The Evening Blues - 4-20-17
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features "The Mother of the Blues," Gertrude "Ma" Rainey. Enjoy!
Ma Rainey - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
"What’s the point of debating economic justice when there’s an unelected power coalition expressly dedicated to making sure that economic justice never happens? What’s the point of debating the merits of non-interventionism if there’s an unelected power coalition expressly dedicated to making sure that America keeps bullying, invading, attacking and destabilizing? What’s the point in debating left vs. right in a country that does not have a single viable pro-human political party?"
-- Caitlyn Johnstone
News and Opinion
As my colleague Alex Emmons reported last month, Syrian activists and first responders accused the United States of killing dozens of civilians in an airstrike that mistakenly targeted a mosque in the rebel-held village of al-Jinah on the evening of March 16.
Confronted with these claims, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, told The Intercept that they were mistaken. “The area was extensively surveilled prior to the strike in order to minimize civilian casualties,” Davis said. “We deliberately did not target the mosque.” ...
But, as Human Rights Watch reported this week, witnesses in al-Jinah said that the building destroyed by two armed, Reaper drones firing Hellfire missiles was the newly built Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque, where about 300 civilians had gathered for the Muslim night prayer. At least 38 people were killed in the attack, which included the dropping of a 500-pound bomb. ...
But perhaps the most convincing case that the U.S. bombing was a deadly error is a richly detailed video report on the strike produced by Forensic Architecture, a research agency, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, led by the Israeli architect Eyal Weizman.
Nearly every day there is a new report of desperate migrants rescued at sea in the Mediterranean. Some are less fortunate and are among the estimated 12,000 who have died there in the last three years alone. Their point of embarkation is Libya, a nation now a haven for human traffickers because of President Barack Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
Their deliberate destruction of Libya was a war crime by all standards of international law. That country was just one victim of the American plan to eliminate secular governments in the Middle East. Under the guise of a phony “responsibility to protect” and with cover from organizations such as Human Rights Watch, American propaganda gave an atrocity the appearance of a humanitarian act. Now come reports from media and the International Organization for Migration that African migrants are being openly bought and sold in Libya. This practice would not be taking place if Muammar Gaddafi not been murdered by American backed jihadists in 2011. ...
There can be no plan for reviving the peace movement that doesn’t include a reckoning of responsibility for the disasters that Obama and Clinton brought to the world. “We came, we saw, he died,” is one of the more memorable Hillary Clinton statements, memorable for all the wrong reasons. Obama knew better than to be so crass, but he privately called Libya a “shit show” as if he were a bystander and not the perpetrator.
While the corporate media make hay out of very dubious evidence of atrocities allegedly committed by the Syrian government, the atrocities caused directly by the American government go unmentioned. Or rather they are reported absent of any context of American responsibility.
Maybe the "mother of all bombs" isn't all that effective if there are still enough ISIS troops left that it requires the US to send in "boots" to fight them.
U.S. troops are still battling suspected Islamic State fighters near the site where "the mother of all bombs" was dropped in eastern Afghanistan last week, a U.S. military official said on Wednesday.
Afghan estimates of heavy militant losses and no civilian casualties have been impossible to verify in the remote region, with access to the area where the bomb fell still blocked. ... After arriving at the site the day after the strike, U.S. troops fighting alongside Afghan forces have since left, but continue to conduct operations in the broader area, said U.S. military spokesman Captain William Salvin.
"Access has been restricted but that's because it's a combat zone," he told Reuters. "We are in contact with the enemy."
The Pentagon advanced its case for a controversial US-backed military assault on a strategic port city in Yemen last week to a room of State Department officials and skeptical humanitarian aid groups, BuzzFeed News has learned.
The Defense Department is in favor of providing logistical and intelligence support for an ambitious operation led by the UAE military to retake the Houthi-controlled city of Hodeida. But key bureaus inside the State Department and the US Agency for International Development oppose the initiative, believing it will trigger a full-blown famine in the country by closing the port where most of the humanitarian aid in the impoverished country enters.
