The Evening Blues - 8-8-18
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features blues piano player and songwriter Leroy Carr. Enjoy!
Leroy Carr - (In The Evening) When The Sun Goes Down
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
-- Salman Rushdie
News and Opinion
In a corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful separation between corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship. Because legalized bribery in the form of corporate lobbying and campaign donations has given wealthy Americans the ability to control the US government’s policy and behavior while ordinary Americans have no effective influence whatsoever, the US unquestionably has a corporatist system of government. Large, influential corporations are inseparable from the state, so their use of censorship is inseparable from state censorship.
This is especially true of the vast megacorporations of Silicon Valley, whose extensive ties to US intelligence agencies are well-documented. Once you’re assisting with the construction of the US military’s drone program, receiving grants from the CIA and NSA for mass surveillance, or having your site’s content regulated by NATO’s propaganda arm, you don’t get to pretend you’re a private, independent corporation that is separate from government power. ...
And yet every time I point to the dangers of a few Silicon Valley plutocrats controlling all new media political discourse with an iron fist, Democratic Party loyalists all turn into a bunch of hardline free market Ayn Rands. “It’s not censorship!” they exclaim. “It’s a private company and can do whatever it wants with its property!” ... We’re going to have to find a way to keep the oligarchs from having their cake and eating it too. Either (A) corporations are indeed private organizations separate from the government, in which case the people need to get money out of politics and government agencies out of Silicon Valley so they can start acting like it, and insist that their owners can’t be dragged out on to the Senate floor and instructed on what they can and can’t do with their business, or (B) these new media platforms get treated like the government agencies they function as, and the people get all the First Amendment protection that comes with it. Right now the social engineers are double-dipping in a way that will eventually give the alliance of corporate plutocrats and secretive government agencies the ability to fully control the public’s access to ideas and information.
Here's a sitting US Senator assuring us that the censorship of Infowars is just the beginning. https://t.co/XAutoiyoyx
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) August 7, 2018
As noted in Rolling Stone earlier this year, 70 percent of Americans get their news from just two sources, Facebook and Google. As that number rises, the power of just a few people to decide what information does and does not reach the public will amplify significantly. In a way, this is the other shoe dropping after last week’s much-publicized brouhaha over Infowars lunatic Alex Jones. Jones had four videos removed from YouTube and had his Facebook page banned for 30 days, though he seemed to find a way around that more or less instantly. ...
When Jones and his like-minded pals cried censorship and bias, they came across as more than a little disingenuous. After all, right-wingers have consistently argued on behalf of the speech rights of big corporations. Conservative justices have handed down rulings using the First Amendment to hold back regulation of big tobacco and the gun industry, and to justify unlimited campaign spending. Citizens United was a crucial moment in the degradation of the First Amendment, essentially defining corporate influence as speech. ...
The First Amendment, after all, only addresses the government’s power to restrict speech. It doesn’t address what Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter can do as private companies, enforcing their terms of service. So it’s true, there was no First Amendment issue with the Jones ban. But that’s the problem. ... Way back in 1996, when mastodons roamed the earth and people used dial-up to connect to the Internet, Congress passed the Communications Decency Act. It contained the following landmark language:
“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
Essentially this meant that Internet providers wouldn’t be treated like news organizations. In the eyes of the law, they were less like CBS or Random House than they were bookstores or newsstands. The rule allowed platforms to grow exponentially without the same fear of litigation. Companies like Facebook and Google became all-powerful media distributors, and were able to profit from InfoWars-style programs without having to be liable for them. This led to the flowering of so much obnoxious speech that the First Amendment acquired a reputation as a racist con, and online media distributors, instead of being sued themselves as publishers, began to be viewed as potential restorers of order, beneficent censors.
Now, at a moment of crisis and high political tension, the public seems unable to grasp the gravity of allowing the government or anyone else to use that power. ... When Facebook works with the government and wannabe star-chamber organizations like the Atlantic Council to delete sites on national security grounds, using secret methodology, it opens the door to nightmare possibilities that you’d find in dystopian novels. The sheer market power of these companies over information flow has always been the real threat. This is why breaking them up should have long ago become an urgent national priority. Instead, as was obvious during the Senate hearing with Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year, politicians are more interested in using than curtailing the power of these companies. The platforms, for their part, will cave rather than be regulated. The endgame here couldn’t be clearer. This is how authoritarian marriages begin, and people should be very worried.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has defended his company’s decision to continue publishing the controversial tweets of the American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, saying Jones’s content “hasn’t violated our rules”.
Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify have all banned Jones’ from their platforms, saying he promoted hate speech and violence, but Twitter had allowed Jones to continue posting on the platform. Dorsey said the company was committed to promoting “a healthy conversational environment” – which included Jones.
“We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories,” he said. “If we succumb and simply react to outside pressure, rather than straightforward principles we enforce (and evolve) impartially regardless of political viewpoints, we become a service that’s constructed by our personal views that can swing in any direction. That’s not us.”
Dorsey said it was the responsibility of journalists to police accounts such as Jones’ for accuracy and fairness. “Accounts like Jones’ can often sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors, so it’s critical journalists document, validate, and refute such information directly so people can form their own opinions,” said Dorsey. “This is what serves the public conversation best.” ...
Dorsey directed readers towards an article further explaining Twitter’s rules. “Twitter is reflective of real conversations happening in the world and that sometimes includes perspectives that may be offensive, controversial, and/or bigoted,” the document read. “While we welcome everyone to express themselves on our service, we prohibit targeted behaviour that harasses, threatens, or uses fear to silence the voices of others.”
The US is making history not just by violating a United Nations security council resolution it voted for three years ago, but also by penalising countries who stick to the same unanimous resolution, the Iranian ambassador to the UN has claimed. Gholamali Khoshroo argues in a commentary published by the Guardian on Wednesday that by abrogating a multilateral 2015 nuclear deal and imposing new sanctions on foreign companies doing business with Iran, the Trump administration is also reneging on UNSC resolution 2231.
The resolution, unanimously adopted six days after the nuclear deal was signed in Vienna, calling on UN member states to refrain “from actions that undermine implementation of commitments” under the Vienna agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action (JCPOA). ...
Khoshroo wrote. “The US withdrawal from JCPOA and re-imposition of its sanctions is a serious breach of its legal obligations under the United Nations Charter, which entails its international responsibility. The international community must act in the face of this international intimidation and affront towards the international legal order.”
The United States will impose sanctions on Russia for its use of a nerve agent in an attempt to kill a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain. The state department says Wednesday the sanctions will be imposed on Russia because it used a chemical weapon in violation of international law. ...
Following a 15-day congressional notification period, the sanctions will take effect on or around 22 August, according to a statement from the state department.
“The United States ... determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law, or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals,” state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Have the Saudis gone stark-raving bonkers? First, they pick a fight with Canada — yeah, that Canada! Maple syrup-loving, hockey-playing, poutine-eating, liberal, multicultural Canada; the land with free health care and a prime minister who wears “Eid Mubarak” socks.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia (over)reacted to a single tweet from the Canadian foreign ministry. The tweet called on the Saudis to “immediately release” imprisoned activist Samar Badawi, sister of Raif, as well as “all other peaceful #humanrights activists.” The Saudi foreign ministry lambasted the Canadians for an “unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable” statement, announced the “freezing of all new trade and investment transactions” with Canada, demanding the Canadian ambassador leave the country “within the next 24 hours.”
At the same time, Saudi trolls took to Twitter to declare their loud support for … Quebec’s independence. Who knew that an absolute Persian Gulf monarchy was so passionate about a French-speaking secessionist movement 6,000 miles away? (Hey, Canadian trolls — if you even exist — my advice would be to retaliate by offering Ottawa’s backing for independence in the restless, Shia-dominated Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. It’ll drive them totally nuts.) ... Then — and this is my favorite part of this whole bizarre episode — a Saudi group put out an image on Twitter of a Canadian airliner flying directly toward Toronto’s tallest building over a warning against interfering in others’ affairs. (The Saudi group later deleted it and apologized)
Now deleted, here a screenshot of the threatening Saudi "infographic" featuring an airliner headed for the Toronto skyline. pic.twitter.com/LrkCLxxjFk
— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) August 6, 2018
Much has been made of the kingdom’s “increasingly assertive foreign policy” but, yet again, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials MBS, may have bitten off more than he can chew. It’s madness to try and bully a Western government, which up until Sunday was both a friend of Saudi Arabia and a major arms supplier, for offering the mildest of online criticisms of (undeniable) human rights abuses. What message does that send to Riyadh’s other Western allies, who also like to go through the motions of lightly condemning various Saudi abuses in order to appease their voters? Is the game up? ...
