The Evening Blues - 2-25-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Piedmont blues musician Pink Anderson. Enjoy!
Pink Anderson - Travelin Man
“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt
News and Opinion
Donald Trump’s administration is targeting Julian Assange as “an enemy of the America who must be brought down” and his very life could be at risk if he is sent to face trial in the US, the first day of the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition hearing has been told.
Lawyers for Assange intend to call as a witness a former employee of a Spanish security company who says surveillance was carried out for the US on Assange while he was at Ecuador’s London embassy and that conversations had turned to potentially kidnapping or poisoning him. This was an indication of the danger which Assange faced were he to be extradited to a state “prepared to consider such extreme measures”, Edward Fitzgerald QC told Woolwich crown court in south-east London.
The case against extradition, which Assange’s lawyers oppose on a range of grounds including that it contravenes the UK-US treaty by being “politically motivated”, was laid out after a barrister for US authorities said secret sources who supplied information to the US government “disappeared” after they were put at risk of death or torture by WikiLeaks’s release of classified documents. ... James Lewis QC, acting for US authorities, told the court: “The US is aware of sources, whose unredacted names and other identifying information was contained in classified documents published by WikiLeaks, who subsequently disappeared, although the US can’t prove at this point that their disappearance was the result of being outed by WikiLeaks.” ...
Assange’s counsel delivered a barrage of arguments against extradition, including that Assange would be exposed to cruel and degrading treatment in a maximum-security prison. Fitzgerald added that Prof Michael Kopelman, a distinguished forensic psychiatrist and expert witness for the defence, had said: “I am as confident as a psychiatrist can ever be that, if extradition to the United States were to become imminent, Mr Assange would find a way of suiciding.” ...
The case is set to continue on Tuesday and over the course of this week, when some witnesses are expected to give evidence anonymously, potentially from behind screens.
Julian Assange’s court battle against extradition to the United States, on hacking and espionage charges, began in London under the glare of the world’s media Monday. But a grieving British family is calling for the whole thing to be put on ice — at least until the U.S. hands over an alleged CIA agent who is a suspect in their son’s death. Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in August when his motorbike collided with a car driving on the wrong side of the road outside a British air force base currently used as a communications station by the United States Air Force.
The driver was Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an intelligence official stationed at the base. Sacoolas has worked as a CIA agent, according to British media, and claimed diplomatic immunity to flee to the U.S. She has refused to return to face a charge of causing death by dangerous driving, sparking a tense diplomatic standoff between London and Washington.
Now, Dunn’s family has called on the British government to refuse any extradition of Assange unless the U.S. reciprocates by turning over Sacoolas, accusing Washington of an “extraordinary amount of hypocrisy” over the issue. “The double standards on display are unprecedented,” Radd Seiger, a lawyer and spokesman for the Dunn family, said in a statement, describing the U.S. refusal to hand over Sacoolas as “the single greatest attack on the so-called special relationship between the countries in modern memory.”
The US conducted a military exercise last week which simulated a “limited” nuclear exchange with Russia, a senior Pentagon official has confirmed. The war game is notable because of the defence department’s highly unusual decision to brief journalists about the details and because it embodied the controversial notion that it might be possible to fight, and win, a battle with nuclear weapons, without the exchange leading to an all-out world-ending conflict.
The exercise comes just weeks after the US deployed a new low-yield submarine-launched warhead commissioned by Donald Trump, as a counter to Russian tactical weapons and intended to deter their use.
According to a transcript of a background briefing by senior Pentagon officials, the defence secretary, Mark Esper, took part in what was described as a “mini-exercise” at US Strategic Command in Nebraska. Esper played himself in the simulated crisis, in which Russia launched an attack on a US target in Europe. ...
Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, pointed out that it was extremely rare for the Pentagon to give such detailed briefings about nuclear exercises and suggested it could have been a marketing exercise for the new weapons being added to the US arsenal. ...
Arms control advocates are concerned that the leadership in both the US and Russia are developing a mindset in which their vast nuclear arsenals are not just the ultimate deterrent but weapons that could be used to win “limited” conflicts.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out the red carpet for Donald Trump’s first state visit Monday, the streets of the capital New Delhi were burning over a controversial new law that could reshape the country’s identity.
Clashes broke out in neighborhoods in the northeast of the city between pro-government nationalist groups and opponents of the law, which gives a fast track to citizenship for illegal immigrants from three neighboring Muslim-majority countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — as long as they aren’t Muslim.
