The Evening Blues - 10-22-19


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Big Mama Thorton

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues singer and harmonica player Big Mama Thorton. Enjoy!

Big Mama Thornton - Ball and Chain

"Everyone is foreign scum these days. Democrats spent three years trying to prove Donald Trump is a Russian pawn. Mitch McConnell is “Moscow Mitch.” Third party candidates are a Russian plot. The Bernie Sanders movement is not just a wasteland of racist and misogynist “Bros,” but — according to intelligence agencies and mainstream pundits alike — the beneficiary of an ambitious Russian plot to “stoke the divide” within the Democratic Party. The Joe Rogan independents attracted to the mild antiwar message of Tulsi Gabbard are likewise traitors and dupes for the Kremlin.

If you’re keeping score, that’s pretty much the whole spectrum of American political thought, excepting MSNBC Democrats. What a coincidence!"

-- Matt Taibbi

News and Opinion

Judge Denies Assange Extension on Extradition Hearing

The judge in Julian Assange’s extradition process on Monday denied his lawyer’s appeal for more time to prepare his case as the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher weakly told the court he was unable to “research anything” in the conditions under which he is being held in high-security Belmarsh Prison.

Assange appeared in person at Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London Monday morning for a case management hearing on the request by the United States for Assange to be sent to Virginia to face 18 charges, including allegedly violating the U.S. Espionage Act for possessing and disseminating classified information that revealed prima facie evidence of U.S. war crimes. Mark Summers, Assange’s lawyer, told the court the charges were “a political attempt” by the U.S. “to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information.” The Espionage Act indictment against Assange by the Trump Administration is the first time a journalist has been charged under the 1917 Act for publishing classified material. ...

Summers also argued before Baraitser that the U.S. “has been actively engaged in intruding into privileged discussions between Assange and his lawyers.” It was revealed this month that the Central Intelligence Agency was given access to surveillance video shot by a private Spanish company of all interactions Assange had with lawyers, doctors and visitors. “This is part of an avowed war on whistleblowers to include investigative journalists and publishers,” Summers said. “The American state has been actively engaged in intruding on privileged discussions between Mr Assange and his lawyer.”

Because of this surveillance, including “unlawful copying of their telephones and computers” as well as “hooded men breaking into offices,” Assange’s lawyers needed more time to prepare his defense, Summers argued. But Baraitser refused the request, and ordered Assange back in court for a second management hearing on Dec. 19. The full extradition hearing is scheduled to begin on Feb. 25 next year.

Assange Lawyer Decries 'Legally Unprecedented' Assault on Journalism as Judge Denies Request to Delay US Extradition Hearing

Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday warned of potentially devastating consequences for journalism around the world after a British judge denied Assange's request to delay his U.S. extradition hearing in February. ...

"I don't understand how this is equitable," Assange said Monday. "This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can't access my writings. It's very difficult where I am to do anything but these people have unlimited resources."

"They are saying journalists and whistleblowers are enemies of the people," Assange said of the Trump administration. "They have unfair advantages dealing with documents. They [know] the interior of my life with my psychologist. They steal my children's DNA. This is not equitable what is happening here."

Mark Summers, one of Assange's lawyers, called the U.S. extradition effort "a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information."

"It's legally unprecedented," said Summers. "This is part of an avowed war on whistleblowers to include investigative journalists and publishers."

Excellent. Click the link and read the whole thing:

US Democrats cultivated the barbarism of Isis

There is something profoundly deceitful in the Democratic Party and corporate media’s framing of Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria. One does not need to like Trump or ignore the dangers posed to the Kurds, at least in the short term, by the sudden departure of US forces from northern Syria to understand that the coverage is being crafted in such a way as to entirely overlook the bigger picture.

The problem is neatly illustrated in this line from a report by the Guardian newspaper of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s meeting this week with Trump, who is described as having had a “meltdown”. Explaining why she and other senior Democrats stormed out, the paper writes that “it became clear the president had no plan to deal with a potential revival of Isis in the Middle East”.

Hang on a minute! Let’s pull back a little, and not pretend – as the media and Democratic party leadership wish us to do – that the last 20 years did not actually happen. Many of us lived through those events. Our memories are not so short. Islamic State, or Isis, didn’t emerge out of nowhere. It was entirely a creation of two decades of US interference in the Middle East. And I’m not even referring to the mountains of evidence that US officials backed their Saudi allies in directly funding and arming Isis – just as their predecessors in Washington, in their enthusiasm to oust the Soviets from the region, assisted the jihadists who went on to become al-Qaeda.

