The Evening Blues - 4-6-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Memphis bluesman Furry Lewis. Enjoy!
Furry Lewis - I'm Going to Brownsville
“The split in America, rather than simply economic, is between those who embrace reason, who function in the real world of cause and effect, and those who, numbed by isolation and despair, now seek meaning in a mythical world of intuition, a world that is no longer reality-based, a world of magic.”
-- Chris Hedges
News and Opinion
Worth a full read. Schwarz proposes a couple of scenarios (click the link for full details) describing how both of our corporate parties could seize the moment, catapult the propaganda and move the passions of the electorate to succeed.
Sadly, I find the idea that the Democrat party could perform the intellectual roto-rooter necessary to cleanse itself of its corporate whoredom and enact Schwarz' scenario utterly improbable.
(imo) If somebody on the left is going to make hay out of this moment, it's going to have to be an outside group (not the D's). But, read and see what you think.
The Democratic Party Must Harness the Legitimate Rage of Americans. Otherwise, the Right Will Use It With Horrifying Results.
The political possibilities of this moment are different than anything we have ever experienced. We possess a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the United States a more humane country. But if we fail to seize it, we will face mortal danger from the right. That’s not hyperbole. The anger of Americans, once they figure out what’s being done to them right now, is going to be volcanic. The fallout from 9/11 and the great recession of 2007-2010 will be imperceptible in comparison. Not long from now, almost everyone will have a family member or friend who died of Covid-19, many of them suffocating in isolation wards with insufficient treatment, perhaps deprived of a ventilator that would have saved their lives. Huge swaths of the country are plummeting into desperate penury, even as they witness large corporations unlock the U.S. Treasury and help themselves to everything inside.
John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath” describes a similar moment during the Great Depression, when people starved even as orchards of fruit were burned to make the food that remained more profitable: “Men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. … There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. … In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
We’re about to live this again, in more sophisticated ways. Then it was fruit being incinerated so no one could eat it. Now it’s cheap ventilators that were never built because a company called Covidien worried they would compete with their more expensive models. It’s N95 masks that were not available because President Donald Trump delayed invoking the Defense Production Act in order to protect corporate power. It’s tens of thousands of hospital beds being eliminated in New York and New Jersey because the surplus capacity cost money; some of those hospitals were turned into luxury condos. Now, as it was 85 years ago, human beings are being offered as a blood sacrifice to profit. Now as then, the resulting wrath will be towering.
What we know from history is that someone always shows up to harvest this level of ambient rage — but it can go in two directions. If people can be made “angry at the crime,” as Steinbeck wrote, there can be huge positive political changes. During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt and unions organized the anger and used it to create the New Deal and the largest middle class in history. In unluckier countries, like Germany, Italy and Japan, the political left failed. The fury was organized by fascists, and directed at innocents. It’s tough to be optimistic that today’s liberals can replicate Roosevelt’s success. The corporate-managerial-legal class that operates the Democratic Party fears anger and sees it as illegitimate as the basis for action. Having beaten back the threat of the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren presidential candidacies, both fueled by strong populist emotion, they dream of a technocratic politics purified of messy, fickle human feelings.
But the American right specializes in the politics of anger. If the Democrats refuse to harness the legitimate rage of Americans and direct it at those responsible for our predicament, the right will make this anger its own and will win.
Neo-Nazi groups in the US are looking for ways to exploit the coronavirus outbreak and commit acts of violence, according to observers of far-right groups, law enforcement, and propaganda materials reviewed by the Guardian. The watchdog group the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) raised the alarm last week about opportunism from far-right so-called “accelerationist” groups who believe sowing chaos and violence will hasten the collapse of society, allowing them to build a white supremacist one in its place.
Late last month, the FBI warned such extremist groups were encouraging members to deliberately spread the virus to Jewish people and police officers. Similarly, British hate monitors Hope Not Hate warned these groups are expressing “gleeful expectation of social turmoil”.
With few public-facing social media services allowing white supremacists to have a reliable platform for their views, the propaganda effort to use the coronavirus crisis as a recruiting tool is mainly visible on laissez-faire social media platforms like Telegram. ...
One channel issued an eight-point plan for “the boog” – a term used on the far right to denote what they believe to be a looming civil war. ... At the same time, such groups are using the pandemic to sharpen their condemnations of “the system”, and encouraging people to lose all hope in normal political processes. A representative post in one channel made in recent days read, “I have said it before and I will say it again, America is Dead.”
