The Evening Blues - 2-18-20


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Josh White

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Piedmont blues singer and guitarist Josh White. Enjoy!

Josh White - One Meat Ball

“Why choose the lesser evil anyway, when the greater evil is usually higher quality and will last longer before it breaks?”

-- Scott Perkins

News and Opinion

Chris Hedges: The New Rules of the Game

The quadrennial political game of least worst, or how to scare the public to vote for presidential candidates who serve corporate power, comes this season with a new twist. Donald Trump, if he faces Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Michael Bloomberg, will continue to be an amalgamation of Adolf Hitler, Al Capone and the Antichrist. But should Bernie Sanders manage to evade the snares, traps and minefields laid for him by the Democratic Party elites, should he miraculously become the party’s nominee, the game of least worst will radically change. All the terrifying demons that inhabit Trump will be instantly exorcised. But unlike in the biblical story of Jesus driving the demons into a herd of swine, they will be driven into the senator from Vermont. Trump will become the establishment’s reluctant least worse option. Sanders will become a leper. The Democratic and Republican party elites, joining forces as they did in the 1972 presidential election, will do to Sanders what they did to George McGovern, who lost in 49 of the 50 states.

“If Dems go on to nominate Sanders, the Russians will have to reconsider who to work for to best screw up the US. Sanders is just as polarizing as Trump AND he’ll ruin our economy and doesn’t care about our military,” former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (net worth $1.1 billion) tweeted. “If I’m Russian, I go with Sanders this time around.” Blankfein, who calls for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and who headed Goldman Sachs when it paid Hillary Clinton $675,000 for three speaking engagements in 2013, laid out the stance of the billionaire class that controls the Democratic Party. The New York Times reported that Mike Novogratz, “a Goldman Sachs alumnus who runs the merchant bank Galaxy Digital, said Mr. Sanders’s oppositional nature had prompted ‘too many friends’ to say they would vote against him in November. ‘And they hate Trump,’ he said.” ...

Sanders, unlike many more radical socialists, does not propose nationalizing the banks and the fossil fuel and arms industries. He does not call for the criminal prosecution of the financial elites who trashed the global economy or the politicians and generals who lied to launch preemptive wars, defined under international law as criminal wars of aggression, which have devastated much of the Middle East, resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees and displaced people, and cost the nation between $5 trillion and $7 trillion. He does not call for worker ownership of factories and businesses. He does not promise to halt the government’s wholesale surveillance of the public. He does not intend to punish corporations that have moved manufacturing overseas. Most importantly, he believes, as I do not, that the political system, including the Democratic Party, can be reformed from within. He does not support sustained mass civil disobedience to bring the system down, the only hope we have of halting the climate emergency that threatens to doom the human race. On the political spectrum, he is, at best, an enlightened moderate. The vicious attacks against him by the elites are an indication of how anemic and withered our politics have become. ...

Bernie Sanders arose in 2016 as a political force because he, like Trump, acknowledged the bleak reality imposed on working men and women by the billionaire class. This reality, a reality ignored by the ruling elites, was spoken out loud. The elites were held accountable. The Democratic elites scrambled, successfully, to deny Sanders the 2016 nomination. ... The 2016 chessboard has reappeared, but this time in the Democratic Party primary. The Democratic hierarchy, as horrified by Sanders as the established Republican elites were by Trump, is flailing about trying to find a political savior to defeat the Red menace. Their ineptitude, Sanders’ primary asset, was displayed when they mangled the Iowa primary. They, like the Republican elites in 2016, are woefully disconnected from their constituency, attempting to persuade a public they betrayed and no longer understand. ...

