The Evening Blues - 1-23-20


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Bobby Blue Bland

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues singer Bobby Blue Bland. Enjoy!

Bobby "Blue" Bland - Farther Up The Road

"Remember when Obama was campaigning? Didn't he say he was going to close Guantanamo Bay? Didn't he say that? Apparently, he just meant for renovations."

-- Jay Leno

News and Opinion

The Psychologist Who Tortured Accused 9/11 Plotters for the CIA: ‘I Would Do It Again’

James Mitchell appeared at the notorious military prison on Tuesday, where five accused al-Qaeda members stand charged with helping to plan and finance the 2001 tragedy that left nearly 3,000 dead. If convicted, they face the death penalty. Mitchell — to his admitted surprise — appeared for the defense, which argues that because the defendants were tortured at CIA “black sites” around the world, their statements are irrevocably tainted. ...

James Connell, the attorney who led the questioning, offered Mitchell a chance to correct the record, particularly around the prevalence of detainee torture. “Dr. Mitchell is sometimes portrayed as a rogue actor,” Connell said. In reality, he was a contractor, part of a much larger system involving the CIA, FBI, and others. He personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who’s accused of planning the 9/11 attacks alongside Osama bin Laden. ...

All five defendants in the case were tortured, according to the defense; lawyers argue that because the practice was so widespread, with no clear lines drawn between agencies that did and didn’t use extreme techniques, any statements obtained in that environment can’t be considered “voluntary.” Under the military commission rules established for trials at Guantánamo Bay, coerced information can’t be used. ...

If the judge decides the torture program undermines statements given by the defendants, the government’s case could be in serious jeopardy the most consequential trial to come out of Guantánamo Bay could be at its most precarious point yet — after decades of legal wrangling in both civilian and military courts.

North Korea abandons nuclear freeze pledge, blames 'brutal' U.S. sanctions

North Korea said on Tuesday it was no longer bound by commitments to halt nuclear and missile testing, blaming the United States’ failure to meet a year-end deadline for nuclear talks and “brutal and inhumane” U.S. sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set an end-December deadline for denuclearization talks with the United States and White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said at the time the United States had opened channels of communication. ...

Ju Yong Chol, a counselor at North Korea’s mission to the U.N. in Geneva, said that over the past two years, his country had halted nuclear tests and test firing of inter-continental ballistic missiles “in order to build confidence with the United States”. But the United States had responded by conducting dozens of joint military exercises with South Korea on the divided peninsula and by imposing sanctions, he said.

“As it became clear now that the U.S. remains unchanged in its ambition to block the development of the DPRK and stifle its political system, we found no reason to be unilaterally bound any longer by the commitment that the other party fails to honor,” Ju told the U.N.-backed Conference on Disarmament.

More U.S. Troops Injured in Iran Missile Attack Are Being Shipped to Germany for Treatment

Though President Donald Trump bragged that no Americans were harmed in the Iranian missile strike on U.S. forces in Iraq earlier this month, the Pentagon is telling a different — and evolving — story of more than a dozen injured, and maybe more to come.

After admitting Friday that 11 U.S. troops had been hospitalized for concussion-like symptoms, Pentagon officials said Tuesday that “additional” personnel had been sent to an American military hospital in Germany for treatment “on an outpatient basis.” They declined to say exactly how many were hospitalized.

Trump downplayed the seriousness of the injuries, however. “I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I can report it is not very serious,” Trump said during a Wednesday press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. After a follow-up asking if he considered traumatic brain injuries “serious,” Trump responded: “No, I don’t consider them very serious relative to other injuries that I’ve seen.”

“As medical treatment and evaluations in theater continue, additional service members have been identified as having potential injuries,” Army Maj. Beth Riordan, a spokesperson for the military, said in a statement on Tuesday announcing the additional injuries. Riordan also noted that more reported injuries may be coming. “Given the nature of injuries already noted, it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future,” the statement read.

Krystal & Saagar: Public's real impeachment views, Establishment Dems pathetic silence on Greenwald

Luigi Di Maio resigns as leader of Italy's Five Star Movement

Luigi Di Maio has resigned as leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S), part of Italy’s ruling coalition, as he seeks to calm the turmoil within the party threatening the government’s survival. Di Maio, 33, had been under pressure to step down after losing more than 20 MPs, who either left or were kicked out, after the party formed an alliance with the centre-left Democratic party (PD) in September. Di Maio will retain his position as foreign minister. ...

M5S has lost half of its supporters since scoring the largest share of the vote in national elections in 2018. It has performed dismally in local elections and is expected to be badly defeated in regional elections in both Emilia-Romagna and Calabria on Sunday. “His resignation is more of a move to try and contain the potential turmoil of the party that could erupt on Monday,” said Wolfango Piccoli, the co-president of the London-based research company Teneo.

“It’s some sort of internal party management, but the reality is that there are more question marks about the party … its sense of mission has been somewhat betrayed, it needs to reinvent itself.” ...

