The Evening Blues - 10-30-20



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Kid Thomas aka Tommy Louis

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues and rock'n roll harmonica player Louis "Kid Thomas" Watts aka Tommy Louis. Enjoy!

Kid Thomas aka Tommy Louis - The Hurt Is On

"The press loses its way when it cares more about who benefits from information than whether it's true."

-- Matt Taibbi


News and Opinion

Here are some excerpts from the Greenwald article that The Intercept censored, it's a great article worth a full read.

The real scandal: U.S. media ues falsehoods to defend Joe Biden from Hunter's emails

Publication by the New York Post two weeks ago of emails from Hunter Biden's laptop, relating to Vice President Joe Biden's work in Ukraine, and subsequent articles from other outlets concerning the Biden family's pursuit of business opportunities in China, provoked extraordinary efforts by a de facto union of media outlets, Silicon Valley giants and the intelligence community to suppress these stories.

One outcome is that the Biden campaign concluded, rationally, that there is no need for the front-running presidential candidate to address even the most basic and relevant questions raised by these materials. Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions -- the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a presidential election -- journalists have instead led the way in concocting excuses to justify his silence. ...

All of these new materials, the authenticity of which has never been disputed by Hunter Biden or the Biden campaign, raise important questions about whether the former Vice President and current front-running presidential candidate was aware of efforts by his son to peddle influence with the Vice President for profit, and also whether the Vice President ever took actions in his official capacity with the intention, at least in part, of benefitting his son's business associates. But in the two weeks since the Post published its initial story, a union of the nation's most powerful entities, including its news media, have taken extraordinary steps to obscure and bury these questions rather than try to provide answers to them. ...

Publication of that initial New York Post story provoked a highly unusual censorship campaign by Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, through a long-time former Democratic Party operative, vowed to suppress the story pending its “fact-check,” one that has as of yet produced no public conclusions. And while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for Twitter’s handling of the censorship and reversed the policy that led to the blocking of all links the story, the New York Post, the nation’s fourth-largest newspaper, continues to be locked out of its Twitter account, unable to post as the election approaches, for almost two weeks.

After that initial censorship burst from Silicon Valley, whose workforce and oligarchs have donated almost entirely to the Biden campaign, it was the nation's media outlets and former CIA and other intelligence officials who took the lead in constructing reasons why the story should be dismissed, or at least treated with scorn. As usual for the Trump era, the theme that took center stage to accomplish this goal was an unsubstantiated claim about the Kremlin responsibility for the story.

Numerous news outlets, including the Intercept, quickly cited a public letter signed by former CIA officials and other agents of the security state claiming that the documents have the “classic trademarks" of a “Russian disinformation” plot. But, as media outlets and even intelligence agencies are now slowly admitting, no evidence has ever been presented to corroborate this assertion. On Friday, the New York Times reported that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation” and the paper said even the FBI has “acknowledged that it had not found any Russian disinformation on the laptop.”

Despite this complete lack of evidence, the Biden campaign adopted this phrase used by intelligence officials and media outlets as its mantra for why the materials should not be discussed and why they would not answer basic questions about them. “I think we need to be very, very clear that what he's doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation," said Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield about the possibility that Trump would raise the Biden emails at Thursday night’s debate. Biden’s senior advisor Symone Sanders similarly warned on MSNBC: “if the president decides to amplify these latest smears against the vice president and his only living son, that is Russian disinformation." ...

The relevant questions for Biden raised by this new reporting are as glaring as they are important. Yet Biden has had to answer very few of them yet because he has not been asked and, when he has, media outlets have justified his refusal to answer rather than demand that he do so.

Glenn Greenwald RESPONDS: Why I Left The Intercept Over Censorship

Glenn Greenwald on resigning from his own publication due to censorship

Senator's Report Finds Google and Facebook Have 'Hijacked' Local News and Undermined Journalism

The "unfair market practices" of technology giants Google and Facebook have decimated local journalism, threatening "America's most trusted news sources," according to a new report from the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell.

The Washington state Democrat published the report (pdf) on Tuesday, one day before the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Twitter testified in a hearing held by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The report describes how "irreplaceable" local news outlets are being destroyed not only by the devastating loss of print advertising revenue caused by the Internet's transformation of information consumption patterns but also by massive technology companies' domination of the marketplace for online advertising.

"Local news has been hijacked by a few large news aggregation platforms, most notably Google and Facebook," the report argues. "These trillion-dollar companies scrape local news content and data for their own sites and leverage their market dominance to force local news to accept little to no compensation for their intellectual property."

"There is a clear need," Cantwell adds, "for Congress to address the market failures created by the search and social media platforms."

According to Cantwell's analysis, the total revenue of the local journalism industry has declined by 70% since 2000, while local broadcasters have lost more than 40% of advertising revenues over the same time period. The coronavirus crisis is worsening an already alarming situation, jeopardizing the long-term future of local newspapers, TV, and radio broadcasters.

