The Evening Blues - 12-12-19



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Ishmon Bracey

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Mississippi bluesman Ishmon Bracey. Enjoy!

Ishmon Bracey - Saturday Blues

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”

-- Thomas Paine


News and Opinion

'Let's Bring Rumsfeld In': Khanna Calls for Hearings on US Officials Who Lied to American People About Endless Afghan War

Rep. Ro Khanna on Wednesday said that The Washington Post's explosive investigation the "Afghanistan Papers" showed the need for a congressional hearing and that former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld should be among the current and former top officials called in for a reckoning before the American public.

Khanna (D-Calif.) made the comments at a House Armed Services Committee hearing. He began addressing Secretary of Defense Mark Esper by summing up the Post's report from Monday.

"The bottom line is that top military officials and civilian officials have known that the Afghan war has been has been unwinnable and have been misleading the American public for 20 years," Khanna said. "Your predecessor Secretary Rumsfeld was quoted there as saying, 'I have no visibility into who the bad guys are.'"

"Are you embarrassed by Secretary Rumsfeld comment and the other people quoted, and do you believe they owe the American public an explanation and an apology?" Khanna asked Esper. Esper said it was up to the committee on whether or not to call a hearing. "But I do know this much. The story spanned multiple administrations, multiple uniformed and civilian officials, and I think it's good to look back." Yet, Esper said, "I think at this point where I'm looking is forward. And forward tells me... the path to success, the win, is a political agreement between the parties on the ground."


House Democrats demonstrate their fealty to endless wars, waste, fraud and abuse. Roll call.

House passes $738 billion defense bill establishing Space Force

The House passed a $738 billion defense policy bill Wednesday, establishing the Space Force and introducing parental leave for federal workers, even as liberals signaled dissatisfaction with compromises Democratic lawmakers reached by voting against the legislation.

President Trump said he would sign the bill after striking a deal with House Democrats that permits the creation of his Space Force as a sixth branch of the military, one of his top priorities at the Pentagon, in exchange for extending 12 weeks of paid parental leave to more than 2 million federal workers, a victory for Democratic lawmakers. Federal workers at the moment don’t have guaranteed access to paid family leave.

The bill passed in the House on a 377-48 vote. Those who voted against it were primarily liberal Democrats who felt the compromise version of the legislation hammered out with the Republican-led Senate offered up too many concessions, including a top-line authorization that gives $22 billion more to defense than last year, plus another $5.3 billion for disaster recovery on military installations.


Still, Democratic lawmakers had included many provisions in the House version of the bill that didn’t make it into the compromise legislation. Among them were Democratic initiatives to overturn restrictions on transgender troops serving in the military, prohibit the deployment of new low-yield nuclear weapons, restrict Trump from waging war against Iran without congressional sign-off, and end the Pentagon’s backing for Saudi Arabia’s war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Some lawmakers also had hoped to see more-extensive requirements for the Pentagon to deal with PFAS contamination of groundwater and drinking water on military installations.

Latin America says 'No to neoliberalism!': Ecuador's ex-foreign minister talks uprisings and Assange

Outrage after Colombia riot police force young woman into unmarked car

Outrage has erupted in Colombia after a young woman participating in anti-government protests was grabbed by riot police in body armour, forced into an unmarked vehicle and driven away. Video of the incident showed the woman sobbing and screaming “Help! The police have kidnapped me!” through the window of the black Chevrolet sedan as it drove away from the demonstration near the National University in Bogotá on Wednesday night.

Two members of the public gave chase in another vehicle, and the driver can be heard in the video shouting reassurance to the detainee as they drive alongside. The pursuers eventually stopped their car in front of the officers, who then released the woman in the middle of heavy traffic.

The video – and a second clip showing a young man apparently being forced into an unmarked car on Tuesday night – prompted fresh accusations of excessive force against the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron – known by its Spanish initials, Esmad. Bogotá’s chief of police said at a press conference on Wednesday that while it was not usual for police to use unmarked vehicles when detaining people, it was legal.

But Gen Hoover Penilla did not specify why the two protesters were seized – nor why the woman was released if she had been suspected of wrongdoing. The whereabouts of the young man remained unclear late on Wednesday.

Israel heads for unprecedented third election in a year as stalemate continues

Israel is set to hold a third round of elections within 12 months, after a deadline to form a government passed with no politician able to bring together the disparate parties.

A time limit to forge a majority coalition in the country’s parliament, the Knesset, expired at midnight on Wednesday, automatically triggering a fresh national ballot.

By law, the poll cannot be held for three months, extending a political deadlock that has paralysed the country deep into next year. Lawmakers were debating late into the night on holding the vote on 2 March. ...

However, under indictment in three substantial corruption cases and facing a small but vocal party mutiny, Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud party immediately enters a new battle. The looming charges have weakened Israel’s longest-serving leader, and he will likely have to face a party leadership primary on 26 December.

Trump's plan to sign antisemitism order raises fears it could stifle Israel criticism

Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Wednesday targeting antisemitism on college campuses.

First reported by the New York Times, the policy would broaden the federal definition of antisemitism, according to administration officials who spoke to various news outlets on condition of anonymity. By expanding protections granted by title VI of the Civil Rights Act to people subjected to antisemitism, the order could also redefine Judaism as a race or nationality.

