The Evening Blues - 4-1-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Chicago blues singer J.B. Lenoir. Enjoy!
J B Lenoir - I Sing Um the Way I Feel
“Whoever eats up, robs, and steals the nourishment of another, that man commits as great a murder… as he who starves a man or utterly undoes him. Such does a usurer, and sits the while safe on his stool, when he ought rather to be hanging on the gallows, and be eaten by as many ravens as he has stolen guilders, if only there were so much flesh on him, that so many ravens could stick their beaks in and share it. Meanwhile, we hang the small thieves…. Little thieves are put in the stocks, great thieves go flaunting in gold and silk…. Therefore is there, on this earth, no greater enemy of man (after the devil) than a gripe-money, and usurer, for he wants to be God over all men…. a usurer and money-glutton, such a one would have the whole world perish of hunger and thirst, misery and want, so far as in him lies, so that he may have all to himself, and every one may receive from him as from a God, and be his serf for ever… Usury is a great huge monster, like a werewolf, who lays waste all… And since we break on the wheel, and behead highwaymen, murderers and housebreakers, how much more ought we to break on the wheel and kill…. hunt down, curse and behead all usurers.”
-- Martin Luther
News and Opinion
According to Bloomberg News, the billionaire hedge-fund and private equity-fund managers who met with President Donald Trump on March 24, “are getting impatient with the national economic shutdown caused by coronavirus…”. They urged that workers be released to return to their jobs from the government lockdown. The “concerned” billionaires, along with the president, do not want “the cure to be worse than the problem.”
... William Ackman, [...] billionaire hedge-fund manager, posturing as a voice of compromise, says that we should impose a strict shutdown for two weeks more than the president suggests, but then send everyone back to work.
He tells CNN:
“Do we risk sort of dragging this out and really crushing capitalism if we can’t fix it now and then move on and have it behind us? Yes. So the president is right… I call it the rip-the-Band-Aid-off strategy.”
Extreme measures to flatten the virus “curve” is sensible-for a time-to stretch out the strain on health infrastructure. But crushing the economy, jobs and morale is also a health issue-and beyond. Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work.
— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) March 23, 2020
... The White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, like his boss, a former TV personality, but with deep ties to Wall Street, offers an assurance:
“We’re not abandoning the health professionals’ advice but there is a clamor to try to re-open the economy, perhaps make it less of a shut-in.”
Yes, a “clamor,” a clamor from the capitalists to ignore the health professionals and restore the accumulation process immediately. ...
The $2.1 trillion “Emergency Aid Bill” concocted by the U.S. Congress bears the stamp of the majority millionaires and multi-millionaires constituting the elected U.S. government and other top executive and judicial functionaries. With less than a third of the aid earmarked for unemployment insurance, direct payments to households, hospitals, veterans’ care, and public transit and the rest for government and corporations, it is crystal clear where their priorities lie.
As economist Jack Rasmus notes, adding the Federal Reserve’s bailout program to the congressional plan:
“…the Federal Reserve US central bank has quickly allocated no less than $6.2 Trillion so far to bail out the banks and investors, even before they fail this time. And promises to do more if needed and for as long as necessary. It is writing a blank check for the bankers and investors.”
Meanwhile Congress provides one-fourth that, and only one third of that one fourth, for the Main Street workers and middle-class families. The unending hunger for accumulation driving capitalism reveals its ugly face most readily in a deep crisis. Whether it’s the mindless carnage of an imperialist war like World War I or the invisible threat to life of a new virus like today, the inhumane, anti-social, selfish soul of capitalism surfaces for all to see.
The claim that the U.S. was an exceptional nation and that the capitalist order represented the highest expression of human development has been shattered by the second global collapse of the capitalist order within twelve years. Millions thrown out of work, global supply chains disrupted, trillions disappeared in the capitalist casino euphemistically called the stock market… The state’s feeble and class biased response to COVID-19 has resulted in a costly lesson in class politics for the U.S. public. ...
The systemic failure of the capitalist order triggered by the coronavirus has reinforced the growing awareness among the population that extreme wealth inequality is not just a temporary quirk that can be remedied with tax and some redistributive policies but a fundamental characteristic of the system. For example, the debate that took place leading up to the passing of the legislation by Congress to address COVID-19’s impact dramatically exposed a capitalist class agenda that was objectively opposed to the interest of the entire working class, the poor, and the declining middle-class.