"These losses are creating news deserts," the report notes, pointing out that 40,000 newsroom employees, 60% of the journalistic workforce, have been laid off over the past two decades, with 7,000 more cuts expected this year—a frightening trend that is leading to "thousands fewer watchdogs exposing... corruption and keeping elected officials accountable to their constituents."

Although "Americans want and appreciate the accurate and unbiased reporting that local journalists provide," Cantwell writes, 200 counties nationwide lack newspaper coverage of their communities while "half of all U.S. counties are down to just one, a problem that is particularly acute in the South."

The report documents how giant search and social media platforms' "unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices" have contributed to troubling revenue losses and employment trends that are stifling local journalism.

"The platforms' continued practices of taking publishers' online content without proper compensation, diverting user traffic away from local news websites, and using formats like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to obtain data about local news consumers are unfair and abusive practices the Federal Trading Commission needs to enforce against," Cantwell writes. ...

As the Seattle Times reported, Cantwell "recommends Congress require that Facebook and Google negotiate payment terms with local media outlets for the headlines, photos and summaries driving a sizable amount of traffic on their sites," a move proposed or enacted in some European countries and Australia, much to the chagrin of the big tech firms.

"Congressional action is needed to help local news survive the global pandemic and onslaught of unfair practices by the dominant online platforms," the report argues, echoing a watershed antitrust lawsuit filed last week against Google by the Justice Department.

Internet CENSORSHIP & Left Dissenting Journalism!

Labour suspends Jeremy Corbyn over EHRC report comments

Labour has suspended its former leader Jeremy Corbyn after he said antisemitism in the party was “overstated” following a damning report from the equality watchdog. The move is likely to ignite a civil war in the party between the leader, Keir Starmer, and Corbyn-supporting MPs.

Corbyn condemned his suspension as a “political intervention” and said he would “strongly contest” the action.

The suspension was provoked by a statement from Corbyn that rejected the overall conclusions of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report, saying the problem was “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by opponents and the media.

That statement set the former Labour leader directly at odds with his successor. Moments after Corbyn’s statement was released, Starmer spoke at a press conference where he said those who “deny there is a problem are part of the problem … Those who pretend it is exaggerated or factional are part of the problem.”

West Bank Palestinians' olive trees burn as U.N. urges protection for harvest

For many West Bank Palestinians, the olive tree is both a revered cultural emblem and an economic necessity - but it has also become a focal point of a struggle between them and Israeli settlers for a land they both claim.

More than 1,000 trees owned by Palestinian farmers have been burned or damaged in the Israeli-occupied territory since the harvest began three weeks ago, according to a United Nations report.

The Oct 23 report by humanitarian affairs office UNOCHA has also logged 19 disruptions “by people believed or known to be Israeli settlers,” with 23 Palestinian farmers injured. ...

Olive farmers in areas near some Israeli settlements say they face problems each year. “When we try to reach our fields, the army protects the settlers and prevents us from accessing our olives,” said Adnan Barakat, council head of Burqa village, near Ramallah.

In Burqa, Israeli settlers “stoned and physically assaulted Palestinian olive pickers on three occasions, triggering clashes”, UNOCHA said.

Right-wing Bolivian protesters refuse to accept election loss

As Covid-19 Soars Ahead of Election, Tapes Reveal Kushner Bragging About How Trump Wrestled Response 'Back From the Doctors'

As Covid-19 infection rates across the United States break records less than a week before Election Day, newly released tapes reveal how President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, privately bragged in mid-April that the president had successfully undermined the public health officials advising him on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic by committing to reopen the economy despite expert warnings.

Trump "is getting the country back from the doctors," Kushner boasted to journalist Bob Woodward in an April 18 interview, the audio of which was obtained by CNN and released Wednesday. 

At the time, the national caseload was growing by roughly 30,000 per day, while more than 40,000 Americans had already died from Covid-19. As CNN noted on Wednesday, "Kushner's comments from six months ago look particularly damning as the U.S. undergoes a fall surge of infections."

According to an Axios analysis of Covid-19 data, new coronavirus infections in the U.S. have "soared to an all-time high" just days ahead of November 3. The increase in cases has been accompanied by a rise in the country's pandemic death toll, which passed 227,000 on Thursday.

"On average," Axios reported, "nearly 72,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus every day over the past week." The U.S. set a new record for the most cases in a single day twice in the past week on its way to "the highest seven-day average on record."

WORST COVID Numbers Yet SLAM Midwest States, Hurting Trump Days Before Election

Trump's Covid-19 Testing Czar Warns of 'Draconian Measures' to Come If Americans Don't Mask Up

With coronavirus cases in the United States soaring to "an all-time high" just ahead of Election Day, the Trump administration's Covid-19 testing czar warned in a television appearance Wednesday that local governments may have to impose "draconian measures" unless Americans get better about following safety guidelines.