Title VI bars discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin at colleges and universities that receive federal funding. One official said Trump’s order would make it clear that title VI will apply to antisemitism as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. That definition says antisemitism may include “targeting of the state of Israel”.

The move has drawn criticism from those who worry that such a characterization of Judaism as a race or nation is itself antisemitic. Free-speech advocates also have concerns that a broader definition of antisemitism might be used to limit criticism of Israeli government actions.

A second official insisted the order was not intended to limit freedom of expression and was not aimed at suppressing the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement known as BDS, which aims to support Palestinian aspirations for statehood by refusing to purchase Israeli products or invest in Israeli companies. The movement is on the rise, sparking tension on many college campuses. The Israeli government has urged allies to rein in the boycott movement, while its backers deny antisemitism charges and describe themselves as critical of Israeli decision-making, not Jewish people.

India's Citizenship Amendment Bill: 'Anti-Muslim' law challenged in court as thousands protest

Indian citizenship law discriminatory to Muslims passed

Indian lawmakers have approved legislation granting citizenship to migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – but not if they are Muslim. Critics of the government said the legislation undermines the country’s secular constitution, as protests against the law intensified in some parts of the country.

The citizenship amendment bill seeks to grant Indian nationality to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs who fled the three countries before 2015.

The upper house of parliament passed the bill 125-105 on Wednesday night. The lower house had approved it on Monday. It now needs to be signed by the country’s ceremonial president, a formality before becoming law.

The bill was introduced by the Hindu nationalist-led government of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, following his resounding election victory in May. He said it was a “landmark day for India” and the law would “alleviate the suffering of many who faced persecution for years”. ...

Several opposition lawmakers who debated the bill in parliament said it would be challenged in court. “Today marks a dark day in the constitutional history of India,” said Sonia Gandhi of the main opposition Congress party. “The passage of the citizenship amendment bill marks the victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India’s pluralism.”

'No Christmas break' in transport strike, French union warns

Corbyn and Johnson deliver final messages as election polls narrow

Jeremy Corbyn urged Britain to “shock the establishment” and “vote for hope”, while Boris Johnson pleaded with voters to back him and settle the issue of Brexit before Christmas, at the conclusion of a bruising election campaign.

Both leaders stressed that the result could be very close as they toured marginal seats across the country with just 24 hours to go before the ballot boxes open on Thursday.

In his message to voters on the eve of Thursday’s general election vote, Corbyn claimed the country stands at a “fork in the road,” with a “truly historic” choice between parties that have widely different values and policies. “Tomorrow you can shock the establishment, by voting for hope,” he told a rally in Hoxton in east London. “Hope for yourself. Hope for your family. Hope for your community. Hope for our NHS. Hope for our country. Tomorrow, vote for hope. Vote for real change. “The establishment doesn’t want Labour to win.” ...

With the Liberal Democrats urging voters to back the party most likely to defeat the Conservatives and prevent a hard Brexit, and Nigel Farage’s Brexit party threatening to split the Brexit vote in many of the Labour seats Johnson is targeting, the result is highly unpredictable. ... The polls are currently pointing to a lead for the Tories of between six and 15 points, which suggests anything between a hung parliament and a convincing majority for Johnson. With such uncertainty, there is nervousness in both the Tory and Labour campaign teams.

Big Government and Big Corporate square off in fight over who gets control of the surveillance state.

U.S. senators threaten Facebook, Apple with encryption regulation

U.S. senators grilled Apple Inc and Facebook Inc executives over their encryption practices on Tuesday and threatened to regulate the technology unless the companies make encrypted user data accessible to law enforcement. At a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Democrats and Republicans presented a rare united front as they invoked child abuse and mass shooting cases in which encryption has blocked access to key evidence and stymied investigations.

"You're going to find a way to do this or we're going to go do it for you," said Senator Lindsey Graham. "We're not going to live in a world where a bunch of child abusers have a safe haven to practice their craft. Period. End of discussion."

Facebook has been wrestling with multiple governments since announcing its plan to extend end-to-end encryption across its messaging services earlier this year. Its WhatsApp messaging app is already encrypted.

In October, U.S. Attorney General William Barr and law enforcement chiefs of the United Kingdom and Australia called on the world's biggest social network not to proceed with its plan unless law enforcement officials are given backdoor access. Facebook rejected that call in a letter signed by WhatsApp head Will Cathcart and Messenger head Stan Chudnovsky which it released along with the company's written testimony.

"The 'backdoor' access you are demanding for law enforcement would be a gift to criminals, hackers and repressive regimes," they wrote. "That is not something we are prepared to do."

GOP Congressman splits from Senate R's on short impeachment trial

Justice department watchdog stands by report on Trump-Russia investigation

The US justice department’s internal watchdog was caught in a political tug of war on Wednesday as Republican and Democratic senators used his report on the origins of the Russia investigation involving Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign to support their contrasting views that it was either a legitimate inquiry or a badly bungled farce. ...

