A Joyful Noise: Tommy Emmanuel, "Cowboy's Dream"

Little Green Footballs - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 14:02

What really strikes me about this performance is Tommy's incredible rhythmic drive. It's just flawless.

This video is part of the "Tommy Emmanuel – Center Stage" DVD which was filmed at the Big Room at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, CA. Filmed and Directed by Peter Berkow.

[Official Web Site]

Categories: Politics

Jimmy Williams Is NOT Having It With The Conservative LGBT Org Endorsing Trump

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 13:54

In a fiery exchange on AM Joy on Saturday morning, Jimmy Williams didn't pull any punches when it came to dragging Donald Trump for his attacks on the LGBTQ community. This comes on the heels of a shocking announcement that the most conservative LGBT organization has decided to endorse Donald Trump for the 2020 election. Why? WHY?

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Categories: Politics

Disinformation Watch: The Open Skies Treaty

Balloon Juice - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 13:46


Some weird stuff has popped up in my Twitter feed this week. Fortunately, I follow experts who are trying to figure it out.

Steffan Watkins is a Canadian who follows ships and planes via the internet. If you like that sort of thing, I recommend you follow him. He is also very sensitive to disinformation and occasionally given to lectures about it. He is very knowledgeable about the Open Skies Treaty.

The Open Skies Treaty (text, fact sheet) allows the nations that have signed it to fly observation planes over other signatories’ territory. It’s an arms control treaty in that it allows nations to follow up on suspicions or just keep an eye on each other. It says nothing about numbers of weapons. The simple fact that nations are open to each other in this way builds trust, which is needed to negotiate on more difficult subjects.

Every arms control treaty has an information side to it: inspections may be requested, or numbers and types of weapons are reported to the other parties regularly. When the US government abrogates a treaty, we lose a window into what the other side is doing. Of course, they get to see the equivalent of what we’re doing.

The Open Skies Treaty, like all well-made treaties, has very specific provisions for what kinds of aircraft, cameras, and routes may be flown. Arrangements must be made to schedule the flights. For flights over the United States, the airplane must be inspected by Americans, an American is on board, and the photos are shared after the flight. Other nations have the same rights for flights over their territory.

Russia does several flights a year over the US, and we reciprocate with flights over Russia. Watkins follows those flights and others that interest him. Last year and this, he told me when the Russian plane was in my area. I think I saw it last year, but this year it didn’t come close enough to Santa Fe.

This week, Michael Carpenter tweeted that the Russians were up to nefarious activities, FLYING OVER CHICAGO AND TAKING PICTURES! This is precisely the kind of thing Watkins likes to debunk, and he did, with places and times for the Open Skies flight. What is surprising is that Carpenter was in charge of the Open Skies program under President Barack Obama and is associated with the Penn-Biden Center. When he was questioned by Watkins and others knowledgeable about the program, he insulted them and cited an old New York Times article containing Republican propaganda. Republicans don’t like this treaty, along with all other arms control treaties. Watkins debunked that article here.

Tom Moore also got into the act. He is a former professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations committee. He didn’t believe what Carpenter was tweeting either.

Here’s Carpenter retweeting his first tweet that got the reaction.

And Moore’s reply

There’s more in the thread with others chiming in.

And this morning,

That’s RT, the Russian propaganda network, gloating that Americans are overreacting to an agreed flight. Watkins also identified Russian bots that were pushing Carpenter’s claims.

It’s not clear to me why Carpenter would do this. It’s the kind of thing that can be exploited by Russian propaganda all too easily, and they are going with it. They are both happy to spread Carpenter’s misinformation and to sneer at American overreaction.

So if you run into someone claiming that the Russians are sending spy flights in, now you know how to debunk that. And please do. The disinformation is only going to get worse in the leadup to the election.

Top photo: Defense One

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner

Categories: Politics

2020 Democrats shine: Castro ad hits Trump at home, Booker brings black church leaders to their feet

Daily Kos - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 13:00

There are 20+ Democratic presidential candidates right now, and one of them will be our nominee. That means that even some of the more prominent candidates will be saying or doing great things that are slipping through the cracks of traditional media and social media. It means that almost everything the lesser-known candidates are doing will fall through cracks that are more like chasms.

Good stuff from Democrats deserves attention. Add to that the fact that we don’t all like every single one of the candidates, but that when the time comes, we’ll have to set that aside and get behind the nominee as our way to beat Donald Trump and start the long, hard task of fixing our country. And that’s where this roundup comes in. I’ll be looking for a strong moment from as many candidates as possible each week, be it a policy, a quote, a tweet, an action.

