The Evening Blues - 9-21-17


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: John Lee Hooker

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features delta blues and boogie musician John Lee Hooker. Enjoy!

John Lee Hooker - Big Legs Tight Skirt

"While defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy -- or of a collective death-wish for the world."

-- John F. Kennedy

News and Opinion

Jeff Sachs Warns "Nuclear War is A Real Threat" as Trump Threatens to "Totally Destroy" North Korea

North Korea calls Trump a “barking dog” after “Rocket Man” jibe

There was a time when international diplomacy was an austere game of chess. President Donald Trump seems to have turned it into a Comedy Central Roast.

Responding to Trump’s recent threat to “totally destroy” North Korea, Pyongyang Wednesday compared the president’s remarks to “the sound of a barking dog.”

Speaking to reporters outside his New York hotel Wednesday, Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho dismissed Trump’s warnings as empty rhetoric. When asked about the president’s snarky “Rocket Man” put-down of leader Kim Jong un, Ri said: “I feel sorry for his aides.”

“If he was thinking he could scare us with the sound of a dog barking, that’s really a dog dream,” Ri said. In Korean, a dog dream is one that makes little sense, according to the Korean Herald.

US Strategic Command chief: Iran adhering to nuclear deal

Iran is adhering to the landmark nuclear deal, the top general of U.S. Strategic Command said Wednesday, hours after President Trump claimed he’s made a decision about whether to withdraw from the agreement.

“The facts are that Iran is operating under the agreements the we signed up for under the JCPOA,” Gen. John Hyten said at a Hudson Institute event, using the acronym for the formal name of the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. ...

In his Wednesday afternoon speech, Hyten said the United States must figure out how to respond to Iran’s missile tests. But, he added, America made a commitment in the nuclear deal it should not break.

“We have an agreement that our nation has signed, and I believe the United States of America signs an agreement, it’s our job to live up to the terms of that agreement, how to enforce that,” he said.

Trump: 'I have decided' on Iran deal — but won't share yet

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has made a decision on whether the U.S. will remain party to the Iran nuclear deal. But he wouldn’t reveal the outcome of his deliberations, despite strong signals that he will either quit the deal or ask Congress to decide its fate.

“I have decided,” Trump repeated three times in response to shouted questions from reporters on whether he has made up his mind on what to do about the internationally negotiated 2015 agreement. Asked what he had decided, the president, who is attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York, smiled and said only that “I’ll let you know what the decision is.” He didn’t specify when. ...

On Wednesday, seven Democratic senators wrote to top Trump aides, including Tillerson, asking that the administration provide evidence of any violations of the agreement by Iran by Oct. 6, ahead of the certification deadline.

“If you are aware of any information that would suggest that Iran is no longer complying” with the deal, the senators wrote, “or that would lead the president to conclude that the continued suspension of sanctions is no longer in the vital national security interests of the United States, we request that you provide a written report containing such information.”

Economist Jeff Sachs: Americans Who Don't Want War with Iran Must Speak Out Now

Rand Paul: Don’t blow up Iran deal

Sen. Rand Paul, who opposed the nuclear deal with Iran two years ago, wants the United States to stay in the agreement — even as President Donald Trump sends clues that he is preparing to derail it.

In an interview Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican said he believes evidence shows that Iran has been complying with the terms of the deal, cut by former President Barack Obama and aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Instead of withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Paul argued that the administration should instead look at a deal that would target Iran’s continuing ballistic missile program.

“Most of the complaints about Iran don’t have anything to do with the agreement. They complain about ballistic missiles and other things, but that’s not part of the agreement,” Paul told POLITICO. “I think while the agreement’s not perfect, my main concern has always been compliance. But if they’re complying with it, I think we should stay in it.”

Over 430 civilians likely died in August by US-led coalition actions in anti-ISIL push in Syrian city, says Airwars

Every eight minutes last month, a bomb, missile or shell was fired on the Syrian city of Raqqa by a US-led coalition battling ISIL, resulting in at least 433 likely civilian deaths, according to a report released by a UK-based monitor.