Horowitz himself tried to strike a balance. He insisted that the FBI should not feel comforted by his findings while pointing out the absence of evidence for some of the most sensational claims by Trump and his supporters: that the investigation into ties between his presidential campaign and Russia had been opened for political reasons, that agents had infiltrated his election bid or that Barack Obama had directed a wiretap of Trump.

But he spoke throughout the hearing of serious problems that he said underscored the need for policy changes at the FBI. Among them, he said, were flaws and omissions in how the FBI prepared its applications for court approval to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide, as he rebuked officials for failing to update judges as they learned new information that undercut some of their original assertions.

“It doesn’t vindicate anybody at the FBI who touched [the applications], including leadership,” Horowitz said. That was a rejection of the views of the former FBI director James Comey, who had claimed vindication for the bureau based on Horowitz’s conclusions. ...

Republicans and Democrats pressed Horowitz on whether he believed the FBI had acted with partisan bias. His response was hedged: he said the multitude of errors during the surveillance warrant process, which included the altering of an email by an FBI lawyer, was so “inexplicable” and yielded no obvious explanations that he could not be confident about the intention.

Matt Taibbi has an excellent piece on what's in the Horowitz report. It's worth a full read.

‘Corroboration Zero’: An Inspector General’s Report Reveals the Steele Dossier Was Always a Joke

The Guardian headline reads: “DOJ Internal watchdog report clears FBI of illegal surveillance of Trump adviser.” If the report released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz constitutes a “clearing” of the FBI, never clear me of anything. Holy God, what a clown show the Trump-Russia investigation was.

Like the much-ballyhooed report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Horowitz report is a Rorschach test, in which partisans will find what they want to find.

Much of the press is concentrating on Horowitz’s conclusion that there was no evidence of “political bias or improper motivation” in the FBI’s probe of Donald Trump’s Russia contacts, an investigation Horowitz says the bureau had “authorized purpose” to conduct. Horowitz uses phrases like “serious performance failures,” describing his 416-page catalogue of errors and manipulations as incompetence rather than corruption. This throws water on the notion that the Trump investigation was a vast frame-up.

However, Horowitz describes at great length an FBI whose “serious” procedural problems and omissions of “significant information” in pursuit of surveillance authority all fell in the direction of expanding the unprecedented investigation of a presidential candidate (later, a president).

Officials on the “Crossfire Hurricane” Trump-Russia investigators went to extraordinary, almost comical lengths to seek surveillance authority of figures like Trump aide Carter Page. In one episode, an FBI attorney inserted the words “not a source” in an email he’d received from another government agency. This disguised the fact that Page had been an informant for that agency, and had dutifully told the government in real time about being approached by Russian intelligence. The attorney then passed on the email to an FBI supervisory special agent, who signed a FISA warrant application on Page that held those Russian contacts against Page, without disclosing his informant role.

Likewise, the use of reports by ex-spy/campaign researcher Christopher Steele in pursuit of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority had far-reaching ramifications. Not only did obtaining a FISA warrant allow authorities a window into other Trump figures with whom Page communicated, they led to a slew of leaked “bombshell” news stories that advanced many public misconceptions, including that a court had ruled there was “probable cause” that a Trump figure was an “agent of a foreign power.”

MSNBC Incredulously Defends FBI & Discredited Dossier

'Exactly Why Some People Hate Democrats': Progressives Rip Moderates for Proposal to Censure, But Not Impeach, Trump

Progressive Democrats in Congress directed contempt at several of their centrist colleagues for holding a meeting Monday where they discussed censuring President Donald Trump for his alleged attempt to bribe the Ukrainian government rather than impeaching him.

According to Politico, the conservative Democrats attending the meeting included Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), and Ben McAdams (D-Utah.), who represent districts that Trump won in 2016. 

Progressive Democrats offered little sympathy to the members, who are potentially vulnerable in their 2020 re-election campaigns.

"I have 15-year-olds in my district that get sent to Rikers because they jump a turnstile and they can't afford $2.75," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), suggesting the president—who many critics said should be impeached over alleged emolument violations, numerous allegations of sexual assault, and obstruction of justice—must be held accountable for his alleged crimes just as far less privileged Americans are every day.

The push to appease Trump and his 2016 supporters is "exactly why some people hate Democrats," said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. ...

Monday's meeting was reportedly attended by about 10 conservative Democrats, suggesting the group is short of the 18 votes they would need to block impeachment.

OMFG. This "win" is what the congressional progressives call "a big deal." What an embarrassment these people are. This is exactly why some people hate Democrats.

After House Progressives Make Move to 'Flex Our Muscles,' Pelosi Backs Down on Drug Pricing Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, faced with a united front of progressive Democrats pushing back against a drug pricing bill seen as insufficient, blinked on Tuesday and handed her party's left flank a rare victory. "This is what happens when progressives in Congress, backed by the grassroots, use their power to push for real change," political advocacy group Indivisible said on Twitter.

The legislation now doubles the number of drugs whose prices will be negotiated under the plan from 25 to 50 in the second year of implementation and bans price-gouging on drug pricing for 150 million Americans with private healthcare plans, according to the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).