Less than a week before President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden officially face off at the ballot box, Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, addressed concerns about reining in the raging pandemic on NBC's "Today" show.

"We still can control this" by wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, avoiding crowds—particularly indoors—and getting tested, especially going into the winter and holiday season, Giroir said. "But if we don't do those things, it may force local officials or government officials in the states to have more draconian measures because cases will go up if we don't make a change."

Americans need to continue these well established mitigation measures until there is a safe, effective, and widely available vaccine, Giroir added.

Citing conditions nationwide after Memorial Day, he emphasized that "we're at another critical point in the pandemic response." As of Thursday morning, the U.S. had more than 8.865 million Covid-19 infections and nearly 228,000 related deaths—and, as Giroir noted, "cases are going up in most states across the country."

NBC's Savanah Guthrie asked Giroir about Trump's claim on Twitter Tuesday that U.S. case numbers are up because of testing, suggesting that reports of a national surge are incorrect.

Giroir explained that while testing in the United States was insufficient in March and April—meaning the known case figures didn't accurately represent the actual number of infections—he is more confident in the country's testing since July.

"We do believe and the data show that the cases are going up," Giroir said. "It's not just a function of testing."

"Yes, we're getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up, and we know that too because hospitalizations are going up," he continued. "The [daily] peak was in the 70,000s in July. We're at about 42, 43,000 now, so we're much less [than] in July. But those are going up, those are real. And we do know that deaths are increasing, unfortunately."

"Again, we can reverse that," Giroir added, holding up a mask. "The American people can make a difference."

Big tech firms add $163bn to market values despite Covid and legal scrutiny

Big tech rallied on Thursday in earnings reports, largely shaking off the impacts of recent regulatory hearings and the coronavirus pandemic.

Major tech firms added a combined $163bn to their market capitalizations ahead of the release of their earning reports on Thursday, more than the entire value of McDonald’s.

Google reported a return to sales growth in its third quarter, as businesses initially hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic resumed advertising with the internet’s biggest supplier of ads, the company said. Google had stopped charging merchants for some promotional space and issued grants to help other businesses buy ads in recent months. The efforts followed the company’s first sales decline compared with a year-earlier period in the second quarter since going public in 2004.

Google also saw growth fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, with users flocking to YouTube and Google’s namesake search engine as more experiences shift online. YouTube saw 32% ad revenue growth over last year. Quarantine-related content on the video platform has been on the rise, Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, said in a call with investors after the markets closed. Meditation videos are up 40% in views and DIY face mask videos have been viewed more than 1bn times. ...

Amazon reported blowout third-quarter results as a pandemic sales boost helped the company triple its profits amid a 37% increase in earnings. The company’s revenues of $96.15bn were better than analysts expected and its net income increased to $6.3bn in the third quarter, compared with net income of $2.1bn in third quarter of 2019. Its cloud-services unit, Amazon Web Services, reported net sales of $11.6bn for the quarter, up 29% year over year. The company is also expecting a bumper holiday shopping period.

The racist business model behind Uber and Lyft

Uber and Lyft want you to know they aren’t racist. It’s why Uber put up billboards all over the west coast saying: “If you tolerate racism, delete Uber.” It’s why Lyft is running ads featuring Maya Angelou’s “Lift up your eyes” poem over clips of Black passengers enjoying their service. It’s all to say – “We get it. We’re woke. We think Black Lives Matter just like you do. We’re with you in the struggle.” ...

A UC Santa Cruz study found that, in their home town of San Francisco, 78% of app-based drivers are people of color, and 56% are immigrants. Wow, that’s great that Uber and Lyft are providing so many job opportunities to people of color – but wait. That was only the first line in the survey.

According to the same UC Santa Cruz survey, 71% of these app workers work 30 hours a week, and more than half work over 40 hours. Despite this, as much as 20% may earn zero dollars after expenses, and 15% are forced to rely on public assistance to get by. Zero dollars? The last workforce that was predominantly people of color that worked this hard for zero dollars was – well, let’s just say it wasn’t a great moment in our nation’s history. ...

Despite the anti-racist billboards and the Maya Angelou poems, these wealthy companies have built an entire business model on gaslighting people of color and exploiting them for cheap labor. ... All too often, these apps are feeding the false promise of stable living to immigrants and people of color. It’s what driver activists like to call “exploitation through innovation”.

California tech companies like Uber and Lyft have “innovated”, or “forcibly mutated”, the traditional model of employment into a more exploitative (but “flexible!”) model than the one that existed previously. Unlike a traditional employer, Uber says you can work whenever you want, for however long you want – but Uber won’t pay for your car expenses, and they won’t give you benefits. Essentially, you are just self-employed, but with a tech giant skimming 20% off everything you make on your own.