So without further ado …

Joe Biden wrote in an op-ed backing an assault weapons ban that “Assault weapons—military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly—are a threat to our national security, and we should treat them as such. Anyone who pretends there’s nothing we can do is lying—and holding that view should be disqualifying for anyone seeking to lead our country.”

Beto O'Rourke wrote an op-ed about the El Paso shooting, Donald Trump’s history of white supremacist statements and actions, and gun laws: “We must ensure that a democracy that has been captured and corrupted by the NRA can summon the courage to pass common sense measures like universal background checks, red flag laws and a ban on assault weapons -- proposals which the majority of Americans agree should be in place.”

Julián Castro ran an ad targeting Donald Trump—and by targeting, I mean ran it on Fox & Friends in New Jersey where Trump was at his golf course. 

Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Deb Haaland released a plan to fulfill U.S. obligations to Native tribes and peoples.

Cory Booker apparently crushed it at a forum organized by the Black Church PAC and the Young Leaders Conference. Religion News Service reporter Jack Jenkins wrote that “Crowd is on its feet now, because Booker has basically turned this into church. Note: This shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows Booker’s background.”

Categories: Politics

Arkhangelsk: Russia's top of the world explosion could have astounding implications

Daily Kos - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 11:41

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the explosion that took place on August 8th at a remote base concerned the propulsion system of a liquid-fuel rocket engine and no dangerous substances were released. But within minutes, the nearby city of Severodvinsk reported a spike in radiation (in a report that has subsequently been removed from the city’s public information site). Additionally, it was widely reported that a village near the base would be evacuated … before that evacuation was officially denied. And The Moscow Times reported that, in addition to the two immediate deaths in the explosion, a hospital in the Arkhangelsk region received three injured men who were “naked and wrapped in translucent plastic bags.” Subsequent tests indicated that the doctors who treated those men had signs of exposure to the by-products of Uranium-235.

All of which leads to the question — just what has Russia been doing up there? For an answer, it may be necessary to go back to the future … of nuclear rockets.

In a sense, nuclear and rockets have been a match from day one. Germany’s V2 missiles were regarded as a “terror weapon” in World War II in part because they were singularly ineffective at causing damage to important targets. With less than perfect guidance systems and a capacity that matched just one large bomb carried by a bomber, they were an inefficient way to deliver real damage to military targets. However, the ballistic arc of the weapon made it unstoppable by fighter aircraft or anti-aircraft weaponry, and the imperfections of the guidance meant that it could come screaming down anywhere at almost any time. Pair that capability with a nuclear warhead … and the combination was the weapon that would define the post World War II world.

But almost from the beginning, there have been ideas about doing more than pairing a chemically-propelled rocket with a nuclear payload. If a nuclear weapon was a huge “upgrade” to the destructive power a missile might bring, could nuclear power deliver a similar boost to a rocket’s propulsion system? There are very good reasons to think that what happened at Arkhangelsk is part of a program to answer that question, and to turn engineering speculation that goes back more than sixty years into astounding — and terrifying — reality.

To see what’s happening in northern Russia in 2019 requires digging into some classified information. From the United States. In the 1960s. And in particular, it requires looking at three projects named Pluto, Rover, and Orion.

Categories: Politics

NRA Lobbyist: Florida Law Would Take Away Birthday Rifles From 10-year-old Girls

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 11:13
 Florida Law Would Take Away Birthday Rifles From 10-year-old Girls

Notorious NRA spokesperson Marion Hammer came out with this doozy as Florida prepares for a possible ban on assault weapons. There really are no limits to the depths with which these people will stoop.

Source: Newsweek

As Florida lawmakers prepare to vote an a potential ban of assault weapons next year, the National Rifle Association's (NRA) top lobbyist for the state said the law would affect children who, all of a sudden, could not shoot rifles on their birthdays.

Marion Hammer, the chief NRA lobbyist, met with a group of economists in Florida on Friday to oppose the proposed ban of assault weapons, according to Shareblue Media. She asked if a little girl who wanted to shoot a rifle with a pink stock would be convicted of a felony.

"How do you tell a 10-year-old little girl who got a Ruger 10/22 with a pink stock for her birthday that her rifle is an assault weapon and she has to turn it over to government or be arrested for felony possession?" Hammer asked at the meeting.

Hammer is one of the most influential gun lobbyists in the country, and Florida has been her turf for about four decades, according to The New Yorker.

Opponents of the proposed Florida ban, including the NRA and other gun advocate groups, say the law is too broad.