Pelosi, a California Democrat, relented on keeping progressive amendments out of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, after the CPC made clear it would stop the bill in committee and not let it reach the floor unless lefty fixes were allowed. ...

According to Politico, the bill advanced Tuesday night:

The House Rules Committee later Tuesday night approved, 8-3, the rule that sets up debate on the bill, putting it on track for floor consideration. The panel also permitted a separate vote on Republicans’ bill, a measure GOP lawmakers have championed this week as a bipartisan alternative.

While the bill has next to no chance of passage in the Republican-controlled Senate‚ the message sent by progressives to House leadership is clear, tweeted American Prospect journalist David Dayen, who wrote about the conflict between Pelosi and the CPC with The Intercept's Ryan Grim on Monday.

"The key here is more about how progressives forced Pelosi to the table," Dayen said. "She wanted to ignore them entirely." However, Dayen added, the result is far from perfect. "There is one good win and one OK win," Dayen said. "The uninsured still get no help as far as I can tell."

Americans take fish antibiotics because it's cheaper than a visit to the doctor

New research has found that some Americans are probably taking fish antibiotics as a substitute for going to the doctor, which can be prohibitively expensive for many in the US. Unlike other antibiotics, fish antibiotics are readily available without a prescription online and are relatively inexpensive as anti-bacterial drugs for pet fish.

Researchers analyzed reviews for fish antibiotics available online, and found a small but significant percentage of consumers reviewed the antibiotics for human use. In addition, at least five of the antibiotics marketed for fish that researchers looked at had the exact imprints, colors and shapes of antibiotics for humans, which could encourage people to use them.

“While human consumption of fish antibiotics is likely low, any consumption by humans of antibiotics intended for animals is alarming,” said Brandon Bookstaver, a pharmacist and director of residency and training at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy. ... “Self-medication and the availability of antibiotics without healthcare oversight might contribute to increasing antimicrobial resistance and delayed appropriate treatment,” Bookstaver said. “We were particularly concerned that the high volume of positive feedback on the comments about human use might encourage others to attempt to use these drugs.” ...

At least 27 million Americans have no access to healthcare at all, because they lack health insurance. In addition, polls have shown one in four Americans who take medications struggle to afford them, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.



the horse race



Sanders' Senior Advisor David Sirota: 2020 is Biden centrism versus Bernie political revolution

New California and National Polls Show Sanders Crushing 2020 Rivals Among Voters Under 45

New polling out of California reveals that Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential bid is garnering the most support from young voters in the state and elicits the most enthusiasm from Californians as a whole.

Among respondents under the age of 45 who answered the CNN poll, 32% said they were most likely to support the Vermont Democrat. Just 13% said they currently back former Vice President Joe Biden, while 18% expressed support for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), giving Sanders a 13-point lead with potential voters in that age bracket.

Biden has the most support in the state among people over age 65, 37% of whom said they support him versus only 8% who backed Sanders, according to the poll, in which 1,203 people were surveyed. ...

Nationally, 52% of voters under age 35 said they were supporting Sanders, according to the poll, which surveyed more than 1,500 people.

Warren was supported by 17% of respondents under 35, Biden by 11%, and Buttigieg by just 2%.


Creepy campaign:

The Donald Trump Campaign Is Deploying Phone Location-Tracking Technology

President Donald Trump’s reelection effort has retained the services of a technology company that specializes in the mass collection of smartphone location data, which can be used to track voters for political targeting purposes. ... The company claims to offer a wide range of services based on user location data. Individuals who attend a political rally or protest can be identified as potential targets for ads, a technique known as geofencing. Location data can provide insights into how long a shopper spends at a particular clothing store, type of religious venues, or the night clubs they tend to frequent. ...

Earlier this year, deleted scenes from the documentary “The Brink” revealed that Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, had used similar location-tracking technology services to target church-attending Catholics during the midterm elections. “If your phone’s ever been in a Catholic church, it’s amazing, they got this data,” Bannon said in the film clip. “Literally, they can tell who’s been in a Catholic church and how frequently,” he added. “And they got it triaged.”

Though the Trump campaign’s use of this particular data broker has received little attention, Phunware was featured in a recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal, published in October, into the use of location tracking by political interests. Federal Election Commission records show both Democratic and Republican congressional campaigns in Texas last year retained Phunware. Kimberly Taylor, a Democratic strategist, told the Journal that she used the firm to find attendees who went to the Women’s March as potential voters to help unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. The story noted an independent pro-Trump group had also used location-tracking services.


Krystal Ball: Bloomberg's $100 million ad buy is class warfare

Bloomberg seeks to woo skeptical California on first visit as 2020 hopeful

On his first visit to California as a Democratic candidate for president, Michael Bloomberg picked up a key endorsement – and danced around his legacy of stop-and-frisk. The former New York mayor made his case to voters in the city of Stockton on Wednesday and announced the endorsement of the Stockton mayor, Michael Tubbs – a rising star in the Democratic party and the city’s first African American mayor. ...

In convincing California voters, the billionaire businessman has a long road ahead – 85% have either a negative opinion of him or no opinion at all. He has faced criticism for using his fortune to fund his presidential campaign and has drawn condemnation for controversial law enforcement tactics when he was mayor, including stop-and-frisk. ...

