The Evening Blues - 11-24-20



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Dossie Terry

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues singer and songwriter Dossie Terry. Enjoy!

Dossie Terry - She's Alright

“We are plagued by a corrupt polity which promotes unlawful and/or immoral behaviour. Public interest has no practical significance in everyday behaviour among the ruling factions. The real problems of our world are not being confronted by those in power. In the guise of public service, they use whatever comes to hand for personal gain. They are insane with and for power.”

-- Frank Herbert


News and Opinion

An excellent piece by Chris Hedges worth a full read. Here are some excerpts:

Chris Hedges: The Ruling Elite’s War on Truth

Joe Biden’s victory instantly obliterated the Democratic Party’s longstanding charge that Russia was hijacking and compromising US elections. The Biden victory, the Democratic Party leaders and their courtiers in the media now insist, is evidence that the democratic process is strong and untainted, that the system works. The elections ratified the will of the people. But imagine if Donald Trump had been reelected. Would the Democrats and pundits at The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC pay homage to a fair electoral process? Or, having spent four years trying to impugn the integrity of the 2016 presidential race, would they once again haul out the blunt instrument of Russian interference to paint Trump as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate?

Trump and Giuliani are vulgar and buffoonish, but they play the same slimy game as their Democratic opponents. The Republicans scapegoat the deep state, communists and now, bizarrely, Venezuela; the Democrats scapegoat Russia. The widening disconnect from reality by the ruling elite is intended to mask their complicity in the seizure of power by predatory global corporations and billionaires. “This is a disgraceful thing that was done in this country,” Giuliani said at his recent bad-hair-day press conference. “Probably not much more disgraceful than the things these people did in office, which you didn’t and don’t bother to cover and you conceal from the American people, but we let this happen, we use largely a Venezuelan voting machine in essence to count our vote. We let this happen. We’re going to become Venezuela. We cannot let this happen to us. We cannot allow these crooks, because that’s what they are, to steal an election from the American people. They elected Donald Trump. They didn’t elect Joe Biden. Joe Biden is in the lead because of the fraudulent ballots, the illegal ballots, that were produced and that were allowed to be used, after the election was over.” ...

The two warring factions within the ruling elite, which fight primarily over the spoils of power while abjectly serving corporate interests, peddle alternative realities. If the deep state and Venezuelan socialists or Russia intelligence operatives are pulling the strings no one in power is accountable for the rage and alienation caused by the social inequality, the unassailability of corporate power, the legalized bribery that defines our political process, the endless wars, austerity and de-industrialization. The social breakdown is, instead, the fault of shadowy phantom enemies manipulating groups such as Black Lives Matters or the Green Party. “The people who run this country have run out of workable myths with which to distract the public, and in a moment of extreme crisis have chosen to stoke civil war and defame the rest of us – black and white – rather than admit to a generation of corruption, betrayal, and mismanagement,” Matt Taibbi writes. ...

When Trump leaves the White House millions of his enraged supports, hermetically sealed inside hyperventilating media platforms that feed back to them their rage and hate, will see the vote as fraudulent, the political system as rigged, and the establishment press as propaganda. They will target, I fear, through violence, the Democratic Party politicians, mainstream media outlets and those they demonize as conspiratorial members of the deep state, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Democratic Party is as much to blame for this disintegration as Trump and the Republican Party.

The National Security Revolving Door Starts Spinning

Joe Biden’s early national security picks cashed in after their time in the Obama administration by consulting for defense contractors or working for think tanks funded by the defense industry and the U.S. government, or both. On Sunday, Bloomberg reported that Biden has chosen his longtime aide, Tony Blinken, to serve as Secretary of State and will name Jake Sullivan, his senior advisor and a former Hillary Clinton aide, national security adviser. Former Obama Defense Department official Michèle Flournoy is considered the favorite to be Secretary of Defense.

