The Evening Blues - 9-18-20



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Grady Gaines

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features sax player and bandleader Grady Gaines. Enjoy!

Grady Gaines - Hard Time Blues

"In such ugly times, the only true protest is beauty."

-- Phil Ochs


News and Opinion

US military police 'sought use of heat ray' to disperse White House protesters

A military whistleblower has said federal officials sought to use some controversial crowd control devices, including a so-called heat ray, to disperse protesters outside the White House in June. In written responses to questions from a House committee, the national guard major Adam DeMarco said the defence department’s lead military police officer for the national capital region sent an email asking if the Washington DC national guard possessed a long-range acoustic device used to transmit loud noises or an Active Denial System (ADS), the heat ray.

DeMarco said he responded that the guard was not in possession of either device. National Public Radio and the Washington Post first reported DeMarco’s testimony.

Use of either the acoustic device or the ADS would have been a significant escalation of crowd control for the guard, particularly since the defence officials ordered that troops not be armed when they went into the area. Law enforcement personnel were armed.

The ADS system, which emits a directed beam of energy that causes a burning sensation, was considered a non-lethal way to control crowds, particularly when it may be difficult to tell the enemy from innocent civilians in war zones. Use of the device appeared to stall amid questions about whether it actually caused more serious injuries or burns than initially thought. The long-range acoustic device, also called a sound cannon, sends out loud messages or sounds and has been used by law enforcement to disperse crowds.

DeMarco testified in late July before the House natural resources committee, which is investigating the use of force against crowds in Lafayette Square. His remarks on the crowd-control devices came in response to follow-up questions from the committee.

US accuses Hezbollah of stockpiling weapons and ammonium nitrate across Europe

The US has accused Hezbollah of storing caches of weapons and ammonium nitrate for use in explosives across Europe in recent years, with the alleged aim of preparing for future attacks ordered by Iran. The allegation was made by the state department’s counterterrorism coordinator, Nathan Sales, who called on European countries to take a tougher line on the Tehran-backed Lebanese Shia political movement and militia.

The claim that Hezbollah has been moving and storing ammonium nitrate around Europe comes six weeks after a warehouse full of ammonium nitrate detonated in Beirut’s port, devastating the Lebanese capital.

“I can reveal that such [Hezbollah weapons] caches have been moved through Belgium to France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. I can also reveal that significant ammonium nitrate caches have been discovered or destroyed in France, Greece, and Italy,” Sales said in a video appearance at the American Jewish Committee, a US-based advocacy group.

“We have reason to believe that this activity is still under way. As of 2018, ammonium nitrate caches were still suspected within Europe, possibly in Greece, Italy and Spain.” Sales added: “Why would Hezbollah stockpile ammonium nitrate on European soil? The answer is clear. It can conduct major terror attacks whenever its masters in Tehran deem it necessary.”

EU Belarus sanctions in doubt as Cyprus demands action against Turkey

Cyprus is threatening to block European Union sanctions on Belarus because the bloc has declined to levy similar measures against Turkey over a long-simmering dispute about maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean. The collision between two unrelated foreign policy crises on the EU’s doorstep – the standoff between Belarus’s leader Alexander Lukashenko and the people, and rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over Turkish drilling – has dismayed EU diplomats.

Now the veto threat from one of the club’s smallest member states threatens to derail EU plans to sanction 40 Belarusian officials accused of falsifying last month’s election results or orchestrating the brutal crackdown on protesters that followed. ...

Two diplomatic sources confirmed to the Guardian that Cyprus was blocking EU action on Belarus, because it wants EU sanctions imposed on Turkey over its drilling activity in the Mediterranean. “It is serious,” said one EU diplomat. “They have basically taken the Belarus sanctions hostage.” At a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, several diplomats took the floor to warn Cyprus against turning Belarusian sanctions into “a transactional issue”. A second EU source said Cyprus was alone, adding: “Everyone is pissed [off], everyone is annoyed. I’m sure this could have consequences [for Cyprus].”

Cyprus and Greece have been leading the charge for sanctions on Turkey, since Ankara launched research and drilling operations to search for gas reserves in the disputed waters of the eastern Mediterranean. The Cypriot president, Nicos Anastasiades, said on Wednesday the EU should use “all means at our disposal” to get Turkey to give up its “unlawful” activities. In an allusion to Belarus, he said the EU should not set “a double standard” in the way the bloc chooses to deal with improper activity inside and outside its borders.

World War III is coming and Armageddon tired of it.

Saudi Arabia may have enough uranium ore to produce nuclear fuel

Saudi Arabia likely has enough mineable uranium ore reserves to pave the way for the domestic production of nuclear fuel, according to confidential documents seen by the Guardian. Details of the stocks are contained in reports prepared for the kingdom by Chinese geologists, who have been scrambling to help Riyadh map its uranium reserves at breakneck speed as part of their nuclear energy cooperation agreement.

The disclosure will intensify concerns about Riyadh’s interest in an atomic weapons programme.

The survey report describes how geologists worked all year round despite blistering summer heat to identify reserves that could produce over 90,000 tonnes of uranium from three major deposits in the centre and northwest of the country. ...

“If some of these became actually viable deposits – and there’s no way of knowing whether that’s possible or not – the actual amounts are probably going to be well in excess of what a power plant, or a few power plants would need,” said Prof Kip Jeffrey, head of Camborne school of mines at the University of Exeter.

If Saudi Arabia is able to mine sufficient uranium domestically, rather than relying on foreign providers, it could give the kingdom a boost toward creating its own weapons programme, experts say.