As a pandemic ravages the nation, a sad illustration of wildly misplaced priorities.
Initial FY 2021 budget requests for:
Nuclear weapons ($44.5 billion, +19% over FY 2020)
CDC ($5.5 billion, -18.6%)
NIH ($38.7 billion, -7%)
DoD CTR bio threat reduction (127.4 million, -37%) https://t.co/mhCQQFpCQx
— Kingston Reif (@KingstonAReif) April 4, 2020
There were dramatic scenes at an airport in Shanghai, China, as U.S. agents hijacked a plane full of lifesaving equipment, including 60 million masks, bound for coronavirus-stricken France. While the plane was on the tarmac, American agents managed to bribe locals into diverting the plane to the United States, plying them with cash.
The story was revealed by the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, Renaud Muselier, who noted that he had already paid in full for the cargo. “The Americans pay double – in cash – before they even see the goods!” he told French newspaper Libération, worrying now that his country is engaged in “a race against the clock” to secure and distribute masks amid the pandemic. PACA is situated in the southeast of France, bordering Italy. The first case in PACA was confirmed on February 28 in the famous seaside resort town of Cannes; a young woman traveling back from Milan – an epicenter of the virus – was infected. Muselier’s story was backed up by Jean Rottner, president of the Grand Est region. “On the tarmac, they arrive, get the cash out… so we really have to fight,” he said.
This appears not to be an isolated incident. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed that he had received similar reports of goods being seized and taken to the United States. “We need to make sure that equipment that is destined for Canada gets to and stays in Canada, and I’ve asked ministers to follow up on these particular reports,” he said yesterday. Brazil, one of the U.S.’ most loyal allies, also broke with convention to criticize the Trump administration’s pandemic gangsterism. “Today the US sent 23 of their biggest cargo planes to China to pick up the material they had acquired. Many of our purchases, which we had hoped to confirm in order to supply [our country], fell through,” said the country’s health minister, Luiz Herique Mandetta. “The whole world wants [supplies] too. There is a problem of hyper-demand.” ...
Other countries, too, have made highly questionable decisions. Czech authorities seized Chinese medical supplies bound for Italy when a plane refueled there, the country keeping the equipment for itself. Meanwhile, Turkey has not only banned the export of protective gear but is also reportedly reneging on shipments that other countries have already paid for.
The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic appears to be bringing out both the best and worst in human nature. With these latest U.S. moves, seizing and diverting lifesaving equipment from other countries, it seems there has also been a serious outbreak in gangster capitalism.
The Trump administration is determined to withdraw from a 28-year-old treaty intended to reduce the risk of an accidental war between the west and Russia by allowing reconnaissance flights over each other’s territory. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has put off a full national security council (NSC) meeting on the Open Skies Treaty (OST), the secretary of defence, Mark Esper, and secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have agreed to proceed with a US exit, according to two sources familiar with administration planning.
A statement of intent is expected soon, with a formal notification of withdrawal issued a few months later, possibly at the end of the fiscal year in September. The US would cease to be a party to the treaty six months after that, so if a new president were elected in November, the decision could be reversed before taking effect. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, reconnaissance flights under the treaty have been suspended until 26 April.
The US has complained about what it says are Russian infringements of the treaty, which was signed in 1992 and has been in force since 2002: limitations on flights over the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad to less than 500km and the creation of an exclusion corridor along the border of the Russian-occupied regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Russia imposed the limitation over Kaliningrad after a prolonged zigzagging Polish overflight in 2014 closed down aviation for a day. Russia allowed an extended flight over Kaliningrad in February.
One of the reasons Esper has cited for US withdrawal is to save money by not replacing the two Boeing OC-135B planes the US uses for its Open Skies reconnaissance flights. Congress appropriated $41.5m last year for the cost of replacement but the Pentagon spending request published in February contained no budget for the new planes. Esper told Congress he was awaiting a decision from the president.
Heh. The Financial Times goes pinko on us:
If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that it has injected a sense of togetherness into polarised societies. But the virus, and the economic lockdowns needed to combat it, also shine a glaring light on existing inequalities — and even create new ones. Beyond defeating the disease, the great test all countries will soon face is whether current feelings of common purpose will shape society after the crisis. As western leaders learnt in the Great Depression, and after the second world war, to demand collective sacrifice you must offer a social contract that benefits everyone.
