The Evening Blues - 2-24-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features blues and soul singer Little Johnny Taylor. Enjoy!
Little Johnny Taylor - Zig Zag Lightning
You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
-- Joseph N. Welch
News and Opinion
The victory of Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses has escalated the anti-Sanders hysteria of the Democratic Party establishment and the Democratic-aligned media outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC. This has taken the form of a new round of fabricated allegations of Russian intervention into the 2020 elections to support Sanders’ candidacy. This fable is elaborated on the front page of Sunday’s New York Times in a lengthy article by David Sanger, the newspaper’s most reliable stenographer for whatever story the military-intelligence apparatus wants floated in the newspaper. Under the headline, “Seeking Chaos, Moscow Places Its Bets in U.S.,” Sanger smears Sanders as the beneficiary of supposed Russian support in the 2020 election. ...
In [Sanger's] latest thriller, Sanger does not produce a single fact in support of the contention that Russian President Vladimir Putin supports Sanders or has done anything to assist his campaign. Besides numerous unnamed “intelligence analysts,” “outside experts,” “analysts,” and “intelligence analysts,” Sanger quotes three current and former intelligence officials by name, including Angela Stent, national intelligence officer for Russia, now a professor at Georgetown University, and author of Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and With the Rest, who actually says nothing about Sanders. Victoria Nuland is also cited.
Nuland is certainly an expert on foreign subversion of elections, having played, as she boasted, a central role in 2014 in the $5 billion US effort to destabilize and oust the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine. Nuland does not present any evidence to support Sanger’s storyline, beyond asserting, “Any figures that radicalize politics and do harm to center views and unity in the United States are good for Putin’s Russia.” In other words, Sanders is functioning as a Putin stooge because his policies are to the left of the Democratic Party candidates favored by the CIA. ...
Also named by Sanger is Christopher Krebs, head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security. Sanger cites his role in “documenting how Russian operatives are becoming stealthier, learning from the mistakes they made in 2016.” These Russki agents are so devilishly clever that they successfully conceal all traces of their insidious manipulation of American elections.
In Sanger’s make-believe world, the very absence of evidence of Russian interference is proof of their subversion. His story line is a modern-day version of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anticommunist invocations of a “conspiracy so vast.”
Following shocking reports from The New York Times and The Washington Post that Moscow is simultaneously working to both re-elect Donald Trump and ensure the nomination of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary race, National News Conglomerate (NNC) has obtained further information confirming that nearly all candidates currently running for president are in fact covert agents of the Russian government.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the lone candidate not literally conducting espionage on behalf of the Russian government is Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
“Intelligence has revealed that Mr. Buttigieg is at this time the only candidate who we can count on not to place our nation’s interests square in the hands of Vladimir Putin,” an anonymous source in the Central Intelligence Agency told NNC on Saturday.
“In fact Mr. Buttigieg is the only candidate running with the skill, the experience and the multilingual relatability needed to bridge our nation’s deep divisions and bring Americans together in this time of uncontrolled hostility,” the CIA source continued.
“Because in truth, the unity of our togetherness is in the freedom of our democracy,” added the source. “The long and winding road to the American flag was built upon the steps of our founding fathers. You don’t have to be a big shot Washington insider to see that the problems our nation faces are tearing us apart at our own peril with radical divisive rhetoric saying you need to burn down the establishment and voice a concrete foreign policy position. And that’s why I for one believe we don’t have to choose between revolution and the status quo: we can come together and find solutions that help the working class and billionaires.”
Experts say these new revelations on Russian election interference should consume one hundred percent of all news coverage for the entirety of 2020, and that Democrats should definitely spend all their time from now until November focusing solely on President Trump’s suspicious ties to the Russian government.
Julian Assange’s father has claimed his son was “harassed” by a prison cell search the day before his extradition hearing was planned to begin. John Shipton visited the WikiLeaks founder at Belmarsh prison in south-east London for two hours on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Shipton demanded Assange be released on bail. “For the life of me I can’t understand why Julian Assange is in jail having committed no crime, with family here that he can come and live with,” he said. “Bail ought to be given immediately if the extradition order isn’t dropped. ...
“This plague of malice that emanates from the Crown Prosecution Service to Julian Assange must stop immediately.”
Shipton was accompanied by Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis. They were met by representatives from Reporters Without Borders, an organisation that defends freedom of the press, as they left the prison. ... Varoufakis said Assange was in a “very dark place” due to spending more than 20 hours a day in solitary confinement. Describing the Australian as a “force of nature”, he said he was not being allowed to exercise in the gym with other inmates.
