The Evening Blues - 10-27-20



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Jerry McCain

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues harmonica player Jerry McCain. Enjoy!

Jerry McCain - Courtin' In A Cadillac

“Now as through this world I ramble, I see lots of funny men, Some rob you with a six gun, And some with a fountain pen.”

-- Woody Guthrie


News and Opinion

Well, it looks like shortly the Korporate Kangaroo Kourt will be in session and ready to do the business of bidness.

Republican Senators Confirm Third Trump Nominee Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court

With just over a week until Election Day and despite protests from rights advocates and Democrats, the Republican-held Senate on Monday night confirmed President Donald Trump's third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, filling the vacancy created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death in September.

Only Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who faces a tough reelection race this year, joined Democrats in opposing Barrett's nomination to the nation's highest court, which now has six right-wing members and only three left-leaning justices. The final vote was 52-48—meaning although Vice President Mike Pence had headed to D.C. in case Republicans required his deciding vote, his help wasn't needed.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was set to administer the official constitutional oath to Barrett at the White House late Monday. Trump planned the swearing-in ceremony even though his announcement of her nomination in the Rose Garden last month was described as a "superspreader event" after which various attendees, including the president, tested positive for Covid-19.


Barrett Confirmed: Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza on GOP’s Supreme Court Power Grab

Progressives Demand Democrats Accept McConnell's Challenge, Expand Supreme Court If They Win Elections

Progressive advocates on Monday demanded that the Democratic Party prove Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrong about their commitment to ensuring the public's interests are represented by the judicial branch, after the Republican leader all but dared his colleagues to reshape the U.S. Supreme Court should the Democrats win the White House and Senate on Nov. 3.

McConnell said on the Senate floor Sunday that he is pushing through Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation because, regardless of the outcome of the elections, a 6-3 right-wing majority on the court could shape the U.S. in Republicans' favor for generations to come.

"McConnell is clearly betting against the Democrats mustering the resolve to ever alter the structure of the court," Demand Justice co-founder Brian Fallon told NBC News Monday. "Given how far the movement to add seats has already come in just two years, and how likely it is for this 6-3 court to produce rulings threatening progressive priorities, I think it's an unwise bet."

On the Senate floor, McConnell said that while Democrats will be able to undo many of the GOP's so-called "important contributions" from the last four years—including the party's prioritization of corporate interests over struggling families and small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic; its passage of President Donald Trump's tax cuts, which disproportionately benefited the rich; and its refusal to take up legislation passed by the House such as a bill to lower prescription drug prices last year—"they won't be able to do much about [Barrett's confirmation] for a long time to come."

"Challenge accepted," tweeted Fallon's organization in response to McConnell.

McConnell's confidence that Democrats will not consider packing the courts—increasing the number of justices from nine, which was originally proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wanted to push older judges to step down by adding a new justice to the high court for every sitting justice who refused to retire after age 70—may stem from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's refusal to seriously consider the measure should he win the election.

Biden said last week after facing numerous questions about the issue that he would "put together a national...bipartisan commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal, conservative" to study the issue of court reform.

"I will ask them to over 180 days come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it's getting out of whack," Biden told Norah O'Donnell on "60 Minutes."

Biden's comments were met with disdain and frustration by Fallon, who called the former vice president's proposal "a punt."

Demand Justice and other proponents argue that adding justices to the Supreme Court is far from a radical proposal.

"Adding seats is straight-forward and easy," the group's website reads. "The number of justices is not set in the Constitution, so Congress can change it at any time. It has done so seven times throughout American history."

Adam Jentleson of Democracy Forward told NBC that the Republican Party's aim of stacking the high court with right-wing judges like Barrett and Trump-nominated Justice Brett Kavanaugh—who are at odds with the majority of Americans on issues like reproductive rights and the climate crisis—is far more radical than court restructuring.

"McConnell is setting up decades of minority rule by white conservatives and betting that Democrats won't take the bold steps necessary to counter him," Jentleson told NBC. "It's up to Democrats not just to win, but use their power to prove him wrong."

In the House, progressive Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) have said in recent days that their Senate colleagues must not shy away from court expansion, particularly after Republicans in recent years have taken control of so much of the judiciary.

Excellent:

Amy Coney Barrett Is A Supreme Court Justice, Here’s What That Means

Journalists Pick Sides When They Call Adding Justices ‘Court Packing’

As Republicans ram through Trump’s third Supreme Court nomination with an election underway, Democrats are increasingly contemplating expanding the court. But rather than cover it with the “objectivity” they claim to strive for, the country’s dominant media outlets have adopted a right-wing frame of the issue—calling it “court packing”—that delegitimizes court expansion.

