The Evening Blues - 10-29-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features soul singer James Carr. Enjoy!
James Carr - The Dark End of the Street
“Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the war. I believed in it. I don’t know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable -- which I need not discuss today -- it changed the world. For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarian uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. The toddling children on the street. Do you suppose this world has ever been the same since? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get back the humane emotions that were slowly growing before the war? How long will it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be removed?
We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we rejoiced in it -- if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy -- what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.”
-- Clarence Darrow
News and Opinion
Four months after calling on President Donald Trump to stop stoking the flames of civil unrest over racial injustice, the International Crisis Group again on Wednesday departed from its usual work of reporting on conflicts and war zones in developing nations, and issued its first-ever report on fears of violence surrounding the U.S. presidential election.
Robert Malley, president and CEO of the ICG, called the organization's report, advising U.S. and world leaders on how to avoid election-related unrest and violence in the wealthiest country in the world "an extraordinary step."
— Andrew Hudson (@andrewhudsonau) October 28, 2020
The report warns that "the ingredients for unrest are present" in the United States and puts the onus for that squarely at the feet of the president and his right-wing supporters.
"President Donald Trump's often incendiary rhetoric suggests he will more likely stoke than calm tensions," the report reads, warning that how other U.S. leaders respond to the potential violence could determine what happens next in the country.
"Beyond the implications for any Americans caught up in unrest, the election will be a harbinger of whether its institutions can guide the U.S. safely through a period of socio-political change," the ICG said. "If not, the world's most powerful country could face a period of growing instability and increasingly diminished credibility abroad."
The report calls for leaders in both the Democratic and Republican parties to make clear that a clean and free election is the top priority on both sides of the aisle.
As it stands, Democratic leaders in recent months have pushed for legislation to fund the U.S. Postal Service to make it possible for Americans to vote by mail as well as $3.6 billion in funding for state and local governments to administer elections safely.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, has dismissed those proposals as "an unserious liberal wishlist" while other GOP leaders have severely hampered voters' ability to cast their ballots in states including Texas and Alabama, suggesting election integrity is a pet cause of only one political party.
Without bipartisan calls for a fair election in which all votes are tallied, the ICG suggests, the Republican Party will be offering tacit approval to the president's claims that Democrats have rigged the election if he loses.
"If events take an ugly turn, both domestic political and foreign leaders with easy access to Trump and his inner circles should tell them privately and publicly that they will have no support if they try to interfere with tabulation of results or, should they lose, the peaceful transfer of power," the ICG wrote.
While the U.S. has for decades branded itself as an international authority on free elections, the report asks foreign leaders to "press U.S. counterparts to respect democratic norms."
The report details Trump's refusal to condemn right-wing white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, who MilitiaWatch and the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) identified in a study last week as having a "very high" potential for perpetrating violence after the election. The president publicly called on the group to "stand back and stand by" rather than telling them to "stand down" at the first presidential debate in September, the same event in which he called on his supporters to "watch" the polls.
The ICG warned that in the past, white supremacist and extremist groups "appear to have listened to [Trump's] words carefully":
In 2019, when the president tweeted out comments from right-wing pastor Robert Jeffress suggesting that Trump's impeachment and removal would cause a "Civil War-like fracture in this nation," the Oath Keepers militia responded with a commitment of sorts. "All he has to do is call us up," the organization posted on its account, adding, "We WILL answer the call."
In recent days, the president has encouraged right-wing ire against Michigan's Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was the victim of a foiled kidnapping plot by a group known as the Wolverine Watchmen, several of whom were arrested earlier this month by the FBI. At recent rallies Trump's supporters have repurposed their "Lock Her Up!" chant, originally directed at Hillary Clinton in 2016, for Whitmer. At a rally in Lansing, Michigan on Tuesday, the president said of the kidnapping plot, "Maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn't."
To avoid violence by the armed groups Trump has aligned himself with, the ICG said, U.S. officials must commit to "reinforcing the guardrails" protecting democracy.