“We have to stop this extradition in the interests of 300 years of modernity, 300 years of trying to establish human rights and civil liberties in the west and around the world,” Varoufakis added.
Donald Trump said on Sunday he is ready to sign a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan if a temporary truce holds in America’s longest war.
“Time to come home,” he said. “They want to stop. You know, they’ve been fighting a long time. They’re tough people. We’re tough people. But after 19 years, that’s a long time.” ...
There are more than 12,000 US troops in Afghanistan. According to the website icasualties.org, 2,448 Americans have died in combat there since the invasion in October 2001.
The US and the Taliban announced the truce earlier this month. It took effect last Friday and set the stage for a broader deal aimed at ending 18 years of war in Afghanistan and bringing US troops home.
If the truce proves a success, it will be followed by the signing of the peace accord on Saturday, wrapping up the longest-running US conflict and fulfilling one of Trump’s chief campaign promises.
A police investigator in Spain is trying to solve a crime, but she only has an image of a suspect’s face, caught by a nearby security camera. European police have long had access to fingerprint and DNA databases throughout the 27 countries of the European Union and, in certain cases, the United States. But soon, that investigator may be able to also search a network of police face databases spanning the whole of Europe and the U.S.
According to leaked internal European Union documents, the EU could soon be creating a network of national police facial recognition databases. A report drawn up by the national police forces of 10 EU member states, led by Austria, calls for the introduction of EU legislation to introduce and interconnect such databases in every member state. The report, which The Intercept obtained from a European official who is concerned about the network’s development, was circulated among EU and national officials in November 2019. If previous data-sharing arrangements are a guide, the new facial recognition network will likely be connected to similar databases in the U.S., creating what privacy researchers are calling a massive transatlantic consolidation of biometric data.
The report was produced as part of discussions on expanding the Prüm system, an EU-wide initiative connecting DNA, fingerprint, and vehicle registration databases for mutual searching. A similar system exists between the U.S. and any country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program, which includes the majority of EU countries; bilateral agreements allow U.S. and European agencies to access one another’s fingerprint and DNA databases. ...
European moves to consolidate police facial recognition data closely resembles similar efforts in the U.S., said Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. Many U.S. law enforcement agencies work out of “fusion centers,” where they are co-located and able to share data. If you have an information-sharing agreement with the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security, said Guliani, “there’s a risk that functionally the information may be shared with additional levels of U.S. law enforcement.”
“It raises many questions,” she added. “How police are using facial recognition and gathering images, as well as in the U.S. with regard to due process and First Amendment expression. Given existing information sharing relationships, it’s very likely that the U.S. would want access to that information.”
President Donald Trump is pissed at new intelligence reports showing the Kremlin has picked its preferred 2020 candidate: him. The tweeter-in-chief railed Friday about new analysis by U.S. intelligence officials indicating Russia is already working to get Trump reelected. To him, it's just another partisan plot to discredit him.
“Another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do Nothing Democrat candidates who still have been unable to, after two weeks, count their votes in Iowa,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Hoax number 7!”
The outburst came a day after outlets including The New York Times reported that top intelligence officials warned lawmakers of a repeat of the Kremlin plot that sowed confusion and helped pave the way for Trump’s 2016 win.
Speaking to the House Intelligence Committee last week, an aide to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire said that Russian operatives are working to shape the Democratic primary and general election — in Trump’s favor. ...
The potential threat came into clearer focus on Friday. The Washington Post reported that U.S. intelligence officials have also told Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russian operatives have tried to boost his campaign and sow division among Democrats. The Post didn’t publish additional details about what form the assistance is taking.
The president’s views on news of a book deal for Marie Yovanovitch, another key figure in the Ukraine scandal which led to Trump’s impeachment, were not immediately clear. ...
The Room Where It Happened was slated for publication in March but it has been held up, the national security council telling Bolton’s lawyer it would “move forward as expeditiously as possible” with determining what could be published.
On Friday night, the Washington Post cited two anonymous sources as saying Trump had told his own lawyers the book should not come out before the election. Trump has attacked Bolton publicly on Twitter but the Post also reported notes of an off-the-record briefing of TV anchors on 4 February.
