The Evening Blues - 1-22-20


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Hot Lips Page

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features jazz singer, trumpeter and bandleader Hot Lips Page. Enjoy!

Hot Lips Page & His Band - Lafayette

"All cruelty springs from weakness."

-- Seneca the Younger

News and Opinion

Architect of CIA’s Torture Program Testifies Just Yards From Accused 9/11 Plotter He Waterboarded

A psychologist who helped to design and execute the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” testified in open court for the first time on Tuesday in connection with the trial of five men accused of planning the 9/11 attacks. “I suspected from the beginning that I would end up here,” James Mitchell told a Guantánamo Bay courtroom. Dressed in a charcoal suit and bright red tie, Mitchell stated that although he could have testified over a video link, he had chosen to come in person. “I did it for the victims and families,” he told James G. Connell III, an attorney for Ammar al-Baluchi, one of the accused plotters. “Not for you.” He added: “You folks have been saying untrue and malicious things about me and Dr. [Bruce] Jessen for years.”

Mitchell and his colleague Jessen were previously questioned in videotaped depositions in a civil case, but the proceedings underway at the military court complex in Guantánamo represent the first courtroom appearances by the two psychologists as witnesses. On Tuesday, the accused architect of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, sat just yards from the men who waterboarded him 183 times in a CIA black site in Poland in March 2003.

The topic of Tuesday’s hearing was a motion to suppress statements made by the 9/11 defendants while they were being held in detention, even after they were brought from the CIA’s black sites to Guantánamo. The defense attorneys allege that the statements the men made at Guantánamo were not voluntary because of the profound impact of their prior torture, which was overseen by Mitchell and Jessen. Questioning on Tuesday morning focused on Mitchell’s 2016 book “Enhanced Interrogation,” written with former CIA chief spokesperson Bill Harlow, in which Mitchell vehemently objects to the findings of the Senate’s 2014 torture report. In a bizarre twist, the book contains information that defense attorneys in the 9/11 case may be barred from using under a new “classification guidance” delivered by the government last Thursday and revised Tuesday morning.

A Torturer Meets His Victims: CIA Psychologist Defends Brutal Methods at Guantánamo Military Hearing

Guantánamo: psychologist tells of 'abusive drift' in treatment of terror suspects

A CIA contract psychologist who helped draft the US programme of “enhanced interrogation” of suspected terrorists has told a military tribunal he was unable to stop cases of “abusive drift” by an unnamed senior agency official. Giving evidence at a military commission on Guantánamo Bay, James Mitchell gave a detailed account of the 2002 decision to interrogate suspected al-Qaida leaders using waterboarding and other techniques which the US later admitted constituted torture. ...

“The CIA was never interested in prosecution,” he told the court. “They were going to go right up to the line of what was legal, put their toes on it, and lean forward.” ...

Mitchell has accused other CIA interrogators of using waterboarding far in excess of guidelines as well as other unauthorised interrogation techniques. In court on Tuesday he described these excesses as “abusive drift”.

“When people are left to make up coercive measures, it tends to escalate over time,” Mitchell said. “They dehumanise the detainees. They think they are justified in using a higher level of pressure. They think: If a little is good, a lot is better.” He said he had tried to stop several interrogations that had got out of hand, in particular by the head of CIA interrogations of the CIA’s newly formed rendition, detention and interrogation group, an unnamed officer he referred to by the nickname, the “new sheriff”.

“The agency had not approved the techniques he was using,” Mitchell said. He described the approach underlying the abuses as: “Hurt the person until they tell you what you want to know and then you hurt them some more, to find out if they are lying to you.”

Netanyahu calls for sanctions on ICC for war crimes investigation

Benjamin Netanyahu has called for sanctions against the international criminal court and people who work for it, a month after its chief prosecutor announced she intended to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes. “I think that everybody should rise up against this,” the Israeli prime minister said in an interview with Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest Christian television network.

“The US government under President Trump has spoken forcefully against the ICC for this travesty, and I urge all your viewers to do the same. To ask for concrete actions, sanctions, against the international court – its officials, its prosecutors, everyone.”

Netanyahu’s calls come months after Washington used a similar tactic to block a separate potential ICC investigation into its troops’ conduct in Afghanistan. It announced in March that it would deny entry to ICC officials, and later revoked a visa held by the ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. ICC judges later refused to open the investigation, citing a lack of cooperation from parties involved, including Afghan authorities and the Taliban, but also the US.