Airwars, a group tracking civilian deaths in Russian and US-led coalition air raids in Syria and Iraq, said on Wednesday that the US-led forces dropped a total of 5,775 bombs, shells and missiles in support of an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground advancing into the city.

"What we are seeing now is really a devastating coalition barrage on the city," Chris Woods, director of Airwars, told Al Jazeera.

"More munitions were dropped on Raqqa in August than even during the heaviest fighting in west Mosul," he added, referring to a major offensive to recapture the northern Iraqi city from ISIL earlier this year.

"And the effects on civilians trapped in the city have been equally devastating."

Bernie Sanders Lays Out Foreign Policy Vision

After months of aggressively rallying support for domestic objectives like Medicare for All, union rights, and a $15 minimum wage,  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in a speech on Thursday turned his attention to American foreign policy and the so-called war on terror, which he says has been a "disaster" for the world and for the United States.

The address covered a wide range of topics—from the history of U.S. interventionism to the threats posed by climate change and nuclear proliferation—and called for an "expansive" view of foreign policy that encompasses such issues as global inequality, the power of multinational corporations, and the rise of racist movements in the United States and abroad.

"Foreign policy is about whether we continue to champion the values of freedom, democracy, and justice, values which have been a beacon of hope for people throughout the world, or whether we support undemocratic, repressive regimes, which torture, jail, and deny basic rights to their citizens," Sanders said.

Jesus Horatio Christ. Apparently robbing the American people to the tune of $700 Billion $amoleans a year isn't enough for these whining jackasses of the MIC. Screw these bastards and their scare propaganda.

Mattis: Budget uncertainty leads to questions of whether America ‘has the ability to survive’

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis believes that years of budget uncertainty have left the U.S. military in such a precarious position that if it is not solved soon, it will represent an existential threat to American security.

“If we don’t get budgetary predictability, if we don’t remove the defense caps, then we’re questioning whether or not America has the ability to survive,” Mattis said Sept 20. “It’s that simple.”

Secretaries of defense complaining about budget uncertainty is a time-honored tradition, especially since the enactment of the Budget Control Act in 2011. But Mattis’ comments, made during a keynote at the annual Air Force Association conference, may be the most forceful from a sitting secretary.

Confiscated vote? Escalation over banned Catalonia referendum

Spain crisis: 'stop this radicalism and disobedience,' PM tells Catalan leaders

Spain’s prime minister has called on Catalan separatist leaders to end their “escalation” as several thousand people took to the streets of Barcelona to protest at Madrid’s attempts to stop a banned referendum on independence. “Stop this escalation of radicalism and disobedience once and for all,” Mariano Rajoy said in a televised statement on Wednesday night as protesters remained in the centre of the city after a day-long demonstration.

Catalonia’s president earlier accused the Spanish government of suspending the region’s autonomy after police intensified efforts to stop a vote on independence that has sparked one of the worst political crises since Spain’s return to democracy four decades ago. Spanish Guardia Civil officers raided a dozen Catalan regional government offices and arrested 14 senior officials on Wednesday as part of an operation to stop the referendum from taking place on 1 October. ...

Tensions between Madrid and Barcelona have escalated rapidly over recent days as the government of the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, attempts to make good its promise to stop the vote.

Street Protests Erupt as Spain Accused of Stomping on Democracy in Catalonia

Protests erupted in Catalan cities as well as Madrid on Wednesday after Spanish authorities ramped up their efforts to thwart the northeastern region's upcoming independence referendum by storming ministries and seizing nearly 10 million ballot papers and detaining at least a dozen high ranking local officials.

Protesters in Barcelona, the region's capital, held signs reading "Freedom for Catalonia" and shouted "We will vote" and "Occupying forces out." ...

Given the escalated situation, Ramón Espinar Podemos, a social activist and politician with the Podemos political party, said from the protest in Madrid that "we're no longer discussing whether Catalonia has independence. We're discussing whether Spain has democracy and freedoms or not." ...

Among the chorus calling for a defense of democracy in the face of the crackdown were Podemos Secretary-General Pablo Iglesias and Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena. Carmena tweeted that "[C]rises in democracy are fought with more democracy," while Iglesisas tweeted, "Suspending civil rights will worsen the problem," which can "only be solved politically."

