The Evening Blues - 8-14-20



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: J.B. Hutto

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues slide guitarist J.B. Hutto. Enjoy!

J.B. Hutto & The Hawks - Pet Cream Man

"If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side."

-- Orson Scott Card


News and Opinion

Trump admits he is undermining USPS to make it harder to vote by mail

Donald Trump admitted on Thursday he opposed additional funding for the United States Postal Service (USPS) in order to make it more difficult to deliver mail-in ballots. Trump’s comments lend evidence for critics who say the president is deliberately trying to hamstring the USPS in advance of the November elections to help his re-election bid.

Trump said on Thursday that congressional negotiations over stimulus aid were held up in part because of Democratic proposals to provide $3.6bn to states to run elections and $25bn in aid to the postal service. The president, who has falsely claimed that widespread mail-in voting will lead to fraud, suggested that without the funding it would be harder to vote by mail.

“They need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo. “If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.” ...

The president’s comments also come amid accusations that Louis DeJoy, the new postmaster general and a major Republican donor, is making cuts at the agency to intentionally slow down the mail. There are reports of severe mail delays in places across the country and the Washington Post and other news organizations published internal USPS documents last month saying there was a blanket ban on overtime and that workers were being told to leave mail behind if it will delay them on their routes. A USPS spokesman denied there was a blanket ban on overtime, but did not address questions about whether employees were being told to leave the mail behind. ...

“If we don’t make a deal that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting. They just can’t have it. Sort of a crazy thing,” Trump said on Thursday.

Postal service changes pose threat to voting, says former USPS deputy

A former top official at the United States Postal Service (USPS) has warned that recent changes at the agency, now led by a Trump ally, could “disenfranchise” voters as they are implemented just months ahead of an election in which a record number of Americans are expected to vote by mail.

Amid reports of significant mail delays, Ronald Stroman, who stepped down earlier this year as the second in command at USPS, said he was concerned about the speed and timing of changes that appeared to be implemented after Louis DeJoy, the new postmaster general, took office in June. USPS faces a financial crisis and every postmaster general is interested in cost savings and efficiency, Stroman said, but the question was how to balance those changes with the public’s needs.

“The concern is not only that you’re doing this in a pandemic, but a couple of months before an election with enormous consequences,” said Stroman, now a senior fellow at the Democracy Fund. “If you can’t right the ship, if you can’t correct these fast enough, the consequence is not just, OK, people don’t get their mail, it’s that you disenfranchise people.

“Making these changes this close to an election is a high-risk proposition,” he added.

Bald eagle attacks government drone and sends it to bottom of Lake Michigan

In a rare case of nature taking on a manmade machine and winning, a bald eagle attacked and destroyed a government drone that was flying above Lake Michigan on an environmental monitoring mission.

The Phantom 4 Pro Advanced quodcopter drone was about 162ft in the sky when it is thought the bird of prey attacked – possibly mistaking the flying machine for a rival bird or tasty snack.

The drone had one of its propellors torn off and spiraled from the skies, sinking to the bottom of the lake.

Portland police and protesters clash in fresh demonstrations near courthouse

Protesters and police clashed in downtown Portland in a demonstration that lasted into the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, with some in the crowd setting a fire and exploding commercial-grade fireworks outside a federal courthouse that has been a target in months of conflict in Oregon’s largest city.

Officers used teargas to break up the crowd of several hundred people who gathered near the Mark O Hatfield US courthouse, the neighboring Multnomah county justice center and a nearby police precinct station. ...

Protesters hurled rocks, bottles and paint at officers during the demonstration that started on Wednesday night and went into Thursday morning, Portland police said in a statement.

'They were smashing me with batons': detained Belarusians tell of jail abuse

People detained in Belarus during the past few days of unrest have told the Guardian about systematic mistreatment and abuse, suggesting that guards and riot police loyal to Alexander Lukashenko’s regime have terrorised thousands of Belarusians caught up in the crackdown on recent protests. Those detained in police stations, jails and makeshift prisons spoke of ritual beatings, up to 55 women being crammed into a cell meant for two people and men who were kept in stress positions for hours on end. Leaked audio files and other testimony has corroborated the reports of widespread torture as Lukashenko tries to hold on to power.

One 31-year-old builder from Minsk, who asked for his name not to be used, described being arrested at 6pm on Sunday evening, a few hours before polls closed, after he filmed a column of riot police in central Minsk. For the first few hours, he was treated well, but was then moved to a notorious holding centre on Okrestina Street on the outskirts of Minsk, where he was placed in a cell meant for four people that eventually had 21 men inside as more and more were arrested during the evening.

After two days, in which he was given water but no food and could hear the screams of people being beaten in the courtyard, he was forced to sign a paper with false information about where and when he was arrested. He was then given an 11-day prison sentence in a makeshift trial inside the prison. A few hours later, at 3am on Wednesday morning, he was told he could leave.

“They called me to the exit, but then in the courtyard riot police with their faces covered told us to lie down on the floor and then they started beating us. They were smashing me with batons all over my body. Then they were smashing me with fists. Then they told us to stand up to see if we could stand up. I didn’t really know what was happening.” One of the policemen said: “I hope you don’t need any revolution any more,” before the men were released into the darkness. They were not given back their phones or other possessions. Numerous people had similar stories.

