The Evening Blues - 1-8-19
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Detroit doo wop and r&b singer Joe Stubbs. Enjoy!
Joe Stubbs - Hey Hey
“A burro is an ass. A burrow is a hole in the ground. A reporter should know the difference.”
-- Fred Reed
News and Opinion
NBC and MSNBC Blamed Russia for Using “Sophisticated Microwaves” to Cause “Brain Injuries” in U.S. “Diplomats” in Cuba. The Culprits Were Likely Crickets.
NBC News and MSNBC specialize in repeating and disseminating what U.S intelligence officials tell them to say and then calling that servitude “reporting.” Those two networks really are the all-but-official outlets for CIA messaging. And this status has led their brightest on-air stars to broadcast a series of extremely consequential stories that turned out to be humiliatingly wrong. This stenographic and highly jingoistic practice of mindlessly reciting the whispered claims of anonymous “intelligence officials” is what notoriously led the New York Times and other leading U.S. media outlets to deceive the country into believing Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz’s fairy tales about Iraqi WMDs and Jeffrey Goldberg’s tales about Saddam’s alliance with Al Qaeda.
But while many of those outlets apologized for that behavior and vowed to avoid it in the future, NBC and MSNBC have committed themselves to it with greater vigor than ever, as evidenced by the increasing prominence of their national security reporter Ken Dilanian, whose entire career has been defined by repeating what the CIA tells him to say – and has thus been plagued by one embarrassing false story after the next.
But while many of those outlets apologized for that behavior and vowed to avoid it in the future, NBC and MSNBC have committed themselves to it with greater vigor than ever, as evidenced by the increasing prominence of their national security reporter Ken Dilanian, whose entire career has been defined by repeating what the CIA tells him to say – and has thus been plagued by one embarrassing false story after the next. ... We now have what might be the most vivid, reckless and dangerous illustration yet of how NBC and MSNBC functions. If their behavior weren’t so journalistically shameful and destructive, this would be darkly humorous. ...
[Detailed description of breathless coverage of mindbending Russian spook technology that turns out to be the sound of lonely crickets skipped, since I posted the NYT story about it yesterday. Greenwald's discussion of it is well worth reading. - js]
Thus far, not a single NBC or MSNBC reporter who hyped the Russia-did-it story – Ken Dilanian, Andrea Mitchell, Josh Lederman – has bothered to tweet these scientific findings that, at the very least, raise major doubts about the accuracy of their huge and highly consequential story that the repeatedly hyped. That’s how the U.S. media functions: sensationalistic stories produce massive benefits, while there are zero consequences, or even an obligation to acknowledge error, when they turn out to be doubtful of even false. ...
It’s bad enough to be so reckless with such dangerous rhetoric. But when this is all accomplished through the shoddiest of “reporting” – mindlessly repeating what anonymous intelligence officials tell journalists to say without a whiff of evidence – then it’s clear that the same journalistic pathologies that led to front-page reports of Saddam’s nuclear stockpile and alliance with Osama bin Laden continue to shape corporate journalism today, particularly at NBC and MSNBC.
The Pentagon. Dumb like a fox.
In a previously unpublished report to Congress, the Department of Defense said that it has found no evidence of detainee abuse by U.S. allies in Yemen, contradicting reports from journalists, human rights groups, and a U.N. panel of experts that documented torture by U.S.-backed forces. The carefully worded report sent to the House and Senate Armed Services committees last month denied that U.S. forces had ever observed or reported detainee abuse by allies and partner forces fighting in Yemen. The report, which was required by an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for this fiscal year, contained a classified annex not seen by The Intercept.
“DoD takes detainee abuse allegations and the investigation of detainee abuse very seriously, whether it occurs in U.S. or foreign partner custody,” said the two-page report. “Based on information to-date, DoD has not developed any independent, credible information indicating that U.S. allies or partners have abused detainees in Yemen.”
An Associated Press investigation last year into a network of 18 secret prisons across south Yemen found evidence of forced disappearances and torture, including beatings, sexual abuse, and a torture device called “the grill,” where Yemeni men were tied to a spit and spun over a fire. The prisons were run by local forces controlled by the United Arab Emirates, a key U.S. counterterrorism ally and a member of the U.S.-backed, Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen. ... Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International both published reports documenting torture in many of the same prisons and a U.N. expert panel found that detainees in prisons run by UAE-controlled forces were beaten, electrocuted, hung upside down, and raped.