No, I’m talking about the fact that in destroying three key Arab states – Iraq, Libya and Syria – that refused to submit to the joint regional hegemony of Saudi Arabia and Israel, Washington’s local client states, the US created a giant void of governance at the heart of the Middle East. They knew that that void would be filled soon enough by religious extremists like Islamic State – and they didn’t care. You don’t have to be a Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi or Bashar Assad apologist to accept this point. You don’t even have to be concerned that these so-called “humanitarian” wars violated each state’s integrity and sovereignty, and are therefore defined in international law as “the supreme war crime”.

The bigger picture – the one no one appears to want us thinking about – is that the US intentionally sought to destroy these states with no obvious plan for the day after. ...

What of the supposed concerns of Pelosi and the Democratic Party under whose watch the barbarism in Syria took place. They should have no credibility on the matter to begin with. But their claims that Trump has “no plan to deal with a potential revival of Isis in the Middle East” is a giant red herring they are viciously slapping us in the face with in the hope the spray of seawater blinds us. First, Washington sowed the seeds of Islamic State by engineering a vacuum in Syria that Isis – or something very like it – was inevitably going to fill. Then, it allowed those seeds to flourish by assisting its Gulf allies in showering fighters in Syria with money and arms that came with only one string attached – a commitment to Sunni jihadist ideology inspired by Saudi Wahhabism.

Isis was made in Washington as much as it was in Riyadh. For that reason, the only certain strategy for preventing the revival of Islamic State is preventing the US and the Gulf states from interfering in Syria again. With the Syrian army in charge of Syrian territory, there will be no vacuum for Isis to fill. Its state-building rationale is now unrealisable, at least in Syria. It will continue to wither, as it would have done years before if the US and its Gulf allies had not fuelled it in a proxy war they knew could not be won.

Nancy Pelosi’s purported worries about Isis reviving because of Trump’s Syria withdrawal are simply crocodile fears. If she is really so worried about Islamic State, then why did she and other senior Democrats stand silently by as the US under Barack Obama spent years spawning, cultivating and financing Isis to destroy Syria, a state that was best placed to serve as a bulwark against the head-chopping extremists? ... Pelosi and most of the Democratic leadership don’t care about Syria, or its population’s welfare. They don’t care about Assad, or Isis. They care only about the maintenance and expansion of American power – and the personal wealth and influence it continues to bestow on them.

Syrian residents pelt retreating US troops with food and insults

Pelted with fruit and hounded by insults, the American military’s exit from Syria was very different from its time on the ground. The remnants of the US presence in the north-east of the country made an ignominious departure on Monday, driving through towns that had welcomed them for the past four years.

The regional capital of Qamishli, a hub of cooperation between US officers and Kurdish officials throughout the war against Islamic State, was among the least hospitable spots on the road out. As US battle trucks, sporting large American flags, made their way through town and headed towards Iraq, groups of locals threw rotting fruit and vegetables at them, cursing soldiers that only two weeks ago many in the region had considered to be their protectors.

The US convoy of roughly 100 armoured vehicles and lorries competed with a new wave of refugees as it made its way to the border, passing cars full of families crammed with their possessions. They too were leaving for Iraq, where the uncertainty of exile awaited.

The departing Americans, on the other hand, are set to regroup in Iraq’s Kurdistan region before returning home – their mission to safeguard a still-volatile region dramatically cut short by their commander-in-chief, who abruptly decided earlier this month to abandon allies who had been at the vanguard of the fight against Isis ahead of a Turkish assault.

Donald Trump made clear on Monday that those US forces remaining in eastern Syria would be there to protect the oil rather than the people.

As Trump Tweets He Is 'Bringing Soldiers Home,' Pentagon Chief Says US Forces Leaving Syria Are Shifting to Iraq

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that he is "bringing soldiers home" from Syria as Turkey continues its deadly military operation there, but Pentagon chief Mark Esper undermined the president's declaration by confirming that U.S. forces are simply moving to another site of endless war—Iraq.