The Scary Truth Is Many Senate Dems Share the Same Corporate Agenda as Amy Coney Barrett

The Democrats claimed to be united in their opposition to Barrett’s confirmation. Yet their resistance to having a justice rammed through at the 11th hour of a lame duck presidency feels like the resistance that the Washington Generals used to show against the Harlem Globetrotters. That is, pure theater in which the outcome is never in doubt.

What this tells us is that the corporate donors who control the Democratic Party are happy with a Justice Barrett. In her short time on the bench, she has ruled consistently in favor of corporations. Just weeks before her nomination to the high court, Judge Barrett delivered a key ruling blocking many gig workers from suing in court when tech companies cheat them out of overtime pay. This and other business-friendly rulings are why corporations have given millions to groups such as the Judicial Crisis Network and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to campaign for Barrett’s appointment to the court. Barrett also belongs to the business-backed Federalist Society and will join five other Federalists on the Supreme Court.

The differences between Democrats and Republicans on issues like abortion and gay rights are important to be sure. But the areas of agreement between the two parties—both parties favor the interests of corporations over their workers and the environment—are also important. And these issues don’t get discussed because there is no disagreement. It is just accepted by both parties that a lawyer must be business-friendly to qualify for a federal judgeship.

In a true representative democracy, a lawyer should not have to demonstrate her fealty to corporate power to become a federal judge. The interests of corporate America are closely aligned with only a small fraction of Americans: the investor class. Most of our interests are more closely aligned with those of workers and consumers. ...

Although the Democrats will do nothing to stop Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, their leader, Joe Biden, has pledged that if elected, he would establish a bipartisan commission to study whether to expand the courts to achieve greater balance.

We recall from history class that President Franklin D. Roosevelt also threatened, in 1937, to add enough liberal justices to the court to protect his programs from the “obstructionist” conservatives. The key difference then was that FDR had an agenda of bold programs to pull the country out of the Great Depression, such as putting Americans to work building post offices, bridges, schools, highways, and parks; supporting farmers and labor unions; and ending alcohol prohibition.

The Democrats of today, however, are offering nothing but a promise to wear a face mask and to not send mean tweets at 3 a.m., while Joe Biden assured his wealthy donors at a New York fundraiser that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he is elected president. Even a Supreme Court packed with Republicans is likely to go along with that agenda.

FBI raids neo-Nazi camp in Michigan as national connections of Whitmer plotters emerge

On Thursday, with five days remaining before the US election, the FBI conducted two additional raids in Michigan and arrested Justen Watkins and Alfred Gorman, leaders of a neo-Nazi group called The Base. Watkins was arrested when agents raided a farm in the town of Bad Axe, in the Michigan “thumb,” which members of The Base used as a training grounds and “hate camp.” Gorman was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Taylor.

The two neo-Nazis, aged 25 and 35 respectively, are charged with threatening to murder a left-wing blogger in late 2019, though the timing of the raids indicates the FBI believed The Base’s training camp was related to preparations for election violence. An affidavit filed by a Michigan State Police detective quotes a manifesto penned by Watkins reading: “I will train with firearms, explosives, knives, Ryder trucks, and anything else I have to destroy this KIKE SYSTEM THAT IS GENOCIDING MY people. To victory with PURE UNADULTERATED ARYANVIOLENCE!” ...

The affidavit also states the investigation was conducted only by the state police and the FBI. This would imply that officials may have conducted the investigation without informing local police and sheriffs departments for fear they are so integrated with the far-right that they would tip off the targets. It is unlikely that the Trump administration was given advanced notice of Thursday’s raids.

Police officer threatened to kill Democratic mayor of Phoenix, Arizona

A Phoenix, Arizona, police officer, Steve Poulos, threatened to shoot and kill the Democratic mayor, Kate Gallego, the mayor’s office reported Tuesday.

The mayor’s office stated that it had recently become aware of a “credible threat made by a member of the Phoenix Police Department to harm the Mayor.” That is, that the mayor’s life was seriously at risk. Gallego has since been assigned additional protection by the police in response.

According ABC 15 Arizona, Poulos has been a police officer for more than 22 years for the Phoenix Police Department, and an officer of the City of Pittsburgh for nearly five years before that, according to his LinkedIn page. Fellow officers reported Poulos after he made the threat while uniformed and on-duty. He has since been placed on leave pending an investigation.

Poulos responded to ABC 15 Arizona and acknowledged he was the one who was the source of the threat but disagreed that it was a threat, claiming “it’s not what I said” and that the allegations were “ridiculous."

Hmmm, does it seem odd to you that Bellingcat has gotten into the business of collecting and maintaining data on U.S. police brutality? It leapt off the page at me.

Nearly 1,000 instances of police brutality recorded in US anti-racism protests

The United States is currently experiencing one of the longest continued periods of civil unrest in generations, after demonstrations sparked by George Floyd’s death expanded to protests against black Americans killed by police and systemic racism in the country. Retaliation by police against civilians and the press was widely documented in the first wave of protests, but as the protests have continued, so too has the violence. There has not been a single week without an incidence of police brutality against a civilian or a journalist at a protest in the US since the end of May.