Tubbs, who previously supported Senator Kamala Harris, said most people today recognized that stop-and-frisk was bad policy. But, he noted, every candidate in the race has “an issue with criminal justice”.

“You have folks that wrote the ’94 crime bill, which created mass incarceration, you have folks that voted for the ’94 crime bill, you have folks who supported Ronald Reagan,” he said. “There’s not a candidate in 2019 who has a criminal justice record that supports where we are today. But I think the sign of a good leader is one who apologizes, and not just apologizes in a room where everyone agrees. This man went to a black church in Brooklyn with many parishioners who were probably stopped and frisked and had to look them in the eye and say, ‘I apologize. I was wrong. I’m sorry.’”

Saagar Enjeti: Pete's McKinsey problem is MUCH worse than you think

Questioned About Role in Blue Cross Layoffs, Buttigieg Deflects With 'Incredibly Dishonest' Attack on Medicare for All

Asked a question about the potential role his work as a McKinsey & Company consultant played in massive layoffs that shook Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in 2007, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg deflected Tuesday night by accusing Medicare for All supporters of being the real job-killers—an attack progressives condemned as "incredibly dishonest" and "depraved."

"I don't know what happened in the time after I left, that was in 2007, when they decided to shrink in 2009," Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. "Now, what I do know is there are some voices in the Democratic primary right now who are calling for a policy that would eliminate the job of every single American working at every single insurance company in the country."

While Buttigieg did not attach names to the "voices" or "policy" he referenced, it was immediately clear that his criticism was aimed at fellow 2020 contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) over their support for Medicare for All. Medicare for All proponents were quick to denounce Buttigieg's attack as highly misleading, noting that Sanders' Medicare for All Act of 2019 includes support for insurance industry workers displaced by the transition to a single-payer system.

"Buttigieg's work for McKinsey almost certainly led to downsizing at Blue Cross, but he's firing back by saying that Medicare for All will destroy all insurance jobs—without mentioning that Bernie's bill contains a provision for compensation and retraining," tweeted Jacobin's Meagan Day, a vocal supporter of Sanders.

"To put it another way, Buttigieg helped an insurance giant increase profits at the expense of workers," Day added. "Now he's in trouble for it and he's frantically tossing out insurance industry talking points against Medicare for All."



the evening greens


Experts Warn Chevron's $11 Billion Write-Down Portends 'Greater Troubles to Come' for Fossil Fuel Industry

"Two words: stranded assets."

That was the reaction Wednesday from sustainability professional Jessica Davis after oil giant Chevron announced that it was writing down at least $10 billion and as much as $11 billion in assets.

Reuters reported:

Chevron said it expected write-downs this quarter related to a deepwater Gulf of Mexico project, which needs higher oil prices to churn a profit, and shale gas in Appalachia, which has suffered from low natural gas prices. It is considering selling its stake in Appalachian shale and the proposed Kitmat LNG project in Canada.

"Oil companies have struggled to reap the profits of old and are falling out of favor with investors amid fears that electric vehicles and renewable energy, along with government regulations to address a warming planet, will constrain their futures," the Wall Street Journal added.

The news comes just a week after Spanish energy giant Repsol announced a $5.3 billion write-down of its assets. The company also pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050 and set a goal of "become a leading international player in renewable energies." That move, according to Bloomberg, "throws down the gauntlet to competitors as large oil companies face mounting investor pressure to clean up their act."

Shareholder advocacy group As You Sow said fossil fuel companies should act swiftly on that front.

"Chevron's announcement demonstrates that companies must proactively address changing energy markets. Companies that fail to plan for a net-zero world will inevitably get caught—and investors will pay the price in unplanned write-downs and an economy battered by massive climate impacts," said As You Sow president Danielle Fugere.

Greta Thunberg Slams COP25, Says Response to Climate Crisis Is “Clever Accounting and Creative PR”

Donald Trump Jr killed rare endangered sheep in Mongolia with special permit

On a hunting trip to Mongolia earlier this summer the US president’s son Donald Trump Jr killed a rare species of endangered sheep. A permit for the killing was retroactively issued after Trump met with the country’s president, according to new reporting from ProPublica.

Trump was accompanied by security from both the US and Mongolia on the trip, the outlet reported. The argali sheep, with its large horns, is considered a national treasure there, and permission to kill one is “controlled by an opaque permitting system that experts say is mostly based on money, connections and politics”. ...

“Trump Jr shot his argali at night, using a rifle with a laser sight, the guides said,” according to ProPublica. “He stopped the local hunting guides from dismembering it at the kill site, instead instructing them to use an aluminum sheet to carry the carcass so as not to damage the fur and horns, said Khuandyg Akhbas, 50, one of the guides. He also killed a red deer, which similarly required a permit.

Los Angeles beaches plagued with toxic stormwater, report warns

Los Angeles beaches are plagued by stormwater pollution that can make people sick and damage ecosystems, and local governments are largely failing to address the hazards, according to a new report.

The LA region has made little progress toward reducing pollution from stormwater, which is the single greatest source of pollutants in local rivers, lakes and the ocean, according to researchers with Heal the Bay, a not-for-profit environmental organization.