During the meeting on Thursday, convened at the request of aid agencies, a Pentagon official tried to ease those concerns by floating the possibility that the operation could be “clean” and result in the Saudis taking full control of the port in “four to six weeks.” But aid groups view that forecast as wildly optimistic and fear the Pentagon is attempting to understate the complexity of the mission in order to win support for it inside the Trump administration. It’s unclear where that four-to-six–week figure came from. One senior Pentagon official who wasn’t present at the meeting told BuzzFeed News that such expectations were unrealistic — and that retaking the port “could take months.” ...
Last week, the UN World Food Program said Yemen is on the brink of “full-scale famine,” and classified 7 million people in the country as “severely food insecure.” Scott Paul, a senior policy adviser at Oxfam, said, “The likeliest scenario for the Hodeidah operation, involving a lengthy or indefinite closure of the port, would precipitate famine in parts of Yemen over a matter of months, costing many thousands of lives.”
Top generals have been insisting for years that if North Korea launched a missile at the United States, the U.S military would be able to shoot it down. But that is a highly questionable assertion, according to independent scientists and government investigators.
In making it, the generals fail to acknowledge huge questions about the effectiveness of the $40 billion missile defense system they rely on to stop a potential nuclear-armed ballistic missile fired by North Korean or Iran, according to a series of outside reviews.
"They are leading political leaders to believe that they have a military capability that they don't, in fact, have," says physicist David Wright, who has studied the program for years as co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Last year, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, concluded that the agency that runs the missile defense system "has not demonstrated through flight testing that it can defend the U.S. homeland." In nine simulated attacks since the system was deployed in 2004, interceptors have failed to take out their targets six times, even though the flight tests were far less challenging than an actual attack, according to The Los Angeles Times, which published an investigation of the missile defense system last year that uncovered a previously unknown test failure.
Californians, make those knees knock while you clamor for a big, strong patriarchal figure to protect you from this North Korean hobgoblin. Never mind the fact that the hobgoblin is being activated by threats from Washington.
In test blasts, military parades and propaganda videos that show San Francisco and Washington DC in ruins, North Korea has broadcast its intention to be a world nuclear power. Less clear, experts say, is how close the secretive nation is to realizing its ambitions to threaten the mainland of the United States.
As rhetoric between the two nations has ratcheted up in recent weeks, residents of major West Coast cities such as San Francisco, Portland and Seattle have begun to ask out loud: should they be worried? ...
North Korea would need to overcome two feats of engineering to threaten the American mainland: a working ICBM system and a warhead for one of those missiles. Unlike shorter-range missiles, long-range missiles have multiple engines and flight stages, meaning North Korean engineers have to make rockets – and bombs – that can survive the violent vibrations of launch, the wrenching g-forces of flight, and the temperature changes of takeoff and re-entry from space.
“Producing a warhead that can handle all that is a challenge,” said Joseph Bermudez, an analyst for 38 North, a thinktank affiliated with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Although Kim has said he wants to test an ICBM later this year, Bermudez doubted the test would be a success.
In February, North Korea fired a medium-range missileinto the Sea of Japan, travelling about 300 miles. North Korea has also developed a missile with an estimated range of 2,200 miles, almost halfway to Hawaii, but so far struggled to launch it.
Oops, the Trump administration is running out of patience with Iran, too.
In a podcast interview, WikiLeaks head Julian Assange characterized his site's most recent series of leaks as showing "all sorts of illegal actions by the CIA." In the same interview for the "Intercepted" podcast, Assange accused the CIA director of slamming him "to get ahead of the publicity curve."
"In fact, the reason Pompeo is launching this attack is because he understands we are exposing in this series all sorts of illegal actions by the CIA, so he’s trying to get ahead of the publicity curve and create a pre-emptive defense," Assange said.
The CIA and FBI are conducting a joint investigation into one of the worst security breaches in CIA history, which exposed thousands of top-secret documents that described CIA tools used to penetrate smartphones, smart televisions and computer systems.
Sources familiar with the investigation say it is looking for an insider -- either a CIA employee or contractor -- who had physical access to the material. The agency has not said publicly when the material was taken or how it was stolen.
Much of the material was classified and stored in a highly secure section of the intelligence agency, but sources say hundreds of people would have had access to the material. Investigators are going through those names.
Previously ignored and hard to access, the Holocaust files kept by the UN War Crimes Commission (UNWCC) have finally been made publicly available, potentially debunking many assumptions about the Nazi genocide of the European Jews. ...