At least 950 instances of police brutality against civilians and journalists during anti-racism protests have occurred in the past five months, according to data collected by Bellingcat and Forensic Architecture and analysed by the Guardian.

The database shows more than 1,000 violations, including:

  • more than 500 of instances of police using less-lethal rounds, pepper spray and teargas;

  • 60 incidents of officers using unlawful assembly to arrest protesters;

  • 19 incidents of police being permissive to the far right and showing double standards when confronted with white supremacists;

  • five attacks on medics;

  • and 11 instances of kettling.

  • Originally the data focused on attacks on the media and almost 150 incidents were identified by 2 June, but the collection was expanded to include incidents involving civilians during the protests too. The data is probably an undercount as it only contains documented and verified incidents.

    More than 200 incidents took place in Portland, where police spent more than $117,500 on teargas and less-lethal munitions in a six-week period from late May, according to Oregon Live. ...

    Police brutality against protesters has also been extensively documented in New York City, Seattle, Minneapolis and Los Angeles.


    Walter Wallace Jr shooting: police to release 911 tapes and body cameras

    Curfew was lifted in Philadelphia on Thursday as police said they will soon release 911 tapes and officers’ body-camera footage and authorities pledged to “do a better job” at coordinating mental health resources amid widespread unrest following the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.

    The 27-year-old Black man was killed on Monday after being shot multiple times by police when his family called for medical assistance while he was having a mental health crisis, prompting protests in Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York and Portland, Oregon.

    Police said Wallace Jr, whom his family said had bipolar disorder and was known to the authorities, ignored orders to drop a knife.

    Philadelphia police commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, said, “We plan on releasing … audio of 911 calls and bodycam footage of the discharging officers in the near future.” First, she said, police will meet with Wallace Jr’s family.

    Although previous police shootings of Black men in Philadelphia have sparked protests, the department has never before released police footage of a shooting by an officer, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, later adding that the family of Wallace were due to see the footage later on Thursday.

    She admitted her department lacked a mental health unit or consistent way to coordinate police calls with medical specialists.




    the horse race



    Native American Voters Could Decide Key Senate Races While Battling Intense Voter Suppression

    Trump Says 'Hopefully' Courts Will Stop States From Counting Ballots After November 3

    President Donald Trump on Wednesday once again openly voiced hope that U.S. courts—now packed with his right-wing judges—will intervene and stop states from counting legally submitted ballots after November 3, remarks that came just before the U.S. Supreme Court suggested it could invalidate late-arriving Pennsylvania votes after Election Day.

    "Hopefully the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after November 3rd to count ballots, that won't be allowed by the various courts because as you know we're in courts on that," Trump said during a press conference in Las Vegas.

    Trump went on to tout as a "big victory" the Supreme Court's ruling earlier this week barring Wisconsin from extending its absentee ballot deadline past November 3 at 8:00 pm local time.

    "The president is essentially saying he will litigate to try and stop the count of absentee ballots (the count of which is never completed on Election Day)," tweeted Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. According to one estimate, "about 10 percent of all votes" cast in the 2016 election were counted after Election Day.

    "Also, when is he imagining that military mail-in votes will be counted?" asked Ifill. "He is trying to make this sound normal. It's not."

    "He's saying it out loud: he wants courts to block legally cast ballots from being counted," said Brian Klaas, a Washington Post contributor and associate professor of global politics University College London. "This is so dangerously authoritarian."

    David Sirota: Will Biden Face OBAMA 2010 Level Healthcare Backlash?



    the evening greens


    Trump administration ends gray wolf's endangered species protections

    The Trump administration has removed endangered species protections from the gray wolf, a species once persecuted to near-extinction in the US, in a move that has been condemned as premature by conservationists.

    The wolves have been provided federal protection for more than 45 years but this is no longer needed according to David Bernhardt, the US interior secretary, who announced the decision in Minnesota on Thursday.

    The species has “exceeded all conservation goals for recovery”, said Bernhardt. “Today’s announcement simply reflects the determination that this species is neither a threatened nor endangered species based on the specific factors Congress has laid out in the law.”

    Gray wolf numbers plummeted to around 1,000 by the 1970s after long being harassed, poisoned and shot by farmers and ranchers who considered them a threat to livestock. Since being listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the population has rebounded somewhat, with around 6,000 wolves now in the lower 48 states.

    But biologists point out that the wolves, which once roamed much of North America, still only occupy a tiny slice of their former habitat, confined to parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and areas in the northern reaches of the Rocky Mountains.

    Protecting nature is vital to escape 'era of pandemics’ – report

    The world is in an “era of pandemics” and unless the destruction of the natural world is halted they will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, kill more people and affect the global economy with more devastating impact than ever before, according to a report from some of the world’s leading scientists.