American troops "aren't coming home and the United States isn't leaving the turbulent Middle East, according to current plans outlined by U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper before he arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday," the Associated Press reported. "The fight in Syria against [ISIS], once spearheaded by American allied Syrian Kurds who have been cast aside by Trump, will be undertaken by U.S. forces, possibly from neighboring Iraq."

Esper told reporters that he has spoken to Iraqi leaders about the administration's plan to move around 1,000 American troops from Syria to Iraq, where 5,000 U.S. soldiers remain stationed 16 years after the George W. Bush administration's catastrophic and illegal invasion. ...

News that the Trump administration is shifting American forces from Syria to Iraq rather than returning them to the U.S. comes just two weeks after the Pentagon ordered 1,800 troops to Saudi Arabia, a move critics said put the lie to the president's claim that he is attempting to end perpetual wars.

Pompeo: Trump 'fully prepared' to use military force if necessary

President Trump “is fully prepared” to use military force should it be “needed,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday when asked about Turkey's invasion of Syria. CNBC's Wilfred Frost in an interview with Pompeo addressed the recent U.S.-brokered cease-fire in Syria that Ankara had agreed to last week. The journalist asked Pompeo what might warrant a military response.

"Where we see American interests at stake or fundamental norms around the world that need to be enforced, we’ll use all the powers that we have," Pompeo told Frost on "Closing Bell." 

It wasn't clear that Pompeo was referring specifically to Turkey. ...

More than 100 Syrian Kurdish civilians have been killed in the Turkish strikes, though Trump has insisted the U.S. bears no responsibility.

Trump warns U.S. 'may have to get in wars'

President Donald Trump on Monday offered a confusing description of his foreign policy priorities as commander in chief — insisting that he is working to bring home American soldiers, while warning the U.S. may soon enter into new military conflicts.

“I'm trying to get out of wars. We may have to get in wars, too. OK? We may have to get in wars,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“We're better prepared than we've ever been,” he continued. “If Iran does something, they'll be hit like they've never been hit before. I mean, we have things that we're looking at.”

The remarks from the president come as his administration confronts escalating tensions across the Middle East and navigates new troop movements in the region.

“Unprecedented” Protests Rage Across Lebanon as People Demand PM’s Resignation and End to Austerity

Protests over economic inequality continue in Chile

Chile on edge as worst unrest in three decades claims 11 lives

Latin America’s most prosperous country is braced for fresh upheaval after Chile’s president expanded a state of emergency beyond the capital and the death toll from three days of violence rose to 11.

“We are at war with a powerful and uncompromising enemy that respects nothing and no one,” Sebastián Piñera declared in an unyielding late-night address on Sunday.

Official statistics hinted at the scale of the turmoil unleashed by clashes and riots over the weekend: 1,554 arrests, more than 10,000 troops sent on to the streets and reports of at least 40 outbreaks of looting. “It was a weekend of rage,” said Patricio Navia, a political scientist at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies in New York.

The convulsion comes days after Chile’s centre-right leader hailed his country as a haven of Latin American tranquility that was managing to avoid the economic and political strife blighting Argentina, Paraguay, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. “Chile looks like an oasis,” the billionaire conservative boasted in an interview with the Financial Times (paywall).

Paula Rivas, the president of the Metro Workers’ Union in the capital, Santiago, said the fare hike was not the driving force behind the mutiny. “It’s the low pensions, the privatisation of water, the rise in electricity prices, the healthcare system, the need for equal education rights,” she said. “The metro fare was just the trigger, it is symbolic. It made people say, ‘enough’. We will not be silenced.”

“This isn’t because of the metro price – it is because the system is squeezing us like lemons,” said Bessy Gallardo Prado, a 34-year-old law student who has joined the protests. “This is happening because of decades of injustice, abuse, and inequality. There is no social security in this country. People earn little and work a lot and wages are not enough to make ends meet.”

Bolivian elections spark protests as contenders clash over results

Boris Johnson Just Got Owned in Parliament Again

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is quickly following in his predecessor’s footsteps in one key area: getting embarrassed in Parliament. Johnson's latest embarrassment was provided by Parliament’s Speaker, who on Monday shot down the PM’s bid to put his proposed Brexit deal with the EU to a simple “yes-or-no” vote in Parliament, just 10 days before Britain is due to leave the bloc.