Three people were killed, including a police officer, homes and markets were torched, and police imposed emergency measures to restore law and order as mobs assaulted their rivals. Videos circulating on social media showed homes and shops burning, and mobs pelting each other with stones, and a man firing a handgun as he approached police officers trying to intervene.
It’s the latest violence over the religious-based Citizenship Amendment Act, which has sparked sporadic protests since it was passed in December. Opponents say the law diminishes the status of India’s 200 million Muslims and undermines the country’s secular constitution. But Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) argues the bill will protect minorities fleeing religious persecution in their homelands.
'This Is a War Crime': Video of IDF Bulldozer Dragging Body of Palestinian Man in Gaza Sparks Outrage
Human rights advocates expressed outrage and called for a criminal investigation after video footage of an Israeli military bulldozer dragging the body of a Palestinian man shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied Gaza Strip circulated widely across social media over the weekend.
"This is a war crime," tweeted the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, a nonprofit group known as Adalah, in response to the Shehab news agency video. The group demanded in a letter (pdf) Sunday that Israeli Chief Military Advocate General Sharon Afek immediately launch an investigation into the incident, which took place near the separation fence east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
"In the letter, Adalah attorney Sawsan Zaher detailed a series of international laws—including the Rome Statute, the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment, and the Hague Regulations—which classify the Israeli military actions depicted in the video as war crimes and blatant violations of international criminal law, and international human rights, and humanitarian law," the group said in a statement.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second-largest militant group in Gaza after Hamas, said the 27-year-old dead man was a member of the organization named Mohammed Ali al-Naim, Al Jazeera reported. Two other men were wounded while trying to retrieve his body and later treated at the European Hospital in Khan Younis, said Gaza health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra. ...
Israeli defense minister, Naftali Bennett defended the military's handling of the incident, tweeting in Hebrew that "I back the IDF that killed the terrorist and collected the body." He added that "this is how it should be done, and this is how it will be done." ...
Since the video began circulating on Twitter, Palestinian groups in Gaza fired more than 20 rockets into Israel—many of which were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. Following that, according to the Washington Post, "Israeli military jets targeted sites in Gaza and Syria linked to Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Sunday night."
On Monday, Palestinian groups fired at least 14 more rockets into Israel and the IDF struck targets in Gaza.
Democratic 2020 presidential primary frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders earned the praise of progressives after announcing on Sunday he would not attend the annual AIPAC conference due to his concerns over the group's willingness to endorse the views of bigots and its dismissal of the human rights of Palestinians.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also a candidate for president, announced on February 6 she would not go to the AIPAC conference.
"The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security," Sanders said Sunday. "So do the Palestinian people. I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference."
"As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region," Sanders added.
The group hit back, issuing a statement attacking the Vermont senator and accusing him of ignorance about the organization's purpose.
"Sen. Sanders has never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment," the group said, adding, "By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Sen. Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel."
Axios reporter Jonathan Swan noted that the comments were "the strongest statement AIPAC has ever made against a top presidential candidate."
AIPAC has made no bones over the years of its distaste for Sanders, who declined to attend the conference in person in 2016 over similar concerns about the group's treatment of the Palestinians and its connections to hate groups.
A group loosely affiliated with AIPAC, the Democratic Majority for Israel, ran attack ads against the senator in Iowa and Nevada in January and February. ...
Progressive Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow called on the rest of the Democratic field to follow Sanders and Warren's example.
"Bernie's progressive agenda, which is strongly motivated by the Jewish tradition of social justice, has no room in it for the unholy alliance of Islamophobes, antisemites, and white nationalists that AIPAC has worked with in recent years," said IfNotNow co-founder Dani Moscovitch. "We renew our call on every single Democratic candidate to follow the lead of Bernie and Elizabeth Warren and Skip AIPAC and embrace the movement fighting for freedom and dignity."
Fears are growing over an increasingly febrile security situation in Haiti after police and soldiers fought a deadly gun battle which lasted for hours outside the country’s presidential palace. The exchange of gunfire on Sunday shattered the opening of Haiti’s annual carnival as police and soldiers exchanged volleys of gunfire sending bystanders diving for cover. One soldier died of his wounds on Monday and at least three police officers were wounded.
Shooting continued into the night, and in the immediate aftermath, authorities in the impoverished Caribbean country announced the cancellation of the carnival warning of the risk of a “bloodbath”.