“As with Republicans in 2016, the defining characteristic of the 2020 Democratic race has been the unwieldy size of the field,” Matt Taibbi writes. “The same identity crisis lurking under the Republican clown car afflicted this year’s Democratic contest: Because neither donors nor party leaders nor pundits could figure out what they should be pretending to stand for, they couldn’t coalesce around any one candidate. These constant mercurial shifts in ‘momentum’ — it’s Pete! It’s Amy! Paging Mike Bloomberg! — have eroded the kingmaking power of the Democratic leadership. They are eating the party from within, and seem poised to continue doing so.” If Sanders gets the nomination it will be due to the Keystone Cops ineptitude of the Democratic leadership, one that as Taibbi points out replicates the ineptitude of the Republican elites in 2016. But this time there will be a crucial difference. The ruling elites, once divided between Trump and Hillary Clinton, with most of the elites preferring Clinton, will be united against Sanders. They will back Trump as the least worst. The corporate media will turn its venom, now directed at Trump, toward Sanders. The Democratic Party’s mask will come off. It will be open warfare between them and us.

Doctors For Assange Ratchet Up Pressure

Ahead of Julian Assange’s upcoming extradition hearing on February 24, a letter by a group of doctors representing 117 physicians and psychologists from 18 nations calls for an end to the psychological torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange. Published in the pre-eminent medical journal The Lancet, the letter expresses concern over Julian Assange’s fitness for his legal proceedings while suffering the effects of ongoing psychological torture.

A copy of the letter has been sent to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne. This follows the doctors’ earlier letter of December 16 2019, calling on Minister Payne to bring Julian Assange home to Australia for urgent medical care. A copy has also been sent to the UK Government, which the doctors accuse of violating Julian Assange’s human right to health. In a covering note to Marise Payne the doctors urged the Minister to “act decisively now” to remove Mr Assange from Belmarsh prison, before it is too late.

The Lancet letter affirms the alarm raised by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, and several specialists in the field, that Mr. Assange is in a dire state of health due to the effects of prolonged psychological torture in both the Ecuadorian embassy and Belmarsh Prison, where he has been arbitrarily detained according to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

“Should Assange die in a UK prison, as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has warned”, the letter states, “he will have effectively been tortured to death. Much of that torture will have taken place in a prison medical ward, on doctors’ watch. The medical profession cannot afford to stand silently by, on the wrong side of torture and the wrong side of history, while such a travesty unfolds”.

Taliban Claims to Have Finalized Peace Deal With the U.S.

A Taliban spokesperson has claimed that the organization has finalized a peace deal with the U.S. to end more than 18 years of war.

Suhail Shaheen told Afghan television station 1TV on Monday that the two parties had reached an agreement and suggested the deal would be signed by the end of February. Newsweek has contacted the State Department to confirm Shaheen's report.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah confirmed to the TOLOnews channel that a deal had been agreed, though noted that whether it is signed will depend on the success of a proposed period of reduced violence.

"The agreement between the Taliban and U.S. has been finalized and the signing of the agreement is based on the reduction in violence over seven days and then it will continue," Abdullah explained. "It is also an opportunity for the opposite side to show that they want peace in the country." ...

Over the weekend, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani warned that his government would evaluate any deal practically, and warned that the Taliban could be using a "Trojan Horse strategy" to undermine U.S. and government forces. Still, Ghani said his administration would "take a substantial step forward" and give the deal a chance to succeed.

Justice Dept. Is Investigating CIA Resistance to Sharing Russia Secrets

Trump administration officials investigating the government’s response to Russia’s election interference in 2016 appear to be hunting for a basis to accuse Obama-era intelligence officials of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis about Moscow’s covert operation, according to people familiar with aspects of the inquiry. ...

John H. Durham, the prosecutor examining their actions, appears to be pursuing a theory that the C.I.A., under its former director John O. Brennan, had a preconceived notion about Russia or was trying to get to a particular result — and was nefariously trying to keep other agencies from seeing the full picture lest they interfere with that goal, the people said. ...

The Durham investigation has rattled current and former intelligence officers. Little precedent exists for a criminal prosecutor to review the analytic judgment-making process of intelligence agencies, said Michael Morrell, a former acting C.I.A. director who left the government in 2013. ... “The bar for making a legal judgment is really high. The bar for an analytic decision is much lower,” Mr. Morrell said. “So he is going to get the wrong answer if he tries to figure out if they had enough information to make this judgment.”

But other intelligence officials, according to an American official, are reserving judgment about Mr. Durham, who previously spent years investigating the C.I.A. over its torture program and its destruction of interrogation videotapes without charging anyone with a crime. Two detainees died in the agency’s custody.

