The Evening Blues - 11-22-19
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features blues guitarist and singer Joe Louis Walker. Enjoy!
Joe Louis Walker w/Billy Branch & Matt Murphy - Early In The Morning
"In rivers and bad governments the lightest things swim at top."
-- Benjamin Franklin
News and Opinion
Hundreds of thousands of Colombians have taken to the streets in a show of support for the country’s embattled peace process with leftist rebels – and to protest against its deeply unpopular government. Pensioners, students, teachers and union members joined marches across the country in one of biggest mass demonstrations in recent years.
In the capital, Bogotá, police helicopters whirred overhead, while riot police fired teargas at protesters who had blocked bus routes before dawn. Despite torrential rain, thousands of people thronged the city’s historic Plaza de Simón Bolívar, singing the national anthem. The marches began in Bogotá largely without incident, although a few clashes broke out near Bogotá airport between protesters and riot police around midday. As the rain cleared, more confrontations broke out across the city in the early evening. Explosions could be heard across the city. Teargas was fired in the Plaza de Simón Bolívar and at the campus of the National University, where protesters battled with security forces.
The national strike was prompted by proposed cuts to pensions weeks ago. Though the reform was never formally announced, it became a lightning rod for widespread dissatisfaction with the government of President Iván Duque, whose approval rating has dropped to just 26% since he took office in August last year.
Protesters also expressed anger at the perceived slow-walking of the rollout of the country’s historic 2016 peace deal with the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or Farc) rebel group. That accord formally ended five decades of civil war that killed 260,000 and forced more than 7 million to flee their homes. ...
And as in Chile, which has been mired in more than a month of unrest, many in the expanding middle classes feel left behind as the economy continues to grow. “It is not the economy that is growing like Duque and his friends say. It is the profits of the bankers that are growing, which means that they are draining the economy,” tweeted Gustavo Petro, an opposition senator who ran against Duque for the presidency last year, ahead of the march.
Pompeo Calls It 'Democracy' in Bolivia as Post-Coup Violence Grows and Fear of Civil War Intensifies
Observers on the ground in Bolivia are calling on the United Nations to take urgent action to prevent the country from descending into a full-blown civil war as the military, with a green light from the right-wing coup regime, continues to repress and massacre supporters of ousted former President Evo Morales.
On Thursday afternoon, Bolivian security forces teargassed a massive Indigenous-led funeral procession in the city of La Paz for the eight people gunned down by security forces Tuesday in the nearby working class city of El Alto, where Morales supporters blockaded a major gasoline plant.
"They're killing us like dogs," cried a Bolivian woman whose son was shot during the massacre.
LO ÚLTIMO #21Nov La Paz #Bolivia, el pueblo civil de manera pacífica marcha cargando los ataúdes de las víctimas que murieron en #Senkata, al llegar,un grupo de militares y policías disparan nuevamente sus armas y reprimen brutalmente a los manifestantes #GolpeDeEstadoEnBolivia pic.twitter.com/gXK8MpWsa2
— Iván Alfonso Rivera (@ivanrive3) November 21, 2019
At least 30 people have been killed and more than 700 injured since the November 10 military coup that forced Morales from power and ushered in the anti-Indigenous interim government of Jeanine Añez. Just days after declaring herself president on November 12, Añez signed a decree shielding the military and security forces from criminal prosecution for gunning down demonstrators.
In a dispatch from Bolivia in Common Dreams Friday, CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin wrote that the "result of this decree has been death, repression, and massive violations of human rights." Benjamin, who has been livestreaming anti-coup demonstrations in Bolivia, warned that the violent chaos and repression she has witnessed in the streets could spark a civil war if the U.N. does not take immediate action.
"This conflict is spiraling out of control and I fear it will only get worse," Benjamin wrote. "Rumors abound on social media of military and police units refusing the de facto government's orders to repress. It is not hyperbole to suggest that this could result in a civil war. That's why so many Bolivians are desperately calling for international help." ...
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, expressed support for the right-wing regime in Bolivia in a statement Thursday.
"We recognize the importance of Bolivia's political transition to democracy in our hemisphere, and we admire the Bolivian people for standing up for their constitution, their democracy, and for free, fair, and transparent elections," Pompeo said. "We pledge our support to the Bolivian people and to the transitional government led by President Jeanine Añez as they prepare for these elections."
On Twitter, Benjamin noted the timing of Pompeo's statement.
