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Saturday Water Cooler: RIP Jack Bruce

By: dakine01 Saturday October 25, 2014 7:00 pm

If you are of a certain age, you listened to Jack Bruce. Oh you may not have known his name but I guarantee you’ve listened to him. Bruce was the bass player and vocals for Cream alongside Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker:

Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup power trio consisting of bassist/singer Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. Their sound was characterised by a hybrid of blues rock, hard rock and psychedelic rock,[1] combining psychedelia-themed lyrics, Clapton’s blues guitar playing, Bruce’s operatic voice and prominent bass playing and Baker’s jazz-influenced drumming. The group’s third album, Wheels of Fire, was the world’s first platinum-selling double album.[2][3] Cream are widely regarded as being the world’s first successful supergroup.[4][5][6][7] In their career, they sold over 15 million albums worldwide.[8] Cream’s music included songs based on traditional blues such as “Crossroads” and “Spoonful”, and modern blues such as “Born Under a Bad Sign”, as well as more eccentric songs such as “Strange Brew”, “Tales of Brave Ulysses” and “Toad”.

Prior to Cream Bruce played with folks like Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones drummer) in Blues Incorporated and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and post-Cream with Manfred Mann and Leslie West and Corky Laing in West, Bruce, and Laing.

RIP Jack Bruce.

 

Keeping the Flame Alive: The FDL Book Salon

By: Phoenix Woman Saturday October 25, 2014 6:20 pm

I’ve been hanging around FDL since about two years after its inception, when Jane, ReddHedd, and Emptywheel were holding down the fort with assistance from T-Rex and a bunch of other folks.

There are many reasons to like Firedoglake, but for me the biggest reason is the FDL Book Salon. The Book Salon is, quite simply, the best online forum in existence for the discussion of progressive books and other worthy publications. There are many worthwhile books out that might not have had a chance at finding wider audiences, if not for the Book Salon.

Its quality is such that a large number of first-rate authors have graced its precincts, authors like John Dean and Charles Pierce and Richard Wolff. Furthermore, as the authors and their publishers find out for themselves how much fun it is to take part in the Book Salons and engage with intelligent and knowledgeable readers, they spread the word and bring in more books to be discussed and more authors to discuss them.

I’d very much like to see the Book Salon stick around, wouldn’t you? If you agree, might I suggest making a smallish donation – say, $50, though I’m sure more would be welcomed – at the links below?

Thank you for everything you do.

Please donate today and keep the FDL Book Salon open for discussion.

Is a US Constitutional Convention Imminent?

By: Daniel Marks Saturday October 25, 2014 5:10 pm

The Constitution belongs to We the People, not state legislatures.

Yes, it seems so, but don’t panic. It is time for Americans to take a break from election hype and become acquainted with The Assembly of State Legislatures and how their plans will change the landscape of US politics for the next 100 years or more.

In late 2013 the Convention of States political group led by radio show host Mark Levin, Tea Party Patriots founder Mark Meckler, and Supreme Court litigator Michael Farris invited various state legislative leaders to a conference at the Mt. Vernon to discuss the Article V Convention to propose amendment to the US Constitution. Convention of States managed to get a few states to pass their application for an Article V Convention but putting all of these legislative leaders in the same room had unintended results for Convention of States. Now this group of legislators formed their own entity calling it the Assembly of State Legislatures.

“This Assembly hereby resolves that the following items should be addressed in the rules and procedures of any Article V convention for proposing amendments:

Category: Rules and Procedures

  • Process of delegate recall, including state authority
  • Deliberative authority of body after a call is made (open, subject matter, single amendment)
  • Number of votes required for passage of an amendment (simple majority, two-thirds, three-fourths)
  • Process around one state one vote precedent
  • Speaking rights of delegates
  • Convention stance on the state delegate selection process
  • Rules creation, revision and adoption process
  • Committee structure and their process for discussion, voting and communicating to the body
  • Selection, term and responsibilities of officers
  • Convening times
  • Verbiage for rules continuity clause that would be adopted and carried into the next meeting of the body
  • Process for drafting of amendment language,
  • if called under Article V
  • Process of transmission to states of any passed amendment

Category: Planning and Communication

  • Process of admittance and credentials required
  • Security necessity and staffing
  • Oath of office necessity/language for delegates
  • Will meetings be open or closed, and if open how communicated
  • Method of recording proceedings of full body and committees
  • Time and location selection process of Convention

