The Evening Blues - 5-23-19



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Tiny Bradshaw


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features jump blues musician Tiny Bradshaw. Enjoy!

Tiny Bradshaw - Mailman's Sack

“For in the end laws are just words on a page - words that are sometimes malleable, opaque, as dependent on context and trust as they are in a story or poem or promise to someone, words whose meanings are subject to erosion, sometimes collapsing in the blink of an eye.”

-- Barack Obama


News and Opinion

Senate panel rejects requiring Congress sign off before Iran strike

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday rejected a Democratic proposal to require congressional approval before the U.S. can take military action against Iran.

The panel voted 13-9 against a proposal blocking the administration from using funding to carry out a military strike in or against Iran without congressional signoff, according to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the committee.


Syrian Gas Attack Was Staged Leaked Documents Reveal

Pentagon to present plans to send 10,000 more troops to Middle East, officials say

The Pentagon on Thursday will present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Middle East, in a move to beef up defenses against potential Iranian threats, US officials said Wednesday.

The officials said no final decision had been made yet, and it was not clear if the White House would approve sending all or just some of the requested forces. Officials said the move was not in response to any new threat from Iran but was aimed at reinforcing security in the region. They said the troops would be defensive forces, and the discussions include additional Patriot missile batteries, more ships and increased efforts to monitor Iran.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans have not been formally announced.

Thursday morning’s meeting comes as tensions with Iran continue to simmer, and it was not clear if a decision would be made during the session. Any move to deploy more forces to the Middle East would signal a shift for Donald Trump, who has repeatedly emphasized the need to reduce America’s troop presence in the region.

Leaked OPCW Report Raises New Questions About 2018 Chemical Attack in Douma, Syria

Washington threatens new attack on Syria amid US war buildup in Persian Gulf

Just days after President Donald Trump threatened to put an “official end” to Iran, Washington has threatened renewed military aggression against Syria based on unsubstantiated charges of the use of chemical weapons in the military campaign being waged by Damascus against Al Qaeda-linked militias in the northwestern province of Idlib. The new US threats followed back-to-back closed-door briefings on the Iran war drive delivered to members of the US House and Senate Tuesday by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Patrick Shanahan, the acting US defense secretary, and US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.

The thrust of these presentations was reported to be a defense of the trumped-up “intelligence” alleging Iranian threats to carry out attacks on “US interests” or allies in the Persian Gulf region, along with the claim that the massive and menacing US military deployment to the region had thwarted Tehran’s alleged plans.

Even as this testimony was unfolding, the US State Department issued a statement claiming that it was gathering information about an alleged chlorine gas attack on May 19 in Idlib, combined with a threat that the “United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.” The State Department’s missive included a denunciation of a “continuing disinformation campaign by the Assad regime and Russia to create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting.”

This passage was no doubt added in response to the damning leak of a document prepared by a leading investigator from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concerning an April 2018 alleged chemical attack in Douma, a Damascus suburb, that was used as the pretext for US-led missile strikes against Syria. The analysis established that gas cylinders found on the top of an apartment block and blamed for the deaths of 49 people could not have been dropped from the air, as was alleged in blaming the Syrian government. Instead, they had to have been manually placed there, indicating the culpability of the Western-backed “rebels,” who staged the incident to provide a pretext for a US attack. The fabrication of new chemical weapons incidents by Washington and its allies in Syria would serve as a means of prosecuting the US campaign against Iran on another front.

Amnesty Urges U.S. to Pay Reparations to Syrians After Killing 1,600 Civilians in Assault on Raqqa

Palestinians officially refuse invitation to US economic peace summit in Bahrain

The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday formally rejected an invitation to a US-led peace conference in Bahrain next month, where Washington is expected to unveil the economic aspects of its long-awaited Middle East peace plan. The meeting is planned for June 25-26 in the capital city of Manama. The PA had previously indicated that it would not participate in the event, but had not officially refused. ...

The White House has announced that it will roll out the first phase of its peace proposal at a summit focusing on economic aspects that US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt said has the “potential to unlock a prosperous future for the Palestinians.”

In his statement, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected Greenblatt’s assertion, saying, “Palestine’s full economic potential can only be achieved by ending the Israeli occupation, respecting international law and UN resolutions.”