Di Maio, who worked as a football stadium steward before joining M5S in his early 20s, was elected leader in 2017 as the party sought to broaden its appeal beyond the bombastic, anti-establishment origins laid down by its founder, the comedian Beppe Grillo.

'National travesty': report shows one third of Canada's prisoners are Indigenous

More than 30% of inmates in Canadian prisons are Indigenous – even though aboriginal people make up just 5% of the country’s population, according to new figures released by a federal watchdog. In a scathing report published on Tuesday, the correctional investigator of Canada, Dr Ivan Zinger, described Indigenous overrepresentation in the country’s jails and prisons as “nothing short of a national travesty”.

The figure is highest in the prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, where Indigenous people make up 54% of the prison population. Quebec had the lowest proportion of aboriginal prisoners, but at 15% the group was still dramatically overrepresented.

Numerous factors – including poverty rates and racism in policing – contribute to the imbalance in convictions.

And once in detention, Indigenous people face another set of systemic inequities: Indigenous offenders are more likely to be sent of maximum-security facilities and are disproportionately the recipients of harm, both self-induced and in incidents involving “use of force”. They are also much more likely to be placed in solitary confinement.

Trump Brags About Withholding Evidence as Democratic Impeachment Managers Lay Out Case in the Senate

Chris Hedges calls out Dems lack of moral authority on impeachment

Heh. Are the Democrats desperate enough to offer up a sacrifice on the altar of impeachment?

Some Democrats Are So Desperate for Bolton to Testify, They're Reportedly Willing to Trade for a Biden

Senate Democrats have a problem: They want key witnesses like former national security advisor John Bolton to testify in the impeachment trial, but they’re four votes short of a Senate majority. So they’re looking for other ways to get what they need—including, reportedly, giving the Republicans a key concession: Testimony from a Biden.

The Washington Post reported late Tuesday that a “small group of Democratic senators” are privately mulling a potential deal to subpoena either Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden or his son, Hunter—the ex-Burisma board member whom President Donald Trump and his allies pushed the Ukrainian government to investigate—to testify.

The idea’s origins lie in the Republican caucus, where Sen. Ted Cruz reportedly suggested the trade in a private GOP meeting last week. The Democrats’ tentative approach to a trade, however, indicates that it’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. ...

At least one Biden ally, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, has been publicly receptive of the idea of having the longtime former senator testify. ... Other Democrats maintained that Hunter Biden was irrelevant to the impeachment trial, although none exactly shot the idea down. “If there are four Republicans who open the conversation about witnesses, then I assume there will be a negotiation that follows — but I can’t tell you where it goes,” Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin told the Post.

Adam Schiff’s Unhinged Fear Mongering At Impeachment Trial

'Hobnobbing With Billionaires in Davos,' Trump Admits—If Reelected—He Will Seek to Cut Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare

While attending the World Economic Forum's summit of global elites in the Swiss mountaintop retreat of Davos on Wednesday, President Donald Trump openly admitted he would—if reelected in 2020—consider cutting back funding for key social programs including Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

The remarks came in an interview with CNBC's Joe Kernen in Davos, and although the news outlet did not report them in their initial write-up of the exchange, they were captured in the transcript:

KERNEN: Do I dare— one last question.


KERNEN: Entitlements ever be on your plate?

TRUMP: At some point they will be. We have tremendous growth. We're going to have tremendous growth. This next year I—it'll be toward the end of the year. The growth is going to be incredible. And at the right time, we will take a look at that. You know, that's actually the easiest of all things, if you look, cause it's such a—

KERNEN: If you're willing—

TRUMP: —big percentage.

KERNEN: —to do some of the things that you said you wouldn't do in the past, though, in terms of Medicare—

TRUMP: Well, we're going—we're going to look....

"After a day of hobnobbing with billionaires in Davos, President Trump publicly revealed that cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits will be on the table as soon as the end of this year," said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in a statement. "The cruel irony of this scene cannot be overstated."

Keiser Report: All Rescue Roads Lead to the Elite

11 NGO Leaders at Davos Warn Against Pending Private Equity Takeover of .Org Domain

The executive directors of 11 major international nongovernmental organizations on Wednesday added their voices to a swelling chorus opposed to the pending sale of the nonprofit registry that operates the .org top-level domain to a recently established private equity firm.

The NGO leaders came together at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland to unveil a letter (pdf) they sent Tuesday to Andrew Sullivan, president and CEO of the Internet Society (ISOC), and Göran Marby, president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ISOC established the Public Interest Registry (PIR), which operates the .org domain and could soon be sold to the private equity firm Ethos Capital. The $1.135 billion deal, announced in November 2019, must be approved by ICANN. Last week, amid growing public outrage, ICANN and PIR extended the review period until Feb. 17.