Category: Judiciary

  • Process to ensure that the Compact Clause in Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution is not triggered
  • Criteria for a qualified application
  • Number of live applications that have been submitted to Congress
  • Responsibility of tracking live applications
  • Process for notifying Congress that a call must be made
  • Length of time Congress has to make a call once 34 qualified applications have been submitted
  • Legal counsel selection for drafting purposes
  • Length a state application submitted to Congress is valid
  • Length of time a convention is open for and what events would “terminate” it
  • Length of time an amendment passed to the states for ratification has before it expires
  • Length of time an amendment that has been sent to the states for ratification remains valid for the required 38 ratifications
  • Role of District of Columbia and U.S. territories

Category: Finance

  • Convention financing
  • Budget creation and communication process
  • Tracking and allocation of convention costs
  • Collection process”

The Idaho Resolution

Halloween During the Great Depression

By: Crane-Station Saturday October 25, 2014 3:10 pm

Letty and Ray Owings, ages 89 and 91 recall Halloween and also describe some of the superstitions and customs of years past.

Halloween During the Great Depression

Halloween was a legitimate holiday and a big day for us in the country. Kids planned and planned, months in advance, and you would have been considered out of it, if you didn’t participate. Farm kids had to do something to lighten the load, and Halloween was an opportunity to be someone else. Everybody got dressed up, usually in an old shirt from a trunk of old clothes, and everyone got a mask. Witches were popular, and masks cost a nickel, unless you were rich, and could spend a dime.

We got our masks at Wolfcammer’s, the general store and meeting place in town. Freda, who ran the store, knew everything. Without radio, if you wanted to know anything, you went to the store- that’s what you went there for- that, and a few other things. Men most often shopped at the general store, and someone might say, “Oh, he’s been to town,” or “Oh, you’ve been to town. What’d you find out?” It was Freda who first informed me that my grandmother had died. Freda sold masks for a nickel, as well as salt pork, molasses, pickles in a barrel, dried and smoked meats, and other necessities like flour and sugar.

Lord help us, there was a lot of crap happened, and it’s a wonder nobody was killed, looking back. Pranks were more popular than any trick-or-treating, and there was all manner of soaping windows, or jumping onto porches, knocking on doors or ringing doorbells and running away. In an effort to see whoever could think of the most fantastic stuff, a bunch of us grade schoolers once sneaked into a farmer’s barn and climbed into a his hayloft, accompanied by the grade school teacher, who hadn’t gotten over the Halloween fits even as an adult. When the farmer came out with his shotgun, the kids took off and left the teacher in the hayloft, where he got caught up there somehow. They said later that he jumped out and walked somewhere, into the night.

Parents and teachers were very cooperative. Grade school kids dressed up to go to school, and the teachers were generous about letting us get away with doing next to nothing on Halloween. We also loaded hay into a wagon, hooked up the horses, and everybody got on the wagon and rode. Hay rides were popular, but not necessarily connected to Halloween.

We also had some superstitions that likely nobody took seriously, but we did know of them then:

-If you laughed very much in your home, sadness would replace it.

-Thirteen was an unlucky number.

-If a black cat ran across the road, or black cats in general around Halloween carried a connotation of ‘bad luck,’ but no one took it seriously.

-Wishbones could bring good luck (your wish would come true) if you got the longer part of the wishbone, when you pulled it apart.

-Stepping on a crack was bad luck.

We had other customs that we did take seriously. Some are related to death and others are not:

-You could not leave a dead body until it was buried. The sitting practice was done in shifts, and the query was, “Who’s settin’ tonight?”

-The windows were opened as someone was dying, even in the middle of winter.

-If you committed suicide, you could not be buried facing East, because that is the direction of the rising sun. One man who did commit suicide was buried backwards, to face the setting sun, because suicide was considered to be a form of murder.

-Pregnant women did not attend funerals.

-The eyes of a dead person were closed, never left open.

-When a person died, there were six rings on the party line, to inform everyone. Then, the church bell rang one time for each year of the person’s life. The tolling of the bells was repeated when the coffin was carried, at the funeral. This practice (also called the death knell) is mentioned in metaphysical poet John Donne’s meditation:

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

-Although we did not do the candle tradition during the Great Depression, during WWII, a candle was placed in the window for a soldier who was missing. If the soldier did not return, the candle flame was not allowed to go out- ie, the “eternal flame.”