Mr. Durham is a longtime federal prosecutor who has repeatedly been asked, under administrations of both parties, to investigate accusations of wrongdoing by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Mr. Trump appointed him as the United States attorney for Connecticut in 2018.

An international caucus of pots and kettles seeks to determine which is truly black among them. Hint: they all are.

Iran Says US Must Fix Its Own 'Nontransparent' and Undemocratic Elections Before Lecturing Others

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Monday urged U.S. officials to focus on fixing their own country's "nontransparent" and undemocratic system before calling into question the legitimacy of elections in other nations.

Abbas Mousavi, spokesperson for Iran's Foreign Ministry, told reporters that the U.S. system "ignores the vote of the majority of people" and said "American officials had better address questions" about the country's elections from the U.S. public.

Mousavi appeared to be referring to the Electoral College, the archaic system the U.S. uses to elect its president every four years. Two of the last three presidents—George W. Bush and Donald Trump—have lost the popular vote yet won the presidential election thanks to the Electoral College.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Pete Buttigieg have all expressed support for abolishing the Electoral College.

Mousavi's remarks came in response to a video released last Friday by the U.S. State Department characterizing Iran's upcoming Feb. 21 parliamentary elections as fraudulent.

"The regime would have you believe that these are free and fair elections," U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said in the video. "But the real voting takes place in secret and long before Feb. 21. The clerics pick the winners and losers before the ballots are even cast."

Turkish court acquits defendants in landmark Gezi Park protests trial

Greece pauses plans for new refugee detention centres on islands

Greece has halted plans to construct new detention centres on outlying islands facing Turkey amid mounting opposition from resident communities who fear they will become permanent. The centre-right administration announced it would extend talks with regional authorities about replacing “anarchic” open-air camps with closed facilities on the Aegean outposts.

“We will put the requisitions on hold,” the minister for migration affairs, Notis Mitarachi, said on Monday, referring to a government order to appropriate land for the camps. “We will go on talking until Friday this week [with the aim] of coming to a solution.”

Athens hopes the new installations will help ameliorate an increasingly chaotic situation on Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos, where overcrowding in camps has been exacerbated in recent months by a fresh influx of refugees and migrants determined to reach Europe from Turkey. More than 42,000 people are now crammed into camps designed to accommodate 5,400.

Concerns over safety at Amazon warehouses as accident reports rise

More than 600 Amazon workers have been seriously injured or narrowly escaped an accident in the past three years, prompting calls for a parliamentary inquiry into safety at the online retailer’s vast UK warehouses.

Amazon, whose largest shareholder is the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, recently launched an advertising campaign fronted by contented staff members, after a string of embarrassing revelations about working conditions.

But new figures obtained by the GMB trade union under the Freedom of Information Act suggest safety at its more than 50 UK warehouses has not improved, and may be worsening.

Local authorities have received 622 accident reports involving Amazon warehouses over the past three years. The annual total has risen from 152 in 2016-17 to 230 the following year and 240 last year.

Keiser Report: #CoronaVirus Rally

Opioid vending machine opens in Vancouver

A vending machine for powerful opioids has opened in Canada as part of a project to help fight the Canadian city’s overdose crisis. The MySafe project, which resembles a cash machine, gives addicts access to a prescribed amount of medical quality hydromorphone, a drug about twice as powerful as heroin.

Dr Mark Tyndall, a professor of epidemiology at the University of British Columbia, came up with the project as part of an attempt to reduce the number of overdose deaths in the city, which reached 395 last year. “I think ethically we need to offer people a safer source,” he said. “So basically the idea is that instead of buying unknown fentanyl from an alley, we can get people pharmaceutical-grade drugs.” ...

Vancouver already has several schemes in place to accommodate for its large community of drug addicts. A pioneer of so-called harm reduction techniques, Vancouver was the first North American city to introduce a supervised injection site – where users can administer drugs in front of medical professionals – in 2003, and there are now several in the area. There are also programmes allowing users to access prescribed Dilaudid or pharmaceutical heroin.