Trump lauds African leaders for number of friends going to continent 'trying to get rich'

President Trump on Wednesday congratulated the leaders of several African nations at the United Nations for the fact that “so many” of his friends are going to their countries “trying to get rich.”

“Africa has tremendous business potential. I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They're spending a lot of money. It does have that tremendous business potential and representing huge amounts of different markets and for American firms it's really become a place that they have to go, that they want to go,” Trump told the leaders, noting that “six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa.”

In the past, Trump has criticized the U.N., but on Thursday he noted its "great, great potential” and specifically praised the organization’s “invaluable contributions in stabilizing conflicts in Africa.”

Backlash throws last-ditch Obamacare repeal effort into doubt

Republicans hoping to jam a last-minute Obamacare repeal plan through the Senate are confronting a rising tide of opposition as health care groups, patient advocates and even some red-state governors join forces against a bill they worry would upend the nation’s health care system. The wide-ranging backlash threw the GOP’s repeal push into fresh doubt on Tuesday, even as White House officials and Senate Republican leaders insist they are on the verge of winning the 50 votes needed to dismantle Obamacare under a reconciliation bill that expires in two weeks.

Opponents of the proposal co-authored by Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seized on its plan to overhaul Obamacare’s subsidized insurance and Medicaid expansion and replace those with block grants to the states — a mass restructuring they warned would sow chaos in insurance markets. They panned its new regulatory flexibilities as a backdoor route to undermining key patient protections — including safeguards for those with pre-existing conditions.

And in the biggest blow, several Republican governors urged the GOP to abandon a plan that would force states to swallow potentially billions in funding cuts — and instead to focus on stabilizing Obamacare. ...

Sixteen patient and provider groups, from the American Heart Association to the March of Dimes, slammed the bill in a joint letter over worries it would gut Medicaid and undermine protections for those with pre-existing conditions. A raft of other powerful health lobbies, including the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians, piled on throughout the day on Tuesday, each urging the GOP to abandon repeal in favor of bipartisan fixes. Hospitals and insurers — until this week largely convinced the repeal fight was over — sprang back into action as well, criticizing the prospect of creating 50 wildly different state health care systems as unworkable and irresponsible, with minimal vetting of the bill’s merits ahead of time.

Worth reading in full:

Fool Me Twice: Trojan Horse Democrats Pile into the House of Single-Payer

It’s great that more than a third of Democratic senators have signed on to co-sponsor Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-All bill. It’s a potentially strong bill that’s been welcomed by single-payer activist organizations like Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and National Nurses United (NNU), and it represents a victory for the tireless work of single-payer activists and the popular pressure they stoked. It is also, we must recognize, only possible because of Bernie’s insistent promotion of healthcare as a right, in a campaign that widened the field of American political discourse.

Above all, it is a result of continuing disgust with American for-profit health insurance system. It marks the exasperation with Obamacare’s half-assed attempt to patch up that system, and the rejection of the even crueler Republican schemes. At the very least, this bill puts single-payer “on the table” of legislative action and public discussion. The “public discussion” part is perhaps the most important. People will now hear about single-payer, and its advocates will not be completely shut out of media coverage from Fox to PBS, as they are now. Even the Democratic Party will have to talk about it.

But please, please, do not be fooled. It does not mean that most, or any, of those co-sponsoring Democratic senators actually support single-payer. Most of those Democrats have signed on because they felt politically forced to, because they knew they could not face their constituents if they didn’t. But many of them do not support single-payer, have no intention of actually working to make it happen, and will, in fact, do their best to undermine and prevent it. The New York Times article of September 15th,  “Buried Inside Bernie Sanders’s Bill: A Fallback Plan,” makes the danger clear. Duplicitous, Trojan-Horse Democrats like Al Franken and Kirsten Gillibrand are jumping into this bill to hollow it out from within, and divert the tide of single-payer into another disappointing dead-end.