"At the very moment the Bolivian military teargassed a funeral procession for those murdered by the military two days ago, the State Department put out a press release supporting the new government and its commitment to peaceful assembly," Benjamin said. "You can't make this shit up!"
Neither Evo Morales nor his former vice-president Álvaro García Linera – who both resigned under pressure this month – will be candidates for their Movement for Socialism (Mas) party in Bolivia’s next elections, a prominent party official has said.
“We are going to participate in the elections and we are going to do it with young candidates, especially for president and vice-president,” Henry Cabrera, senior Mas member and vice-president of the house of deputies, told Reuters. “We are not going to recycle candidates.“
Bolivia’s interim government presented a bill on Wednesday that would annul the disputed 20 October vote, appoint a new electoral board and forge a path to new elections. Cabrera said Mas would not propose members for the new electoral board. The South American country’s two chambers of congress are expected to debate the bill beginning on Thursday and possibly extending into Friday. There is no date set for new elections. ...
Human Rights Watch called on Bolivia to repeal a decree it said was passed on 15 November that granted the military broad discretion in the use of force. “Bolivian authorities should stop harassing journalists and government opponents and ensure that judicial authorities conduct independent, impartial, and prompt investigations into deaths during clashes between security forces and protesters,” the organization said in a statement.
Bolivia’s rightwing interim government has turned up the heat on former president Evo Morales, accusing him of committing acts of terrorism and sedition by fanning street protests and blockades.
The country’s new interior minister, Arturo Murillo, announced on Friday that he had asked the public prosecutor’s office to open an investigation into Morales after the release of an audio recording supposedly showing the exiled leftist orchestrating plans for roadblocks designed to suffocate the country’s main city, La Paz.
Morales, who resigned under pressure from the military and protesters on 10 November, has described the recording as “fake”, but protests by his supporters have piled pressure on the interim president, Jeanine Áñez, a former senator.
On Friday a representative of Bolivia’s anti-drug trafficking council claimed drug money was being used to finance an “insurrection” against Bolivia’s new government – but offered no proof for the claim. “Evo Morales is an international criminal,” Leonardo Roca claimed on national TV. ...
Two weeks after Morales fled the country, his followers have mobilized across the country, throwing up hundreds of roadblocks to prevent fuel and food reaching Bolivia’s de facto capital and thus force concessions – perhaps even Morales’s return. The protests have already started to bite, causing shortages of food and fuel – and huge queues outside bread shops and petrol stations. Authorities have been forced to mount an airlift, transporting some 1,400 tonnes of food to the besieged cities of La Paz, El Alto, Oruro and Sucre.
Human Rights Watch supports US-backed far-right coup in Bolivia, whitewashes massacre of indigenous protesters
Bolivia is in turmoil after President Evo Morales was deposed in a U.S.-supported coup d’état on November 10. ... In confusing and alarming situations such as these, millions of people around the world look to international human rights organizations for leadership and guidance.
However, far from standing up for the oppressed, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has effectively endorsed the events. In its official communiqué, HRW refrained from using the word coup, insisting Morales “resigned.” HRW Americas director José Miguel Vivanco claimed President Morales stepped down “after weeks of civil unrest and violent clashes,” and did not even mention opposition violence against his party or the role of the military in demanding, at gunpoint, that he resign.
Therefore, Morales mysteriously “traveled to Mexico,” in the organization’s words, rather than fleeing there to escape arrest. HRW tacitly endorsed the coup government, advising it to “prioritize rights.” Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth went further, presenting the elected head of state fleeing the country at gunpoint as a refreshing step forward for democracy. ... Roth also described the coup approvingly as an “uprising” and a “transitional moment” for Bolivia, while presenting President Morales as an out-of-touch “strongman.”
Human Rights Watch described the law giving Bolivian security forces complete impunity to kill dissenters as a “problematic decree,” as if new self-declared President Jeanine Añez had used racially insensitive language, rather than ordering a massacre. In its statement, HRW noted that “nine people died and 122 were wounded” during the Cochabamba demonstration, leaving its readers completely in the dark about who died and who was responsible for the killing.
Human Rights Watch was originally established in 1978 as Helsinki Watch, an American organization dedicated to exposing the crimes of socialist Eastern Bloc countries and monitoring their compliance with the Helsinki Accords. Since its establishment, HRW has consistently been criticized for acting as a de facto vehicle for U.S. foreign policy, employing former U.S. government officials in key positions, and displaying bias against leftist governments unfriendly to the United States.