Critics of the sale include NGOs, tech leaders, U.S. lawmakers, U.N. special rapporteurs, and more than 21,000 people worldwide who have signed the "SaveDotOrg" petition. They have expressed concerns that Ethos' possible takeover of .org—which was created to serve nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations but is an open domain—could increase costs, create service problems, and lead to censorship by powerful corporate interests.

The new letter was signed by heads of Greenpeace International, Access Now, Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, the International Trade Union Confederation, Sierra Club, Amnesty International, Consumer Reports,, Color of Change, and Transparency International.

"Free expression around the world is increasingly endangered by government and corporate players, which is why we are joining other civil society organizations in making public our concerns over the .org sale," the ACLU's Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. "The internet is crucial to the integrity of civil liberties and human rights work, and also the safety of those doing it. The security of civil society should not be entrusted to private equity."

Brett Solomon of Access Now warned that "if .org is transferred to the private sector, it would inevitably make its way into the hands of those who stand to gain from its control and are willing the pay the price to have it—that could be, for example, the Saudi or Chinese government, or surveillance tech investors like Novalpina Capital."

"Certain public goods should never be for sale," according to Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch. As he put it: "We don't auction off the town square. Similarly, ICANN shouldn't approve the sale of .org, which is the essential haven where civic groups gather the world over."

Matt Stoller dismantles Jamie Dimon's hypocritical Davos socialism attack

Freedom Rider: The Internet Does Washington’s Dirty Work

In its early days the internet seemed to be an undisputed good, a means of communication open to all. It was hoped that these new platforms would level the playing field and give smaller outlets like Black Agenda Report access to a worldwide audience. The internet has done that but it is also a weapon that is used against the left in this country and against nations and movements declared enemies by this government. In the rush of enthusiasm one important fact was forgotten. The internet is in the hands of private corporations. They decide who gets service, where they get it and at what speed. The growth of social media only exacerbated the problems of corporate control. ...

When the U.S. government speaks, Facebook and Twitter listen and then do as they are told. When foreign governments are declared adversaries their representatives and advocates are censored. In the past year, the Syrian government and the Venezuelan government have been temporarily blocked on Twitter. Sites such as Telesur have been repeatedly removed from Facebook. Numerous Palestinian advocacy sites have been removed from Facebook at the behest of the Israeli government. ... But the loss of access is not the biggest problem. When the United States government killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani they also wanted to kill off his memory. Facebook posts which spoke of him in any favorable light were removed. Facebook isn’t alone in joining the governmental directive. The Iranian English language service, Presstv, was removed from Youtube, which is owned by Google. Years of reporting and interviews, including some given by this columnist, disappeared into the black hole of cyberspace. When the U.S. began ratcheting up its maximum pressure, the corporate sector went right along and Presstv was sent down the memory hole.

Censorship has gotten worse because of liberals, not conservatives, and they have used the Russiagate fraud to accelerate the deplatforming process. Immediately after the 2016 election we were told that the Russian government was responsible for Trump’s victory and that censorship was the only thing standing between us and living under the control of Vladimir Putin. ... Already Russia is being blamed for election interference, yet Russia is not the target. The left is the target and Democrats are leading the charge. Their goal is to narrow discourse and to make war propaganda acceptable. It is an irony and a contradiction that while Trump is falsely accused of being under Russian influence, his policy goals are furthered with help from liberals. U.S. imperialism is a thoroughly bipartisan project.

Terry Jones, Life of Brian director and Monty Python founder, dies aged 77

Terry Jones, founder member of Monty Python and director of three of Python’s celebrated feature films, has died aged 77, his family have announced. In a statement they said: “Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.”

“Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London. We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.” ...

After huge success with Python in the 1970s and early 80s, including the feature films Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life, Jones went on to work on a huge variety of projects. With Palin, he created the successful TV series Ripping Yarns and forged a post-Python directorial career with Personal Services, Erik the Viking and The Wind in the Willows. He made a series of TV documentaries (specialising in medieval history), wrote nearly 20 children’s books, and contributed a string of comment pieces for the Guardian and Observer denouncing the “war on terror”.

the horse race

Go Tulsi!

Tulsi Gabbard sues Hillary Clinton for $50m over 'Russian asset' remark

The Hawaii congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is suing Hillary Clinton for defamation, alleging the 2016 nominee described her as a “Russian asset” and claiming more than $50m in damages. Gabbard, who sued Google in July 2019, also claiming $50m, filed the lawsuit in the southern district of New York. She claims that in October 2019 Clinton “falsely stated” that Gabbard “is a ‘Russian asset’”.

“Clinton’s false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi’s presidential campaign,” the filing says. The lawsuit claims: “The defamatory statements have caused Tulsi to lose potential donors and potential voters who heard the defamatory statements. Tulsi has suffered significant actual damages, personally and professionally, that are estimated to exceed $50m – and continue to this day.”

The lawsuit claims Clinton made the remark in “retribution” for Gabbard supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary and describes Clinton as a “cut-throat politician” who has “never forgotten this perceived slight”.

