The Evening Blues - 7-10-19
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features early jazz piano player and composer Jelly Roll Morton. Enjoy!
Jelly Roll Morton ?– Buddy Bolden's Blues
"The mythology of the Reagan presidency is that he induced the collapse of the Soviet Union by luring it into unsustainable military spending and wars: should there come a point when we think about applying that lesson to ourselves?"
-- Glenn Greenwald
News and Opinion
The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto a massive defense policy bill being considered by the House this week. The top concern cited by the White House in a statement was the bill’s $733 billion value, which is $17 billion less than the White House requested for fiscal 2020. If the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) “were presented to the president in its current form, his advisors would recommend that he veto it,” the statement of administration policy said.
“While the administration appreciates the House Armed Services Committee’s (Committee) investments in key national security priorities and its support for the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families, H.R. 2500 includes a number of provisions that raise deep concerns,” the statement added. ...
This year, several provisions in the House bill seek to restrict President Trump’s ability to transfer money from the Pentagon to build his proposed border wall, as well as limit his ability to send troops to the border. Tuesday’s 10-page statement said the administration “strongly objects” to the border-related provisions. The NDAA would also block the deployment of a new submarine-launched low-yield nuclear warhead, another provision the White House “strongly objects” to. ...
The bill would also prohibit new transfers into the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. While the Trump administration has not sent any new detainees to the facility, the White House argued the provision would force the Pentagon to “conduct long-term detention of such detainees in-theater or in the continental United States, repatriate them to third countries, or release detainees.”
The United Arab Emirates has announced a “strategic redeployment” from the port city of Hodeidah in Yemen, as well as a more limited tactical retreat elsewhere in the country – marking a significant moment in Yemen’s four-year civil war. UAE officials said the move, under discussion for as long as a year, was designed to support a United Nations-led peace process that began in Stockholm last December. It was the first official UAE confirmation of a withdrawal, which has been reported in recent weeks by witnesses and foreign officials.
The officials said the UAE would remain in the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in 2015 to try to restore the Yemeni government ousted from power by the Houthis, a rebel group backed by Iran. Oversight would be passed to Emirati-trained local Yemeni forces and foreign mercenaries, and UAE forces remaining in Yemen would focus on counter-terrorism efforts against al-Qaida and Islamic State rather than the battle against the Houthis. The UAE would also continue to support a secessionist movement in southern Yemen.
Analysts have warned it is not yet clear whether local troops and Saudi coalition partners are up to the task of filling the vacuum, sparking fears that the current stalemate in much of the country could be upended. The UAE drawdown also weakens Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities in Yemen, adding to pressure for Riyadh to proactively pursue a political rather than military solution to the war.
Floated weeks ago as an idea that didn’t get a lot of traction, the US
is once again pushing the idea of a military coalition that would commit ships to guarding the waters off the coasts of Iran and Yemen to protect traffic.
President Trump has been very keen to see other countries commit to the operation, arguing that the US should not be responsible for defending other nations’ ships in the area, through which a lot of oil traffic flows.
While the US hypes the threat posed by Iran, many others don’t see this as anywhere that big of an issue, and so far none of these nations are interested in committing their navies to defend the area.
Egyptian authorities detained a Ukrainian tanker carrying Iranian oil as it passed through the Suez Canal ten days ago, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has reported.
As tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine on the Black Sea, the US is upgrading several Ukrainian naval bases to give American and NATO warships the ability to dock just miles from Russia-controlled Crimea.
Centered at the Ochakiv Naval Base and the military facility at Mykolaiv — 40 miles east of Odessa and less than 100 northwest of Crimea — the American-funded effort includes reinforcing and upgrading existing piers and adding a new floating dock, security fencing around the bases, ship repair facilities, and a pair of brand-new Maritime Operations Centers from which Ukrainian and NATO forces can direct exercises and coordinate activities.
The upgrades come after last November’s incident where Russian warships fired on and seized three Ukrainian navy vessels in the Kerch Strait between Russia and Ukraine. Russia is still holding the crews.
The new American effort in Ukraine will likely rankle Moscow.