Allan Nairn: Deadly Protests Erupt in Indonesia as U.S.-Trained Generals Wage a War on Democracy

Recent efforts to sandbag Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard are crude repeats of behaviors that helped elect Trump in 2016

Last week, the Daily Beast ran this headline: “Tulsi Gabbard’s Campaign Is Being Boosted by Putin Apologists” That was followed by the sub headline: “The Hawaii congresswoman is quickly becoming the top candidate for Democrats who think the Russian leader is misunderstood.” ...

This vicious little article might have died a quiet death, except ABC’s George Stephanopoulos regurgitated it in an interview with Gabbard days later. The This Week host put up the Beast headline in a question about whether or not Gabbard was “softer” on Putin than other candidates. ... “Stephanopoulos shamelessly implied that because I oppose going to war with Russia, I’m not a loyal American, but a Putin puppet,” Gabbard told Rolling Stone. “It just shows what absurd lengths warmongers in the media will go, to try to destroy the reputation of anyone who dares oppose their warmongering.”

She’s Exhibit A of a disturbing new media phenomenon that paints people with the wrong opinions as not merely “controversial,” but vehicles of foreign influence. ...

Sanders joins Gabbard in having been tabbed a Kremlin project countless times since 2016. The latest New York Times piece, about the “left-wing activism” of Sanders, hovers around this dreary foreign-subversion theme. The headline revelation was about a trip Sanders made to Managua in the eighties, where he may have attended a rally. The Times explains: “At the anniversary celebration, a wire report described a chant rising up: ‘Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die.'” In a subsequent interview with Times writer Sydney Ember, Sanders responded, when asked about this, “They were fighting against American — huh, huh — yes, what is your point?” He then noted he didn’t remember that particular chant. This is really silly gotcha journalism (especially since it’s not clear what language the chant was in). ...

These smear jobs don’t work the same way they once did. Trump in 2016 clearly used impatience with media tactics as part of his strategy. The more he brought trail reporters into stump speeches by calling us things like “bloodsuckers” (“enemy of the people” didn’t come until later), the better he did with crowds. Reporters refuse to see it, but the national media now lives on the unpopularity spectrum somewhere between botulism and congress. While some of that is undeserved, some of it isn’t. Voters especially resent being told who is and isn’t an acceptable choice, by a press corps increasingly seen as part of a corrupt and condescending political establishment. Stories like “Tulsi Gabbard Is the Top Candidate of Traitors” represent exactly the kind of thing people hate about the commercial press as an institution. This scarlet lettering backfired badly in 2016, but we’re doing more of it this time around, not less. Don’t be surprised if it ends badly again.

Now that Nikki what's-her-name isn't there to glare and take names ...

UK suffers crushing defeat in UN vote on Chagos Islands

The United Nations general assembly has overwhelmingly backed a motion condemning Britain’s occupation of the remote Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean.

The 116-6 vote left the UK diplomatically isolated and was also a measure of severely diminished US clout on the world stage. Washington had campaigned vigorously at the UN and directly in talks with national capitals around the world in defence of the UK’s continued control of the archipelago, where there is a US military base at Diego Garcia.

The vote was in support of a motion setting a six-month deadline for Britain to withdraw from the Chagos island chain and for the islands to be reunified with neighbouring Mauritius. It endorsed an advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in February, calling on the UK to relinquish its hold on the territory in order to complete the process of decolonisation.

The US, Hungary, Israel, Australia and the Maldives backed the UK in the vote and 56 countries abstained, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland and Romania. Other European allies including Austria, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland voted for the UK to relinquish sovereignty.

The scale of the defeat for the UK and US came as a surprise even to Mauritius, in view of the concerted campaign pursued by London and Washington.

Swedish hearing to extradite Julian Assange delayed until June 3

An extraordinary bid by Swedish authorities to rush a hearing into the possible extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden has been delayed by a court until June 3. That is because Assange’s lawyers have not even been able to consult the jailed journalist and publisher. The haste with which the Swedish prosecutor sought a formal order to detain Assange on trumped-up sexual misconduct allegations, further highlights the overturning of basic legal rights by all the governments—the American, British, Australian and Swedish—that are conspiring to force Assange to the US on bogus charges that could carry life imprisonment, or even the death penalty. ...

[Swedish] Prosecutor Persson told the court there was no need for more time for the defence to meet. So blatant was this abuse of process, however, that the Uppsala court agreed that Samuelson must be able to “consult with his client.”