“Whether or not DoD personnel personally observed or participated in abusive conduct or disappearances, ongoing U.S. support for UAE forces, which the U.S. now has strong reason to believe are engaging in these abuses, could make the U.S. legally complicit,” Daphne Eviatar, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security with Human Rights Program, told The Intercept by email. “The U.S. has an obligation to ensure its partners are not ‘disappearing’ detainees or engaging in torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. DoD’s blanket denial is just a way of denying its own international and legal responsibilities.”
Politicians and pundits alike have roundly criticized Donald Trump for stating he will pull our troops out of Syria and cut US forces in Afghanistan by half. ... As the US military kills civilians in Syria and CIA-led Afghan forces continue to commit war crimes, it appears Trump is doing the right thing in pulling out military troops. But the CIA will remain and grow stronger after the US troops leave. “[A]s American military forces are set to draw down, the role of the Central Intelligence Agency is only likely to grow in importance,” according to The New York Times.
On December 31, The Times described a CIA-sponsored Afghan strike force that operates “unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians, conducting night raids, torture and killings with near impunity.” In the article, journalist Mujib Mashal cites an October 2018 United Nations report that raised concern about “consistent, credible accounts of intentional destruction of civilian property, illegal detention and other abuses.” Mashal reports that the abuses by the CIA “are actively pushing people toward the Taliban” and when few US military troops remain, “the [CIA-led] strike forces are increasingly the way that a large number of rural Afghans experience the American presence.” Indeed, Mohibullah, whose relative was killed when his home was attacked by a strike force, told The Times he saw “no difference between the CIA-sponsored force and the Islamic State if the result was to be attacked with no warning.”
Last fall, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, asked the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber to open a formal investigation into the possible commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by parties to the war in Afghanistan, including US persons. Bensouda’s preliminary examination found “a reasonable basis to believe” that “war crimes of torture and ill-treatment” had been committed “by US military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, principally in the 2003-2004 period, although allegedly continuing in some cases until 2014.” ...
Like its predecessor, the Trump administration is adamant that US war criminals escape justice. In response to Bensouda’s referral, National Security Adviser John Bolton told the right-wing Federalist Society the United States would punish the ICC if it mounts a full investigation of Americans for war crimes committed in Afghanistan.
War in Syria: "Turkey wants to march into Syria, wipe out the YPG and set up an Arab administration"
Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria within 30 days was dumped Sunday, with National Security Adviser John Bolton effectively placing the exit on hold — possibly for years. ...
Bolton’s visit to the Middle East is part of an effort by the Trump administration to reassure allies that the U.S. strategy on Syria had not shifted, despite what the president said. This followed weeks of grumbling from America’s partners in the region, most notably Israel, who expressed concerns that a sudden U.S. withdrawal would boost Iran’s growing influence. “We can see John Bolton's visit as a way to correct or realign U.S. rhetoric with its actual policy,” Lina Khatib, head of the Middle East and North Africa programme at U.K.-based think tank Chatham House, told VICE News. ... “As long as the conflict in Syria continues to rage, whoever has military leverage on the ground, holds political cards in this conflict, so without military engagement, the U.S. will have given up its place at the table,” Khatib says.
But for all Bolton’s assurances, allies remain unsettled by Trump’s sudden foreign policy announcement — usually without the consultation of his top officials or allies. “Given that Trump regularly contradicts his own leadership, most [partners] will likely wait until Trump himself confirms this latest change. And even then, he may still reverse course again, depending on what he watches on Fox News,” Karin von Hippel, the director general of the Royal United Services Institute, a defense and security think tank, told VICE News.
— Gregg Carlstrom (@glcarlstrom) January 6, 2019
The US national security adviser, John Bolton, is expected to hold tense talks with Turkish officials in Ankara over Syria on Tuesday, after he placed conditions on a US troop withdrawal promised by Donald Trump. ...
Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, sharply criticised Bolton for his insistence that Turkey not attack Kurdish Syrian forces who have fought with the US against Isis. Ankara sees those forces as a branch of militant Kurdish insurgent inside Turkey and describes them as terrorists.