After leaving the Obama administration, Blinken and Flournoy founded WestExec Advisors, a secretive consulting firm whose motto has been: “Bringing the Situation Room to the board room.” Flournoy and Sullivan have both held roles at think tanks raking in money from defense contractors and U.S. government intelligence and defense agencies. Last week, two board members from Raytheon joined a small group to brief President-elect Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on national security issues. One of the two Raytheon board members, Robert Work, has also worked for WestExec.

Biden has been facing calls from Democratic lawmakers and progressive advocacy groups to end the revolving door between government and the defense industry. One-third of the members of Biden transition’s Department of Defense agency review team were most recently employed by “organizations, think tanks or companies that either directly receive money from the weapons industry, or are part of this industry,” according to reporting from In These Times.

Meanwhile, defense executives have been boasting about their close relationship with Biden and expressing confidence that there will not be much change in Pentagon policy.

Warmongers GUSH PRAISE Over Biden’s National Security Team

Peace Groups Blast Biden's DNI Pick Over Links to Drones, Torture, and Mass Surveillance

Peace activists on Monday sounded the alarm over President-elect Joe Biden's pick for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, citing her role in drone strike policy during Barack Obama's presidency and covering up torture perpetrated by members of the George W. Bush administration.

Haines, as former deputy national security adviser and former deputy CIA director, worked closely with Obama and former CIA Director John Brennan as the administration dramatically increased drone strikes.

CIA Director Gina Haspel, as the New York Times noted, will report to Haines. Haspel had a role supervising the CIA's torture program, and Haines supported President Donald Trump's nomination of the agency chief in 2018.

As the Daily Beast reported in July, Haines approved an "accountability board" that spared CIA personnel reprisal for spying on the Senate's torture investigators, and was part of the team that redacted their landmark report. After the administration ended, Haines supported Gina Haspel for CIA director, someone directly implicated in CIA torture, a decision that remains raw amongst progressive activists. Until late June, she consulted for the Trump-favorite data firm Palantir, which emerged from the CIA.

Haines' nomination drew praise from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who said he was "incredibly pleased" by the pick, adding it sends "a clear message of hope and support for American values to the world in choosing candidates who possess the qualifications, the demeanor, and the temperament to serve in leadership positions."

Krystal Ball: Healthcare CRIMINALS Are Gouging Covid Patients

Oxford Covid vaccine hit 90% success rate thanks to dosing error

The Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine trials reached 90% efficacy by accident thanks to the “serendipity” of an error that led to some participants receiving half doses, it has emerged.

On Monday scientists revealed that the Oxford vaccine had an overall efficacy of 70%, but could be around 90% effective when administered as a half dose followed by a full dose a month later. ...

Scientists said they still could not fully explain why the half dose gave better protection, but said it may be that it triggers the immune system differently. ...

Prof Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the trial, added: “What we don’t know at this moment is whether that difference is in the quality or the quantity of immune response. And that’s something we’re going to be digging into over the next weeks.”

As Hunger Soars Across Nation, U.S. Trade & Foreign Policy Is Also Causing Hunger Across the Globe

Los Angeles bans restaurant dining and plans stay-at-home order

Los Angeles is shutting down restaurant dining and plans to adopt a new stay-at-home order as California faces record Covid-19 infections, a potential shortage of hospital beds and an expected surge in cases tied to the holidays.

LA officials announced on Sunday that the county would be prohibiting dining at restaurants for at least three weeks starting on Wednesday, and urged residents not to travel or gather in groups for Thanksgiving this week. With a record of 6,124 new cases reported on Monday in LA and an alarming increase over the last week, the county is expected to launch another lockdown, officials said on Monday.

The new restrictions, which will be discussed on Tuesday, are hitting the largest county in the US as the state experiences by far the highest level of Covid spread since the start of the pandemic.

California reported a record of more than 15,000 new Covid cases statewide on Saturday, and another 14,000 cases on Sunday. LA county has been a Covid hotspot in the state for months and now has a record surge, with a five-day average of more than 4,500 people reporting new infections each day – a number that has nearly doubled in just two weeks, the LA Times reported.

