The Evening Blues - 11-25-15
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features New Orleans r&b artist Smiley Lewis. Enjoy!
Smiley Lewis - I Hear You Knockin'
"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
News and Opinion
The commander of the Afghanistan war will give an "update" on US inquiry into US bombing of a Kunduz hospital... the day before Thanksgiving
— Ugh (@attackerman) November 24, 2015
The results of the U.S. Pentagon's internal probes into the October 3 bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan raised "more questions than answers" as reports of the military's alleged "human error" emerged on Wednesday.
The pair of investigations, which trickled out by way of the mainstream media, reduced the attack on the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital to series of human errors and technical glitches. They show that despite the medical charity's documented efforts to alert commanders to the onslaught, those signals did not reportedly reach the trigger team until it was "too late," resulting in the deaths of at least 31 civilians and injuring 28 more.
Among observers—including the head of MSF—the findings have raised some eyebrows as well as questions such as: What about the hour-long attempts to stop the bombing? How does this compare to MSF's own investigation? Why are these damning reports being released the day before Thanksgiving? And what does this say about the competency of the U.S. military?
Responding to the news that gunmen erroneously relied on a physical description of the compound to carry out the attack and had intended to strike a building 450 yards away, Stokes continued: "It appears that 30 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people are denied life-saving care in Kunduz simply because the MSF hospital was the closest large building to an open field and 'roughly matched' a description of an intended target."
"The frightening catalogue of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of U.S. forces and violations of the rules of war," he added, reiterating the organization's call for independent and impartial investigation into the attack.
The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, said Wednesday that several service members had been suspended from duty after an internal military investigation of the American airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz last month.
Calling the airstrike a “tragic mistake,” General Campbell read a statement announcing the findings of the investigation, which he said concluded that “avoidable human error” was to blame, compounded by technical, mechanical and procedural failures. He said that another contributing factor was that the Special Forces members in Kunduz had been fighting continuously for days and were fatigued. ...
General Campbell and his staff did not say how many people were being disciplined, or how. But a senior United States military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that one of those punished was the Army Special Forces commander on the ground in Kunduz during the fighting. The official would not identify the commander by name, but said the officer, a captain, was relieved of his command in Afghanistan on Wednesday morning. ...
The general confirmed that Médecins Sans Frontières, the French name of Doctors Without Borders, had succeeded in reaching the Special Forces commander to inform him of the attack about 12 minutes into the airstrike, at 2:20 a.m. But he said the strike was not called off until 2:37 a.m. — after the aircrew had already stopped firing. But that timeline does not agree with accounts by the aid group and other witnesses, who said the strike went on for more than an hour.
The aid group, which has called for an independent, nonmilitary international inquiry into the airstrike, was sharply critical of General Campbell’s remarks.
A memo about how the George W. Bush administration interpreted a ban on assassination can be kept secret, along with other legal documents about the drone war, a federal appeals court said in a ruling made public Monday. ...
Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York said that widespread discussion about the drone program by administration officials, as well as the leak of a so-called white paper from the Justice Department, outlining its legal reasoning for killing a U.S. citizen, had mooted the case for so much secrecy. The court ordered the government to release a July 2010 memo that cleared the way for killing Anwar al Awlaki. Two other documents discussing the CIA’s role in such killings were also made public last year, in heavily redacted form.
Today’s decision from the court centered on 10 remaining documents that the Justice Department argued did not have to be released.
One of the documents at issue was a March 2002 memo, which, in the government’s description, “provided legal advice regarding the assassination ban in Executive Order 12333.” (The order, signed by Ronald Reagan in 1981, upholds a ban on assassination first issued by Gerald Ford in 1976.)
The memo might get at the heart of a debate about the United States’ lethal counterterrorism missions, carried out by drone or other means: Why is the killing of select individuals, far from conventional battlefields, without a trial, not assassination?
This article is well worth reading in full.
The atrocities committed in the latest Paris attacks rightly horrify us, but they should surprise no one, least of all the French. An outraged President Francois Hollande announced that “France is at war,” but of course that has been the case for more than a year, since France started bombing Islamic State forces in Iraq and later in Syria. Why did he only announce the fact after French citizens had died? He apparently hoped that the war would not inconvenience his own people, perhaps that they wouldn’t even notice the conflict. ...