President Donald Trump on Thursday quietly issued a memo granting Defense Secretary Mark Esper the power to abolish collective bargaining rights for the Defense Department's 750,000 civilian workers, a move unions decried as part of the administration's far-reaching assault on organized labor.
The memo argues that a unionized Defense Department workforce could pose a threat to "national security" and that, if necessary, collective bargaining rights at the department should be scrapped in the interest of "protecting the American people."
"When new missions emerge or existing ones evolve, the Department of Defense requires maximum flexibility to respond to threats," the memo states. "This flexibility requires that military and civilian leadership manage their organizations to cultivate a lethal, agile force adaptive to new technologies and posture changes."
"Where collective bargaining is incompatible with these organizations' missions," the memo continues, "the Department of Defense should not be forced to sacrifice its national security mission and, instead, seek relief through third parties and administrative fora."
It is unclear whether or how Esper intends to act on his legal authority.
New Yorkers working on rolling back mass incarceration entered 2020 with a sense that the wind was strongly at their back. The previous year had been a momentous one: For the first time in decades, Democrats controlled both chambers of the legislature as well as the governor’s mansion. Reform advocates had taken the opportunity to pass a historic raft of criminal justice reforms. Money bail was eliminated for most, though not all, defendants. A host of minor offenses would now result in a notice to appear in court, rather than arrest. And a longstanding imbalance that allowed prosecutors to withhold their evidence against a defendant until the day of trial was finally righted.
Passed last spring, these reforms were set to go into effect January 1. In the meantime, the coalition that had helped push through last year’s reforms — community activists, public defense lawyers, civil libertarians — set their sights on what they wanted to accomplish in the new year to keep the momentum going: repeal the law that insulates police conduct from public scrutiny, reduce the use of solitary confinement, and open a legal avenue for people to challenge their wrongful convictions when exculpatory evidence comes to light. ...
These lofty ambitions, however, hit a snag. It soon became clear that the coalition of reformers had gravely underestimated the determination of pro-carceral forces to claw back the gains of last year and the eagerness of news media to cooperate in a statewide campaign of public fearmongering. They’d also underestimated the willingness of their erstwhile allies among Democratic state legislators to betray the poor, black, and brown New Yorkers overwhelmingly affected by the reforms, if it helps Democrats keep their seats. Far from building on their progress of last year, criminal justice reformers now find themselves exhausted, dispirited, and dismayed, caught in a 24/7 trench battle to defend the compromise measures they only just won.
If they fail, it’s increasingly possible that New York won’t just revert to the pre-reform status quo. The avenging counterreformation of police unions, police departments, district attorneys, Republicans, and Facebook fascists is currently poised to drive past that line, winning laws that will give prosecutors something they have never had in New York before. Under a proposal unveiled by Democratic senators last week, prosecutors would gain the ability to ask for people to be sent to jail before the benefit of a trial, based on speculation about what sort of crimes they might commit in the future.
Bernie Sanders seemed to be enjoying himself as he made his final pitch in Nevada ahead of Saturday’s caucuses. “As you may have noticed lately, the establishment is getting a little bit nervous,” he said to cheers at his Friday night rally before mimicking the hand-wringing Democrats panicking over his rise.
“‘Oh my god, they’re putting together a multi-generational, multi-racial movement of millions of millions of people! Oh my goodness, how can we stop them?’” he continued as his thousands-strong crowd laughed. “They’re getting nervous. But you know what? When we stand up together, they ain’t going to stop us.” Sanders appears to be cruising to an easy win in Nevada’s Saturday caucuses, buoyed by a fractured field of middling candidates struggling to break out against him. ...
[N]early everyone competing in Nevada not named Sanders is running low on resources and struggling to break out of a muddled field. A distant second place is unlikely to produce the bounce needed for anyone to break out of the pack.
In short (and since it’s Nevada), Sanders looks like he’ll be leaving Las Vegas the big winner. And the rest of the field are quickly running out of chips.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews compared Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday to the Nazi invasion of France, spurring calls for his firing.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews likens Sanders victory in Nevada to Nazi Germany overrunning France in 1940: “It’s too late to stop him … it’s over” pic.twitter.com/6GJetLoDkq
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 22, 2020
Matthews’ words prompted widespread anger.
“Bernie is Jewish and his family was killed by the Nazis,” tweeted David Sirota, a Sanders speechwriter and former Guardian contributor. “None of this is OK.”