Massachusetts First to Sue Equifax Over Massive Hack

Taser Wants to Build an Army of Smartphone Informants

Axon, the world's largest vendor of police-worn body cameras, is moving into the business of capturing video taken by the public. In a survey emailed to law enforcement officials last month, the company formerly known as Taser International solicited naming ideas for its provisionally titled Public Evidence Product. According to the survey, the product will allow citizens to submit photos or video evidence of “a crime, suspicious activity, or event” to, the company’s cloud-based storage platform, to help agencies “in solving a crime or gathering a fuller point of view from the public.” Civil rights advocates interviewed by The Intercept were surprised to learn about the corporation’s latest initiative, seeing it as yet another untested effort to co-opt community oversight and privatize criminal justice.

“When police body cameras were initially established, it was because citizens were clamoring for police accountability,” explained Shahid Buttar, director of grassroots advocacy with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “But we’ve seen how cameras have been more useful for police investigations than for accountability. This product realizes those dangers and takes them to a new dystopian level by crowdsourcing the collection of evidence and turning it over to law enforcement.”

Body camera vendors like Taser originally pitched the collection of video evidence to lawmakers as a way to increase accountability, transparency, and trust between civilians and police. Three years and several million taxpayer dollars later, those promises have been called into question. Body camera footage has rarely been used to indict officers for brutality, and several states have introduced measures to restrict the public’s access to it. For privacy and civil rights organizations, enthusiasm about the technology has given way to growing concern about beat cops turning into walking surveillance cameras. Buttar and others fear that by adding civilian footage to, Axon is expanding this dragnet — and grabbing more data to feed its in-house “AI team.”

20 Red Cross Volunteers Stay in Luxury Hotel, St. Regis, in Houston

The public relations department of the American Red Cross might accurately be considered a disaster area right about now. During a City Council meeting on September 6, Council Member Dave Martin expressed his exasperation with The Red Cross and its complete absence in Kingwood and Clear Lake, where some of the most devastating flooding occurred. Martin also revealed that Red Cross volunteers are sleeping very comfortably at the St. Regis, a hotel in Houston described as “boutique luxury and Southern hospitality.” To give you some perspective, according to the hotel website as of September 12, the cheapest available room starts at $328 per night.

“I beg you not to send them a penny,” Martin said on Wednesday. “They are the most inept unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced. Don’t waste your money. Give it to another cause.”

Christian Numerologist Says World Will End On Sept. 23

If you had plans for the weekend, a Christian numerologist says you won’t get to them because the world is about to end. David Meade, a self-proclaimed “researcher,” is predicting that a series of apocalyptic events will begin on Sept. 23 and, “a major part of the world will not be the same.”

According to Meade, the mysterious rogue planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, is on a collision course with Earth, which will bring world-ending tsunamis and earthquakes. The numerologist claims the dates of recent events like the Great American Solar Eclipse and Hurricane Harvey’s flooding of Texas were all marked in the Bible. Meade now says his “Planet X theory” lines up with more bible codes and ancient markers on the Egyptian pyramids.

NASA has already dismissed the prediction; calling the whole thing a hoax. [But of course they would, wouldn't they? - js (wearing evil grin)] “If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth … astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye.” Scathing New Parody Site Rips Mask Off 'Zombie Neoliberalism'

There is no shortage of overtly ideological internet publications and websites in 2017—Breitbart for the alt-right, National Review for the so-called "respectable" conservatives, Jacobin for the socialist left. But what about an online home for the dedicated centrists: for those who prefer small ideas to large ones; for those who oppose both fascism and universal healthcare; for those who take money from the murderous Saudi regime and still claim to value human rights?

Centrists, the wait is finally over: is the brand new, one-stop shop for all things "moderate."

"We want to create a fresh, same approach to politics and win the race to the middle," the site declares. "Not by offering policies that voters value, but by making voters feel more valuable." To achieve this goal, the site continues, "we don't need visionary leaders with big, cumbersome ideas. We need competent managers with small ideas. Ideas that we can fit in our wallet. Like money. From lower taxes. Ideas like tax cuts. How about tax cuts?"

In addition to a "values" section (moderation, optimism, shopping, power) and a "friends" section (donors, focus groups, Saudi Arabia), the site also features a policy section with centrist "solutions" for some of the most pressing issues of our time.