The violence broke out when protesting police officers, some in plainclothes and wearing masks, used the opening of the carnival to stage the latest in a series of demonstrations against poor work conditions and demanding to be allowed to unionize. ... Some reports suggested that the gun battle began when demonstrating police officers shot into the air. As the exchanges became more serious it appears that fire was directed into the square from a prominent tower nearby.
The clash between police and military comes in the middle of a long-running political crisis that has seen intermittent mass protests against the government of Jovenel Moïse over a corruption scandal and 2017’s contested elections, which the opposition has never accepted.
Now running as the presumptive frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday morning unveiled a sweeping new proposal that would guarantee high-quality child care and then pre-kindergarten education to every child—regardless of income or status—in the United States.
Citing figures that show the average American family with young children spends $10,000 per year on childcare—a burden that eats as much as 35 percent out of the annual budget of low-income families' annual budget—the detailed early childhood plan released by the Sanders campaign seeks to address the crisis and economic hardship by providing free child care starting at infancy and pre-K beginning at age three.
"Childcare must be guaranteed for every child regardless of their parents' income, just like K-12 education," said Sanders in a statement. "We know that the first four years of a child's life are the most important years of human development, so it is unconscionable that in the wealthiest country in the world, we do not properly invest in early childhood education." Sanders said. ...
In a study released last month, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that American families spend approximately $42 billion annually on child care for their children. That figure does not include the $34 billion spent by federal and state governments on child care support systems, services, and subsidies. According to EPI, parents of young children forgo $30 to 35 billion each year in income due to the high cost of early childhood care and education, a figure that translates into an estimated $4.2 billion in lost federal tax revenue. ...
Read the full plan here.
Because #NeverAgainIsNow, Japanese Americans, Allies Stage Rally Demanding Closure of Immigration Prison
Immigrant rights advocates including Japanese American victims of World War II incarceration campas reaffirmed their message that #NeverAgainIsNow on Sunday with a rally outside an immigration prison in Tacoma, Washington.
The action—organized by Tsuru for Solidarity, La Resistencia, Densho, and the Japanese American Citizens League—commemorated the Day of Remembrance, which marks President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Feb. 19, 1942 executive order that forced over 100,000 people of Japanese descent, including American citizens, into incarceration "camps."
Activists targeted the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), run by the controversial GEO Group for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The prison holds roughly 1,500 people and has been targeted by immigrant rights advocates who say prisoners there are held under inhumane conditions.
The Japanese American activists said they cannot separate the injustices they and their families faced in the U.S. from those felt by the current victims of the country's immigration policies.
"We want to be the allies that our community needed on this day during World War II," Tsuru co-chair Carl Takei said last week.
The oligarchy has awakened to the threat to its dictatorship from the left-most ranks of one of its own corporate parties. Michael Bloomberg, the 8th richest man in the world and former three-term mayor of New York City, has vowed to spend unlimited cash to defeat Donald Trump. But Bloomberg’s real mission is to retain oligarchic control of the Democratic Party, the corporate mechanism that squats like a giant toad on the most ethnically and ideologically diverse half of the U.S. population, including virtually all Black electoral politics. ...
Sanders is no genuine socialist. He does not propose to overthrow the Lords of Capital, but his program of health care, housing, employment and retirement “rights” (entitlements) and a sweeping Green New Deal represent the most serious threat yet to the austerity/Race to the Bottom regime, and therefore to the plutocrats plans for the nation and the world. Sanders’ position on all these issues is supported by super-majorities of Democrats, creating both a potential crisis of governance as well as the already existing crisis of legitimacy for the ruling class. The oligarchy has already seen one of its governing parties, the Republicans, taken over by a maddeningly undependable and incompetent egomaniac, who rejects the “diversity” political ethic favored by the multinational corporate order. But that’s only an annoyance, compared to the threat of a Bernie Sanders victory in November, a sea change that could make it impossible for pro-corporate and anti-austerity forces to occupy political space in the same party: the death of the corporate duopoly.