Amazon and Microsoft are battling it out over a $10bn opportunity to build the US military its first “war cloud” computing system. But Amazon’s early hopes of a shock-and-awe victory may be slipping away.
Formally called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure plan, or Jedi, the military’s computing project would store and process vast amounts of classified data, allowing the Pentagon to use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities. The defense department hopes to award the winner-take-all contract as soon as August. Oracle and IBM were eliminated at an earlier round of the contract competition.
But that’s only if the project isn’t derailed first. It faces a legal challenge by Oracle and growing congressional concerns about alleged Pentagon favoritism toward Amazon. Military officials hope to get started soon on what will be a decade-long business partnership they describe as vital to national security. ...
Amazon was considered an early favorite when the Pentagon began detailing its cloud needs in 2017, but its candidacy has been marred by an Oracle allegation that Amazon executives and the Pentagon have been overly cozy. Oracle has a final chance to make its case against Amazon – and the integrity of the government’s bidding process – in a court hearing on Wednesday.
“This is really the cloud sweepstakes, which is why there are such fierce lawsuits,” said the Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives. Ives said an opportunity that was a “no-brainer” for Amazon a year ago now seems just as likely to go to Microsoft, which has spent the past year burnishing its credentials to meet the government’s security requirements.
Hong Kong’s leader says the controversial extradition bill “dead,” in what appears to be a concession to the millions of protesters who flooded the city’s streets over the last month. But activists have rejected the claim, promising they will continue to protest until the bill is withdrawn completely.
Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive Carrie Lam told a news conference Tuesday the bill been a “complete failure” and tried to reassure activists that it wouldn’t be re-introduced. “There are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the Legislative Council,” Lam told reporters. “So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead.”
Critics claim that, if passed, the law would allow Beijing to arbitrarily extradite suspected criminals to mainland China, where human rights abuses are rife and death sentences common. Activists claim it is yet another sign of Beijing attempting to exert control over Hong Kong, in violation of the handover agreement signed with the U.K. in 1997. ...
Joshua Wong, the leader of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, which brought the city to a standstill for 79 days in 2014, has rejected Lam’s words, claiming the bill remains in place. “Carrie Lam saying ‘the Bill is dead’ is another ridiculous lie to the people of Hong Kong and foreign media because the bill still exists in the 'legislative programme' until July next year,” Wong tweeted on Tuesday.
Kids watch a ton of YouTube. And for months, the Federal Trade Commission has reportedly been investigating the service for harvesting their data and selling it to advertisers. But experts consulted by the FTC believe the agency is about to go easy on the Google-owned platform by putting the onus on content creators to turn off ads for kids under 13, rather than segregate children’s programming onto a separate “YouTube Kids” service.
The discussions so far have disappointed activists who’d hoped for a more robust response from the U.S. government to protect children online. “Over the last 20 years or so, regardless of what party was in power, the FTC has been afraid, been risk-averse, been weak-kneed — choose your metaphor — to the powers of the big digital companies,” said Jeff Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, who was involved in the talks.
Privacy groups and consumer advocates have criticized YouTube for sucking up information from underage users to maximize the time they spend online and serve them with personalized ads — a revenue stream likely worth hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
A federal judge in New York ruled the US Department of Justice can’t replace nine lawyers on the legal team arguing the controversial dispute over whether the administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 census without explaining why it wants to swap out the lawyers.
The justice department announced this week that it was appointing a new team of lawyers to take over census-related cases, after the supreme court upheld a lower court decision rejecting the commerce department’s stated justification for adding a citizenship question to the census.
But US district judge Jesse M Furman, who earlier this year ruled against adding the citizenship question, ruled on Tuesday that the justice department provided “no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons’, for the substitution of counsel”. Furman called the department’s request “patently deficient”, except for two lawyers who have left the department or the civil division which is handling the case.
The changes in the legal team came about after a top justice department civil attorney who was leading the litigation effort told attorney general William Barr that multiple people on the team preferred not to continue, Barr told the Associated Press on Monday.
Hundreds of Jewish activists and allies took to the streets in Chicago and surrounded a local ICE office on Monday to demand the closure of President Donald Trump's detention camps, where immigrants have been forced to endure inhumane conditions and abuse from Border Patrol guards.