Tennessee GOP Targets Racial Justice Movement by Turning Encampment Protests Into Felonies Punishable by Prison Term

Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee voiced outrage Wednesday in response to a bill passed by the General Assembly and headed to Republican Gov. Bill Lee that cracks down on racial justice protesters by making it a felony to camp overnight on state property.

State Senator Brenda Gilmore, a Democrat, suggested that history would not judge the legislative body kindly for the measure. In the years to come, "we will be reminded that we were wrong in terms of staying in the way of these young people protesting, and just speaking, and having a right to share how they feel," said Gilmore, referencing the demonstrators who've been outside the Tennessee State Capitol for two months.

As Nashville Public Radio reported:

Camping on state property without authorization has been made a crime since the Occupy Wall Street movement nearly a decade ago. The Tennessee Senate favored simply adding a requirement to pay restitution and clean up any mess that was made. But House lawmakers insisted on making camping on public property a Class E felony, with up to six years in prison.

Another Democratic state senator, Jeff Yarbro, tore into the bill on Twitter and pointed out that those convicted under the soon-to-be law stand to lose their voting rights.


While the legislature's special three-day session took time to further criminalize protest, the lawmakers failed "to provide more relief to Tennessee workers who have lost their jobs due to the global pandemic," the Associated Press reported.

"Republican leaders also advanced a bill awarding businesses protection from lawsuits arising from the new coronavirus," AP added.

GAO Says Top Trump DHS Officials Wolf and Cuccinelli Appointed Illegally

The Trump administration's top officials at the Department of Homeland Security—Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli—were illegally appointed to their positions, the Government Accountability Office said Friday. ...

From the GAO decision:

Upon Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation on April 10, 2019, the official who assumed the title of Acting Secretary had not been designated in the order of succession to serve upon the Secretary's resignation. Because the incorrect official assumed the title of Acting Secretary at that time, subsequent amendments to the order of succession made by that official were invalid and officials who assumed their positions under such amendments, including Chad Wolf and Kenneth Cuccinelli, were named by reference to an invalid order of succession. We have not reviewed the legality of other actions taken by these officials; we are referring the matter to the Inspector General of DHS for review.

The Democratic lawmakers who demanded the review of the appointments seized upon the GAO determination as evidence that both Wolf and Cuccinelli should step down.

The decision "paints a disturbing picture of the Trump administration playing fast and loose by bypassing the Senate confirmation process to install ideologues," Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

"At a time when DHS should be marshaling the resources of the federal government to respond to the pandemic that has killed over 165,000 Americans, the department's illegally appointed leaders are instead focused on continuing the administration's attack on immigrants and intimidating peaceful protesters in a show of force for the president's reelection campaign," the lawmakers said.

Reneging on George Floyd Promises: The Minneapolis Police Name-Change Con

At the height of the Minneapolis rebellion a majority of the city council announced they would move towards “disbanding” their police force, in response to Black Lives Matter “abolition” demands. It turned out that what the councilpersons were actually proposing was a name change, retaining a force of armed cops in a new “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention” with a “holistic, public health-oriented” mission. But even this palliative was too much for the Minneapolis Charter Commission, which voted to delay putting the police reorganization question on the November ballot, effectively killing the measure. The city is currently required to maintain a set ratio in the number of cops per resident.

The Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCC4J), which was formed in the wake of the police killing of Jamar Clark in 2015, never bought into the city council’s name-change game. “The proposed charter amendment was at best a symbolic gesture and at worst lessened police accountability for past and future crimes,” the TCC4J’s Jae Yates told a press conference. “In opposition to the charter amendment, TCC4J instead demands community control of police [CPAC], which will meaningfully curtail the as of yet unchecked power of the MPD to terrorize Black, brown and low income communities. The CPAC legislation puts all oversight of police misconduct back into the hands of the communities that are being policed and provides continuous engagement for community members to address grievances. CPAC consists of a directly-elected all-civilian council, and has final authority over discipline, up to and including subpoena power and the convening of grand juries. In short, the CPAC legislation has all of the details that the city council’s proposal lacked.”

The Minneapolis coalition was among the 800 activists that gathered in Chicago last year to organize a nationwide campaign for community control of the police, under the umbrella of a relaunched National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Nineteen of Chicago’s 50-member board of aldermen have endorsed legislation to create a Civilian Police Accountability Commission (CPAC). “Nothing short of CPAC is what we need and demand,” said Minneapolis organizer Daphne Brown at last week’s press conference. “We don’t want no Community Safety and Violence Prevention Department! Council members, mayor and government in city hall, we don’t want that piece of shit y’all trying to give us. We do not want it. We want what we demand, which is CPAC. That’s the only thing that’s gonna give us the power back to protect our community, protect our families and protect ourselves.” ...

The same hustle-and-jive plays out across the nation, as mainly Democratic city officials attempt to reconcile protesters’ demands with their obligations to the Lords of Capital, the architects of the US police state. When Black Lives Matter chapters demand “abolition” and “defunding” of the police, rather than community control of the cops, they play into the hands of the charlatans and misleaders on city councils and in the halls of Congress, for the simple reason that no legislative body will totally abolish local armed security forces. Nor would Black communities support measures that would remove the cops without replacing them with some other security force. Since “abolition” of the police is not immediately possible, elected officials are free to “interpret” the intent of protesters’ demands. The result will always be “that piece of shit y’all trying to give us as,” as Daphne Brown put it. ...