It was not clear if Netanyahu intended to also block ICC officials from entering the country, which could hamper its work because Israel controls access to the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Criminalizing Reporting: Glenn Greenwald Faces Cybercrime Complaint After Exposing Scandal in Brazil

Brazilian prosecutors charge journalist Glenn Greenwald with cybercrimes

Brazilian federal prosecutors have charged the American journalist Glenn Greenwald for cybercrimes in a decision which has prompted outrage among press freedom activists – and celebration by allies of the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. The prosecutors said that Greenwald “helped, encouraged and guided” a group of hackers who obtained cellphone messages between leading figures in Brazil’s mammoth Car Wash anti-corruption investigation.

The leaks, subsequently published in several stories on the investigative site the Intercept Brazil, which Greenwald co-founded, appeared to show collusion between then judge Sérgio Moro and prosecutors and exacerbated questions of political bias of the investigations. Moro was subsequently named justice minister by Bolsonaro. ...

Allies of Greenwald condemned the charges against him as an attack on the press, noting that in December, Brazil’s federal police said “it is not possible to identify moral or material participation by the journalist”. ... Brazil’s supreme court issued an injunction last year that prohibited Greenwald for being investigated in the alleged hackers’ case, citing press freedom laws.

Prosecutors said that while Greenwald wasn’t under investigation himself, evidence taken from one of the accused hackers’ computers showed exchanges with the journalist which proved he had participated in wrongdoing. ... The charges would have to be accepted by a judge before Greenwald would stand trial.

Glenn Greenwald's full statement and more at the link.

The Intercept Condemns Brazilian Criminal Complaint Against Glenn Greenwald as an Attack on Free Press

On Tuesday, a federal prosecutor in Brazil announced a denunciation of American journalist and Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald related to his work on a series of stories published on The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil. The denunciation is a criminal complaint that would open the door to further judicial proceedings. It alleges that Greenwald “directly assisted, encouraged and guided” individuals who reportedly obtained access to online chats used by prosecutors and others involved in Operation Car Wash, a yearslong, sprawling anti-corruption investigation that roiled Brazilian politics.

The denunciation will now go before a judge who can approve or deny the request for charges.

The Intercept and Greenwald both released statements Tuesday decrying the federal prosecutor’s accusation as an attack on Brazil’s free press in line with recent abuses by the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Abuses committed by Justice Minister Sergio Moro when he served as the presiding judge in Operation Car Wash were central to The Intercept’s reporting in the Brazil Secret Archive series.

“The Bolsonaro government has repeatedly made it clear that it does not believe in basic press freedoms. Today’s announcement that a criminal complaint has been filed against Intercept co-founding editor Glenn Greenwald is the latest example of journalists facing serious threats in Brazil,” The Intercept said in its statement, which can be read below in full. “We are appalled that Brazil’s Public Ministry has decided to file such a blatantly politically motivated charge against Greenwald, in apparent retaliation for The Intercept’s critical reporting on abuses committed by Justice Minister Moro and several federal prosecutors.”

Michael Brooks: dismantling the charges against Glenn Greenwald, previews his interview with Lula

The Empire’s War On Oppositional Journalism Continues To Escalate

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has been charged by the Bolsonaro government in Brazil with the same prosecutorial angle used by the US to target WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Per The New York Times:

Citing intercepted messages between Mr. Greenwald and the hackers, prosecutors say the journalist played a “clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime.”

For instance, prosecutors contend that Mr. Greenwald encouraged the hackers to delete archives that had already been shared with The Intercept Brasil, in order to cover their tracks.

Prosecutors also say that Mr. Greenwald was communicating with the hackers while they were actively monitoring private chats on Telegram, a messaging app. The complaint charged six other individuals, including four who were detained last year in connection with the cellphone hacking.

This argument is essentially indistinguishable from the argument currently being used by the Trump administration in charging Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. The US Department of Justice alleges that Assange attempted to provide Private Manning with advice and assistance in covering her tracks while leaking documents she already had access to, therefore making Assange party to a conspiracy against the United States.