Against a backdrop of friction and uncertainty, it is unclear who Bolton will be seeing in Ankara. No meetings had been confirmed by Monday afternoon. The Pentagon was initially told to plan for the withdrawal of US soldiers within 100 days. But during to a visit to Jerusalem on Sunday, Bolton said the withdrawal would depend on conditions inside Syria and on Turkish actions. “There are objectives that we want to accomplish that condition the withdrawal,” Bolton said. ...
“There is deep disappointment in Ankara with the US administration, and right now Turkish policy-makers are trying to assess whether this is a policy shift or whether it is empty words and the policy will change again,” Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Europe thinktank.
The White House denied there had been a policy shift, and Trump went on Twitter on Monday to denounce the New York Times for its reporting of Bolton’s comments. “No different from my original statements, we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!..” Trump tweeted. Bolton retweeted the president, adding “My thoughts exactly.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has used a nationally broadcast address to demand that he be allowed to confront live on television the states’ witnesses who have implicated him in three corruption cases. In a bizarre performance worthy of Donald Trump, Netanyahu suggested that the best resolution to his legal issues, which have cast a shadow over his hopes of re-election, should be a reality TV moment where he faces his accusers.
“What are they afraid of? I’m not afraid. I have nothing to lose,” Netanyahu said, adding: “I’m willing for it to be livestreamed for the public to hear the full truth. I’m confident in my truth.” He described the investigation against him as “biased”.
The speech, which had been billed as a “dramatic announcement”, was the latest effort by Netanyahu to push back against the investigation and the attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit. It has been widely reported that Mandelblit is considering indicting Netanyahu before the elections on 9 April. Netanyahu also used his national podium to accuse police investigators of ignoring other witnesses he claims could have testified in his favour.
Following some outbreaks of violence in larger-scale demonstrations on Saturday, the women’s protest was cast in some social media posts, as well as this AP account, as a bid to restore peace to the movement. However, the all-female protest was not responding to Saturday’s events. It had been planned in advance, since Dec. 20, via a Facebook page that registered 15,000 people expressing interest and 2,000 committing to protest. The Paris demonstration on Sunday attracted several hundred, according to press accounts.
However, some women carried signs that said “stop violence,” reflecting on the violence that has marked many demonstrations and by some estimates hurt the movement’s popularity. Although the festive mood contrasted with the often-angry demonstrations on Saturday, women at the Paris protest reiterated the same basic frustrations about everyday life becoming more of a struggle. ...
The protests began in November and just completed their eighth week. An AP story described the movement as “losing wind with repeated violence at weekly demonstrations.” By contrast, The Wall Street Journal cast the large-scale demonstration on Jan. 5 as a sign of “staying power.” Last week, a 33-year-old truck driver who was one of the first to call for nationwide protests was arrested, sparking outrage from leaders on different ends of the political spectrum about an abuse of power. The French daily Le Figaro says the arrest may have reactivated the movement.
Agence France Presse reports that an online poll conducted Jan. 2-3 by Odoxa Dentsu consulting found 55 percent of those surveyed wanted the protest movement to continue.
Two lawmakers from Amazon’s hometown in Seattle traveled to New York on Monday to warn the city of potential unintended consequences of the tech company’s planned new headquarters. Lisa Herbold and Teresa Mosqueda, members of Seattle’s city council, addressed a summit of activist groups fighting Amazon’s plan for a new campus in Long Island City, Queens. They told the New Yorkers that Amazon’s presence in the west coast city had driven up housing costs, that the company had ducked efforts to make them help pay to address the crisis, and that they should resist it.
At the event at the offices of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is attempting to organize workers at a Staten Island Amazon warehouse, the council members urged their New York counterparts to learn from Seattle’s mistakes and demand concessions like labor standards before the company gains a foothold in the city. “Don’t be the city or state that flinches every time a corporation flexes its muscles,” Mosqueda said. “You have the opportunity that Seattle didn’t,” she added. “We didn’t respond fast enough.”