Although some of the 14 Black Lives Matter chapters in the U.S. have refused to endorse community control, the Chicago chapter is active in the campaign for CPAC and the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter chapter favors community control of social services, land and all other community resources, including the police. The same democratic and self-determinationist imperatives that require black community control of police are applicable to a broad range of other services and resources – most especially schools. Community control is not a reformist demand, because it calls for real transfers of power from the oligarchs and their politicians, to the people. General demands for “abolition” and “defunding,” however, invite a reformist and trickster response from Power – as we see unfolding in Minneapolis.

Rashid Khalidi: Israel & UAE Deal to Normalize Relations Is New Chapter in 100-Year War on Palestine

Israel signs historic deal with UAE that will 'suspend' West Bank annexation

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties in a historic Washington-brokered deal under which Israel will “suspend” its plans to annex parts of the Palestinian territories.

However, cracks in the deal became quickly apparent after its announcement on Thursday, with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying there was “no change” to his annexation plans, while the UAE insisted that it “immediately stops annexation”.

After Jordan and Egypt, the UAE is only the third Arab country to announce formal diplomatic relations with Israel, and the announcement will reverberate across the Middle East, which has a turbulent history with the Jewish state.

Palestinian Rights Advocates Refuse to Applaud Israel-Trump-UAE Deal That Upholds 'Ongoing, Devastating Apartheid'

Advocates for Palestinian rights vehemently rejected claims by the Trump administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Thursday marked a "historic day" in the fight for peace in the Middle East, after Israel and the United Arab Emirates forged a deal normalizing relations between the two countries.

The newly-official diplomatic relationship reportedly came after Israel told UAE officials that it would suspend plans to annex parts of the West Bank in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Rights advocates promptly pointed out that Israel already occupies the West Bank and will continue to do so regardless of any promise to the UAE, and that the Israeli to expand annexation—though on hold at least for now—would have been a violation of international law.

"We won't celebrate Netanyahu for not stealing land he already controls in exchange for a sweetheart business deal," tweeted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), a Palestinian-American.


As President Donald Trump, Netanyahu, and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed released a joint statement celebrating the so-called "historic diplomatic breakthrough"—and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien said the deal should solidify a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Trump—CodePink pointed out that Netanyahu stated publicly after the deal was brokered that annexation is "still on the table" and something he is still "committed to."

"The Trump administration hit upon the Nobel Peace Prize-winning idea that you can supposedly solve the Israel-Palestine conflict by pretending Palestinians don't exist," tweeted Intercept journalist Murtaza Hussain.

US hospitals pressure healthcare staff to work even if they have Covid symptoms

Guidance from public health experts has evolved as they have learned more about the coronavirus, but one message has remained consistent: if you feel sick, stay home. Yet hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities have flouted that guidance, pressuring workers who contract Covid-19 to return sooner than public health standards suggest is safe. Some employers have failed to provide adequate paid leave, if any, so employees felt they had to return to work – even while possibly infectious.

Many hospitals with an onslaught of patients have found themselves short-staffed. That need dovetailed with an entrenched culture in medicine of “presenteeism”. Frontline healthcare workers, in particular, follow a brutal ethos of being tough enough to work even when ill, reasoning that other “people are sicker”, said Andra Blomkalns, the chair of Stanford University’s emergency medicine department.

In a survey of nearly 1,200 members, the Health Professionals and Allied Employees Union found roughly a third of those who said they had gotten sick reported returning to work with symptoms.

Hospital employees are not only forced to choose between their paychecks and their health, they also go back to work knowing they may infect patients or colleagues. An investigation by KHN and the Guardian has identified at least 922 frontline health workers who have died of Covid-19, probably exposed to the virus at work.

Schools Re-Open While Congress Goes On Vacation!

Trump pushes for schools to reopen as US sees deadliest Covid day since May

Donald Trump has vowed to push ahead with the reopening of America’s schools, despite the US suffering nearly 1,500 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, the highest number in a single day for three months. A total of 1,499 deaths from Covid-19 were reported across the country, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The US continues to lead the world in infections and deaths, with nearly 5.2 million people having contracted the virus, and more than 166,000 having died since the pandemic started.

The parlous situation has not deterred Trump from agitating for the reopening of schools and businesses, however, with the president warning that children would suffer if they do not resume in-person classes. Trump also threatened to divert federal funding away from schools if they didn’t reopen. “We got to open up,” Trump said on Wednesday. “We got to open up our schools and open up our businesses.” The president added that children “often have only mild symptoms, and medical complications are incredibly rare – very, very, very rare. Those that do face complications often have underlying medical conditions.” ...

Different schools around the US have opted for various approaches, such as online learning or reduced in-person attendance. In states where coronavirus cases have recently increased, a full reopening of schools has often gone awry – more than 1,000 students in a Georgia district have had to be placed in quarantine after a string of new infections.

Polling has shown that most American parents are wary of sending children back to school with the pandemic still raging, with the vast majority favoring at least some online learning in place of standard classes.