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death Revives Talk of Court Packing,” announced a New York Times headline (9/19/20). “What Is Court Packing, and Why Are Some Democrats Seriously Considering It?” asked the Washington Post (10/8/20). In that piece, the Post‘s Amber Phillips explicitly acknowledged the bias inherent in the phrase, yet presented it as practically official:

Expanding the Supreme Court to more than nine seats sounds like a radical idea, and the term for it, “court packing,” sounds derisive because it has created controversy every time it has come up.

In typical corporate media style, such articles often present the issue as a he said/she said dispute. In the WaPo piece, Democrats are “frustrated that the Supreme Court could get even more conservative,” while Republicans “paint that as sour grapes”; over at the Times, Democrats “characterize court expansion as a defensive move against Republican actions, not a unilateral power grab,” while Republicans “have called the idea radical and undemocratic.”

In these formulations, one side must win and the other lose. But the reality they gloss over is that those aren’t the real teams here. The struggle over the Court is at heart a struggle between anti-democratic forces and the interests of the vast majority of people in this country.

In recent years, massive amounts of corporate money have been directed toward efforts, led by the right-wing Federalist Society, to capture the US courts for corporate interests—dismantling voting rights, favoring corporate rights over individual rights, and stripping the power of government to regulate corporations (CounterSpin, 10/16/20). By framing the issue as one of Republicans vs. Democrats, media ignore the more important threat to democracy as a whole. And by accepting “court packing” as “the term for” expanding the court, journalists lend a hand to those anti-democratic forces.

The phrase “court packing” isn’t new. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s opponents coined it to delegitimize his plan to expand the court after it repeatedly struck down parts of his New Deal in the name of restraining government power (federal and—in some cases, like the court’s rejection of New York’s effort to set a minimum wage for women—state). In the end, FDR’s plan languished in the Senate, but the president won the war; in the wake of his public campaign against it, the court began issuing rulings more favorable to the New Deal and other economic recovery plans. One of the conservative justices retired, giving FDR the opportunity to swing the balance back in his favor—no thanks to the media, which ran predominantly unfavorable stories about FDR’s plan.

The circumstances are different this time around, with Republicans on the verge of installing a 6–3 conservative majority, and none of the conservative seats likely to open under a Biden term; the oldest conservative justice, Clarence Thomas, is just 72, and hasn’t given any indication that he’s interested in retiring. Plus, it’s unlikely Biden would push forcefully for a court expansion the way FDR did, putting pressure on the court to temper its rulings. But the rampant journalistic use of the biased term “court packing” hasn’t changed.

A Nexis search of US newspapers for the past three months (7/24/20–10/24/20) turns up 244 headlines with some version of the phrase “court packing” (including, e.g., “pack the court” or “packing the court”). Less than half as many, 98, used a version of the more neutral “court expansion” (such as “expanding the court”), and almost half of those (48) also used the phrase “court packing” within the article.

It’s also noteworthy what that these “court packing” stories highlight—and ignore. In arguments about court expansion, the right tends to focus on ideas of tradition (like the false claim that adding justices would be unprecedented) and the culture wars (like Roe v. Wade). Democrats often lean on the Republican hypocrisy of blocking Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat in 2016, when the GOP insisted, eight months before an election, that the voters should have a chance to weigh in before a new justice was confirmed—a principle instantly abandoned when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died seven weeks before an election.

The role of corporate money and the Federalist Society, and the threats they pose to democracy, often go unmentioned by both sides. In the last three months, newspaper stories that mentioned “court packing” also mentioned Merrick Garland 358 times and abortion 337 times; Roe v. Wade made 159 appearances. But these stories mentioned the Federalist Society only 33 times; of those, only seven mentioned “corporate” or “corporation.”

In the end, it’s unlikely that even if—and it’s a big if—Democrats take the presidency and the Senate, there will be enough agreement within the party to expand the Supreme Court. But that’s also not the only way to counter the corporate takeover of the court. In the face of an intransigent pro-slavery court, Lincoln and his anti-slavery allies recognized that their most powerful and effective strategy was not to try to add enough justices to gain the upper hand within the court; it was to undermine the false image of an impartial, democracy-protecting court that must always have the last word. As Matt Karp writes in Jacobin (9/19/20):

Lincoln persisted in rejecting judicial supremacy — and also the basic idea underlying it, that law somehow exists before or beyond politics, and thus it was illegitimate to resist the proslavery court through popular antislavery mobilization. “We do not propose to be bound by [Dred Scott] as a political rule,” he said. “We propose resisting it as to have it reversed if we can, and a new judicial rule established upon this subject.”

Others have advocated for a similar approach today: marginalizing rather than trying to capture the court (e.g., New Republic, 10/13/20). Neither task would be easy, but getting journalists to talk more directly about the true problems with the court is a critical step along the way.


Trump plans new White House event for Amy Coney Barrett swearing-in

Donald Trump was planning on Monday to dismiss public health concerns and hold a swearing-in ceremony within hours of Amy Coney Barrett’s expected Senate confirmation to the supreme court.