The internet voiced its displeasure.

read more

Categories: Politics

Respite Open Thread: Game Over

Balloon Juice - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 10:58

How we all felt when we realized our phones were listening to us…

I’m gonna come at you like a Burrowing Owl…

Have a good Saturday everyone. I’m off to garden, then out to dinner and then to a musical.

Respite open thread.


Categories: Politics

Too Many People Think Satirical News Is Real

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 10:23
Too Many People Think Satirical News Is Real In a news cycle full of clownish characters and outrageous rhetoric, it’s no wonder satire isn’t fully registering with a lot of readers. Ozger Sarikaya/Shutterstock.com

R. Kelly Garrett, The Ohio State University; Robert Bond, The Ohio State University, and Shannon Poulsen, The Ohio State University

In July, the website Snopes published a piece fact-checking a story posted on The Babylon Bee, a popular satirical news site with a conservative bent.

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Categories: Politics

Who Is Responsible For An Inmate's Suicide?

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 10:23
Who Is Responsible For An Inmate's Suicide? In jail, suicides occur for 50 deaths per 100,000 inmates. Dan Henson/Shutterstock.com

Austin Sarat, Amherst College

Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged suicide in New York’s Metropolitan Correction Center on Aug. 10 has brought new attention to the troubling reality of inmates who kill themselves in America’s jails and prisons.

Suicide is, of course, a serious problem more generally. In 2017, it was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of over 47,000 people. Today, it takes twice as many American lives as homicide.

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Categories: Politics

Fundraising While Black: Arkansas Woman Assaults Teens Selling Discount Cards

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 09:30
 Arkansas Woman Assaults Teens Selling Discount Cards

My kids used to go door to door selling discount cards and entertainment booklets to raise money for their band and dance programs and it was no problem. But if you're Black and live in Arkansas, it's possible that the mean and violent wife of the local jail administrator will beat you to the ground and hold you at gunpoint for doing the same thing.

White supremacy is a thing.

The wife of an Arkansas jail administrator was arrested and charged with assault several days after police say she pulled a gun on four black teenagers who were going door to door to raise money for their high school football team.

Police in the eastern Arkansas city of Wynne, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock, said the incident happened Aug. 7. Police responding to reports of “suspicious persons” found the four children on the ground, with Jerri Kelly, who is white, standing over them holding a gun, Memphis TV station WMC reported.

The officer let the children stand up, and they told him they had been selling discount cards to raise money for a school athletic program. The Wynne School District said two of the four children were wearing football jerseys.

Kelly, 46, was charged Monday with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a minor.

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Categories: Politics

Oil and gas giant Shell told workers to show up and cheer for Trump if they wanted to get paid.

Daily Kos - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 09:18

There have been dozens, if not hundreds, of occasions on which Donald Trump has been seen standing in front of rooms with cheering men—and it’s almost always men—in hardhats. It’s such a common sight that when word comes down that coal miners are dying from the worst form of black lung in record numbers, or steel jobs are being crushed by Trump’s tariffs, it’s easy to sneer that these are people who “got what they asked for.”

But appearances can be more than deceiving. They can be dead wrong. 

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, worker at Shell’s petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania were clearly informed that they didn’t have to appear at Trump’s rally last Tuesday. It was “not mandatory.” It was just that if they didn’t show up, they had to “take the day off with no pay.” This didn’t just apply to people working directly for Shell, but also for those who work for dozens of union contractors involved in construction at the site.

Under those contracts, Shell only pays if contractors are on site. And they made it clear that on Tuesday, being on site meant being at Trump’s speech. Supervisors for the workers passed this along in simple terms: show up and produce their ID cards at the rally or “NO SCAN, NO PAY.” That meant standing around for hours, and missing their breaks and lunch, all so they could get the pleasure of getting a normal day’s pay … by being forced to attend Trump’s speech. And it wasn’t even just one day’s pay at risk. Shell also made it clear that while they would graciously grant an unpaid leave of absence to anyone who didn’t want to hear Trump, they would dock their time. Meaning that those workers could be called in over the weekend without getting overtime rates. In total, each worker was at risk of losing around $700 if they failed to act as a prop for Donald Trump’s rambling.

And not only were workers told that they had to show up and scan their ID cards to prove they had attended, they also had to behave as if they approved of everything Trump was saying. This was the rally at which Trump none-too-subtly told the workers that they were too stupid to be assembling computers or doing anything complex, and should stick with doing things more suited to their “big hands.” But contractors provided the rules under which those workers attended: “No yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event.”

Categories: Politics

Mike's Blog Round Up

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 08:01
Mike's Blog Round Up

The Buying Greenland Edition.