Tyndall believes his scheme, which he hopes to roll out in other cities, will help addicts by giving them more autonomy – allowing them to pick up supplies at their convenience without having to visit pharmacies at specific times.

'Must-Watch TV': Comedian John Oliver Makes Case for Medicare for All, Debunks Right-Wing Talking Points

Comedian John Oliver used a 20-minute segment of his popular HBO show "Last Week Tonight" on Sunday to make the case for Medicare for All and ridiculed incremental alternatives like Pete Buttigieg's public option plan, which Oliver colorfully described as a "shit sandwich with guac."

"You can get fucked by taking an ambulance, you can get fucked by going to the wrong hospital, or you can get fucked by the going to the right hospital and getting the wrong surgeon," Oliver said of the current private insurance system. "The American healthcare system gives you so many choices as to how you want to get fucked. Under Medicare for All, that scenario would not happen."

Oliver described the Medicare for All plan proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, as not only "more generous than most private insurance plans," but "more generous than the policy of any single-payer country on Earth."

"And there is a good case to be made that even if national spending [on healthcare] wound up higher," Oliver added, "we might wind up wasting less" under Medicare for All.

Oliver summarized and dismissed common objections to Medicare for All—from supposedly prohibitive costs to claims that single-payer would eliminate choice—and pointed out that Republican pundits and politicians are not the only ones attacking the proposal.

"Some Democrats have reservations too," said Oliver. "Pete Buttigieg, for instance, prefers a different concept to Medicare for All, but with a catchily similar name."

"What Buttigieg is referring to when he says 'Medicare for All Who Want It' is basically the public option," said Oliver. "It would definitely be an improvement over what we have now. The problem is it would leave so much of our current insurance infrastructure, with all of its problems, intact. So that's kind of like being offered either a shit sandwich or a slightly smaller shit sandwich with guac."

‘We can’t afford healthcare’: US hospital workers fight for higher wages

Hospital and healthcare workers across the US are launching union drives and organizing protests in order to win higher wages and better working conditions, saying their industry exploits them and leaves them often unable to afford healthcare, despite working in the sector.

In Chicago, the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas (SEIU) is launching a campaign to organize hospital workers to ensure a $15 minimum wage extends to workers outside the city limits of Chicago, where the promise of such a rise has already been won.

According to the SEIU, there are about 50,000 low-wage hospital workers throughout the Chicago metro area and about 10,000 are currently represented by the union. ...

As part of the campaign, four unionized hospitals in the Chicago area will be fighting for new union contracts to address issues rampant throughout the hospital industry, including low pay, poor working conditions, unaffordable healthcare and inequities in hospital funding.

“We work in the healthcare field, but we can’t afford the healthcare ourselves. It’s ridiculous. When we look at the staffing issues, they can work us, knowing we’re short-staffed, but they don’t care,” said Kimberly Smith, a patient care technician at Northwestern Memorial hospital, and a union chief steward. She has recently received threats of a lawsuit due to an inability to pay for medical debt she accrued after an emergency room visit to the hospital where she has worked at for 16 years.

the horse race

“Worth the Price?” New Film Shows How Biden Played Leading Role in Push for U.S. to Invade Iraq

Saagar Enjeti exposes how Bloomberg bought Neera, Emily's List, and the Democratic establishment.

Bloomberg Apologized for Stop-and-Frisk. Why Won’t He Say Sorry to Muslims for Spying on Them?

In 2016, Republican presidential candidates were openly fantasizing about surveilling and spying on Muslims. Yet just a few years earlier, in the nation’s biggest city, a Republican mayor had succeeded in going beyond mere rhetoric: Michael Bloomberg oversaw the mass warrantless, suspicionless surveillance of Muslim New Yorkers, as the New York Police Department “mapped” where they prayed, ate, studied, and worked.

Today, the billionaire media mogul is polling third in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and has secured endorsements from dozens of high-profile Democratic mayors and members of Congress.

I cannot help but ask: Have these elected Democrats lost their minds? Have Democratic voters in, say, Florida, where Bloomberg is now leading in the polls, taken leave of their senses?