Some hospitals have warned they could run out of beds, staff and other resources as they become overrun with Covid patients, with sharp increases in hospitalizations across southern California. The state has also seen a 55% increase in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions over a two-week period. People ages 18 to 49 represent 60% of all new cases, and California logged 265,000 tests on Saturday.

Trump supporter who exhaled over women during protests is charged with assault

A man seen forcefully exhaling on two women outside Donald Trump’s Virginia golf course has been charged with assault.

Raymond Deskins, 61, was charged with misdemeanor assault after a private citizen obtained a warrant through a county magistrate, the Loudoun county sheriff’s office said on Sunday. Deskins did not immediately return a request for comment.

Video widely shared on social media shows Deskins blowing air on two unidentified women after one of them asks him to get away and points out that he’s not wearing a mask amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

“That’s assault” one of the women said afterwards.

“I breathed on you,” Deskins replied. ...

The sheriff’s office said the altercation was investigated at the scene but was not witnessed by law enforcement and the video did not capture its entirety.

The sheriff’s office said it advised the two parties who said they’d been assaulted that they could seek a warrant through a county magistrate.

Betting Pool? Tyson Managers Bet on How Many Workers Would Get COVID. Advocates Call It Grim Pattern

High Drug Prices Could Result in Premature Deaths of More Than 1.1 Million Seniors in Next Decade

More than 1.1 million seniors in the Medicare program could die prematurely over the next decade because they cannot afford the exorbitant prices of prescription medications.

That's according to a study released last week by the West Health Policy Center, a nonprofit and nonpartisan policy research group, and Xcenda, the research arm of AmerisourceBergen, a drug distributor.

Researchers expect "cost-related nonadherence" to drug therapy to increase not only unnecessary suffering but also Medicare spending, as deteriorating health conditions drive up preventable expenses by more than $177 billion by 2030.

Unless drug prices are reduced, the analysis estimated that 112,000 seniors per year could succumb to early death as a result of not being able to afford their medications. In addition, researchers projected that health complications stemming from the unaffordable cost of prescriptions will force Medicare to spend nearly $18 billion annually on avoidable medical expenses.

Prescription drug prices have been soaring, with list prices having increased by 159% from 2007 to 2018.

West Health noted that if these trends continue, cost-related nonadherence to drug therapy will be "a leading cause of death in the U.S., ahead of diabetes, influenza, pneumonia, and kidney disease."

"One of the biggest contributors to poor health, hospital admissions, higher healthcare costs, and preventable death is patients failing to take their medications as prescribed," said Timothy Lash, president of the West Health Policy Center. "Cost-related nonadherence is a significant and growing issue that is a direct result of runaway drug prices and a failure to implement policies and regulations that make drugs more affordable."

Saagar Enjeti: How Biden, Pelosi, Schumer Are CHOOSING To Let Workers Rot With No Stimulus

Jeremy Hammond released from prison

Computer hacker Jeremy Hammond, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for breaking into computer systems of security firms and law-enforcement agencies, will serve out the remainder of his term in a Chicago halfway house, a U.S. Bureau of Prison spokesman said Wednesday. ...

Computer hacker Jeremy Hammond, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for breaking into computer systems of security firms and law-enforcement agencies, will serve out the remainder of his term in a Chicago halfway house, a U.S. Bureau of Prison spokesman said Wednesday.

The raid came after Hammond penetrated the Texas-based security think tank Strategic Forecasting Inc., known as Stratfor. The company’s clients include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department. He was also accused of hacking the FBI’s Virtual Academy, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Saudis may stall on Trump's Middle East peace plan now he’s on the way out

During the last year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the question of whether Saudi Arabia would make peace with Israel had come down to a question of when. The terms of such a deal were more or less agreed during Trump’s tumultuous term, thrashed out between his envoy and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the kingdom’s effective ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, who held a very different view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from other Saudi leaders.