“If you are considering nuclear weapons development, the more indigenous your nuclear program is, the better. In some cases, foreign suppliers of uranium will require peaceful-use commitments from end users, so if your uranium is indigenous, you don’t have to be concerned about that constraint,” said Mark Hibbs, senior fellow in the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.

Here's a snippet that I found interesting from today's coverage of the Assange trial. There's much more at the link.

ASSANGE HEARING DAY EIGHT— Espionage Act Put in the Dock

In afternoon testimony, Carey Shenkman, a lawyer and expert on the history of the Espionage Act, laid out what defense attorney Mark Summers called the “incomprehensible and confusing” Espionage Act. Shenkman spoke of the repressive political conditions in the United States when the Espionage Act was adopted in 1917, with President Woodrow Wilson’s administration suppressing strong opposition to U.S. entry into the First World War. ...

Wilson, an admirer of the Klu Klux Klan, also admired putting people in prison for speech. He tried to get censorship into the Espionage Act but was defeated on that by just one vote in the Senate. In his signing statement on the Act, he said: ““Authority to exercise censorship over the press … is absolutely necessary to the public safety.”

Instead he got a Sedition Act passed that made it a crime to be disloyal to the flag among other symbols of the state. Numerous journalists were prosecuted, not for unauthorized possession and dissemination of defense information, but for urging readers to resist the draft. ...

Shenkman briefly took the court through various efforts by subsequent administrations to try to indict journalists for publishing classified material. Franklin Roosevelt tried to get The Chicago Tribune prosecuted for information it published about the Battle of Midway; Richard Nixon empaneled a grand jury in Boston to prosecute two New York Times reporters for publishing the Pentagon Papers; Nixon also went after Beacon Press for publishing the Senator Mike Gravel edition of the Papers. ...

All these and other attempts failed to bring back an indictment because of the inherent conflict the Espionage Act has with the First Amendment–until Julian Assange. Shenkman showed how such attempts at prosecutions always involved the U.S. president and were inherently political–a key point for the defense.

Trump 'associates' offered Assange pardon in return for emails source, court hears

Two political figures claiming to represent Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a “win-win” deal to avoid extradition to the US and indictment, a London court has heard.

Under the proposed deal, outlined by Assange’s barrister Jennifer Robinson, the WikiLeaks founder would be offered a pardon if he disclosed who leaked Democratic party emails to his site, in order to help clear up allegations they had been supplied by Russian hackers to help Trump’s election in 2016.

According to a statement from Robinson read out to the court, the offer was made by the then Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Trump associate Charles Johnson at a meeting on 15 August 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange was then sheltering. At the time he was under secret investigation by a US grand jury.

Robinson added: “The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some kind of pardon, assurance or agreement which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent US indictment and extradition.”

Rohrabacher said he had come to London to talk to Assange about “what might be necessary to get him out”, Robinson said, and presented him with a “win-win situation” that would allow him to leave the embassy and “get on with his life” without fear of extradition to the US.

The barrister added that Assange did not name the source of the emails.

Trump Falsely Says Covid Death Toll Not So Bad 'If You Take Blue States Out'

In yet another attempt to evade responsibility for the nation's disastrous coronavirus response as the U.S. death toll approaches 200,000, President Donald Trump late Wednesday said the fact that millions of Americans haven't died of Covid-19 is a sign of success and declared, "If you take the blue states out, we're at a level that I don't think anybody in the world would be at."

Both morally obscene and factually inaccurate, the president's comment drew immediate backlash from lawmakers and other observers, one of whom said Trump's remark will "be remembered as one of the most callous sentiments ever uttered by an American president.... if it's remembered at all." ...

Trump has repeatedly sought to blame Democratic governors for his administration's failures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which has now infected more than 6.6 million people in the U.S. and killed at least 196,600. But the president's statement during a press briefing Wednesday marked what critics described as a grotesque escalation in rhetoric, explicitly devaluing the lives of people living in blue states ravaged by the virus.

"Trump thinks of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans like a poll number or a stock market price," said Orin Kerr, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "He cares only about how it makes him look, especially to his supporters."

Pointing to a graphic purporting to show that the U.S. coronavirus death toll would likely be in the 1.5 to 2.2 million range had the nation done nothing in response to the pandemic, Trump told reporters, "We're below that substantially, and we'll see what comes out."

"If the not-so-good job was done, you'd be between 1.5 million—I remember these numbers so well—and 2.2 million. That's quite a difference," the president said.

"So we're down in this territory," Trump continued, pointing to the 100,000 to 240,000 projected death toll displayed on the chart. "And that's despite the fact that the blue states had tremendous death rates. If you take the blue states out, we're at a level that I don't think anybody in the world would be at. We're really at a very low level. But some of the states, they were blue states and blue-state-managed."

As the Washington Post's Philip Bump detailed late Wednesday, Trump's claim that the U.S. coronavirus death toll would be among the lowest in the world if blue-state deaths were subtracted from the total is completely false.

"It is true that the early surge in deaths was heavily weighted toward states that had voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016," Bump wrote. "New York and New Jersey in particular recorded hundreds of deaths a day in April, quickly contributing to the country's total number of fatalities."

"Over time, though, the percentage of total deaths that have occurred in blue states has dropped," Bump continued. "The most recent data, through Tuesday, indicates that about 53 percent of deaths have occurred in blue states—meaning that 47 percent have occurred in red ones. In other words, more than 90,000 deaths have occurred in red states. If that were the country's total, we would have seen the second-most number of deaths globally, trailing only Brazil."