Nevertheless, even the June 3 deadline leaves little time for Assange and his legal team to prepare to challenge the Swedish application, especially because of the harsh conditions in which he is being incarcerated in Belmarsh prison.

Glenn Greenwald Interviews Brazil's ex-President Lula From Prison

Heh, now this is probably the best political news of the week. Right-wing loonies are cowering in fear of men with milkshakes ...

Nigel Farage shelters on campaign bus to avoid milkshake attack

Nigel Farage has been forced to seek refuge on his campaign bus after being stalked by people carrying milkshakes in Kent, according to reports. The Brexit party leader and his campaign team seemed keen to avoid a repeat of events in Newcastle on Monday, when he was doused in banana and salted caramel milkshake after making a speech.

Following a tour of Dartford and Gravesend before Thursday’s EU elections, things took an unfortunate turn for Farage in Rochester, where three young men wearing balaclavas with their hoods up were spotted by a supporter. ...

According to Kent Live, Farage eventually got off the bus but remained cautiously close to the vehicle as he spoke to some of his supporters, despite having strolled along the high street in the other Kent towns.

The former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, who is standing as an independent, and the Ukip MEP candidate Carl Benjamin have also been “milkshaked” by protesters in the run-up to the vote.

Journalist’s Battle With San Francisco Cops Is Getting “Real Fucking Messy”

When San Francisco cops barged into Bryan Carmody’s home on May 10, they claimed to be looking for information about one of the freelance journalist’s confidential sources. The aggressive raid has sparked a slow-moving scandal in the Bay Area. And now the city’s top cop is ratcheting the whole thing up a notch, targeting Carmody himself for conspiracy — without much explanation.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon where he repeatedly contradicted himself, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said investigators are probing whether Carmody actively aided the theft of a police report on Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s mysterious February death. Conspiring to help a source steal a document would go beyond normal reporting techniques protected by a web of state and federal laws.

“We believe that in order for this to be successfully pulled off, there had to be some contact between an SFPD employee and Mr. Carmody,” Scott said. “We believe that contact, that interaction, went across a line. It went past just doing your job as a journalist. I understand journalists can receive reports, and it doesn’t matter if it was stolen or not. Crossing a line is when, we believe, he was a part of that effort to get this report illegally.” ... Scott’s explanation on Tuesday provided scant evidence for the new allegation. He cited Carmody’s reception of the report, which showed lurid details of Adachi’s cocaine-fueled final hours, and his sale of the resulting story to local news outlets. Both are common practices for journalists.

“We are investigating whether the SFPD employees conspired with Mr. Carmody to steal the confidential report and financially profit from it,” said Scott, adding that they hadn’t pinpointed the employees in question. ...

“I did not ask the source to provide me with this document — but when it was provided to me, they insisted that I not reveal their identity,” Carmody said. “I did not pay or provide any compensation whatsoever to this source for providing this report to me — nor did I promise them that I would pay or compensate them in the future in any way.”

Trump financial records: New York judge won't block congressional subpoenas

A federal judge in Manhattan ruled against Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying he will not block recent congressional subpoenas that are demanding his financial records from two banks.

“I will not enjoin enforcement of the subpoenas,” Judge Edgardo Ramos said, after hearing arguments from lawyers for Trump and Congress. Ramos’s decision came as Trump continues his battle over congressional oversight.

Shortly before the arguments, Trump said he would not work with congressional Democrats until they dropped their investigations of him. Trump had also previously sworn that he would fight “all of the subpoenas”.

The arguments in New York stemmed from the House intelligence and financial services committees’ decision in April to subpoena Deutsche Bank and Capital One for Trump’s financial records. The subpoenas also sought banking records of Trump’s children, Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka, as well as documents relating to some of his businesses. In the suit, Trump said these financial institutions “have long provided business and personal banking services to plaintiffs”.

House Democrats and Trump’s DOJ actually compromised on something

In a rare moment of compromise in President Trump’s Washington, House Democrats reached a deal with the Department of Justice to view key intelligence files related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report. The last-minute agreement announced Wednesday comes just as Democrats were gearing up to enforce their subpoena for the documents, and offers a brief respite in Trump’s never-ending feud with Congress. ...

The deal, brokered between Attorney General William Barr and the House Intelligence Committee, will allow congressional investigators to start digging through a dozen categories of files related to intelligence findings that undergird Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.