The president’s announcement of Barrett’s nomination in the White House Rose Garden last month was described as a “superspreader” event, after officials including the president himself became infected with the coronavirus.

But with Barrett’s confirmation appearing a formality, the White House was planning another event for the evening, enabling Trump to celebrate a political victory just eight days before the election.

Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, told reporters: “Tonight, we’ll be doing the best we can to encourage as much social distancing as possible. It’ll be outdoors if it goes off as planned right now. And [we will] still continue to do testing in and around those that are critical to the mission to try to get there.” ...

The plan came despite a fresh outbreak that saw several close aides of Mike Pence test positive at the weekend. Trump – who himself spent three nights in hospital receiving treatment for the virus – continues to barnstorm the country with big rallies, where many people do not wear masks or physically distance. ...

As the GOP holds a 53-47 Senate majority, Barrett’s confirmation is all but assured. Republicans reiterated their portrayal of Barrett as a working mother, seen as a potential attempt to neutralise liberal critics and win back female voters who have turned against Trump.

McConnell ADJOURNS Senate Until After Election With NO Stimulus For Workers

Turkish president dares U.S. to impose economic sanctions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan challenged the United States to impose sanctions against his country while also launching a second personal attack Sunday on French President Emmanuel Macron.

Speaking a day after he suggested Macron needed mental health treatment because of his views on Islam and radical Muslims, Erdogan expanded his range to take aim at foreign critics.

“Whatever your sanctions are, don’t be late,” Erdogan said, referring to U.S. warnings for Turkey not to get directly involved in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, where Ankara supports Azerbaijan against ethnic Armenian forces.

Celebrations as Chile votes by huge majority to scrap Pinochet-era constitution

Chile has voted overwhelmingly in favor of rewriting the country’s constitution to replace guiding principles imposed four decades ago under the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

Jubilant pro-reform supporters took to the streets of the capital Santiago and other cities to celebrate on Sunday night after exit polls showed that 78.24% of people had voted to approve a rewrite, while 21.76% rejected the change. Voters also elected for the new constitution to be entirely drafted by a popularly elected body – meaning no active lawmakers can be involved in the process. ...

The special convention would begin drafting a new constitution that would be submitted to voters in mid-2022. The referendum was conceded by Piñera in November last year after a hike in metro rail fares flared into a movement against inequality and high costs of living. Demonstrations included episodes of violence — clashes with police forces left more than 30 civilians killed and thousands injured.

Protesters’ demands included reforms to the country’s privatised education, health, and pensions sectors, which converged into a call to change the country’s Pinochet-era constitution.

Principally written by Pinochet adviser Jaime Guzmán, the 1980 constitution enshrined the neoliberal philosophies of the Chicago Boys, a group of Chilean conservatives mentored by US economist Milton Friedman. It advocated minimal state intervention, allowing private sectors to control public services. Conceived during a dictatorship guilty of political murder, torture, and exile, the 1980 constitution was seen by many as compromised since its inception.

Alicia Garza on Being Targeted in Armed White Supremacist Plot as Trump Stokes Fires of Racism

Republicans closely resemble autocratic parties in Hungary and Turkey – study

The Republican party has become dramatically more illiberal in the past two decades and now more closely resembles ruling parties in autocratic societies than its former centre-right equivalents in Europe, according to a new international study.

In a significant shift since 2000, the GOP has taken to demonising and encouraging violence against its opponents, adopting attitudes and tactics comparable to ruling nationalist parties in Hungary, India, Poland and Turkey. The shift has both led to and been driven by the rise of Donald Trump.

By contrast the Democratic party has changed little in its attachment to democratic norms, and in that regard has remained similar to centre-right and centre-left parties in western Europe. Their principal difference is the approach to the economy.

The new study, the largest ever of its kind, was carried out by the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, using newly developed methods to measure and quantify the health of the world’s democracies at a time when authoritarianism is on the rise. ...

The study, published on Monday, shows the party has followed a similar trajectory to Fidesz, which under Viktor Orbán has evolved from a liberal youth movement into an authoritarian party that has made Hungary the first non-democracy in the European Union.

Ryan Grim: How The Progressive Caucus Is Tooling Up For A Joe Biden Presidency

Congressional Progressives Are Revamping Their Caucus With an Eye Toward 2021

The Congressional Progressive Caucus is restructuring in order to shape itself into a more cohesive fighting force come 2021, according to CPC members involved in designing the new strategy. A series of proposed reforms to the caucus’s leadership structure as well as membership requirements were sent to CPC members for approval on Sunday, members of the caucus said. The changes won’t go into force without two-thirds support of the current members, said CPC co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington.

The Progressive Caucus has grown steadily since its founding in 1991 and now includes nearly 100 Democratic members of Congress, as the “progressive” label has gained currency in recent years. That size has also paradoxically been a weakness, as the group has been unable to enforce or motivate discipline, particularly as many of those who have joined are not active in the caucus and don’t subscribe to its core tenets.