The files make clear that Allied forces knew more about the details of the Nazi concentration camp system before the end of the war than has generally been thought - thanks in part to files collected by the exiled governments of Belgium, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, who spent a lot of time collecting hundreds of pages of detailed evidence of war crimes to indict specific leading Nazis - including Adolf Hitler himself.
"That shows what the Allies knew," Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the SOAS department of the University of London, told DW. "Frankly, the continental European exiled governments were limited and suppressed by elements in the US State Department and the British Foreign Office, who didn't support what their own ambassadors were doing in the [war crimes] commission."
Not only that, few scholars have picked up on the fact that as early as December 1942, various Allied governments were releasing statements explicitly condemning the Nazis for exterminating the European Jews. "The BBC broadcast this in 23 languages at the time," said Plesch. "This is very early public condemnation by the Allies, including the Soviet Union, of the Holocaust while it was at its height."
With two convinced Eurosceptics and an equally fervent pro-European among the four contenders with a chance of reaching the run-off, France’s too-tight-to-call presidential election could conceivably break – or make – the EU. European officials and diplomats appear generally unconvinced that France, a core member of the bloc, will actually leave – an idea touted, not always forcefully, by the hard-left candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen. More worrying, and perhaps more likely, is the prospect of Paris turning its back. The EU would not survive Frexit, though “that seems quite remote”, said one senior diplomat. “But active inside opposition would almost be worse.” ...
A victory for Emmanuel Macron, the liberal, overtly pro-EU centrist who, polls predict, will win if he is one of the two second round finalists, would offer France a chance to reform, and Europe a chance to rebound. “It would show that liberal, pro-EU centrists may yet have a future in European politics,” says Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform. “Macron wants reforms to pep up France’s economy and strengthen its position in Europe.”
With the eurozone economy starting to recover and after the defeat of the anti-EU Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Macron – dubbed “Brussels’ sweetheart” by his opponents – would be “a huge boost”, one European commission staffer said. Unfortunately for the EU, however, the former banker and Socialist economy minister, who has never held elected office, may be favourite to win the second round – but he is not sure to make it past the first.
Against all expectations except perhaps his own, François Fillon, the scandal-hit rightwing candidate for the French presidency, is back in the race. Setting aside an earlier focus on economic shock therapy, Fillon appeared alongside his former rival Alain Juppé on Wednesday in an awkward show of centre-right unity, four days before the first round of voting in an election now too tight to call. ...
For three months, from November to January, Fillon – a free-market liberal and social conservative in a country where that mix is almost unknown – was the firm favourite to be the next occupant of the Elysée palace. To the surprise of many, the former prime minister had comfortably seen off his one-time boss, the former president Nicolas Sarkozy, and the more moderate Juppé to win the nomination of the centre-right Les Républicains party. The Thatcherite-style reforms Fillon promised for what he called a “bankrupt” France – cutting taxes and public spending, slashing public sector jobs, raising the retirement age and liberalising labour laws – were tough but necessary, his supporters felt.
But then the satirical and investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné revealed he had paid his British-born wife Penelope hundreds of thousands of euros of public money for parliamentary assistance she allegedly did not provide. ... He has consistently denied any wrongdoing, but has admitted having made some mistakes. “I’m not asking you to love me,” he all but implored at one recent Paris rally. “I’m just asking you to support me, because it is in France’s interests.”
But with the first round now fast approaching and the two frontrunners appearing to run out of steam, Fillon’s support has firmed. Perhaps suffering from scandal fatigue, some rightwing voters earlier tempted by Macron to the centre and Le Pen further to the right may be returning to the fold. Recent polling shows the two frontrunners on 23-34% of the vote, leading Fillon and by barely three points and with Mélenchon a point or two behind. But with as many as one-third of voters still undecided, any two of the leading four could go through to the 7 May runoff.
European authorities have been shaken by the re-emergence of a Greek protest group classed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. state department.
On March 16, a parcel arrived at the German ministry of finance addressed to Wolfgang Schauble, the country’s steely second-in-command. Police said the package was designed to look like it was sent by Adonis Georgiadis, the deputy leader of Greece’s conservative opposition New Democracy party.