"Domestic officials at every level of government, foreign leaders, traditional and social media, and civil society should be guided by the principle that the more that U.S. voters believe that they are participating in a clean and inclusive election, the less cause they will have to turn their frustrations against the system and each other," wrote the group. "Identifying and moving quickly to address legitimate causes of potential friction and grievance among voters should therefore be the top priority."
Election officials must counter voter intimidation efforts, while traditional and social media should "avoid providing a forum for candidates to declare themselves winners before the electoral process has played itself out, or for the sharing of pernicious disinformation."
The group also called for public statements by both Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, affirming in no uncertain terms that they will not interfere with vote tabulation and will accept the results of the election. Such statements, the ICG said, are the same "simple but effective measure that U.S. officials traditionally have encouraged in foreign states facing a parlous election."
The study notes that given the United States' bloody history and widespread dissatisfaction in the president day over economic and racial injustice and inequality, "at some level, it should not be surprising that the United States now faces the specter of electoral violence."
The country is awash in firearms, has gun homicide levels unmatched by any other high-income country, and is home to a white supremacy movement that, as discussed below, is growing in virulence. Racial injustice, economic inequality and police brutality are chronic sources of tension, which periodically bubbles over into large-scale peaceful demonstrations and, sometimes, civil unrest.
Almost 100,000 children under the age of five are at risk of dying in Yemen as the country slides back into a hunger crisis.
An analysis by UN agencies says the coronavirus pandemic, economic problems and conflict have led to the highest levels of malnutrition ever recorded in parts of the country.
Serious malnutrition in southern Yemen has risen 10% this year, according to the study, but rose to 15% among under-fives.
“Yemen is on the brink of a catastrophic food security crisis. If the war doesn’t end now, we are nearing an irreversible situation and risk losing an entire generation of Yemen’s young children,” said Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the country.
“Acute malnutrition among children is hitting the highest levels we have seen since the war started.”
Less than a week out from a monumentally consequential general election, the U.K.-based watchdog group Airwars on Wednesday released a report detailing how U.S. counterterrorism "operations in Yemen—already on the rise during the last two years of the Obama administration—significantly escalated" under President Donald Trump.
Researched and written by Mohammed al-Jumaily and Edward Ray, the report—entitled Eroding Transparency (pdf)—and an accompanying public database tally at least 230 declared or alleged U.S. military and CIA actions in Yemen since Trump took office, most which took place in 2017, the first year of his administration.
Among all U.S. actions in the country during Trump's presidency, 41 elicited allegations of civilian harm. Overall, the report says, "25 reported U.S. actions were assessed by Airwars to have likely resulted in civilian harm, reportedly leading to the deaths of between 86 and 154 civilians, including at least 28 children and 13 women."
In a series of tweets about the report, Airwars noted that Yemenis claim U.S. airstrikes and ground raids over the past four years have killed as many as 194 civilians.
The only specific admission of civilian harm from US actions in Yemen since 2002 occurred days into Trump's administration, when @CENTCOM admitted killing up to 12 civilians in a botched raid.
This proved not to be a new benchmark, but the high watermark of Trump transparency. pic.twitter.com/YZZeg3Ur1H
— Airwars (@airwars) October 28, 2020
In an interview for the report, Luke Hartig, former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council during the Obama administration, told Airwars that the observed surge in 2017—particularly the disastrous Yakla raid that January, the only Trump-era operation in Yemen for which the Pentagon has admitted civilian deaths—may be the result of a desire among military staff to increase U.S. actions in the region combining with the new administration's more permissive approach, which included loosening rules of engagement meant to protect civilians.
"Clearly, and this had been reported, before Trump took office there was a desire to do more from the military, and they put forward a general concept of operations to allow for a greater degree of advice and assistance to partners on the ground," Hartig said. "It seems what happened was that the Trump administration was keen to take the gloves off, as it were, to be what they perceived was tougher on terrorism, and this was one of the first ready-made concepts of operation available."