“The Department of Justice has accepted our offer of a first step towards compliance with our subpoena, and this week will begin turning over to the Committee twelve categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials as part of an initial rolling production,” House intel chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, said in a statement. “That initial production should be completed by the end of next week.”

Democrats have clamored for the underlying evidence from Mueller’s report, saying they need to see the details to understand the full import of his findings and to grasp Russia’s role in attempting to interfere in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf.

Giving Fetuses Legal Rights Could Be a Nightmare for Women, Advocates Say

Murdering a human being is, unsurprisingly, illegal in Georgia. But under the state’s new abortion ban, the definition of human being now includes “an unborn child” — like, say, a fetus a woman plans to abort. ...

“This is a statute that arguably makes every criminal law applicable to the pregnant women,” Lynn Paltrow, founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, said of Georgia’s law. “So it could be child abuse. It could be murder. It could be manslaughter. It could be kidnapping. If you travel outside the state while pregnant, is that kidnapping if the ‘natural person’ is an ‘unborn child’ with a detectable human heartbeat?”

Many abortion restrictions, even ones that impose criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions, explicitly exempt women from liability. But Georgia’s law doesn’t. And since the language recognizes fetuses as people, prosecutors could decide that getting an abortion amounts to homicide, a crime that can carry a sentence of life in prison. ...

“Fetal personhood is kind of an infinitely complicated topic with potentially infinite unintended consequences, because once you recognize a fetus as a person, they could have rights in all kinds of contexts,” said Mary Ziegler, a professor at Florida State University College of Law who’s written two books about the fight over abortion rights. “So you would have to work out what it meant for everything from inheritance law to tax law to civil liabilities rules to criminal law.”

If Georgia’s law, for example, goes into effect, the state would have to include fetuses in any “population-based determinations” and write them as a “dependent minor for income tax purposes,” according to the bill.

Migrant 10-year-old's death in US custody marks sixth case in a year

US authorities say a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador died last year after being detained by border authorities in a previously unreported case.

The death marks the sixth known case in the last year of a child dying after being detained by border officials.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Wednesday that the girl died on 29 September at an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital of fever and respiratory distress.

Making Struggling Workers and Families Foot the Bill, Corporate America Paying Lowest Share of Taxes Since Eisenhower Era

With workers at Ford, AT&T, and other large companies facing layoffs and wage stagnation following the passage of President Donald Trump's tax cuts in 2017, IRS figures released Tuesday showed that corporate America—even as it rakes in record profits—is paying its lowest share of federal taxes since the Eisenhower presidency.

"Businesses contributed 7.6 percent of the $3.5 trillion in total tax revenue collected for fiscal-year 2018... a two percentage point decline from the previous year," CBS News reported. According to CBS, that is the smallest share of federal income taxes corporations have paid in "nearly 60 years."

With U.S. companies paying less, and in some cases zero, in federal taxes thanks to the Trump-GOP law—which slashed the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent—individuals are now taking on a larger share of the nation's tax burden.

Individuals accounted for 57 percent of federal tax revenue in 2018, compared with 54 percent the previous year, CBS reported.

'A Small Tax on Wall Street to Make Big Change': Bernie Sanders and Barbara Lee Introduce New Financial Transaction Tax

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Barbara Lee unveiled legislation on Wednesday that will fractionally tax Wall Street transactions to produce trillions of dollars in public revenue. The Inclusive Prosperity Act (pdf) was introduced in the Senate by Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and in the House by Lee, a Democrat from California, and a dozen of her colleagues. 

"Wall Street gets away with no taxes, even when conducting high-risk financial transactions," Lee said in a statement. "This has to stop. It's past time to make sure Wall Street pays their fair share so that we can provide funding for things that make us a better nation like jobs, housing, infrastructure, and college education."

The tax is a tiny levy on the hundreds of billions of transactions on Wall Street each day.

According to a statement from Sanders's office:

The legislation sets different rates on stocks, bonds, and derivatives based on the existing transaction costs in each market—0.5 percent for stocks, 0.1 percent for bonds, and 0.005 for derivatives. This more targeted approach roughly equalizes the increase in transaction costs across securities due to the tax and thus reduces the economic distortions and tax avoidance possibilities created by it.