Shortly after winning her 2018 primary, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the group that backed her, Justice Democrats, identified the group’s size as a hindrance, with Ocasio-Cortez suggesting a “sub-caucus” of Democrats willing to buck party leadership and take down legislation might be more effective. No sub-caucus was formed this term, but the CPC did work to block legislation it found insufficient — at times extracting concessions, at other times getting steamrolled. Its biggest success came on HR3, the fight over drug pricing, when the CPC forced Pelosi to move its way by credibly threatening to take down the bill. ...

Under the current CPC rules, essentially any Democrat willing to write a small dues check — $4,000 per year — to the group can become an official member, regardless of their politics, their source of campaign financing, their voting record, or even their attendance at CPC meetings. The benefit for moderate Democrats who fear facing primary challengers from the left is that they can tout their membership as evidence of progressive bona fides without delivering anything substantive.

The proposed changes to the CPC are intended to move it in a tighter direction. “The point of the reform is to shed free riding members that claim CPC membership but aren’t actually progressive,” said one CPC member.

Why Journalism Sucks In America!

Colorado Voters Could Be First to Pass Paid Family Leave by Ballot Measure

For six years, the Colorado legislature has tried — and failed — to pass paid family leave. On November 3, Colorado residents themselves will get the opportunity to vote directly for the creation of a leave program, thanks to the ballot measure Proposition 118.

If it passes, the ballot measure will create a social insurance program that will provide all state residents 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new baby, recover from a serious illness or injury, care for a family member with a serious health condition, deal with domestic violence, or report for military service. There would be an additional four weeks for pregnancy or childbirth complications.

The program, which would be the ninth state paid family leave law enacted in the country, wouldn’t be implemented until 2023, when the state will begin collecting premiums, and benefits won’t be paid out until 2024. About 2.6 million workers in the state would become eligible for benefits. ...

If, as polls predict, the proposition passes, Colorado would become the first state to enact paid family leave through the ballot, rather than through legislation, as has been the case for all other states and Washington, D.C. “It would really show the public support for programs like this,” Panelli said.

The potential success of the first-ever ballot measure guaranteeing paid family leave is thanks to a number of factors that affected the campaign, such as life under a pandemic, which put the need for time off to care for sick loved ones in stark relief, and a direct appeal to voters that is less susceptible than the legislature is to industry lobbying.

Obama's New Book LIES About His Public Option Failure



the horse race



Krystal and Saagar: Court Rules AGAINST Wis Dems In Absentee Ballot Case, PREVIEWING Bush V Gore 2.0

Mercenary group sued for hiring armed poll watchers for election day in Minnesota

According to a lawsuit filed October 20 by the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Minnesota (CAIR-Minnesota), former US military Special Operations soldiers are being recruited to watch polling places in the battleground state of Minnesota. The recruitment is being organized by a private mercenary group, Atlas Aegis. The lawsuit asserts that Atlas Aegis is violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the lawsuit, CAIR-Minnesota and the League of Women Voters of Minnesota contend that the “defendants’ intentional recruitment of armed, highly trained, and elite former military personnel in the context of ‘protecting’ the polls serves no purpose other than to intimidate voters.”

Atlas Aegis posted a job listing earlier this month that sought former Special Operations personnel to staff “security positions in Minnesota during the November Election and beyond to protect election polls.”

The groups that are suing the company want a federal judge in Minnesota to stop Atlas Aegis from any further recruitment and to ban armed “poll watchers” on Election Day. The complaint references “an unnamed ‘consortium’ of individuals and businesses.” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told the Washington Post that he requested Atlas Aegis “cease and desist” from any plans to patrol polling stations on Election Day. Last week, Ellison claimed the company had rescinded its plans and will not provide any security on election day, though it is not clear if this is really the case. ...

Atlas Aegis is based in Franklin, Tennessee and was formed in August of 2019. It advertises on its website that it provides “a level of security rarely seen outside of US Special Operations.” The advertisement specifically solicits “Tier 1 and Tier 2 SOF personnel only.” “SOF” stands for Special Operation Forces personnel, and “Tier 1 and Tier 2” are classifications for elite forces in Iraq and Afghanistan that conducted kill-and-capture missions. An immediate question arises: Why were former assassination squad soldiers specifically solicited?

Krystal Ball: Here’s The REAL Worst Case Scenario For Trump’s Second Term



the evening greens


GM and Ford Knew, Too: Reporting Reveals Auto Giants Recognized Looming Climate Crisis in 1960s—and Helped Bury Reality

"Another cog in the climate denial machine rattles loose."

So said Harvard University climate denial researcher Geoffrey Supran in response to a groundbreaking investigative report published Monday by E&E News revealing that scientists at auto giants General Motors and Ford Motor Co. "knew as early as the 1960s that car emissions caused climate change."