Spanish police have arrested 21 people including key supporters of the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont on suspicion of using public money to finance a failed push for independence and fund Puigdemont’s self-imposed exile in Belgium. In a series of raids carried out by hundreds of civil guard police in several parts of Catalonia, Puigdemont’s so-called chiefs of staff – most of them linked to the two major pro-independence parties – were among those arrested. Homes and businesses were also searched under what is being called Operation Volhov.
Police are also investigating links to Tsunami Democràtic,a grassroots organisation behind street violence that erupted last October after Catalan politicians received long jail sentences for their part in the illegal declaration of independence in 2017. ...
Puigdemont dismissed the raids as “another swipe from the oppressor” while the jailed ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, condemned the “never-ending” repression of the independence movement.
The deluge of early votes for Tuesday’s US presidential election has topped 70m – the equivalent of more than half of all votes cast in 2016 – as Donald Trump brazenly listed one of the highlights of his presidency as “ending the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Trump’s claim, delivered in a White House press release, came in a week that has seen days of record new infections, daily deaths running at almost 1,000 a day, and a 23% increase in cases.
As the US president prepared to return to the key battleground state of Florida for a rally in Tampa on Thursday, Trump and his campaign continued to pursue its tactic of minimising a pandemic that has claimed at least 226,000 lives and continues to rage in many parts of the country.
'We've Made Such Progress, It's Incredible,' Trump Lies as US Hits Record 500,000 Covid Cases in One Week
During a campaign rally in Omaha, Nebraska late Tuesday—his third crowded and largely maskless rally of the day—President Donald Trump characterized his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic as a success and claimed the United States is in "great shape" just as the nation reported a record 500,000 new Covid-19 cases over the past week.
"You notice the fake news now, right? All they talk about is Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, and we've made such progress, it's incredible," the president told his tightly packed audience as the virus continues to spread rapidly across the U.S., causing hospitalizations to rise in dozens of states and pushing the nation's death toll above 226,000.
Trump conceded that cases are on the rise in the Midwest but predicted, without a shred of supporting evidence, that "they'll go down" in two weeks.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that "on a per-capita basis, the Upper Midwest and Mountain West continue to face the worst of the latest surge. A field hospital at the Wisconsin state fairgrounds has started accepting patients. Idaho is averaging around 900 cases each day, up from about 260 in mid-September. Five percent of all North Dakotans have now tested positive for the virus, the highest rate of any state."
"You notice the fake news now, right? All they talk about is Covid, Covid, Covid. Covid, Covid, and we've made such progress, it's incredible," Trump claims, as the US sets records for most single-day new cases pic.twitter.com/13w8CvpUB1
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 28, 2020
The president's flippant dismissal of the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases nationwide came just hours after the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a lengthy report detailing the Trump administration's purported first-term scientific accomplishments.
Listed among the White House's achievements was "decisive action" toward "ending coronavirus pandemic"—triumphant rhetoric that lawmakers and other observers denounced as "propaganda" aimed at boosting the president's image ahead of the November election.
Facing a tough reelection battle in a newly competitive district, Texas Republican Rep. Van Taylor has brandished his conservative bona fides by taking hardline stances against legislation to forgive some student debt and to provide assistance for renters facing eviction during the pandemic.
Taylor’s fiscal conservatism, however, has not extended to the real estate industry, which is not only his largest campaign donor but which he is personally invested in. Taylor, a real estate mogul, has pressured federal regulators to funnel cash to commercial real estate companies, and he has authored legislation that would create a bailout fund for his industry and direct the government to guarantee riskier commercial real estate loans.
In a press release, Taylor touted his legislation, which has been co-sponsored by an array of finance-friendly Democrats, as a way to provide “flexibility and support” for the commercial real estate sector, designed to “keep their doors open, drive their local economies, and support families across the country."
It could also provide direct support for Van Taylor. Federal disclosure records reviewed by The Daily Poster show that Taylor has invested in more than two dozen commercial real estate properties worth up to $10.7 million. Taylor has also accepted more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from the real estate industry this election cycle.