Their outlook centred on Iran rather than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being the centre of the region’s dysfunction. And Israel, they agreed, could help, not hinder, progress on that score. Prince Mohammed eschewed his father and uncles’ views that a return to 1967 lines was a starting point for peace, in favour of the Kushner line that Palestinian leaders had caused talks to stagnate. Ties warmed quickly, especially from May 2017, when Saudi Arabia received Trump as a conquering hero after he overturned the nuclear deal with Tehran and reorientated Washington’s focus to Riyadh. ...

Securing a peace pact is something Pompeo, Kushner and Trump have desperately pushed for and such a deal would indeed be seismic in the Middle East, where many are nervously awaiting its impact. The Palestinians, fearful of their cause all but being obliterated, have flagged restarting talks when Joe Biden takes over the White House and have resumed security cooperation with Israel in advance. Their hope is that Prince Mohammed will not sign up to the plan before 20 January, presenting the incoming president with a fait accompli. Prince Mohammed knows what such a concession would mean, both for the kingdom and for Trump. He had given the go-ahead for Bahrain, a junior ally of Riyadh, to sign a deal and had been inclined to follow suit if Trump had won a second term.

His reward for doing so would have been significant; access to defence technology that could have put the kingdom on a strategic par with Israel was one inducement. Investment and standing with Washington were others. His incentive to do so now though is less clear. Unless Trump’s aides can conjure up a way to offer rewards that would be safeguarded when the White House changes leader, Prince Mohammed may decide not to play his hand for now.

'Iran in the Crosshairs?' Reports of Secret Meeting Between Netanyahu, MbS, and Pompeo Spark Fears of War Plot

The alarming possibility of a military attack on Iran—a nation that has long been in the sights of war hawks in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel—was immediately invoked by foreign policy analysts Monday following reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in secret late Sunday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

First divulged by unnamed Israeli officials and publicly denied Monday morning by the Saudi foreign minister, the reported covert meeting in Neom, Saudi Arabia comes on the heels of news last week that U.S. President Donald Trump asked his senior advisers for options to bomb Iran's primary nuclear energy site, prompting Iran to vow a "crushing response" to any attack.

Trump's request for military strike options came days after he lost the presidential election to Joe Biden, who has pledged to act quickly to reenter the Iran nuclear agreement that Trump violated in May of 2018. Contrary to baseless and ongoing allegations by the U.S. and Israel, Iran says it is not developing and has no plans to develop nuclear weapons—a claim U.N. inspectors have repeatedly verified in recent years.

The context of the Trump administration's aggressive posturing and militaristic threats against Iran fueled critics' concerns following word of the secret meeting between MbS, Netanyahu, and Pompeo, which was also reportedly attended by Yossi Cohen, director of the Israeli spy agency Mossad.

"It is extremely alarming that the warmongers most reliant on Trump's blank checks are secretly meeting in the middle of the night as the clock nearly runs out on the Trump administration," tweeted foreign policy analyst Omar Baddar. "Do they have Iran in the crosshairs?"

Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, echoed Baddar's fears and raised the additional concern that the "actual target" of the meeting was "the incoming Biden team, with the aim of deterring the U.S. from seeking diplomacy with Tehran."

Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, echoed Baddar's fears and raised the additional concern that the "actual target" of the meeting was "the incoming Biden team, with the aim of deterring the U.S. from seeking diplomacy with Tehran."

Among the topics discussed at the hours-long meeting, according to the Journal, were Iran and normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Both Netanyahu and Pompeo refused to comment on the meeting, but neither denied that it took place.

To Prevent 'Active Sabotage' of His Agenda, Biden Urged to Clean House of Trump Loyalists on Day One

During his four-year tenure in the White House, President Donald Trump packed powerful federal regulatory agencies with dozens of right-wing loyalists who are well-placed to stall or undermine the agenda of President-elect Joe Biden from the moment he takes office.

But according to a report (pdf) released Monday by the Revolving Door Project, there is an immediate and perfectly legal solution available to Biden if he's willing to act: Clean house of all political officials who were installed because of their allegiance to Trump.