The people saw that billions of dollars were allocated to business while millions of people are facing an increasingly desperate situation.They are facing their second pay period without a full check and they are weeks away from receiving any kind of meaningful relief. But the peoples’ bills continue to mount up while the multinational corporations get bailed out. April rent and mortgage payments are due and with everyone home and eating more but with less money for food, thousands are being forced to go without or rely on food pantries. The $1,200 payoff is an insult.
And with the tragic reality of the shamefully inadequate public healthcare system in the U.S. and the rumors that private insurance healthcare premiums might increase 40% next year, the capitalists want to shut down any discussion around Medicare for All along with any discussion on nationalizing the healthcare industry. While millions are losing their employer-based healthcare coverage, Biden says that nothing has changed his opposition to Medicare for All. Another neoliberal Democrat.
This is not being missed by many people.
So who didn't see this coming?
'No More Spending': After Securing $4.5 Trillion Corporate Bailout, Trump White House and GOP Cast Doubt on New Stimulus
Having secured a multi-trillion-dollar bailout fund for large corporations and minimal relief for the public as the U.S. economy reels from the coronavirus crisis, the White House and Republican leaders in Congress are already throwing cold water on the prospect of a fourth stimulus bill that progressives say is necessary to address the deep flaws and gaping holes in the measure President Donald Trump signed into law last week.
One anonymous White House economic adviser told the Washington Post's Jeff Stein Monday that the chances of congressional Republicans supporting a stimulus bill that includes progressive priorities such as more money for food assistance, an increase in Medicaid funding, and recurring direct cash payments for U.S. households "are zero."
"No more spending," the adviser said. "We did all the spending."
“We did all the spending.” Trillions for big business. Bare minimum for you. https://t.co/QDuSCD21jI
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) March 30, 2020
The previous stimulus measure significantly increases unemployment benefits—though only for a period of four months—and provides a one-time, means-tested cash payment of $1,200 to millions of people while also establishing a $4.5 trillion bailout fund for big corporations.
While applauding the unemployment provisions and other aid in the bill, progressives assailed the measure as obscenely business-friendly and insufficient to help the public cope with the worsening national economic fallout. Advocates also voiced alarm at many provisions tucked inside the mammoth legislation, including a sneak-attack on Social Security and toothless oversight of the corporate "slush fund," which will largely be controlled by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
But Democratic leaders justified compromise with the GOP on the grounds that there would be an opportunity to provide more relief for the vulnerable in a fourth stimulus package.
"This is not going to be the last bill," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on PBS last week as progressives warned she was giving up crucial leverage by letting a largely Republican-crafted measure slide. "This bill is about mitigation for the [economic] damage that is being done... The next phase will be recovery."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who led the Democratic side of negotiations on the previous stimulus measure, echoed Pelosi in a speech on the Senate floor: "This is certainly not the end of our work here in Congress—rather the end of the beginning."
However, top Republicans are signaling that they may not be willing to accept another major spending measure, particularly one that ramps funding for safety net programs they have tirelessly worked to cut.
"I'm not sure we need a fourth package," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "And before we go to start drafting a fourth package, I'd like these three packages we just put out... to take care and get this economy moving."
A Pennsylvania company that received $13.8 million in tax dollars to produce cheap, portable ventilators is now selling them overseas as the U.S. scrambles to find enough of the devices to sustain hospital patients affected by the coronavirus, according to an investigation by ProPublica.
In 2015 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contracted the company to produce the ventilators, which were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2019. Not a single version of the model, Trilogy Evo Universal, in the U.S. stockpile.
HHS ordered 10,000 of the ventilators for the Strategic National Stockpile at a cost of $3,280 each. Instead, the company, which is a subsidiary of Dutch appliance and technology giant Royal Philips N.V., began selling more expensive versions of the ventilators across the world.
HHS told ProPublica that the company agreed to produce them “as soon as possible,” but a Philips spokesman said the company has no plan to even begin production anytime this year.
Corpulent colostomy bag walking like a man, Pompous Maximus, declares that the U.S. might reconsider sanctions on the country that he most wants to destroy. Yeah, sure.
U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held out the possibility Tuesday that the United States may consider easing sanctions on Iran and other nations to help fight the coronavirus epidemic but gave no concrete sign it plans to do so.
The comments reflected a shift in tone by the U.S. State Department, which has come under withering criticism for its hard line toward sanctions relief even in the face of a call by the U.N. secretary-general to ease U.S. economic penalties.
Speaking to reporters, Pompeo stressed that humanitarian and medical supplies are exempt from sanctions Washington reimposed on Tehran after President Donald Trump abandoned Iran's 2015 multilateral deal to limit its nuclear program.