  • Climate change: "Like every other problem, climate change can be solved with economic growth. We have grown our way out of recessions and we will grow our way out of this planet's inherent limits."
  • War: "Our military isn't just a weapon, it's a healer of the world’s wounds. Because as any good healer knows, the best way to treat a wound is to shoot off the blood with a gun."
  • Inequality: "Instead of 'haves' and 'have nots' we want a society of 'haves' and "think positive!'s."
  • Nuclear weapons: "We take a principled stand against the slaughter of civilians with nuclear weapons, and that's why we promise that if any nation uses them, we'll nuke that place to fucking ashes."

the horse race

Mueller's Russia team reportedly seeks White House records on Trump actions

The special counsel Robert Mueller has asked the White House to provide documents related to Donald Trump’s most controversial actions since taking office in January, according to two reports on Wednesday. The inquiry from Mueller’s team, who is leading the investigation into whether Trump associates coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, suggests that the investigation is moving into a new phase, inching closer to the president.

According to anonymous White House officials, the New York Times reported, Mueller’s team sought more information related to 13 areas, including the circumstances around the firing of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and of the FBI director, James Comey. The team is also interested in an Oval Office meeting between Trump and Russian officials in May, a day after he fired Comey. During that meeting, Trump reportedly told Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States, that Comey’s dismissal had relieved “great pressure” on him.

The Washington Post confirmed the request had been made to the White House, and reported that Mueller had also requested that the White House turn over documents related to the FBI interview of Flynn in January, days after Trump took office. They are also interested in a late January conversation in which Sally Yates, then the acting attorney general, raised concerns about Flynn with the White House counsel, Don McGahn. Additionally, they are looking at how the White House responded to a Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer in June 2016.

The folks from VIPS, former NSA official William Binney and ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, have run some new tests confirming their previous conclusion that the "Russian Hack" was performed locally on a machine connected to the DNC server or local area network. (See full article for test details)

More Holes in Russia-gate Narrative

It is no secret that our July 24 VIPS Memorandum for the President, entitled “Was the ‘Russian Hack’ an Inside Job?,” gave rise to some questioning and controversy – nor was it a surprise that it was met with almost total silence in the mainstream media. The ongoing U.S. media campaign against Russia has been so effective that otherwise intelligent people have been unable even to entertain the notion that they may have been totally misled by the intelligence community. The last time this happened in 2003, after a year of such propaganda, the U.S. attacked Iraq on fraudulent – not “mistaken” – intelligence.

Anticipating resistance from those allergic to rethinking “what everybody knows” about Russian “meddling,” we based our VIPS analysis on forensic investigations that, oddly, the FBI had bent over backwards to avoid. In other words, we relied on the principles of physics and the known capability of the Internet in early July 2016. We stand by our main conclusion that the data from the intrusion of July 5, 2016, into the Democratic National Committee’s computers, an intrusion blamed on “Russian hacking,” was not a hack but rather a download/copy onto an external storage device by someone with physical access to the DNC. ...

We are certain that the truth of what actually happened – or didn’t happen – can be found in the databases of NSA. We tried to explain this to President Barack Obama in a VIPS Memorandum of Jan. 17, just three days before he left office, noting that NSA’s known programs are fully capable of capturing – and together with liaison intelligence services do capture – all electronic transfers of data. ...

The FBI could still redeem itself by doing what it should have done as soon as the DNC claimed to have been “hacked.” For reasons best known to former FBI Director James Comey, the Bureau failed to get whatever warrant was needed to confiscate the DNC servers and computers to properly examine them. In testimony to the House Intelligence Committee six months ago, Comey conceded “best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves.” ... But is it not already too late for such an investigation? We hope that, at this point, it is crystal clear that the answer is: No, it is not too late. All the data the FBI needs to do a proper job is in NSA databases – including data going across the Internet to the DNC server and then included in their network logs.