It is not surprising that Brazil is advancing the same war on journalism we’ve been seeing in the US, UK, Australia and France. With the election of the overtly fascist Jair Bolsonaro in October 2018 (an election whose corrupt foundations were exposed by Greenwald’s reporting with The Intercept Brasil), the Brazilian government moved into full alignment with the the US-centralized empire, which was why his inauguration was enthusiastically celebrated by characters like Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Benjamin Netanyahu.

In exactly the same way we saw a coordination between the US, UK, Sweden, Ecuador and Australia to immobilize, and then silence, and then imprison Julian Assange, we are seeing a uniform movement toward silencing oppositional journalism throughout the entire US-centralized empire. This is because a rising China and the increasing coziness of the cluster of nations which have resisted absorption into the imperial blob greatly imperil the USA’s position as the unipolar global dominator, meaning that the empire needs to quickly shore up global control in order to avoid being surpassed and replaced by other power structures.

In order to accomplish this there’s going to have to be a lot of nefarious behavior. A lot of military escalations, a lot of CIA coups, a lot of bullying and subversion, and a whole lot of propaganda to grease the wheels of public consent. Such large, frantic, flailing movements can be easily exposed by a free press, which is precisely why the free press is being clamped down upon now. The empire is setting all these legal precedents against oppositional journalism because it fully intends to use those precedents in the future. It fully intends to use those legal precedents in the future because it knows it’s going to have to make things ugly. ...

Glenn Greenwald has spent the last three years being falsely smeared as a stooge of authoritarian governments while he was actually doing more damage to an authoritarian government than all of his critics combined. Public trust in oppressive institutions (like the oppressive institutions that empire loyalists have been protecting by smearing Greenwald as a Kremlin agent and a Putin puppet) can be severely weakened by the exposure of their dark underbellies to the light of truth.

The imperialists know this, and they are determined not to allow it to continue. Hence their persecution of Assange, and hence their persecution of Greenwald.

Lots more at the link:

Three protected witnesses accuse Spanish ex-marine of spying on Julian Assange

Spain’s High Court, the Audencia Nacional, is closing in on David Morales, the head of the Spanish security company US Global S. L., and who is under investigation for spying on cyberactivist Julian Assange while he was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Three people who worked for the company have testified as protected witnesses before High Court Judge José de la Mata that Morales handed over material collected from the diplomatic headquarters to US intelligence services. The three witnesses say that Morales, a former marine in the Spanish Navy, bragged about the collaboration. “I am a mercenary and I make no bones about it,” he said to one of them.

Two of the witnesses confirm what EL PAÍS revealed before the legal investigation began – that in December 2017, the owner of UC Global S. L. ordered workers to change the surveillance cameras in the embassy and replace them with others that could capture audio. From that moment on, they recorded and monitored conversations between the WikiLeaks founder and his lawyers, as well as all of his visitors. During the meetings with the lawyers, Assange prepared his legal defense against the extradition order from the United States. ...

Morales traveled to the US once or twice a month allegedly to hand over the material to “the Americans.” A microphone was installed on the PVC plastic base of a fire extinguisher near the meeting room where Assange met with his lawyers. The cyberactivist had placed a device that created white noise in this room, and activated it when he thought he was being spied on. He placed another device in the women’s bathroom, where he sometimes met with his lawyers. UC Global S. L. was hired by Ecuador’s Senain secret service to provide security services to the embassy when Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa was in power. But according to the three witnesses, Morales ordered the Australian to be spied on and created remote-operated computer servers that collected the illegally obtained information, which could be accessed from the United States.

The witnesses said that they were able to prove that the US was accessing the information. A study of the emails sent by Morales to several of his workers shows that the former marine traveled to Alexandria, a US city in Virginia with around 145,000 residents, on March 1 and 2, 2017. The IP addresses of these messages, to which this newspaper has had access, show that they were from the place that was processing the extradition order against Assange.

U.S. troops block Russian forces from capturing Syrian oil field

U.S. troops last weekend reportedly found themselves in a standoff with Russian forces trying to gain access to key oil fields in northeastern Syria.

The Saturday standoff — first reported by Turkish media outlets, citing unnamed local officials in the Turkey-Syria border region — seems to have ended without any shots being fired or any real risk of violence between the two sides. American military personnel reportedly stopped a Russian convoy near the town of Rmelan, and the Russian forces then apparently turned back and returned to their home base.

Still, the near-clash serves as a reminder of the high stakes in Syria, where the U.S. military’s mission involves guarding oil fields and preventing them from falling into the hands of the Islamic State, Russian forces and other actors.