“This is absolutely disgusting on [Matthews’] part,” tweeted Parker Molloy, editor-at-large at Media Matters for America. “Retire, get fired, whatever. Bottom line is that Matthews needs to be out of a job.”
'Deep Disdain Masquerading as Journalism': MSNBC Pundit Under Fire for Calling Sanders Staffers 'Misfit Black Girls'
Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the progressive community more broadly, voiced outrage and demanded an apology Friday after MSNBC contributor and Morgan State University journalism professor Dr. Jason Johnson referred to Sanders aides and defenders as "people from the island of misfit black girls" during a radio appearance.
"The man cares nothing for intersectionality," Johnson said of Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, on SiriusXM's The Karen Hunter Show. "And I don't care how many people from the island of misfit black girls that you throw out there to defend you on a regular basis."
"That's where you have crossed the line, sir," replied host Karen Hunter.
"I don't care," said Johnson.
“Racist, liberal whites seem to love them some Bernie Sanders.
He cares nothing for intersectionality. I don’t care how many people from the island of misfit Black girls you throw out there to defend you.”@DrJasonJohnson on Bernie’s staff & supporters. MSNBC should sever ties. pic.twitter.com/abxZKsFhaA
— Samuel D. Finkelstein II (@CANCEL_SAM) February 21, 2020
Phillip Agnew, a Sanders surrogate, called Johnson's comments "deep disdain masquerading as journalism."
"This isn't analysis. This isn't insight," Agnew tweeted. "Hate to see it."
Sanders campaign national co-chair Nina Turner addressed Johnson's comments during the Vermont senator's rally in Las Vegas on the eve of Saturday's Nevada Democratic caucus:
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) February 22, 2020
Culinary Workers Bucked Their Leadership by Backing Bernie Sanders in Nevada. Here’s What They Knew.
Despite a high-profile battle with the leadership of Nevada’s powerful Culinary Union leading into the caucuses on Saturday, Bernie Sanders emerged with a decisive victory — even dominating other candidates among culinary workers themselves, according to entrance surveys.
The big fear expressed by union leadership was the loss of the health care plan workers fought for several years to achieve. But union members who caucused for Sanders against the advice of their leadership may have been better analysts of their own financial system than pundits expected: Indeed, if Sanders does manage to enact his Medicare for All plan as it’s written, their coverage will improve.
A review of the Culinary Union’s health plan documents, along with other data sources, shows that it’s done an excellent job under difficult circumstances. The review also shows that the union’s members would be much better off under Medicare For All, and that this plan – like virtually every plan – is held back by deep flaws in today’s healthcare system.
[See article for comparative details of MFA and the CU plan. - js]
Sanders Says He 'Welcomes Hatred of Crooks Who Destroyed Our Economy' After Blankfein Suggests He May Vote Trump Over Bernie
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday said he welcomes "the hatred of the crooks who destroyed our economy" after former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein suggested he might vote for President Donald Trump in November if Sanders wins the Democratic nomination.
"I think I might find it harder to vote for Bernie than for Trump," Blankfein, a life-long Democrat, told the Financial Times in an interview published Friday. "There's a long time between now and then. The Democrats would be working very hard to find someone who is as divisive as Trump. But with Bernie they would have succeeded."
I welcome the hatred of the crooks who destroyed our economy. https://t.co/aZcdCFpeqt
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 21, 2020
Blankfein said Sanders' proposed wealth tax on the ultra-rich is "just as subversive of the American character" as Trump's demonization of "groups of people who he has never met."
"I don't like that at all," Blankfein said. "I don't like assassination by categorization. I think it's un-American. I find that destructive and intemperate... At least Trump cares about the economy."
Blankfein, who has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion, told FT that he is not rich, but "well-to-do."
"I can't even say 'rich,'" said the former banker. "I don't feel that way. I don't behave that way."
Mike Bloomberg promised to release women who’ve filed complaints about his behavior from three non-disclosure agreements, bowing to pressure after Democratic presidential primary rival Elizabeth Warren slapped him down ridiculously hard on the issue on the debate stage in Nevada.
Bloomberg said he’s done “a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days,” and decided non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, won’t fly at all at his namesake company Bloomberg LP anymore. ...
“I’ve had the company go back over its record and they’ve identified 3 NDAs that we signed over the past 30-plus years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made,” Bloomberg said in a statement Friday afternoon. “If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release.”
Bloomberg’s “reflecting” follows a total shellacking from Warren during a debate in Nevada earlier this week over his reluctance to release those women from their NDAs.