US reinfection case raises question: how long does Covid immunity last?

A man in Nevada was infected with Covid-19 in March. He recovered and then tested negative for Covid-19. His would have been an unremarkable story amid a pandemic that has infected millions of people in America – if he had not been infected again less than six weeks later. The 25-year-old male from the American south-west became what appears to be only the second published case of Covid-19 reinfection in the scientific literature, alongside a case of reinfection in Hong Kong.

The man, a long-term care home worker in Reno, quarantined at a family member’s home while he was ill. Researchers believe he was reinfected when a family member, also an essential worker, brought a slightly different coronavirus strain home in early June. “We had an outbreak occur in a long-term care facility, and they were in a position that does work with patients,” said Heather Kerwin, the epidemiology program manager for Washoe county, Nevada, who worked directly with the case. The man had to be hospitalized on his second bout with Covid-19, but eventually recovered. He is still suffering side-effects. “They are kind of experiencing some of the lingering effects of fatigue and brain fog,” said Kerwin.

Virologists largely expected reinfection could occur. But experts said the US reinfection case highlights the enduring mysteries of the coronavirus, including how long a person’s immune system protects against the virus after an infection and the virus’s interaction with individual biology. Reinfection cases are important also for the development of vaccines and assessing their impacts as the world’s medical community races to develop them. ...

Like in Hong Kong, researchers in Nevada sequenced the genomes of two samples from the same person, and looked at what was different in the genetic code of the two infections. The findings point to a grab bag of mysteries which have surrounded the coronavirus since nearly the moment it was identified. How long does natural immunity last? How common is severe illness during the second infection? Does a person’s individual biology play a role in reinfection?

“You really need many, many cases to say – people are going to get sick the second time around,” said Dr Rajesh T Gandhi, an infectious diseases specialist at Massachusetts general hospital, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the chair of the HIV Medicine Association. “You can’t do it with just a couple of cases because you don’t have enough to sink your teeth into.”

North Carolina Nurses Win Union in Landslide After Bitter Opposition

In a dramatic victory for the beleaguered American labor movement, 1,800 nurses at Asheville, North Carolina-based Mission Hospital will now be represented by a union, National Nurses United, as officials finished counting votes early Thursday morning. The victory is the largest at a nonunion hospital in the South since 1975, and is the first private sector hospital union win ever in North Carolina.

The hospital is owned by the largest hospital corporation in the country, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare. The company was previously run by Republican Rick Scott, whose ill-gotten gains from Medicare fraud helped fund his successful run in Florida for Senate. HCA has received nearly $1.5 billion in coronavirus-related CARES Act grants.

HCA fiercely fought the union effort, as The Intercept reported in May, bringing in a phalanx of union-busting firms to intimidate nurses into voting no. Due to recent changes in election rules made by the Trump-appointed National Labor Relations Board, nurses at Mission had to wait months for an election date that previously would have come in just a few weeks, giving management extra time to work over staff. The final vote count, at 965 to 411, was a landslide in favor of the union.

Wealth of US billionaires rises by nearly a third during pandemic

The already vast fortunes of America’s 643 billionaires have soared by an average of 29% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has at the same time laid waste to tens of millions of jobs around the world. The richest of the superrich have benefited by $845bn , according to a report by a US progressive thinktank, the Institute for Policy Studies.

The report calculated that 643 billionaires in the US had racked up $845bn (£642bn) in collective wealth gains since 18 March, when lockdowns began across the US and much of the rest of the world. The collective wealth of the billionaire class increased from $2.95tn to $3.8tn. That works out to gains of $141bn a month, or $4.7bn a day.

Over the same period, more than 197,000 Americans have died from coronavirus and more than 50m Americans have lost their jobs. ...

The vast gains have prompted calls for a windfall tax on super-rich tech titans to help pay for the economic recovery from the pandemic. Bernie Sanders and Ilhan Omar, both Democratic senators, have introduced legislation dubbed the “Make Billionaires Pay Act” for a one-off 60% tax on the wealth gains of billionaires between 18 March and the end of the year to help working Americans cover healthcare costs.

Under Sanders’ proposal, Bezos would pay a one-time wealth tax of $42.8bn, and Musk would pay $27.5bn.

David Sirota: The Massive Wealth Transfer To The WORST Wall Street Ghouls

To Provide Public Alternative to 'Predatory' Wall Street Banks, Sanders and Gillibrand Unveil Postal Banking Act

With the goal of providing a robust public banking alternative to abusive Wall Street institutions, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders unveiled legislation Thursday that would make "low-cost basic financial services" available at tens of thousands of U.S. Postal Service locations across the country.

During a virtual event introducing the Postal Banking Act Thursday afternoon, Gillibrand said the bill would "bring banking to the one in four Americans who are currently unbanked or underbanked" because they lack either sufficient funds or access to a bank in their communities, leaving them vulnerable to "predatory practices" by payday lenders and other institutions.

"We want to basically put the predatory lenders out of business," said Gillibrand, who emphasized that the legislation would make postal banking services available to everyone in the U.S., regardless of income.

According to a summary of the legislation provided by Sanders' office, the Postal Banking Act would help "families generate savings, wealth, and credit, while bringing millions of American workers into a more fair banking system. It will also provide the United States Postal Service with a sustainable and significant revenue source."