Rich Get Richer In Depression & Working Class Suffers, Congress LEAVES FOR WEEKS

US unemployment claims dip below 1m for first time in 21 weeks

The number of Americans who filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week dipped below 1 million for the first time in 21 weeks, but signs of the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating impact on the US jobs market remain. The latest figures from the labor department showed 963,000 people filing claims after 20 weeks of claims above 1m. Claims still remain historically high. Before the pandemic, claims were averaging about 200,000 a week and the previous record for claims was 695,000, set in 1982. ...

The US jobs market has picked up in the last two months. In July, the US added 1.8m jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2% from 11.1%. The gains were largely in restaurants, bars and the leisure sector, which had furloughed millions of workers when the virus struck. But with states and local governments rapidly running out of cash, economists are expecting a new wave of layoffs as the pandemic continues unabated. Last month’s jobs report showed little growth outside the sectors hit hardest in the wave of quarantine closures.

“Jobs for more-skilled workers in business/professional services are making little headway overall and are declining in computer services, management and advertising,” Sophia Koropeckyj, economist at Moody’s Analytics, wrote in an investor note. “These are the secondary effects of the stressed economy.”’



the horse race



Dem impeachment attorney on Mueller, Ukrainegate, and the case vs. Trump

Worth a full read. Richie Neal has low friends in high places. The plot thickens:

Party Leaders Investigating Origin of Anti-Morse Campaign Helped Orchestrate It, Documents Reveal

As the primary in Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District turned into a national story following allegations of misconduct against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, the state Democratic Party declined to weigh in, citing its policy to remain neutral in contested primaries.

But behind the scenes, the state party had been coordinating with the College Democrats of Massachusetts to launch those very allegations, according to five sources within the state party and connected to the CDMA, a review of messages between party leadership and CDMA leadership, and call records obtained by The Intercept. The documents show that the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s executive director Veronica Martinez and chair Gus Bickford connected the students with attorneys: among them was the powerful state party figure and attorney Jim Roosevelt, who worked with the college group on a letter alleging Morse behaved inappropriately.

The Intercept reported on Wednesday that at least two members of the UMass Amherst chapter had been planning in some form or another to leverage Morse’s use of dating apps in the Pioneer Valley against him and in favor of his opponent in the primary, longtime incumbent and influential House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Richard Neal. On Thursday morning, in the wake of the revelation, Politico reported that Bickford was calling for an investigation “to examine the conduct of College Democrats who leveled the allegations against Morse.” ...

Martinez reached out to CDMA members repeatedly by phone and text from at least late July up to and including Thursday, records show. In text messages reviewed by The Intercept, Martinez takes an active role in directing the group on the strategy behind the letter before and after its release, including coaching on how to interact with the press. On Thursday, the College Democrats posted a statement that apologized to Morse, adding, “We wrote the letter to Alex Morse’s campaign on the advice of legal counsel,” but did not specify who that counsel was.

The grandson of Franklin D. Roosevelt, attorney Jim Roosevelt is a major power broker within the state and national Democratic parties and contributed to Neal’s campaigns in 2008 and 2016, giving $1,000 and $500 respectively, according to records filed with the FEC. He has a history of tangling with the Bernie Sanders-aligned wing of the party.

After Rep. Richard Neal Secured $3 Billion for Biofuel Industry, Son Secured Lobby Job

Last year, the biofuel industry, scrambling for help from Washington, made a concerted push in Congress to secure a lifeline of taxpayer support. ... After months of lobbying, the industry found a champion beyond its traditional allies in the Iowa delegation in Rep. Richard Neal, the powerful chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax policy. The Massachusetts Democrat, in a series of legislative maneuvers to maintain government spending levels, delivered a tax break to biofuel companies worth $3 billion per year. ...

The legislative gift followed a series of PAC donations from the largest ethanol and biofuel companies in America to Neal’s campaign, a tradition that enriches the campaign war chests of most legislators on the tax-writing committee. Industry lobbyists and PACs tied to the biofuel industry in total donated over $20,000 to the Neal campaign.

After the tax extension was passed as part of the omnibus bill signed last December, the biofuel industry forged even closer ties. Last month, Brendan Neal, the lawmaker’s son, was hired as a lobbyist for Trestle Energy, a California-based biofuel company specializing in low carbon production systems.

Democrats Still Using Russia-Gate As Excuse For Losing!

AOC Suggests 60 Seconds Is All She Will Need at DNC

While progressive critics denounced the Democratic National Committee's decision to give Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just 60 seconds for a speech at the party's national convention next week, the congresswoman took to social media to indicate she plans on making that one minute count.

The Democratic Party will officially nominate Joe Biden and newly announced vice presidential pick Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at the four-day event August 17-20 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Due to Covid-19, the party will livestream the event, and many speakers, including AOC and Biden, will pre-record their remarks.

News of Ocasio-Cortez's time allotment late Wednesday, first reported by Business Insider, followed earlier speculation that she was going to be excluded from any speaking opportunity at the convention.


Progressive activists were quick to call out the party for what they believe is a move to diminish the party's more left-leaning base by giving former Ohio governor John Kasich, a Republican critic of President Donald Trump, a banner speaking role, and relegating Ocasio-Cortez to one minute.