In Seattle, Amazon occupied 20% of the city’s office space, the politicians said. They said New York could expect many of the well-paying jobs to go not to existing city residents, but to people who will move there. A thousand people a week move to the Seattle region, with an influx of more than 115,000 since the beginning of the decade, Mosqueda said. “The majority of the population that was living in Seattle who were low income, working families has been pushed out … to areas where they are still now having to commute one and two hours into their jobs,” she said.
As the US government shutdown continues, millions of Americans face the prospect of being cut off from food stamps. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides benefits that allow some of the nation’s poorest households to buy food. More than 19 million households, or about 39 million people in the US, currently receive food stamps. The average monthly benefit is $245. Now even this minimal aid stands to be withdrawn—partially in February and completely in March—if the government shutdown drags on.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has furloughed approximately 95 percent of employees in Food and Nutrition Services, the office that oversees the SNAP program. So as USDA workers go without pay, food stamp recipients’ benefits may also be slashed. Come February, the SNAP program faces a $1.8 billion shortfall. If this were spread out evenly across the 19 million households that receive SNAP benefits, each would see a cut of about $90 per month, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
If the shutdown that began December 22 stretches into March, current SNAP recipients would receive no money. Even if the Trump and administration and Congress come to an agreement to end the shutdown by February, households could experience a substantial delay in receiving their benefits due to operational and bureaucratic challenges at the USDA.
Food stamps, they are for poor people. Tax returns, well we can't mess with them, rich folks want theirs. Better call in some gummint slaves to work without pay at the IRS:
Taxpayers who are owed refunds will be paid on time, despite the government shutdown that has closed many federal agencies, a Trump administration official said Monday as concern mounted over the risk that the payments could be delayed. The acting director of the White House budget office, Russell Vought, said customary rules will be changed to make the payments possible. He told reporters that an “indefinite appropriation” was available for the refunds, which would go out as normal. ...
The IRS said late Monday that it will recall a large number of furloughed employees to process returns. They will probably work without pay. Under the previous rules, hundreds of billions of dollars in refunds could be delayed because funding would not be available. Some experts question whether the Trump administration has the legal authority to reverse those earlier policies to allow the government to issue refunds during a shutdown. Vought framed the move as part of President Donald Trump’s goal to make the shutdown “as painless as possible.”
'Time to Play Hardball': Progressives Pressure Senate Democrats to Stonewall All Bills That Don't End Trump Shutdown
With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refusing to allow a floor vote on government funding bills that passed the Democratic House last week, progressive organizations are attempting to force the GOP leader's hand by pressuring Democrats to stonewall all Senate business and legislation that is unrelated to reopening the federal government.
"Instead of addressing the most urgent issue, Mitch McConnell is planning to bring unrelated bills to the floor for a vote," declared Indivisible, one of the groups leading the pressure campaign. "He'd like to pretend that it's business as usual in the Senate—not that hundreds of thousands of federal workers are going without pay."
"It's time to play hardball," the group added. "It's simple: the only thing that the Senate should be working on right now is ending this shutdown. The House has done its job. Now it's time for the Senate to do the same."
On Tuesday, McConnell reportedly plans to hold a procedural vote on Senate Bill 1 (S.1), bipartisan legislation that would hand companies more power to punish boycotts of Israel—a move the ACLU condemned as a flagrant attack on the First Amendment. Ahead of the scheduled vote, MoveOn.org, Indivisible, the AFL-CIO, and other progressive groups are calling on the public to flood their senators' phonelines and urge them to oppose Tuesday's motion to proceed, as well as any other measures unrelated to solving the ongoing government shutdown.
Vice-president Mike Pence said Donald Trump has yet to decide whether he will declare a national emergency over his demand for a wall along the southwest border – the key sticking point in negotiations over the partial government shutdown that has affected 800,000 federal employees. White House counsel is reviewing whether the president has the ability to declare a national emergency in the current situation, Pence told reporters at a media briefing on Monday. He added that the administration would prefer to secure the funding for border security from an agreement with Congress.
“What I’m aware of is that they’re looking at it and the President is considering it,” Pence said during the briefing alongside homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Office of Management and Budget acting director Russell Vought in Washington. ...
Amid the tense stand-off in Washington, Trump announced he would make his public case for $5.7bn in funding to build a border wall during a rare prime-time national televised address on Tuesday night from the Oval Office followed by a visit to the border on Thursday.