The bill would allow the post offices nationwide to provide a number of key banking services, including:

  • Small Dollar Checking Accounts: Checking accounts for direct deposits, check cashing, and bill paying, not to exceed $20,000 per account.
  • Small Dollar Savings Accounts: Provides the same interest rate as FDIC insured accounts, and could partner with savings programs and benefits like SNAP or the EITC. Not to exceed $20,000 per account.
  • Small Dollar Loans: "All-In" interest rates that match the 1 month Treasury Bill, about 2%. All servicing done by USPS.
  • Transactional Services: Debit cards, low-fee cash machines, online services, and bill payments.
  • Remittance Services: Domestic and international wire transfers.

The measure also includes a provision requiring the services to be provided by the USPS, not outsourced to a Wall Street bank like JPMorgan Chase.

A longstanding goal of progressives, postal banking in July received an endorsement from the joint unity task forces organized by Sanders and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

"Government should provide easily accessible service locations, especially postal banking, to make it possible for everyone to access physical banking locations," reads a report (pdf) detailing the task forces' policy recommendations.

Bowing to Blue Dogs, Democratic Leadership Delays 'Enormously Popular' Marijuana Legalization Bill Until After Election

In at least a temporary setback to legalization advocates—and a move criticized as a strategic political mistake by progressive lawmakers—the House of Representatives on Thursday officially postponed until after the November election a vote on a bill that would legalize cannabis at the federal level and let states decide their own marijuana laws—until after the November general election. 

Marijuana Moment reports the bill was not included in a weekly floor schedule posted by the office of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Thursday. A vote had originally been planned for the week of September 21. ...

Progressive House Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Barbara Lee, warned their more moderate congressional colleagues Wednesday against delaying a vote on a marijuana legalization bill that enjoys growing bipartisan support. 

The House is expected to vote by the end of this month on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, under which cannabis would be removed from the federal Controlled Substances Act. This would allow individual states to determine their own marijuana laws.

The bill was introduced last year by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the majority whip, said last month that the measure will "help restore justice to millions by decriminalizing marijuana and expunging records of nonviolent federal cannabis convictions."

The MORE Act has gained some bipartisan support ahead of its anticipated vote. At least three Republicans say they will vote for it, including Rep. Don Young of Alaska, who told Alaska Public Radio last week that "it's a big vote, and we're going to pass it."

However, as Politico reports, the bill's momentum has stalled in recent days, as some Democrats have been spooked by their Republican colleagues' use of the bill as a weapon of leverage in the struggle for a coronavirus deal.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Democrats of prioritizing marijuana legalization over Covid-19 relief, and the charge—as misleading as it may be—has had a chilling effect on some Democratic proponents of the MORE Act.

Trump Calls Howard Zinn's Work "Propaganda." Hear the Legendary Historian in His Own Words.



the horse race



Democrats Prevent Democracy! Dems Kick Green Party Off Ballots!

Democrats Worry Biden Campaign Missing in Action in Battleground States

Amid mounting criticism that his campaign outreach strategy and messaging lack clarity and and are failing to excite voters, new campaign trail reporting this week reveals increased concern that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's field operation is insufficient—worries eerily similar to those expressed in 2016—in key battleground states.

Reporting from Michigan—wherePresident Donald Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in four years ago—TIME magazine's Charlotte Alter noted that, "in one of the most important swing states in the country, Biden's campaign is all but invisible to the naked eye."

While Biden's campaign staff maintains that his lack of on-the-ground appearances is in part due to public health concerns regarding Covid-19, progressive advocates see a potential for history to repeat itself in swing states in November.


The latest reports compound  persistent concerns throughout the campaign that Biden's team has been slow to increase staff and organize both on the ground and in the digital space, and as the former vice president struggles to connect with various voter demographics.

Michael Moore’s DIRE WARNING: Biden Strategy ‘Worse Than Hillary’ In Michigan

Denouncing 'Intentional Effort' to Sabotage Election, Judge Orders Nationwide Reversal of DeJoy Mail Changes

A federal judge late Thursday issued a nationwide injunction temporarily blocking and reversing dramatic changes to mail operations imposed in recent months by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, slamming the policies as a "politically motivated attack" on the U.S. Postal Service that—if allowed to stand—would disenfranchise voters in November.

"Although not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy's and the Postal Service's actions is voter disenfranchisement," wrote Judge Stanley Bastian of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington in a 13-page ruling (pdf), largely granting a request by 14 states for a court order halting the postmaster general's sweeping changes.

Bastian said that based on President Donald Trump's repeated and ongoing attacks on mail-in voting, it is "easy to conclude" that DeJoy's changes are part of "an intentional effort" by the White House to "disrupt and challenge the legitimacy of upcoming local, state, and federal elections, especially given that 72% of the decommissioned high-speed mail sorting machines... were located in counties where Hillary Clinton received the most votes in 2016."

The judge's ruling requires the USPS to immediately stop instructing postal workers to leave mail behind in order to leave for their trips at set times, continue treating all election mail as First Class mail, and return or reconnect any sorting machines deemed essential for efficient processing of election mail.

FRACKED Integrity! Biden Supporter's SELF OWN!

Trump under fire for 'shocking' Covid failures as ex-adviser turns against him

The coronavirus pandemic moved to the centre of the US election again on Friday, as a former senior official on the White House taskforce turned on Donald Trump.

Trump was alleged by Olivia Troye, a former Mike Pence adviser, to have called his own supporters “disgusting people” with whom he no longer had to shake hands thanks to the pandemic. ...