Today’s crisis is laying bare how far many rich societies fall short of this ideal. Much as the struggle to contain the pandemic has exposed the unpreparedness of health systems, so the brittleness of many countries’ economies has been exposed, as governments scramble to stave off mass bankruptcies and cope with mass unemployment. Despite inspirational calls for national mobilisation, we are not really all in this together. ...
Radical reforms — reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades — will need to be put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital Sunday evening for tests due to “persistent symptoms of coronavirus,” 10 days after he tested positive. Downing Street released a statement calling it a “precautionary step” that followed the advice of Johnson’s doctor.
But the Guardian reported that the prime minister has been more seriously ill than “he or his officials were prepared to admit” and was having difficulty breathing. His pregnant fiancée Carrie Symonds had also tested positive for COVID-19 but has reportedly improved.
Johnson remains in charge of the government. If his condition deteriorates, foreign secretary Dominic Raab would take over the reins.
The survival of the European Union is at stake as the continent weathers its worst crisis since the second world war, Spain’s prime minister has said, calling on Europe to implement its own Marshall plan to rebuild the continent’s economies.
In an article published by the Guardian and nine newspapers across the continent, Pedro Sánchez said failure to act in solidarity could imperil the union’s future. ...
European leaders have clashed in recent weeks over how to respond to the economic shock of the crisis, exposing deep faultlines as countries such as Italy, France and Spain accuse other member states of being too timid in their response.
Sánchez wrote: “Europe must build a wartime economy and promote European resistance, reconstruction and recovery. Europe was born out of the ashes of destruction and conflict. It learned the lessons of history and understood something very simple: if we don’t all win, in the end, we all lose.”
Despite Threats From Management, Amazon Warehouse Workers in Chicago Strike to Demand Better Coronavirus Precautions
Days after leaked email correspondence revealed Amazon executives' plan to publicly attack a Staten Island warehouse employee for organizing a protest over unsafe working conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic, workers at an Amazon facility in Chicago staged a walkout to demand protections from the virus.
DCH1 Amazonians United, the grassroots group made up of workers at the Chicago warehouse known as DCH1 who successfully pressured Amazon to provide part-time employees with paid time off, are calling on their management to temporarily shut down the facility and pay workers while the company sanitizes the building, after at least two employees tested positive for the coronavirus.
The workers were alerted to the second positive case late Friday, and said delivery drivers who had arrived at the warehouse Saturday morning hadn't been notified before coming to work. The employees were joined by more than a dozen supporters who formed a picket line in their cars as the employees assembled outside the warehouse Saturday morning. According to local reporting by Patch, members of the Democratic Socialists of America were thought to have organized the picket line.
"It was like a huge caravan driving up and down the street, honking and in support of our Safety Strike," wrote DCH1 Amazonians United on Facebook. "Some of the signs they had [were] #PrimememberCaravan, #PrimeMemberSolidarity, and #CommunitySolidarity amongst many other pro-worker signs, supportive of our demands and our lives."
In addition to a temporary shutdown of the warehouse, the workers are calling on Amazon to cover medical bills for any employees or family members who contract the coronavirus as a result of exposure at DCH1; suspend write-ups based on the rate at which workers package and sort deliveries to ensure the employees have time to practice safety precautions throughout the day; and maintain transparency about all the coronavirus cases at DCH1 as soon as managers know about them. ...
Saturday morning's strike was the fourth direct action at DCH1 over safety concerns this week, and came after Christian Smalls, an Amazon employee in Staten Island, New York who organized a similar walkout, was fired. A leaked memo showed that executives planned to publicly smear Smalls, who is African-American, as "not smart or articulate" as they defended the company against criticism over its treatment of workers.
Workers at DCH1 said they faced threats on Saturday from managers who tried to stop the protest.
The USNS comfort, the navy hospital ship deployed to New York City this week, was supposed to house 1,000 patients. Instead, it’s taken in only 20, refusing to accept New Yorkers suffering with coronavirus.
Sitting on idle on the Hudson River, the ship is quickly becoming a symbol of all that has gone horrifically wrong with both the federal and local response to the Covid-19 outbreak. There are about 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City alone, with more than a thousand dead. Many, with the right course of action, could have been prevented. ...