The convention comes not without controversy, as progressive delegates, mainly Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) supporters and allies, denounce the Democrats for not embracing Medicare for All in its platform.

"I will cast my one vote of 'No' for every person who has had to ration medication to afford food, or who has lost a loved one because a procedure that a doctor said was needed was not covered in an insurance plan," Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) announced Thursday.



the evening greens


Trump exiting Paris accord will harm US economy – LSE research

Withdrawing from the Paris agreement does not make economic sense for the US, a group of economists has argued, as the cost of clean energy has fallen since the agreement was signed in 2015, while the risks of climate catastrophe have increased. Economists from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at the London School of Economics examined the economic case for the US withdrawal, which President Donald Trump signalled in June 2017, and which will take effect on 4 November, the day after this year’s presidential election.

They found that climate breakdown would cause growing losses to US infrastructure and property, and impede the rate of economic growth this century, and that an increasing proportion of the carbon emissions causing global heating would come from countries outside the US. That gives the US a vested interest in whether the Paris agreement succeeds or fails, regardless of whether the US fulfils its own voluntary obligations under the accord. ...

Trump’s argument for withdrawal was that the Paris accord would impose costs on the US while other countries would benefit. ... The LSE economists said that was not the case, and that the US risked severe economic harm if temperatures rose above the 2C threshold, while the costs of meeting the US’s commitments under the accord were falling. The authors of the policy brief found that the commitment could be met fairly easily on current trends, as the rise of renewable energy and switch from coal to cheaper gas were resulting in lower emissions already. ...

Charles Donovan, co-author of the policy brief, told the Guardian: “What has changed since 2016 [when Trump was elected] is that we have learned more about the costs of climate change and the costs have become greater, while the investment required [to cut emissions] has fallen due to changing technology costs. The case for the Paris agreement is even more compelling as a result: the cost of inaction is higher, the cost of action is lower.”

Trump rolls back methane climate standards for oil and gas industry

The Trump administration is revoking rules that require oil and gas drillers to detect and fix leaks of methane, a greenhouse gas that heats the planet far faster than carbon dioxide.

Methane has a much more potent short-term warming effect than CO2 and addressing it is critical to slowing global heating as the world is already on track to become more than 3C hotter than before industrialization.

The Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Andrew Wheeler, will announce the rollback from Pennsylvania, which has major oil and gas operations and is also a politically important swing state. The rule change is part of what Trump calls his “energy dominance” agenda.

The Trump administration’s changes apply to new wells and those drilled since 2016, when President Barack Obama enacted the regulation in an effort to help stall climate change during a boom in fracking – a method of extracting fossil gas by injecting water and chemicals underground. The regulations required companies to regularly check for methane leaks from valves, pipelines and tanks.

Plagues of field mice decimating crops, say German farmers

Large swathes of Germany’s farmland are being decimated by plagues of field mice leading to significant crop loss, according to the country’s national farming association. In some parts of the country, a quarter of the arable land is affected, leading to calls for compensation as well as a relaxation on rules governing the use of pesticides.

Across Germany, the effects of a succession of dry summers and mild winters have enabled the mice – and increasingly voles – to thrive, leaving an estimated 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres) stripped bare by the rodents and now browning in the current heatwave.

Farmers said field mice had been tunnelling under the fields and gnawing at the roots of crops for months, with the neighbouring regions of Thuringia, Saxony Anhalt and Lower Saxony the worst hit. In the central state of Thuringia, as much as a quarter of the crops are affected, with damage estimated at around €450 (£407) for every hectare of wheat. Farmers’ representatives have estimated that two-thirds of their income will be lost as a result and many said they have had to buy in extra animal feed. ...

Julia Klöckner, the agricultural minister, has called for an emergency reappraisal of laws governing rodenticides to cope with what she has called an emergency situation. “We’ve already seen huge damage, and more is to be expected,” she said. But environmentalists say that endangered species, such as hamsters, hares, birch mice and migratory birds, risk being killed off as a result. Some animal welfare groups are calling instead, for a ban on fox hunting because the animals, which each consume between 3,000 and 5,000 mice a year, could help control the population. “Hobby” hunters kill an estimated 400,000 foxes in Germany every year.


Also of Interest

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

Imperialists Run The Same Tired Old Script Day After Fucking Day

Further Escalating Tensions, Trump Administration Seizes Alleged Iranian Fuel Bound for Venezuela

How Covid-19 Is Transforming Culture and Media in the United States

Wall Street Banks Sell Off in Midst of Largest Treasury Auction in History

United Arab Emirates Betray Palestine

‘Bombs can’t kill viruses’: Hawaii faces backlash as international war games approach

Biden’s Promise of a Deportation Moratorium Is Nowhere in His Platform

Shower curtains and police tape: how US schools are trying to reopen

The Bakken Boom Goes Bust With No Money to Clean up the Mess

Brazil experiences worst start to Amazon fire season for 10 years

Oil Spill's Damage to Marine Area Around Mauritius 'Substantial' and Maybe 'Irreversible,' Expert Warns

Lake fire: huge blaze north of Los Angeles forces evacuations

Looted landmarks: how Notre-Dame, Big Ben and St Mark's were stolen from the east

Krystal and Saagar: New Poll Reveals Biden's BIGGEST Vulnerability

Trita Parsi: Why Trump's Israel Deal Is A Win For Those Pushing Endless War


A Little Night Music

J.B. Hutto - Look At The Yonder Wall

J.B. Hutto & The Hawks - My Kind Of Woman

J.B. Hutto - That's The Truth

J.B. Hutto - Angel Face

J.B. Hutto - Slidewinder

J.B. Hutto & The Hawks - Sloppy Drunk

J.B. Hutto & The Hawks - Dust My Broom

JB Hutto - Combination Boogie

J.B. Hutto - I Feel So Good

J.B. Hutto & The New Hawks - Live In Poland 1982


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JekyllnHyde's picture

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20 users have voted.