However, broader U.S. sanctions deter many firms from humanitarian trade with Iran, one of the nations hardest hit by the coronavirus epidemic.
Asked if there might come a point at which the United States might reevaluate its stance on easing sanctions, Pompeo told a news conference: "we evaluate all of our policies constantly, so the answer is - would we ever rethink? - Of course."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is demanding to know why the Trump administration earlier this month seized at least two shipments of badly-needed medical supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic headed for her state of Massachusetts and accused the federal government of continually outbidding states as officials try to procure life-saving equipment.
After President Donald Trump on March 19 scolded governors for expecting the federal government to take responsibility for the spread of the coronavirus and ensure that states have ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare providers—saying states should "try getting it" themselves—the administration outbid Massachusetts officials and kept the supplies out of the state's reach, Warren said in a tweet on Tuesday.
In a letter (pdf) sent Monday to FEMA administrator Peter Gaynor, Warren called the government's interdiction into her state's efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus—officially known as COVID-19—"a new and inexplicable obstacle."
Warren described a recent phone call Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker had with Trump, in which the governor said he had heeded the president's call to obtain ventilators and PPE directly from manufacturers instead of relying on the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), only to be outbid by the federal government.
"If states are doing what the feds want and trying to create their own supply chain, then people should be responsive," Baker told Trump."I've got a feeling that if somebody has a chance to sell to you or to me, I'm going to lose everyone of those."
According to Business Insider, the president laughed at Baker's concern, agreeing that the federal government's ability to pay more for supplies was "probably why" they didn't go to Massachusetts.
"Massachusetts state officials are continuing to face federal impediments as they scramble to find essential medical equipment to respond to a public health emergency," Warren wrote to Gaynor. "This is unacceptable."
As Thousands of Las Vegas Hotel Rooms Sit Empty, City Paints 'Social Distancing Boxes' in Parking Lot for Homeless People
Progressives condemned officials in Las Vegas Monday for a city plan to "shelter" some of the city's homeless population in a parking lot—even as thousands of hotel rooms in the area were empty.
After a man who had been staying at the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada tested positive for the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, Clark County and Las Vegas city officials announced they had devised a plan to move people who would otherwise be staying at the shelter to a convention center parking lot. The county referred to the parking lot as a temporary "shelter" despite the fact that people staying there will be sleeping outdoors.
Due to the closure of Catholic Charities, we are joining with @CityOfLasVegas & area homeless providers to set up a temporary shelter @ Cashman Center. It will open tonight & run through April 3rd, when Catholic Charities will reopen #coronavirus #Vegas pic.twitter.com/XGWaREYbFq
— Clark County Nevada (@ClarkCountyNV) March 28, 2020
County and city officials expressed pride in their handling of the situation, with Las Vegas' chief community services officer, Lisa Morris Hibbler, telling the press, "We know we have one job as a public servant, and that is to serve the community, and I think that we're showing that we do that well."
On social media, however, images of city workers placing blue mats six feet apart and of people placing their belongings in so-called "social distancing boxes"—drawn so people staying in the parking lot can stay six feet away from each other—were met with scorn.
Nevada has a homeless population of 10,556. Las Vegas alone has 150,000 hotel rooms, all empty because of the lockdown. Yet they keep people on the streets, my heart hurts. https://t.co/5yEvOjrzAf
— Hasan Patel (@CorbynistaTeen) March 30, 2020
Tenants across California are organizing rent strikes for the month of April, arguing they will not be able to pay their landlords for the foreseeable future and that the minimal protections now in place fail to provide relief for vulnerable renters.
As Covid-19 shelter-in-place orders have led to a surge in unemployment and slowed down the state’s economy, the California governor, Gavin Newsom, has passed a two-month delay on imposing evictions for people who cannot pay rent due to the crisis. His order prevents the enforcement of evictions until the end of May but requires tenants to repay the full amount later, forces renters to jump through numerous hoops and opens the door for evictions to resume in June.
While several large municipalities have passed stronger protections, tenants’ groups say the governor’s order does not go far enough and could pave the way for an even more catastrophic housing crisis than the one plaguing California before coronavirus. Activists are now coordinating rent strikes, a practice that has gained traction in LA in recent years and involves tenants organizing as a group, withholding rents and making collective demands.