The Entire Russian Hacking Narrative Is Invalidated In This Single Assange Tweet

This one tweet completely invalidates the notion that Robert Mueller has been conducting a legitimate investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections. Regardless of the degree of suspicion in which Assange is held, there is absolutely no excuse for the people responsible for investigating Russia not to have had any interaction of any kind whatsoever with one of the central characters in the official narrative about what Russia is supposed to have done.

If his job was to find out what actually happened last year, Mueller would have spoken with Assange personally, and he would have done so long ago. But finding out what happened last year is not Mueller’s job. Mueller’s job is to enforce a pre-existing narrative. It is painfully obvious at this point that the Senate Intelligence Committee and Mueller’s team have been avoiding Assange the way Hillary Clinton avoids personal responsibility because Assange has said multiple times that the Russian government is not the source of the DNC leaks or the Podesta emails released last year.

If this is an actual investigation into an actual alleged crime, then Assange is necessarily either (A) a source of useful information, (B) a person of interest, or (C) a suspect in the crime itself. None of those allows for any excuse for not speaking to him. If it’s either (A) or (B), he’s a potential goldmine of information for their investigation to make use of. If it’s (C), they can grill him and try to get him to give something up. Even someone caught on video committing a murder eventually gets interviewed by the law enforcement officials responsible for investigating their case to establish the accused’s side of the story; if they didn’t, they’d be committing malpractice. Since they did not seek to question Assange early and extensively, this cannot possibly be an actual investigation into an actual allegation.

the evening greens

In First, Two Major Cities Sue Big Oil for Climate Crimes

Environmentalists are celebrating two new lawsuits filed by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco, California, in attempts to hold some of the world's largest oil companies to account for fueling climate change. "It's time to hold these climate deadbeats accountable," said Greenpeace's climate liability campaigner Naomi Ages, after the suits were announced this week.

"In the past two weeks there have been five climate-fueled hurricanes, devastating communities from Houston to Puerto Rico and beyond," she continued. "These climate impacts are here now, and we know who's responsible." San Francisco's city attorney, Dennis Herrera, expressed a similar sentiment. "The bill has come due," he told SFGate. "It's time for these companies to take responsibility."

While communities bordering the Atlantic have been battered by record-breaking storms—which scientists say were intensified by climate change—massive wildfires have ravaged the northwestern United States in recent weeks. Meanwhile, the coastal communities of Oakland and San Francisco are battling increased flooding, coastal erosion, and property damage from rising sea levels and other effects of global warming.

The cities' lawsuits allege—supported by modern climate science—that major oil and natural gas companies contribute substantially to global warming by extracting and using fossil fuels, which emit massive quantities of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing ocean waters to warm and ice sheets to melt, and thus, sea levels to rise, endangering coastal communities. Further, the suits allege that these companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—have known for decades that using fossil fuels drives global warming, and yet they not only have continued to do so, but also have intentionally deceived the public regarding the consequences. ...

The cities are seeking billions of dollars in compensation for both past and future damage caused by climate change. They plan to use any money they are awarded through the courts to finance improvements to infrastructure.

Trump Admin Doubles Down on Plans to Withdraw from Paris Deal as UNGA Makes Climate Top Priority

The Paris Agreement Dispute Is a Distraction. The Real Battle Is Playing Out in the EPA.

For anyone who's been following the fate of the United States’ involvement in the Paris agreement, the main question surrounding it recently has been pretty clear: Will he or won’t he? Conflicting reports over the weekend — sparked by a vague Wall Street Journal story on Saturday — alleged that the Trump administration was reconsidering its June decision to withdraw from the landmark climate deal. ...

As conflicting messages shoot back and forth, other members of the administration are quietly unraveling a slew of policies, precedents, and regulations in ways that could make it much more difficult to plan for a low-carbon future after they’re gone. Considering the U.S. accounts for around one-fifth of global emissions, these moves could also make it harder to curb warming worldwide.

Most of the document’s emissions reduction plans, meanwhile, are tied to each country’s nationally determined contribution brought to the table in France in 2015. The central feature of the U.S. commitment that year was the Clean Power Plan, aimed at capping emissions from power production. Scott Pruitt has spent his tenure so far as Environmental Protection Agency administrator making every attempt to dismantle it from within; his agency is currently in the process of reviewing the plan and proposing its replacement, and on a longer term mission to cripple its own authority.