Taylor’s push for legislation that could preserve the value of his own investment holdings follows revelations that Republicans’ 2017 real estate tax breaks may have enriched a number of GOP lawmakers who sculpted that legislation.
Protests continued in Philadelphia as more details emerged on Wednesday about the police killing of 27-year-old Walter Wallace after his family had called for medical assistance when he was having a mental health crisis. Civil rights campaigners fiercely questioned the way police departments handle people suffering a mental health problem, not just in relation to the shooting of Wallace but across the US.
After the killing, hundreds took to the streets of the Pennsylvania city chanting Wallace’s name and demanding racial justice and equality. On Tuesday, peaceful protests were followed by clashes with police and some vandalism. More than 90 people have been arrested and about 50 police officers were injured in confrontations with protesters and vandals, authorities say. Protests continued on Wednesday evening, ahead of a 9pm curfew. ...
Relatives described Wallace as suffering from a mental breakdown. However, their call for help, in which they requested an ambulance, not police, ended in a deadly confrontation with law enforcement after reports that the man had a knife. Relatives said on Wednesday that Wallace had bipolar disorder and was in the midst of a crisis when he was killed by police, reported CNN. ...
Reggie Shuford, the executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said Philadelphia was “overdue for a reckoning with the brazenly violent and abusive behavior in its police department” and that it has a “long history of brutality against city residents, particularly against Black Philadelphians”.
“In the days ahead, we expect full transparency from Commissioner Outlaw, the Kenney administration, and District Attorney Krasner’s office about this tragedy. While witnesses have stated that Mr Wallace was armed with a knife, video from the incident suggests that no one was in immediate danger when officers killed him,” he said in a statement. ... He called for cities around the US to divest in police and instead invest in mental health services that he said might have “prevented Mr Wallace’s killing”.
The architect of Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policy, senior adviser Stephen Miller, is said to have a drawer full of executive orders ready to be signed in “shock and awe” style if Trump is re-elected. The former homeland security department chief of staff Miles Taylor said this wishlist was reserved for the second term because it included policies that were too unpopular for a president seeking re-election.
This comes as no surprise to those who have watched and worried as legal pathways to US immigration shut under Trump, and who wonder not just about four more years of him as president, but also about four more years with Miller at his side.
The 35-year-old has managed to keep his position as a senior adviser to the president after being exposed for having an affinity for white nationalism and becoming synonymous with unpopular Trump administration policies such as family separation – when thousands of children were taken away from their parents at the southern border to deter would-be migrants. Three years later, more than 500 kids are still yet to be reunited with their parents.
Jean Guerrero, the author of the Miller biography Hatemonger, told the Guardian: “There’s a number of things they have been cautious about because of the legal and political risks in the first term and I think that in a second term you would see Stephen Miller get much freer rein when it comes to his wishlist of items.”
Those items are expected to include attempting to eliminate birthright citizenship, making the US citizenship test more difficult to pass, ending the program which protects people from deportation when there is a crisis is their country (Temporary Protected Status) and slashing refugee admissions even further, to zero.
If Joe Biden wins the 2020 US election against Donald Trump next week, the new president-elect will face enormous pressures to implement a laundry list of priorities on a range of issues from foreign policy to the climate crisis, reversing many of the stark changes implemented by his predecessor. But Biden’s first and most pressing task for his first 100 days in the White House would be to roll out a new nationwide plan to fight the coronavirus crisis, which has claimed more than 220,000 lives in the US and infected millions – more than any other country in the world – as well as taking steps to fix the disastrous economic fallout. ...
By the time of the inauguration in January 2021, more than 350,000 Americans could have died from coronavirus, according to projections that assume current policies and trajectories are maintained. ... The Biden campaign has proposed a science-led plan that includes a national mask mandate (though local authorities would have the final word on implementation), expanding testing and contact tracing, taking steps to prevent surprise medical billing for Covid treatments, and greater federal financial assistance for struggling families. ...