Those discoveries, notes E&E News reporter Maxine Joselow, "preceded decades of political lobbying by the two car giants that undermined global attempts to reduce emissions while stalling U.S. efforts to make vehicles cleaner."

Supran is co-director of the Climate Social Science Network and a research associate in Harvard's Department of the History of Science. He investigates the history of climate politics—particularly the communications, denial, and delay tactics of fossil fuel interests—alongside professor Naomi Oreskes, who also highlighted the revelations.


"From fossil fuel companies, to car manufacturers and utilities, we know it's not only Exxon that knew about the climate crisis decades ago," Lindsay Meiman of 350.org told Common Dreams on Monday, referencing previous reporting on climate research conducted and concealed for decades by oil giant ExxonMobil.

"Now, with climate disasters at our doorsteps, it's Black, Indigenous, and communities of color who bear the costs of these lies," Meiman added. "The silver lining: we know exactly who is responsible for the climate crisis. It's up to all of us to hold polluters and billionaires accountable for their deception and destruction."

Joselow's exposé is based on nearly five months of reporting as well as documents on GM from the General Motors Heritage Center and Wayne State University in Detroit, documents on Ford's climate research unearthed by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and additional materials on both manufacturers provided by the Climate Investigations Centers.

According to E&E News:

Researchers at both automakers found strong evidence in the 1960s and '70s that human activity was warming the Earth. A primary culprit was the burning of fossil fuels, which released large quantities of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide that could trigger melting of polar ice sheets and other dire consequences.

A GM scientist presented her findings to at least three high-level executives at the company, including a former chairman and CEO. It's unclear whether similar warnings reached the top brass at Ford.

But in the following decades, both manufacturers largely failed to act on the knowledge that their products were heating the planet. Instead of shifting their business models away from fossil fuels, the companies invested heavily in gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. At the same time, the two carmakers privately donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that cast doubt on the scientific consensus on global warming.

In a statement, CIEL president Carroll Muffett said the investigation "demonstrates auto companies were aware of emerging climate science and on notice of potential climate risks decades earlier than was previously recognized." The group also detailed key takeaways from the reporting:

  • In a 1956 letter, Ford scientist Gilbert Plass rejected the idea that excess warming from burning fossil fuels poses "little danger to the Earth," observing that burning known reserves of fossil fuels would raise global temperatures by 7⁰C.
  • In multiple articles written while at Ford, Plass detailed the science linking fossil fuel combustion to the planetary "greenhouse effect.”"
  • Ford continued an active program of climate-relevant research into the 1970s and beyond.
  • General Motors employed its own climate scientists from the early 1970s, with a research focus on establishing competing theories of global warming.
  • In testimony to Congress in 1967, a Ford executive argued against federal investments in electric vehicle research, arguing that industry was actively developing EV technology and would be ready to bring electric cars to market within a decade.

"Like the oil industry, leading car companies had early notice that the carbon dioxide emitted by their automotive products posed potential risks for the climate at a planetary scale," said Muffett. "Ford and GM had both the opportunity and the responsibility to design products that would reduce emissions, and warn the public of risks that couldn't be eliminated. Instead, they spent decades denying climate science and obstructing climate action."

In other words, Muffett added, "like the major oil and gas companies, leading car companies took a calculated risk that they—and the world—could delay action to address the drivers of climate change. We are all paying for that gamble."

More murder hornet nests suspected after first on US soil eradicated

Scientists removed 98 so-called murder hornets from a nest discovered near the Canadian border in Washington state over the weekend, including 13 that were captured live in a net, the state agriculture department said. The other 85 Asian giant hornets were vacuumed into a special container when the first nest discovered on US soil was eradicated on Saturday, the agency said.

“The eradication went very smoothly,” managing entomologist Sven Spichiger said. “This is only the start of our work to hopefully prevent the Asian giant hornet from gaining a foothold in the Pacific north-west. “We suspect there may be more nests in Whatcom county.”

The nest was found after the state agriculture department trapped hornets and used dental floss to attach radio trackers. ...

Entomologists will now try to determine whether the nest had begun to produce new queens. The state agriculture department will continue setting traps through at least November, in hopes of catching any more Asian giant hornets still in Whatcom county.

Wind-fueled blaze injures two in southern California as thousands are forced to evacuate

A wind-fueled wildfire critically injured two fighters and forced evacuation orders for an estimated 60,000 people on Monday, as California braced for what officials have deemed to be possibly the strongest wind event this year.

The Silverado fire sparked early in Orange county, quickly jumping a highway and exploding to 4,000 acres. The fire had doubled in size within two hours, with strong wind gusts pushing flames along brushy ridges in Silverado canyon toward thousands of homes. In total, 20,000 homes in the city of Irvine have been evacuated, according to firefighters.