Newsom’s order only temporarily restricts the enforcement of evictions, still allowing landlords to start the eviction process, file notices and move to kick tenants out when the moratorium ends. His policy further requires tenants declare in writing that they can’t pay due to Covid-19, and that they have documentation, which could be a hurdle for undocumented workers, people with non-traditional employment and those dealing with medical crises. It also does not stop landlords from moving forward with evictions for reasons other than non-payment, such as remodeling or taking a rental off the market.
The captain of a US aircraft carrier, with 5,000 people onboard, including an unconfirmed number who have tested positive for Covid-19, has called for help to save the lives of his sailors. The US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt was in the Pacific when the navy reported its first coronavirus case a week ago. It has since pulled into port in Guam, a US island territory in the western Pacific.
A four-page letter, written by the ship’s captain, describes a bleak situation onboard the nuclear-powered carrier as more sailors test positive for the virus. Captain Brett Crozier, the ship’s commanding officer, wrote that the carrier lacked enough quarantine and isolation facilities and warned the current strategy would slow but fail to eradicate the highly contagious respiratory virus.
In the letter dated Monday, he called for “decisive action” and removing over 4,000 sailors from the ship and isolating them. Along with the ship’s crew, naval aviators and others serve aboard the Roosevelt. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset - our sailors,” Crozier wrote.
US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that nearly 80 people aboard the ship had tested positive for the coronavirus, a number likely to increase as all personnel on the ship are tested.
An Amazon worker who led a walkout at a New York City facility on Monday has been fired. Chris Smalls, an assistant manager and organizer, learned of his termination as dozens of workers protested against the company’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. ...
Strikers at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island demanded Amazon temporarily shut down the large facility for cleaning, after reports of multiple employees testing positive for Covid-19. On Tuesday afternoon New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, said he had ordered the city’s human rights commissioner to investigate the dismissal. ...
In a statement, Amazon alleged Smalls “had close contact with a diagnosed associate” but did not comply when “asked to remain home with pay for 14 days”.
“Despite that instruction to stay home with pay, he came on site today, 30 March, further putting the teams at risk,” the statement read. “This is unacceptable and we have terminated his employment as a result of these multiple safety issues.”
According to the company’s previous statements, the infected co-worker in question last reported for work on 11 March. Had Smalls been exposed that day, a 14-day mandatory quarantine would have made him eligible to return as soon as 25 March. Smalls said Amazon did not send him home until 28 March, three weeks after the exposure.
“No one else was put on quarantine,” he said, even as the infected person worked alongside “associates for 10-plus hours a week”.
Oh, my. Who could have imagined?
The memorandum issued by Inspector General Michael Horowitz stems from an audit launched last year after his office found 17 serious problems with the FBI's surveillance applications targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. These interim results appear to indicate that other sensitive counterintelligence and counterterrorism cases are similarly plagued by mistakes. ...
Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said the inspector general's audit shows "the entire process is prone to abuse" - a function of inadequate accountability and oversight.
"The irony here is that, in one sense, the memorandum suggests that the Carter Page episode was not a partisan political scandal," Vladeck said. "The irony is it suggests it was part of a far bigger and more problematic pattern - a nonpartisan, systemic problem."
Horowitz's early findings "should hopefully put to rest the assertion we hear across different administrations that we can trust the Justice Department to check itself."
As the US continues its scrambling response to the coronavirus outbreak, it has closed borders, quarantined some neighborhoods, and shut down businesses in a number of the most populous states. Behind the scenes, federal and state governments have also been pushing for a series of draconian measures to respond to the virus, which would disproportionately affect asylum seekers, people embroiled in the justice system and even those seeking an abortion.
The efforts have already had a striking impact on civil liberties, and bear hints of a 2020 version of the US government response to the 9/11 attacks in 2001, which ultimately led to the Patriot Act, a sweeping piece of legislation that allowed, among other things, the government to collect citizens’ phone data, in an unprecedented encroachment on personal rights. Amid the indisputable need to contain the coronavirus outbreak, many of the measures have civil rights advocates concerned. With the Trump administration’s poor record on openness and on freedom – seen especially in its treatment of undocumented workers – there is a real risk of Covid-19 having a permanent impact on society.
One of the most troubling efforts is a government proposal that would allow it to detain people indefinitely without trial during national emergencies. ... Other proposals hit asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants hardest. The justice department recommended Congress enact measures which would mean people with confirmed cases of Covid-19 not be allowed to apply for asylum, ABC News reported. The department is also seeking to deport undocumented immigrants who are confirmed to have the virus. The department’s proposal would send those immigrants back to their home countries, regardless of whether they are unsafe.