Tulsi Gabbard: “Legalize ALL Drugs!” Not Just Marijuana

Tim Robbins: Bernie Sanders Is the Best Shot We Have to Defeat Donald Trump

New Ad Campaign Ties Biden to 'Heartless' GOP Efforts to Cut Social Security

Organize for Justice, the 501(c)4 campaign arm of Justice Democrats, is rolling out a series of primary campaign ads targeting former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in early states voting and caucusing to select the 2020 Democratic nominee. 

Biden's history as a senator from Delaware was the topic of the first ad, which highlights Biden's multiple statements over the years expressing approval for "heartless" efforts by Republicans to cut Social Security and other public services.

"Why did Joe Biden join Republicans to attack benefits for seniors?" wondered activist Jordan Uhl.

Justice Democrats executive director Alexandra Rojas, who serves as the board president for Organize for Justice, told Common Dreams in a statement that the reality of the U.S. political system forced them into producing the commercials to show the American people the truth.

"As billionaires, SuperPACs, and corporate-backed front groups spend millions to misinform voters about progressive policies and candidates, the progressive movement has to fight back," said Rojas. "Americans need to know about Biden's and Buttigieg's records and their relationships with corporate executives and donors."

The first ad is just the beginning, the group said.

Black Voters Matter Fund co-founder Cliff Albright, in a statement, endorsed the efforts by Organize for Justice to air the details of Buttigieg and Biden's pasts and took specific aim at Biden's comments last year seen as praising segregationists. "Black America, and by extension all America, needs a presidential candidate who is willing to confront white supremacy," said Albright. "Not pine for the good old days when it was at its height. Not negotiate with it. Not appease it and not hide from it."

Organize for Justice intends to spend around $500,000 on ads over the next two months in early states:

Some of the ads highlight Biden's record working with Republicans to support the Iraq War, the crime bill, and cuts to social security, as well as his poor leadership during the Anita Hill hearings and his support for the bankruptcy bill. Other ads highlight Buttigieg’s record at McKinsey, his cozy relationship with Wall Street and Big Pharma, and his flip-flopping over Medicare for All.

Iowa CCI Action Fund organizer Jack Reardon endorsed Organize for Justice's approach.

"Americans have a right to know which candidates are accountable to everyday people," said Reardon, "and which candidates have chosen to be accountable to big money and corporations."

Krystal Ball: Joe's latest meltdown shows he stands no chance against Trump

Shaky Joe Biden, Billionaire Bloomberg, and the Global Race to the Bottom

U.S. oligarchs have begun to panic at the prospect that they will lose control of the other half of the American electoral duopoly. With the GOP in Donald Trump’s unreliable hands, the Democrats four years ago became the de facto ruling class party, and thus the favored brand of the national security state and most of the corporate media. Although there is not even one genuine anti-imperialist among congressional Democrats – certainly not Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren -- the party’s popular base is in revolt against a 40-year domestic austerity regime that offers nothing but ever-declining real wages, non-existent job security and a visibly decaying nation-scape. It has finally dawned on most Americans that they have been conscripted into a Global Race to the Bottom, and they want out of the downward spiral. Sanders and Warren are running for president on austerity-busting issues supported by super-majorities of Democrats (and up to half of Republicans). In previous eras, the corporate rulers would embrace milder versions of reform in health care, wages, job security, educational costs, and environmental protection, in order to blunt demands for more transformative measures. But those days are over. The Lords of Capital are committed to the Race to the Bottom – locked in by the nature of capitalism-in-decline. ...

Winning the nomination, or even the presidency, doesn’t automatically get you control of the party. But the Democratic Party is a political organism with an institutional life. Although probably only 20 House members, and less than a handful of senators, can at this moment be counted on to support Sanders’ full agenda, that cohort would immediately swell if Sanders wins the nomination in Milwaukee -- and will explode if he is elected president in November. Former New York mayor Bloomberg, the most electorally-attuned of the oligarchs, knows this. He understands that Democratic politicians will only remain fully dependable corporate servants if they are provided with an assured source of funds, through reliable structures. Bloomberg’s gambit is to enlist his ruling class fellows in an all-out push to further consolidate their dollar-dominance of the institutional Democratic Party – the only electoral vehicle left to preserve austerity capitalism with a racially “diverse” face. Although Bloomberg cannot expect to win a decisive number of delegates, he is conducting a “demonstration-effect” campaign to fully engage his uber-class fellows in the fight to maintain the corporate nature of the Democratic Party. ...