The majority of Canadians, like the majority of Americans and Brits, aren’t fans of their government’s close ties with, and constant sales of arms to, the Saudi dictatorship. Being bullied by MBS and company might make them even more hostile to the Middle East kingdom — and maybe make their elected governments sit up and take more notice of their voters, and less notice of Riyadh. If that happens — fingers crossed! — then Monday’s ridiculous and offensive Twitter image will be the least of the Saudis’ concerns.
Saudi Arabia has refused to back down from its escalating diplomatic dispute with Canada, saying that Ottawa knows what it needs to do to “fix its big mistake”.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, said the kingdom was still “considering additional measures” against Canada. He did not elaborate. “There is nothing to mediate. A mistake has been made and a mistake should be corrected,” he told a news conference in Riyadh.
Several countries have expressed support for Saudi Arabia, including Egypt and Russia, which both told Ottawa it was unacceptable to lecture the kingdom on human rights. “We have always said that the politicisation of human rights matters is unacceptable,” Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry, told reporters on Wednesday. “What one probably needs in this situation is constructive advice and assistance rather than criticism from a ‘moral superior’,” she added.
Meanwhile, the United States – one of Canada’s closest allies – has so far refused to wade into the row.
Army discovers hideout for ‘White Helmets’ with ammunition inside it in Sahem al-Golan, Daraa countryside
An army unit discovered a hideout for the so-called ‘White Helmets’ organization with mines and ammunition inside during combing operations in the newly-liberated towns and villages in Daraa northwestern countryside, in yet another proof of their involvement in carrying out terrorist acts in Syria.
SANA’s reporter said that army units continue to sweep the villages of Hait, Jileen and Sahem al-Golan which have been liberated yesterday to secure them for the return of the displaced locals.
The reporter said that the hideout of the ‘White Helmets’ was found in Sahem al-Golan town with anti-armor mines and artillery shells’ fillings of various kinds inside it.
On September 22, 1979, a US Vela satellite, designed to detect clandestine nuclear tests, recorded a “flash” off the coast of South Africa that every nuclear scientist monitoring the satellite’s detectors at the time believed fit the classic description of a nuclear explosion. President Jimmy Carter’s book based on his White House diaries notes that he was immediately informed of the “flash” by his national security team; with the information came speculation that the event was an Israeli nuclear test at sea, with South African participation. Corroborative data from different sources was immediately sought and analyzed, but much of that data and analysis has remained classified to date (nearly 40 years later), despite attempts to get the government to remove the classification. Independent scientific studies of the event have reinforced the growing circumstantial evidence that the Vela event was an atmospheric nuclear test, and that Israel was the perpetrator, with possible assistance from apartheid South Africa’s navy. ...
Important new and dispositive evidence that the “flash” was a nuclear test has been added recently by two respected scientists, Christopher Wright of the Australian Defense Force Academy and Lars-Eric De Geer of the Swedish Defense Research Agency (Ret.), writing in the journal Science & Global Security. (The 22 September 1979 Vela Incident: The Detected Double-Flash, Science & Global Security, 25:3, 95-124, DOI: 10.1080/08929882.2017.1394047)
Using data first gathered by Distinguished Professor Lester Van Middlesworth of the University of Tennessee on radioactivity found in the thyroids of sheep in Australia within the time period following the “flash,” plus meteorological data from the time and some radionuclide and hydro-acoustic data released by the US government, Wright and De Geer have produced an analysis of the Vela event that removes virtually all doubt that the “flash” was a nuclear explosion. The explosion was one of small yield, perhaps to simulate the result of firing a nuclear artillery shell. Wright and De Geer do not speculate on who might have performed the test. But none of the five recognized nuclear weapon states would feel the need to perform a small clandestine test of that kind. Similarly, in 1979, neither India nor Pakistan nor South Africa had nuclear development and logistics capabilities at a stage where a nuclear test of that kind in that area was feasible for them. Israel was the only country that had the technical ability and policy motivation to carry out such a clandestine test, which, according to some sources, was the last of several and was detected by the Vela satellite because of a sudden change in cloud cover. ...
In the meantime, what should be a consequence of the flagrant violation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty?