A crisis enables the worst desires of christofascists:
Just a day after a judge ordered Texas to stop using the coronavirus pandemic as a reason to restrict abortion access, a U.S. appeals court has temporarily halted that order — allowing the state to once again limit abortions.
Over the last few weeks, as public officials across the U.S. moved to shutter businesses and “nonessential” services in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, officials in a handful of conservative-leaning states have called for abortion clinics to stop offering the procedure. After Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, declared that all non-emergency medical procedures should be postponed, Attorney General Ken Paxton ordered Texas abortion providers to only offer the procedure if it were “medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”
Planned Parenthood and other providers sued Texas over Paxton’s order last week. On Monday, a judge sided with the providers, issuing a temporary restraining order that would have let clinics continue to offer abortions for the time being. “Regarding a woman’s right to a pre-fetal-viability abortion, the Supreme Court has spoken clearly. There can be no outright ban on such a procedure,” U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, of Texas, wrote in a Monday order. “This court will not speculate on whether the Supreme Court included a silent ‘except-in-a-national-emergency’ clause in its previous writings on the issue.”
But Texas appealed that decision, and on Tuesday, a three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked Yeakel’s restraining order. In its order, the court said it wanted more time to consider Texas’ appeal.
Texas isn’t the only state currently embroiled in a legal battle over abortion access in the coronavirus pandemic. In a flurry of legal filings Monday, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and other abortion rights advocates also launched similar lawsuits in Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, and Oklahoma. Thanks to state orders to curtail abortion, the procedure was left temporarily unavailable statewide in Alabama, VICE News found, as well as in Oklahoma, according to a legal filing.
Two U.S. states — Alabama and Massachusetts — have begun providing the addresses of those known to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to police in a bid to contain the spread and protect first responders who might answer a call where a coronavirus sufferer is involved.
Alabama began providing the addresses — but not names — to police and other emergency responders starting more than a week ago. The information is being distributed to 85 emergency communications districts in the state, and is then relayed to police officers and other first responders when they go out on calls. ...
The Massachusetts order specifies the information “may not be retained” at the end of the executive order, and that it should only be used for responding to emergency calls. The receiving entity of information must keep it “confidential.”
Arrol Sheehan, director of public information at the Alabama Department of Public Health, said her state’s authority to share the information is enshrined in Alabama state law.
New York City is offering prisoners at Rikers Island jail $6 per hour — a fortune by prison labor standards — and personal protective equipment if they agree to help dig mass graves on Hart Island, according to sources with knowledge of the offer. Avery Cohen, a spokesperson for the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the general arrangement, but said that it was not “Covid-specific,” noting that prisoners have been digging graves on Hart Island for years.
The offer is only being made to those with convictions, not those jailed before trial, as is generally the case. A memo sent to prisoners, according to a source who reviewed it, does not specify what the work on Hart Island will be, but the reference to PPE leaves little doubt. The offer comes as New York City continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, with 38,000 people infected and more than 914 dead so far. New York City owns and operates a public cemetery on Hart Island, which has long been maintained by prison labor. The island was identified as a potential resting place for a surge of bodies in the event of a pandemic by a 2008 report put together by the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner. ...
Prisoners may be safer in the fresh air of Hart Island, digging mass graves while wearing PPE, than sitting back in the unfolding human rights catastrophe that is Rikers, an overcrowded cesspool that has become widely infected with coronavirus. Prisoners who are involved in burials are routinely provided with PPE, Cohen said. ...
City and state officials have badly mishandled the response to the pandemic at the jail, which houses roughly 4,600 people and has an infection rate of 3.6 percent, according to data compiled by the Legal Aid Society.
'A Shameful New Low': Amid COVID-19 Crisis, Alberta Govt. Ponies Up $1 Billion for Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
While the coronavirus pandemic grips the world, Canadian fossil fuel company TC Energy quietly announced Tuesday its intention to start work on the Keystone XL pipeline following an investment of roughly U.S. $1.1 billion into the project by Alberta's provincial government.
"Over the last decade of pushing their dirty tar sands pipeline, TC Energy has already made it abundantly clear that they don't care about risks to our communities, but this is a shameful new low," said Catherine Collentine, associate director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign.
The news from TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, came the same day Premier of Alberta Jason Kenney announced what he claimed was a "wise" investment in the project that would make sure the company could begin "immediate construction."
"We cannot wait for the end of the pandemic and the global recession to act," Kenney said Tuesday, calling the investment "a bold move to re-take control of our province's economic destiny."