We at Black Agenda Report welcome such a break-up, as the only way that Black folks and progressives can be freed from the duopoly straightjacket, to vote their aspirations and beliefs, not their fears. Bernie Sanders’ leftish followers stuck with the Democrats despite their deplorable treatment by the Party, four years ago. This time, the corporate Democrats and their media machine will pull out all the stops to save the austerity/Race to the Bottom regime and their own legitimacy. The oligarchs are quite capable of physically killing the old New Dealer. But if, somehow, Sanders is allowed to win the nomination, Michael Bloomberg and other plutocrats will have created a Democratic Party machinery purpose-built to defy Sanders -- as nominee, and even as president. Bloomberg has already laid the groundwork to directly seize the party machinery, the old fashioned way: by buying it and stacking it with his own, paid operatives, with a war-against-the-left budget far bigger than the existing Democratic operation. Bloomberg’s participation in Wednesday’s debate, against all the rules, is proof-of-purchase.
In addition to the nearly million dollar down payment to the party in November that sealed the deal for the debate rules change, Bloomberg has already pledged to pay the full salaries of 500 political staffers for the Democratic National Committee all the way through the November election, no matter who wins the nomination. Essentially, Bloomberg will be running the election for the corporate wing of the party, even if Sanders is the nominee.
In an interview with PBS’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday night, senior Bloomberg advisor Timothy O’Brien made it clear that the DNC is in no condition to refuse being devoured by Bloomberg, even if they wanted to. O’brien predicted the Republicans will spend at least $900 million on the election, while the DNC has only about $8 million on hand. Even the oligarch’s underlings are telegraphing the takeover game plan.
Bloomberg is not so much running for president as making sure that the Democrats don’t go “rogue” anti-corporate to accommodate the Sandernistas. He is ensuring that the Democratic Party will be an even more hostile environment for anti-austerity politics than in the past – not in spite of the phenomenal success of the Sanders project, but because of it.
Such a party cannot possibly accommodate both sides, and is ultimately destined to split.
No one knows how much abuse and humiliation the Sanders faction is willing to endure to remain in the bosom of the corporate political beast. They remained faithful to their tormentors in 2016, and most are probably still inclined to give their corporate abusers yet another chance. But even if the Sandernistas punk out again, the oligarchy will relentlessly corral them in the tightest space possible in the party, with the aim of forcing them out.
Lots more detail at the link.
Little is known about Mike Bloomberg’s personal investments. The billionaire, former mayor of New York City, and now presidential candidate has attracted speculation about the sources of his wealth. A trail of documents provides a partial view about his history of investments. The Intercept has identified a number of firms that have been backed by Bloomberg over the years. The billionaire has not only invested his money in the oil and gas, insurance, and consumer finance sectors, but has also backed Sycamore Partners, a controversial private-equity firm known for buying out and downsizing retailers.
Bloomberg, with an estimated net worth of around $65 billion, acquired much of his fortune through his majority ownership of Bloomberg LP, the software and media company he co-founded. But, after his decision to run for president last November, he has put off efforts to reveal his own investment portfolio. In January, Bloomberg obtained a delay to file his mandatory ethics disclosure as a presidential candidate, which provides a basic range for his income, debts, transactions, and wealth. He will not file until March 20, well after voters in over half the states have gone to the polls. Bloomberg has also not yet released his tax returns, as all other leading Democratic candidates have done. ...
Bloomberg’s personal and philanthropic wealth is managed by a company called Willett Advisors LLC, which is overseen by Steven Rattner, an investment manager and frequent television pundit. “Michael R. Bloomberg is the sole, ultimate beneficial owner of Willett,” notes one Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Willett Advisors provides almost no information on its website. Neither Rattner nor the Bloomberg campaign responded to requests for comment. But public statements by Rattner and other officials at Willett Advisors hint at his company’s investment strategy.
“We are natural gas bulls. We think oil is well priced. If we can generate new supplies at a discount to the spot price, we will do it,” Brad Briner, a senior level investment manager at Willett Advisors, told an investment trade publication in 2013. During a conference hosted by the Export-Import Bank, in 2015, Rattner discussed his company’s investments in the oil and gas sector, noting that he’s taken “some investments in North Dakota and other places like that.” ... Willett Advisors has continued to invest in oil and gas at least through last year.
White Star Petroleum, a privately held Oklahoma firm that uses hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas, was owned in part by Bloomberg. ... White Star Petroleum was founded by the late Aubrey McClendon, a controversial billionaire known as the “Fracking King” for his role in pioneering the drilling method. ... The company has been accused of producing air pollution, including leaking plumes of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Residents in Oklahoma have also accused the firm of contributing to a wave of fracking-fueled earthquakes near Cushing.
Hat tip to Snoopydawg:
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said at a private event in 2016 that his presidential campaign platform would have been to "defend the banks" and also labeled the progressive movement and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, now a rival for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, as "scary."