An Ohio man will serve three years and 10 months for his part in a group of white men who brutally beat a black man in a parking garage during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge on Monday afternoon sentenced 20-year-old Daniel Borden to 20 years for his participation in the beating of DeAndre Harris, but suspended 16 years and two months of the sentence. Borden will also get 16 months’ credit for the time he’s already served since he was taken into custody.
Borden is the third man to be sentenced for the attack on Harris, who was 20 at the time. Clad in a white construction helmet emblazoned with the words “Commie Killer” and armed with a wooden pole, Borden was caught on video alongside five other white men kicking and beating Harris as he lay bloodied on the ground. ...
Last August, Jacob Scott Goodwin, a 24-year-old neo-Nazi sympathizer from Arkansas, and Alex Michael Ramos, a 34-year-old former militia member from Georgia, were sentenced to eight and six years, respectively, for their part in the beating. Tyler Watkins Davis, a 50-year-old Florida man, was arraigned on malicious wounding charges linked to the beating last October, and will go to trial in February.
Chris Hedges tells you what readers here already know. But he says it well. Here's a taste:
It is January 2019. This signals the start of the 2020 election circus. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the first big-name Democrat on stage. But we will soon be deluged with candidates, bizarre antics and endless commentary by fatuous TV and radio pundits. The hyperventilating, the constant polling, the updates on who has the largest campaign war chest, the hypothetical matches between this hopeful and that hopeful, the mocking tweets by Donald Trump, will, as we saw in the 2016 election campaign, have as much relevance to our lives and political future as the speculation on cable sports channels about next year’s football season. This farce takes the place of genuine political life.
It costs a lot of money to mount this spectacle. Our corporate masters, like the oligarchic rulers of ancient Rome who poured money into the arena as they stripped the empire and its citizens of their assets, are happy to oblige. The campaign sustains the fiction of a democracy and gives legitimacy to the corporate state. Maybe Hillary Clinton, who raised $1 billion in her 2016 run for president, will return for another season, although the Bill and Hillary tour is now a debacle with empty seats and slashed ticket prices. Maybe Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will make comebacks. And what about the new faces in the scramble for the presidency—Beto O’Rourke, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg?
It is a political version of the reality television show “Survivor.” Who will be the first knocked out? Who will make it into the semifinals and the finals? Who is the most devious and cunning? Who will come out on top? We get to vote for the contestants that appeal to us most, or at least vote against those we hate the most. The cable news shows, in a prelude to the nonstop idiocy to come, have spent the last few days speculating about whom Mitt Romney will endorse in the 2020 race. Now, there’s a burning question of national importance.
To take power in 2021 in lieu of any real policy changes, the Democratic Party is banking on the deep animus toward President Trump. It has no intention of instituting genuine populist programs, rebuilding unions, funding universal health care, providing free college tuition or curbing the criminal activities of the corporations and the big banks. The war machine will continue to wage endless war and consume half of all discretionary spending. The vaunted new populist members of Congress will be no more than window dressing, trotted out, like Sanders, to trick voters into thinking the Democratic Party is capable of reform. Most voters, for this reason, are “voting out of loathing, against enemies and against the system in general, not really for anybody,” as journalist Matt Taibbi points out.
Global warming has heated the oceans by the equivalent of one atomic bomb explosion per second for the past 150 years, according to analysis of new research. More than 90% of the heat trapped by humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions has been absorbed by the seas, with just a few per cent heating the air, land and ice caps respectively. The vast amount of energy being added to the oceans drives sea-level rise and enables hurricanes and typhoons to become more intense.
Much of the heat has been stored in the ocean depths but measurements here only began in recent decades and existing estimates of the total heat the oceans have absorbed stretch back only to about 1950. The new work extends that back to 1871. Scientists have said that understanding past changes in ocean heat was critical for predicting the future impact of climate change.
A Guardian calculation found the average heating across that 150-year period was equivalent to about 1.5 Hiroshima-size atomic bombs per second. But the heating has accelerated over that time as carbon emissions have risen, and was now the equivalent of between three and six atomic bombs per second. “I try not to make this type of calculation, simply because I find it worrisome,” said Prof Laure Zanna, at the University of Oxford, who led the new research. “We usually try to compare the heating to [human] energy use, to make it less scary.”