In recent weeks, much has been made of Bloomberg’s support for racist and unconstitutional stop-and-frisk practices, which targeted and terrorized African American New Yorkers. Much less has been made of his support for racist and unconstitutional surveillance practices, which targeted and terrorized Muslim New Yorkers. Why is that? How to explain the shameful silence? Could it be because Islamophobia, as I have pointed out before, still isn’t taken seriously by the mainstream media, as well as many liberals and Democrats? Or is it maybe because billionaire Bloomberg has paid prominent liberal groups to turn a blind eye to his Islamophobic record? After all, that record is pretty indisputable. Much of the damning evidence against Bloomberg and the NYPD was amassed and documented by the Associated Press in a wide-ranging, Pulitzer Prize-winning, and devastating series of articles published in 2011.

Krystal & Saagar mock Bloomberg's attack on Bernie

Michael Bloomberg dogged by more past controversial remarks

More past comments emerged on Monday to further dog media mogul and billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s chase for the Democratic presidential nomination, including an apparent attack on the intelligence of factory and farm workers in the US. Speaking at Oxford University’s Said business school in the UK in 2016, the former mayor of New York appeared to question if blue-collar workers had the skills necessary to adapt to the information technology age. The comments were reported by Fox News.

Also on Monday there was increasing scrutiny of 2013 Bloomberg speeches, made in his final year as mayor and reported by Politico, branding local members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and New York’s teachers’ union as “extremists” and likening them to the gun lobbying group the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The new controversies come as Bloomberg seeks to gain ground in the fractured 2020 race to challenge Donald Trump for the White House in November, which continues with next Saturday’s Nevada caucuses and the following week’s South Carolina primary.

Krystal Ball: 'Bernie Bros' are Sanders' greatest strength

Mike Bloomberg in 2011: ‘Enormous Cohort’ of Young Black and Latino Men ‘Don’t Know How to Behave in the Workplace’

While promoting a multi-million dollar initiative to “reduce disparities” as the mayor of New York City in 2011, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said “enormous cohorts” of young black and Latino men “don't know how to behave in the workplace where they have to work collaboratively and collectively.”

Bloomberg made the remarks during an interview with PBS Newshour, as he promoted his Young Men’s Initiative, a $127 million, three-year program funded in part by Bloomberg’s charitable organization, financier George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, and the city of New York. “Blacks and Latinos score terribly in school testing compared to whites and Asians. If you look at our jails, it’s predominantly minorities,” Bloomberg said.

“If you look at where crime takes place, it’s in minority neighborhoods. If you look at who the victims and the perpetrators are, it’s virtually all minorities,” Bloomberg continued. ...

Bloomberg’s comments on crime and where it’s most prevalent echo his rhetoric during his time as mayor and the immediate aftermath, which has come under more scrutiny in recent weeks as he’s risen in Democratic presidential primary polls amid a tidal wave of spending in Super Tuesday states and beyond.

Last week, Bloomberg apologized for remarks he made in 2015 defending the city’s “stop and frisk” policy under his administration, in which he said that more cops were placed in black and Latino neighborhoods “because that’s where all the crime is” and that “the way you get the guns out of the kids' hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them."

Huff Post political reporter Daniel Marans: Sanders team warns Dem party about convention rigging

In Final Weeks of Heated Texas Congressional Primary, Unions and Progressive Groups Throw $350,000 Behind Jessica Cisneros

A coalition of progressive groups and labor unions announced on Monday they’ll be spending at least $350,000 in support of Texas congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros, ratcheting up the momentum in the final two weeks ahead of her high-stakes primary against Rep. Henry Cuellar, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.

The groups behind the independent campaign effort are the Working Families Party, the Communication Workers of America, the Service Employees International Union, and the Texas Organizing Project. All have previously endorsed Cisneros, a human rights lawyer and 26-year-old first-time candidate for the House of Representatives. The money will be going toward funding canvassers in Laredo, phone banking, direct mail, and digital and radio ads that will be running in both English and Spanish, according to the groups, whose plans have not previously been reported. ...