The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known. About 500 fire personnel are battling the fire. Two have been injured critically with both second- and third-degree burns across more than 50% of their bodies, according to the Orange County Fire Authority. ...

The area of the wildfire is experiencing erratic wind speeds of 20 to 30mph, with some gusts up to 70mph. Captain Ben Gonzalez, the spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority, described the winds as “swirling” and “unpredictable”. The wind whipped smoke and ash into frenzied funnels, flickering embers and flames wilder and more chaotic. Trees and vegetation bent and swayed dangerously with every gust.

The winds are so strong that firefighting planes, which dump water and retardant on flames from above, cannot fly, fire chief Brian Fennessy said.


Also of Interest

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

Revealed: the full extent of Trump's 'meat cleaver' assault on US wilderness

Erdogan Is Again Under Pressure And Therefore Likely To Escalate

Russian Airstrikes Kill Dozens of Turkish-Backed Fighters in Syria

US-Brokered Truce in Nagorno-Karabakh Breaks Down

Caitlin Johnstone: If Biden Wins, Russiagate Will Magically Morph Into Chinagate

Paul Krugman Connects Ayn Rand to the Right Wing Not Wearing Masks: Here’s the Devastating Part of the Story He’s Missing

So Trump Loses. What Happens Then?

Keiser Report | The Ships are 100% Full

Jimmy Dore: EDWARD SNOWDEN Persecuted By BIDEN!

Krystal and Saagar: Jared Kushner Blames Black Voters For Not Supporting Trump

Pennsylvania Dem Lt. Gov. Sounds Alarm About Trump Strength, Makes Case For Legal Weed


A Little Night Music

Jerry McCain - That's What They Want

Jerry "Boogie" McCain - Middle Of The Night

Jerry McCain & His Upstarts - Trying To Please

Jerry McCain - Steady

Jerry McCain - My Next Door Neighbor

Jerry McCain - She's Tough

Jerry McCain - You Don't Love Me No More

Jerry McCain - Run Uncle John, Run

Jerry McCain - I got the Blues all over me


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ggersh's picture

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8 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

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7 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

it's good to see that somebody over at bloomberg has discovered david graeber.

thanks for the link!

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4 users have voted.

It actually sounds socialist!

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/too-many-jobs-feel-meaningless-becaus...

EDIT: Sorry for the duplicate. Having trouble with my browser

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3 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

enhydra lutris's picture

Has anybody yet pointed out that this is very arguably Hillary's fault? The conservadems got their arrogant oligarch and this too followed.

Dis the SEnate adjournment with no stimulus for the hoi polloi catch anybody by surprise? Surely not Pelosi, this is the finale she wanted so she can wag her finger at the GOP, which is why she never tried to get anything for them back when she had the leverage and why she refused to take what was recently on the table. Even it it does help to cause a big Dem win, they won't hang on to it with "business as usual", which is their entire game plan.

It will be very interesting to see what happens to the Mn lawsuit, what basis or support is provided, and how many appeals it takes to resolve the matter. After all, poll watchers are legal, and the Second Amendment says guns are legal, so where's the leverage going to come from?

At least there is good news from and for Chile. About time

be well and have a good one.

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10 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

i would imagine that the conservadems are quite pleased with their new scotus justice. there is no downside for them. they have fewer worries now about progressive advances, plus, they can fundrage off of this for decades to come.

i can foresee a time in the not too distant future when going to the polls in person will mean running a gauntlet of armed loonies. i can't wait.

have a great evening!

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mimi's picture

praying for better days to come.

Stay put, stay healthy, and have a good evening.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

yep, the news is still terrible, and some days it seems like it is just getting worse.

we are starting to put by supplies in case the next wave of the pandemic turns out to require another lockdown. damn, i was just getting used to being able to get out around town and pick up take out food and stuff.

i hope that things are going well where you are. take care!

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6 users have voted.

@joe shikspack I am refreshing my supplies again. Same moves I made in March. It's disturbing but unsurprising.

It's what happens when a society chooses to ignore definitive evidence.

The specific evidence I'm referring to is the Masks DO Work science experiments a/k/a massive marches I witnessed in NYC this summer and fall. Those marches in NYC featured thousands of people singing and shouting. Almost everybody was masked. There was no uptick in the infection rate.

The Control Group are the Trump events which leave trails of infection in their wakes. Superspreader events, as Dr. Fauci is now calling them.

Our country has large numbers of confused and angry people now who aren't listening to reason. And so, Boston schools are closed. Other cities and areas are considering restrictions.

Very worrying and we haven't even gotten to election outcomes yet.

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8 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

sadly, we are surrounded by, um, magical thinkers.

we apparently are not a culture that can cooperate in the face of danger. we have been steeped since birth in a culture of dog-eat-dog competition for the crumbs from the master's table and it has knock-on effects in the way that cooperation in virtually every circumstance is processed. not all of us are capable of transcending our programming.

take care and have a good evening.