She added: “But obviously, we are putting a lot of excess energy into the climate system and a lot of that ends up in the ocean. There is no doubt.” The total heat taken up by the oceans over the past 150 years was about 1,000 times the annual energy use of the entire global population.
Two new studies have highlighted yet more unexpected findings in the epic story of the Earth’s carbon stores: how the world’s waters and soils accumulate and discharge them. One team of researchers has found, to their surprise, that the meltwaters of Greenland are washing measurable quantities of carbon into the atmosphere in the form of the potent greenhouse gas methane. And another has looked more closely at the way carbon is stored in the world’s soils, and come to the conclusion that even the minerals in the bedrock play a role: with help from rainwater, they can capture and hold potentially vast quantities of carbon in the soils of planet Earth.
Neither discovery changes the big picture of global warming driven by profligate human combustion of fossil fuels during the last two centuries. But both are reminders that climate scientists still have a lot to learn about precisely how the trafficking of carbon between life, rocks and atmosphere really happens. And both will prompt a fresh look at the great unresolved question facing climate science: how much of the greenhouse gases emitted by human activity can be absorbed naturally by the rocks and living things on the planet? ...
“When plants photosynthesize, they draw carbon out of the atmosphere, then they die and their organic matter is incorporated in the soil,” said Oliver Chadwick of UC Santa Barbara, one of the researchers. “Bacteria decompose that organic matter, releasing carbon that can either go right back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide or can get held on the surface of soil minerals.” What the finding means in the long term is not certain: as the researchers say, the capacity of mineral soils to cling to carbon suggests what they call “high sensitivity to future changes in climate.” That is, with yet more warming, the same mineral soils could release their imprisoned carbon. Nobody knows at what point this would happen.
Canadian police have arrested 14 demonstrators at an indigenous protest camp in northern British Columbia, amid growing tensions over a proposed pipeline running through First Nations territory. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s national police force, said 14 people had been arrested late on Monday as officers enforced a court order to remove barriers built along a logging road.
Indigenous groups are fighting the construction of a 670km (416 miles) liquified natural gas pipeline, Coastal GasLink, which would cross through Wet’suwet’en territory.
On 14 December, a provincial court granted an injunction to TransCanada – the company constructing the pipeline – in order to give them access to the construction site. In response, protesters set up the Gitimd’en checkpoint to block energy company TransCanada from accessing the planned site of construction. Dozens of demonstrators have camped for weeks, braving heavy snow and temperatures that have dipped to -15C (5F).
The Wet’suwet’en, made up of five clans, never signed a treaty ceding their land to the government of Canada, and retain control of who enters it.
Rallies in solidarity with the protesters are planned in cities across the country for Tuesday.
For 17 days, a host of volunteers and a skeleton staff kept the trash cans and toilets from overflowing at Joshua Tree national park. But on Tuesday, 18 days after the federal government shutdown furloughed the vast majority of national park staff, officials announced that vandalism of the park’s distinctive namesake plants and other maintenance and sanitation problems will require closure starting Thursday.
“While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree do so in a responsible manner, there have been incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days that have precipitated the closure,” spokesman George Land said in a news release. Land told the Los Angeles Times that, with only eight rangers currently overseeing the nearly 800,000 acre park, the gates would likely remain closed until the shutdown ends.
David Lamfrom, director of the California desert and national wildlife programs for the National Parks Conservation Association, warned that the damage to Joshua Tree’s desert landscape could be catastrophic. “It’s an incredibly fragile landscape that takes generations and generations to grow, and generations and generations to heal,” Lamfrom said. “The amount of time it takes to heal can be on the geological scale.” ... Lamfrom also warned that because most of the park’s rangers are furloughed, the extent of environmental damage is likely still unknown.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Joe Stubbs - The Teacher
Joe Stubbs - Keep On Loving Me
Joe Stubbs - What's My Destiny
The Falcons - [I Don't Want No] Part Time Love
The Originals - Goodnight Irene
100 Proof Aged in Soul - Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)
Joe Stubbs - I Grow Deeper In Love Every Day
The Contours - This Old Heart Of Mine
Joe Stubbs - Just A Little Misunderstanding
100 Proof Aged in Soul - Somebody's Been Sleeping