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

mimi's picture

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11 users have voted.

“Trauma is not what happens to you.
Trauma is what happens inside you,
as a result of what happens to you.”
— Dr. Gabor Maté

@JekyllnHyde My closest friends are Trumpers or Centrist D's. I keep quiet to make sure of my lefty surprise upper cut.

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joe shikspack's picture

@JekyllnHyde

excellent!

heh, i think warren should be represented as further right and closer to obama who should also be further right... Smile

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@JekyllnHyde I’m partial to this one myself:

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The only way Joe Biden is “going to be like FDR” is that he will die in office and leave a shitty vice president as a replacement.

snoopydawg's picture

“Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention” with a “holistic, public health-oriented” mission.

I just rewatched a video of a group of cops beating 2 women who were out after curfew. Or so we were told. 2 cops beat one with their billy clubs and she just took it. One big cop violently pushed another woman down and then 3 more dawg piled on her. Holistic mission my left buttock.

My uncle and I went to lunch today up the canyon to the oldest bar in Utah. Poor me. I had to listen to Democratic crap trap and how he worships Rachel Moscow. I did get in a few digs in on Rachel and her network though. But he’s really good at not hearing what he doesn’t want to. Love the guy so I mostly stayed silent. Other than his democrats blindness he’s the funniest guy I know.

But man was the drive fun. Lots of memories for both of us of all the times we went up through the canyon and more for parties at the Shooting Star.

73C74EFA-C2D1-4D38-A8CA-0D39763F0438.jpeg

We took the convertible and boy was it fun.

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9 users have voted.

“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

glad to hear that you had a good enough time in utah's oldest bar. if this pandemic ever ends and i get back to utah someday, i'd like to put it on my itinerary.

have a great weekend!

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6 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

Hopefully you the rest of the 99% have a good weekend golfing, oh wait

Man, unless the teachers and the 99% go on a general strike until we
get represented, the emperor and his senators will continue to fiddle.

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10 users have voted.

Buy a Bible don't read it and you'll be a Catholic
Buy a Bible read only what suits you and you'll be an Evangelical
Buy a Bible read it fully, analyze it, reason it and you will be
an Atheist

snoopydawg's picture

@ggersh

It was trending #1 lmao the Twit last night. But guess who’s blaming it on Russia...

What an idiot.

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10 users have voted.

“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

ggersh's picture

@snoopydawg

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3 users have voted.

Buy a Bible don't read it and you'll be a Catholic
Buy a Bible read only what suits you and you'll be an Evangelical
Buy a Bible read it fully, analyze it, reason it and you will be
an Atheist

joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

heh, they portray trump like isaac stern when he's really more like uncle ernie.

a general strike sounds like a good next step. if congress isn't going to do their job, why should the people?

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6 users have voted.

go birds!!

good news always helps the spirit

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13 users have voted.

Let's try to help each other
find a better way.

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

yep, that gave me a good laugh. go eagles! or as they say an hour north of me, go iggles!

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6 users have voted.

@QMS tick tock here we are. right on

steve miller band fly like an eagle

116f in little eden today at 4pm. 83f right now just around midnight. the thermo never went past 112f before. some records broke. sad killer heat. i hate indoor air conditioning love fog. want to fly through the revolution. will be some kind of miracle surviving until who knows when. nobody knows. nobody 2020

peace and love

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

I have been telling people that the Lincoln Project is very selective on what issues they oppose Trump on. They are behind Biden mostly for his foreign policies. This is why they got behind Hillary too. They think Trump’s resistance to starting a war with Iran or elsewhere is a betrayal of their values. Tax cuts? Deregulation? All the other donor friendly legislation is fine.

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10 users have voted.

“You know me. Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?” - Joe Biden 8/31/2020

@snoopydawg I’ve tried to make this point but been met with fingers in the ears and LALALALALALALALA! Oh well. I’m just about done fighting.

And speaking of, as well as speaking of the USPS, I’m glad the Dems are taking off until September so they can be good and rested for when they start “fighting for” the postal service, presumably some time before the election...

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10 users have voted.

The only way Joe Biden is “going to be like FDR” is that he will die in office and leave a shitty vice president as a replacement.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

kinda makes you wonder how old abe would feel about having his name and likeness attached to a neoliberal propaganda outlet.

my guess is that it would piss him off.

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7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

Not news, Bakken boom goes bust and leaves no money for clean-up. Long ago and oft predicted, this is a re-run

Germany's problem with voles isn't lack of pesticides, it's that pesticides are what probably helped decimate the solution to the vole problem: Kites, Harriers, and Owls. When you get an irruption of prey with no predators in sight, it's on you, every dam time throughout history.