The best outcome in 2020 would be a break-up of the Democratic Party, creating space for a genuine political debate in the belly of the imperial beast. It now appears that such a rupture is at least as likely to come from the Right, from Bloomberg-organized billionaires, as from the Left, through a mass defection by Sanders supporters infuriated by yet another round of the Party’s dirty tricks. I believe Bloomberg is preparing to launch a kind of “Third Way” party structure to shore up corporate Democrats, and isolate and deny endorsement to Sanders should the Vermont senator win the nomination – leaving Sanders with only the rump of a party behind him.

the evening greens

US drinking water contamination with ‘forever chemicals’ far worse than scientists thought

The contamination of US drinking water with manmade “forever chemicals” is far worse than previously estimated with some of the highest levels found in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, said a report on Wednesday by an environmental watchdog group. The chemicals, resistant to breaking down in the environment, are known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Some have been linked to cancers, liver damage, low birth weight and other health problems.

The findings here by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) show the group’s previous estimate in 2018, based on unpublished US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, that 110 million Americans may be contaminated with PFAS, could be far too low.

“It’s nearly impossible to avoid contaminated drinking water from these chemicals,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG and co-author of the report. The chemicals were used in products like Teflon and Scotchguard and in firefighting foam. Some are used in a variety of other products and industrial processes, and their replacements also pose risks.

Of tap water samples taken by EWG from 44 sites in 31 states and Washington DC, only one location, Meridian, Mississippi, which relies on 700ft (215m) deep wells, had no detectable PFAS. Only Seattle and Tuscaloosa, Alabama had levels below 1 part per trillion (PPT), the limit EWG recommends.

Warning of 'Environmental Ruin and With It a Human Tragedy,' Report Details Triple Threat to Coral Reefs

In a new report about how the world's coral reefs face "the combined threats of climate change, pollution, and overfishing"—endangering the future of marine biodiversity—a London-based nonprofit calls for greater global efforts to end the climate crisis and ensure the survival of these vital underwater ecosystems. The report, entitled Marine Havens Under Threat: The impacts of the climate crisis on tropical coral reefs and the communities that rely on them (pdf), was published Wednesday by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).

EJF warns that because of human activities that heat and pollute the planet, coral reefs "are under imminent risk of destruction," pointing to a recent estimate from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that global warming of 2°C could kill 99% of all corals.

The ocean, which covers more than 70% of the planet, "has taken up between 20–30% of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions since the 1980s causing further ocean acidification," according to an IPCC special report from last year. The lead author of a study published last week said that "the amount of heat we have put in the world's oceans in the past 25 years equals to 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom-bomb explosions."

Some scientists refer to three key climate-related pressures on the marine environment—warming, acidification, and oxygen loss—as the "deadly trio." Experts also warn that human-caused global heating leads to sea level rise and certain extreme weather events becoming more frequent and intense.

"As the global temperature rises, reefs will be put at risk from warming oceans, higher frequency cyclones, increased precipitation, sea level rise, rising acidification, and changing ocean circulation," the EJF report says. "These factors alter the delicate balance of conditions necessary for tropical coral reefs to function, causing bleaching and destruction of reefs. In many cases, this damage is irreversible."

Marine heatwaves, which experts warn will become more common as humans continue to heat the planet, have led to major coral bleaching events around the world in recent years. A study from 2018 concluded that the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, the world's largest coral system, was "forever damaged" following back-to-back bleaching events that collectively killed half of the corals.

Bleaching refers to when stressors such as warm water and pollution lead coral to expel algae, its main food source, and turn white. Bleached coral faces a greater risk of disease and death but can recover if surrounding conditions improve. Last year, a study about severe marine heatwaves heightened alarm about the future; researchers found cases where "the water temperatures are so warm that the coral animal doesn't bleach—in terms of a loss of its symbiosis—the animal dies and its underlying skeleton is all that remains." ...

Acknowledging that coral reefs "are not only a vital source of food and income for millions of people" but also "home to a vast diversity of irreplaceable wildlife," EJF executive director Steve Trent warned Wednesday that "failure to act now to protect them will cause environmental ruin and with it a human tragedy."

Humanity Risking 'Global Disaster' as Material Consumption Passes 100 Billion Tons Annually

A new report released Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual summit in Davos reveals humanity's annual material consumption has now passed 100 billion tons per year, leading the study's authors to urge world governments and communities to drastically reduce waste.

The global think tank Circle Economy showed in its study (pdf) that global consumption just in the last two years has risen by 8% while the reuse and recycling of materials has gone down by half a percentage point—the exact opposite of what needs to happen to build a sustainable global economy.

The group detailed the "circularity gap" on social media.

"The negative trend overall can be explained by three related, underlying trends: high rates of extraction; ongoing stock build-up; plus, low levels of end-of-use processing, and cycling," Circle Economy says. "These trends are embedded deep within the 'take-make-waste' tradition of the linear economy—the problems are hardwired. As such, the outlook to close the circularity gap looks bleak under the dead hand of business as usual. We desperately need transformative and correctional solutions; change is a must."