A Rogue French Labor Union Just Shut Off the Power in Paris

Just one day after the end of the longest transport strike in the history of France, local members of one of France’s famously militant unions kept their fight with President Emmanuel Macron going in a big way: by cutting power to thousands of people in Paris’ southern suburbs.

According to Le Parisien, the power grid workers' action affected 11 suburbs to the south of Paris between 5:30 and 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. A local leader of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union, Franck Juanno, told the Associated Press that the area was targeted in the “symbolic” action because it contains one of the “economic lungs of Europe.”

As the AP notes, the affected areas included the Paris Orly Airport, for which train service was shut down during the outage, and Rungis Market, the world's largest food market. ...

The rogue action by the CGT local on Tuesday indicated that the unions aren’t finished with Macron, whose approval rating has largely remained in the toilet over the past few years.

Hondurans in no man’s land after Mexican troops block path to US

Hundreds of Central American migrants have become stranded in a sort of no man’s land on the river border between Guatemala and Mexico, after running up against lines of Mexican National Guard troops deployed to keep them from moving en masse into the country and north towards the US.

The path forward was blocked by troops with riot shields, and about 100 National Guard agents with anti-riot gear formed a barrier into the night. But for many, a return home to impoverished and gang-plagued Honduras, where most of the migrants are from, was unthinkable.

“We are in no man’s land,” said Alan Mejía, whose two-year-old son was cradled in his arms as his wife, Ingrid Vanesa Portillo, and their other son, 12, gazed at the riverbanks.

Mejía joined in five previous migrant “caravans” but never made it further than the Mexican border city of Tijuana. “They are planning how to clear us out, and here we are without water or food,” said Portillo. “There is no more hope for going forward.”

Unlike the case with many of the previous caravans, there was no sign of humanitarian aid arriving for those stuck at the river.

Trump impeachment trial: Senate votes down Democrats' subpoena proposals

Democratic hopes that a moderate bloc of Senate Republicans would join their demand for witnesses and testimony at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial were temporarily disappointed, if not dashed, as arguments in the first proper day of the trial extended into Tuesday evening.

In five consecutive votes split precisely on party lines, the Senate voted down Democratic proposals to subpoena the testimony of the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and to subpoena documents and records from the White House, the state department, the defense department and the budget office relevant to an alleged scheme by Trump to twist the powers of the presidency to extract personal political favors from Ukraine.

Each of the proposed subpoenas was defeated by a 53-47 vote. Democrats accused Republicans of failing to commit to a fair impeachment trial and of engaging in a “cover-up” of misconduct by the president. ...

A further opportunity for the senators to demand documents or witnesses was anticipated in the weeks ahead. But Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, urged the senators to issue subpoenas before an allotted period for senators to question the legal teams.

Distrust of police is major driver of US gun violence, report warns

The lack of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve is a major driver of gun violence in cities across the United States, a new report by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence warns.

In many American communities, acts of police brutality, over-enforcement targeting small infractions and high numbers of unsolved shootings and homicides have eroded trust, making residents less likely to place their trust in law enforcement and more likely to seek vigilante justice, the researchers note.

“Everybody has largely missed the fact that if people can’t count on help from the state and its agents, they’re going to take care of themselves,” says David Kennedy, the director of the National Network for Safe Communities, a violence reduction research center, whose work is referenced throughout the report. “Sometimes taking care of yourself looks like day-to-day gun violence.”

The report also spotlights examples of trends in cities like Camden, New Jersey, and Oakland, California, where community-led efforts have led to a significant decrease in gun violence rates.

“Communities have the answers and can address and treat gun violence. But law enforcement gets the lion’s share of any city budget in the country,” says Fernando Rejón, the director of the Urban Peace Institute, a not-for-profit organization that trains violence interventionists. “For a [violence reduction] strategy to work, law enforcement needs to be able to do their work, intervene and provide alternatives, but there also has to be community investment.”

the horse race

CrossTalk: Targeting Bernie 2.0

While Establishment Erupts Over Anti-Corruption Expert Pointing Out Biden's Troubling Record, Progressives Say: Look at the Troubling Record

After establishment Democrats exploded over a column making the argument that former Vice President Joe Biden is too corrupt to credibly present voters an alternative to President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election, progressives presented more evidence from Biden's past that make the case against his candidacy.