This kind of terrorism simply is another weapon of war. Imagine if the Islamic State was a normal nation. No one would have been surprised had ISIL fighter planes shot down French aircraft engaged in France’s nearly 300 bombing runs over the “caliphate.” There might have been shocked disbelief at such a defeat of French arms, but no moral outrage. The same would be the case if ISIL planes had retaliated by striking Paris. Again, that would have been a routine act of war. After all, France had attacked Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, in October. The U.S. has bombed the capital of every major adversary since World War II: Rome, Berlin, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Hanoi, Belgrade, Baghdad, and Tripoli.
ISIL undoubtedly had the desire but not the capability to retaliate directly. So it turned to terrorism. While President Hollande studiously ignored his role in the tragedy, the 129 people slaughtered on the streets of Paris ultimately paid the price of his government’s decision to go to war. Of course, those killed did not deserve to die. But said one of the killers, “It’s the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria” and Iraq.
Western governments which loose the dogs of war should stop assuming that their own people will not be bitten. Being a liberal democracy does not turn bombing and killing into an act of immaculate conception. Instead of pretending that their nations enjoy immunity from the inevitable horrors of war, Western officials should make the case to their people that the likely costs are worth the benefits. In this case that includes the possibility, perhaps likelihood, of terrorist attacks at home. There are no certainties even for America, which has done surprisingly well since 9/11. ...
The most obvious victims of the Paris attacks are those killed and wounded, and their families and friends. But perhaps the greater outrage is that after turning his nation into a target President Hollande used the new attacks to justify more intervention, telling the French parliament that Syria is “the biggest factory of terrorists the world has ever known,” a manifest untruth. After downplaying the risks of war, failing to even admit that France was at war as it bombed other nations and killed other peoples, the French president emerged surrounded by his security detail to pose as a decisive political leader.
Worse, the Paris attacks encouraged Republican presidential candidates to become even more irresponsible, calling for more war against more people. ... Yet none of the Republicans explained how deeper involvement in the Middle East’s burgeoning sectarian conflict would promote U.S. interests let alone protect U.S. security.
Russia claimed on Wednesday that Turkey's downing of its warplane was a "planned provocation" — as Turkey said it had simply acted to defend its own security.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia had "serious doubts this was an unintended incident," following a meeting with his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, but stressed "We're not going to war against Turkey."
Earlier, Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said his nation had acted simply to defend its own security and the "rights of our brothers" in Syria. But in Russia's view those "brothers" are Islamic State militants themselves, according to a statement from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reported by Russia Today on Wednesday.
"Turkey's actions are de facto protection of Islamic State," he was reported as saying. "This is no surprise, considering the information we have about direct financial interest of some Turkish officials relating to the supply of oil products refined by plants controlled by ISIS."
In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, Medvevev said Turkey's "criminal" actions had led to a "dangerous aggravation" of relations between Russia and NATO, that Turkey had demonstrated it was protecting IS, and that Turkey could lose important business projects in Russia as a result.
The second Russian airman from the Su-24 shot down by the Turkish air force is “alive and well”, after a 12-hour special operation to save him succeeded, Russian officials have said.
Both airmen ejected from the plane after it was hit by a Turkish F-16 on Tuesday, but the pilot was shot at and killed by fire from the ground, apparently from Syrian Turkmen fighters. ...
The Russian agency LifeNews said the airman was found by an 18-man Syrian special forces team acting together with six members of an elite Hezbollah unit. It said he had hidden for many hours after landing, and was found by a radio signal.
Captain Konstantin Murakhtin, speaking on Russian television after his rescue, said his plane had not crossed into Turkish airspace and denied that there had been any audio or visual warnings from Turkey. Murakhtin added that he knew the area “like the back of my hand”. He is currently receiving medical treatment but said he wanted to stay in Syria and continue flying missions.
Russia has announced the deployment of significant new air defense equipment to the Syria-Turkey border, including the Moskva guided-missile cruiser, which will park off the coast of Latakia to destroy any “target that may pose danger.” ... The Russian Defense Ministry says they are going to cut military contact with Turkey as well in protest over the attack.
The biggest move, however, is likely to be Russia’s announcement that future bombing runs in northern Syria are going to include escorts of fighter jets, a move that is likely to dissuade hasty attacks on the bombers in future incidents along the border.
While US President Barack Obama publicly expressed support for Ankara's right to defend its sovereignty after Turkey shot down a Russian plane it says strayed into its airspace on Tuesday, US officials reportedly believe Turkey needlessly escalated tensions.