The outside spending comes after Cuellar, who has represented Texas’s 28th Congressional District since 2005, has received nearly a million dollars in support from conservative groups. Last week the Brownsville Herald reported that the U.S Chamber of Commerce launched a six-figure TV ad buy for Cuellar. The big business lobby, which is shelling out $200,000 on the ads, hasn’t spent so much on a Democrat since 2014. The Chamber is joining a dark-money group, American Workers for Progress, which has reportedly spent over $700,000 to tout Cuellar’s record on health care. The American Banking Association, a lobby group for the financial industry, jumped in the race last week too, spending $60,000 on pro-Cuellar radio ads.

Cuellar’s campaign has also ramped up its own efforts, running its first negative ad against Cisneros last week, attacking her for supporting abortion, taking money from outside the district, and claiming her opposition to the oil and gas industry will cost residents of the district jobs.

the evening greens

To Safeguard 'Public Welfare and the Public Interest,' Groundbreaking Measure in Washington State Would Ban Bottled Water Production

Advocacy groups are encouraging voters in the state of Washington to pressure legislators to back a measure that would effectively ban commercial bottled water production.

The legislation, SB 6278, would declare that "use of water for the commercial production of bottled water" is "detrimental to the public welfare and the public interest." Last week it was placed on second reading by the Rules Committee.

According to the Washington Senate Democrats, the "bipartisan effort" would help "protect one the most precious commodities" in the state.

The Environmental Priorities Coalition, a network of groups including Americans Rivers, Audubon, and Sierra Club Washington State, last week put the legislation on its highest priorities list, saying it would stop "new water bottling plants from proliferating in Washington state, effecting small rural community water supplies necessary for both agriculture and threatened salmon species."

"Washington's waters belong to the people of Washington," said the Center for Environmental Law & Policy. "There has been an increasing number of proposals to locate commercial water bottling plants in Washington. These plants would allow Washington's water to be taken for the benefit of corporations and users outside of the local area, perhaps out-of-state."

'Victory for Farmers' as Jury Awards Grower $265 Million in Damages From Drift of Monsanto's Dicamba

German chemicals giant Bayer announced Monday its intention to "swiftly appeal" a U.S. jury's decision to award a Missouri peach farmer over $265 million in compensation for years of crop losses as a result of drifting dicamba weedkiller.

The legal challenge was the first dicamba suit to go to trial and was brought forth by Bill and Denise Bader, owners of Bader farms. Dicamba is produced by Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018.

Mr. Bader's suit challenged (pdf) Monsanto's "willful and negligent release of a defective crop system—namely its genetically modified Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and Bollgard II Xtend cotton seeds ("Xtend crops")—without an accompanying, EPA-approved dicamba herbicide." 

"Monsanto sold the seeds before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the herbicides for market," said the complaint.

The Baders, who did not use dicamba, said they lost over 30,000 trees due to Monsanto's actions, as journlist Carey Gillam wrote earlier this month:

Bader claims Monsanto sold GMO dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton seeds despite knowing the actions would trigger chemical damage to farm fields that were not planted with the new seeds. The intent, the Bader Farms' lawsuit alleges, was to induce farmers to buy the specialty seeds as a means to prevent crop damage from herbicide drift coming from neighboring farmers who were planting the GMO crops and spraying them with dicamba.

Testing showed that leaves of his dying peach trees carried traces of dicamba. The 5,000-acre family farm, which produced 5 million to 6 million pounds of peaches annually along with corn, soybeans, various berries, apples, and tomatoes, is now struggling to survive, according to Bader.

The jury sided with Bader Farms on Friday and awarded them $15 million in damages, as St. Louis Public Radio reported:

Monsanto and BASF were found liable for negligent design of the products and negligent failure to warn regarding the products. The jury also found that the two companies created a joint venture to manufacture and sell dicamba-resistant seed and low-volatility herbicides, and that they conspired to create an "ecological disaster" to increase profits.

The jury followed up Saturday with a determination that Monsanto and BASF pay $250 million in punitive damages.

The National Family Farm Coalition wondered if the verdict represented the "start of dicamba demise."

In a Saturday tweet, the group called the decision a "victory for farmers which courts will hopefully uphold. Bayer bought #Monsanto with knowledge of these issues and should pay for #dicamba damage."