The report was released this week following days of much-needed rain in southern California. While winter rains in LA are critical to reducing wildfire risks and supporting the state’s water supply, the runoff can cause serious public and environmental health problems.

LA’s storm drainage is separate from its sewer system, meaning that while sewage is cleaned before it is discharged, stormwater flows over streets, through storm drains and into bodies of water, Heal the Bay explained. Water quality is significantly worse for 72 hours after a major rain event in LA county. The recent storms, for example, sent debris to LA beaches, prompting county officials to issue a health warning against swimming, surfing and playing in ocean waters around discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers.


Also of Interest

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

Intercepted podcast - We Tortured Some Folks: The Report’s Daniel Jones on the Ongoing Fight to Hold the CIA Accountable

The true legacy of US central banker Paul Volcker (1927–2019)

‘Our friends didn’t have to die’: Afghanistan Papers surface pain and familiar frustrations

Brazil Senate advances bill that could put Lula back in jail

Barack Obama and the Politics of Not Yet

Papers Owned by Oligarchs Unsurprisingly Oppose a Wealth Tax

The “Fixing Capitalism” Headfake

Senators Give Explosive Critique of Wall Street’s Top Cop as Mainstream Media Yawns

Earliest known cave art by modern humans found in Indonesia

Jimmy Dore - Jim Keady: Using Privilege To Speak For Voiceless

Rising: Yang beats Biden in ad dollars, Michelle on GWB 'our values are the same'

Rising: Capitol Hill's top lobbyists: Meet the people who are really running Washington


A Little Night Music

Ishmon Bracey - Brown Mama Blues

Ishmon Bracey - Trouble Hearted Blues

Ishmon Bracey - Leavin' Town Blues

Ishmon Bracey - Left Alone Blues

Ishmon Bracey - Woman Woman Blues

Ishman Bracey and His New Orleans Nehi Boys - Pay Me No Mind Blues

Ishmon Bracey & Rosie Mae Moore - Stranger Blues

Ishman Bracey - The Fore Day Blues

Ishman Bracey - Farish Street Rag

Ishman Bracey and His New Orleans Nehi Boys - Bust up Blues


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Thanks Joe. Hope your sanity is holding up better than mine in this fiasco known as current events.

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joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

heh, the news may be bad, but it's always quite a show and the clowns are special. Smile

have a great evening!

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Azazello's picture

What's worse, NPR's non-stop impeachment hearings or that one station that plays non-stop Xmas music ?
Ben Norton & Max Blumentahl at Consortium News - US & UK Military-Intelligence Apparatus Deploy Media Smears Against Corbyn
Glen Ford at BAR - ​​​​​​​The Issue-Less Impeachment: The Corporate Democrats Stand for Nothing, So They Impeach for Nothing
CrossTalk: Impeachment Obsession, featuring Graham Elwood:

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It didn't have to be this way.

@Azazello
Would go with the fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. Seems a tamer insanity. Ring ting a ling. Kinder to the psyche than the pseudo news. At least we can (mostly) agree Santa doesn't actually exist as much more than a symbol. Media demonstrations of fake democracy is a bit rougher.

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mimi's picture

@QMS
let's start a verbal fist fight over it. Wink

Everybody needs to shut up,, said one guy in there. Right on. Give 'em some candies that stick to their teeth so strongly that they can't open their mouth anymore. Soft caramel candies work best.

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Trauma is not what happens to you, but what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you. - Dr. Gabor Mate

CB's picture

@Azazello
Who is that fuckwit, Brian Joyce? He can't keep his stupid mouth shut for more than a minute.

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joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

the grayzone piece is great. it really gets a bit into the weeds of who is behind the current information war against anyone who might be an opponent of the neoliberal u.s. military industrial congressional complex.

glen is right on target, too:

Trump will be put in the dock for a (relatively) minor offense as a kind of purgative of the whole corporate system’s rotten innards. It’s like indicting the mass-murdering, criminal war-waging South African apartheid regime for gerrymandering elections in which Blacks, by law, could not vote. The cited offense is meaningless, and all the rest is forgiven.

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lotlizard's picture

Forecast:
  Conservatives 368 (+50)
  Labour 191 (-71)
  Scottish National Party 55 (+20)
  Lib Dems 13 (+1)
  Plaid Cymru 3 (-1)
  Brexit 0
  Greens 0
  Other 19 (+1).

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@lotlizard
Somehow, this potents bad news for the Berners.
DHS will secure the vote for whichever the rulers choose.
Voting be damned.

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lotlizard's picture

@QMS  
but every indication is that enough voters wanted to put an end to the dithering and get Brexit out of the way, so that other problems could be addressed.

A BBC analyst just warned that the lowest-confidence part of the exit poll is the prediction of 55 seats for the Scottish nationalists, because the BBC doesn’t have many sampling points there and past results in many constituencies have regularly been “marginal” (Brit-speak for “very close”).

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@lotlizard
Don't buy it. Cover is what the media makes it to be.
True reasons people 'vote' against their better interests
is like making sausage.

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ggersh's picture

@lotlizard don't people usually vote for change in
numbers not the status quo? I guess the English
want a privatized NHS.....the dots don't connect
they just don't fuckin connect.