Put simply, whether Trump stays in the agreement means little if the chief means of compliance — the Clean Power Plan — is gutted. On the other hand, if states and companies move in the direction the plan intended even without it in force, Trump’s gutting loses power. After the withdrawal, many have even stated that they intend to strengthen their carbon-cutting plans in response. All of that has more bearing on the atmosphere than Trump’s rhetoric around Paris. ...

Still, like the Paris agreement, the climate policies Pruitt and the rest of Trump’s team seem hellbent on destroying were already totally ill-equipped to handle the crisis at hand; together, every national pledge agreed to in 2015 would bring us to around 3 degrees of warming by century’s end. As it stands now — pre-withdrawal — the Paris agreement still leaves us collectively on track for catastrophic levels of warming.

Also of Interest

Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.

Unmasked: Trump Doctrine vows carnage for new axis of evil

Donald Trump Used the United Nations to Threaten a Massive Violation of International Law

Iraqi Kurdish referendum: Why international powers fear independence vote could derail fight against Isis

The U.S.-Trained Warlords Committing Atrocities in Afghanistan

Why Lisa Murkowski Is So Unlikely To Flip Her Vote On Repealing Obamacare

Seven in 10 Dissatisfied With Way U.S. Is Being Governed

California Rewrites the GOP’s Climate Playbook

Far away from any witnesses, my small town is being poisoned by fracking waste

A Little Night Music

John Lee Hooker - Behind The Plow

John Lee Hooker - I Wanna Dance All Night

John Lee Hooker - Dimples

Johnny Williams (John Lee Hooker) - House Rent Boogie

John Lee Hooker - I'm Going Upstairs

John Lee Hooker - Hot Water Springs Part I & II

John Lee Hooker - Mambo Chillun

John Lee Hooker - Shake It Up And Go

John Lee Hooker - Back Biters And Syndicaters

John Lee Hooker - Lucille

John Lee Hooker & Robert Cray - Mr. Lucky

John Lee Hooker - This Land Is Nobody's Land

18 users have voted.


joe shikspack's picture

i'll be scarce tonight. ms. shikspack and i are off to see randy newman.

i'll catch up when i can.

13 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

9 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

2 users have voted.

2 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


looks like some of the xenophobic fellow travellers aren't down with the violence.

1 user has voted.


Spain has discreetly hired ferries to be moored in the Port of Barcelona as temporary housing for possibly thousands of police specially deployed to keep order in rebel Catalonia and help suppress an illegal independence referendum.

The country’s interior ministry asked Catalan port authorities to provide a berth for one ship until Oct. 3 -- two days after the planned vote -- saying it was a matter of state, a spokeswoman for the port said by phone Wednesday. The vessel, known as “Rhapsody,” docked in the city about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, she said.

The aim is to amass more than 16,000 riot police and other security officers by the Oct. 1 referendum, El Correo newspaper reported on its website. That would exceed the number of Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, who serve both the Catalan and central governments.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


if rajoy is trying as hard as he can to spark a physical confrontation.

0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

Which always makes EB a special treat, because, you know, it can seem surreal. Sometimes, the way you lay it out is a bit like waking up in a parallel universe where everything is exactly the same, but it means something different. Take Bernie, for example, on foreign policy. (Right? As if he would ever discuss foreign policy.) I'm pretty sure this is snark you embedded. It's deliciously ironic.

"Foreign policy is about whether we continue to champion the values of freedom, democracy, and justice, values which have been a beacon of hope for people throughout the world, or whether we support undemocratic, repressive regimes, which torture, jail, and deny basic rights to their citizens," Sanders said.

I mean, it's not likely that Bernie would out himself as a bloody interventionist, at this point. That "beacon of hope" thing always cracks me up. Yeah, it has to be a rift because you follow it up with that funny bit about the US military budget being too weak to be taken seriously. Heh.

Jesus Horatio Christ. Apparently robbing the American people to the tune of $700 Billion $amoleans a year isn't enough for these whining jackasses of the MIC.

Good times.