While noting that many political appointees typically step aside once the president who hired them departs, the Revolving Door Project points out that "a powerful minority will, by default, continue in office," leaving them positioned to slow-walk or even "sabotage" Biden's agenda.

"Some of these figures are beyond the next president's reach, protected by provisions that stipulate they can only be removed 'for cause.' (Of course, if 'cause' for termination is ultimately ascertained, it ought to be acted upon.) Many, however, can be removed on a president's first day in office, even if that is not routine," reads the four-page memo. "These figures are only protected by norms—norms that the Trump administration has itself undermined."

The Revolving Door Project, an initiative of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) that aims to ensure executive branch officials serve the public interest, pointed to a number of officials whom Biden has the authority to terminate immediately upon assuming the presidency.

Those officials, according to the report, "include the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Comptroller of the Currency,​ the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and taking ​Seila Law v. CFPB as precedent, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and the commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA)."

Citing the new memo, progressive advocacy group Social Security Works urged Biden to make use of his power and remove top SSA officials "who have been waging a regulatory war on people with disabilities."

"Biden has the power to remove the top two officials at the Social Security Administration," the group said. "He needs to use it."

Though top Trump-appointed officials at other key agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Postal Regulatory Commission cannot be removed without cause, they can be demoted, stripped of the "power to set an agency's agenda and otherwise steer its course," and replaced, the Revolving Door Project noted.

"Putting that position in a Democratic commissioner's hands, even when Democrats lack a majority on the commission, could allow the agency to begin to reorient right away," the group said.

Jeff Hauser, executive director of the Revolving Door Project, said in a statement Monday that it would be a major "unforced error" if Biden fails to use his authority to remove or demote Trump loyalists standing in the way of his policy agenda, which—if Democrats fail to take control of the Senate by prevailing in both Georgia runoffs in January—will rely heavily on executive and regulatory actions.

"Holdovers from the Trump administration may actively sabotage the Biden administration's initiatives from their powerful perches (this is not without precedent)," said Hauser. "Even if, however, they do not set out to undermine the new administration, it is doubtful that these will be the best figures to carry out Biden's ambitious agenda."

Dianne Feinstein to step down as top Democrat on Senate judiciary panel

The California senator Dianne Feinstein will not seek to retain her position as the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate judiciary committee. “After serving as the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee for four years, I will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position in the next Congress,” Feinstein said in a statement on Monday.

“California is a huge state confronting two existential threats – wildfire and drought – that are only getting worse with climate change. In the next Congress, I plan to increase my attention on those two crucial issues,” she added.

Dick Durbin, the senator of Illinois and the Democratic whip, said he would seek the job. “I intend to seek the top Democratic position on the Judiciary Committee in the 117th Congress. I have served on the Committee for 22 years, and I am its most senior member who does not currently serve atop another Senate Committee,” he said. “We have to roll up our sleeves and get to work on undoing the damage of the last four years and protecting fundamental civil and human rights.”

Feinstein, 87, has faced intensifying calls from progressives to retire from the judiciary committee following her handling of the supreme court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.



the horse race




Trump agrees to begin transition as key agency calls Biden 'apparent' election winner

The General Services Administration has declared president-elect Joe Biden the “apparent” winner of the US election, clearing the way for the formal transition from Donald Trump’s administration to begin after weeks of delay.

The GSA said on Monday that it had determined that Biden was the winner of the 3 November race after weeks of Trump refusing to concede and violating the traditions of the transition of power at the White House.

Trump said on Twitter he had directed his team to cooperate on the transition, but vowed to continue fighting the election results, despite the lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud. ...

Murphy’s letter came on the same day that Biden announced his selection for several key cabinet roles. The president-elect said he would be nominating Tony Blinken as secretary of state, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser and John Kerry as “climate tsar”, suggesting a return to the priorities of the Obama era.