Doesn't good ever triumph over evil? Humanity
at least the european types are sick, I wish
I was born indegenous....sorry I hate to see
how fascism is winning

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Buy a Bible don't read it and you'll be a Catholic
Buy a Bible read only what suits you and you'll be an Evangelical
Buy a Bible read it fully, analyze it, reason it and you will be
an Atheist

joe shikspack's picture

@lotlizard

well, it looks bad for the uk. if the voters came out in the numbers suggested by the exit polling for bojo, i guess they will get the government they deserve and will be well and truly fucked.

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snoopydawg's picture

People are seeing what they want to see. I listened to the senate hearings on it and thought that if people heard what they were saying that lightbulb would go off. Nope. The IG report might have stated that there was no political bias. But that doesn't mean that the FBI didn't do anything wrong which is what I'm seeing on so many sites. "No political bias." Big deal. The fact that they left out critical information and that one guy changed the report so they could is what people should be taking from it.

As to the centrist democrats who aren't happy with impeaching Trump. Yup. It's okay cuz they aren't in a safe district and if you think they should vote to uphold the constitution then you are just a purist who wants a pony. Kinda like giving Manchin a constant pass for voting with republicans on almost every bill and even for voting for Kavanaugh even though his vote gave another republican a chance to not vote for him. Purity ponies. My left buttock.
BTW...Mueller knew at 6 months what he found, but continued with his bogus investigation until just before the election. This came out during the Barr interview. No wonder he put a stop to it.

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“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

@snoopydawg
Do you really think we are being lied to?
You seem to imply as much.
FWIW, the cover liars are using is getting pretty thin
enough to see thru with eyes (and mind) wide shut.

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snoopydawg's picture

@QMS

The Revenge Of The Illusionists At The Whim Of The Deluded

“Our impulses are being redirected. We are living in an artificially induced state of consciousness that resembles sleep… The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are nonexistent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness. We have been lulled into a trance. They have made us indifferent to ourselves…, to others…, we are focused only on our own gain. Please understand they are safe as long as they are not discovered. That is their primary method of survival: To keep us asleep, keep us selfish, keep us sedated.”

– “They Live” (1988), John Carpenter, Universal Pictures, Release date: November 4, 1988

Although Horowitz gave the wizards and freaks the talking points they desired, the report was damning, to say the least, and it validated what we red-pilled denizens on the still-free internet understand happened during the 2016 Presidential Election as well as the ensuing treachery that later became the Mueller investigation.
....
To be sure, the Wizards of Obama engaged in third world tactics and the unseen freaks in the highest levels of The Establishment planned to consolidate their power under Hillary.
....
Regardless, as of now, if you look into the eyes of Pelosi, Maddow, Biden, Nadler, Schiff and crew you will see hints of desperation. And fear. It’s why Pelosi had her recent meltdown when someone asked if she hated Trump. It’s also why Biden lost it when a guy in New Hampton Iowa recently asked him about Ukraine. It’s why media activist Chuck Todd went nuclear on Senator Ted Cruz over Ukraine. And why the head of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has invalidated one possible outcome of the next presidential election.

These freaks know exactly what they are doing. And they know exactly what they have done. But they would be powerless if not for the dupes.

Yep I think that they darn well would lie to us and they have been lying to us for a very long time. Those of us that woke up between the end of Obama's reign of wealth transfer and the primary are wondering when everyone else is going to wake the F up and see that we are not only being lied to, but screwed by both parties.

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“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

@QMS I am going to somehow print up and hang on my wall by William Casey, CIA Director under Reagan: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."

I know your response to snoop was snarky and you get it, but lately that quote is stuck in my mind. So perfect, succinct and true. Sickeningly honest as well.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

@lizzyh7 Thanks, I will have it at hand forevermore.

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snoopydawg's picture

@lizzyh7

The Cost of Sanity, in this Society, Is a Certain Level of Alienation

In reality, of course, we live in a world where our understanding of the world is constantly being deceitfully manipulated by oligarchic media propaganda and the utterances of oligarch-owned politicians. Where elections are mostly just a live-action role-playing game that allows the rabble to pretend that they have some degree of influence over the things that their government does.

I have asked this before but didn't get an answer. Are we being subjected to more propaganda since Obama made it legal for them to spread it? I think we are and it started during the primary. Especially when Hillary called Trump Vlad's puppet. It's gotten worse since then.

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“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

Are we being subjected to more propaganda since Obama made it legal for them to spread it?

i suspect we are, too, but i wonder how one would go about measuring it?

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dystopian's picture

@snoopydawg I think the media has become much more bold with the BS since Obama's parting gift. See Syria and Venezuela, then Bolivia. It has been thick on foreign policy issues, at least as bad if not worse than ever. Then our domestic BS is off the charts and over the moon.

I have asked this before but didn't get an answer. Are we being subjected to more propaganda since Obama made it legal for them to spread it? I think we are and it started during the primary. Especially when Hillary called Trump Vlad's puppet. It's gotten worse since then.