-When you butchered a pig, you gave the best part, usually the heart, to someone else as a gift. Not to do so was considered selfish.

During Halloween in particular, the elders told stories, the more exaggerated the better. They were not so much scary stories as they were tall tales of their own Halloween adventures, embellished to make it sound like they had way more fun than we were having.

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Please, We Need Your Support

By: BevW Saturday October 25, 2014 9:46 am

http://static1.firedoglake.com/1/files/2014/10/300-justice.jpg
Firedoglake needs your support. FDL has bravely reported on, and supported, political causes, antiwar issues, immigration reform, Unions, environmental issues, KeystoneXL, fracking, Citizen United, Marijuana Legalization, LGBT issues, marriage equality, illegal surveillance, race issues, healthcare reforms, and whistleblowers. The increased security software, server services require your donation to keep FDL online. Please help us modernize the site and stay online

Can you donate $10 to protect Firedoglake?

Before I was invited to join Firedoglake to assist with the FDL Book Salon, I followed FDL, read the posts and found a website that provided an insight to the news and politics that I was looking for. Now as I work with the Book and Movie Night salons, I hear from our guests (authors, filmmakers) how they have followed us for years, or if they didn’t know about FDL, they are surprised by the quality of the coverage and will follow FDL now.

It has been an honor to bring the newsmakers, authors and filmmakers to FDL each week so you can ask questions and to be heard. These are the people making the news, reporting the facts, and organizing protests, brought here to FDL to talk with you. We need your help, thank you.

Please donate $10 so FDL can continue leading the way on political and social issues.

Because ‘riots’ must be what the PTB and most media want

By: wendydavis Saturday October 25, 2014 9:44 am
!cid_4395E41E-2206-4CE2-8767-F781A4B82C50 nice doggie

(‘Nice doggie’ by Anthony Freda)

Ferguson

Yes, we were given a heads-up earlier this month when the AP published the ‘leaked’ information that the Ferguson PD, state cops, and indeed the DHS (assumedly) nation-wide fusion centers were planning for ‘riots’ if the sham grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson for some degree of murder.  The police have pushed and prodded and provoked the good citizens there over a course of 77 days to no avail, but gee, that hasn’t kept the MSM speaking of the Ferguson ‘riots’, has it?

As recently as the last several nights, the Twittersphere has been noting that there were plenty of ‘strangers’ throwing water bottles and such at cops, trying to elicit even stronger police tactics that would rile legitimate peaceful protestors.

From yesterday:  ‘Missouri Police Stocking Up on Riot Gear Ahead of Grand Jury’s Decision’, (AP) October 24, 2014, (stlouis.cbslocal)

‘FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri police have been brushing up on constitutional rights and stocking up on riot gear to prepare for a grand jury’s decision about whether to charge a white police officer who fatally shot a black 18-year-old in suburban St. Louis.

The preparations are aimed at avoiding a renewed outbreak of violence during the potentially large demonstrations that could follow an announcement of whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will face a criminal trial for the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown.  [snip]

Police are attempting to better document events and handle widespread arrests more efficiently. To ensure it’s at full strength, the state Highway Patrol is limiting trooper vacations around the time of a potential decision, and local police may be put on longer shifts.

After the initial clashes with protesters, the state Highway Patrol purchased more shields and equipment for its officers. St. Louis city police recently spent $325,000 upgrading helmets, sticks and other “civil disobedience equipment,” said Police Chief Sam Dotson.

More than 350 St. Louis officers now have been trained in civil disobedience tactics. St. Louis County police and state troopers also have undergone training, focused largely on ensuring they understand protesters’ constitutional rights.’

Propaganda Alert: Chemical Weapons Again Being Used as Excuse for Imperial War in the Middle East

By: Ohio Barbarian Saturday October 25, 2014 9:31 am

Remember Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” during the Bush II Administration?  Remember the Assad regime in Syria being accused of using chemical weapons by Obama as justification for American military intervention in Syria not so long ago? Remember first Prime Minister Cameron and then President Obama failing to get the votes in Parliament and Congress shortly thereafter?