When asked his views on the rise of the far right in Europe, Bloomberg warned about the rise of progressive politicians in the US, citing Warren.
"The left is arising. The progressive movement is just as scary," he says. "Elizabeth Warren on one side. And whoever you want to pick on the Republicans on the right side?"
Bloomberg, who was elected mayor as a Republican and as an independent, also criticized President Barack Obama, saying that his 2012 endorsement of Obama was "backhanded" and that he thought Republican Mitt Romney could have done a better job if he'd been elected. ...
Audio of his comments, allegedly from a closed Goldman Sachs event for at Yankee Stadium on June 15, 2016, were anonymously sent to CNN by an email address called "CancelGoldman," with the author claiming he worked at Goldman Sachs for 14 years. The email called on Bloomberg to drop out of the race. The audio of the event, sent to CNN and a host of reporters was uploaded to audio hosting platform SoundCloud five days ago. Bloomberg's campaign confirmed the authenticity of the comments. CNN confirmed through Facebook photographs that Bloomberg took part in an event that day at Yankee Stadium. Goldman Sachs declined to comment, but did not dispute it was their event. ...
He also said at the event that he had been prepared to run as an independent against both Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016 and had lawyers in all 50 states to get him on the ballot, but as he's also said publicly, told the crowd that the best he could hope to get was a third of the electoral votes and said an independent had "no chance." The head of privately held Bloomberg LP, a financial data and media company, said he didn't regret not running -- but joked that winning the presidency would have given him the benefit of using Predator drones on those who had "annoyed me or screwed me."
Mike Bloomberg is again facing criticism for sharing misleading and offensive tweets. The campaign team for the Democratic candidate posted a real video of rival Bernie Sanders defending the Castro administration of Cuba. It then attempted to start an online campaign with the hashtag #BernieOnDespots, imagining what the Vermont senator would say about other regimes. ...
Some users pointed out on Twitter it was difficult to discern that the latest hashtag was a joke and not real quotes Sanders said about the leaders, including “Vladimir Putin is willing to poison anyone who disagrees with him, but have you seen how that guy looks without a shirt!! Mmm delish!” Some have called the Putin tweet homophobic.
Ultimately the team clarified with a tweet that “all of these are satire” with the exception of the original video shared.
Bloomberg was criticized earlier this month for a video he tweeted that was misleadingly edited.
In the aftermath of Bernie Sanders’ victory in Nevada and as the South Carolina primary looms, the Democratic party establishment continues to grapple with the increasing likelihood that the Vermont senator, a self-proclaimed socialist, will be its nominee for president. Sanders’ latest victory showcased his popularity among a more representative chunk of the Democratic base – Latinos, African-Americans and union members – than voted in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states in the primary.
“We’ve brought together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition that is not only going to win Nevada, it’s going to sweep this country,” Sanders said in San Antonio, Texas, on Sunday. In the next eight days, 15 crucial elections will take place.
Centrists in the party having failed to coalesce around a moderate candidate, the nomination could be there for Sanders’ taking after South Carolina votes on Saturday or after Super Tuesday, 3 March, when 14 states follow suit. Only 2.5% of the delegates needed to win the nomination at the convention in July were on offer in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Sanders began his crucial week planning extra rallies in Super Tuesday states but also under fire for comments made in an interview with CBS News broadcast on Sunday night. Sanders told 60 Minutes he opposed the “authoritarian nature” of Cuba under the Castro regime, but said Fidel Castro did some good things. “He had a massive literacy program,” he said. “Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?” ...
Sanders’ comments are likely to feature in Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina.
The same pundits who helped elect Trump now claim Bernie Sanders is a murderous totalitarian. Have they no shame?
We have someone on television comparing the supporters of the Jewish presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to Nazi “brownshirts”. We have MSNBC hosts comparing Bernie Sanders’ Nevada win to the Nazi invasion of France. We have someone on television constructing elaborate fantasies about Bernie Sanders walking him into Central Park and shooting him in the back of the head for having too much money. We have people on television who see the hand of Russian agents in every mishap, and we have so many women and men in newspapers who insist that being criticized for their work is a violation of their constitutional rights.
Journalism was supposed to save us. They promised. After the election of Donald Trump, which the good gentlemen and ladies of journalism assisted in facilitating, much was made of the ability of the fourth estate to soften the blow, to shorten the reign of corruption, to protect the public from the madman in the White House. It hasn’t really worked out that way, and the increasingly unhinged rhetoric of the opinion-havers and the public faces of news networks does little to restore our faith. ...