Troye, a one-time member of the Covid taskforce who left the administration in the summer, on Thursday came out with a blistering video in support of Republican Voters Against Trump, a conservative group backing Biden.

“Towards the middle of February, we knew it wasn’t a matter of if Covid would become a big pandemic here in the United States,” Troye said, echoing Trump’s own statements in taped interviews with Bob Woodward for the Washington Post reporter’s new book, Rage.

“It was a matter of when. But the president didn’t want to hear that because his biggest concern was that we were in an election here, and how is this going to affect what he considered to be his record of success. It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything’s OK, when we know that’s not the truth.”



the evening greens


Dear America, we too have seen red skies in Australia and we can tell you what happens next

All summer existential questions were raised not in abstract but in earnest: is it fair to have children? Is it monstrous to raise them in the eye of the Pyrocene? Will they turn on you later? All throughout that summer, Australia’s climate marches were led by children. The marches made no difference.

In our fear and our fury, we too faced the gross insult to our intelligence: politicians and popular press telling us (embers still burning, the fires raging on, joining other fires now) that it’s not man-made climate change that is to blame. It’s arson. Its forest management. It’s just one of those freak things that happen and soon “it’ll start getting cooler, you just watch”. ...

Dear America, we can tell you what happens next – we’re almost a year ahead, your friends at the bottom of the world, speaking from the future.

We can tell you that in the months after the event, when you can breathe again, women who were pregnant during the fire gave birth to babies facing potential long-term health risks.

We can tell you that even the worst fire season in living memory was not enough and that three billion animals dead or displaced is not enough and species pushed to the brink of extinction is not enough and even the birds falling from the sky in a “mass die-off” (a portent so obvious that it feels straight out of the Old Testament) is not enough to make the leaders panic and DO SOMETHING about man-made global heating.

We can tell you how soon such intense fires are obliterated from the collective memory – blasted as if by high-pressure hose – by other events of 2020. Locked in our houses we order other, different masks and forget the taste of ash on our tongues.

Good luck and best wishes.

As Fires Rage Across the West, Trump Bails Out Big Oil & Picks Climate Denier for Top Role at NOAA

Chinese fishing armada plundered waters around Galápagos, data shows

A vast fishing armada of Chinese vessels just off the Galápagos Islands logged an astounding 73,000 hours of fishing during just one month as it pulled up thousands of tonnes of squid and fish, a new report based on data analysis has found. ... Nearly 300 Chinese vessels accounted for 99% of visible fishing just outside the archipelago’s waters between 13 July and 13 August this year, according to analysis by marine conservation group Oceana.

The fleet was fishing primarily for squid – essential to the diet of the unique Galápagos fur seals and endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks – as well as for commercial fish species such as tuna and billfish that contribute to the local economy, the report said. ...

Using a mapping tool devised by NGO Global Fishing Watch in partnership with Google and the environmental watchdog SkyTruth, Oceana documented Chinese vessels apparently disabling their public tracking devices, thus providing conflicting vessel identification information. The new evidence supports claims made by the Ecuadorean government last month. The report also found some vessels engaging in potentially suspect transshipment practices, all of which can facilitate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

China is ranked as the world’s worst nation in a 2019 IUU fishing index. Its fleet, by far the largest in the world, is regularly implicated in overfishing, targeting of endangered shark species, illegal intrusion of jurisdiction, false licensing and catch documentation, and forced labour.

'Unfathomable destruction': thousands of rare wildflowers wiped out in Nevada

Nestled among the slopes of Nevada’s Silver Peak Range are six patches of Tiehm’s buckwheat, a rare flowering plant found nowhere else in the world. Only an estimated 42,000 plants remain on 10 acres. But over the weekend, conservationists discovered that 40% of the total population had been destroyed. ...

The destruction occurs amid a conflict over the flower’s habitat. For the past year and a half, Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Naomi Fraga, director of conservation at the California Botanic Garden, have been working to protect Tiehm’s buckwheat from a proposed mine for lithium and boron, elements involved in producing clean energy technology. The operation would encompass the entire range of the plant’s population, risking its extinction in the wild.

“I would not oppose the mine if it was done in a way that didn’t put the whole species at risk, and was environmentally sound,” said Fraga. “What is the cost of green energy if it causes the extinction of whole species?”

Donnelly said that the miner, Ioneer has perpetuated a narrative that protecting Tiehm’s buckwheat means the killing the whole mining project, leading him to allege that the destruction was “undoubtedly related to the mine”. Over the weekend, Donnelly drove out to the site and found plants ripped from the ground, the fields pockmarked with nearly perfect circular holes, and heavy footprints on the trails. All six existing patches of Tiehm’s buckwheat were damaged in what Donnelly characterized as a “calculated, well-organized effort”.


Also of Interest

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

‘The Court Has Refused to Fashion Concrete Legal Standards About the Rights of Protesters’

CIA Intercepts Suggest U.S. Lied About Biological Weapon Use During Its War On Korea

Exposing War Crimes Should Always Be Legal. Committing And Hiding Them Should Not.

Silence reigns on the US-backed coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia

Warning Trump Poses 'Existential Threat' to Social Security, Group Founded by FDR's Son Endorses Biden for President

The Fed Announces New Bank Stress Tests: Will Look at What Would Happen if a Major Counterparty Defaulted

Utility Shutoff Moratoriums Come to an End Across US

Warren and Schumer Unveil Plan to Cancel Up to $50,000 for Federal Student Loan Borrowers

Bolstering Calls for Climate Action, 'Mutant Sloth' Hurricane Sally Leaves Major Mess for Gulf Coast

Banksy trademark 'at risk' after street artist loses legal battle

Jimmy Dore: End Fear Voting! Vote Your Values With Ranked Choice!