CBS News on Tuesday quoted anonymous US officials as blaming Turkey for overreacting to a minor violation of its airspace. ...
The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Turkey’s rash decision to shoot down a Russian plane for allegedly violating its airspace isn’t likely to trigger World War III. But Ankara has demonstrated where it stands. With the Islamic State and against the West. The justification for Turkey’s membership in NATO and America’s defense guarantee for Ankara long ago passed. Turkey’s irresponsible action proves that it is no U.S. ally.
The Obama administration’s war against the Islamic State is turning into another interminable conflict that serves the interests of other nations far more than America. U.S. policy has been impossibly incoherent, attempting to do everything: oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, shove aside next door Iran, defeat vicious jihadist insurgents, promote ineffectual “moderate” forces, convince the Gulf States to act against the extremists they’ve been supporting, promote diplomacy without participation by Damascus and Tehran, and convince Turkey to serve U.S. rather than Islamic interests.
While Russia’s September entry into the war outraged Washington, Moscow showed clarity and realism. Russia simply sought to bolster Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad against insurgents dominated by radical Islamists. Ironically, this approach was far more likely than the administration’s confused policy to advance America’s core interest of defeating ISIL and al-Qaeda affiliates such as al-Nusra. The U.S. had little choice but to accommodate Moscow, despite nutty proposals from some Republican presidential candidates to shoot down Russian planes.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan played the fool when his military downed a Russian aircraft, involved in striking territory controlled by al-Nusra. The two governments’ accounts conflict, but no one believes the Putin government had the slightest hostile intent against Ankara. Downing the plane was gratuitously provocative and not necessary for Turkey’s defense. The objectives likely were to interfere with Moscow’s operations against Islamic radicals and/or discourage future Russian strikes against Ankara-backed Islamists. The action obviously was contrary to Washington’s interest, which would be caught in any escalation between Russia and Turkey. Yet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that “we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally, Turkey.” ...
Striking nuclear-armed Russia for an alleged overflight lasting just a few seconds appears to be seeking war. The U.S. should shun Ankara for playing chicken with Moscow.
With the US shifting its focus in the Syrian air war away from ISIS targets and toward oil infrastructure, officials say banking records are proving indispensable for military planners looking to decide which refineries are most profitable and, subsequently, will get bombed first. ...
Officials say in theory the airstrikes have cut a third of ISIS’ income from the oil industry, though reports are that areas dependent on ISIS-smuggled oil are seeing rising prices as the supply becomes more scarce, so it’s unclear how much it’s really costing ISIS.
Rather, the big losers here are the communities dependent on this oil revenue to survive, and as they grow more desperate, they will likely have to turn to ISIS for help, since the group still has significant cash reserves. With such attacks, the US may be forcing locals into greater dependence of the ISIS movement.
According to reports out of the Syrian media, Israeli warplanes launched four airstrikes against a Hezbollah base in western Syria, along the Lebanon border, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens of others.
The report identified the slain as eight Hezbollah fighters and five Syrian soldiers. No reason was given for the attack and, as with several previous Israeli attacks on Syria, there has been no formal statement from the Israeli military confirming the incident, let alone explaining it.
Zionist Organization of America chief: Don’t accept Syrian refugees 'because they hate Israel and Jews’
The United States should not accept any Syrian refugees, Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein told attendees at a gala banquet here Sunday night, adding that many of them hate Jews and Israel. In addition, he said, parents and siblings of terrorists should be deported unless they publicly condemn, in Hebrew and Arabic, the acts of their family member. Klein was speaking to an audience of more than 1,000 people at the 2015 Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner, held at Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt hotel.
“Don’t bring these refugees here. Treat as pariahs all those who promote radical Islam. ... We must crush radical Islam as we crushed Nazism,” Klein said.
Attendees greeted both of Klein’s proposals with wild applause. It was one of several moments of right-wing ideology met by popular — though perhaps, given the $700 per person ticket price, not populist — acclaim.
Klein was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany to parents who survived the Holocaust. He was 4 when the family immigrated to Philadelphia, and spoke only Yiddish, he told Haaretz. Asked whether he does not feel, particularly in light of his own background, that there is an ethical imperative for the United States to take in refugees, he said: “As a Jew and as a Zionist, why should I want people who hate me to come to America? Especially when a small chunk might commit terrorist acts against my fellow Americans. It’s perfectly rational. No question most of them are not terrorists, but most hate Jews and Israel.