No one lost their job for assuring the country of the impossibility of Hillary Clinton losing the election. No pundits had to apologize for never once stepping inside a red state before pontificating about the state of things in Trump country. The New York Times relied on the same six “swing voters” to provide commentary whenever the paper of record decided it need to prove it was in touch with the common people. Billionaires buying newspapers also became something of a trend, like fidget spinners or insulin rationing due to a lack of comprehensive health insurance – either because these billionaires seek to make themselves look philanthropic, or because they want to control the coverage of their financial goings-on, or both. (Democracy dies in darkness, Mr Bezos? Yeah, well, so do workers on your warehouse floors.) ...
ournalism has become a well-gate-kept little bubble, if bubbles were created out of ignorance and contempt for what lay outside of them instead of just soap. And unlike soap bubbles, so easily pricked and burst, the walls of the ideological bubbles of our professional class are nearly impenetrable. ...
The biases of the professional classes replicate themselves, and we find figures as horrified and baffled by the progressive left as they are by the reactionary right. Often, as with Chuck Todd and Chris Matthews, they can’t even distinguish between the two groups. Anyone working as a collective must be essentially the same, even if one group is chanting white nationalist slogans and the other is asking for racial and economic justice. But who can tell the difference, watching the demonstration, as they do, through the glass of their building on Eighth Avenue?
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) February 24, 2020
Joe Biden’s campaign has released a statement criticizing Bernie Sanders for his flattering comments about Fidel Castro.
“Make no mistake: Bernie Sanders’ comments on Fidel Castro are a part of a larger pattern throughout his life to embrace autocratic leaders and governments across the globe,” said Biden campaign adviser Cristóbal Alex. ...
Democrats in Florida, a state with a large Cuban-American population, have similarly released statements criticizing Sanders for praising Castro’s literacy program.
'The People Versus the Oligarch': Bloomberg Planning All-Out Media Assault on Sanders Ahead of Super Tuesday
New reporting out Monday reveals that billionaire plutocrat Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor whose record spending has propelled him into the top tier of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, is preparing a full-scale, "multipronged attack" on Sen. Bernie Sanders with a massive "media onslaught" against the Democratic frontrunner.
According to CNBC, which broke the story, Bloomberg's strategy will involve spending huge sums of his limitless money on digital ads, publishing opposition research, and pushing surrogates to appear on TV and write op-eds against the Vermont senator ahead of Super Tuesday. ...
There it is. The Bloomberg machine turns its billions onto Sanders in a first test of what the general election will look like https://t.co/GOQpedXFvN
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) February 24, 2020
CNBC reports the mayor has decided to focus all of his energy and bank account on the Vermont senator through the Super Tuesday contests on March 3, where 14 states are set to hold primaries.
According to CNBC:
On Monday, the Bloomberg campaign attempted to paint Sanders as a past ally of the National Rifle Association, a gun advocacy group that Bloomberg has fought for over a decade.
The attacks on Sanders, who has accused Bloomberg of trying to buy the Democratic nomination, will also attempt to highlight negative aspects of his record on race relations both as a congressman and senator, the sources said. This comes after Sanders, now seen as the Democratic front-runner, has taken aim at Bloomberg for his support of a policing policy known as stop-and-frisk that often targeted black and Latino people.
"This is a bold move for Bloomberg, given his history of both racist comments and racist policies," said Vox reporter German Lopez of the new strategy by the billionaire's campaign.
The news came two days after Joe Lockhart, a longtime Democratic strategist and former press secretary to former President Bill Clinton, in an opinion piece for CNN called on Bloomberg to take the frontrunner out.
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) February 24, 2020
New York magazine writer Eric Levitz suggested that a full-bore assault from Bloomberg could be just what the Sanders campaign needs to prepare for a general election contest with the incumbent, President Donald Trump.
"This will be a good test of the durability of Bernie's strength in polls against Trump," tweeted Levitz. "If Bloomberg's wall-to-wall character assassination campaign doesn't erase Bernie's advantage in those polls, no reason to think he can't hold strong in the general."
The Path of the Pronghorn is a 170-mile migration route that the antelope-like creatures have traveled annually for 6,000 years. It is one of North America’s last remaining long-distance terrestrial migration corridors. And it is at risk. This week conservation groups filed a legal petition challenging the Trump administration’s plan to allow 3,500 new gas wells in south-western Wyoming that would block the route.