Throughout his presidential campaign, Biden has shared a list with voters of what he would do if elected president, many items of which would directly reverse the work of the Trump administration. These include re-entering the Paris climate agreement, which the US is set to exit on 4 November, 24 hours after election day. He would also rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in which Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of harsh economic sanctions. And he would also push for an extension of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which Trump and his allies have repeatedly attempted to dismantle. There’s also a strong expectation that Congress would consider some kind of policing reform package following the summer’s mass protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, although it’s unclear if such proposals could ultimately survive the partisan gridlock and sausage making of the legislative process. ...
Control of the Senate is crucial for a Biden presidency. Without it, much of his agenda is all but certain to stay in limbo. ... With or without Democratic control of the Senate, however, the first days of a Biden administration are also likely to see a flurry of executive actions addressing urgent foreign policy issues and undoing actions of the Trump administration. By inauguration day there will be just over two weeks left before the expiration of the New Start treaty, the only arms control agreement to survive the Trump era. If Moscow is willing (and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has suggested it is), the treaty can be extended for up to five years by an exchange of diplomatic notes.
Senior Democrats also say Biden will move immediately to restore US membership of the World Health Organization (WHO) and resume financial contributions, announce the US is rejoining the Paris climate agreement, and reverse the Trump administration’s travel bans for travelers from Muslim countries.
Absentee ballots counted after election day do not ‘flip the results of an election,’ as Justice Kavanaugh claimed. They are the results of the election. Period. pic.twitter.com/jgnHZCxoSw
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 28, 2020
Soapbox: No government of a democracy worthy of the respect of its citizens fails to count all of their votes.
The US supreme court has rejected a last-minute plea from Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn a three-day extension of the absentee ballot deadline, a hugely consequential ruling in one of the most closely-watched swing states in the presidential election.
The state usually requires ballots to arrive by 8pm on election night in order to count. But last month, the Pennsylvania supreme court extended that deadline by three days for ballots postmarked by election day, a move likely to allow thousands of late-arriving ballots to count.
Pennsylvania Republicans asked the US supreme court to halt that ruling pending appeal, but it declined to do so last week, deadlocking 4-4 and offering no explanation for its decision. The Pennsylvania Republican party then asked the court to expedite the case, which the court again declined to do on Wednesday.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who formally joined the court this week, did not participate in the case because the case needed to be resolved quickly and she did not have time to review the briefings in the case, the supreme court’s public information office said in a statement.
Despite Wednesday’s ruling, three of the court’s conservative justices – Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas – signaled the court may still consider the case after the election. The Pennsylvania supreme court’s ruling “likely violates the federal constitution”, Alito wrote for the three, and its decision “could lead to serious post-election problems”. Pennsylvania’s top election official also instructed counties to segregate ballots that arrived after 8pm on election day from ones that arrived before.
We have formally requested that #SCOTUS correct the erroneous claim by Justice Kavanaugh that #VT has not changed voting procedures for the #2020Elections due to #COVID19. When it comes to issuing decisions on the voting rights of American citizens, facts matter. pic.twitter.com/cWvAJTuIEl
— Vermont Secretary of State’s Office (@VermontSOS) October 28, 2020
Top Federal Election Official Corrects Trump: 'Counting Ballots—All of 'Em—Is the Appropriate, Proper, and Very Legal Way to Determine Who Won'
Countering President Donald Trump's false suggestion Tuesday that tallying votes after Election Day is unlawful, a top official at the U.S. Federal Election Commission said that in fact "counting ballots—all of 'em—is the appropriate, proper, and very legal way to determine who won."
"An election is not a reality show with a big reveal at the end," Ellen Weintraub, an election attorney and a Democratic commissioner at the FEC, tweeted in response to Trump's insistence that a winner be officially declared on the night of November 3.
"All we get on Election Night are projections from TV networks," Weintraub noted. "We never have official results on Election Night."