    The emergence of diseases such as Covid-19, bird flu and HIV from animals was entirely driven by the razing of wild places for farming and the trade in wild species, which brought people into contact with the dangerous microbes, the experts said. “The risk of pandemics is increasing rapidly, with more than five new diseases emerging in people every year, any one of which has the potential to become pandemic,” the report says. It estimates there are more than 500,000 unknown viruses in mammals and birds that could infect humans.

    The current approach to disease outbreaks is trying to contain them and develop treatments or vaccines, which the scientists say is a “slow and uncertain path”. Instead the root causes must be tackled, including stopping the demolition of forests to produce meat, palm oil, metals and other commodities for richer countries.

    The costs of such a transformative change would be “trivial”, the experts found, compared with the trillions of dollars of damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic alone. Their proposed solutions include a global surveillance network, taxing damaging meat production and ending taxpayer subsidies that ravage the natural world.

    Federal Court Ruling in Rhode Island Suit Targeting Polluters Called 'More Evidence of the Momentum Behind Climate Accountability Cases'

    In a major win for advocates of making fossil fuel giants pay for devastating climate impacts of their products, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Rhode Island's historic lawsuit against oil and gas companies should proceed in state court, where it was originally filed in July 2018.

    While there has been a "fast-growing wave of climate lawsuits" filed this fall, Rhode Island was the first state in the country to sue dirty energy giants—including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell—seeking to hold them accountable "for knowingly contributing to climate change, and causing catastrophic consequences to Rhode Island, our economy, our communities, our residents, our ecosystems."

    Rhode Island Democratic Attorney General Peter Neronha, who took over the suit from his predecessor, explained after a district court issued a similar ruling last year that  "the state's lawsuit contains no federal question or cause of action, rather, contains only state law causes of action regarding damage to Rhode Island's resources that are better suited to resolution in the state courts."

    With its ruling on the Ocean State's case Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit "now joins the 4th, 9th, and 10th circuits in ruling that climate damages lawsuits brought against Big Oil under state law belong in state court," the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) noted in a statement.

    "Big Oil has failed once again to move a climate damages case out of state court, where the companies are terrified of being held accountable for their deception," declared CCI executive director Richard Wiles. "These fossil fuel companies knowingly caused the climate crisis that is engulfing the nation, and the people of Rhode Island deserve their day in court to hold the industry accountable."

    "This ruling is more evidence of the momentum behind climate accountability cases," added Wiles, "as Big Oil now faces lawsuits for lying about climate change from more than 20 communities across the nation."


    Also of Interest

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

    Glenn Greenwald: My Resignation From The Intercept

    The Intercept strikes back: Glenn Greenwald Resigns From The Intercept

    Ian Welsh: The Hunter Biden Documents Lead To Greenwald’s Resignation From the Intercept

    Taibbi: Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From The Intercept

    Why Are These Anti-Russian And Anti-Chinese Narratives So Similar?

    Oil Prices Could Face Shock If Biden Wins, Saves Nuclear Deal

    The Dow Has Lost 1,815 Points in the Past Three Trading Sessions: The Wall of Worry It Was Climbing Has Become a Wall of Chaos

    Don’t Look Down! Estimating the Depth of State Covid Budget Holes

    Health Workers Sue Trump Labor Secretary, OSHA Over 'Unconscionable Delay' of Protections Against Infectious Disease

    Documents Reveal WH Officials Tried to Use $250 Million in Taxpayer Money on Covid Ad Campaign to Boost Trump Reelection

    Unions Representing Hundreds of Thousands of Workers Prepare for General Strike If Trump Subverts Election Results

    The Fossil Fuel Industry’s Dark Money Just Got Even Darker

    Krystal and Saagar: Here’s The 6 MAPS Which Show How Biden Or Trump Will Win

    Krystal and Saagar: Warren GROVELS To Be Biden’s Treasury Secretary


    A Little Night Music

    Kid Thomas - Rockin' this Joint Tonight

    Kid Thomas - The Wolf Pack

    Tommy Louis - I Love You So

    Kid Thomas - You Are An Angel

    Kid Thomas - The Spell

    Kid Thomas - In A Cold Cold World

    Tommy Louis - Lookie There

    Kid Thomas - You Heard What I Said

    Tommy Louis with Marshall and The Versatiles - Wail Baby Wail


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    Comments

    ggersh's picture

    well not so much the news, journalism isn't journalism, elections meaningless, Dementia Joe v
    Donny the Dumb, D's n ACB having same corporate love, etc.etc.etc

    regarding Taibbi's quote he just coulda used Sinclairs, as most journalists are nothing more than paid lackeys of the MIC/WS/DC establishment, nothing new here...sigh

    "It Is Difficult to Get a Man to Understand Something When His Salary Depends Upon His Not Understanding It" - Upton Sinclair

    Anyhoo I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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    Buy a Bible don't read it and you'll be a Catholic
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    an Atheist

    joe shikspack's picture

    @ggersh

    yep, the news is still awful and the blues is still the cure for what ails us.

    that upton sinclair was a perceptive one.

    have a great weekend!

    up
    8 users have voted.
    mimi's picture

    the coverage of Glenn Greenwald resigning from the intercept. Good Evening, Joe and EB-ers and many thanks for your always excellent and broad and diverse news story selection.