U.N. Rapporteur: Julian Assange Has Faced Psychological Torture; He Should Not Be Extradited to U.S.
Oh looky, the Democrats have fallen out of love with Saudi Arabia, even the "moderate" warmonger imperialists can't say a nice word about them.
Foreign policy took center stage in Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, with former Vice President Joe Biden saying he would not sell weapons to Saudi Arabia — marking a sharp contrast with the Obama administration — and stressing he would make the Saudis “pay the price” for their killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
“I would make it very clear we were not going to in fact sell more weapons to them,” Biden said. “We were going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are.” Biden also said there is “very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia,” and, in reference to Yemen, said he would end “end the sale of material to the Saudis where they’re going in and murdering children.”
Biden’s admission is a significant departure from the Democratic Party position before Donald Trump. Saudi Arabia objected to the United States’ posture during the Arab Spring, as well as the Obama administration’s diplomatic overtures toward Iran, but that did not stop the U.S. from supporting the Saudis’ intervention in Yemen and from selling Saudi Arabia more than $100 billion in weapons. In recent years, under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has launched an unprecedented crackdown on dissent at home and abroad, and Khashoggi’s murder has led Democrats to call for fundamental changes to the U.S.-Saudi alliance.
At the Atlanta debate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called Saudi Arabia a “brutal dictatorship” and said that “what we’ve got to know is that Saudi Arabia is not a reliable ally.” He added, “We need to be rethinking who our allies are around the world, work with the United Nations, and not continue to support brutal dictatorships.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said, “It’s a human rights violation, without coming to the United States Congress, for an authorization for the use of military force, for us to refuel Saudi jets to bomb Yemeni children.” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said, “When the president did not stand up the way he should have to that killing and dismemberment of a journalist with an American newspaper, that sent a signal to all dictators across the world that that was OK.”
Serbia’s intelligence agencies have uncovered a Russian intelligence plot involving members of the Serbian army, President Aleksandar Vucic has said, after convening a meeting of the country’s national security council.His comments on Thursday evening came after a video was uploaded to YouTube by an anonymous user this week, showing a purported Russian spy handing over a bag of cash to another man, whose face was blurred.
Serbian officials have identified the agent as Georgy Kleban, who served as deputy military attache at Russia’s embassy in Belgrade. It is believed he left his post last year. Vucic named the Serbian man in the video only as Z.K and said he was a retired member of the Serbian military. He said the meeting took place last December, but did not say who had made the video. The video was not made by Serbian intelligence, but the country’s security services had obtained evidence of Kleban contacting other members of the Serbian army. “There have been 10 contacts with three sources,” said Vucic. ...
The video is shot from multiple angles, suggesting a well-organised surveillance operation. Rumours and speculation swirled in Belgrade about who could have been behind the sting. Serbian newspaper Politika said it had information that the video was several years old, and that the Serbian man featured was not a government employee. Predrag Petrovic, of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, said there were a number of possibilities for the video’s origin, including a public signal to Serbia over Russian infiltration from western intelligence agencies, or a setup by the government to distract attention from a recent scandal involving arms trafficking. “The government is trying to suppress that scandal at any price,” he said.
Petrovic said the Serbian intelligence services are riven between factions in favour of closer ties with Russia and those who favour integration with Europe. “If Serbia is to join the EU in future there will have to be a purge of the intelligence services,” he said.
Vucic has attempted to keep a delicate balance in the country’s foreign policy, reiterating a desire to join the EU and Nato but also maintaining good relations with Russia. A Russian “humanitarian centre” located in the southern city of Nis has raised alarm among western diplomats, and Serbia has also signed a free-trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, a Moscow-led bloc designed to rival the EU.
Israel’s attorney general has indicted Benjamin Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, in a damning blow to the prime minister as he fights for his political survival.
Avichai Mandelblit charged the 70-year-old leader on Thursday in all three major corruption cases for which he was investigated. It was the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been charged with a crime.
In the 63-page indictment, Netanyahu was accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of pounds in luxury gifts from billionaire friends and for trading valuable favours with Israeli media and telecoms moguls for positive news coverage.
“A day in which the attorney general decides to serve an indictment against a seated prime minister for serious crimes of corrupt governance is a heavy and sad day, for the Israeli public and for me personally,” Mandelblit told reporters.