An election is not a reality show with a big reveal at the end. All we get on Election Night are projections from TV networks. We *never* have official results on Election Night.
Counting ballots – all of 'em – is the appropriate, proper, and very legal way to determine who won. https://t.co/jG8eX7XNwZ
— Ellen L Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) October 28, 2020
Trump's comments Tuesday came amid growing fears that the president could attempt to take advantage of slower-than-usual vote counting—which is expected due to the unprecedented surge in mail-in voting amid the pandemic—to falsely declare victory on Election Night and dismiss as illegitimate legally submitted ballots counted after November 3.
Those concerns were intensified by Trump-nominated Justice Brett Kavanaugh's falsehood-riddled concurring opinion in the Supreme Court's late Monday ruling that barred the battleground state of Wisconsin from extending its absentee ballot deadline. The decision means that ballots received by Wisconsin officials after Election Day cannot be counted, even if they are postmarked by November 3.
In his opinion, Kavanaugh declared that absentee ballots arriving after Election Day—which is allowed in more than a dozen states—could "flip the results of the election." But as Justice Elena Kagan noted in her dissent (pdf), "there are no results to 'flip' until all valid votes are counted."
"And nothing could be more 'suspicio[us]' or 'improp[er]' than refusing to tally votes once the clock strikes 12 on Election Night," Kagan added. "To suggest otherwise, especially in these fractious times, is to disserve the electoral process."
Slate's Mark Joseph Stern warned late Tuesday that "by deploying so many falsehoods in his 18-page opinion, Kavanaugh sent a signal to lower court judges: Uphold voter suppression at all costs, even if you have to ignore or contort the factual record to do it."
"Trump's dozens of hackish judicial nominees will hear this message loud and clear," Stern wrote. "At least one member of the Supreme Court is willing to construct a fantasy world that is utterly detached from our grim reality of mass disenfranchisement. If we cannot trust the justices to tell the truth now, why should we believe them if they decide the election next week?"
Congressman Don Bacon, R-Neb., used his congressional expense account to pay his campaign strategist, a move that may raise ethics concerns over the use of taxpayer funds.
Bacon’s congressional office made two payments this year using government funds totaling $52,518 to “Double Bogey Strategies,” a limited liability company registered in Alexandria, Virginia, and owned by David Watts, the campaign strategist advising Bacon’s reelection effort.
The expense payments to Watts’s company included $20,371 for “printing & reproduction” and $32,147 for “advertisements.” Watts also owns Double Eagle Strategies, a campaign consulting firm retained by Bacon since 2017.
House ethics rules and federal law prohibit the use of congressional government funds on communication advisers and campaign advisers, as well as for any campaign-related purposes. While Watts may have been doing work for the congressional office, using the same consultant for the campaign and the congressional office is unusual.
Experts call the Tongass the “lungs of the country” and one of nation’s last remaining bulwarks against climate change. Located on the southern coast of Alaska, it is made up of centuries-old western cedar, hemlock and Sitka spruce trees, and is home to immense biodiversity, including the largest-known concentration of bald eagles.
“It’s ironic that this administration is trying to tout this president’s environmental record when [Trump is] unwinding environmental safeguards all over the place,” said Ken Rait, project director of the Pew Charitable Trust, who two decades ago helped win the protections that Donald Trump is now undoing. “And lifting protections on the Tongass, the nation’s flagship forest, is about the most egregious of all of them.”
The administration’s decision ignores overwhelming public support for keeping protections in place on the Tongass, including resolutions from six south-east Alaska tribes and six south-east Alaska city councils against lifting protections. Of the public comments solicited on the plan, 96% were in favor of keeping protections in places. Tribes also petitioned the government to protect customary cultural use areas of the Tongass. “All other avenues to protect our homelands have been exhausted, to little avail,” they wrote in their petition.