But in reality, this was no friendly exchange between two like-minded politicians. The intercepted parcel – containing a small scale explosive mechanism – had most likely been mailed by a group known as the conspiracy of fire cells (CFC), an organization that’s been active in Greece for the past decade and is considered by many to be the most dangerous anarchist group in the country.
At the same time, another parcel, which successfully exploded, arrived in the International Monetary Fund’s offices in Paris. This one was sent in the name of current New Democracy spokesperson Vasilis Kikilias and injured one person. While the CFC didn’t claim this attack, the method and timing are very suggestive.
The group’s anarchist ideology – with its roots in the anti-dictatorial struggle of 1967 – is one of several anarchist movements that have gained a new energy in recent years, thanks to the financial crisis that has been dogging Greece since 2010. Not limiting their discontent to simple anti-austerity slogans, the group seeks to attack institutions and specific people in Greece and abroad that they deem responsible for the present situation.
Somebody is working overtime to promote divisions among the proles. I guess that there will be a bonus in their paycheck allowing them to purchase an extra lump of horseflesh* at the outer party company store.
* By the standards of the early twentieth century, even a member of the Inner Party lives an austere, laborious kind of life. Nevertheless, the few luxuries that he does enjoy his large, well-appointed flat, the better texture of his clothes, the better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his two or three servants, his private motor-car or helicopter -- set him in a different world from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party have a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we call 'the proles'. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.
-- George Orwell
The US stands ready to agree a free trade deal with the UK as soon as possible, Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, has said in London. He also predicted that the UK would be able to sign a Brexit agreement with the EU, adding that the US, as a special ally, would be standing by the UK all the way through the talks.
Ryan’s remarks, echoing previous promises by Donald Trump, will be music to the ears of the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, who was in the Policy Exchange thinktank audience addressed by Ryan.
He said: “Now that article 50 has been invoked, the UK and the EU will determine the best path forward over the course of these negotiations. We want the parties to come together and strike a lasting agreement: a strong UK-EU relationship is in all of our best interests.
“In that same vein, the United States will work closely with our EU friends and chart a path forward on TTIP [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership] negotiations. At the same time we are committed to working with President Trump and your government to achieve a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Britain.
A Cleveland, Ohio man who thought he’d be spending the rest of his life in prison will soon know freedom again.
Evin King, 59, was convicted of killing his girlfriend, Crystal Hudson, in 1994 and sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after 15 years. But with advances in DNA testing confirming his innocence, King is set to be released Wednesday.
Hudson was found strangled and beaten in a closet in her apartment. At the time of King’s conviction, the DNA samples gathered as evidence couldn’t be tested. After the Ohio branch of the Innocence Project took up King’s case, the organization successfully motioned for new DNA testing in 2008. Forensics later revealed that while the samples gathered from semen found in Hudson’s body and in skin cells underneath her fingernails matched, they didn’t come from King. He began filing for his freedom in 2010.
“After learning of the current analysis of the evidence, I believe that it is my duty to vacate Evin King’s conviction,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said in a statement. His office filed a motion to vacate King’s conviction Tuesday, which was granted Wednesday morning, the bailiff for Judge Brian Corrigan, who oversaw the motion, told VICE News. Provided there are no other holds, King will be released Wednesday.
The Federal Reserve's vice chair for supervision is arguably the most important financial regulator in the federal government. No agency has greater oversight responsibility of U.S. financial institutions than the Fed. And the vice chair influences what kinds of trades those institutions can make, how they must prepare for unexpected losses, and what punishment to mete out when banks fail to uphold the law.
Hedge funds and private equity firms are sometimes called “shadow banks” because they exist outside the regulatory perimeter, even though they engage in bank-like lending and investment activities. They want to keep it that way. And President Trump’s expected nomination of Randal Quarles to the vice chair’s role is about as close a guarantee as the shadow banking sector can get that the feds won’t be bothering them any time soon.
Quarles served two stints in the Treasury Department, under both Bush administrations, but afterward, he moved to the Carlyle Group, the $169 billion private equity giant. Quarles was part of the financial services team, which appears to be registered in the Cayman Islands tax haven. ... Currently, Quarles runs another private investment firm, The Cynosure Group, on behalf of a number of wealthy families. ...