    I am calmer now in a way of resigning to fatalism about things to come. May be not so good, but for now it is all I have.

    I did not understand what you tried to say about Bellingcat?

    Hmmm, does it seem odd to you that Bellingcat has gotten into the business of collecting and maintaining data on U.S. police brutality? It leapt off the page at me.

    Are you suspicious of Bellingcat's role, as it is described on the Bellingcat Wikipage? If yes, why? Please explain. Is it because according to the Wikipage they investigate US-based internal human rights abuses for the first time?

    I doesn't feel good to not understand 'stuff'.

    Have a good weekend, all, and all stay safe and as healthy as you can manage.

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    mimi's picture

    @mimi
    about Bellingcat and the OPCW. I can't follow Wendy's writing so well, but she has a big heart. So, I have nothing to complain about other than about myself.

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    joe shikspack's picture

    @mimi

    bellingcat receives funding from the government and partners with a number of shady neoliberal warmongering orgs like the atlantic council.

    as far as i am concerned, they are a propaganda outlet with virtually no redeeming qualities. and that is the nicest way that i can say that.

    i look at the way that they have attempted to control the information flows around the neoliberal war on syria in behalf of government warmongers and the "intelligence" community and i become concerned when i see that they are moving into domestic political situations. when their data/documentation on a highly contentious domestic issue like police brutality is being quoted in the mainstream press, it looks to me like the intel community is attempting to weasel in and assert control of the dialogue.

    does that help?

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    @joe shikspack And. I was surprised recently that one of the reporters I follow on Twitter, who has been providing what I thought was excellent coverage of the Portland Protests, is...employed by Bellingcat. Maybe that place will be like the Intercept, some good, some not so much? We'll see, I'm not hopeful, but I thought my recent little data point should be part of the conversation..

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    mimi's picture

    @joe shikspack
    and I am sorry that I can't retain the information I have certainly read here before over the years. It feels awkward when oneself realizes that ones brain capabilities deteriorate. I remember my mom being angry and upset over her own capabilities to remember and retain information, now it is my turn. I just hope it doesn't develop into bull blown dementia.

    Thank You, again.

    Stay safe.Hopefully we have you more years to come.
    Give rose

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    where do you find these guys!?

    "Cold, Cold World" is just great.

    thx.

    enjoyed Lazy Lester also.
    Appears the live clip was from Antone's record store in Austin.
    seems Clifford Antone was a fan.

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    joe shikspack's picture

    @irishking

    heh, i've had my antennae up for many years and have encountered quite a number of pretty obscure artists, many of whom deserved far more attention than they got in their time. i guess it helps that when i had a radio show, i knew a bunch of record collectors who looked out for rarities and little-known artists.

    of course, now there's youtube and a tidal wave of great old stuff turns up there all the time.

    antone was definitely a fan of lester's and paired him with jimmy vaughan to record an album (blues stop knockin').

    have a great weekend!

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    @joe shikspack

    "blues coming down like hail"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid_Thomas_(musician)#:~:text=Louis%20Thomas%20Watts%2C%20commonly%20known%20as%20Kid%20Thomas,the%20rock%2C%20rock%20%26%20roll%20and%20

    https://www.allmusic.com/artist/kid-thomas-mn0000072279/biography

    thx.

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    joe shikspack's picture

    @irishking

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    snoopydawg's picture

    into infinity.

    “if the president decides to amplify these latest smears against the vice president and his only living son, that is Russian disinformation." ...

    A story made up to explain why someone lost the election is being used to make sure someone else wins it. How funny is that? And of course the people who swallowed the first one has no problem swallowing whatever comes from it.

    "These trillion-dollar companies scrape local news content and data for their own sites and leverage their market dominance to force local news to accept little to no compensation for their intellectual property."

    Amazon’s policies are corrupting more and more businesses. Too many news organizations didn’t pay attention when the left leaning sites went through the censorship by changing algorithms. I wish congress would make Amazon, Walmart and others pay something for every one of their workers on social programs. If it hurt enough then maybe they’d pay their workers more than minimum wage. Oh yeah and raise social security to something that people can live on. Hey a dawg can dream right?

    Big tech rallied on Thursday in earnings reports, largely shaking off the impacts of recent regulatory hearings and the coronavirus pandemic.

    Well, duh! When’s the last time congress held anyone accountable for anything? How many went to prison for lying to congress during Mueller’s investigation as opposed to Brennan, Clapper and all the others that lied to congress?