At a time when public demands for nuclear transparency are loudly and justifiably trumpeted toward Iran and North Korea, which are pariahs in many Western eyes, it is illogical at best and hypocritical at worst for the world, and particularly the United States, to maintain public silence on Israel’s nuclear program, especially in the face of a violation of an important nuclear norm. For the sake of future progress on arms control, on steps to reduce nuclear risk, and on honest public as well as private communication among governments and their constituents to achieve such progress, it is time to end an existing double standard that has allowed Israel to escape accountability for developing advanced nuclear weapons by violating a major international treaty.
Within the last 12 months, US Vicepresident Mike Pence made 3 trips to Latin America to meet at least 8 presidents from whom he demanded support for a military intervention against our brother president of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro. Those are the Empire's coup attempts.
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) August 5, 2018
China announced Wednesday that it would be imposing 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of U.S. goods after the White House imposed similar sanctions on Chinese goods Tuesday. The tit-for-tat measures are the latest action in an escalating trade war between Washington and China.
The latest round of sanctions will see a 25 percent tariff placed on U.S. goods like crude oil and cars, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, which said it was forced into action following the “very unreasonable” taxes levied by the White House. Other products targeted include coal, diesel, bicycles, and medical equipment, as well as steel and plastic products.
On Tuesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced another list of Chinese goods, worth $16 billion, that will be hit with tariffs. The 279 items on the list mostly involve industrial equipment such as tractors, plastic tubes, and measurement equipment like speedometers.
Just hours before the Sacramento officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man earlier this year and his betrothed exchanged vows, a group of protesters showed up to demand answers. The officer shot 22-year-old Stephon Clark in the back seven times on March 18 in his grandmother’s backyard. Police initially said Clark had a “toolbar” in his hands; he was only holding a white iPhone.
“I just wanted to know if you started planning your wedding before you killed Stephon Clark or after,” a protester asks in the video posted to Black Lives Matter’s Facebook page. “I know this is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but he will not have that opportunity, ever.” The officer was sitting at a table with about six friends in their undershirts, drinking beers and eating sandwiches, when the group of protesters entered the room.
“You’re a murderer,” another protester shouts in the background of the video.
Tanya Faison, founder of Sacramento’s Black Lives Matter chapter, told CBS13 that she learned of the wedding, held at a vineyard about an hour outside of Sacramento, from the officer’s personal website. “I think they need to be approached in spaces where they’re a little bit more vulnerable,” Faison told the station. “We’re not gonna hurt anyone but we are gonna make them uncomfortable.”
U.S. border patrol agents were looking for drug smugglers on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona in 2012 when one of the agents fired through the border fence at 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, who was walking down the street in Nogales, Mexico The agent, Lonnie Ray Swartz, shot Elena at least 10 times, mostly in the back, killing him. When Elena’s mother sued Swartz in U.S. court, she joined four other families of loved ones killed by border patrol agents in cross-border shootings who have filed similar lawsuits trying to hold the officers accountable. So far, none of those lawsuits has been allowed to move forward because the U.S. Constitution does not apply to people outside the border.
But a Tuesday ruling from the 9th Circuit calls that into question.
The 9th Circuit ruled that Elena’s family’s right to sue is clear, and Swartz does not have qualified immunity — the rule that shields public employees from liability in civil rights lawsuits unless the plaintiff can prove the employee knew they were violating the plaintiff’s rights. “Any reasonable officer would have known, even without a judicial decision to tell him so, that it was unlawful to kill someone — anyone — for no reason,” wrote Judge Andrew Kleinfeld, who was appointed by George W. Bush, joined by Judge Edward Korman, a Reagan appointee. "We are unable to imagine a serious argument that a federal agent might not have known that it was unlawful to shoot people in Mexico for no reason." ...
The decision from the 9th Circuit, which covers California and Arizona, means the biggest federal appeals courts on the southwest border are now split about whether families of Mexicans shot and killed by U.S. border patrol officers in cross-border shootings can sue the officers who killed their loved ones. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Texas, ruled the opposite way in a similar 2010 cross-border shooting case, deciding the constitution doesn’t apply to another Mexican teenager, 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernández Guereca. This split means the cross-border shooting issue is almost certainly headed back to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in the Hernández case last year, but sent the case back to the 5th Circuit without a ruling.