"Never again means close the camps!" demonstrators chanted as they marched down the streets of Chicago.
Rallying outside the Chicago ICE building, protestors hoisted signs that read "There is blood on your hands" and began singing and praying. Demonstrators also shut down the entrances of the Chicago Federal Building, condemning Illinois Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth for voting for legislation that handed the Trump administration $4.6 billion in border funding without any safeguards for immigrant children.
"We have a simple demand: no more money for roundups, close the camps, shut down ICE," tweeted the grassroots Jewish advocacy group Never Again Action, which organized the demonstrations.
The action on Monday was part of a growing nationwide campaign by progressive Jewish activists to condemn the Trump administration's anti-immigrant policies and detention centers, which have been described as concentration camps by lawmakers and scholars.
President Donald Trump can’t ban critics from his Twitter account, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday, saying the first amendment calls for more speech, rather than less, on matters of public concern.
The second US circuit court of appeals in Manhattan upheld a lower court judge who said Trump violates the constitution when he blocks critics. ...
The ruling came in a case brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. It had sued on behalf of seven individuals blocked by Trump after criticizing his policies.
Police say at 1:42 a.m. on July 4, 17-year-old Elijah Al-Amin pulled into the Circle K convenience store and gas station in Peoria, Arizona, listening to hip-hop music in his car. Just minutes after Al-Amin stepped into the store, Michael Paul Adams came up behind him and allegedly slit his throat with a pocket knife, then stabbed him twice in the back. Police tried to revive the teen before taking him to a local hospital. Al-Amin was pronounced dead less than half hour after he was stabbed.
Adams, 27, was arrested shortly after the incident took place, and he quickly admitted to killing Al-Amin over the rap music because it made him feel “unsafe.” According to police reports, Adams, a white man, said his aversion to rap comes from previous incidents where he’s been attacked by black, Hispanic and Native Americans who listen to the genre. ...
Adams was taken to Maricopa County jail for suspicion of first-degree murder. The Arizona Department of Corrections later reported that Adams had just been released two days earlier from Arizona State Prison, where he served time for aggravated assault and removal of a theft detection device. And court records show prior arrests for disorderly conduct, assault with a weapon, and assault on a corrections officer. During his first appearance in court July 5 for the murder charge, Adams’ lawyer Jacie Cotterell claimed her client has had a history of mental illness and shouldn’t have been released from prison unless he had access to mental health services.
Al-Amin’s murder has sparked outrage on social media. The hashtag #JusticeForElijah was trending on Twitter earlier this week, with tweets from users showing solidarity in the teen’s death. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, who's running for president, was one of many who demanded that the Department of Justice step in to investigate the murder. ... Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the National Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, had similar demands, outright calling the attack a hate crime.
Antarctica faces a tipping point where glacial melting will accelerate and become irreversible even if global heating eases, research suggests. A Nasa-funded study found instability in the Thwaites glacier meant there would probably come a point when it was impossible to stop it flowing into the sea and triggering a 50cm sea level rise. Other Antarctic glaciers were likely to be similarly unstable.
Recent research found the rate of ice loss from five Antarctic glaciers had doubled in six years and was five times faster than in the 1990s. Ice loss is spreading from the coast into the continent’s interior, with a reduction of more than 100 metres in thickness at some sites.
The Thwaites glacier, part of the West Antarctic ice sheet, is believed to pose the greatest risk for rapid future sea level rise. Research recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal found it was likely to succumb to instability linked to the retreat of its grounding line on the seabed that would lead to it shedding ice faster than previously expected. Alex Robel, an assistant professor at the US Georgia Institute of Technology and the study’s leader, said if instability was triggered, the ice sheet could be lost in the space of 150 years, even if temperatures stopped rising. “It will keep going by itself and that’s the worry,” he said.
Study Warns Carbon-Saturated Oceans Headed Toward Tipping Point That Could Unleash Mass Extinction Event
The continuous accumulation of carbon dioxide in the planet's oceans—which shows no sign of stopping due to humanity's relentless consumption of fossil fuels—is likely to trigger a chemical reaction in Earth's carbon cycle similar to those which happened just before mass extinction events, according to a new study.