Johnson had planned to put the proposed Brexit deal struck with the European Union last week to a “meaningful vote” before the House of Commons Monday, to secure the parliamentary approval it needs to pass. But that move was blocked by Commons Speaker John Bercow, who ruled that Parliament had already considered essentially the same motion during a debate on Saturday, and — according to a centuries-old convention — was unable to consider it again.

The ruling means that Johnson’s deal will instead face a more challenging passage through Parliament, with the full details of the agreement scrutinized by lawmakers who will have the opportunity to potentially water down or derail the proposed deal with their own amendments. ...

During Saturday’s debate, instead of endorsing Johnson’s deal in a so-called meaningful vote, MPs voted for an amendment that said a vote approving the deal couldn't happen until detailed legislation on the Brexit agreement, called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), was passed into law. ...

Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, said his party plans to push for changes to the deal including a contentious change to customs arrangements, and pushing for the deal to be put before the public in a second referendum.

Benjamin Netanyahu tells Israeli president he cannot form government

Benjamin Netanyahu has informed Israel’s president he has been unable to form a coalition government after talks with his political rival and former army chief Benny Gantz broke down.

In a video statement published on Monday evening – the day of his 70th birthday – Netanyahu said he and his Likud party had worked “incessantly” to forge a “broad national unity government” with Gantz’s Blue and White party, but ultimately failed.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, made the announcement just two days before the deadline to return the mandate to the president, Reuven Rivlin, who in turn intends to task Gantz, the head of the opposition, with the job of putting together a new government.

Trudeau's Liberal Party projected to retain power in Canada as minority government

Trudeau to serve another term as prime minister after Liberals win plurality

Justin Trudeau is poised to serve another term as Canadian prime minister after his Liberal Party earned a plurality of seats in the general election, according to projections from CBC News.

The news network is projecting that the Liberals will form a minority government. ...

Trudeau's victory comes after polls indicated he would be pitted in a tight race against the Conservative Party's Andrew Scheer.

The Impeachment Investigation Might Get Its Most Damning Testimony on Tuesday

Last week’s impeachment testimony was brutal for President Trump — and things are about to get worse. Next up: Bill Taylor, a central player in the Ukraine scandal, who’s already made some of the most damning statements on record in the saga. Oh, and he's hired a hardcore anti-Trump conservative lawyer to represent him.

Taylor, the top American diplomat to Ukraine, will testify Tuesday in a closed Congressional session about the Trump administration’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to “look into” former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I think Bill will give an account that lays out the way the pressure was exerted on [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky and the Ukrainians, and how he tried to caution against it,” Daniel Fried, a career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Poland, predicted to VICE News. “He won’t duck.”

Taylor is an especially unique threat to Trump because he’s a widely-respected career diplomat with inside knowledge on Ukraine, who has already expressed alarm about the pressure campaign in no uncertain terms.

After Repeated Violations of Constitution's Anti-Corruption Law, Trump Dismisses Emoluments Clause as 'Phony'

Two days after intense pressure forced President Donald Trump to back down from his plan to host the 2020 G7 summit at his resort in Doral, Florida, the president dismissed the Constitution's anti-corruption clause—which his plan would have violated—as "phony."

"You people, with this phony Emoluments Clause," Trump told reporters at a White House press conference on Monday, responding to allegations that hosting the meeting of foreign leaders at his own property would be a conflict of interest. ...

Since Trump took office in 2017, ethics watchdogs have decried his refusal to divest from his real estate empire, the Trump Organization, which his two eldest sons are now running. The president maintains access to the company's financial data.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), whose lawsuit against the president over the Emoluments Clause was reopened last month by a federal appeals court, was among the critics of Trump's dismissal of constitutional law. "The emoluments clauses, which the president just called 'phony,' are of course the original anti-corruption provisions the framers put into the Constitution centuries ago," CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder tweeted. ...

Trump has also been sued by 200 congressional Democrats and the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C. over alleged emoluments violations. Both cases are slowly moving through federal appeals courts, but no action has been taken by Democrats yet to stop the president from profiting off his position.

Keiser Report: Glass Floors & Ridiculous Charts

China overtakes US in rankings of world's richest people

The number of wealthy Chinese people has overtaken the number of rich Americans for the first time, according to a report by Credit Suisse. The bank’s annual wealth survey found there were 100 million Chinese people among the world’s top 10% of richest people, compared with 99 million in the US.