A number of groups signed onto the measure as well, citing the potential for higher tax revenues that could be spent on social programs as well as a sense of moral justice that the tax would bring.

Worth a full read if you think that you might not want to be screwed by the FIRE sector with the assistance of Congress. There's far more detail at the link and good reasons to find a replacement for the House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass.

The House Has Found Bipartisan Agreement on Reform to Retirement Accounts. Be Afraid.

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, or SECURE, Act, got a unanimous vote in the committee, and it’s expected to sail through on the House floor on Thursday and probably find its way to the president’s desk. But in important ways, the measure is a case study in everything wrong with policymaking in today’s Washington. ... The SECURE Act, on the whole, is a fairly inoffensive law: That’s one reason it’s encountered next to no formal opposition. Some of the provisions are pretty good or, at least, not so bad. The bill would increase the age at which retirees must take money out of their retirement plans, from 70 ½ to 72. It would lift the age cap on contributing money into tax-free retirement accounts. It would let people withdraw money from retirement plans penalty-free in the event of a birth of a child or adoption.

There are also the usual special-interest giveaways: some paperwork reductions, lower government payments for cooperatives and charities (designed, oddly enough, as a handout for the Boy Scouts of America), and changes to the funding of retirement plans for the struggling newspaper industry. But none of that is what appears to be driving the SECURE Act through Congress. You’d have to look at Section 204 to understand the rationale.

Section 204 gives a safe harbor to 401(k) plan sponsors who select so-called lifetime income products, another word for annuities, to appear among offerings to workers. This would mean that, if an employer picks an annuity provider and it goes out of business or rips off workers, they would not be able to sue the employer afterward. That could incentivize companies to find fly-by-night annuity providers that give good deals to the companies for business, making their money by ripping off the firm’s workers before filing for bankruptcy. The lack of a safe harbor has been the primary hurdle to getting annuities into 401(k) offerings, said J. Mark Iwry, former senior adviser at the Treasury Department during the Obama years. “It’s the single most frequently mentioned obstacle by plan sponsors,” said Iwry, who is now a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. ...

The SECURE Act is hardly the kind of package that would ensure true dignity to seniors in retirement; a bill from Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., would, however, by doing something simple: expanding Social Security. “This is not going to increase the economic security of older Americans,” said Alex Lawson of Social Security Works, a big supporter of the Larson bill, which advocates are trying to get to a floor vote. “And there’s some potential to harm people with complex products that Wall Street makes bank on.”



the horse race



The Right Opens Up a New Front in the Census War: Criminal Records

Republicans appear poised to open a new front in the ongoing census wars, pushing to add a new question that inquires about the criminal record of respondents. The move comes amid a parallel effort to question residents about their citizenship status in 2020. Both questions would have the intended effect, Democrats charge, of suppressing participation, thereby shrinking Democratic representation.

In a hearing before the congressional Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday, a witness from the American Enterprise Institute, or AEI, an influential neoconservative think tank, put forward the notion that the Census Bureau start asking about criminal records. Such a question would affect a huge amount of people, as the United States has the largest prison population in the world, and according to federal data, roughly 30 percent of Americans have a criminal record.

AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt framed the proposal in terms of some deeply held concern about the victims of mass incarceration. “It is shocking — I would dare say shameful — that our statistical system should so entirely neglect the plight of this huge, stigmatized, and disadvantaged population in our society,” he said in his testimony. “We have a chance to end this statistical darkness,” he said. “Including just one or two questions on criminal justice system history in the American Community Survey could end this not-so-benign neglect.”

Though he framed it as a matter of having accurate data to help understand issues around mass incarceration, Democrats say the questions are an attempt to intimidate vulnerable populations, particularly communities of color and people who are poor, to deliberately undercount them in the census and hurt them electorally. ... The official population count is used to allocate congressional seats, Electoral College votes, and billions of federal funds that go to roads, schools, and other needs.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Backs Tiffany Cabán in Pivotal Queens DA Race

A criminal justice reformer running a bare-bones, grassroots campaign is building momentum to transform the Queens District Attorney’s office for the first time in close to 30 years. As Tiffany Cabán beefs up her push with help from the Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has jumped in to back the queer Latina public defender running an anti-establishment campaign many have likened to Ocasio-Cortez’s own. After the DSA backed Cabán earlier this month, Ocasio-Cortez — one of the group’s first federally elected officials — announced Wednesday that she, too, would be getting in behind the 31-year-old Queens native. The Democratic primary is set for June 25, a day before the one-year anniversary of Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory over Joe Crowley. With no Republican in the running so far, the top candidate will effectively win the DA’s seat.