MIT geophysics professor Daniel Rothman released new data on Monday showing that carbon levels today could be fast approaching a tipping point threshold that could trigger extreme ocean acidification similar to the kind that contributed to the Permian–Triassic mass extinction that occurred about 250 million years ago. Rothman's new research comes two years after he predicted that a mass extinction event could take place at the end of this century. Since 2017, he has been working to understand how life on Earth might be wiped out due to increased carbon in the oceans.
Rothman created a model in which he simulated adding carbon dioxide to oceans, finding that when the gas was added to an already-stable marine environment, only temporary acidification occurred. When he continuously pumped carbon into the oceans, however, as humans have been doing at greater and greater levels since the late 18th century, the ocean model eventually reached a threshold which triggered what MIT called "a cascade of chemical feedbacks," or "excitation," causing extreme acidification and worsening the warming effects of the originally-added carbon.
Over the past 540 million years, these chemical feedbacks have occurred at various times, Rothman noted. But the most significant occurances took place around the time of four out of the five mass extinction events—and today's oceans are absorbing carbon far more quickly than they did before the Permian–Triassic extinction, in which 90 percent of life on Earth died out. The planet may now be "at the precipice of excitation," Rothman told MIT News.
The attitude of young people towards tackling the environmental crisis is “a source of great hope”, David Attenborough has told MPs, as he predicted that polluting the planet would soon provoke as much abhorrence as slavery.
Giving evidence to the business, energy and industrial strategy committee on how to tackle the climate emergency, the naturalist and TV presenter said radical action was required. Asked by the Tory MP Patrick McLoughlin, a committee member, whether the government’s new commitment of net zero carbon emissions for the UK by 2050 was rapid enough, Attenborough said such targets were not necessarily the best approach.
“In a way I would think that is not the way of focusing on the problem,” he said. “We cannot be radical enough in dealing with the issues that face us at the moment. The question is: what is practically possible? How can we take the electorate with us in dealing with these things?” He said: “The most encouraging thing that I see, of course, is that the electors of tomorrow are already making themselves and their voices very, very clear. And that is a source of great comfort in a way, but also the justification, the reality, that these young people are recognising that their world is the future. ...
Asked by the Labour MP Vernon Coaker to expand on how public attitudes were shifting, Attenborough replied: “There was a time in the 19th century when it was perfectly acceptable for civilised human beings to think that it was morally acceptable to actually own another human being for a slave. And somehow or other, in the space of 20 or 30 years, the public perception of that totally transformed.” He said: “I suspect that we are right now in the beginning of a big change. Young people in particular are the stimulus that’s bringing it about.
Residents of California’s Big Sur are showing signs – specifically a large, yellow sign - that they are fed up with tourists. Over the weekend, a banner declaring “Overtourism is killing Big Sur” was hung from Bixby Bridge, dominating any would-be Instagram-perfect photos of the scene. ...
Tourism injected $2.85bn into the economy of Monterey county, on California’s central coast, in 2017, up 3.5% from the previous year. Tourists began to overwhelm Big Sur starting in 2005, Butch Kromland, of the Community Association of Big Sur, told local news station KSBW. “The barrier between appropriate and inappropriate behavior, that barrier has melted away in a lot of ways and I think that is a result of normalizing things in way via social media,” Kromland said.
The popularity of Bixby Bridge in particular has grown after its frequent appearances in Big Little Lies, an HBO show set in the county. A video published on 4 July showed the heavy traffic traversing the bridge ahead of the weekend. In May, an Instagram account called Big Sur Hates you began shaming visitors for inappropriate or damaging behavior, by reposting their photos with critical comments.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Jelly Roll Morton - The Chant
Jelly Roll Morton and his New Orleans Jazzmen – Ballin’ the Jack
Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers - Pontchartrain Blues
Jelly Roll Morton - Hesitation Blues
Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers - Fussy Mabel
Jelly Roll Morton - Dr. Jazz
Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers - Wild Man Blues
Jelly Roll Morton - King Porter Stomp
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton - Alabama Bound
Jelly Roll Morton - Blackbottom Stomp