Bibi the delusional douchebag demands that the international community endorse his massive violations of international law - or the Palestinians get it. Got it?
Meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not only ruled out a new settlement freeze as a condition of resuming peace talks, but demanded the international community formally endorse all future expansions of the settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu reportedly told Kerry that if the international community ever wanted to see the Palestinians permitted to build another building in the West Bank they’d have to unconditionally recognize the “right” of Israel to build as it sees fit in the settlements.
For nearly two years Mohamed Soltan, a 26-year-old citizen of both Egypt and America, endured torture, deprivation, and cruelty while locked in the prisons of Egyptian military dictator Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. In 2013, he was among thousands arrested in a country-wide crackdown on civil society activists, journalists, and members of the deposed government following Sisi’s coup and massacre of protestors in Cairo’s Raba’a Adawiya Square.
Soltan was released this year after a 400-day hunger strike in which he lost over 130 pounds and nearly died, saved only by the intervention of the American government on his behalf. Despite bending to pressure in his case, the Egyptian regime continues to imprison as many as 41,000 other political prisoners, recent Human Rights Watch estimates suggest. And Soltan worries that extremism is incubating in those facilities, where he witnessed and experienced torture. Today, he says that, through its oppressive practices, the Sisi government is effectively acting as a “recruiting agent” for extremist groups like the Islamic State.
“The regime is fostering an environment in their prisons that makes them a fertile ground for that kind of ideology to flourish,” Soltan says. “The brutality and the overwhelming loss of hope is creating a situation which fits [the Islamic State’s] narrative, and they’re using it to try and recruit people and spread their message.” ...
The developed world's most unequal economies are in struggling southern Europe, closely followed by the U.S. according to a new report from Morgan Stanley. ...
Persistent inequality hurts economic growth over the long run, according to the bank. ... "Past generations of middle-class families, emerging from the post-WWII period, could aspire to improving living standards, with a reasonably sized house, a good education for their children" and dependable pensions, Morgan Stanley economists said in their report Tuesday. "In contrast, middle-class aspirations are now running up against the wall of job and retirement insecurity."
“This is what you guys wanted,” police told protesters after five demonstrators were shot and injured by masked men at a continuing protest in Minneapolis on Monday night, witnesses told the Guardian.
Protesters trying to tend to the wounded were also maced. ...
Having shot five people, the attackers escaped in what looked like a black Toyota SUV, according to Nimo Omar, who was also at the protest.
After the shots, everything was “very chaotic”, Omar said. Several people, including Sumaya Moallin and Oluchi Omeoga, ran back to the precinct to ask the police for help.
Moallin said they needed a squad car and an ambulance. “He looked at me and he said: ‘Call 911,’” she told the Guardian. “I said: ‘I thought you were 911.’ Then he looked at me directly and said: ‘This is what you guys wanted.’”
“Six [officers] were outside [the precinct building],” she continued. “They all just shuffled back into the door. They were not making eye contact ... I pleaded a good amount of time.” ...
Then the police arrived at the scene in force, in full riot gear. Rachel Bean was still tending to [one of the protesters who was shot] stomach wound when they released mace into people’s faces, she told the Guardian. “I said, ‘I called the EMS, you don’t have to mace everyone’,” she said. “The officer said ‘fuck you’ or ‘shut the fuck up’ or something like that.”
She said that attitude was representative of the behavior of other officers she interacted with after the attack.
The day after Laquan died, police officials told the Chicago Tribune that he had “lunged at police” before the officer opened fire. The video shows the opposite. When Van Dyke’s patrol car speeds past Laquan to get in front of him, Laquan, who had been running, slows his jog to a shuffle. He also veers right, away from the highway’s centerline where he had been running, gaining a full lane – or roughly 10-15ft of separation – by the time he was shot.
When the squad car stops, Van Dyke’s exit is briefly obscured by another CPD vehicle; by the time it pulls away just five seconds later, Van Dyke is seen advancing on Laquan with his gun drawn.
Within another three seconds, Van Dyke has taken at least five steps toward Laquan and fired the first pair of shots. Though the shots cannot be heard and the muzzle flash isn’t visible, Van Dyke’s arm clearly bends from the recoil of his pistol.
Almost immediately, Laquan spins backward, either from the force of the first two shots, as a self-protective reflex, or perhaps both. He collapses, and the shots continue from Van Dyke’s weapon, hitting McDonald another 14 times as he lay on the ground.