A column Monday by Zephyr Teachout, a professor of law at Fordham University and supporter of the Democratic presidential bid of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), set off a firestorm for asserting Biden has a "corruption problem" and that his past makes the former vice president a "weak candidate" compared to others in the primary field.

"Here's the thing," wrote Teachout, "nominating a candidate like Biden will make it far more difficult to defeat Trump."

Teachout detailed three major areas of concern: Biden's prioritization of the financial industry over working Americans, his ties to the healthcare industry, and his connections to the fossil fuel industry. The potential for Trump to use Biden's record against him in a general election, said Teachout, should not be underestimated.

"Corrupt politicians always use whataboutism," Teachout wrote. "With Biden, we are basically handing Trump a whataboutism playbook."

Cenk Uygur, the Young Turks host running for Congress in California's 25th district, said on Twitter that the argument against Biden for corruption was an easy one to make. "Of course Biden is corrupt," said Uygur. "He takes millions in campaign contributions and votes with his donors. It's obvious."

Establishment Democrats and members of the media cried foul over the piece, calling it an attack and placing the blame for it at Sanders' feet.

Progressives Frustrated With Bernie’s Capitulation Strategy

#TelltheTruthJoe Trends as Sanders Video Detailing Biden History on Social Security Viewed Nearly 2 Million Times

After Joe Biden's campaign Tuesday night released an online video accusing the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders of unleashing a "barrage of negative attacks" and "not telling the truth"  about the former vice president's record on Social Security, the hashtag #TelltheTruthJoe began trending on social media and Sanders himself shot back by saying: "Let's be honest, Joe. One of us fought for decades to cut Social Security, and one of us didn't. But don’t take it from me. Take it from you."

Characterizing the Biden campaign video as "the first negative ad of the 2020 Democratic primary," Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir, in a statement, said it was important for people to understand why it was being released now.

Biden, said Shakir, is "trying to distort his decades-long record of proposing and voting for cuts to Social Security benefits for millions of people." According to Shakir, the well-documented history shows that "Biden is no defender of Social Security, and a negative ad won't help him outrun his record."

To again bolster their case, the Sanders campaign released detailed fact sheet (pdf) as well as a new video of their own detailing Biden's long history of calling for Social Security cuts and espousing his willingness—across numerous decades in Congress and during his time in the White House with President Barack Obama—to work with Republicans on the effort. While Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary for the campaign, noted early Wednesday morning the video had received over 1 million views in a matter of hours since it was released, as of this writing the figure was much closer to 2 million:

Supporters of Sanders, including author and activist Naomi Klein, tried to make clear that the Sanders campaign video is not an attack ad against Biden but a serious effort to set the record straight about Biden's 40-year record of being will to freeze, trim back, or cut spending for Social Security. ...

While New York Times columnist Paul Krugman demanded the Sanders campaign apologize for circulating a previous video highlighting Biden's willingness to join with Republicans to cut social programs—a video which the former vice president over the weekend falsely claimed was "doctored"—Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, a non-profit group that advocates for defending and strengthening the program, shot back by saying: "The truth is that the clip is in no way doctored."

"Indeed," argued Altman, the full speech (pdf) is worse than the selected clip, "because it includes Biden saying that Social Security 'needs adjustments.' That's well known DC insider speak for 'cut benefits.'"

His campaign's claim that Biden was talking about "benefit expansions" when he used the term "adjustments," said Altman, is simply not credible. "When politicians want to expand Social Security, which is extremely popular, they say so," said Altman. "They don't use euphemisms like 'adjustments.'"

Krystal Ball: Hillary ruined 2016 and now she's trying to ruin 2020

CNN Poll Shows Sanders Surging Into First as Biden Continues to Drop—But Network Emphasizes Statistical Tie in Headline

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday for the first time has a lead in CNN polling of primary contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination—but you wouldn't know that from how the network framed their coverage.

Sanders supporters took issue with the fact that despite the Vermont senator's three point advantage over former Vice President Joe Biden, 27% to 24%, CNN in its headline declares that "Bernie Sanders surges to join Biden atop Democratic presidential pack" rather than acknowledging the lead. The network adds in the article that Sanders and Biden are "in a two-person top tier above the rest of the field."

The disconnect between the Sanders lead—which is just within the 3.4 point margin of error—and the framing of CNN's piece on the poll was noticed by progressives and journalists.