Also of Interest

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

Intercepted podcast: Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and the Rewriting of Iraq War History

23 Headlines Obscure Biden’s Lies About Cutting Social Security

Brazil’s attack on Greenwald mirrors the US case against Assange

Trevor Timm: Brazil's charges against Glenn Greenwald reek of authoritarianism

Greenwald charges are ‘existential threat’ to journalism in Brazil, says Edward Snowden

Why Actually Principled People Are Difficult (Glenn Greenwald Edition)

How Western Left Media Helped Legitimate US Regime Change in Venezuela

“It Depends”: Trump Casts Doubt On White House Legal Theory As Republican Senators Declare It Invalid

The Man Who Advises the New York Fed Says It and Other Central Banks Are “Fueling a Ponzi Market”

America’s Radioactive Secret

Planet Just Had Costliest Decade for Global Natural Disasters: Insurance Industry Report

Naomi Klein: How the Transformative Power of Solidarity Will Beat Trump

Democratic Party Loyalty Has Always Been a Scam

Democracy Now: “Dark Waters”: Meet the Lawyer Whose 20-Year Fight Against DuPont Inspired the New Film

The Grayzone's Anya Parampil slams mainstream media's anti-Sanders bias on Tucker Carlson Tonight

Saagar Enjeti: Tulsi Gabbard deserves some of Hillary's corrupt money

Kyle Kulinski: Will the establishment fall in line behind Bernie?

Rising: Sanders takes a double digit lead in New Hampshire

Rising: What would a Sanders-Trump match-up look like?

A Little Night Music

Bobby "Blue" Bland - Blind Man

Bobby "Blue" Bland - It's My Life, Baby

Bobby "Blue" Bland - You Did Me Wrong

Bobby "Blue" Bland - I Learned My Lesson

Bobby Bland - Two Steps From The Blues

Bobby Blue Bland - I Smell Trouble

Bobby "Blue" Bland - I Can't Put You Down

Bobby "Blue" Bland - These Hands (Small But Mighty)

Bobby "Blue" Bland - No Blow, No Show

Bobby "Blue" Bland - Turn On Your Love Light

Bobby "Blue" Bland - Yield Not To Temptation

15 users have voted.


"I smell trouble"
Wafting a blend of satan and Davos.
Burnt rubber with undertones of sulfur.

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, every year i see these pictures of davos. it looks like a really pretty place. but i keep wondering, how do they get the stink out of the place once the billionaires leave?

5 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

I thought that Keiser Report was really important. Stacy's chart, M2 stock v. M2 velocity, says it all. Free money for the billionaires. All the cash the Fed has been pumping in hasn't caused inflation and it hasn't trickled down to the real economy. It's being hoarded.
Here's a Bloomberg piece on Pentagon accounting: Pentagon Racks Up $35 Trillion in Accounting Changes in One Year
Not the Onion: Australia’s Largest Mining Company is Worried Bushfires are Affecting Coal Production
Tulsi's new ad:

11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture



All the cash the Fed has been pumping in hasn't caused inflation

it looks to me like the fed has finally found a way to fulfill its true purpose - make the rich endlessly, exponentially richer without causing the dreaded inflation.

double heh...

The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone -- a total that’s larger than the entire U.S. economy and underscores the Defense Department’s continuing difficulty in balancing its books.

The latest estimate is up from $30.7 trillion in 2018 and $29 trillion in 2017, the first year adjustments were tracked in a concerted way, according to Pentagon figures and a lawmaker who’s pursued the accounting morass.

The figure dwarfs the $738 billion of defense-related funding in the latest U.S. budget, a spending plan that includes the most expensive weapons systems in the world including the F-35 jet as well as new aircraft carriers, destroyers and submarines.

“Within that $30 trillion is a lot of double, triple, and quadruple counting of the same money as it got moved between accounts,” said Todd Harrison, a Pentagon budget expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

it's a feature, not a bug. the intention is not to be accountable, rather it is to make any attempt to untangle an incomprehensibly fucked up set of books utterly impossible.

triple heh...

The multinational mining, metals, and petroleum company claimed in an end-of-year operational review that smoke and dust from the fires had negatively affected the air quality at their coal mines in New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia and the one that’s been most widely affected by bushfires. If the air quality continues to deteriorate, they added, “then operations could be constrained further in the second half of the [fiscal] year [ending June 30].”

company spokesman bituminous jones commented, "no worries, mate, we're hot on the track of fully automating coal extraction."

8 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
Evokes the '64 classic.

Remember this poster ?

7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i was going to put this up tomorrow, but what the heck...


WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 23, 2020 – The iconic Doomsday Clock symbolizing the gravest perils facing humankind is now closer to midnight than at any point since its creation in 1947. To underscore the need for action, the time on the Doomsday Clock is now being expressed in seconds, rather than minutes: Today, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board in consultation with the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors, which includes 13 Nobel Laureates, moved the Doomsday Clock from two minutes to midnight to 100 seconds to midnight.

As the statement issued today by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists explains: “Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.”