With no clear route to continue his premiership, Netanyahu’s fate has been thrown into limbo as he faces multiple explosive court cases that could drag on for years, all while under intense political pressure.
Israel just reminded the world that America isn’t the only democracy staring down a political crisis.
Less than 24 hours after Blue and White party head Benny Gantz failed to form a governing coalition, Israel’s attorney general announced he was indicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges.
The back-to-back developments plunged Israeli politics into utter chaos, with no clear resolution in sight as the country careens toward an unprecedented third election in less than a year.
The indictments of Netanyahu for fraud, breach of trust, and bribery are historic. Never has a sitting Israeli prime minister been charged with a crime. And it all but destroys the most plausible chance at solving Israel’s political paralysis: a unity government between Gantz and Netanyahu. (Gantz has promised to never sit with a prime minister under indictment.)
“The whole system is frozen,” said Yael Pattir, the Israel director for J Street, a liberal, pro-Israel group based in Washington, D.C. “For people who are working with the government these days, nothing can be promoted and done.”
The Attorney General of Israel just indicted Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahoo in three cases. The announcement comes at a time of political stalemate. It might help to resolve it. ...
The charges have been known for quite some time and the timing of the official announcement seems political.
Netanyahoo will now come under intense pressure to resign. It is very much his personality that blocked the forming of a new government. Should he be removed over the next 21 days it might be possible for the parliament to form a government and to avoid a third election.
But Netanyahoo will fight tooth and nail to gain and keep immunity. He will try to delegitimize the judicative and he will use any available trick to stay in office.
That makes him even more dangerous than he usually is.
He might even decide to something, like starting a big war, to prevent his removal from power.
Lebanon, Syria and Iran must watch out.
A former FBI lawyer is under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, several people briefed on the matter told CNN.
The possibility of a substantive change to an investigative document is likely to fuel accusations from President Donald Trump and his allies that the FBI committed wrongdoing in its investigation of connections between Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign.
The finding is expected to be part of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's review of the FBI's effort to obtain warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide. Horowitz will release the report next month.
Horowitz turned over evidence on the allegedly altered document to John Durham, the federal prosecutor appointed early this year by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a broad investigation of intelligence gathered for the Russia probe by the CIA and other agencies, including the FBI. The altered document is also at least one focus of Durham's criminal probe.
It's unknown how significant a role the altered document played in the FBI's investigation of Page and whether the FISA warrant would have been approved without the document. The alterations were significant enough to have shifted the document's meaning and came up during a part of Horowitz's FISA review where details were classified, according to the sources. ...
Horowitz's investigators conducted more than 100 witness interviews in their review. During one of interviews this year, they confronted the witness about the document. The witness admitted to the change, the sources said. The lawyer, who was a line attorney, is no longer working at the bureau, said a person familiar with the matter. A line attorney is a lower level lawyer within the FBI.
Some days the internet hits it out of the park.
Donald Trump treated reporters on Tuesday to what appeared to be a spoken-word poem about his feelings on allegations of a quid pro quo with Ukraine. His remarks, penned in enormous letters with black marker, were helpfully transcribed and photographed for anyone who might want to stage a performance of their own.
The internet obliged, setting his words to music in the style of several bands.
somebody on twitter today: trump's weird hand-scrawled denial today sounds like a ramones song.
— Alex Kliment (@SaoSasha) November 21, 2019
Emo Trump recites poem on White House lawn pic.twitter.com/rAD3xRjX4L
— Nick Lutsko (@NickLutsko) November 20, 2019
.@pattonoswalt made a tweet that showed Trump’s handwritten notes and the caption was simply “Morrissey voice:”.
Needless to say, I got inspired and put WAY to much effort into this. pic.twitter.com/heOiOhl90P
— RuPaul Giamatti (@BenJamminAsh) November 21, 2019
The Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has joined a bipartisan group of US senators to express “serious concerns” over Project Nightingale, Google’s secretive acquisition of the health records of millions of Americans that was exposed last week by a whistleblower.
In a joint letter written by Warren, fellow Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, the three senators demand that Google provides answers to a series of questions. At the top of the list is “how such a vast amount of private, personal health data was surreptitiously collected, and how Google plans to use it”. ...
The joint senators’ letter cites an article in the Guardian written by the anonymous whistleblower in which they say they were motivated to expose the project because patients were being withheld the ability to opt in or out of sharing their data with the search giant. “Patients and the public have a right to know what’s happening to their personal health information at every step along the way,” the individual said. ...
