Saturday, October 31, 2020

And I'm all hung up on music

"Data from Bolivia's Election Add More Evidence That OAS Fabricated Last Year's Fraud Claims: The MAS Received More Votes in Almost All of the OAS's 86 Suspect Precincts in 2020 than in 2019. [...] We can't go back to 2019, or erase the racist violence unleashed on the population following the coup. On Sunday, Bolivians showed their courage, and the power of organized social movements, in righting the wrong of 2019. But that victory shouldn't allow us to forget about 2019, or the role that international actors played in overthrowing a democratically elected government. Those 226 tally sheets never showed fraud, as the OAS asserted. They do, however, reveal how the OAS disenfranchised tens of thousands of Indigenous Bolivians in its galling attempts to justify the undemocratic removal of an elected leader."

The thing is, though, the US has been trying to overthrow Morales' government for quite some time. "Bolivian democracy vs the United States: The elusive truth of on armed raid in eastern Bolivia leads Matt Kennard into a major investigation of the efforts by Washington and its local allies to undermine the radical government of Evo Morales."

"After Socialist Victory in Bolivia, Media Still Whitewash Coup: When the Wall Street Journal (10/19/20) reported on the MAS victory, for example, it kept to the usual line (FAIR.org, 11/11/19, 11/18/20) about the previously elected president from MAS, Evo Morales, having been 'driven from power' in November 2019 after 'an election that observers said was marred by irregularities'—avoiding referring directly to Morales' military overthrow as a 'coup.' Instead, the Journal wrote that 'Bolivians rose up against Mr. Morales' after he 'had grown increasingly authoritarian' and already 'ruled' for 14 years."

"Jubilation as Chile votes to rewrite constitution: Chileans have voted overwhelmingly in support of rewriting their constitution, which dates to the dictatorship of Gen Augusto Pinochet. With nearly 90% of the vote counted, 78% of people had voted "yes" in a referendum that was called after mass protests against inequality. [...] The referendum asked Chileans two questions - firstly, if they wanted a new constitution, and secondly, what kind of body they would want to draw it up. A large majority have voted for the new constitution to be drafted by a convention made up entirely of elected citizens, as opposed to one that would also include lawmakers."

"Jeremy Corbyn suspended by Labour leadership in latest outrage during Blairite anti-Semitism witch-hunt: The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is a vicious and antidemocratic action by the right-wing cabal in control of the Labour Party. The political pretext on which the suspension was carried out, claiming the existence of widespread 'left anti-Semitism' in the Labour Party under his leadership, is a slander not only against Corbyn, but of countless party members. It is a political witch-hunt designed to justify the enforcement of the policies of British and US imperialism in the Middle East, built around the dishonest and illegitimate identification of anti-Semitism with principled opposition to the policies of the Israeli state."

David Dayen, "Sources: Gina Raimondo Being Considered as Biden's Treasury Secretary: The Rhode Island governor would not be a popular selection among progressives or organized labor. Joe Biden's transition team has informed Democratic officials that Gina Raimondo, the centrist governor of Rhode Island, is under consideration as the next Secretary of the Treasury should Biden win the election, multiple sources have confirmed to the Prospect. Raimondo, in her second term as governor, dazzled Biden's campaign in interviews to become his vice president back in June. A former venture capitalist who took the governor's mansion on the strength of millions of dollars in Wall Street donations, Raimondo's name will stir the long memories of union leaders. They have held a grudge with her for years over her tenure as state treasurer, when she cut pension benefits for public employees, while steering over $1 billion in state money to hedge fund investments. But recalling those hard feelings may be the point. One source theorized to the Prospect that leaking Raimondo's name could make Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard, until now seen as the leading possibility for Treasury Secretary, seem more palatable. Brainard, who worked at Treasury under Tim Geithner, has been attempting to portray a more liberal public image as the decision approaches."