The petition alleges that the government approved the wells without properly analyzing the potential harm to pronghorn and the greater sage grouse, a chicken-like bird that requires vast, intact landscapes for habitat, from well pads, roads, pipelines and other infrastructure. The frack-field expansion would prevent access to winter ranges that pronghorn need to survive.
Migration memory is passed from parent to offspring among ungulates, said the conservationist Linda Baker, the director of the Upper Green River Alliance. “If we cut off their migration route, that memory is lost and not likely to be regained in the life of a pronghorn. This area is a high cold desert, so they survive on sagebrush. If they can’t get to traditional winter ranges on these pathways, they won’t survive.”
The migrating animals belong to the the Sublette herd, which has already declined by 40% in the past decade. About 300 animals from this herd live in a summer range in Grand Teton national park in north-western Wyoming and travel the Path of the Pronghorn to their winter range in the Upper Green River Valley in south-east Wyoming. ... Studies show pronghorn do not deviate from their ancient routes, so blocking access to these southerly habitats would probably destroy the park’s entire pronghorn herd and further reduce the Sublette pronghorn population.
The oil and gas industry substantially rewards US legislators with campaign donations when they oppose environmental protections, according to a new analysis of congressional votes and political contributions.
Oil and gas companies spent $84m on congressional campaigns in 2018. Researchers found a correlation between an increase in anti-environment votes and an increase in contributions. They documented how lawmakers’ scores from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) dipped and then were followed by campaign funding from the industry.
On average, a 10% decrease in the LCV score in an election cycle was associated with an additional $1,700 in campaign money from the corporations the following cycle. ...
The study analyzed data from 1990 to 2018. In 1990, 63% of oil and gas money went to Republicans, Goldberg noted. In 2018, 88% of the industry’s campaign donations were to the conservative party.
A massive $20 billion-Alberta oil sands project has been cancelled, infuriating Canadian conservative politicians, who are blaming Justin Trudeau and Indigenous-led rail blockades.
Vancouver-based Teck Resources Limited CEO Don Lindsay said his company is pulling its application for the Frontier oil sands project, a $20.6-billion mine that would have produced 260,000 barrels of oil per day, in a two-page statement addressed to Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. A parliamentary vote on whether to green-light the project was planned for Tuesday, but has since been canceled.
Lindsay cited incomplete climate change policy as a reason for hitting the breaks. “Customers are increasingly looking for jurisdictions to have a framework in place that reconciles resource development and climate change,” Lindsay said. “This does not yet exist here today, and, unfortunately, the growing debate around the issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely around much broader issues that need to be resolved.” ...
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer directly linked Teck’s decision to the ongoing Indigenous-led railway blockades taking place across the country in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs—and Prime Minister Trudeau’s inability to stop them. “Make no mistake, Justin Trudeau killed Teck Frontier,” Scheer told reporters on Monday.
Police in Canada have removed Indigenous activists from a railway line in Ontario, where a two-week protest against a contentious natural gas pipeline has blocked train traffic and fueled a growing political crisis for prime minister Justin Trudeau. Ten members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk nation were arrested on Monday when officers moved in to lift the blockade which had been erected in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in British Columbia who are fighting a 416-mile pipeline through their traditional territory. ...
Canadian National, which owns the rail line, won an injunction to clear the blockade near the city of Belleville, Ontario, in early February. But police, wary of violent standoffs in the 1990s with Indigenous groups, had so far been unwilling to forcefully remove the demonstrators. Shortly after sunrise on Monday morning, however, dozens of officers descended on the blockade. Police barred media from the operation, but the confrontation was broadcast on a Facebook live broadcast. ...
Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Woos has said he expects blockades and protests will continue throughout the country until the RCMP and pipeline workers leave Wet’suwet’en territory. Only once these conditions are met, the chiefs will be willing to meet with federal and provincial leaders.
Over the weekend, two new rail blockades were established in Saskatoon and Vancouver.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Pink Anderson - In The Evening
Pink Anderson - I Got Mine
Pink Anderson - Thousand Woman Blues
Pink Anderson - Meet Me In The Bottom
Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley - Gonna Tip Out Tonight
Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley - Every Day In The Week Blues
Pink Anderson - Chicken
Pink Anderson - I Will Fly Away
Pink Anderson - She Knows How To Stretch It