The report says the “rapid transformation of China from an emerging nation in transition to a fully fledged market economy” helped create a record number of rich people. ...

Personal savings of $109,430 (£83,630) are required to be part of the top 10% of the world’s richest people. While China has overtaken America at this level, the US is still ahead when it comes to the super-rich, accounting for 40% of the world’s millionaires. ...

The Brexit-led decline in the value of the pound caused the number of UK millionaires to drop by 27,000 to 2.46 million. The UK held on to fourth place in the global league table behind the US, China and Japan with 3 million millionaires – 5% of the global total.

Race for Profit: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on How Banks & Real Estate Biz Undermined Black Homeowners

California city returns island taken from native tribe in 1860 massacre

Indian Island off the coast of Northern California was the site of a massacre, a place that was contaminated by a shipyard and flush with invasive species. It’s also the spiritual and physical center of the universe for the small Wiyot tribe, and it will belong to them almost entirely Monday after a city deeds all the land it owns on the island to the tribe.

“It’s a really good example of resilience because Wiyot people never gave up the dream,” tribal administrator Michelle Vassel said. “It’s a really good story about healing and about coming together of community.”

The tribe was decimated in 1860, when scores of elders, women and children were wiped out during a raid by settlers while the tribe’s men were away gathering supplies. Since then, the now 600-member tribe has been making small strides toward regaining the land it lost. The tribe sold art and fry bread and took in donations to buy 1.5 acres (0.6 hectares) on the eastern tip of the island for $106,000 in 2000. Years later, the city of Eureka gave the tribe more land.

On Monday, the city will sign over the deed to the largest chunk – more than 200 acres in what was the historic village of Etpidolh. No money was exchanged. ...

The Wiyot knew the parcel it bought in 2000 had extensive contamination from a former shipyard that was established on the island shortly after the massacre, along with livestock grazing. That didn’t matter. People in the community asked what they could do to help. The tribe and community members came together to remove boat batteries, lead paint, chemicals, scrap metal, rusty buckets, a huge engine and contaminated soil. A 1,000-year-old clamshell mound containing burial sites, tools and things left over from ceremonies was restored.

The land was deemed safe in 2014. The overall quality of water, plants and marine life have improved, the tribe says.

the horse race

Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Talk Politics and 2020 with The Intercept’s Ryan Grim - Full interview

Why is Elizabeth Warren vague on healthcare? To allow herself wiggle room

A lot of people are gunning for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as she runs the gauntlet to the top of the Democratic presidential field. So many wonder why Warren is “vague” on healthcare financing, as Senator Amy Klobuchar enunciated emphatically during the last TV debate. It’s simple. Warren left herself enough wiggle room on healthcare to drive a Mack truck through so she can tack to the center for the general election.

She supports single-payer insurance, no question. But what does she think in detail about private health insurance, or how her version of Medicare for All will be financed?

“Understand,” the teacher repeats like a mantra. Costs will go down for average folk but up for the mega-wealthy and “big corporations”. Warren toes that line with great discipline and balance. Nothing on taxes. Does she really want to abolish Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, my insurance provider with the $5,000 deductible? Warren wants to wipe out that deductible, for sure. Wellmark I am not so certain about.

She senses the guide rails of electoral politics. Bernie Sanders she is not.

“I am a capitalist,” declares Warren, reared an Oklahoma Republican. ...

Her strategy is familiar. I tried to pin down Barack Obama in Storm Lake on his healthcare plans when he was campaigning in 2007 against Hillary Clinton, who had very detailed plans hashed out over years. Obama said businesses would pay for his universal health coverage plan and then begged off for the next reporter’s question. Of course, the Affordable Care Act did not resemble what the Illinois senator was describing that sunny day in the lakeshore park. He wanted a public option (Medicare for All, if you will) back then. It got shot down in the Senate by the insurance industry.

Lots more at the link:

Warren Wants to End Vouchers and Tax Credits for Private Schools and Rein in Charters

Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a wide-ranging education plan Monday, pledging to invest hundreds of billions of dollars into public schools if she wins the presidency, paid in part through her proposed two-cent tax on wealth over $50 million. Warren’s plan is infused with her broader campaign themes of reducing corruption and fraud; she backs measures like new taxes on education lobbying, limiting the profiteering of tech companies that sell digital products to schools, and curbing self-dealing within charter schools. And it builds on some of her earlier campaign proposals, like pledging to appoint a former public school teacher as education secretary, supporting schools in teaching Native American history and culture, and expanding early learning opportunities for infants and toddlers.