The more things "change": Based on Republican talking points, The Rude Pundit does not have positive expectations for Republican legislation on gun safety.

What are right-wingers doing, then? OWNING THE LIBS!! And how are they doing it? PRANK CALLS!! To the Supreme Court switchboard. That'll show 'em! Big Bad Bald Bastard has the scoop.

Also from the Court: Balkinization on epistemic closure.

A long one ("8 min read") for the weekend, & nicely illustrated: Scott Soriano at Medium.

Bonus Track: Ala-damn-bama by Max's Dad.

Carefully curated by Web of Evil (& Ennui)'s M. Bouffant. One more chance to submit something at mbru(at)crooksandliars.com.

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Categories: Politics

'Savages,' 'Subhuman': A Border Agent’s Hateful Career And The Crime That Finally Ended It

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 08:00
 A Border Agent’s Hateful Career And The Crime That Finally Ended It

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

It was late November 2017, and Matthew Bowen, a veteran Border Patrol agent, was seething. A fellow Border Patrol agent in Texas had just been found dead in the field, and Bowen was certain someone who’d been crossing the border illegally was responsible for murdering him.

“Snuffed out by some dirtbag,” Bowen, stationed in Nogales, Arizona, said in a text later obtained by federal authorities.

Bowen, if lacking in evidence, wasn’t alone in his anger and suspicion. President Donald Trump, nearing the end of his first year in office and already frustrated in his bid to construct a wall on the southern border, had promised to “seek out and bring to justice those responsible” for the Texas agent’s death. Brandon Judd, the head of the union that represents Border Patrol agents, declared to Fox News and other media outlets that the Texas agent had been “ambushed.”

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Categories: Politics

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The press still struggles with how to cover Trump

Daily Kos - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 07:30

Jay Rosen/PressThink:

Bad headline, small changes at the New York Times

Anxiety over the core audience's rising influence helps explain events after 'Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism.'

Picture a power shift. The core readers have more power now. They are a bigger part of the mix. How that power should be recognized, when it might be used, how to listen carefully to it without listening too much… no one really knows yet. The digital audience itself, the Times own interconnected public, does not know its own power. 

But how to achieve independence from the newest corrupting influence — the most attached part of the audience — is already a live concern among Times editors. These events lie in the background of Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism, which is not just a shamefully abandoned headline but the name of a public episode now. 

The readers have more power: 

They have more power because they have more choices. And because the internet, where most of the reading happens, is inherently two-way. Also because Times journalists are now exposed to opinion and reaction on social media. And especially because readers are paying more of the costs. Their direct payments are keeping the Times afloat. This will be increasingly so in the future, as the advertising business gets absorbed by the tech industry. The Times depends on its readers’ support more than it ever has.

1.) Depends on readers’ support more than it ever has. 2.) Got rid of the public editor. That’s an example of the kind of disconnect that has created tension. 


It’s generational. It’s also editor driven, methinks, so don’t blame the reporters.

Categories: Politics

Saturday Morning Open Thread

Balloon Juice - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 06:02

And now for something completely different…

Categories: Politics

Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Trump and His ‘Base’ Rally Each Other

Balloon Juice - Sat, 08/17/2019 - 03:17

Dave Roth, at Deadspin:

Donald Trump believes that everything he says is made true by virtue of him having said it, and once he begins believing something he is incapable of not believing it. This is why he says things more than once. The challenge is figuring out how he says things for the first time.

So: Trump got it into his head that he had received a Michigan Man Of The Year Award, and despite some complicating factors—he didn’t, for one, and also such an award does not appear to exist—he has continued to bring it up whenever the mood strikes him. There’s a whole story around it, and as is his custom he tends to retell it with more additions of the words “very” and “sir” as the years go by. “I’ve been fighting for the car industry for years,” Trump said the first time he told the story, in Michigan and two days before the 2016 Presidential election. “I was honored five years ago. Man of the Year in Michigan. That was a great honor for me.” As Trump told and has since re-told the story, he was criticized for giving a speech in which he talked about “what Mexico and these other countries are doing to us. And especially what they’re doing to Michigan.” …

What is useful about this, and what would be beautiful about it if everything around it was not so luridly toxic, is how plain it all is. Trump is a being of pure reaction and grievance and avarice, and as such is never really very difficult to parse. When he lies about money it’s because he wants people to think he has more of it than he does; when he lies about golf it’s because he wants people to think he’s a better golfer than he is. Those lies tell you something about how Trump wants to be seen, but they’re incidental to the bigger questions of who and what he is. Stranger lies like the Michigan Man one reveal more about how he sees the world and understands his relationship to the other people in it, which is fundamentally as someone cleaning up at an endless televised awards show.