“Our criminal justice system needs to change. New Yorkers deserve a seat at the table, and a champion who will fight to realign our priorities towards equal treatment under the law,” said Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. “If Tiffany Cabán wins, things are going to change. Instead of criminalizing poverty, we’re going to dedicate resources towards prosecuting abusive landlords. Instead of targeting people who use marijuana, we can go after the drug companies that took advantage of working-class folks for profit. We can end broken windows policing and rebuild the relationship between our communities, and the justice system that’s supposed to work for us. We can end cash bail, so that the rich and poor are held equal in the eyes of the law. We deserve a district attorney that understands that to make our community safer we help people prosper. We deserve Tiffany Cabán.”

With Ocasio-Cortez’s backing, Cabán has scored her first congressional endorsement. But Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, one of Cabán’s top opponents, has support from a wide swath of the Queens County Democratic machine, including Ocasio-Cortez’s predecessor and former Queens County Democratic Party chair, Crowley, as well as current New York Reps. Greg Meeks, Carolyn Maloney, and Tom Suozzi. ...

As progressive candidates and organizers are shaking up New York City politics with wins by Ocasio-Cortez, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and a slew of insurgent challengers who wiped out the renegade Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, the Queens DA race is another push in the broader movement to wrest power from the city’s Democratic machine.



the evening greens

Clowngress grinds on, world burns.

Republicans give platform to climate science deniers at hearing on biodiversity

The climate crisis has become a top issue among Democrats running for president. But many Republican lawmakers are still resistant to the science showing global heating is a serious, manmade problem. When Democrats in control of the House scheduled a hearing for international scientists to explain their warnings that humans are critically wounding biodiversity on Wednesday, conservative members of Congress called on career climate science deniers to testify alongside them. ...

Republicans on a natural resources subcommittee called two prominent science deniers to criticize a landmark report that 1m species are at risk of extinction – largely because of humans, including because of rising temperatures from fossil fuel use and other unsustainable activities. The conservatives invited Marc Morano, who founded a website to question climate science, and Patrick Moore, the chairman of the CO2 Coalition – which falsely argues that more carbon is good for the planet. ...

Morano was formerly communications director for the GOP senator James Inhofe but now refers to himself as an investigative journalist. He said the report’s claims that societal transformation is needed to protect and restore nature are “the latest UN appeal” for “more money and more regulatory control of the economy and people’s lives”. Moore said humans putting carbon dioxide into the environment “are the salvation of life on Earth”.


Don't worry Amazon workers, Bozos has a cylinder waiting for you ready to shoot you safely out into space where you won't bother him anymore will live happily ever after. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Amazon workers demand Bezos act on climate crisis

Amazon’s chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos, refused to address employees demanding the company take action on the climate crisis at its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

About 50 members of the group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice attended the event, representing 7,700 staffers who signed a letter publicly urging Amazon to overhaul its climate policy. Employees put forth a proposal at the meeting requesting a public report on climate change from Amazon’s board of directors. The board suggested shareholders vote against it, and it was not passed.

After the proposal failed to pass, employees attempted to confront Bezos, who declined to meet with them.

“Jeff remained off-stage, ignored the employees and would not speak to them,” the group said in a statement after the event. “Jeff’s inaction and lack of meaningful response underscore his dismissal of the climate crisis and spoke volumes about how Amazon’s board continues to de-prioritize addressing Amazon’s role in the climate emergency.”