Biden also selected Alejandro Mayorkas for homeland security secretary. If he is confirmed, he would be the first Latino and migrant to have the position. He has further chosen Avril Haines to be the first female director of national intelligence and Janet Yellen to be the country’s first female treasury secretary.

Michigan certifies Biden's victory despite Trump's efforts to undermine it

Michigan election officials on Monday certified Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state amid president Donald Trump’s brazen attempts to subvert the results of the election.

The board of state canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one abstention. Allies of Trump and the losing Republican Senate candidate John James had urged the panel to delay voting for two weeks to audit votes in heavily Democratic Wayne county, home to Detroit.

The move is another setback in Trump’s efforts to use unconventional means to undermine the results of the 3 November election and comes even after he made direct overtures to Republican officials in the state by inviting them to the White House last week.

Under Michigan law, Biden claims all 16 electoral votes. Biden won by 2.8 percentage points – a larger margin than in other states where Trump is contesting the results, including Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Progressives GO TO THE MAT To Bar Rahm Emanuel From Biden Cabinet



the evening greens


CO2 hits new record despite Covid-19 lockdowns

Climate-heating gases have reached record levels in the atmosphere despite the global lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization has said.

There is estimated to have been a cut in emissions of between 4.2% and 7.5% in 2020 due to the shutdown of travel and other activities. But the WMO said this was a “tiny blip” in the continuous buildup of greenhouse gases in the air caused by human activities, and less than the natural variation seen year to year.

The WMO report said the monthly average CO2 for September at the benchmark station of Mauna Loa in Hawaii was 411.3ppm, up from 408.5ppm in September 2019. The same was seen at Cape Grim in Tasmania, Australia, with a rise to 410.8ppm from 408.6ppm in 2019.

It said there had been a “growth spurt” in the average CO2 level for the whole of 2019, rising by more than the average rate over the last decade. The data shows action to cut emissions is currently far from what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of the climate emergency.

Scientists calculate that emissions must fall by half by 2030 to give a good chance of limiting global heating to 1.5C, beyond which hundreds of millions of people will face more heatwaves, droughts, floods and poverty. Nations had pledged to ramp up their emissions cuts at a UN summit in Glasgow this month but the meeting has been postponed by a year due to Covid-19.

Why is Joe Biden considering Ernest Moniz to help fight the climate crisis?

It was a deceptively low-key occasion on Capitol Hill: an older man in a dark suit, talking into a TV camera about an energy report. According to his firm’s 362-page analysis, the fastest path to California’s climate goals included continuing to rely on fossil fuels. The analysis was funded by gas companies and groups related to them, but he wasn’t a lobbyist or industry consultant. Quite the opposite, he was the Obama administration’s well-respected energy secretary, Ernest Moniz.

“We certainly have to get beyond … the climate deniers,” he said in the April 2019 interview with C-SPAN. “But we also have to get beyond what we think are often completely unrealistic proposals for the pace at which we can decarbonize.” Fighting climate change at the pace needed would require a “broad coalition,” he said – one that included the oil and gas industry.

Moniz was wading into a dispute that will define how the new Biden administration tackles the crisis: can oil and gas companies be part of the solution? Or have they proven, with years of disinformation campaigns and efforts to slow climate action, that they will always stand in the way? As the Biden transition team wrestles with this question, it is already facing pressure from activists not to hire more people with fossil fuel ties, like Louisiana congressman Cedric Richmond, who will join Biden’s White House as a top adviser. ...

While gas has helped the US cut its planet-heating emissions by replacing dirtier coal, it remains a major climate polluter that is linked with significant health problems. Collin Rees, a senior campaigner for Oil Change International said Moniz’s links to fossil fuels aren’t “a blip on his resume”.

“It is his entire professional career for the last couple decades, which is deeply concerning,” Rees said. ...

Moniz has not-so-subtly jabbed a progressive Green New Deal that would fight climate change and inequity simultaneously, touting instead a “Green Real Deal,” that would work “within the constraints of technical, cost, and social realities”. Moniz believes fossil gas will be part of the solution, used to back up solar panels and wind turbines that don’t generate power constantly.