Krystal and Saagar: New Sleeper Biden Ad Is Most Devastating Attack On Trump Yet


A Little Night Music

Grady Gaines and The Texas Upsetters - Looking For One Real Good Friend

Grady Gaines and The Texas Upsetters - Lonesome Saxophone

Joe Medwick w/Grady Gaines - If I Don't Get Involved

Little Richard w/Grady Gaines & The Upsetters - Every night about this time

Grady Gaines - Something On Your Mind

The Upsetters w/Jimi Hendrix - K.P.

The Upsetters w/Jimi Hendrix - Cabbage Greens

Grady Gaines - G.G. Shuffle

Grady Gaines - Mr. Blues In The Sky

Grady Gaines - I've Been Out There

Grady Gaines & The Texas Upsetters - Let Your Thing Hang Down


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Comments

shoots the herd mentality/immunity theories dead in their tracks, Mr. President.

If you can get the virus more than once, then exposing vast amounts of people to Covid in the hope that they will somehow protect the rest of us is crazy and doomed to fail. Surely one of our brave (ha!) CDC NIH scientists will connect the dots for the American people.

Sweden tried the let it spread let it spread let it spread approach and it didn't go so well.

Oh, I forgot my manners. Evening Mr. Joe

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12 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

covid does seem to be particularly well-designed to defeat our usual bodily defenses against viruses. from what i've read, i can't really tell whether reinfection is possible after x period of time with the same viral strain, or, if reinfection occurs because the differences between strains are significant enough that whatever immunity one has built up to one strain does not stop another strain. it's an interesting (and probably consequential) question. i wonder if the difference between strains is great enough, if a series of vaccines might not be required.

anyway, i am pretty sure that given the doubt that is expressed by various scientists about the situation, this thing is not going to be fixed before the election.

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7 users have voted.
TheOtherMaven's picture

@joe shikspack

gambling on which strains will be dominant this year and which mix will be most effective.

Not an encouraging thought.

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6 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

joe shikspack's picture

@TheOtherMaven

i would guess that the effectiveness of that depends upon how quickly the virus mutates. also, it seems that unlike the flu, it doesn't have a season.

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4 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

Because there was so much fire activity last night, the Incident Management Team did a morning briefing to get residents caught up. In addition to these briefings being useful for residents in the evacuation zones, they are also a fascinating peek into how strategic firefighting works. As Granma said to me in last night’s EB, they have contingency plans that go way beyond plans A & B. These guys are freaking amazing.

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11 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

joe shikspack's picture

@Anja Geitz

i hope that everything is still going well and you are doing fine.

thanks for the tweet, it was interesting to see how they go about trying to put down a fire of bobcat's magnitude.

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7 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

@joe shikspack

I never imagined I would learn so much about fires, or fire management. But I guess everyone in California right now is waking up to the new reality that we need to be prepared, alert, and informed about fires. No way around it. See the stats I gave you down thread. Mind blowing. Really speaks to Hecate's essay earlier this week about the term "historic" as it relates to fires here in California. Jesus Christ. It's madness, I tell ya.

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9 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

ggersh's picture

meriKa just one huge con

"We looked into the abyss if the gold price rose further. A further rise would have taken down one or several trading houses, which might have taken down all the rest in their wake. Therefore at any price, at any cost, the central banks had to quell the gold price, manage it. It was very difficult to get the gold price under control but we have now succeeded. The US Fed was very active in getting the gold price down. So was the U.K."

Eddie George, Governor Bank of England, in a conversation with CEO of Lonmin, September 1999

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12 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

yep, the economy is completely manipulated to provide riches for a few and scarcity of varying magnitudes to the rest. it has nothing to do with individual merit or social values, it's just cronyism.

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9 users have voted.

Nathan Sales should write for The Onion. For anyone that knows the slightest bit about Hezbollah would find this article laughable. This is just the State Dept still trying to pin the blame on the port explosion in Beirut on Hezbollah instead of the inept port authority and the Lebanese Army that had responsibility for security at the port.

Not to mention Hezbollah does not do 'terror' attacks (since the '90s). They are solely concerned with Lebanon and Syria. Tehran has been working the the Europeans. The timing of this is right when we are going to 'snapback' sanctions that we have no legal basis to do.

Our State Dept is pure evil. Lying sacks of shit evil.

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13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Mickt

what amazes me is that the stenographers write this stuff down and put it in their media so utterly unquestioningly.

i mean, not a hint that the u.s. government has a particular animus towards hezbollah and wants nothing more than an excuse to drop bombs on some more brown people. the facts are absolutely irrelevant.

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9 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Surely there is a way that democrats could block McConnell from appointing a new justice? Shirley do you know?

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10 users have voted.

“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

@snoopydawg

Advocated for justice many years.
Not afraid to dissent.
Unpolitical as justice needs be.
Left a legacy, worked to the end.

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9 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@QMS

It’s too bad that one of her last votes was for allowing pipelines in the Appalachia’s. She was one gutsy lady that’s for sure. Strong work ethics.

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5 users have voted.

“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

well, i have to say that it's certainly not a shock.

i can't wait to see what sort of bigoted moron trump nominates and the democrats refuse to stop.

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9 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Of course he found a way to ignore what he said about Garland.