In May, fellow Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders’s own education plan sent shockwaves when he endorsed the NAACP’s call for banning for-profit charter schools and holding nonprofit charters to the same transparency and accountability standards as traditional public schools. In her new plan, Warren joins Sanders in embracing these positions.

Warren goes further than Sanders in calling not only for a for-profit charter school ban, but also extending the ban to any nonprofit charter that “actually serve[s] for-profit interests.” Warren said she would even direct the IRS to investigate nonprofit charters for potential tax status abuse and recommends referring “cases to the Tax Fraud Division of the Department of Justice when appropriate.”

Sanders has faced some pressure from the left over his narrower focus on for-profit charters. A Jacobin piece from July said while Sanders’s education plan went further than any other candidate, limiting his critique to for-profit charter schools means his “policy fails to get to the root of the issue.” (Warren does not call for an outright ban on nonprofit charters, as the Jacobin piece urges.)

Even CNN Defends Tulsi & Condemns Hillary’s Unhinged Accusations

Michael Bloomberg ‘still looking at’ a presidential run ... but only if Biden is out

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again – teasing a presidential run. At 77, he won’t even be the oldest in the field, and the billionaire is certainly not short of funding to be able to throw his hat in the ring.

Over the past several weeks, he’s signaled renewed interest in the democratic nomination, telling friends and associates he’s “still looking at” running for president. But he has cautioned he’d only join the race if former vice-president Joe Biden’s faltering centrist campaign takes a decisive hit or pulls out early in primary season, according to a report by CNBC.

Biden’s collapse would likely leave Elizabeth Warren as frontrunner, a liberal candidate with whom he has repeatedly clashed over her anti-corporate policies and fears she will push the party too far to the left and eliminate the chance of a Democratic candidate unseating Donald Trump next year. ...

Bloomberg has previously flirted with presidential ambitions, but he decided not to run in 2016 after concluding he might split the Democratic vote. It is not clear that dynamic has changed, nor whether Democratic primary voters really have the taste for a billionaire candidate.

the evening greens

Ocean acidification can cause mass extinctions, fossils reveal

Ocean acidification can cause the mass extinction of marine life, fossil evidence from 66m years ago has revealed.

A key impact of today’s climate crisis is that seas are again getting more acidic, as they absorb carbon emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Scientists said the latest research is a warning that humanity is risking potential “ecological collapse” in the oceans, which produce half the oxygen we breathe.

The researchers analysed small seashells in sediment laid down shortly after a giant meteorite hit the Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs and three-quarters of marine species. Chemical analysis of the shells showed a sharp drop in the pH of the ocean in the century to the millennium after the strike. This spike demonstrated it was the meteorite impact that made the ocean more acidic, effectively dissolving the chalky shells of many species. Large-scale volcanic activity was also considered a possible culprit, but this occurred over a much longer period.

The oceans acidified because the meteorite impact vaporised rocks containing sulphates and carbonates, causing sulphuric acid and carbonic acid to rain down. The mass die-off of plants on land after the strike also increased CO2 in the atmosphere. “We show ocean acidification can precipitate ecological collapse,” said Michael Henehan at the GFZ German research centre for geosciences in Potsdam, who led the study. “Before we had the idea, but we did not have the empirical proof.”

Worth a full read:

The lost river: Mexicans fight for the Colorado River taken by the US

The Colorado originates in the Rocky mountains and traverses seven US states, watering cities and farmland, before reaching Mexico, where it is supposed to flow onwards to the Sea of Cortez. Instead, the river is dammed at the US-Mexico border, and on the other side the river channel is empty. Locals are now battling to bring it back to life.

There are few more striking examples of what has come to be known as “environmental injustice” – the inequitable access to clean land, air and water, and disproportionate exposure to hazards and climate disasters. Water in particular has emerged as a flash point as global heating renders vast swaths of the planet ever drier. ...

“We’ve heard stories from my mum about how she used to play and swim in the Colorado River when she was little, but we’ve never experienced it,” said Evelin Bautista, 14, who is a member of an indigenous tribe, the Cucapá, which means the River People. “I’ve heard that over the border, the water is so clear that they can even see the fish.” Indeed, a mere 30 miles north, over the border at Gateway park in Yuma, Arizona, siblings Damien Navarro, 12, and Dariana, eight, spent the day fishing, diving and swimming in the free flowing river.