European governments failing to protect citizens from air pollution, data reveals

Governments across Europe are failing to protect their citizens from toxic air pollution, with most Europeans still breathing filthy air in their cities, according to data.

Pollutants from farming, domestic heating and vehicles are beyond the levels needed to ensure breathable air within World Health Organization guidelines, despite EU legislation, government pledges and years of campaigning.

Only Ireland, Iceland, Finland and Estonia showed levels of fine particulate matter – one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution – that were below the WHO guidelines in 2018, according to data released on Monday by the European Environment Agency.

Exposure to such pollution caused about 417,000 premature deaths across Europe – including non-EU member states – in 2018. ...

There have been some improvements, but they fall short of the actions needed from governments. The EEA found that 60,000 fewer people died prematurely in 2018 than in 2009 from fine particulate matter pollution.


Also of Interest

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

Hey Joe, Where You Going With That Pentagon in Your Hands?

Biden names national-security team of right-wing militarists

Tony Blinken: the good, the bad, and potentially ugly

Caitlin Johnstone: Surprise! America Is Getting Another Psycho For Secretary Of State

South Dakota gripped by pandemic amid Kristi Noem's no-mask approach

Pandemic Freedom

Know Your Enemies

Fight for $15 minimum wage boosted in Florida but Biden faces tough task

From 'Alarming Red Flag' to 'Something We Can Work With,' Campaigners Respond to Kerry as Biden Climate Envoy

The runoff for Georgia’s Public Service Commission is a referendum on the powerful energy company Georgia Power.

North Carolina pastor who led peaceful march to polls charged with felony assault

The Untold Story of Mnuchin’s Demand for the Fed to Shut Down Emergency Lending Programs

LEE CAMP: Keep Calm & Just Die

AOC-Linked Think Tank: How Biden Can Be A Truly Great President

Ryan Grim: Biden Stacks Cabinet With LOYALISTS To Much Chagrin

Trump Comes CLOSEST He’ll Ever Get To Conceding As GSA Certifies Transition


A Little Night Music

Dossie Terry - Thunderbird

Dossie Terry - Twenty-Four Years

Dossie Terry - You Will Be Mine

Dossie Terry - I Got A Watch Dog

Dossie Terry - Railroad Section Man

Dossie Terry - When I Hit The Number

Dossie Terry (& Grp.) - Come On / No Other Love

Dossie Terry w/ Howard Biggs' Orch. - Didn't Satisfy You

Dossie Terry - Lost My Head

Dossie Terry - Fool Mule


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Comments

mimi's picture

as you said it is an excellent one. I could not help to be fascinated by Mr. Fish accompanying cartoon. I can't embed it here. It's worth a look. I have serious questions about the meaning of that cartoon. But I guess I leave it up to you to torture your mind of that cartoon. Smile

Thanks. Have to read more tomorrow.

Have a good evening all, stay home and healthy.

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8 users have voted.

"heh, as they say, if you don't dig the blues, you got a hole in your soul" - JS

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

i dunno. that cartoon doesn't torture my imagination at all. my brain constructed a completely satisfactory narrative.

that said, the cartoon is worth a click and at least a thousand words. Smile

have a great evening!

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack

up
3 users have voted.

"heh, as they say, if you don't dig the blues, you got a hole in your soul" - JS

Creosote.'s picture

@mimi

or found among one's own biological family

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Creosote.
It's no time to be sarcastic anymore, I should consider that. I apologize if the comment got you sensitized in a wrong way.

Have a good evening and stay healthy.

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3 users have voted.

"heh, as they say, if you don't dig the blues, you got a hole in your soul" - JS

QMS's picture

A classic case of double standards here. It is considered legal for the security state to hack
everyone, but hell to pay if someone turns the table around. Witness Julian Assange. There is something buried in our bill of rights that requires the citizens to hold officials accountable to the interests of the well being of our republic. What appears to be missing is a form of justice. Public records are somehow only to be used against us, not them. Jeepers creepers.