The Doomsday Clock has now moved closer to midnight in three of the last four years. While the Doomsday Clock did not move in 2019, its minute hand was set forward in 2018 by 30 seconds, to two minutes before midnight. The Clock was adjusted in 2017 to two and a half minutes to midnight from its previous setting of three minutes to midnight.

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “It is 100 seconds to midnight. We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds – not hours, or even minutes. It is the closest to Doomsday we have ever been in the history of the Doomsday Clock. We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay.

[more at the link - js]

11 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
I'm not watching the impeachment show, but I've got PBS on in the other room, muted of course, and I'll catch a couple minutes now and then. PBS is running graphics while people speak. Just reading their little graphics I can see that this whole damn thing is just one big exercise in New Cold War propaganda. To Hell with their New Cold War and to Hell with their Bullshit Impeachment.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


when i get into the car sometimes npr is on and my impression was that the house democrats are trying to free up seats in the senate by boring senators to death.

6 users have voted.
k9disc's picture

Have not been here in a while... just signed in to say that James Mitchell should go to fucking jail.

14 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

joe shikspack's picture


absolutely, mitchell, jessen, rumsfeld, cheney, bush and all of the other creeps that had a hand in requesting, designing, implementing and executing torture should be in orange jumpsuits in the dock at the hague.

they are a national disgrace.

12 users have voted.

the empty suit

Former President Barack Obama has remained mostly silent through the early stages of the Democratic race to unseat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election but that may soon change, friends and associates tell FOX Business, as avowed socialist Bernie Sanders gains in national polls and seems poised to obtain front-runner status.

The people who spoke on the condition of anonymity say Obama's preference had always been to lay low through the primaries aside from making some broad comments as he did in November of last year when, according to a report in The New York Times, the former two-term president, best known for expanding the size of government and his eponymous health care mandate, appeared genuinely worried about some of the increasingly leftist proposals being touted on the campaign trail from Sanders, the US senator from Vermont, and to some extent, Elizabeth Warren, the US senator from Massachusetts.

"The average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system to remake it," the Times quoted Obama, who was speaking at a gathering of Democratic donors.

18 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


yep, it looks like people are coming out of the woodwork to endorse sanders. the corporate party establishment are going to have the time of their lives putting this one back in the can.

11 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Yes it would be, but

Oh look the Clintons website has a hit job on Bernie

This is the place where Chelsea Clinton sits on the board right?


Assange news


More unbelievable

The posse comitatus act has been nullified and yet people still think that they are free and brave. Imagine if the other rights had been protected as much as the second has been. When the government is involved in censorship there is no free press or a first amendment right. But hey...Trump has been impeached so now our country can get back to normal. Right?

16 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

joe shikspack's picture


thanks for all of the good stuff!

5 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture


To think that when I was in high school, Wilson was still being touted as one of America’s greatest presidents.

4 users have voted.
Bollox Ref's picture

He was persona non grata over on DailyKult.

I imagine it's the same now. 'He Who Should Not Be Named.'

16 users have voted.

from a reasonably stable genius.

joe shikspack's picture

@Bollox Ref

oh, i imagine that they will filter in, a day late and a dollar short once their hypocrisy is too evident to ignore.

9 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

of protecting whistleblowers? Aren't they saying that WBs needs all the protection of the law?
Schift said that IIRC.

10 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

joe shikspack's picture


sure, they are all in favor of whistleblowers that tell them what they want to hear.

inconvenient whistleblowers, not so much.

10 users have voted.
mimi's picture

"SOC established the Public Interest Registry (PIR), which operates the .org domain and could soon be sold to the private equity firm Ethos Capital. The $1.135 billion deal, announced in November 2019, must be approved by ICANN. Last week, amid growing public outrage, ICANN and PIR extended the review period until Feb. 17.

Why would the extend the review period. There is nothing to review. It should never be allowed to be sold to a private equity company.

Critics of the sale include NGOs, tech leaders, U.S. lawmakers, U.N. special rapporteurs, and more than 21,000 people worldwide who have signed the "SaveDotOrg" petition. They have expressed concerns that Ethos' possible takeover of .org—which was created to serve nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations but is an open domain—could increase costs, create service problems, and lead to censorship by powerful corporate interests.

"The internet is crucial to the integrity of civil liberties and human rights work, and also the safety of those doing it. The security of civil society should not be entrusted to private equity."

In the early nineties:

Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. As the web began to grow, Tim realised that its true potential would only be unleashed if anyone, anywhere could use it without paying a fee or having to ask for permission.

He explains: “Had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off. You can’t propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it.”

So, Tim and others advocated to ensure that CERN would agree to make the underlying code available on a royalty-free basis, forever. This decision was announced in April 1993, and sparked a global wave of creativity, collaboration and innovation never seen before.

What a tragedy. If a space is universal and can't be controlled, it see s the first thing getting lost by its uncontrollability, is that the space remains universal for all to use.

7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i guess that sir tim never imagined that the web would become just another battlefield in the empire's information war.