"The title of the article makes it sound like it's a tie," said Sanders surrogate Shaun King. "It isn't."

Law and Crime reporter Colin Kalchember also took aim at CNN for not declaring Sanders in the lead. "CNN still cannot fathom stating the obvious here: Sanders is leading in their own national poll," said Kalchember. "Self parody."

The polling revealed other interesting data points, including that Sanders leads fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) over liberal Democrats by 33% to 19% and leads Biden with voters of color by 30% to 27%. ...

Sanders also leads a new poll out Wednesday from crucial Super Tuesday state California, besting Biden by 28% to 24%, and gained on the former vice president in Morning Consult's weekly early-state polling.

Kyle Kulinski reacts as Tulsi sues Hillary, calls for Tulsi to be Bernie's VP

the evening greens

We Risk Living in an 'Empty World' If Assault on Nature Not Stopped, Warns UN Biodiversity Chief

If humanity doesn't take action now, we will be left to survive on an "empty world."

That's the warning from new United Nations biodiversity chief Elizabeth Maruma Mrema. 

In an interview with the Guardian Monday, Mrema declared that unless the world takes action, the complex system of biodiversity that sustains life on the planet will collapse, taking it with it much of the "prerequisites for human health and livelihoods."

That doesn't leave much hope for the continuation of human civilization.

"People's lives depend on biodiversity in ways that are not always apparent or appreciated," said Mrema. "Human health ultimately depends on ecosystem services: the availability of fresh water, fuel, food sources."

Mrema gave the interview to the Guardian on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The forum, which began today and goes through Friday, has already been the scene of climate protests and demands for immediate action to address the global environmental crisis.

"My friend and colleague Elizabeth Mrema is absolutely right," tweeted U.N. Environmental Program executive director Inger Andersen. "2020 is not a 'year of conferences,' but a real opportunity for us to stop and indeed reverse ecological devastation." ...

Youth activist, Holly Gillibrand of Scotland, used Mrema's interview as a call to action.

"Biodiversity loss gets very little attention despite the fact that our survival is tied to the survival of the rest of nature," tweeted Gillibrand. "'Humans risk living in an empty world' is a dangerous misconception: if our support systems are gone, there will be no humans."

Trump Just Called Climate Scientists ‘Foolish Fortune Tellers’

Despite a growing mountain of evidence that shows the world is careening towards a climate catastrophe, symbolized this month by the devastating bushfires in Australia, President Donald Trump thinks that “this is not a time of pessimism, this is a time for optimism.” In his remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday morning, Trump spent the vast majority of his speech reeling off a laundry list of economic indicators that showed just how strong the U.S. economy is. But he finished his address by attacking climate change activists and scientists who have been raising the alarm about the plight of the planet.

“Fear and doubt is not a good thought process,” Trump said. “Because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism in action. But to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom, and their predictions of the apocalypse.” ... Trump also said that today’s climate scientists are simply repeating errors of the past when “foolish fortune tellers...predicted an overpopulation crisis in the 1960s, mass starvation in the 70s, and an end of oil in the 1990s.”

Climate change is a hot topic at Davos this year, and an hour before Trump took the stage, Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish activist who the U.S. president has criticized for her outspoken opinions and “anger management issues,” told the world’s elite that they have done “basically nothing” to avert a climate catastrophe. ...

Trump labeled activists like Thunberg “alarmists” who are simply seeking “absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.”

“We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country, or eradicate our liberty,” Trump added.

The GOP Is Working on Its Own Climate Plan. It Involves ‘Clean’ Coal and Planting Lots of Trees.

The GOP is working on its own plan to fight the climate crisis. But instead of regulating the fossil fuel industry, as the UN has repeatedly recommended, the party wants Americans to plant a bunch of trees in their backyards.

The Republican party has for years dismissed concerns around climate change. But now, Congressional Republicans are preparing a plan, first reported by Axios Tuesday, to combat the problem. The GOP’s plan centers on clean tech innovation, including “clean” coal power, and recapturing climate-heating carbon that we’ve already dumped into the atmosphere, partly by planting lots of trees, according to two GOP staffers with knowledge of the plan who spoke with VICE News. ...