Strict rules are preventing people infected with the virus from coming on board. The navy is also refusing to treat a host of other conditions. Guidelines sent to hospitals included a list of 49 medical conditions that would exclude a patient from admittance to the ship. Ambulances cannot take patients directly to the Comfort. First, they must deliver patients to a city hospital to be tested for the virus and then pick them up again for transport to the ship. Hospital leaders rightfully find the delays untenable.
In New York City, hospitals are besieged. Patients are dying in hallways. Refrigerated trucks are now makeshift morgues. Doctors and nurses are forced to reuse protective gear, some even donning trash bags. The city is running dangerously low on ventilators and even body bags. The ship, sitting nearly empty, is almost a mockery of all the suffering taking place on land. If it won’t treat coronavirus patients, it will hardly treat anyone: since so few people are going outside, non-coronavirus injuries and illnesses have plummeted. ...
There are understandable challenges to making the Comfort ready for Covid-19 patients. Infections could spread easily in a confined area. The cramped conditions are suitable for wounded sailors but not necessarily civilians. ... Meanwhile, a vacant hospital ship floats uselessly on the river. For now, it’s sadly representative of the federal and local response to coronavirus: too little and far too late.
Coronavirus Hasn’t Stopped Jared Kushner’s Real Estate Empire from Hounding Tenants with Debt Collection, Eviction Lawsuits
Jared Kushner’s family real estate company, which owns and manages thousands of apartment units, continued its aggressive eviction practices and debt collection lawsuits as Americans wait for government relief. Well into the coronavirus crisis, which has led to skyrocketing unemployment, court records show properties owned by Kushner Companies are still filing new eviction lawsuits.
At least 15 tenants in New Jersey and Maryland have been on the receiving end of lawsuits from Kushner-owned properties even after both states declared states of emergency. Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., and Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., have both called for a moratorium on evictions and courts have been closed, postponing hearing dates for a range of debt collection-related activities.
The Maryland and New Jersey moratoriums on evictions, however, do not prevent debt collectors from filing new lawsuits. ...
Experts say the continued collection filings and letters threatening financial penalties in the near future could cause undue stress during a period in which Americans are already reeling from the trauma of mass layoffs, social isolation, and health care issues fueled by the pandemic. ...
Kushner, whose estimated net worth is around $800 million, has said in the past that he has stepped away from day-to-day management of the real estate firm, though he has not relinquished his ownership stake. Ethics disclosures show that he still receives millions of dollars a year in income from rent collected by his assorted real estate portfolio, including the chain of apartment buildings.
Amid calls to postpone the presidential primary on Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin state officials have been reluctant to push their elections due to concerns over a key statewide race: an election for a state Supreme Court seat that has the potential to loosen conservatives’ grip on the judiciary.
Daniel Kelly, the incumbent judge appointed in 2016 by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker is facing a liberal challenge in his first election from Dane County Circuit Court Judge and former prosecutor Jill Karofsky. In Wisconsin, Supreme Court justices run in nonpartisan elections for 10-year terms, and conservative judges have held the majority since 2008. They currently hold the court 5 to 2, and a win by Karofsky could pave the way for liberals to retake the court in 2023, when the conservative Chief Justice Pat Roggensack will be up for reelection.
Karofsky, who was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday, is a former assistant attorney general who focused on cases involving domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as a former executive director of the Wisconsin Office of Crime Victim Services. She has spoken about the need for criminal justice reform in the state, while Kelly — who has been endorsed by President Donald Trump — has minimized the need for reform and portrayed Karofsky as “soft on crime.” On Friday, Karofsky filed a lawsuit trying to block the state’s Republican Party from airing ads with false claims about her prosecutorial record. ...
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who initially insisted the election go forward as planned, has moved slowly in response to calls from state Democratic Party leaders and voting rights groups, as well as Sanders, to postpone the election. Former Vice President Joe Biden declined to take a position, saying that it was up to the state. ... >Under mounting pressure, Evers on Friday called on the legislature to take up a measure allowing for an all-mail election, asking them to send ballots to all registered voters by May 19 and extend the deadline to receive those ballots to May 26. On Friday, one day after extending absentee voting, a federal judge ruled that Wisconsin could not release election results until April 13, the new deadline for submitting absentee ballots. On Thursday, the judge said that he didn’t have the power to postpone the elections but that it was unsafe to hold voting, criticizing Evers and the state legislature for not acting on their own. ... The governor said in a statement Wednesday that he couldn’t change the election date without violating state law.