Also of Interest

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

Intercepted Podcast - Authoritarians Like Us: Trump Targets Iran as Brazil’s Bolsonaro Rewards Prosecutor Who Jailed Lula

Venezuela - After Opposition Support 'Deflated' - U.S. Targets Food Aid Supply

Now, the Swedish Arrest Warrant for Assange

18 Ways Julian Assange Changed the World

The US Government Is Like A Bad Dad

The Euro-Atlantic Populist Wave

Americans Are Funding an Amputation Crisis in Gaza

German parliament smears quest for Palestinian rights as anti-Semitic

Trump hopes to raise $68 billion for his 'deal of the century' in Bahrain conference, but it's unclear on who's going to be pulling out the checkbook

Trump’s Sneak Attack on Social Security

WaPo Hypes ‘Space Capitalists’—One of Whom Owns the Paper

To Help Pay Off Bondholders, Solar Panel Owners Will Be Hit Hard in Puerto Rico


A Little Night Music

Tiny Bradshaw - Knockin' Blues

Tiny Bradshaw - I'm A Ding Dong Daddy

Tiny Bradshaw - Walk That Mess

Tiny Bradshaw - I Hate You

Tiny Bradshaw - One Two Three Kick Blues

Tiny Bradshaw - Walkin' The Chalk Line

Tiny Bradshaw - Well Oh Well

Tiny Bradshaw - Gravy Train

Tiny Bradshaw - Take The Hands Off The Clock

Tiny Bradshaw - The Train Kept A'Rollin'

Johnny Burnette Trio - Train Kept A Rollin'

The Yardbirds - Train Kept a Rollin'


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Anja Geitz's picture

That if the Executive Office was held by a Dem this headline would still be true:

Senate panel rejects requiring Congress sign off before Iran strike

Except with one change. Can you guess which one?

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6 users have voted.

Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

joe shikspack's picture

@Anja Geitz

all other things being equal, i would guess that it would be the current house panel that would vote it down rather than the senate, which would never bring it to a vote.

congress likes wars but doesn't like taking responsibility for them by declaring them since their constituents don't want more wars.

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5 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

@joe shikspack

Yes, they do like to find ways to have their wars and still stay in office. Mind boggling, frankly.

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2 users have voted.

Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

Anja Geitz's picture

Leaked OPCW Report Raises New Questions About 2018 Chemical Attack in Douma, Syria

about Venezuela, Iran, Russia, ______________ (Fill in the blank), that'll all be true, right?

Wow. Just fucking wow.

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7 users have voted.

Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

mimi's picture

understood their boss.

Amazon’s chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos, refused to address employees demanding the company take action on the climate crisis at its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

Sorry to say that this request by the mployees made me almost laugh, if it weren't so sad.
So I laughed with a crying eye. If I started to rant, I couldn't stop. What a desaster.
Cray 2

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5 users have voted.

TTTT (too tired to talk)

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

but surely they will just love their new shopping mall in space!?!

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3 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

@joe shikspack

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1 user has voted.

Play me another broken record Joe. Maybe then I'll learn why we pay twice as much for healthcare as everybody else in the world. ~ Not Henry Kissinger

mimi's picture

Trump refusing to end the support for Saudi Arabia, because he doesn't want to risk an arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

May be the workers at the arms-producing factories go on strike and say 'make your damn weapons yourself' ...

That would be the day...

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6 users have voted.

TTTT (too tired to talk)

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

you need more than a new commander-in-chief. you need a vast reorientation of the economy. one person alone can't accomplish that.

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mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
with me, it takes time to stop ... hoping. So, there we go again ... hopey changey thingies.
Didn't someone wise said, it's not where you go, it's with whom you walk together?

hmm, too early for me to get my head together. ok, it's a quarter to noon here. I am up and working stuff.

Have a nice Friday.

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

i am all for hope. i have some myself. time and experience have pushed me, though, to refine what i have hope in.

i haven't gotten all the way down to dumb luck as the only option, yet. Smile

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mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
and as he talks and talks and talks, I asked him if he was aware of Gabbard ... Oh dear, I got an earful. What did she do when she was in the HHonolulu city council, he shouts out. Kids can be so hard hitting. But I admit he came down to the nitty, gritty and it was was revealing. Brought me down to earth.

ok, then, I go with nobody. after that I go to the beaches (in my mind at least, if I were there) and pick up the plastic trash. One little good deed a day makes the depressions go away.

I hope I will understand what to do with this destructive system we live in.

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2 users have voted.

TTTT (too tired to talk)

mimi's picture

Election-Meddling Follies, 1945-2019

Who would have thought that the meddking-paloozza has been the funniest party for decades?

Who is the biggest meddling female politician these days? I dare not say ... to make those meddlers happy.

sigh.

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

mimi's picture

Plusholi the election-meddler folly of the year.

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

mimi's picture

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2 users have voted.

TTTT (too tired to talk)

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

sleep well, mimi. thanks for all of the stories and tweets!