Piracy, state supported piracy, is still piracy. Of course, all participants in the corporate-governmental symbiote will approve, sad to say.

News of a sort:

ACLU
Friends –

In 2002, we called the initial blueprints for the Department of Homeland Security "constitutionally bankrupt." For nearly 20 years now, we've seen many of our warnings about DHS become tragic realities.

That is why we are calling for the dismantling of DHS now. Read more on the critical reasons for this in a piece by ACLU's executive director Anthony Romero here.

((https://www.aclu.org/news/immigrants-rights/dismantle-the-department-of-...))

To be absolutely clear, let's look at what the DHS has done. It has:

Surveilled Black Lives Matter activist circles
Separated children from their parents at our borders – a tragedy we continue to litigate
Descended into mosques and community centers to infiltrate Muslim communities
Shot and killed people across the border
Monitored protests using fusion center intelligence sharing hubs
The short history of the DHS is filled with violence, fear mongering, and a lack of oversight. And now this department's horrific tactics are being used in cities across our country, deployed as President Trump's personal militia.

Something must be done, (EL). Dismantling this behemoth federal agency – breaking it apart into smaller ones and shrinking its allocation of federal dollars – will allow more effective oversight, accountability, and public transparency.

Years of chaos and impunity demonstrate the failure of the DHS experiment, and it's time for change. Read more on the urgency of dismantling DHS and be ready for the fight forward.

Thank you for reading,

The ACLU Team

It's 104 in the shade in Castro Valley right now, exceptional, 2 days in a row, at that, bizarre.

be well and have a good one. Have a fantastic weekend too.

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11 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

yep, the bakken problem is another in a long line of corporate travesties where the usual suspects collect vast sums of money and leave the mess behind for the taxpayers to clean up.

i wonder when the public will tire of being ripped off?

with any luck, germany may have a smarter bunch of ruling elites than we do and they will figure out that the farmers problems stem from too many pesticides (they figured out the neonic problem, while the u.s. hasn't) and an attendant predator shortage. good luck, germany!

wow! 104, that's pretty hot for the san francisco area. i remember visiting some folks in berkeley some years ago who told me that they didn't need air conditioning because it never got really hot there. they must be going out of their minds about now.

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5 users have voted.
Dawn's Meta's picture

@enhydra lutris @enhydra lutris balance the Elk populations and restore riparian habitats. Huge surprise when the researchers figured it out.

More diversity not less will help the farmers. I am greatly disheartened at how much inroads the Monsanto/Bayer and other pesticide and herbicide makers have made in Europe. Interesting that much like individual states which want more regulation but are thwarted by Federal support of chemical producers, the EU stops countries like France which want to stop using the chemicals which impoverish soils, kill insects, birds and butterflies. The corporations love dealing with just one entity rather than having to work with each country on issues important to them.

Reminds me of the auto industry trying to side-step California on emissions. Same story, over and over.

Oh on a positive note, the Neonic ban in France has allowed the Bumblebee populations to explode. Not just raw numbers but the variety. I have never seen so many, so beautiful as I have in the last few years here. I believe it is year five on the ban. Started with private users and moved to agriculture. The farmers don't like it as they have gotten used to relying on big Ag for seeds, chicks, to supply to the consumer for everything. Nasty business.

I plug once again 'Wilding' by Pamela Tree. Marvelous example of how to integrate landscape, geography and diversity with raising animals we need.

Someone has done (can't find the reference) a study which looked at US prairies of different grasses and the wild four hooved who can live there. They would have more meat protein than we do with all our CAFOs. But then the fences would have to come down.

Edit to add: Joe thank you for your incredible efforts on our behalf every week. So full of information and many times highlighting a subject not found on one's own. And the always wonderful music. It is a balm for the soul at any time, but much more needed now than ever.

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5 users have voted.

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

enhydra lutris's picture

@Dawn's Meta

More diversity not less will help the farmers.

Proven time and again, but not approved of by big ag and big chem.

be well and have a good one.

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4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

GreatLakeSailor's picture

anti marriage equality voice back in 2013/14/15 so he can fuck the fuck off.

Me & my husband read his Ender series to each other - traded driving & reading duties on a road trip vacation. We really enjoyed it.

Had him & his fundies prevailed we could not be married right now.

I feel better airing that.

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13 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

joe shikspack's picture

@GreatLakeSailor

wow, i had no idea that osc was an idiot about marriage equality. i'm sorry to hear that.

i'm glad to hear that his stupidity and that of his ilk has not had any lasting effect on your ability to live and marry as you see fit.

have a great weekend!

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9 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

@joe shikspack

I was really surprised too.

To balance back the world some one I met allegedly watched an allegedly pirated copy of the Ender movie. Allegedly. Small victories...allegedly.