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson gave a brief statement to the press after the latest court hearing for Julian Assange’s extradition case in London today, saying the Trump administration is arguing that the First Amendment of the US Constitution doesn’t provide press freedom protection to foreign nationals like Assange.
“We have now learned from submissions and affidavits presented by the United States to this court that they do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection,” Hrafnsson said.
“Now let that sink in for a second,” Hrafnsson continued. “At the same time that the US government is chasing journalists all over the world, they claim they have extra-territorial reach, they have decided that all foreign journalists which include many of you here, have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States. So that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange, it’s about press freedom.”

12 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

joe shikspack's picture


power isn't earned. it is taken.

if the empire gets away with this, i would consider it a tipping point.

13 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


10 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

joe shikspack's picture


if one looks at the agenda of clinton, she's really just pompeo in a pantsuit.

8 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@joe shikspack  
In my entire life, there has never been a Secretary of State whom I felt well represented by.

I mean, seriously, look at these people. John Foster Dulles? Henry Kissinger? Madeleine Albright? Condoleezza Rice? HER?

7 users have voted.

rather than 'appointing' them would really muck-up the establishment.
Elections I would like to see:
Fed Reserve chair
Sec of Defense
Head of EPA
Head of Peace Dept

4 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

in our water sources. I wonder if they can be destroyed or eliminated from the water by chemical treatments of any kind.

The overcomsumption disaster news -

Humanity Risking 'Global Disaster' as Material Consumption Passes 100 Billion Tons Annually

- is in interesting juxtaposition to a headline I saw today that goes totally in the wrong direction, from, of course, Bloomberg:

Too Many Americans Will Never Be Able to Retire
Noah Smith, Bloomberg
Without more babies and immigrants, the country won’t be able to support its aging population.

This argument form (Syllogism with a missing middle premise) is called an enthymeme, and of course depends upon said missing premise both for understanding it and determining its validity. In this case, it is based on continuation of the exact same capitalist system, in all its detail, as we have now, such that more laborers are needed to fund pay-as-you-go retirement systems While continuing to divert the vast bulk of the gain from the provision of goods and services to parasitic elites. Everybody over 55 could retire easily if the fed just turned the money spigot in that direction, or the elites paid a pittance of their wealth into a fund for that purpose. This attitude does not bode well, however, for reigning in said excess consumption.

have a good one.

11 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

ewg has some information about filtering pfas from water here. it looks like there are a bunch of products on the market that can do the job.

not surprising that bloomberg offers a pretty shallow view of the possible remedies for arranging for the dignified retirement of older people, since the industry it is pitched to has always viewed retirement as a profit center at best or more accurately an opportunity for enhanced fraud.

9 users have voted.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


imagine that, the people of iraq would like their country back. of course, if they force the u.s. to leave, trump will steal their oil money.

pretty amazing times.

8 users have voted.

@joe shikspack Recent delopments.

The Iraqi Parliament has decided to ask for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country for violating the terms of their presence. The US has broken its contractual obligations to the government of Baghdad and affronted the sovereignty of Iraq, jeopardising its stability. Sources at the Prime Minister’s office said “the request for withdrawal is imminent. US forces have violated the agreement. Therefore, the agreement is now null and void. The agreement had stipulated that US forces were to be given one year’s notice for withdrawal, but since the US broke the terms of the agreement, this time horizon no longer applies.”

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi informed all countries with military forces in Iraq — the USA, and its coalition partners the UK, Canada, France, Belgium, Denmark, etc. – of the urgency that they initiate withdrawal as soon as possible. So far, I have learned, no country has responded positively to the request via diplomatic channels. Only the US has even answered the Iraqi government, openly declaring its refusal to depart. Tremendous pressure and intimidation are being applied to the government to persuade it not to carry out the constitutional decision voted by the parliamentary majority.

The Iraqi Shia, 66% of the 40 million Iraqi population, are expressing their hatred towards US forces in particular and all foreign forces in general. Iraq would like to see these forces depart for good, putting an end to US influence in Mesopotamia and West Asia. A massive protest has been organised for this Friday 24th January, led by Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr, who is warning the US of the consequences of ignoring this Parliamentary decision. It is expected to be the most massive protest in the history of Iraq. But this protest is only the beginning.

US forces have committed serious crimes in Iraq: according to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, the US Ambassador in Baghdad informed him of Israel’s responsibility for the five attacks against Iraqi security forces in mid-2019 and the drone assassination of a security force commander on the Syrian-Iraqi borders. These Israeli attacks were carried out with the knowledge and permission of US forces in Iraq, who allowed Israel to violate Iraqi air space and kill its security members. That attack made the US – who maintain control over Iraqi air space – an accomplice of Israel in attacking the US host country, Iraq.

There is more at the link and is not likely to be seen in the MSM.

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i had heard about moqtada al-sadr's planned million man march on baghdad, but there are some other new bits in there that i hadn't seen.

7 users have voted.