Costa Rica indigenous leader shot amid tensions over land rights

An indigenous leader leading his people’s effort to reclaim ancestral land in Costa Rica has been wounded in a gun attack – the latest in a spate of targeted violence which has gone unpunished by authorities. Mainor Ortiz Delgado, 29, a leader of the Bribri indigenous people in Salitre, Puntarenas province, was shot in the right leg earlier this month – the third time Ortiz has been shot allegedly by members of the same family in 14 months. The suspected gunman, who carried out the gun attack in broad daylight in front of Delgado’s 13-year-old son, was detained but released within 24 hours.

Costa Rica, an eco-tourism hub with 5 million inhabitants, is Central America’s safest and most equitable country. But in recent years, the Bribri people attempting to recoup lost land have been subject to dozens of violent attacks, racist harassment and trumped-up retaliatory lawsuits with almost total impunity. As a result, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued precautionary measures in 2015, calling on Costa Rican authorities to protect the lives and physical integrity of the Bribri and their indigenous neighbours, the Brörán people. ...

This latest gun attack comes less than a year after 59-year-old Sergio Rojas Ortiz, an internationally acclaimed Bribri land and human rights defender, was shot dead at home in Salitre following years of death threats, harassment and assaults linked to his work. At the time, the government acknowledged the growing violence against the country’s indigenous peoples involved in conflicts with mestizo families who have illegally occupied their ancestral lands, and pledged to deliver justice. Rojas Ortiz’s killers remain at large, and the land disputes remain unresolved. ...

Latin America is the most dangerous continent in the world to defend land rights and natural resources, and indigenous and rural communities bear the brunt of the violence.

Also of Interest

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

NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Submits Clemency Petition Alongside More Than 4,000 Letters of Support

While demanding Assange, US refuses to extradite CIA agent who killed British teen

We Talk About One U.S.-Backed Coup. Hondurans Talk About Three.

Syria - Aleppo Is Fully Liberated But The War Will Continue

Anti-Semitism Threats Will Keep Destroying Labour Party

'It's a photo orgy': is Yosemite's rare firefall too beautiful for its own good?

Ocasio-Cortez faces 13 challengers – but can anyone unseat her?

More Than 11,000 Rally for Sanders in Colorado

The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders

Bloomberg Has Built a Star Wars Machine to Try to Steal the Democratic Nomination

Debunked: Bloomberg's claim that redlining led to the housing crisis

Thom Hartmann: Bernie hasn't changed a bit in the years I've known him

Rising: Is the race now Bernie vs Bloomberg?

Rising: Are Bernie's rivals already conceding Nevada?

Krystal and Saagar: Why de Blasio's endorsement of Bernie actually matters

A Little Night Music

Josh White - There's A Man Goin' Around Taking Names

Pinewood Tom (Josh White) - Silicosis Is Killin' Me

Josh White - While The Blood Runs Warm In Your Veins

Josh White - Blood Red River

Josh White - Crying Blues

Josh White - Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

Josh White - Jelly Jelly

Josh White - Blues In Berlin

Josh White - Uncle Sam Says

Josh White - I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts of Town

20 users have voted.


Raggedy Ann's picture

Things are getting exciting! Bernie is up, the dnc is down (deep depression). Will they stop him? Can they stop him? Get the popcorn - it's really getting good.

Been listening to those George Webb articles all day instead of working. Much better use of my time. Makes me realize it's worse than any of us thought. Is there hope? I'm not sure.

Have a relaxing evening, everyone! Pleasantry

8 users have voted.

"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

can they stop him? sure.

can they stop him without destroying the party? doubtful.

do they care about destroying the party? no, as long as the corporation continues and their lock on a ballot line is maintained.

frankly, it seems like this would be a good time for the leftish wing of the base to start strategizing about how to take the powers that be down both as a party and as individuals with political ambitions if they continue ratfucking the election.

13 users have voted.
Raggedy Ann's picture

@joe shikspack

Well said!

6 users have voted.

"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

Update on my job interview from last week: it was a no =/ am looking forward to French toast for dinner as a treat for myself.