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

    Twitter is like a game of telephone

    joe shikspack's picture

    @snoopydawg

    i blame reagan and every president since him for shirking their responsibility to the american people to police monopolies and enforce anti-trust law. it is now a disused appendage, some empty words made up by legislators that nobody cares to remember because it might offend campaign donors.

    we have a captive government an happy oligarchs.

    have a great weekend!

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    snoopydawg's picture

    @joe shikspack

    And what is that thing Pelosi does with her tongue/mouth when she speaks? It looks like a denture problem to me, but she’s rich right? She can definitely afford to have them adjusted so they don’t fall out.

    BTW Nancy, look in a mirror! Every thing you say about Trump goes on you too.

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

    Twitter is like a game of telephone

    joe shikspack's picture

    @snoopydawg

    she should have been an actress.

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    TheOtherMaven's picture

    @joe shikspack

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    There is no justice. There can be no peace.

    enhydra lutris's picture

    Gee, thanks to Matt for that:

    "The press loses its way when it cares more about who benefits from information than whether it's true."

    -- Matt Taibbi

    I think it started losing it when its main concern was with circulation numbers and ad revenue and then segued from there into Taibbi-Land.

    WTF is Bellingcat up to? I suspect that they are trying to gain credibility for the crap they spew about other matters by putting out some basic well known and not at all surprising information about police malfeasance at home in the US> "See, how "woke", up to speed and objective we are? OK, now back to serious, woke and objective news bullshit about Ukraine and Syria.

    Unions Representing Hundreds of Thousands of Workers Prepare for General Strike If Trump Subverts Election Results

    Good, good, but why so late? Why such a specific trigger? Why not because we are long, long overdue? Hell, why not just for the hell of it?

    be well and have a good one

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    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 suspect that bellingcat is trying to seize control of the issue by becoming a clearinghouse for data. this is clearly an issue that is worrying the powers-that-be due to the fact that the protests are not going away and they cannot really bring themselves to discipline the people with guns that protect their domestic interests.

    Good, good, but why so late? Why such a specific trigger? Why not because we are long, long overdue? Hell, why not just for the hell of it?

    god, i miss abbie hoffman.

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    enhydra lutris's picture

    @joe shikspack

    god, i miss abbie hoffman.

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    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 --

    dystopian's picture

    GREAT sounds JS! A radio program? That explains yer Ph.D.! I wanna know more! Wink What a tragic end Kid Thomas had! Gadzooks! The 'rock' was pushing the limits in its day. Gotta love utoob for music. I look at the news and think "damn right I got the blues".

    I think Bellingcat was some former MI5 spooks, and they are strictly a propaganda outlet for any BS the great deciders want, see their Syria 'work'. I agree with EL, they are looking to repair their lost credibility. Its PR work.

    Have a good one, thanks for the sounds as always...

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    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

    yep, i had a blues show on a local public radio station for many years. it was a great opportunity for me to hear lots of music, get out and meet artists and basically have a good time. i learned a lot and i've tried to pass it on to other people in hopes that they will enjoy the blues and keep them alive.

    here, let me help you put a tune underneath that "damn right i got the blues ..."

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    dystopian's picture

    @joe shikspack @joe shikspack I'd have been a listener if I was in earshot! Wink I sure appreciate what you do for the blues here. I love getting turned on to all the artists I didn't know. Thank you very much for the work you do sharing the knowledge and appreciation, learned blues master!

    In socal for years my weekend afternoon radio was Gary (the Wagman) Wagman's 'Nuthing but the Blues' show, my brother still listens to it religiously.

    I love Buddy Guy, and that is an awesome version/cut of one of my favorite songs. Something about him and his playing speaks to me very deeply.

    viva la blues!

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    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

    snoopydawg's picture

    It’s about intelligence laundering at the highest levels and how the CIA’s goons targeted a whistleblower.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/09/how-a-cia-coverup-targeted...

    The FBI is laundering intelligence through the CIA’s illegal conduct.

    To:Dr:

    Every person involved folded to Gina Haspel and they are once again doing illegal stuff. Surprise. Oh and the guy is still stuck in purgatory job wise.

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

    Twitter is like a game of telephone

    and name. He is young and important, looking for that next opportunity. A senate race or something. He is making friends right now to make that happen.
    This is an example of parallel construction Bill Binney has been describing for a few years. Most of the time, prosecutors do not know the origin of the "probable cause" is illegally fed to the cops by the Feds tipping off the FBI or local yokel sheriff.
    That McConnell as a prosecutor said hell no, and got his butt kicked by Gina Herself, says much about his great integrity. Do note, he came up poor, and did 16 years defending folks. He totally gets it that cops and prosecutors MUST disclose to the defense attorney what they have on your client and how they got their mitts on it.
    He is a hero.
    The most fascinating aspect of this is that The New Yorker published it.
    Thanks, Snoopy.

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