Since news of the project broke, Google and Ascension have been carrying out an aggressive leak inquiry to flush out the whistleblower. All members of the Project Nightingale staff on both sides of the arrangement are being interviewed and computers scoured.
Five journalists who were tracked, detained, and interrogated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for reporting on conditions at the southern border in 2018 and 2019 brought a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration Wednesday for what the ACLU called an "unprecedented, coordinated attack on the freedom of the press."
The national ACLU, joined by chapters in New York and California, filed the suit (pdf) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of Bing Guan, Go Nakamura, Mark Abramson, Kitra Cahana, and Ariana Drehsler. The five are all U.S. citizens who traveled to Mexico as professional photojournalists.
"A core principle of our democracy is the freedom of the press," Esha Bhandari, staff attorney with ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement. "That freedom is imperiled when the government uses the pretext of border screening to interrogate journalists who were simply doing their jobs."
The named defendants in the case are acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and the leaders of two agencies DHS oversees—Mark Morgan of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Matthew Albence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"Plaintiffs were each impermissibly compelled to disclose information about their journalism work and activities when they sought to re-enter the United States," the complaint explains. "The border officers' questioning aimed at uncovering plaintiffs' sources of information and their observations as journalists was unconstitutional."
Some of the journalists were asked to identify "instigators" from a book of headshots, questioned about previous reporting on conflict zones in the Middle East, and required to show U.S. government agents photographs they had taken of migrants on the Mexican side of the border.
"One of the journalists in the case was also denied entry to Mexico during the time period of the interrogations, preventing her from continuing her work there," according to an ACLU blog post.
The journalists are "a seeking declaratory judgment that such questioning and compelled disclosure of information violated the First Amendment" as well as "an injunction requiring defendants to expunge any records they have retained regarding the unlawful questioning and to inform plaintiffs whether those records have been disclosed to other agencies, governments, or individuals."
Rep. Ilhan Omar unveiled a massive legislative plan to invest $1 trillion in expanding affordable housing just hours after candidates in Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate also addressed the subject. Omar’s proposal, called the “Homes For All Act,” would authorize spending to create 12 million new homes — primarily in public housing, which has been historically underfunded, since new units haven’t been built in decades — over the next 10 years. ...
It’s the second major housing plan to be introduced in recent days by a progressive member of the so-called “squad” of freshman congresswomen of color. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the “Green New Deal for Public Housing” legislation last week, also stipulating major investments in the nation’s existing stock of 1.2 million public housing units. Similarly, Omar’s plan would also invest in the maintenance and upkeep of existing public housing units by making capital and operating expenses part of the nation’s mandatory spending. That’d be coupled with the assurance of new units, which would help drive down overall housing costs by increasing the supply of places people can live.
More cash would also be directed to the federal Housing Trust Fund in Omar’s plan, which helps build private affordable housing for the poorest Americans through a program created in part by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. (Sanders also introduced the Green New Deal housing policy with Ocasio-Cortez last week, and as a presidential candidate, he’s called for national rent control.) Both Omar and Ocasio-Cortez’s bills have little chance of surviving in a Republican-controlled Senate, but they effectively help set the progressives’ platform for addressing the issue.
A Democratic presidential forum that will focus on workers’ rights is being organized by the Teamsters union in partnership with the Guardian and the Storm Lake Times in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The event on Saturday 7 December, two months before the critical Iowa caucus, will feature candidates Joe Biden, Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders. All the Presidential candidates who agreed to sign the union’s three-point pledge and participated in an on-camera interview were invited to attend the forum.
Workers’ rights are a key election platform for the Democratic candidates as they look to appeal to working and middle-class voters who have seen labour rights eroded, minimal wage increases and the rise of an increasingly precarious working environment. A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute found that CEO compensation in the US has grown 940% since 1978. But typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that time.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters general president, James P Hoffa, said: “Our members are fully engaged and ready to make a difference in the 2020 election. This forum is a prime opportunity for candidates to tell Teamsters directly why they are the leader who will effectively push for retirement security, stand up for union rights, and go toe-to toe with world leaders on advocating for fair trade policies.” “
Hoffa said that pension protection is the Teamsters’ top issue right now.