"Quietly Signed Trump Order Denounced as 'Declaration of War' Against Federal Employees: The order sets up Trump's 'cronies to burrow into permanent jobs in the U.S. government," said one critic. After years of complaining that career federal employees are part of the "deep state" and aim to undermine his administration, President Donald Trump this week took a major step toward remaking the federal government as one without nonpartisan civil servants—signing a little-noticed executive order that would strip potentially hundreds of thousands of government employees of their job security. Under the order, signed late Wednesday, career federal employees could be fired with little or no cause, lose their right to due process, and potentially lose union representation. "

Glennzilla quits: "My Resignation From The Intercept: The same trends of repression, censorship and ideological homogeneity plaguing the national press generally have engulfed the media outlet I co-founded, culminating in censorship of my own articles."

"Times Editorial Lets Slip Joe Biden's Latin America Policy: More Obama-Style Coups: Figures on both the right and the left are presenting Biden as a progressive champion, the reality though, is that he has always represented the right-wing of the Democratic Party, and his Latin America policy is no exception."

"10 Ways to Call Something Russian Disinformation Without Evidence: How do you call something 'Russian disinformation' when you don't have evidence it is? Let's count the ways. We don't know a whole lot about how the New York Post story about Hunter Biden got into print. There are some reasons to think the material is genuine (including its cache of graphic photos and some apparent limited confirmation from people on the email chains), but in terms of sourcing, anything is possible. This material could have been hacked by any number of actors, and shopped for millions (as Time has reported), and all sorts of insidious characters - including notorious Russian partisans like Andrei Derkach - could have been behind it. None of these details are known, however, which hasn't stopped media companies from saying otherwise. Most major outlets began denouncing the story as foreign propaganda right away and haven't stopped. A quick list of the creative methods seen lately of saying, 'We don't know, but we know!'"

"Facebook and Twitter Cross a Line Far More Dangerous Than What They Censor: Just weeks before the election, the tech giants unite to block access to incriminating reporting about their preferred candidate. THE NEW YORK POST IS one of the country's oldest and largest newspapers. Founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton, only three U.S. newspapers are more widely circulated. Ever since it was purchased in 1976 by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it has been known — like most Murdoch-owned papers — for right-wing tabloid sensationalism, albeit one that has some real reporters and editors and is capable of reliable journalism. On Wednesday morning, the paper published on its cover what it heralded as a 'blockbuster' scoop: 'smoking gun' evidence, in its words, in the form of emails purportedly showing that Joe Biden's son, Hunter, traded on his father's position by securing favors from the then-vice president to benefit the Ukranian energy company Burisma, which paid the supremely unqualified Hunter $50,000 each month to sit on its Board. While the Biden campaign denies that any such meetings or favors ever occurred, neither the campaign nor Hunter, at least as of now, has denied the authenticity of the emails. The Post's hyping of the story as some cataclysmic bombshell was overblown. While these emails, if authenticated, provide some new details and corroboration, the broad outlines of this story have long been known: Hunter was paid a very large monthly sum by Burisma at the same time that his father was quite active in using the force of the U.S. Government to influence Ukraine's internal affairs. [...] BUT THE POST, for all its longevity, power and influence, ran smack into two entities far more powerful than it: Facebook and Twitter. Almost immediately upon publication, pro-Biden journalists created a climate of extreme hostility and suppression toward the Post story, making clear that any journalist even mentioning it would be roundly attacked. For the crime of simply noting the story on Twitter (while pointing out its flaws), New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman was instantly vilified to the point where her name, along with the phrase 'MAGA Haberman,' were trending on Twitter. [...] The two Silicon Valley giants saw that hostile climate and reacted. Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other D.C. Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was 'reducing [the article's] distribution on our platform': in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: 'I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.'"