Most of the idiocies at the core of Trump’s being were created in the same way that pearls are—an irritant lodges itself in the spongy matter of his mind years ago, actively or passively, and then is worried into something bright and very hard. In this case, though, we can watch this accretive work happening in real time—some dumb speech, long forgotten, grows into a great honor bestowed by strangers who admired him, and then into a controversial stand for which he was criticized but for which he boldly refused to apologize. And now it is something he can bring up, whenever he is feeling under-appreciated or anxious or when nothing else will come. He stalls and sputters and his pale eyelids flutter and suddenly then there it is, glistening on the dais in front of him—that time that Charles Woodson called to concede victory in the Michigan Man Of The Year Award, a few years ago or whenever it was. “Sir,” the Heisman Trophy winner said through his tears to Donald Trump, “you deserve this more than anyone.” What a beautiful memory.

Categories: Politics

Late Night Open Thread: RIP, Easy Rider

Balloon Juice - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 23:50

Categories: Politics

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With Billy Joe Shaver

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 23:01

Happy 80th birthday to Billy Joe Shaver. He may not have had a big hit himself with any of the songs he wrote but versions done by Waylon, Wilile and Elvis did pretty good on the charts.

Here's on from his debut album, 1973s Old Five and Dimers Like Me. "Black Rose" was the third single off the album. It didnot break into the top 100.

What are you listening to tonight?

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Categories: Politics

Open thread for night owls: Excerpts from the September Harper's Index

Daily Kos - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 23:00

Excerpts from the September edition of Harper’s Index:

Minimum age at which citizens of the Netherlands can request euthanasia, with their parents’ permission: 12

Number of Dutch 12- to 17-year-olds who have requested and received euthanasia since 2005: 14

Estimated portion of people in the world who were married as children: 1/10

Estimated percentage of active police officers who use racist, bigoted, or violent language on Facebook: 20

Of retired police officers: 45

Percentage of state prisoners who are incarcerated for violating parole or probation: 45

Percentage of those prisoners whose violations did not involve the commission 
of a crime: 55

Percentage of non-L.G.B.T.Q. Americans in 2016 who said they were comfortable interacting with L.G.B.T.Q. people: 63

Who said so last year: 45

Percentage of U.S. workers over 50 who lose longtime jobs before they are prepared to retire: 56

Percentage of those workers who never recover their earning power: 90

Percentage change since 1981 in the number of annual U.S. mergers and 
acquisitions: +104

In the number of annual antitrust investigations undertaken by the 
Justice Department: –33

Percentage of Americans who think it’s “too much” to expect the average person to recognize made-up news and information: 56

Who think it’s “too much” to expect the average person to recognize satire: 34



“Solidarity is what we want. We do not want to find fault with each other, but to solidify our forces and say to each other: We must be together; our masters are joined together and we must do the same thing.”
           ~~Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, Speech to the United Mine Workers of America, July 19, 1902




At Daily Kos on this date in 2006Experts to Bush: Back Off, Iran is "Not a Crisis":

Apprehensive that Bush's "hard line" toward Iran is a "prelude" to a U.S military campaign against Iran, 21 former U.S. generals, diplomats and national security officials will release an open letter to the president tomorrow, demanding, according to the Los Angeles Times, a "a complete overhaul of U.S. policy toward both Iran and Iraq."

More from the Times:

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard, one of the letter's signers and a former military assistant to Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara in the 1960s, said the group was particularly concerned about administration policies toward Iran, believing them to be a possible prelude to a military attack on suspected nuclear sites in that country.

..."It's not a crisis," Gard said in a telephone interview. "To call the Iranian situation a 'crisis' connotes you have to do something right now, like bomb them."

As Plutonium Page diaried well more than a year ago, these voices are being joined to that of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Hans Blix.

It appears that any action against Iran will not be able to filed under the "Nobody could have anticipated ..." category in the Bush White House. When such experts come out so openly and vigorously - and preemptively - against a destructive path, there's hope that no matter how desperately the president wants to expand the violence, the public and the press will be armed with solid ammunition against the attempt.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Go retro, with our 8/16/18 episode. Greg Dworkin says the Pelosi bomb's a dud. Breaking: Not all "Trump Country" voters are the same. Old ideas coming back: one dumb, one not. Is the "casting couch" really just sex trafficking? Yes. Yes it is.

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Categories: Politics

Colbert Claps For Hickenlooper

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 23:00

Stay for Stephen Colbert's name for Jeff Bezos. Not safe for work.

Open thread below...

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Categories: Politics