Well, our ruling class hasn’t given up in its quest for a new and improved imperial war. The Washington Post is once again accusing the Assad regime of using chemical weapons, this time against unnamed villages, and accusing President Obama of giving ol’ Assad a “free pass” to do so. Ironically, it also notes that the Islamic State(ISIS) is also accused of using chlorine gas against Iraqi government troops. It then blurs the line and quotes a State Department official of saying that the “evidence strongly suggests the Assad regime is the culprit” behind the attacks in Syria, but its links provide no concrete evidence whatsoever that this is in fact what is happening.

Basically, the Washington Post is saying, “We know that ISIS is using chlorine gas, and we really really want to believe that Assad is using chemical weapons, so You The People should just assume that he is, too, and break out the American flags and cheer on the next shiny new war.” In short, it’s a propaganda ploy that Goebbels or Stalin would recognize instantly, though they might critique it for being too weak.

Anyway, the implication of the article is clear: Obama must stop being a wimp and send in American troops to combat this menace to civilization as we know it.

Don’t be surprised if senior administration officials such as John Kerry or even President Obama himself once again trot out the old chemical weapons argument as a reason why America simply has no other choice but to invade Syria and reoccupy parts of Iraq(undoubtedly the oil-producing parts, but they will never admit that) for purely upstanding moral and humanitarian reasons.

Of course, there never actually has been clear and convincing evidence that Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s regime ever really did use chemical weapons against anybody, as this World Socialist Website article argues.  It points out that chlorine gas is relatively easy to make, simply by taking over chlorination facilities that are used to decontaminate drinking water in that part of the world. ISIS undoubtedly has some of these facilities in its possession, and might well have captured some Syrian military stockpiles of chlorine, mustard and perhaps nerve gas as well. It also notes that it is clear that Syrian rebels of one persuasion or the other definitely did use sarin nerve gas against Syrian soldiers and civilians, which was then erroneously reported in the corporate media and by Obama himself that Assad was using it.

It never made any sense to me why the Assad regime would gas its own troops and give Obama and the West a casus belli against him altogether simultaneously at the same time. I don’t think a stupid man could have stayed in power in Damascus that long, and it would take a stupid man to order such a thing.

So here we go again. The only question is when Obama will make his move and how, and whether Congress will be even consulted. Will he simply send in the troops or will he try to drum up public support first? I don’t know, but the American people will have to shout “Hell, NO!” really loudly again in order to stop this latest wave of imperial madness. Probably the British, French, and German people as well.

It’s way past time for America and Europe to stop intervening in the Middle East and let the people there sort out their own destiny themselves. Curiously, I find myself in agreement with both Rand Paul and the Iranian government on this one. Strange bedfellows indeed, but this is a strange world we live in. C’est la vie.

Buying the Vote: A History of Campaign Finance Reform – Book Salon Preview

By: Elliott Saturday October 25, 2014 8:48 am

Buying the Vote: A History of Campaign Finance Reform

Chat with Robert E. Mutch about his new book. Hosted by investigative reporter Greg Palast. Today at 5pm ET, 2pm PT.

Are corporations citizens? Is political inequality a necessary aspect of a democracy or something that must be stamped out? These are the questions that have been at the heart of the debate surrounding campaign finance reform for nearly half a century. But as Robert E. Mutch demonstrates in this fascinating book, these were not always controversial matters.

The tenets that corporations do not count as citizens, and that self-government functions best by reducing political inequality, were commonly heldup until the early years of the twentieth century, when Congress recognized the strength of these principles by prohibiting corporations from making campaign contributions, passing a disclosure law, and setting limits on campaign expenditures. But conservative opposition began to appear in the 1970s. Well represented on the Supreme Court, opponents of campaign finance reform won decisions granting First Amendment rights to corporations, and declaring the goal of reducing political inequality to be unconstitutional.

Buying the Vote analyzes the rise and decline of campaign finance reform by tracking the evolution of both the ways in which presidential campaigns have been funded since the late nineteenth century. Through close examinations of major Supreme Court decisions, Mutch shows how the Court has fashioned a new and profoundly inegalitarian definition of American democracy. Drawing on rarely studied archival materials on presidential campaign finance funds, Buying the Vote is an illuminating look at politics, money, and power in America.

Robert E. Mutch is an independent scholar who specializes in the history of campaign finance. (Oxford University Press)