"Liberals Are Losing the Journalism Wars: As major media outlets erect paywalls, conservative publishers are flooding the country with free right-wing propaganda paid for by Republicans. The University of North Carolina's Hussman School of Journalism and Media recently released a report titled 'The Expanding News Desert,' which showed that over the last 15 years, more than a fourth of America's newspapers and half of its journalists have 'disappeared,' turning thousands of communities into 'news deserts' no longer served by anyone who can provide a comprehensive and accurate description of what is happening in those communities. Into that vacuum of community news-gathering, other things have flowed." Local news reporting shuts down, big news organizations go behind paywalls, and right-wing money rushes in to fill the internet with right-wing "news" sites, available for free. Not that there aren't Dem-side grifters, but they're small-bore and definitely not left. "The fact that we are all watching, in real time, as the institution of journalism is replaced by corporate P.R. and right-wing propaganda is not a problem in need of solutions from business schools, consulting firms, or Silicon Valley. It is a democratic problem, in need of a democratic solution. The paywall will save The Atlantic. It has already failed to save American journalism."

"Department Of Homeland Security Sued For Chemical Weapons Use: Federal agents employed 'a vast arsenal of weapons,' including toxic smoke grenades, against protestors in Portland. [...] Among the weapons mentioned in the complaint are rubber bullets; CS tear gas; OC spray, also known as pepper spray; and hexachloroethane smoke grenades. As The Intercept reported earlier this month, the U.S. military began phasing out the smoke grenades years ago because of their toxicity. Along with a thick smoke, the grenades release chemicals associated with short- and long-term human health effects, including nausea, vomiting, central nervous system depression, kidney and liver damage, and cancer."

"It is all just a metaphor: The New York Times attempts yet another desperate defense of its discredited 1619 Project: On October 16, New York Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein issued a new defense of the 1619 Project in which he now argues that its best-known claim—that the year 1619 and not 1776 represents the 'true founding' of the United States—was a metaphorical turn of phrase not intended to be read literally. Further confusion is attributed to an editorial error arising from the difficulties of managing a 'multi-platform' media operation. Published under the title, 'On Recent Criticism of The 1619 Project,' Silverstein's essay is a convoluted lawyer's argument that attempts to palm off historical falsification as merely minor matters of syntax, punctuation, and a somewhat careless use of metaphor."

In honor of Trump's attack on Mr. Rogers, we present, "Thor Meets Mr. Rogers".

RIP: "Spencer Davis dies of Pneumonia at 81: Spencer Davis, whose eponymous group provided a springboard for Steve Winwood's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame career, has died after a bout with pneumonia. He was 81. 'He was a very good friend,' Spencer's agent Bob Birk told the BBC. 'He was a highly ethical, very talented, goodhearted, extremely intelligent, generous man. He will be missed.' Founded in 1963, the Spencer Davis Group reached No. 7 in the U.S. with "Gimme Some Lovin'" in 1966, while topping the U.K. charts with "Keep on Running" and "Somebody Help Me." Winwood, who was only 14 when he first started fronting the group, left in 1967 to co-found Traffic. He later was part of the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith before establishing a celebrated solo career."

RIP: "Richard Lupoff (1935-2020): A longtime fan who worked as a technical writer, or when feasible a full-time sf pro, Lupoff with his wife Pat (and Bhob Stewart) edited the Hugo-winning fanzine Xero. They were among the founders of the Fanoclasts, and of New York's Eastercon. Dick participated in APA-F and the New York Futurian Society. As a pro, he produced 20 novels and enough short fiction to fill several collections. He edited hardcover editions of Burroughs books, wrote a biography of Burroughs, and other nonfiction books drawing on his expertise in pulp, comics and sf history. [...] During that period he also wrote the short story '12:01 P.M.' (1973), adapted as the Oscar-nominated short film 12:01 pm (1990) and the TV movie 12:01 (1993). (Lupoff appeared in both films as an extra.) The major plot device is a time loop, so similar to that of 1993's Groundhog Day that Lupoff and Jonathan Heap, director of the 1990 film, were 'outraged' by the apparent theft of the idea..." Don Thompson and Dick Lupoff's All in Color For A Dime is still always where we can find it easily in our house.