On Friday, after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a longtime U.S. resident protesting against ICE in San Antonio, Texas, the FBI stepped in for an interrogation, telling the resident, 18-year-old Sergio Salazar, that his immigration status had been revoked because he was a “bad person.” The FBI agents asked him to inform on fellow protesters and said if he did so it could help his immigration case.
“It seems evident that he was targeted here because of his involvement in the anti-ICE protests,” said Jonathan Ryan, Salazar’s lawyer from RAICES Texas, an immigrant advocacy group. “We’re very concerned about how directed and targeted and aggressive and quick this was.” ICE has been criticized for recent detentions and deportations of other activists, but little else has emerged that indicates an FBI interest in anti-ICE protests. Salazar, an aspiring filmmaker who came to the U.S. when he was two, was extensively in the San Antonio Express-News in late July under his nickname “Mapache,” saying that his group planned to remain in its encampment in front of an ICE processing facility until “ICE no longer operates in San Antonio.” He was arrested as he stepped away from the encampment a few days later. ...
“I was taken aside to a little room by the FBI,” Salazar said in the recording, which was provided to The Intercept by RAICES. “They wanted to ask me about my friends. Their words were that I am someone who has a lot to say, and they’d like to hear it. But they also were implying that if I got them useful information, about something I’m about to be a part of, that, the fact that it was useful would get to an immigration judge.” Salazar refused to speak with them, and was then transferred to another facility, the Webb County Detention Center, on the border in Laredo, Texas. There, FBI agents questioned him again, but this time they said they had a warrant to search his cellphone, related to “impeding a federal officer,” and something to do with threats of bomb making, Salazar said. ...
Salazar had joined the Occupy ICE encampment that sprang up in San Antonio in mid-July. A Facebook page called “Free Mapache,” linked by the “Occupy ICE SATX” group describes him as “a dedicated, long-time community activist who has committed himself to fighting deportations, police violence, and corporate exploitation. He is overflowing with generosity and is always willing to put himself on the line for others.” On the call with RAICES, Salazar said he spent his time at the camp distributing food and toys to children who were visiting family at the ICE facility. On July 28, members of the fascist white supremacist group Patriot Front had descended on the camp, scattering tents, signs and coolers, and chanting, “Strong borders! Strong nations!,” a scene captured in a video posted by the Occupy group. Mapache gave his quotes to the Express-News that day, telling the newspaper that he was a self-identified anarchist. “They outnumbered us five-to-one, so we pretty much stood back and allowed them to take their videos and to attempt to tear apart the camp,” he said. He spoke out about Occupy ICE SATX’s goals, saying that ICE “is doing what (Patriot Front) wants.” ...
As ICE cracks down on undocumented immigrants across the country, detaining people who previously would not have been priorities for deportation, many advocacy groups are expressing concern that the agency is singling out activists. ... Jacob Hutt, a fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, added that the ramifications extended beyond an individual’s First Amendment rights: “It tells everyone else in your community what they can expect to happen to them if they speak out on an issue, and that’s especially chilling when people are already fearful because of their immigration status.”
Since early July, thousands of dead fish have washed up along Florida’s Gulf Coast shores, likely due to a high concentration of toxic algae known as the “red tide.” But there’s another type of algae invading Florida that’s making people — not marine life — sick: Cyanobacteria has covered some of the state’s lakes and canals covered in neon blue-green scum. As a result, people are trickling into local hospitals complaining of symptoms like nausea and shortness of breath. ... A third type of algae, called sargassum, also saw a record bloom for July, although the brown seaweed-like substance poses more of an annoyance to south Florida beaches than a threat.
Blue-green algae blooms have historically taken over Lake Okeechobee, the largest freshwater lake in Florida. The freshwater algae just needs nutrients, sunlight, and shallow, still water to thrive. This year, however, a heavy rainy season flushed more pollutants into the water, which gave the algae an extra boost of nutrients. ... With the added rain, the water levels also got too high for the aging levee, responsible for holding back all that polluted water in Lake Okeechobee. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had to unleash the algae-rich water into local rivers and canals to relieve some of the stress on the levee. Locals told VICE News the algae problem appeared to kick into high gear after the water was released. ...