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7 users have voted.

@joe shikspack Propaganda as the one consistent part of our diet leaves lasting effects.

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4 users have voted.

NYCVG

@NYCVG New evidence out today, if anyone needs *more* data on that: Researchers looked at covid hospitalizations in Tennessee and compared hospitalizations for the months from June to October where patients came from counties with or without mask requirements. Looks pretty clear to me...

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7 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
to prepare for the total lock down to come. Won't leave house for months to come, I assume. Digged my little peanut treasures in the garden like folks did in wwII, as folks who remember those times, told me they did. Federalism seems to prevent any rational solutions to fight the pandemic. The EU as well. It's an utter and total mess.

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5 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@mimi

Federalism seems to prevent any rational solutions to fight the pandemic.

Is it about a lack of central authority? Or is it about many authorities pulling in different directions with different motives?

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4 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Pluto's Republic
but the virus doesn't care, if they pull together or go in different directions. It becomes too confusing for the population to follow all the different geograhical areas'- different regulations. Extremely difficult. Mostly all the arguments to do different things in different areas are justified and understandable. But so far the results to contain the virus are failing and the population starts to ask for federal regultions not 'länder'-based or county-based regulations, they simply can't follow all the changes and different measures they come up with.

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@mimi

'Wellenbrecher' in German, I understand that to be these type of things. We have them on our German North Sea and German Baltic Sea coast lines.
Wellenbrecher

Wondering what else will be broken by those breakers...

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2 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Will he restore Bears Ears to its original boundaries? Reverse the most damaging ones from the EPA, clean water act and so forth? Did anyone even keep track of what Trump did? Plus I doubt democrats will redo the tax bill too much. Might throw us a few bones, but they won’t hurt their donors.

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9 users have voted.

“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

unwinding trump's deregulation is going to be pretty difficult in some cases. i guess with bears ears, biden can restore the boundaries, but if trump has already leased some of the land within the former footprint, it is going to take time and probably legal settlements for takings to unwind it. of course, that would require that biden has the desire to reverse the trump actions.

some reversals may be easy in the sense that it is just a matter of issuing an executive order, though undoubtedly there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth from a variety of nasty corporations, which will show what biden is made of.

the hardest damage to overcome will be the damage to the regulatory organizations themselves, which in many cases may have lost some of their best people and those that remain may be demoralized and beaten down.

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12 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

From your guardian link:

What has happened at Bears Ears is not an exception. Under Donald Trump, the government has auctioned off millions of acres of public lands to the fossil fuel industry, the Guardian can reveal, in the most comprehensive accounting to date of how much public land the administration has handed over to oil and gas drillers over the past four years.

Bombs and drilling permits...where Trump beat Obama’s records.

The Trump administration has in fact offered almost as many acres for drilling in four years – almost 25m acres – as the Obama administration did in eight years. The acreage ultimately leased by oil companies under Trump is a fraction of what was offered, in part owing to unfavorable market conditions for fossil fuels, and is comparable to Obama’s record.

Article states that Trump has leased 5.4/600 million acres there. The republicans rolled back Obama’s last minute legislation that hadn’t taken effect yet and so it was easier for them. Plus his agendas have been in effect for 4 years so yeah it might be hard. As to all the agency workers I can imagine many of them have been disillusioned by working for Trump plus he has hollowed them out. F’cking Koch Brothers! One article titled "David Koch should be at the debate." Good read.

Link again

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2020/oct/26/revea...

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5 users have voted.

“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

enhydra lutris's picture

@snoopydawg

DLC and is a New Democrat. Deregulation is music to their ears.

be well and have a good one.

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10 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 --

I am wondering how many "liberal" lower appellate courts are around. I heard a chat just yesterday from a lawyer about how hard it is to even find an attorney to go up against Big Corporation, Inc.
Thanks for all you do, and Justice Barrett will cause we little people to experience hell on earth. While everyone is concerned about big $ cases and abortion, I am concerned about death penalty cases. Lots of folks will die innocent in the future.
TLOML played 4 back to back Gypsy Kings albums for me on Sunday afternoon. He prepared me for the reality. Blues does the same thing for Bluesers.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

i think that the idea of a "liberal" court at pretty much any level is illusory. we have a two-tiered justice system where one set of clients gets better than a fair shake and the other set of clients get the shaft.

heh. only a fake christian would support the death penalty.

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8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

The youth vote in Texas is up by more than 600% from last presidential election

More than 753,000 voters under 29 have already cast a ballot in Texas.

Circle Image.jpg

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5 users have voted.
travelerxxx's picture

@mimi

Hi Mimi.