RIP: "Jerry Jeff Walker, Outlaw Country Architect and 'Mr. Bojangles' Songwriter, Dead at 78: Walker's 1973 live album '¡Viva Terlingua!' is a cornerstone of the Austin, Texas, cosmic cowboy sound. Jerry Jeff Walker, the 'Mr. Bojangles' songwriter and a pioneer of the 'cosmic cowboy' sound that would evolve into outlaw country, died Friday after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 78. Walker's publicist confirmed his death to Rolling Stone. Born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, New York, in 1942, Walker made his way south, living for a time in the Florida Keys and in New Orleans, where he took his stage name. In 1971, he landed in Austin, Texas, and became a fixture of the local music scene, where artists like Willie Nelson, Doug Sahm, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Michael Martin Murphey were performing a new progressive style of hippie-country." David Bromberg, who used to play with JJW, tells the story of the song in his own performance of it.

"Why privilege theorists mock poor white people—with five examples

"How Democrats Can Learn Hardball From the Republicans of 1861: Sometimes restoring democracy requires rewriting the rules. If you're looking for a historical example of a revanchist political minority that kept its foot on the neck of a growing and restive majority, look no further than the defenders of slavery in antebellum America. In the interest of keeping Black people in a state of intergenerational servitude, pro-slavery politicians in the antebellum period trampled flagrantly and frequently on the civil liberties not only of Black Americans, but of white people who opposed slavery's expansion. They shut down the right of abolitionists to use the U.S. Postal Service and the halls of Congress to proselytize against the Peculiar Institution. They deployed violence and voter fraud to rig elections. To maintain property in human beings, they perverted the institutions of American democracy. It wasn't until the Civil War, when many of those pro-slavery politicians rebelled to fight for the Confederacy, that the anti-slavery Republicans had their chance to reverse the damage. And they did it by playing hardball."

"Mighty Ira: Ira Glasser, Free Speech and the ACLU - System Update with Glenn Greenwald: For this special episode of System Update, Glenn is joined by Ira Glasser, former executive director of the ACLU from 1978-2001 and the subject of a newly released documentary, Mighty Ira. Glenn and Ira discuss why civil libertarians must defend the rights of those they despise, the apparent abandonment of free speech commitments by some of the liberal left, and the role of the ACLU in US politics -- traditionally and now."

I haven't read it yet, but it warmed my heart to hold it in my hands: "The Return of Hyper Comics Paperback — August 7, 2020: The Return of Hyper Comics, the last project of legendary underground cartoonist and Hugo Award-winner Steve Stiles, who passed away in 2020, is a September release from Thintwhistle Books, a company formed by Steve's widow, Elaine Stiles. Packed with more than 150 pages of Steve's classic work from Hyper Comics, Heavy Metal, Stardate, and a host of other publications, it's an essential part of any cartoon collector's library."

This Dick Cavett interview with Dick Van Dyke took place in 1974. He's talking about his alcoholism, but I just found it fascinating to look at him. And then I realized how long ago that was and he's still amazing today.

"Stevie Wonder Releases First New Music in 15 Years: Hall of Famer unveils 'Where Is Our Love Song' and 'Can't Put It in the Hands of Fate' on Republic Records, his first non-Motown release."

Fairytale cottages

Spencer Davis Group, "I'm A Man"

3 comments:

  1. Hi Avedon, hope you are well. I've not participated online in years now, other than lurk-doom-scrolling. I haven't seen Stuart around for a long time. Just hoping he's well and if you are in touch with him at some point, give him my best.
    jc-stillin-japan

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    1. I've missed you! And I'll let Stuart know you asked after him. Wish you'd comment again, it's been quiet in here.

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    2. Thanks Avedon! I really miss vibrant blog commentary. That was a nice salve back in the day. Consuming political news is always depressing, but discussing it with the right people sort of recasts it in a more palatable light. Twitter just nuked the entire habitat.

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