Joe Biden is the only candidate who will get on the bully pulpit and say “I don’t care if you’re Puerto Rican or some other type of, a type of, someone from, another kinda guy, alright man we all gotta be here for this what which we’re doing. Together. thank you so much.”
— looking for CoD teammates on Raya (@ByYourLogic) November 21, 2019
'We're Going to Win', Says Sanders, After New National Poll Shows Him Tied for Lead With Biden in 2020 Democratic Primary
"We're going to win," declared Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday in response to a new national Emerson poll showing the Vermont senator and former Vice President Joe Biden tied for the top spot in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race.
Sanders and Biden are tied with 27% support, according to Emerson. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) polled in third place at 20%, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg trailed far behind at just 7%.
"Senator Bernie Sanders is gaining momentum in the race for the Democratic nomination, increasing 2 points from October," Emerson noted. Biden's support has held steady since Emerson's October survey, while Warren declined one percentage point.
The poll had a margin of error +/- 4.6% and a sample size of 468 likely Democratic voters.
"Biden and Sanders continue to hold their bases, which should concern Warren, as she has waited for one of the front runners to slip these past few months—yet, their support seems to be crystalizing," said Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson Polling.
— Emerson Polling (@EmersonPolling) November 21, 2019
Compared to Biden, the Emerson poll found Sanders has much stronger support among key demographics. According to the survey, Sanders garnered 37% support from voters under 50 compared to Biden's 15%. Among Latino voters the split was 36% for Sanders and 23% for Biden. And for voters who identify as "very liberal," Sanders, not surprisingly, claimed 45% compared to Biden's 16%.
According to the new survey, the Vermont senator is the only 2020 Democrat leading President Donald Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.
General Election Head to Heads:
— Emerson Polling (@EmersonPolling) November 21, 2019
"If We Win They Can't Act Like We Don't Exist": Bernie Sanders Supporter Blocked From TV Interview in Live Example of #BernieBlackout
In an almost over-the-top in your face moment on Wednesday night before the Democratic debate in Atlanta, a supporter of 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday was blocked from television cameras as a more conservative voter was being interviewed.
The video, which was captured by activist Devon Lamoreaux, shows an NBC News reporter interviewing a voter concerned over so-called fiscal responsibility as a woman in the background holding a sign supporting Sanders is acrobatically blocked by a large man.
MSNBC 20 minutes before the debate are talking to voters and the woman says mostly people interested in Biden and buttigie. But as you can see they were a lot of Bernie supporters behind them and this woman was awesome I can't stop watching this.#DemDebate #Bernie pic.twitter.com/z3CSsekigR
— Devon Lamoreaux (@DevonLamoreaux) November 21, 2019
The sign, an apparent reference to the senator's performance in the 2016 Democratic primary, reads: "Bernie won MI. 73 counties. Kent Co by 25%." Eventual nominee Hillary Clinton lost Michigan to now-President Donald Trump as part of one of the largest political upsets in history.
"MSNBC 20 minutes before the debate are talking to voters and the woman says mostly people interested in Biden and Buttigieg," said Lamoreaux. "But as you can see there were a lot of Bernie supporters behind them."
"If we win they can't act like we don't exist," Lamoreaux added. "Never give up!"
While Sanders has struggled to get sustained coverage from the corporate media, leading many progressives to dub the silence around his campaign the #BernieBlackout, his campaign has relied on grassroots activists and independent media to get the message out.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 21, 2019
Viral Animated Video Shows How Just a Fraction of Bill Gates's $110 Billion Could Pay to Replace Flint's Water Pipes
A viral animated video posted to Twitter Tuesday shows Microsoft CEO Bill Gates's astronomical wealth compared with middle-class salaries, the wealth of other considerably rich Americans, and a number of major public services which Gates could easily pay for using just a tiny fraction of his assets.
According to the data cited by the user who created the graphic, Gates—who with a fortune of over $110 billion recently reclaimed his title as the world's richest person—could easily pay to replace all of the damaged water pipes in Flint, Michigan, cover all the medical costs desperate Americans crowd-source in a year using platforms like GoFundMe, and still have nearly $100 billion leftover.
Bill Gates just surpassed Jeff Bezos as the richest person on Earth, with a net worth of $110 billion.
I struggled to imagine this huge number, so I animated some bar graphs that put it in proportion with other points of reference. The scale is quite stark. pic.twitter.com/uteU9h72fC
— bog witch (@betty__cam) November 19, 2019
As the $55 million needed to repair Flint's water system and the $650 million Americans gather for medical bills on GoFundMe each year appear in the graphic the bar signifying Gates's $110 billion is still too tall to fully fit in the animation.