At the Fed, Quarles would be able to prevent the designation of shadow bank investment funds as systemically important financial institutions, which face stronger regulation and capital requirements. Quarles could also play a strong role in overhauling the Volcker rule, potentially allowing shadow banks to suck up more money from other financial players. He would almost certainly be an evangelist for the industry from inside Washington. As Quarles told the Financial Times in 2008, “Private equity has become popular to demagogue unfairly but I don’t believe that politicians are succumbing to that temptation.” If confirmed, Quarles would also sit on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, helping guide decisions about interest-rate policy.
Mary B. McCord, who has been helping oversee the Justice Department’s probe into Russian interference in the presidential election, is stepping down from her post as the acting head of the department’s national security division and leaving the federal government in the coming weeks, a source familiar with McCord’s role told The Intercept. The source, who asked not to be identified as McCord’s departure has not been formally announced, said that McCord plans to work in academia after leaving government.
It was not immediately clear who will take over for McCord. ... McCord is a career civil servant who became acting assistant attorney general in charge of the national security division in October, when John Carlin, an Obama appointee, resigned. In that role, McCord was responsible for counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations at Justice. In his testimony before Congress, FBI Director James Comey described the Russia probe as “a counterintelligence investigation” and said it would “include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”
“Any major investigation related to counter-intelligence or cyber-related counter-intelligence would fall under Mary’s leadership,” said Luke Dembosky, who served as deputy assistant attorney general at the national security division until last spring. ... Comey has been the public face of the federal investigation into Russian meddling with the election, although it is being handled inside the bureau by the counterintelligence division. Sessions has recused himself from the Russia probe, leaving acting deputy attorney general Dana Boente as the top official responsible for the investigation.
Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz unexpectedly announced Wednesday that he would not run for re-election in 2018 or any other office. The chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz also ran for Speaker of the House in 2015 after Rep. John Boehner stepped down.
Anticipating people’s surprise, Chaffetz said in a Facebook post that “for those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives” and that his decision was the result of “long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration.”
Bernie Sanders appeared alongside DNC Chairman Tom Perez in a joint interview on MSNBC to promote their doomed-before-it-started “unity tour” Tuesday night, and, as he has been known to do from time to time, began ranting about Wall Street and the “billionaih” class. Chris Hayes decided to make things interesting and press Tom Perez to find out if he agreed with Sanders’ populist message about oligarchs and the ruling class, to which Perez responded, “Well listen, mealy-mouthed vapid nothing political speak Donald Trump, empty-headed bloviating drivel Donald Trump equivocations and avoidance please don’t let David Brock hit me again.”
Or something like that, I can’t be bothered transcribing that snivelling toadie. Here’s the clip:
Chris Hayes pushes Tom Perez to join Bernie in saying "the ruling class & billionaire class" are to blame for our problems. Perez refused. pic.twitter.com/7qiziHLMiX
— #AllofUs (@TimeForAllofUs) April 19, 2017
So while trying to promote “unity”, the official leader of the Democratic party and the unofficial leader of the Democratic party together illustrated perfectly the only real political division existing in rank-and-file America today: those who pretend that America is a democracy wherein people get to use their votes to determine the direction in which their nation will move, and those who recognize that the most powerful nation in the world is in fact controlled by a few ruling elites who are not answerable to elected officials in any meaningful way. Perez avoided the question because his political career depends upon his ability to subvert that question and ultimately strangle it to death in its sleep; the Democratic establishment relies on kowtowing to the donor class and promulgating the narrative that all of America’s problems are caused by Republicans and bigotry. Meanwhile, that donor class occupies a crucial seat within the American deep state. ...
[T]he only real political divide in America right now is those who support the deep state and those who oppose it. Those who buy into the corporate media propaganda used to manufacture the consent of the governed for a system that exploits and oppresses them, and those who fight against that propaganda. This division crosses both of America’s phoney political parties and runs straight through all other cultural and ethnic divisions in the nation.
After Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss nearly six months ago, her most powerful Democratic allies feared losing control of the party. Efforts to lip-synch economic populism while remaining closely tied to Wall Street had led to a catastrophic defeat. In the aftermath, the party’s progressive base — personified by Bernie Sanders — was in position to start flipping over the corporate game board. Aligned with Clinton, the elites of the Democratic Party needed to change the subject. Clear assessments of the national ticket’s failures were hazardous to the status quo within the party. So were the groundswells of opposition to unfair economic privilege. So were the grassroots pressures for the party to become a genuine force for challenging big banks, Wall Street and overall corporate power.
In short, the Democratic Party’s anti-Bernie establishment needed to reframe the discourse in a hurry. And — in tandem with mass media — it did. ...
For the Democratic Party’s most hawkish wing — dominant from the top down and allied with Clinton’s de facto neocon approach to foreign policy — the U.S. government’s April 6 cruise missile attack on a Syrian airfield was an indication of real leverage for more war. That attack on a close ally of Russia showed that incessant Russia-baiting of Trump can get gratifying military results for the Democratic elites who are undaunted in their advocacy of regime change in Syria and elsewhere. The politically motivated missile attack on Syria showed just how dangerous it is to keep Russia-baiting Trump, giving him political incentive to prove how tough he is on Russia after all. What’s at stake includes the imperative of preventing a military clash between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. But the corporate hawks at the top of the national Democratic Party have other priorities.
Exxon is applying for a waiver from the U.S. Treasury Department to bypass U.S. sanctions against Russia and resume offshore drilling in the Black Sea with the Russian oil company Rosneft, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Among those charged with deciding to grant the permit is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon who previously oversaw the company's Russia operations. ...
Exxon was previously granted a permit to bypass the sanctions in 2014. Tillerson has said that he would recuse himself from Russia-related matters for two years as Secretary of State.
A towering iceberg is causing traffic jams in a remote town on Canada’s east coast, as tourists jostle for a glimpse of the mass of ice sitting in shallow water just off Newfoundland.
— Johanna Ryan Guy (@JRGBonavistaS) April 16, 2017
The iceberg, which has dwarfed the nearby small town of Ferryland, is estimated to measure some 46 metres (150ft) at its highest point. “It’s the biggest one I ever seen around here,” mayor Adrian Kavanagh told the Canadian Press. “It’s a huge iceberg and it’s in so close that people can get a good photograph of it.”
Residents view the first iceberg of the season as it passes the South Shore in Newfoundland, Canada on April 16th 2017 (Reuters) pic.twitter.com/Dt5GtAmgNZ
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) April 20, 2017
So far this year the number of icebergs moving into the North Atlantic shipping lanes has spiked, forcing vessels to either slow down or make long detours. Some 616 icebergs have moved into the shipping lanes so far this year, as compared to 687 in all of 2016. Experts say uncommonly strong counterclockwise winds may be drawing the icebergs south. Global warming has also been linked to the increase, as it has accelerated the process by which chunks of the Greenland ice sheet break off and float away.
Apple has one of the most aggressive sustainability and recycling programs in tech, but it still pulls plenty of metals and toxic rare-earth materials out of the ground to make iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and other products. That’s about to change. The company is set to announce a new, unprecedented goal for the tech industry, “to stop mining the earth altogether.” ...
“We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,” Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives and a former head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, told VICE News during an exclusive visit to Apple’s environmental testing lab on Monday. “So we’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important, because as a sector we believe it’s where technology should be going.” ...
Apple’s latest environmental achievements are notable, but they will likely be eclipsed by Apple’s new goal of giving up mining altogether. That’s because even though recycling phone components can have its own environmental impact, the kind of mining that Apple relies on is notorious for its labor abuses, and the pollution it discharges into local waterways. For instance, a Washington Post report last year revealed that, children had been seen working in Cobalt mines in the Congo — and cobalt is an important component in the lithium batteries that companies like Apple and Samsung rely on. (Apple has since helped launch a Responsible Cobalt Initiative and it completed an audit of its supply chain.)
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Ma Rainey - Booze And Blues
Ma Rainey - Prove It On Me Blues
Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey - Chain Gang Blues
Ma Rainey - Oh Papa Blues
Louis Armstrong & Ma Rainey - See See Rider Blues
Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey - Stack O'Lee Blues
Ma Rainey - Black Cat Hoot Owl Blues
Ma Rainey - Barrel House Blues
Ma Rainey & Papa Charlie Jackson - Big Feeling Blues