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

dystopian's picture

@lizzyh7 I love that quote too... here is the only version I could quickly locate in my files. Which I am sure they have already...

cia-Casey-quote.jpg

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

Lily O Lady's picture

@dystopian

we’re all living on spin-dry. How can we know which end is up, when we’re living on spin-dry?

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

of course, it is unsurprising that the horowitz (ig) report would become a rorshach test. any report with enough verbiage that can be twisted and spun will be divided up into competing sets of facts to be broadcast by competing networks reality transmitters. it's an information war, after all.

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snoopydawg's picture

Eric Holder had a blistering attack on Barr today and called him the worst AG in history because he is 'nakedly partisan' and unfit for office.'Funny though it was Eric himself that...

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, the first AG in history to be held in both criminal and civil contempt by Congress for failing to turn over 'Fast and Furious' documents, says that current Attorney General William Barr is "nakedly partisan" and unfit for office.

Well now will that shut up the people who say Trump is the first person who has ignored a congressional subpoena? Guess they have forgotten how many people in the Bush administration that blew theirs off too.

Of course this wasn't the first time that the FBI had gone outside the lines. Remember this?

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“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

said the nakedly corrupt white-shoe revolving door servant of the banking class.

every time i see his name i just want to spit.

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mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
I made it half through the Rolling Stone article. Now I will have to shut down my laptop and sleep over it and may be tomorrow I am ready for more spying-pissing-rivals in the banking-lawyer-political-complex.

I am sorry. Never knew that Holder was such a sweet marshmellow nothingburger with money in his coffers and no teeth in his mouth.

I'll go now by that personal rule, if my guts tell me they (the guts) don't know what to make out of a guy or a situation, I count that a symptom for 'holderitis'.

Thanks for pointing to that article.

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Trauma is not what happens to you, but what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you. - Dr. Gabor Mate

snoopydawg's picture

@snoopydawg

The FBI knew he was innocent just days after they charged him but still went after him. I hope he sued them and won big time.

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“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

Heading down to central Texas today from Santa Fe. Did the first leg and have landed in Lubbock for the evening. Had cleaned out refrigerator/freezer and so had a nice salad in my room with a glass of wine and saw no reason to step outside my room until this morning.

Was hoping there would be lots of good news for the Evening Blues but the world keeps getting in the way. A lot to digest in the news this evening but some things do not seem to change. Will make the final push in the morning and hope to be at place outside Austin by early afternoon.

Have a good evening all. And thanks as usual, Joe for putting this all together.

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

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

@jakkalbessie @jakkalbessie Buddy Holly's statue, sing Peggy Sue out loud.

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@on the cusp Passed Buddy Holly Road but was running on empty and headed straight for my room and an early evening.

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

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

joe shikspack's picture

@jakkalbessie

sorry that the world does not seem to want to cough up better news. i suppose that i could have posted news about those pigeons wearing cowboy hats in vegas. Smile

safe travels!

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Lookout's picture

Here and in the UK.

MSM driving the insanity IMO. Speaks volumes about our up coming election I fear.

Well, thanks for the update about the current mess we're in the midst of experiencing.
Poor UK NHS...
current mess.jpg

I appreciate all your work!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

yeah, it kind of looks like we are headed for a global kakistocracy.

good luck to us all.

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dystopian's picture

Very neat tunes... I love the old original early stuff. Where it all came from. Awesome.

Re: last night; I concede Vanity B. is better than New York Netanyahoo. ROFL

I love that Thomas Paine quote, he was a hero to me, and many I'm sure. Brilliant man.

Re: LA rain pollution; I have (unscanned) slides of the LA River after big rain events. Looks like one of those pics from Jakarta waterways. Trash so solid it appears you could walk across it. Heal the Bay is a great group, been around a long time, they do great work, I presume Mark Gold is still at the helm, great guy. Beaches are covered in it, especially around river mouths. Poor Long Beach gets it worse than anywhere. Most common item I saw: plastic or styro cups. Millions of people there just throw them down wherever
they finish. Surfers are told to stay out of the water for three days after the storm. Yeah right, when the waves are good?

Go Greta Go!

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture

@dystopian

heh, i'm pretty certain that baltimore could give la some serious competition for trashy waterways. it's pretty sad what cities get away with dumping into the water.

have a good one!

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lotlizard's picture

of a Tory landslide. Labour won at least 12 more seats than the exit poll predicted (7 were seen as going to the SNP, 3 to Conservatives, and 2 to Lib Dems) but it’s still Labour’s worst result since 1935.

Conservatives 363 (+47)
Labour 203 (–59)
Scottish National Party 48 (+13)
Lib Dems 11 (–1)
Democratic Unionist Party 8 (–2)
Other 15 (+2)

648 of 650 constituencies reporting, results for 2 are still outstanding

Jeremy Corbyn says he will step down. Sad, I liked Corbyn. On the surface, this deals a severe blow to efforts to move U.K. society and economy in a more “classical Left” direction (renationalizing certain industries). As for deeper developments, we’ll see. Parts of Corbyn’s “classical Left” analysis are still quite valid, in my opinion.

U.K. Jews who had accused Corbyn and Labour of anti-Semitism are jubilant.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7787589/Countdowns-Rachel-Riley...

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