In late July, the corpse of a whale shark washed up at Sanibel Island, Florida. And in Collier County, which includes Naples, 79 sea turtles have turned up dead since the beginning of the year, according to the Naples Daily News. Brevetoxin, a neurotoxin created by the red tide, may have caused their demise. The microscopic algae appears nearly every summer, but it’s never been this bad, [fishing charter operator Captain Billy] Norris said. Near Anna Maria Island, residents are using rakes and pitchforks to scrape dead fish out of the water, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. ...
The red tide itself isn’t that unusual; the naturally-occurring phenomenon has been documented across the state’s coast since the 1840s. This time around, though, it’s resulted in massive deaths of marine life. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Fish Kill Hotline has received more than 450 reports and requests for information since the bloom appeared. It’s also not immediately clear what’s causing the bloom to be so severe this year. In the past, red tides have lasted a few weeks to more than a year. Sunlight, nutrients, and salinity can influence the growth and persistence of the algae, on top of wind direction and currents.
Proposals to combat climate change by reflecting the sun’s rays back into space would cause widespread crop failure, cancelling out any benefits to farming from the reduction in warming, according to new research. By examining the effects of volcanic eruptions on agriculture – which has a similar effect to proposed artificial methods of scattering solar radiation through aerosols – scientists have concluded that such methods could have unintended consequences.
“[The research was to] find a way to examine the side effects of geoengineering without experimenting on the climate,” said Jonathan Proctor of University of California, Berkeley, lead author of the paper published in the peer review journal Nature. “[We found] potential adverse effect on agricultural production.” ...
The findings deal another blow to proposals to use geoengineering to reduce or delay global warming, which some scientists think may be necessary to stave off the worst effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions. Spraying or injecting tiny airborne particles into the stratosphere has been regarded as one of the prime possibilities for geoengineering, by reflecting some of the sun’s rays back into space before they can warm the Earth.
The scientists studied the eruption of El Chichón in Mexico in 1982 and the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, both of which caused large quantities of sulphate particles to enter the stratosphere. This created a “veil” which reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface. In the study, the researchers examined the aerosol levels, solar radiation and crop yields. The deflection of sunlight had a negative effect on the yields of many staple crops, including rice, wheat and maize. They concluded that the impacts on crops of sending particles deliberately into the stratosphere would probably be similar, and that the beneficial effects on crop yields from the resulting cooling would be “essentially negated” by the loss in crops due to the reduction in sunlight, failing to remove the threat climate change poses to agriculture and food security.
There’s been an enormous increase in the number of people at risk from wildfire in the western US in recent decades, with an estimated 6.7m homes now at significant risk from fires that are getting larger and more frequent. The population in wildfire-prone areas in California, Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and Nevada has exploded since 1940, when just 607,000 houses were in locations threatened by wildfires. The at-risk number of properties in the western US has grown since that time by more than 1,000% to 6.7m, according to recent research. ...
“It’s a two-headed dragon where we’ve seen an increase in the number of large wildfires and a big increase in population in the worst wildfire areas,” said Stephen Strader, assistant professor of physical and environmental geography at Villanova University and author of the research. “We see everywhere that cities are enlarging, people are spreading out from the urban core.
“In California, this growth is concentrated in areas prone to fire. The west is continuing to grow because of westward migration so this trend is going to continue,” Strader added. Last year, California’s population grew by nearly 300,000 people in 12 months, bringing it up to nearly 40 million people. Idaho was the fastest growing state for population last year, according to the US Census, with Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Arizona also experiencing large increases.
At the same time, the number of large conflagrations in the west is climbing. Huge fires more than 1,000 acres in size are now more than 550% more frequent than in the 1970s and early 1980s. The fire season is growing in length due to warming temperatures, providing greater opportunity for dry vegetation to catch light. “Back in the 1940s, wildfires weren’t as big of a concern because there weren’t many people living in vulnerable areas,” said Strader. “Now you have mountainous areas that are becoming brand new sub divisions for communities. People with money are moving into beautiful regions and are finding that they are getting wildfires.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell - I Believe I´ll Make A Change
Leroy Carr - Mean Mistreater Mama
Leroy Carr - Straight Alky Blues
Leroy Carr - Ain't It A Shame
Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell - Blues Before Sunrise
Leroy Carr - Carried Water For The Elephant
Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell - Hold Them Puppies
Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell - Memphis Town
Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell - Longing For My Sugar
Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell - Barrelhouse Woman