Yeah I’m waiting to see what excuses democrats have for allowing Trump to appoint his 3rd justice. I’m betting that they don’t recall that there are procedures they can use for it. Someone said that Roberts was confirmed in 19 days. Heads will explode if Trump gets to. Blam!

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7 users have voted.

“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

my only question is whether the dems will pretend to fight it before they cave or if they just preemptively cave.

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7 users have voted.

@joe shikspack She was an icon for women, had great ethics and so forth, but didn't write historic majority opinions, was known mostly as the designated pithy legal writer for dissenting opinions.
She spent most of her time on a court where her vote was overruled by dick heads.
Still, she did what she could. She will be missed. RIP, Your Honor.

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

she was a mixed bag for me, though backing that up would require more research than i care to do on a friday night after hitting the rib shack.

i must say, her tenure on the court forced her to suffer some of the biggest fools that the american "justice" system has ever produced. she ought to get an award for that, i suppose.

have a great weekend!

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5 users have voted.

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack if that makes sense.
She was qualified, but was that exact id that would have brought shame to no-voters for her confirmation.
I doubt any lawyer will be quoting her 2 years from now, much less 50 years from now.
Just like nobody quotes Clarence Thomas, because he hasn't written any great opinions, either.
Sigh...it is just the end of the world! Just like it was, and is, and will continue to be all apace.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

The quickest anyone has been confirmed was Ginsberg with 50 days and 99 for Thomas. McConnell could wait until after the election so it drives republicans to the polls. If he loses the senate he still has time after it to get someone confirmed.

I have an article saved somewhere that explains how many ways democrats could force stop McConnell from doing anything. Lots of people are telling democrats that they must fight this with everything they’ve got. Media Hansen (not his name but close and hopefully you know who I mean?) tweeted about a book that tells democrats what they need to do if they want to win. Lol..tons of articles and books telling democrats to not bring a knife to a gun fight. I’m pretty sure that democrats know about all those things. It’s just that they don’t wanna fight.

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6 users have voted.

“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@snoopydawg

to push a nomination forward--not to say it's in 'good taste,' or fair. But, when did that ever get in Orange Man's (OM's) way? Smile

If they (McConnell/OM) delay--it will likely only be because they don't have the votes from the RINO's like Murkowski (her Father, Frank, was our Senator for many years), Collins, Gardner (CO), etc.

Guess it's possible that they'll make the nomination, but, delay the vote, in order to drive the rabid Republican Base, especially, evangelicals, to the polls.

IMO, that would probably be their best play. Then, they could also keep talking about the nomination. Just a few minutes ago, a huge roundtable of CNN 'talking heads' were wringing their hands about all of this--IOW, that they won't be able to talk "COVID" day and night, now.

Mollie

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5 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

@snoopydawg Roberts nomination for Chief Justice was made on 5 Sept 2005 (two days after the death of Rehnquist) and he was confirmed on 29 Sept 2005. In time for the Oct 3 SC opening.

On 19 July he was nominated to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's seat So, that's when the process of the 'advice and consent' of the Senate began. From then to confirmation was 72 days.

Then Miers was nominated to the O'Connor seat on 3 Oct. On 27 October she withdrew. Alito was nominated 31 October and confirmed 31 January.

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4 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@snoopydawg

Base who puts so much stock in Supreme Court appointments, from my observation. Especially, evangelicals, who will really be energized, now. (I would think.)

(Think OM will definitely nominate someone--then, run on Dems blocking the nomination.)

Curious to see Pelosi & Schumer responses.

Mollie

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9 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

disappeared in the ether, I suppose. Oh, well . . .

Anyhoo, few minutes ago, tried to post about Justice Ginsberg--she just passed away. May she rest in peace.

Just had huge delivery (grocery) dropped. Hope to drop back by later if we get dinner squared away fairly early.

Everyone have a nice weekend; stay safe.

Mollie

Postscript: Cooling here this evening--yeah! Biggrin

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8 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

have a great dinner and a great weekend!

it's 63 degrees here, headed for the upper 40's tonight. i think i hear fall coming.

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8 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

Take a collapsing machine and thrown in a wrench.

They've been setting it up for years..
Mitch McConnell rams through six Trump judges in 30 hours after blocking coronavirus aid for months. https://www.salon.com/2020/09/17/mitch-mcconnell-rams-through-six-trump-...

The corpadims are equally to blame. But on we go...on the eve of destruction. Thanks for the music and news. All the best to all of us! I feel guilty having an escape when so many are at risk. Try to help those in need where you live. Take care friends!

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10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

yep, i guess the federalist society will get another henchman on the court to render even more of the constitution unavailing.

perhaps we ought to have a funeral for it. it was an imperfect document, but it served a purpose for a while.

have a great weekend!

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10 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Lookout

Mitch McConnell rams through six Trump judges in 30 hours

This week I learned that congress makes deals with each other on who the federal judges from their states will be and that democrats had the chance to stop the tradition. Feinstein decided to keep doing it. Earlier this week McConnell did lots of judges and of course democrats helped them pass them. Turning the courts right is a way for democrats to see a lot of progressive legislation be overturned. This way they still get the credit for passing it before and keeping the illusion alive that there’s a difference between the two parties.

Does the pick for Ruth’s replacement really matter that much since the Court has become even more capitalist? On social issues it does, but not when it comes to money matters.

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7 users have voted.

“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@snoopydawg

the Roberts Court (with Ginsberg) is considered to be the most "business-friendly" in history--or, so I've read.

Apparently, a lot of right-wingers are pushing for OM to nominate a woman--if nothing else, they want to force Dems to vote against one. IIRC, there are several women on OM's most recent 'list' released last week.