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8 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

Azazello's picture

Dore is live right now with Aaron Maté, talking about this: Ex-FBI lawyer, accused of falsifying document in probe of Trump’s campaign, to plead guilty
I hope there will be more from Durham investigation.
Caitlin's piece is right on.
I can't believe I missed Moon of Alabama from June 16. Maybe you posted it, joe, and I just snoozed it.
She links Ben Norton's thread too, very good.
Here's some more regime-change propaganda.
From NPR, the always cheerful Voice of Oligarchy: Belarus Opposition, In Exile, Appeals To U.S. Not To Recognize Contested Election
The "fraudulent election" trope is always part of it.
From HuffPo: Thousands Arrested For Protesting ‘Rigged’ Presidential Election In Belarus
Later

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12 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

thanks for the links!

i don't know if i posted that moa post at the time, either. i try to check the site most days but, sometimes i miss stuff.

reading it now, in light of the goings on, events seem to fit the pattern of a cia activity.

it seems unlikely that the belarus elections are fraudulent in that 80% of the belarus voters didn't actually vote for lukashenko, from what i've been reading.

their elections are fraudulent in the same way that u.s. elections are. only candidates that suck are enabled by the institutional sector to mount a viable campaign for office.

so, i guess we'll be hearing more propaganda and the bleating of the u.s. sponsored government-in-waiting for a while.

have a great weekend!

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8 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
Did you watch that Dore livestream ?
They'll probably edit it out, but right in the middle of the interview, Aaron said he might vote for Biden because LOTE. Dore just went off on him, for like, 5 minutes straight. Yelled at him, called him a "cuck". If I was Aaron, I don't know if I'd go on Jimmy's show again.

So here's what's bugging me right now. We've all seen this study, right ?
COVID-19 Virus Found in Stool May Be Infectious
So my question is, what about our intestinal gasses ?
Say your in the supermarket. You've got your mask on so you won't infect anybody else but somewhere down in the canned goods aisle, you let one slip. You know, cut the cheese.
Does this spread the covid ?
We know the gas can go through your shorts and your jeans, what about the virus ?
Frankly, I'm worried.

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9 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

i skipped the livestream tonight. i'm listening to music and sliding into a news fast weekend.

i think that the answer to your question about farts relates to how large the particle carrying the virus is and how tight the mesh of your garment(s) are.

if the particle is larger than the weave, then i guess that you would be safe at any distance from the cheese aisle. Smile

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7 users have voted.
travelerxxx's picture

@joe shikspack

New sign next to "MASKS REQUIRED" – "DIAPERS REQUIRED"

I suggest stocking up before the run (sorry) on them.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@travelerxxx

i dunno, i'd say it depends... i'd just keep an eye out for homicidal maniacs stocking up in the canned bean section.

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7 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

@Azazello That sounds great AZ... can't wait 'till that is out for consumption...

somewhere down in the canned goods aisle, you let one slip. You know, cut the cheese.

I think the deli area is where to do this? Wink

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7 users have voted.

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

@Azazello Sorry, I couldn’t let that joke pass.

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7 users have voted.

The only way Joe Biden is “going to be like FDR” is that he will die in office and leave a shitty vice president as a replacement.

I just unsubscribed to Democracy Now! emails. 2 episodes in a row praising Kamala's historic VP slot is enough for me.
Who's next to turn to the dark side?
So, TLOML and I will attend a blue grass festival in the future. I will take books, catch up on my reading, he can listen to fiddles and banjos with friends. I will find a nice hotel far enough away that I will not hear it.
A close pal has COVID-19. He is 76, is diabetic, is in treatment for advanced prostrate cancer. Very grim for him and his family.
Stay well.

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11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

yeah, this happens every four years. "left," "progressive" and "alternative" orgs all become cheerleaders for the democrat mediocrity that has been selected to run for office. you can set your watch by it.

i remember how pissed off i was at the nation magazine when it came out against ralph nader and catapulted the democrat propaganda. i cancelled my subscription. now, i've just gotten used to it.

apparently, larger left institutions can't live without the money from well-heeled dem donors who will not support them if they don't catapult the propaganda.

i hope that you enjoy the festival. after the pandemic is sorted out, i hope to make up for lost time and hit a bunch of blues and bluegrass festivals.

you guys have a great weekend.

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11 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

JB Hutto was awesome. What a slide player! That Slidewinder is over the moon wild. Awesome stuff. Great sounds man! So was I Feel So Good. I wish I could play like that.

So with the mice *(voles) problem in Germany... They 'hobby' kill 400,000 foxes a year, which can each eat 4000 mice/voles per year. For how many years did they exterminate the mice eater is the unknown? And they can't figure out how they got there?

Here in TX they killed hawks, owls, and snakes for 150 years and don't know where all the mice came from.

Saw you did Otis Rush yesterday, another great one, love his sound too.

Been busier than a one-eyed Sperm Whale in a school of Giant Squid so haven't been able to hang out... and hotter than a Chinese Chili Pepper here...

have a good break! Thanks again for the tunes!

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5 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@dystopian

hutto was an original. the only guy that i know of that can play anything like him is lil ed williams, who i believe is his nephew. jb is gone, but if you ever get a chance, go see lil ed, he's the real deal, a really nice guy and puts on a great show.

somebody ought to write a book for farmers about how stupid it is to kill off your environmental support system.

heh, i hope the heat and the too busy thing pass quickly. have a great weekend!

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6 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

up
4 users have voted.

Buy a Bible don't read it and you'll be a Catholic
Buy a Bible read only what suits you and you'll be an Evangelical
Buy a Bible read it fully, analyze it, reason it and you will be
an Atheist