The GOP does want to reduce emissions but by investing in clean tech. Still, the plan includes no explicit emissions reductions targets, the staffers told VICE News. The GOP also has no proposal to regulate the transportation sector, the highest-emitting sector in the U.S. President Donald Trump has consistently pushed to relax tailpipe emissions standards.

The plan also aims to spur investments in carbon capture tech, devices designed to pull greenhouse gases directly out of the air. The GOP wants to empower people to plant trees to mop carbon out of the atmosphere, too. The Trillion Trees Act, another GOP bill which Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas is working on, will set a target for tree-planting nationwide, for the purpose of sequestering carbon. (According to Axios, the plan doesn’t actually call for planting a trillion trees.)

Also of Interest

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

The US’s Inalienable Right to Violence

Author of Leaked OPCW Engineering Report on Douma Speaks at UN Security Council

If Democrats Want to Honor Legacy of Dr. King, Says Ocasio-Cortez, "We Have to Be Dangerous Too"

Bernie Sanders Hasn’t Quite Captured What Wall Street Does: It’s Actually a Fraud-Monetization System with a Money-Printing Unit Called the New York Fed

Chicago Tribune staff fear ‘avaricious destruction’ by hedge fund owners

Rising: Are Dems dumb enough to let Hunter Biden testify?

Saagar Enjeti: The one thing that could keep Bernie from winning

Krystal and Saagar interview Tom Steyer's Press Secretary

Rising - Nebraska Dem Party Chair: How to win on progressive values in rural America

Rising: Bernie overtakes Biden nationally

Rising: Will Biden's negative attack on Bernie backfire?

A Little Night Music

Hot Lips Page - The Blues Jumped The Rabbit

Hot Lips Page - I Got An Uncle In Harlem

Hot Lips Page - Feelin' High And Happy

Hot Lips Page & his Orch. - They Raided The Joint

Hot Lips Page - He's Pulling His Whiskers

Hot Lips Page (Vocals by Ruby Richards) - I Bongo You

Hot Lips Page - I Want To Ride Like The Cowboys Do

Hot Lips Page - Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You?

Hot Lips Page - Uncle Sam Blues

Hot Lips Page - Last Call For Alcohol

16 users have voted.


Azazello's picture

Krystal went on CNN to talk about Hillary. Here's how that went.

12 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, thanks! pretty amusing to watch the delusional clintonite demolished by facts.

7 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

The act of voting is one of the props that sustains the delusion of self-rule. People do vote, but the candidates are decided by the oligarchy of organized interest groups. This is also the conclusion of a 2014 study by Princeton University professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page about the extent to which U.S. government policy reflects public preferences. Gilens and Page found that voters are, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant to their own “democratic” government:

“[The] preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy . . . Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it” (Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 575, 76).

Instead of representing the common interest of the people, government answers to organized interest groups. Gilens and Page cite the dominance over policy of special interests who use public policy to serve their interests rather than the public’s. We see the effects of this plutocracy in the sharp rise in the inequality of income and wealth, a gap which has grown into a chasm.

Also as far as tRumpolini in Davos, it proves this point

9 users have voted.

tRump amerika's last president

Prez tRumpet blows hard, nothing comes out


snoopydawg's picture


This has been posted here many times but ICYMI. No matter how many petitions, letters, emails or phone calls we make it doesn't move the needle one iota.

As for preselected candidates look how the DNC or DCCC will tell someone not to run because they have someone else in mind for the position.

9 users have voted.

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

enhydra lutris's picture

assuming I get to it.

5 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


yep, gilens and page did great work. it's a shame that the national conversation that their work should have triggered has never come to pass, though i suppose that it didn't is a form of confirmation of their conclusions.

4 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

11 users have voted.

tRump amerika's last president

Prez tRumpet blows hard, nothing comes out


snoopydawg's picture

This is interesting if true.

Since Trump isn't going to call Biden and son to show why he was calling for investigations into Ukraine's corruption I'm thinking both parties are just playing along with the kabuki BS that is being used to distract us. I'm also not impressed with Trump's justice department cuz every person who did wrong is still walking free. Durham will be the last hope for the country and if he just slaps some wrists then justice is dead.

Your cute dawg video

15 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


heh, the word salad (i presume we're talking about the first tweet) implies that there is some mathematical connection between the comment tweet and the assorted polling data in the original tweet. on the other hand, maybe it is not intended to make any sort of literal or mathematical sense and is just a complaint that no matter how hard women work, they can't seem to get elected president.

maybe it's just a complaint about america, after all, like medicare for all has been acheived by many other countries, they have been able to install women as heads of state.

damn, when do we get our katherine the great or maggie thatcher?

i don't get it. perhaps i'm just brainwashed by the patriarchy. i dunno.

anyway, have a good one!