“It’s so hot, we come here all the time, the kids love the water, and we often catch catfish, bass and bluegill,” said their father, David Barraga. “I didn’t know there’s no river in Mexico. Wow, that’s a shame.”

“At school in science we’ve been learning about drought, that the planet is getting hotter,” said his son, Damien. “But we’ve never been told about the dam or the river in Mexico, maybe when we’re older. It’s really too bad for those kids.”

More than 50 elephants starve to death in Zimbabwe drought

At least 55 elephants have starved to death in the past two months in Zimbabwe’s biggest national park as a serious drought forces animals to stray into nearby communities in search of food and water, authorities say.

“The problem is real, the situation is dire,” said National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo. Other animals such as lions at Hwange National Park have been affected.

This is the worst drought in years in the southern African nation that also suffers from a collapsing economy. Massive food and water shortages have resulted. ...

Zimbabwe has one of Africa’s largest elephant populations. It wants to hunt and export more of them to ease pressure on the animals’ habitat and raise badly needed money for conservation.

Also of Interest

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

Chris Hedges: Pity the Kurds

Media Alarmed by Imaginary US Pullout From Syria

Amazon Becoming Largest Military Contractor In U.S.

Everyone Is a Russian Asset

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Why She Backed Bernie Sanders Over Elizabeth Warren

Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race

Teachers for Bernie, CEOs for Buttigieg, retirees for Trump – who's backing whom in 2020

Pete Buttigieg Is a Sharp Corporate Tool

Biden takes massive hit after the debate

Fed’s Balance Sheet Spikes by $253 Billion, Now Topping $4 Trillion

Here’s How Easily New York Could Become the First Major U.S. City to End Solitary Confinement

Climate Urgency Fuels Historic Gains for Greens as Swiss Voters Deliver Rebuke to 'Toxic Far-Right Political Narrative'

The US lawyers rolling back wildlife protection one species at a time

A Little Night Music

Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog

Big Mama Thornton - The Big Change

Big Mama Thornton - I'm All Fed Up

Big Mama Thornton - Little Red Rooster

Big Mama Thornton - Lost City

Big Mama Thornton - Born Under A Bad Sign

Big Mama Thornton - Rock Me Baby

Big Mama Thornton - Shake, Rattle & Roll

Big Mama Thornton - Rolling Stone

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ggersh's picture

besides the last 3 minutes of the Keiser report stating the truth
that since 911, (me, more likely earlier than that) ameriKa is
just a deMOCKracy in label only

The fascists are pretty much in control

It’s been getting trendier and trendier in Washington D.C. to talk up the danger of the global far-right. Just last week, Max Rose — a Democratic Congressman who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, including Brighton Beach — sent Mike Pompeo a letter calling on the State Department to take the threat of foreign neo-Nazis seriously. Signed by 39 other Democratic members of Congress, his letter also demanded that the State Department classify a Ukrainian far-right paramilitary group as a terrorist organization.

But this one-off demand is hard to take seriously. As you’ll see, the sad reality is that America’s Ukraine-focused foreign policy apparatus has long been geared to supporting the very kind of far-right groups these Democratic members of Congress are suddenly concerned about. It’s not a mistake or an oversight, but a strategy that’s been running on autopilot for over 70 years.

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@ggersh Yasha Levine is excellent. IIRC, he also pointed out that the West re-habbing Nazis as cold war spies is fueling the rise of far right in Europe.

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joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the link! glad to see that yasha levine is writing about ukraine and its u.s. government-supported fascist movement.

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The article on Colorado River is good. The term "water imperialism" was attributed to CA in the book "Cadillac Desert" against its neighboring states. Can't remember if Mexico was talked about in the book.

We need to honestly evaluate the "green" legacy of CA. LA shouldn't have been a massive metropolis in the first place, for example. In 2008, when California's were talking down to Detroit during the auto industry crisis, some Detroiters pointed out the hypocrisy of CA with all its monster agri businesses. The desert Central Valley is the bread basket of the nation and it shouldn't be. IIRC, almost all the mass produce contamination happened there thanks to CAFOs(which again is out of place).