There were no other officers or civilians in the direction of Laquan’s path away from Van Dyke, and there was no offensive or even sudden movement by Laquan until the first bullets had already struck his body. No other officers on the scene fired their weapons. ...
And yet for all we do now know, there are still many things that the video cannot tell us. ... We ... don’t know what the surveillance footage from the nearby Burger King restaurant would have shown had it not disappeared. A Chicago NBC affiliate reported Tuesday that, according to the restaurant’s district manager, four officers spent three hours with the tape of the incident, and when they left 86 minutes, encompassing the entire shooting, had been erased. The camera is located roughly 100ft from where Laquan died.
Chicago is braced for more protests on Wednesday after anger spilled on to downtown city streets overnight following the release of video footage showing the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a police officer.
Protests are expected outside city hall on Wednesday and demonstrations are being planned to block the city’s main shopping thoroughfare, Michigan Avenue, during the traditional post-Thanksgiving spending bonanza on Friday.
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said he hoped to see “massive” but peaceful protests.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel warned that the city’s residents “will have to make important judgments about our city and ourselves – and go forward”.
The shocking video showing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being gunned down by police was made public Tuesday on the same day that a white Chicago officer was charged with murder in the case.
The rare decision to bring a murder charge against a member of Chicago law enforcement after the deadly shooting of a resident perhaps contributed to the peaceful and relatively small nature of the demonstration that stretched into the early hours of Wednesday, as agitated crowds gathered in streets, stopped traffic in downtown Chicago and chanted.
On Sunday, Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate who has led the primary polls for months, retweeted a graphic of bogus crime statistics regarding American homicide. The source for the numbers is the Crime Statistics Bureau of San Francisco — an entity that doesn’t exist. The tweet, which features an image of a menacing young black man wielding a gun, claims to break down murders in 2015 based on the race of offenders and victims. While the FBI publishes an annual homicide report that includes this type of data, it hasn’t yet been released — 2015 isn’t over. This logic, unsurprisingly, is lost on the Republican frontrunner.
More disturbingly, however, are the numbers. The graphic in Trump’s tweet says that 97 percent of black murder victims are killed by other black people. According to the most recent FBI data, from the bureau’s 2014 report, 90 percent of black victims were murdered by other black people. The graphic also falsely implies that 81 percent of white murder victims are killed by black people. The 2014 report, in contrast, says that only 15 percent of white murder victims were killed by black people, while 82 percent were killed by white people. The reality is that the vast majority of black victims are killed by black people, just as the vast majority of white victims are killed by white people.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2015
Trump’s dissemination of white supremacist propaganda on crime reflects a longstanding tradition of politicians and law enforcement painting young black people as violent threats wreaking havoc across the country.
Twenty-five years ago, during the height of gruesome drug war rhetoric, the term “superpredator” was introduced to frighten Americans and provide rationale for harsher sentencing and, ultimately, the construction of the carceral state. In 1996, Hillary Clinton, now the leading Democratic candidate, called children in street organizations superpredators, adding that such youth gangsters have “no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.” ...
Trump’s neo-fascist campaign has been facilitated, presumably for ratings, by many quarters of the American media. He appears so frequently on ABC’s This Week that the network should consider renaming the show This Week with Donald Trump. And the cable networks love him. When he’s on as a guest the questioning hardly ever dives deep into his scurrilous policy proposals; instead, the exchanges are superficial farces.
Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Tuesday that her use of the term “illegal immigrants” was a “poor choice of words” and she pledged not to use it anymore, responding to criticism from immigration activists.
The Democratic presidential frontrunner was asked about her use of the term to describe people who are in the US illegally during a question-and-answer session on Facebook held by Telemundo. The question came from Jose Antonio Vargas, a filmmaker and journalist whose organisation, Define American, has said the terminology is offensive and asked all presidential candidates to stop using it.
“Yes, I will,” Clinton wrote during a stop in Boulder, Colorado. “That was a poor choice of words. As I’ve said throughout this campaign, the people at the heart of this issue are children, parents, families, DREAMers. They have names and hopes and dreams that deserve to be respected.”
DREAMers take their name from the acronym for legislation that lays out a process toward citizenship for immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children and grew up in the United States.
During a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire earlier this month, Clinton said she voted “numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think you have to control your borders.”