I'm in Texas. I like to joke that Texas is a non-voting state. Except, it's not really much of a joke. Texas is usually dead last, or within one or two spots, in voter participation of all the states. I was shocked by this when I moved here. There's lots of complaining, but no one will do anything about it.

Maybe the young folks finally are sick of it. Problem is, they're up against a concerted effort to stop them from voting. This is especially true if one is not white, or lives in a depressed area.

I hope the numbers shown in the chart are correct. They might be. I live in the most populous area of Texas, and I was able to access the county clerk's office with an online site to determine whether my mail-in ballot was received and/or counted. So, it's possible this can be done throughout Texas.

The young people I know are voting. In fact, my son-in-law (who is not exactly young at 41) is voting for the first time in his life. Both he and our daughter have been in isolation during the entire COVID mess, but are leaving the house and going to the polls in person for this election. They do not trust early or mail-in voting to be counted. It says something regarding their determination that, although they are afraid of COVID for themselves and their children, they are willing to take the risk to show up to vote in person.

I share some of their distrust of the mail-in voting. I was able to track my mailed in ballot online. It took three days to go about 15 miles via the US Post Office, being received on Oct. 23. It was not counted until four days later. I am not happy with that delay and assume the Republicans will attempt to stop the counting of votes not tallied by the end of the day on election day. As the Republicans own the US Supreme Court, they will likely allow the halt of counting.

There may be intimidation by armed groups of thugs at polling places on election day. I personally saw intimidation four years ago when I voted in person on election day. We had men standing at the check-in table, where ballots were handed out. If you were white, the men did nothing. If you were any minority whatsoever, they sprung into action, questioning everything possible about the prospective voter – everything from their name, their address, their citizenship ...literally everything possible. I have no idea whether it's legal for people to be armed inside Texas polling places, but I know at least one of these was carrying a concealed pistol, as I personally saw it. Since they all wore long coats (looking like movie Gestapo agents), my guess is that they were all armed. There were never any local law enforcement personnel present the entire time I was there ...which was nearly four hours.

Remember, what I just described was four years ago. These people are much bolder now.

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@travelerxxx
was scared to go to the polling place on Nov. 3rd, fearing threatening behavior of a certain type of folks, who now dominate the HI landscape and highways, where he lives. He is not that knowledgeable to be able track his ballot the way you describe. It is the second time he voted in the US. The first time he voted in MD and it was electronically on a device, I don't know the name of anymore, but there was no distrust about that vote not being counted properly, as far as I remember. As I am not a US citizen and not allowed to vote, I haven't paid too much attention of how it was done as I myself never touched thos devices and could never vote. I don't remember anymore the disussions about the electronic voting devices might have had, but I remember there were discussions. I have forgotten them meanwhile.I don't know if it was 2012 or 2008.

In general he trusts in almost nothing, but that doesn't lead him to not care. There are too many conflicting emotions battling in the heads of the young and middle aged.

I just hope for change. I actually pray for it.

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1 user has voted.
travelerxxx's picture

@mimi

my son voted with a mail-in ballot, as he was scared to go to the polling place on Nov. 3rd, fearing threatening behavior of a certain type of folks, who now dominate the HI landscape and highways, where he lives.

I can assure you that those "...certain type of folks" are quite prevalent here, as well. I'm sure they'll be even more out in force in a few days.

Here's a link where your son can begin the process to "View if your mail ballot packet has been received by your County Elections Division."

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1 user has voted.
mimi's picture

@travelerxxx
may be I underestimate him and he might know about it. Bbut he votes like a slave and works like a slave and is therefore tired and his muscles and bones hurt. He literally does work like a slave, silently, but still has a job. Who knows for how much longer. ...

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1 user has voted.
travelerxxx's picture

@mimi

Seems more and more people are "...working like slaves" and have neither the time nor energy for what used to be common activities. Not an accident, me thinks.

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2 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

well, i am in favor of democracy, so for me it is a good trend.

i think that it is a good thing that people are feeling like they have to do something about the way that things are going and they are willing to break with habit and perform what they probably assumed was a meaningless act in the past to see if they can make a difference.

perhaps if there is no difference afterwards, there might be follow up actions, since conditions are becoming increasingly dire.

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3 users have voted.

@mimi
Lots of young people are Trumpkins. They know they have been shafted and Trump tells them it was "furriners". Dems say this is the best of all possible worlds but vote them total power and they will solve everything. except the candidates have track records of being stooges for big business and bigger banks. Joe Biden, The People's savior (c), is a fine example of the rats infesting the Democratic Party.
Dem rhetoric about the iniquities of White skin, designed to have people of color pulling (D) levers like robots, inflames young white people who haven't done anything wrong except be born white. The perfect counterpoint to the 1960's when young black people were fed up with being vilified for the sin of being born black.
Dem politicians actually only care about green(backs) and gold(bullion).

So a lot of those young people are probably going to pull (R) handles.

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1 user has voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.