Twitter has started suspending and restricting dozens of accounts posting content promoting the Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg. “We took enforcement action on about 70 accounts, which includes a combination of permanent suspensions and account challenges to verify ownership,” a Twitter spokeswoman said. ...
Twitter said the accounts violated its platform manipulation and spam policy, which prohibits coordination among accounts to amplify or disrupt conversation. ...
The billionaire’s campaign, which has been pouring unparalleled amounts of money into online advertising, is hiring hundreds of digital organizers to support the candidate, including by pushing content to their own social media channels.
On November 4, financier Steven Rattner published an op-ed in the New York Times headlined “The Warren Way Is the Wrong Way.” An Elizabeth Warren presidency is “a terrifying prospect,” Rattner wrote, for “she would extend the reach and weight of the federal government far further into the economy than anything even President Franklin Roosevelt imagined.” Warren might call herself a capitalist, but her “panoply of minutely detailed plans” shows that she would “turn America’s uniquely successful public-private relationship into a dirigiste, European-style system. If you want to live in France (economically), Elizabeth Warren should be your candidate.”
The Times identified Rattner thus: “Steven Rattner, a counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration, is a Wall Street executive and a contributing writer.” It did not mention Rattner’s current position: chair and CEO of Willett Advisors, which manages the personal and philanthropic assets of Michael Bloomberg. At the time, Bloomberg was very publicly considering a run for president. With Rattner attacking one of Bloomberg’s rivals, readers deserved to know of his financial relationship to him. (Since November 24, when Bloomberg entered the race, two columns by Rattner have mentioned the Willett connection.)
Rattner also appears regularly on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (and, from time to time, on “Hardball With Chris Matthews,” “All In With Chris Hayes,” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell”). Only recently has Morning Joe begun to mention Rattner’s Bloomberg connections, and then but briefly. On January 28, Rattner went after Bernie Sanders on “Morning Joe.” While Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All plan had been closely scrutinized, Rattner said, Sanders’s version — though even more expensive — had not. He displayed a chart showing how much federal spending would (by his estimate) increase under each candidate over 10 years: 1.5 percent for Joe Biden, 2 percent for Pete Buttigieg, 12 percent for Warren, and 20 percent for Sanders. No one was discussing this, Rattner complained. The main reason, he ventured, is that Sanders is “like everybody’s eccentric uncle. We all have an eccentric uncle. Not a lot of people thought he was a serious contender for the nomination and so he has not been subjected, I don’t believe, to the same dissection of his plans and policies.” Rattner’s role as Bloomberg’s money manager was fleetingly noted.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stirred outrage Saturday by visiting Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar at his campaign headquarters in Laredo and voicing hope that the Koch-backed, anti-choice Democrat will ride to a "resounding victory" over progressive primary challenger Jessica Cisneros on March 3.
"We want this to be not only a victory, but a resounding victory for Henry Cuellar," Pelosi told dozens of Cuellar campaign workers and supporters. "Every step you take, every door you knock, every call you make, will make that resounding victory possible—and it includes getting out a big Democratic vote prepared to vote again in the general election so that we turn Texas blue."
"We assume that Henry will win, but we don't take anything for granted," Pelosi added. "The word 'assume'—ass of you and me. Assume nothing." Ahead of her visit to Cuellar's campaign office, Pelosi headlined a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has also thrown its weight behind Cuellar in Texas' 28th congressional district.
Justice Democrats, which is supporting Cisneros, sent an email to supporters late Saturday blasting Pelosi's support for Cuellar as "utterly shameful."
"Nancy Pelosi is backing a 'Democrat' who votes with Trump nearly 70% of the time, has an 'A' rating from the NRA, is anti-choice, and has received tens of thousands of dollars from the Kochs," the group wrote.
Instead of lifting up progressive women like @JCisnerosTX, Pelosi is stumping for a "Democrat" who is anti-choice; voted with Trump 70% of the time; received $ from the NRA and the Kochs; and is a top recipient of $ from the private prison and fossil fuel lobby. Unbelievable. https://t.co/m8uVf30UYY
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) February 22, 2020
Cuellar is the first-ever congressional Democrat to receive reelection support from Americans for Prosperity Action, a super PAC funded by billionaire Charles Koch.
As HuffPost reported, Cuellar's reelection bid is also backed by "large national and Texas corporations and business associations, including the American Bankers Association, Texas Bankers Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Laredo Chamber of Commerce."