The Tongass has been safeguarded since 2001 by a “roadless rule”, which prohibits road construction, road reconstruction and timber harvesting in designated areas of national forests. ... Tourism has soared, and the forest support some of the last productive wild salmon runs in the world, and a billion-dollar commercial fishing industry. A 2019 scientific analysis showed that the Tongass absorbs more carbon than any other national forest, on a level with the world’s most dense terrestrial carbon sinks in South America.
A Noah’s ark-like plan to house hundreds of the world’s most at-risk coral species at a publicly accessible bank next to the Great Barrier Reef could prove an important part of long-term coral conservation, marine biologists say. The Living Coral Biobank, labelled a “coral ark” by its proponents, would serve as a technologically advanced facility where 800 different types of hard corals would be kept and bred, in the event live samples are needed to revive populations wiped out in nature in the future.
Inspired by Norway’s global seed vault, and with architecture influenced by mushroom coral, the bank will also include a function space, research labs, and serve as an aquarium-like tourist attraction for Port Douglas in far north Queensland, a gateway to the adjacent Great Barrier Reef. If built, members of the public would be able to see corals from around the world as they are conserved in tightly controlled settings – and have a chance to observe corals’ night time glow.
The facility would be the physical base for the larger Biobank project, a worldwide network of aquariums – both commercial and in residential homes – aimed at coordinating the preservation of diverse coral samples in the event global populations suffer further from misuse and bleaching. Great Barrier Reef Legacy, the non-profit group behind the Biobank, will begin gathering corals for conservation next week, when the first of its diving teams takes samples of about 20 different species of corals from around the reef to be temporarily housed in the Cairns marina.
The project has already secured about $4.8m in partnership agreements, including an allotment of land for the bank in Port Douglas, sustainable architectural plans from global firm Contreras Earl, and the backing of Australia’s Climate Council. The Biobank director and marine biologist, Dr Dean Miller, told Guardian Australia he hopes the facility will be built and house 800 coral species by 2025. He said the project will need the support of “an Elon Musk or a Richard Branson” if its facility is to be built, but that the Biobank network can “survive like Uber” – relying on public and personal aquariums instead of its own physical infrastructure – until its base can be built.
'Grotesquely Fitting' Say Climate Campaigners as Trump Mulls Pro-Fracking Executive Order Ahead of Election
Climate campaigners and journalists called out President Donald Trump after the Wall Street Journal revealed late Tuesday—just a week before Election Day—that he is considering a last-minute executive order to promote fracking as an apparent ploy to win over undecided voters in battleground states such as Pennsylvania.
Trump is weighing an order "mandating an economic analysis" of hydraulic fracturing, as the oil and gas extraction process is also called, according to the Journal. Unnamed officials told the newspaper that the work would be spearheaded by the U.S. Energy and Interior departments with input from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Treasury Department.
The measure "would ask government agencies to perform an analysis of fracking's impact on the economy and trade and the consequences if the oil-and-gas extraction technique was banned," the Journal reported. "It also would order those agencies to evaluate what more they can do to expand its use, possibly through land management or support of developing technology."
Food & Water Action policy director Mitch Jones responded in a statement Wednesday declaring that "this order is just one more desperate attempt by this White House to make fracking into a winning campaign issue. There is no doubt that fracking poisons our air and water, and that drilling is driving us towards climate crisis. There is something grotesquely fitting that an administration that has sacrificed climate action for the sake of the fossil fuel industry thinks fracking is a winner."
"The truth is that the fracking industry is in collapse. Fracking has never been the economic engine that its backers have claimed it to be, and any attempts to resuscitate it are only delaying the inevitable," Jones continued. "Debt-ridden drilling companies have laid off thousands of workers while CEOs make off with millions in profits."
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
James Carr - Pouring Water On A Drowning Man
James Carr - These Ain't Raindrops
James Carr - You got my mind Messed Up
James Carr - Everybody Needs Somebody
James Carr - Only Fools Run Away
James Carr - Let It Happen
James Carr - Ring Of Fire
James Carr - Lover's Competition
James Carr - Talk Talk