But climate campaigners on reiterated Monday that the project—which would carry roughly 830,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil 1,179 miles from Hardisty, Alberta to the U.S. state of Nebraska—is unwise for the economy, climate, and communities in the pipeline's path.
"This desperate attempt by Alberta's government to push through the failing Keystone XL pipeline during a global pandemic is beyond the pale," said Collin Rees, senior U.S. campaigner with Oil Change International. "We need billions of public dollars invested directly in vulnerable communities dying from COVID-19, not spent propping up massive oil companies and unneeded projects that would trample Indigenous rights and exacerbate the climate crisis."
The timing of the investment, Rees added, is particularly noteworthy.
"This huge giveaway of public money to fossil fuel executives coming just 36 hours after Jason Kenney's government laid off more than 20,000 educational workers across Alberta says more about where his priorities lie than we ever could," said Rees. "The Indigenous communities, farmers, and ranchers along the Keystone XL route will continue to fiercely resist, and this pipeline will never be built."
Climate action advocates, including Jane Fleming Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, which has fought the fossil fuel project for years, also stressed that the project still faces legal challenges.
"TC Energy is facing eminent domain lawsuits from landowners, and county boards have not granted permits in Nebraska, while nationally there are several lawsuits in federal court challenging the project's permits and seeking a preliminary injunction on construction," said Kleeb. "So while they may have a green light to build in Alberta, they do not have all the permits and regulatory approvals necessary to move forward in America."
Climate crisis may have pushed world's tropical coral reefs to tipping point of 'near-annual' bleaching
Rising ocean temperatures could have pushed the world’s tropical coral reefs over a tipping point where they are hit by bleaching on a “near-annual” basis, according to the head of a US government agency program that monitors the globe’s coral reefs.
Dr Mark Eakin, coordinator of Coral Reef Watch at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Guardian Australia there was a risk that mass bleaching seen along the length of the Great Barrier Reef in 2020 could mark the start of another global-scale bleaching event.
Tropical coral reefs tend to be at a higher risk of bleaching during times when the Pacific Ocean is in a phase known as El Niño. The latest bleaching on the reef has hit during this cycle’s neutral phase.
“The real concern is with this much bleaching without tropical forcing,” Eakin said. “This may be a sign we’ve now tipped over to near-annual bleaching in many locations.”
“It’s quite concerning that we are getting this much heat stress across the Great Barrier Reef in an Enso [El Niño southern oscillation]-neutral year.
This summer’s Antarctic weather, as elsewhere in the world, was unprecedented in the observed record. Our research, published today in Global Change Biology, describes the recent heatwave in Antarctica. Beginning in late spring east of the Antarctic Peninsula, it circumnavigated the continent over the next four months. Some of our team spent the summer in Antarctica observing these temperatures and the effect on natural systems, witnessing the heatwave first hand.
Most of Antarctica is ice-covered, but there are small ice-free oases, predominantly on the coast. Collectively 0.44% of the continent, these unique areas are important biodiversity hotspots for penguins and other seabirds, mosses, lichens, lakes, ponds and associated invertebrates. This summer, Casey Research Station, in the Windmill Islands oasis, experienced its first recorded heatwave. For three days, minimum temperatures exceeded zero and daily maximums were all above 7.5C. On 24 January, its highest maximum of 9.2C was recorded, almost 7C above Casey’s 30-year mean for the month.
The arrival of warm, moist air during this weather event brought rain to Davis Research Station in the normally frigid, ice-free desert of the Vestfold Hills. The warm conditions triggered extensive meltwater pools and surface streams on local glaciers. These, together with melting snowbanks, contributed to high-flowing rivers and flooding lakes. By February, most heat was concentrated in the Antarctic Peninsula at the northernmost part of the continent. A new Antarctic maximum temperature of 18.4C was recorded on 6 February at Argentina’s Esperanza research station on the peninsula – almost 1C above the previous record. Three days later this was eclipsed when 20.75C was reported at Brazil’s Marambio station, on Seymour Island east of the peninsula.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
J B Lenoir - Mama, Your Daughter Is Going To Miss Me
J.B. Lenoir - Lou Ella
J.B. Lenoir - Low Down Dirty Shame
J B Lenoir - Down in Mississippi
J B Lenoir - Let's Roll
J B Lenoir - Back Door
J B Lenoir - How Much More
J B Lenoir - Feelin' Good
J B Lenoir - I Feel so Good
J.B. Lenoir - God's Word