By contrast, Cisneros—a 26-year-old immigration and human rights attorney—is running a union-backed campaign fueled by grassroots donors and supported by progressive members of Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Worth a full read:
At dusk, graduate student Sara Lewis was sitting on her back porch in North Carolina with her dog. “We were supposed to be mowing our grass, but we never did, so we had long grass in our yard,” she recalls. “Suddenly this cloud of sparks rose up out of the grass and started flying around me.” Each spark was a firefly: a beetle that glows in the dark. Hundreds of fireflies had gathered in Lewis’s back yard and were soaring around her. “It was this incredible spectacle,” says Lewis, “and I just sort of gasped.” Then she became fascinated. “I started wondering what the heck was going on here, what were these bugs doing, what were they talking about?” She has spent much of the past three decades studying fireflies.
In recent years Lewis’s work has taken on a new urgency. All around the world, the lights of fireflies are going out. The dazzling beetles are disappearing from long-established habitats. Often it is not clear why, but it seems likely that light pollution and the destruction of habitats are crucial factors. Biologists are racing to understand what is happening to fireflies so we can save them before their lights fade permanently. ...
[F]ireflies are in trouble. In 2019, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation published a report on North American fireflies, warning that “populations appear to be in decline”. It was co-authored by Lewis, who is now professor of evolutionary and behavioural ecology at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and author of a book on fireflies, Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies.
The extent of the decrease is unclear because most firefly populations have not been tracked. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which monitors thousands of species, only created its Firefly Specialist Group in 2018. Fireflies are difficult to study: they are hard to find when not displaying.
“The best data we have is from the UK,” says Lewis. Citizen scientists have tracked the UK’s one firefly, the common glow-worm, Lampyris noctiluca, since the 1970s. For most species there are only anecdotes, but they all tell the same story, and biologists who study wild fireflies are convinced.
Climate campaigners on Friday expressed hope that policymakers who are stalling on taking decisive climate action would reconsider their stance in light of new warnings from an unlikely source: two economists at J.P. Morgan Chase.
Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Rupert Read revealed Thursday that he had obtained a report, entitled "Risky Business: Climate and the Macroeconomy," by J.P. Morgan economists David Mackie and Jessica Murray. The report issued warnings to bank clients similar to those promoted by climate action groups—describing extreme weather events and global conditions that could result from the continued extraction of fossil fuels.
In doing so, the economists implicated the bank's own investment activities in the potentially catastrophic effects of the climate crisis.
J.P. Morgan is the world's largest financial backer of fossil fuel companies, helping to fund fracking, pipeline projects, and Arctic oil and gas exploration. The company has contributed $75 billion to such projects since the Paris climate agreement was forged in 2015. The agreement called on governments to reduce fossil fuel emissions to help limit global heating to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.
If activities like the ones funded by J.P. Morgan continue to release fossil fuels into the atmosphere, Murray and Mackie wrote, "We cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened."
Failing to move away from global systems that scientists agree are causing the planet to warm "would likely push the Earth to a place that we haven't seen for many millions of years," they added.
A swarm of as many as 40,000 Africanized bees sent several people to hospital and closed a street in California, after swarming from the eaves of a Howard Johnson Inn.
Police and firefighters were called to the scene after a report about a bee sting on a boulevard in Pasadena on Wednesday evening. Two firefighters, two police officers and one civilian ended up at hospital after being stung. ...
Africanized bees are descended from a cross-breed between African and European bees that was introduced in South America in the 1950s but which escaped and proliferated, breeding with local species. Due to their habit of aggressively defending their nests, the insects have acquired an familiar nickname: killer bees.
In Pasadena, police and firefighters first tried to calm the bees with smoke, then used fire extinguishing foam to kill the bees after they failed to calm down.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Johnny Taylor - I Had A Dream
Little Johnny Taylor - I Ain't Particular
Little Johnny Taylor - Nightingale Melody
Little Johnny Taylor - My Heart Is Filled With Pain
Ted Taylor & Little Johnny Taylor - Cry It Out Baby
Little Johnny Taylor ?– Sweet Soul Woman
Little Johnny Taylor ?– Little Bluebird
Little Johnny Taylor ?– Somewhere Down The Line
Little Johnny Taylor ?– Next Time
Little Johnny Taylor ?– Make Love To Me Baby
Little Johnny Taylor - What You Need is A Ball