6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Le Frog

i hope that something even better comes along for you. something so good that you get to dig into the canadian strategic reserve of maple syrup too good to export. Smile

9 users have voted.
mimi's picture

Here in Germany we have the TV channel ARTE.

ARTE is a Franco-German free-to-air television network that promotes cultural programming. It is made up of three separate companies: the Strasbourg-based European Economic Interest Grouping ARTE GEIE

Each time when I watch one of their documentaries, I am angry that it seems to be impossible to cross the language barriers to present their films and news programming to an English speaking audience. If you have an idea what I could do to accomplish at least a little bit of that, let me know.

They have an English program, it has great material and if you want to distract yourself you can look ARTE in English here. It is a less political part of ARTE's programs and mostly cultural films (and to me nice but not political so not a must-see thingy).

To me the more interesting part would be the one produced for the German and French audience.

Tonight I watched a two part documentary about the relationship of Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to the murder of Khashoggi.

Mord i Konsultat">Mord im Konsulat (1/2)Mohammed bin Salman und der Fall Khashoggi
Mord im Konsulat (2/2)Mohammed bin Salman und der Fall Khashoggi Interesting to see who is courting whom from between the two countries.

and I think it's a pity that those documentaries are not broadcasted for an English speaking audience.

If you have nothing better to do, have a look and see if it fits your taste.

Yeah for banning plastic bottles. Have to read tomorrow. Good Night.

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joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the link to the english section. i wish my language skills were good enough to get something out of a german or french language film, but sadly as marcel marceau once said, non. Smile

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Evening Joe & buddies !

Today in my Klobocop(D-Cargill) obsession :
Jeebus! She sounds Reaganesque ("ketchup is a vegetable")

Also in 2011, Klobuchar wrote a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging the Obama administration to continue counting tomato paste as a vegetable in school lunches, and to “reconsider the quantity and the proposed timeline” of a plan to cut sodium consumption in school lunches in half.

And here is Palin with a smile & the ability to complete sentences :

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@Funkygal If she ever were to win the nomination, she would choose the ghost of McCain as her running mate. That's how much she was cozy with him & Lindsey Graham. It was almost as if she replaced Joe Lieberman in the Axis of Evil Trinity.

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joe shikspack's picture


wow, after herman cain's faux pas about the president of ubeki beki beki bekistan, you'd think that people running for president might kind of study up so that they can't be stumped about the names of heads of state of neighboring countries. i mean, if you knew that you were going to be interviewed by the hispanic/latinx press, gosh, maybe you'd try to know the names of the major figures in nearby spanish-speaking countries.

the comparison to ms. vanilla from wasilla is all too apt.

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@joe shikspack Ha! Uzbeki uzbeki - you brought up more memories!
NYT half-endorsed this specimen because of her foreign policy expertise IIRC.

We have to say something good right? For all my beef with Klobocop, I loved how she went after Mayor Pete Macron (kudos to whoever equated PB to Macron. Can't remember - Krystal maybe).

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joe shikspack's picture


yep, i did enjoy watching her pull out the long knives for mayo cheat, though it appeared to me that for once, a talking head actually did her job and made the score of the night against mayo over his presiding over large rises in arrests and prosecutions of african americans in south bend for marijuana offenses. she made the little weasel squirm on national teevee.

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dystopian's picture

Awesome grooves JS! What a great player and singer Josh White was. And what a life story, incredible. I love his style and sound.

The dicamba verdict is great to see. World would be better off with it, Glyphosate, and Monsanto.

Sad about another land protector being murdered.

I'd love to see bottled water stopped. The plastic waste is off the charts, as is the carbon moving it around, and they are draining local aquifers. Nestle is right up there with Monsanto with their abusive water rights crap.

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

joe shikspack's picture


the dicamba verdict is heartening, even if it is inevitable that monsanto will inevitably find a pro-corporate court that will severely diminish the penalty. i hope that they go broke as the flood of lawsuits continues.

heh, nestle's business model of taking public resources from one state and selling them at an enormous profit in another state needs to go. but, of course, capitalism.

4 users have voted.