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Thanks as usual for all the news and music you bring us. Don't know if it's more depressing and frightening than usual but planning for my future isn't easy with all this ahead of me.

Have been enjoying time with my sister in Ann Arbor. We took the train up from Austin to Chicago and then on to Ann Arbor.

Did architectural boat tour while in Chicago which was very interesting. Wine tasting and visits to state and national parks here.

Hope all a good evening!

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7 users have voted.

Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

joe shikspack's picture

@jakkalbessie

i dunno if today's news is a tick up or down in danger or desperation, it seems about on an average level of disappointing to me. but then again, i am safe and warm and watching the portents of the coming days in the comfort of my living room. planning for the future is, i think, mostly equally difficult for all of us 99 percenters and we just do the best we can.

glad to hear that your travels are going well and enjoyably. what parks are you checking out? any of the northern ones?

have a great evening and safe travels!

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joe shikspack's picture

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Raggedy Ann's picture

Women just need to shut down the baby factory. They are now walking that fine line of criminality in Georgia. Unbelievable. No actually, considering the source - BELIEVABLE.

I’m thinking of not returning my census. They are acting in a nefarious manner. I refuse to participate.

Wind here is horrific. It almost blew me over.

Have a wind-free evening, everyone! Pleasantry

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4 users have voted.

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”

-- Voltaire

snoopydawg's picture

@Raggedy Ann

It's supposed to be anonymous, but if you don't send it back they call and come to your house. Besides my government is not representing me. They are trying to do everything they can to screw me over.

Speaking of wind. It blew so hard here all night. It blew over my half filled garbage can. Stripped the trees of branches and seeds and left them all over my yard. But the worst thing it did was to break my screen door handle and that hingy thing at the top that keeps it from slamming shut. Totally tore the screws and the handle off. Fortunately we didn't lose our power. Thousands of others did. Stay grounded.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Raggedy Ann's picture

@snoopydawg
That sounds brutal. Things here are blowing into the next county. If it’s not nailed down...

Well, they can come to my house, if it comes to that. Maybe I’ll selectively answer the survey. I’ll try and be a pill about it. I’m pissed.

Have a peaceful evening. Pleasantry

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4 users have voted.

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”

-- Voltaire

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

seems to me that women ought to vote with their feet and move to states that respect their human rights. and, just for the hell of it, they ought to do it in time for census-taking to count their numbers - decreasing the numbers of representatives and federal dollars in the evil states and moving them to the somewhat better states. that would provide those talibamans with a 10 year long lesson.

sorry to hear about the wind issues. i hope that your hatches are suitably battened down.

have a great evening.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

Administration documents regarding the Russia Ruse!

Stay tuned.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Below is a 'promo' of Gary Cohn's & Heidi Heitkamp's so-called Harvard Social Security project. Heard on CNBC that they are 'lifelong friends.' (The student contest is over--awaiting release of the White Paper outlining the cuts.)

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Gary Cohn: Entitlements? Earned Benefits? Either way, they're breaking the bank!

Date and time: Monday, March 4, 2019 - 7:15pm to 8:30pm

Location: B-200, Starr Auditorium, HKS

Cohn Heitkamp screenshot.JPG

What can the federal government do about Medicare and Social Security?

Insecurity surrounding retirement is only getting worse for America’s aging population with Social Security expected to deplete in 2034 and Medicare also losing its funding.

Should we call them entitlements or earned benefits?

Should we raise the age of retirement?

Join Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Gary Cohn to discuss the current issue with social security and Medicare, potential policy solutions, and how politics will play out in the coming election.

Thanks for tonight's EB, Joe. May travel to the coast, after all. If we stop early enough, hope to see you Guys. Would like to post screenshots regarding the proposed 'Medigap' regulations, which would go into effect if Universal MFA, or, a so-called Public Option passes.

Have a good one!

[Edit - Added Harvard Kennedy School link. Second Edit - corrected typos.]

PleasantryByeMollie

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

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4 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

yep, the bastards are coming for social security just as the prophet carlin predicted. it looks like eternal vigilance is the price of retirement.

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3 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

Mollie

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

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4 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

i don't know which is harder to listen to, these two morons babbling on, or the teevee talking head's uninformed inability to formulate a decent question that actually penetrates the issues.

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enhydra lutris's picture

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3 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

thanks!

have a great evening!

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