The user animated the graph two weeks after Gates expressed concern in an interview over a plan from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to impose a 2% annual wealth tax on wealth over $50 million and a 6% tax on assets over $1 billion.
"You know, when you say I should pay $100 billion, okay, then I'm starting to do a little math about what I have left over," Gates said. "So you really want the incentive system to be there and you can go a long ways without threatening that."
According to a calculator on Warren's campaign website, with his current assets Gates would be required to pay $6.5 billion in taxes under her Ultra-Millionaires Tax plan.
Environmental justice groups condemned the Trump administration Thursday for catering to the chemical industry after the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rollback of Obama-era disaster prevention measures that were implemented to protect workers at and residents of communities with chemical plants.
The Trump EPA's changes to Chemical Disaster Rule (pdf) crafted under former President Barack Obama came after years of delays and industry opposition to stricter regulations.
"Those who work in or live near a chemical or petroleum plant are already at far greater risk than the average American," Environmental Working Group (EWG) president Ken Cook said in a statement. "Today's action by the EPA has only increased the chances that people who live in these fence line neighborhoods, which are disproportionately lower-income communities of color, could be seriously harmed or killed."
"Safety requirements at these facilities should be stepped up, not rolled back," Cook added. "But this is what we've come to expect from the Trump EPA." ...
The EPA claimed Thursday that the Trump administration's final rule "modifies and improves the existing rule to remove burdensome, costly, unnecessary amendments while maintaining appropriate protections and ensuring first responders have access to all of the necessary safety information." ...
EWG (Environmental Working Group) explained that the Trump rule rescinds:
- The requirement that chemical companies must determine the root causes of spills or explosions.
- The requirement that an independent third party investigate spills, explosions and other disasters.
- Training requirements for supervisors of plant operations.
- The requirement for the plant owner or operators to keep safety information up to date.
- The requirement that plant owners release chemical hazard information to the public upon request.
A new report shows conclusively that the coal industry was aware of the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels as far back as 1966—and, like other sectors of the fossil fuel industry with knowledge of the consequences of their business model, did next to nothing about it.
The revelation was published in an article by Élan Young at HuffPost Friday.
"It wasn't just big oil that knew about climate change decades ago," tweeted HuffPost editor Kate Sheppard.
The story uses a discovery by Chris Cherry, professor of civil engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to show industry foreknowledge of the ramifications of extractive technologies over 50 years ago. Cherry found the evidence in a 1966 copy of the Mining Congress Journal he was given by his father-in-law.
A 1966 article in the Mining Congress Journal shows that #CoalKnew about the climate risks of burning fossil fuels decades before the industry engaged in a campaign of climate denial that continues today https://t.co/JxxQw3HPxx pic.twitter.com/Wite2HesGw
— Dave Anderson (@cleantechfacts) November 22, 2019
In the journal, James R. Garvey, president of now-defunct research firm Bituminous Coal Research Inc., describes the future consequences of coal.
"There is evidence that the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere is increasing rapidly as a result of the combustion of fossil fuels," Garvey wrote. "If the future rate of increase continues as it is at the present, it has been predicted that, because the CO2 envelope reduces radiation, the temperature of the earth's atmosphere will increase and that vast changes in the climates of the earth will result."
Garvey added that the result of the changes in climate could include melting icecaps and rising seas.
"Such changes in temperature will cause melting of the polar icecaps, which, in turn, would result in the inundation of many coastal cities, including New York and London," wrote Garvey.
120-year-old photo sparks theories that climate activist & environmental heroine, @GretaThunberg , is, in fact, a 'time-travel' who has traveled thru time to save our planet! Wishing her all the best and success in her mission to save the Earth. We can use the help we can get! https://t.co/YCJ35l4irh
— Dean Friedman (@DeanFriedman) November 21, 2019
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Joe Louis Walker - I'm Ready
Joe Louis Walker - Ain’t That Cold
Joe Louis Walker - Too Drunk to Drive Drunk
Joe Louis Walker - T-Bone Shuffle
Joe Louis Walker - Movin' On
Joe Louis Walker - City of Angels
Joe Louis Walker - Shake For Me
Joe Louis Walker - I'm Not Messin' Around
Joe Louis Walker - I'm Tide