Betraying her claimed 'committment,' former secretary of state ignores opportunity to 'speak directly to and energize the progressive base'
In what one analyst sees as "a really bad mistake," Hillary Clinton declined to participate in a presidential forum hosted by the 8 million-strong organization MoveOn.org.
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley did take part in the virtual event in which they answered questions on issues ranging from campaign finance reform to climate change to the Syrian refugee crisis.
"It’s a shame that Secretary Clinton declined to participate in the MoveOn member forum," Anna Galland, the executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, said in a statement to The Hill. "She missed an opportunity to speak directly to and energize the progressive base she’ll need in her corner not just to win the nomination but also the general election, if she is the party's nominee."
"Our forum gave grassroots progressives the chance to pose substantive questions directly to presidential candidates—exactly what democracy is about— and we’re grateful to Sen. Sanders and Gov. O’Malley for participating," Galland's statement continued.
In an audio recording of a strategy session obtained by The Intercept, major trade association lobbyists discussed how the refugee crisis has changed the political dynamics in Washington to their advantage.
In the conference call held last week, lobbyists representing a number of high-polluting industries agreed that the battle between Congress and President Obama on refugee policy will give them the cover they need to attach a legislative rider to the omnibus budget bill that rolls back newly expanded clean water regulation. ...
The White House has issued veto threats against previous attempts by Congress to block the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, a regulation finalized this year that extends Clean Water Act protections to millions of acres of wetlands and streams. So attaching a rider blocking WOTUS to the omnibus was potentially going to attract a lot of attention. Until now. ...
The remarks were made during a political strategy call hosted last week by energy utility industry lobbyists. A recording was sent to The Intercept by someone on the call. [Audio of the lobbyists conspiring embedded in the original. - js]
White House officials say Obama is determined to take lead on climate change during talks set to begin on Monday with bilateral meeting with China
Lessons from past failures will help push nations towards a robust climate change agreement that will push down greenhouse gas emissions, the White House has predicted.
The US has promised to take a leadership role during next week’s talks in Paris, with Barack Obama arriving on Sunday night for a number of high-level meetings designed to spur early momentum. ...
White House officials said that the president was determined to show leadership on the issue of climate change as it posed a “clear and present threat” to US national security and an “existential challenge” to developing nations that will bear the brunt of extreme weather events and food insecurity caused by warming temperatures.
Rhodes said the Paris talks will be approached differently to Copenhagen, which is widely viewed as a hastily patched-together failure.
“By the time [Obama arrived in Copenhagen] things had already unravelled and then had to be put back together,” he said. “The goal here is to give a push with heads of state at the beginning of the process and then allow [secretary of state John] Kerry and others to finalise the details.”
[Clearly, the Obama administration seems to have forgotten its role in "unravelling" the Copenhagen summit. See: 'Insane, Disgusting' and 'Epic Treachery': NSA Spied on Climate Talks - js]
Starlings have been consistently drowning in large groups in a phenomenon yet to be fully explained by scientists, according to new research led by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
In 12 separate incidents recorded between 1993 and 2013 in England and Wales, starlings were found drowned in groups of two to 80. In 10 cases, at least 10 starlings were found drowned at a time, the research published in the journal Scientific Reports on Wednesday shows.
One expert said that the mass mortalities were “really unusual”, with drowning considered a rare cause of death among wild bird populations and normally only recorded as affecting individual birds.
Records since 1909 of 800,000 ringed birds from 79 species reveal that drowning was more commonly recorded as a probable cause of death in starlings than in any other species.
Post mortems revealed no evidence that underlying disease had been a factor in the incidents which all occurred during the summer and spring months and concerned juvenile birds in most cases.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Smiley Lewis - Lillie Mae
Smiley Lewis - Bumpity Bump
Smiley Lewis - One Night Of Sin
Smiley Lewis - Blue Monday
Smiley Lewis - Shame Shame Shame
Smiley Lewis - Tee Nah Nah
Smiley Lewis - Farewell
Smiley Lewis - Come on
Smiley Lewis - Big Mamou
Smiley Lewis - Ooh la La
Smiley Lewis - Real Gone Lover
Smiley Lewis - Tore Up
Smiley Lewis - The Bells Are Ringing
Smiley Lewis - She's Got Me Hook, Line & Sinker
Smiley Lewis - Play Girl
Smiley Lewis - Bee's Boogie
Smiley Lewis - Down The Road
Smiley Lewis - Ain't Gonna Do It