order to hand over in real time texts sent using iMessage between two iPhones because its encryption system leaves the company unable to comply.
The order was obtained by the US Department of Justice during an investigation over the summer involving guns and drugs, according to a report in the New York Times, and represents the first known direct face-off between the government and Apple over encryption.
The two have been fighting a proxy war for almost a year now. The US government, led by the FBI, has been making increasingly strident calls for technology companies to stop providing ubiquitous encryption to customers, arguing that the tools harm the American people by making it harder to catch terrorists, paedophiles and other criminals.
A federal appeals court must decide whether a U.S. search warrant can reach data stored in Europe, in a case that could affect the standing of American companies abroad as they try to attract privacy-conscious foreign customers.
For two years, Microsoft Corp. has resisted a warrant requiring it to divulge customer emails located in a data center in Ireland, where, according to the company, they are protected by Irish and European privacy laws and are beyond the grip of U.S. authorities. ...
A lower court held Microsoft in contempt last year for its recalcitrance, and the company appealed to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. The parties are scheduled to make their arguments on Wednesday, with a decision expected in coming months.
Bernie Sanders kicked off Labor Day weekend in a true union style: by picking up a sign and joining a picket line outside Penford Products in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“I want you to know being out on a picket line and standing with workers is something I have been doing for my entire life,” the senator from Vermont told the crowd.
The Penford Products workers in question are on strike over a new contract which they say would cut wages and holidays such as Veterans Day.
“I did when I was mayor of the city of Burlington,” Sanders added. “I did [it] in Congress, did it in the Senate.”
He was now doing it as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, with one poll would putting him nine points up on Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.
“This is what I do,” he said. “This is what I believe in.”
Hillary Clinton is proposing a slate of campaign finance reform measures aimed at limiting political donations by corporations and large donors while increasing transparency in election spending. ...
Among them are rules requiring greater disclosure of political spending, including by publicly traded companies and US government contractors, and a program that would provide matching funds for small donations to presidential and congressional candidates.
“We have to end the flood of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political system and drowning out the voices of too many everyday Americans,” Clinton said.
Clinton also plans to call for an overturning of the controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling by the supreme court. ... Overturning the ruling would require new supreme court justices as well as amending the constitution, according to Clinton’s plans, and both are fraught with uncertainty.
The Evening Greens
Much of the focus of media coverage of California's drought has focused on the agriculture sector, which uses about 80 percent of the water used by humans in California. Although many farms have installed drip irrigation and improved their water-use efficiency in recent decades, nearly 50 percent of all the irrigated acreage in California still uses inefficient flood-and-furrow irrigation, in which fields are covered by standing water. And despite the drought, Wall Street investment firms and other corporations have bought up farmland and planted hundreds of thousands of acres in recent years, often planting almond orchards or other permanent crops on land that has never before been irrigated, relying ever more heavily on over-drafted groundwater supplies. ...
In places like East Porterville, Fairmead, and other rural disadvantaged communities, households have seen their drinking water wells dry up completely as farmers dramatically increase groundwater pumping and those with the money dig ever-deeper wells in a race to the bottom. ... In some cases, the groundwater being pumped has taken thousands or tens of thousands of years to accumulate.
What's more, extensive lobbying by agribusiness has led to waivers of the minimum environmental protections for fish and wildlife in California's rivers and streams, driving some salmon runs and other native fish and wildlife to the brink of extinction so that farmers and cities can divert even more water during the drought. As a result, the director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife warned that the state's commercial and recreational salmon fishery may have to be closed and a fishery disaster declared in the next few years. Despite this, agribusinesses continue to lobby Congress to overturn state and federal environmental laws so that they can divert even more water from our rivers and streams, going so far as to advocate for permanently drying up the state's second-longest river, the San Joaquin.
Putting cities on a course of smart growth – with expanded public transit, energy-saving buildings, and better waste management - could save as much as $22tn and avoid the equivalent in carbon pollution of India’s entire annual output of greenhouse gasses, according to leading economists.
The Global Commission on Climate and Economy, an independent initiative by former finance ministers and leading research institutions from Britain and six other countries, found climate-smart cities would spur economic growth and a better quality of life – at the same time as cutting carbon pollution.
If national governments back those efforts, the savings on transport, buildings, and waste disposal could reach up to $22tn ($14tn) by 2050, the researchers found. By 2030, those efforts would avoid the equivalent of 3.7 gigatonnes a year – more than India’s current greenhouse gas emissions, the report found.
The finding upends the notion that it is too expensive to do anything about climate change – or that such efforts would make little real difference. Not true, said the researchers.
“There is now increasing evidence that emissions can decrease while economies continue to grow,” said Seth Schultz, a researcher for the C40 climate leadership group who consulted on the report.
As many as half of the world’s 27 species of crocodilian face being wiped out due to human activity, although the most feared variety, the saltwater crocodile, faces a brighter future, according to a new book by a veteran crocodile researcher.
Land use changes, pollution, culling and feral animal invasions mean that many crocodile species face a “bleak future”, warned Professor Gordon Grigg of the University of Queensland.
The gharial, a distinctive long-nosed species that eats fish, is suffering from the destruction of its habitat in India. Riverside development and dredging of the Ganges is having a huge impact upon the species, as is the indiscriminate use of netting.
The Philippines crocodile and the Chinese alligator, which is almost extinct in the wild despite being intensively farmed for meat and leather, are other species at risk of disappearing over the course of this century, Grigg said.
However, the saltwater and freshwater crocodiles of northern Australia have a brighter outlook, buoyed by the banning of hunting in 1970.
Since the ban, numbers of saltwater crocodiles have significantly increased. “Salties” are the largest living crocodilian on Earth, with some animals reaching seven metres long and weighing 900kg.
“The chances for about half of the 27 species are pretty slim if the trend in human land use continues,” Grigg told Guardian Australia. “Habitat is being destroyed, crocodiles are being caught in nets, feral pigs are eating croc eggs.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Frankie Lee Sims - Hey Little Girl
Frankie Lee Sims - Well Goodbye Now Baby
Frankie Lee Sims - Jelly Roll Baker
Frankie Lee Sims - Going to the River
Frankie Lee Sims - Send My Soul to the Devil
Frankie Lee Sims - Married Woman
Frankie Lee Sims - Walking With Frankie
Frankie Lee Sims - Frankie's Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - Misery Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - Cross Country Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - Single Man Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - My Talk Didn't Do No Good
Frankie Lee Sims - Lucy Mae Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - Lucy Mae Blues (Part 2)
Frankie Lee Sims - What Will Lucy Do
Frankie Lee Sims - Cryin' Won't Help You
Frankie Lee Sims - Yeh, Baby
Frankie Lee Sims - Wine and Gin Bounce
Frankie Lee Sims - How Long
Frankie Lee Sims - Long Gone