Rep. Tyler August convenes and adjourns the state Assembly in 17 seconds and declines to take any action on delaying Tuesday’s election, as requested by Gov. Tony Evers because of COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/e6B65TPBQ1
— Patrick Marley (@patrickdmarley) April 4, 2020
BREAKING: @GovEvers issues an executive order delaying in-person voting until June 9, 2020.
All ballots already cast in the 2020 Spring election will remain valid and will be tallied in conjunction with the new in-person voting date. pic.twitter.com/ChSXty0ULk
— Wisconsin Examiner (@WIExaminer) April 6, 2020
"It could end up in the Supreme Court yet today but the bottom line is the people of Wisconsin, they don’t care about the fighting between Democrats and Republicans — they're scared," @GovEvers said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
— Molly Beck (@MollyBeck) April 6, 2020
Bernie Sanders is not done running for president and he’s tired of saying so. “For the fourth time,” Sanders said tartly in an interview on The View this week, “we are assessing the campaign.” It was a response – more diplomatic if no less irritated than previous versions – to a question he’s been getting for weeks: “Why are you still in the race?” ...
“In many ways, this pandemic has made the case for a lot of the policies that the senator has spent 35 years fighting for,” said Anna Bahr, a spokeswoman for the Sanders campaign. “Reality has endorsed Bernie Sanders.”
Since stepping off the physical campaign trail, Sanders has turned his focus almost entirely to the coronavirus pandemic, a crisis he said is on the “scale of a major war”. In glitchy media interviews from his home in Vermont, the senator has argued that the US would be better prepared – and more resilient – in the face of a future pandemic if his policy agenda were already in place. ...
After a dismal showing last month, the campaign deactivated its digital ads while pausing spending on TV ads. Days later, the campaign announced it was ramping up digital organizing ahead of the New York primary, the most delegate-rich contest left New York has since postponed from 28 April to 23 June.
The podcast host Joe Rogan has said he will vote for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in the presidential election, should the former vice-president be the Democratic nominee.
The comic was speaking on Friday’s edition of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, which regularly tops the iTunes chart for downloads. Rogan has nearly 6m Twitter followers, regularly appears on television as a commentator on mixed martial arts, and is seen as an influential voice with young and blue-collar male voters.
During a conversation with guest Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital, talk turned to the election. Weinstein, who works for the Trump-supporting tech mogul Peter Thiel, said he would not vote for Trump or Biden, the probable challenger in November.
Rogan, who has endorsed Bernie Sanders, said the party had made “morons” out of voters by appearing to favour Biden. “I’d rather vote for Trump than [Biden],” said Rogan. “I don’t think [Biden] can handle anything. You’re relying entirely on his cabinet. If you want to talk about an individual leader who can communicate, he can’t do that. And we don’t know what the fuck he’ll be like after a year in office.
“The pressure of being president of the United States is something that no one has ever prepared for. The only one who seems to be fine with it is Trump, oddly enough.” The president is 73 but Rogan said: “He doesn’t seem to be aging at all or in any sort of decline. Obama, almost immediately, started looking older. George W [Bush], almost immediately, started looking older.”
Greta Thunberg couldn’t do it. Bill McKibben and 350.org couldn’t do it, and neither could the Paris climate accord. But Covid-19 is cutting human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as travel and other economic activity in much of the world slow or halt altogether. ...
Until now, the only downturn of note in total worldwide CO2 emissions during the era of climate awareness — defined as the period beginning in 1995 with the first U.N. Climate Change Conference — was in 2009, the onset of the Great Recession. That downturn was brief and mild. In contrast, the current contraction could be severe enough to cut in half this year’s addition to the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide concentration — the metric that dictates climate change — according to calculations by co-author Charles Komanoff for the Carbon Tax Center. ...
Like so much else, whether or not the current reduction in CO2 is sustained will depend on who gets to reconstruct society after the virus. But the reduction will not be negated. Just as carbon emissions persist long enough in Earth’s upper atmosphere to act as permanent climate change agents in terms of one individual’s lifetime, avoided emissions are a permanent balm. ... The fact that human behavior and activity are undergoing climate-beneficial changes in the crucible of Covid-19 suggests that “business as usual” can be altered, and quickly. Though we can’t yet point to new models of planned and equitable carbon reduction, there are four identifiable pandemic-driven upheavals of social consciousness that should give us hope of instituting the transformations necessary for civilization not to commit collective climate suicide. One is that science’s prestige and value are being restored. ... Second, the crisis is helping us see just how much our well-being depends on muscular, proactive governance. ... Third, we may be shaking loose the defeatism that nothing can be done quickly. ...