Here is a thread on wild fires in the LA area arguing that it is less of a climate issue than land use, race, class etc

And then we have Sili"con" Valley techno-idiocies which gives us iCrap, jShit etc when we actually need to reduce extraction & hence consumption. We need no stinking self-driving cars but reliable public transport.

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joe shikspack's picture


i have a feeling that california and much of the west is going to have a reckoning pretty soon over water resources and being well beyond the sustainable carrying capacity of their environment. it's probably going to be ugly when california becomes a major source of climate refugees rather than fruit and vegetables.

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I for one would like to see him run & get smashed in the primaries. This will be in spite of lamestream media anointing him as our savior genius.

Remember some ruling class figures mentioning him as the would-be-dictator who would make trains run on time - in 2008 after the financial meltdown. Vanguard Investments' Bogle trolled HOW we as a country couldn't run ourselves,that we have to turn to foreign-born CEOs to run our big corporations(touted Vikram Bandit of Citigroup - we know how that turned out right?) bebebebe.... And wait for it, finally suggested we should anoint Amreekan-born Bloomie as our dictator. CAn't recall one another prominnt asshat who did the same.

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joe shikspack's picture


it would be delightful to see bloomberg enter the race at the point that there is a real debate happening about what billionaires actually contribute to society. a repudiation would be wonderful to watch.

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"Get Over it" :

GetOverItis™ => ok for thee, not for me. What a scum! I need to learn to make GIFs and this should be the first one.

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snoopydawg's picture


like ByeDone sniffing their hair and putting his hands on them. "Get over it!" Gawd why won't she just go away?

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“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

snoopydawg's picture

Since he became president he has given them close to $20 million. This is sure some way to make America first. I think that money could have been better spent on helping people who are living on the streets. Pick a city. Oh well. The $5 billion Obama gave Ukraine could have stayed in the food stamps budget. Then there's all the money we have given to Israel over the well as USAID, NED, etc.

Missed opportunity for a drone strike.

War criminals walking free and laughing it up while Julian and Chelsea are both locked up. This is just wrong!

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“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

joe shikspack's picture


makes you wonder if trump realizes that the white helmets are al qaeda.

that's a scary group of obsolete war criminals you've got there.

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Azazello's picture

Well yeah, This Is the True End Of Pax Americana and it's a good thing too.
This so-called Pax Americana, the "rules-based international order" has long since outlived its usefulness to the planet.
Now a word from Tulsi:

I love the lyrics to this one. What do they mean ? Who knows, who cares, it's poetry.

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It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture


heh, ran into the nyt paywall. the end of unipolar american power was on its way out before trump came to power. the policies of his predecessors created the conditions and the demand for it years ago. obama's amplification of the bush dynasty's foreign policy and his undermining of global attempts to address climate change pretty much sealed the deal. one way or another, in the not too distant future multipolar power sharing is going to happen or the human race is going to be over.

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From an e-mail I just got from Bernie2020.

We are the only campaign that is funded exclusively by grassroots donations. That's important. Because not only is that how we will win this election – it's how we will transform our country when we are in the White House.

I thought Tulsi's campaign rejected corporate donations as well.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

various candidates have offered a variety of different kinds of donations that they will eschew, corporate pacs, fossil fuel donors, federal lobbyists, etc.

i assume that sanders has eschewed more different sorts of donations than any other candidate.

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Regarding Bernie as soft on non-profit private schools:
I'm sure he wants the votes of the millions of the 99% that send their kids to Catholic School. That's a huge thing in Chicago. Many states don't have hardy any Catholics, but angering Catholic parents could lose him Illinois. Don't think it would help in Mass or NY, either. I totally agree about removing the tax credits.

On another site I read about $28,000/year pre-schools. Obviously for the rich. No tax credit there either.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

that's an interesting point about the numbers of religious school parents as a voting bloc.

i wonder if there are large numbers of those folks for whom that is a make or break issue that are not already trump voters.

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@joe shikspack
Inconceivable that IL would go for Trump. But many Dem politicians are close to the Clintons.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

snoopydawg's picture

Maybe ByeDone is doing this to make sure Hillary doesn't call him a Russian asset too. But it's really getting old isn't it?

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“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

joe shikspack's picture


you can't expect the centrists to give this up. it's a great fundraising scam for them.

oh help, we're under attack by russians with keyboards!

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GreatLakeSailor's picture


and one more

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Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.