Mollie

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4 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

snoopydawg's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

This court is very capitalistic and the only difference is on social issues.

Dearest Molly. Who is OM? We’ve talked about your use of initials that no one knows what they mean. Plus we had an ess a bit ago and we agreed to try not to use them. I often get lost in your comments because I don’t know what you’re saying. Poor favor?

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4 users have voted.

“An addicted underclass is easier to control than one that is fully functional and aware of its oppression.” - The Elite
Centrism is the failed political philosophy of those “despised elites.” Centrism gave us Trump.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

orange man?

what do i win?

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3 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack

Clapping from the C99 "Peanut Gallery!"

Biggrin

Have a lovely weekend!

Mollie

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4 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

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2 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@snoopydawg

in a lengthy comment (that I discovered, did not post) that I intended to post at EB this evening.

In it, I said that I'd be using OM - "Orange Man" (Trump) and HHJ - for "Hidey Hole Joe" for the next few months, until a change of regime, or, whatever.

Guess I didn't get that memo about acronyms! Biggrin Seriously, didn't see that mentioned here. But, will try to do better.

Have a nice weekend--hope Charlie is doing better. Pleasantry

Mollie

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3 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

I guess I will take your quote at the beginning and use beauty as one form of protest. There are so many things that are wrong right now and it is almost too much to read in depth. Climate Action needs to be done and hope to see some movement forward.

Sad to hear of Justice Ginsberg passing. She was an amazing person and do not even want to think about what will happen next.

The weather here in Santa Fe is just great. Have been enjoying my bike rides and all the critters I see as I ride along. Our evenings are in high 40’s and low 50’s with temps reaching a high of mid 70’s/. Hope you have a good weekend and thanks again for bringing so many things to our viewing.

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12 users have voted.

Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

joe shikspack's picture

@jakkalbessie

glad to hear that you are enjoying good weather and communing with nature.

they say that living well is the best revenge. i'm not sure that i want revenge, but living well sounds like a good idea. Smile

have a great weekend!

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7 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

fighting fires RIGHT NOW. The top 5 historic fires since we've been collecting data are burning RIGHT NOW.

They are expecting structure damage and structure loss today in the Antelope Valley area. #BobcatFire

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9 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

enhydra lutris's picture

cheers for the Nurses in NC. Sorry to hear about RBG she was a real force, and is almost certain to be replaced with a real farce.

So Biden has nothing in Michigan. Does that really matter? If he has nothing to offer does it matter whether there's somebody thee to offer said nothing? And if he did win there? Hell, if he wins nationally? What real change is in the works besides climate change which continues either way?

Thanks for the news and blues

be well, have a good one and have a great weekend

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6 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

yeah, i guess biden has to go through the motions of running, though his only real obligation is to take up a slot on the ballot so that somebody who might actually do something for the regular folks can't get elected.

hail dark overlords!

have a great weekend!

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6 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

But since the title of the thread clearly indicated "fun", I decided to not be a party pooper. Still from a photographic appreciation, this is quite striking. Can't imagine this child, and many more like him, will ever quite get over growing up in a country where things like this happen.

la times bobcatfire photo.jpg
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11 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

joe shikspack's picture

@Anja Geitz

yeah, i feel sorry for kids these days. it appears that they have only declining fortunes ahead of them.

i was marvelling the other day that when i was a kid, i lived in a world that was optimistic about the future. we were looking forward to it. things were just going to get better and better. you could tell by the fins on our cars. Smile

but, really, the thoughts were triggered by running across a book from my childhood as i was looking for books for the grandkid. it is titled, "you will go to the moon."

how strange that we have gone in less than a human lifetime from anticipating a much better future to the onset of dread, hoping that we can just hold things steady for a while so that our kids and grandkids can survive the ugly future that looms closer and closer.

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9 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Great sounds JS! That Upsetters stuff is fantastic. Grady could blow a sax. Awesome stuff!

If birds falling out of the sky isn't sending a signal, the station isn't receiving.

The Chinese over-exploitation of the seas is off-the-charts, mind-boggling if we really knew.

The destruction of rare buckwheat in Nevada reminds me of how when the word went out that the Joshua Tree was going to be listed... all the speculators quick bulldozed them so they would not be told they couldn't develop that land. Money doesn't talk, it swears.

Thanks for all the work, and the blues! Have a good weekend break! Enjoy that cool!

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8 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

gaines had one of the best bands of his era. those guys could really play.

the listening station is deaf. it is impermeable by law or democratic actions.

the chinese fishing fleet's actions are just what you'd expect on a planet where the oceans are dying and a significant portion of the world's population relies on the oceans for protein.

have a great weekend!

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5 users have voted.
Granma's picture

Portland area's air quality is now good air. Much of the state is getting better air. We had thunderstorms last night and rain. The weather people said the rain wouldn't clean the air, but it looks like it did. Once it is a little drier, mobs of people will be outside enjoying it.

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10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Granma

glad to hear that! i would imagine that it's pretty nice to be able to breathe outside again. Smile

the sun came out today and there was only a little residual haze left over, hardly worth mentioning, though i did in the interests of science. go figure.

have a great weekend!

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4 users have voted.
Granma's picture

@joe shikspack the inside air wasn't wonderful either. It is great to go outside and just breathe. I'm glad your smoke is almost gone too. I saw that the smoke made it to Japan and to the UK. Surely it has dissipated in those places also.

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6 users have voted.