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

is just a complaint that no matter how hard women work, they can't seem to get elected president.

If a woman can't become president then it's because people don't want to support her. Why do people need to go with pretzelized logic of sexism and misogynism instead of seeing that people prefer some other candidates? I bet most of the country didn't not vote for Hillary because she was a woman. This never entered my mind. What did was knowing about her past history and that's what I rejected.

Did you see Beagle Bailey dancing? She's a little plump, but Tre cute.

BTW. This is my beagle Bailey. I was taking a beagle break.


Check out her collar. She got to go in the snoopy store to pick it out.

7 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


i voted for a woman in the last couple of elections.

perhaps if the primaries don't work out, i'll vote for beagle bailey next time. Smile

5 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack
both Lizzie II and Maggie T. Do they evah think about that. Besides, Thatcher II lost 2016 of her own accord, less hubris and narcissism and she would've bagged it.

5 users have voted.

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

enhydra lutris's picture

Giffords Law Center study. I thought about trying to get that in somewhere because it's such a compelling case for putting the blame right where it belongs, but never got to it.

As a companion to the "empty world" article, there was this America’s Radioactive Secret in Rolling Stone: Its a monster read, a serious expose of all of the radwaste that the oil and gas industry is spewing, dumping and spelling all over the place and the missing or overly lax regulation thereof. Next time you have a spare half hour or so. Wink

have a good one.

10 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

thanks for the radioactive fracking article. i skimmed through it, the phrase "sacrifice zones" kept running through my head.

have a good one!

7 users have voted.
Lily O Lady's picture

@joe shikspack

out. The Tree of Knowledge was indeed a curse. I mean this metaphorically, of course.

6 users have voted.

"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"

@enhydra lutris and a fracking operation 11 miles away.
I read the article. Thank you so much for bringing it to our attention.
We need to go back to hunter-gathers in small tribes of no more ant 150 people, where true democracy was practiced, and where sharing was the way of life.

6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

if you are not on city water, test your water now to get a baseline, in case you need to hold the frackers accountable later.

i'm not sure that the hunter gatherer thing is viable with 7 billion people on the planet. clearly though, we need to find another way of living.

7 users have voted.

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack @joe shikspack a couple of weeks ago. It was written by a professor who wrote books on tribes, not just here, but around the world. The gist was about stress, the known. When the hunt gathered nothing, the tribe moved, knew they would find something the next day. When the tent blew down, they knew what to do. When the rivers rose, they knew what to do.
No hoarding, always sharing.
According to the Professor, those ancient tribes had the same brain development as you and I have. Human brains were developed, and stopped development at such time when they could handle all known events.
Today, we worry about getting to work on time, traffic, the rent, feeding kids, pleasing our bosses, and nuclear war, just to list a few. According to this man, our brains were not developed, never evolved past basic hunter/gatherer. We were never built to deal with this current world.
I can look through some emails and so forth, find the professor's name.
I read it, sent it to friends, and will send info to you eventually.
His premise is we do not have the brain/body development to deal with the unknown. Humans were built to deal with the known.
I promise I will look for it, will send it to you.

Edit: If I find it.
I know I sent it to friends. Maybe they can give me the title of his book.
I have, unfortunately deleted emails recently.

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

i'd be interested to check it out if you find it.

2 users have voted.

@joe shikspack The professor/author was trying to say that our lives today are untenable, not what our brains were capable of absorbing, as opposed to the brain development of our brains knowing what to expect. It was all couched in terms of stress. His theory is that our brains did not develop for stress beyond hunter-gatherers.
I will find it eventually.
It really, really changes we the way thinking people should, well, THINK.
The 150 cap for tribes/hunter gatherers is easy to find.

2 users have voted.

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack Jimmy Dore interviewed the professor about a book he had just published. The man teaches at a university in California, has spent time with primitive tribes throughout the world.
I tell people I will remember a fact or a name at 3:00 a.m. and they laugh.
Last night, at 3:00 a.m., I remembered this! lol!

1 user has voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

that gives me a start.

0 users have voted.