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Pluto's Republic

guilty as charged. Smile

1 user has voted.
divineorder's picture

Gah. What a choice to have to make.

Opinion | Op-Ed Columnist
Are We Down to President Pence?

The big takeaway, however, was that the president of the United States had threatened to destroy a country with 25 million people.

Maybe we would be better off with Pence in the White House. Even though he won’t drink in mixed company unless his wife is present, or dine alone with a woman he’s not married to.

Really, there are some choices we just shouldn’t be required to make.

6 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture


some choices just shouldn't have to be made. i submit that it is a form of cruelty to force us to make the choice between trump and pence.

2 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

Feels like home
on optic illusions
in sync
when we listen
far away
but, close
closer to hearts

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


loving you back.

it was a great show and he played that song.

2 users have voted.
MarilynW's picture

Donald Trump Is Dropping Bombs at Unprecedented Levels

Judging from Trump’s embrace of the use of air power — the signature tactic of U.S. military intervention — he is the most hawkish president in modern history. Under Trump, the United States has dropped about 20,650 bombs through July 31, or 80 percent the number dropped under Obama for the entirety of 2016. At this rate, Trump will exceed Obama’s last-year total by Labor Day.

Trump has also escalated U.S. military involvement in non-battlefield settings — namely Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. In the last 193 days of the Obama presidency, there were 21 lethal counterterrorism operations across these three countries. Trump has quintupled that number, conducting at least 92 such operations in Yemen, seven in Somalia, and four in Pakistan.

He has a high tolerance for civilian casualties too.

In Afghanistan, Trump’s tolerance for killing civilians has led to 67 percent more civilian casualties in his first six months than in the first half of 2016, according to the United Nations.

There is no policy in place to cut back on civilian casualties and the State Department has been shattered by cuts and lack of personnel. Now he wants rules relaxed on drone attacks and bombing giving the military more lee way.
Where is this going, people?

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


it's certainly not going anywhere that we want to be.

3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

that follows it. Where are you finding them?

Hope that you and the Mrs enjoyed the show

5 users have voted.

Governments exist preeminently to maximize the profits, resources and the power of the wealthy

joe shikspack's picture


some of them i remember from reading or hearing them, sometimes i am stymied and google for quotes about a subject. the one upstairs came from the dnow interview with jeffrey sachs that i listened to today.

3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

The government of Ohio should be charged with dereliction of duty. And charged with depraved indifference when people get sick and die because of the deliberate poisoning of the citizens.
Governments that place corporations and corporate profits above the health and wellbeing of its citizens should be disbanded.
Every person who serves in our government takes an oath to serve and protect their citizens. What they are allowing to happen doesn't do that.
Jesus on a pogo stick. How can we fight against this type of activity?

4 users have voted.

Governments exist preeminently to maximize the profits, resources and the power of the wealthy

joe shikspack's picture


Jesus on a pogo stick. How can we fight against this type of activity?

i dunno, the stuff we've been doing hasn't been working so well lately.

more pogo sticks? Smile

2 users have voted.

You ain’t kidding, that’s a must read Counterpunch article. Two quotes particularly grabbed me:

The only reason Clintonite Democrats want to divert the Medicare-for-all momentum into the “public option” cul-de-sac is to save the for-profit private health insurance industry. They oppose single-payer and are now presenting themselves as supporters of it in order to make sure no plan gets through that will actually break the for-profit market system.

Sums up my thoughts about the co-sponsors. And:

The way to get a radical reform like single-payer is to fight for it, to work to bring people around to it, not to pre-emptively offer something else that you think will be more palatable to those who are resistant. And if, after fighting hard for it, the balance of forces requires you to compromise, you do so in a way that still achieves a net gain for your principles and position. Otherwise, it’s not a compromise; it’s a loss.

This is why I feel this is Obamacare Part Two. The author goes deeper into it, both on Sanders part in this and that of his co-sponsors, but I just have this same sinking feeling that we’re watching the goal posts being moved under the guise of working towards that goal.

3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

yep, i'm hoping that lots of folks read it. i may post it again sometime to increase the chances of folks seeing it.

1 user has voted.