Moreover, if our society can act, finally, to manufacture a million ventilators and a billion protective masks, surely we can within a few years act on a far grander scale to erect, say, a million wind turbines, insulate and solarize a hundred million buildings, carve ribbons of bicycle paths throughout our cities and suburbs, and so on. With the pandemic enforcing a brutal but necessary reset, the NIMBYism that has impeded this kind of progress practically everywhere might be swept into the dustbin for good. Most hearteningly, the crisis is instilling a renewed appreciation of social solidarity. The more we are forced to quarantine and isolate, paradoxically, the more we become cognizant of the need for mutuality and social relations and social conscience.
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened imposing tariffs on crude imports "coming from outside" amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
"If I have to do tariffs on oil coming from outside or if I have to do something to protect our — tens of thousands of energy workers and our great companies that produce all these jobs, I'll do whatever I have to do," Trump told reporters during a COVID-19 briefing held Saturday.
Trump's comments come a little more than a week after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called for an aggressive approach from governments across North America, floating the possibility of imposing tariffs on foreign oil exports. ...
Though Trump's threat didn't explicitly omit Canadian crude, it's unlikely that would be the case under U.S. tariffs, according to Richard Masson, an executive fellow at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy.
"The oil that Alberta produces, diluted bitumen, is the equivalent to heavy oil. And that's what the U.S. refineries want," Masson said. "That's why it's very unlikely that Trump would try and impose a tariff on Canada, because it would just hurt his own refineries."
'We Need People's Bailout, Not Polluters' Bailout': Climate Groups Move to Preempt Big Oil Giveaway Amid Pandemic
A coalition of climate organizations strongly criticized President Donald Trump's in-person Friday meeting with the chief executives of some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, saying the industry that fueled climate disaster must not be allowed to profiteer from government giveaways by getting bailout funds or preferred treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
The CEOs attending the White House meeting, scheduled for 3 pm Friday, have been dubbed "the seven oily henchman of the climate apocalypse" and reportedly include ExxonMobil's Darren Woods, Chevron's Michael Wirth, and Energy Transfer's Kelcy Warren, as well as billionaire and fracking pioneer Harold Hamm, who recently stepped down as CEO of Continental Resources CEO.
The summit comes on the heels of a month in which over 10 million Americans lost their jobs, and millions of Americans may be stuck waiting weeks to receive their one-time stimulus check while big businesses stand ready to reap benefits of their share of $500 billion in corporate bailout funds that were part of the coronavirus relief package passed last week.
"If corporations are people, they shouldn't be getting more financial assistance than the American people," said Mary Gutierrez, executive director of Earth Ethics. "This isn't the time for bailouts, it's the time for transitioning. We need to be transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources."
Earth Ethics is part of the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition, which advocates for financial institutions to stop funding and investing in projects the group says amount to "climate destruction."
The big oil summit, the coalition warned, must not lead to a bailout for the industry, especially at a time working Americans' needs must be centered and as the climate crisis necessitates huge investments away from dirty energy towards renewables.
The meeting's agenda "is reportedly expected to include discussions about federal storage of oil, tariffs on foreign oil, and drilling on public land," CNBC reported Thursday. CNN added, "The American Petroleum Institute, the industry's biggest lobby, has said oil companies aren't seeking a bailout from Trump."
But the climate coalition isn't convinced of that API claim.
"Let's not be fooled by these CEOs' claims that they don't want bailout money: if they're going to the White House, it's either to ask for yet another spigot of federal government money for corporations or for yet another relaxation of environmental protection rules," said Moira Birss, Amazon Watch's climate and finance director.
"It's unacceptable that Trump is more focused on serving corporate interests that are destroying our climate than responding to the urgent needs of workers, the unemployed, and the sick. We need a people's bailout, not a polluters' bailout!" she added.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Furry Lewis - Casey Jones
Furry Lewis - St. Louis Blues
Furry Lewis - I'll Turn Your Money Green
Furry Lewis - Back on My Feet Again
Leon Russell & Furry Lewis - Furry's Blues
Furry Lewis - Judge Harsh Blues
Furry Lewis - I've Got A Bird To Whistle
Furry Lewis - Pearlee Blues
Furry Lewis - Falling Down Blues
Furry Lewis - Creeper's Blues