Thanks for the round-up Joe!

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9 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@QMS

defends this. Look at how many people wanted Assange held accountable even before Russia Gate. Too many people don’t seem to care that their rights have been terminated. I don’t get it.

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7 users have voted.

People are going to be sick for the rest of their lives and the people responsible will pay no price.

Sam still thinks she’s a cat.

QMS's picture

@snoopydawg

what is wrong with telling the truth?
He is being held accountable for exposure
of crimes committed by the state.

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

the creation of the national security state turned the constitution on its head. it's just a damned piece of paper, now.

have a great evening!

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5 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@joe shikspack

a damned inconvenient piece of paper to the 3 branches
takes a lot of lawyers to erase the damn thing Wink

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5 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

didn't you know that?

https://itssimplerthanitlooks.blogspot.com/2020/11/sarah-chayes-on-corru...

Sarah Chayes' On Corruption in America, and what is at stake.

Former NPR reporter and advisor to the U.S. military has turned her attention to America's domestic corruption which she finds eerily familiar with her experience in third world countries like Afghanistan.

Chayes begins her book with an account of a U.S. Supreme Court case prosecuting a former Virginia governor named McDonnell. Governor McDonnell had been convicted of accepting bribes by a lower court, whose verdict had been affirmed by an appeals court. Among other things, McDonnell had been treated to free private plane rides, his wife had gone shopping with the briber, receiving $75,000 worth of goods, and many other items, all to persuade the Governor to purchase and endorse the briber's products with Virginia's state money. And McDonnell had repeatedly requested those purchases and endorsements happen.

Both lower courts were persuaded this was a clear case of bribery, but the Supreme Court acquitted McDonnell unanimously, saying this is how America conducts its public policy business, and any inhibition of this behavior would be unreasonable. Remember: unanimously.

Ms. Chayes expresses her distress that the highest court in the land legitimized bribery as business as usual. She had been in those "shithole" countries where she might have expected this, but seeing it in the U.S. was unfamiliar to her. She adds that in her experience in the Muslim Middle East, the population was not so much persuaded by the religious extremism of terrorists as by their honesty. The corruption of the Afghan government installed by the U.S. is what drove the Afghan population into the arms of the Taliban.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@ggersh

run for re-election. It's one term and out, unless they run to get back in after a term or two on the outside. This was supposed to minimize the opportunities for bribery and corruption, but apparently has only encouraged a "grab it while you can" mentality. (McDonnell had other faults besides being a greedy grifter - he kicked off his term by declaring April 2020 "Confederate history month" in a proclamation that said nothing whatsoever about slavery, among many other obnoxious things. Basically he oinked all the way to the bank.)

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

ggersh's picture

@TheOtherMaven but what SCOTUS did is. Crazy shit isn't it....Rhetorical

Both lower courts were persuaded this was a clear case of bribery, but the Supreme Court acquitted McDonnell unanimously, saying this is how America conducts its public policy business, and any inhibition of this behavior would be unreasonable. Remember: unanimously.

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joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

heh, i remembered the case and that it was a travesty, but i had to refresh my memory on the details.

scotus blog has a great piece up about it that is worth a look.

Is it bribery or “the basic compact underlying representative government”?

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5 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

@joe shikspack

“It is better to suffer a great wrong than to have recourse to the much greater wrong of the law.”

https://www.mimimatthews.com/2015/04/06/law-meets-literature-bleak-house...

It's all above my paygrade but I do get the jist, we ordinary people are fucked

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snoopydawg's picture

@ggersh

It’s a good read.

p. 164 "Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan--a Reagan appointee, reappointed twice by Clinton--flatly opposed government supervision of the banking sector. Despite the criminality that had caused the S&L crisis...it was Greenspan's view that fraud should not even be prohibited by law."

I bet there’s few congress critters that would disagree with him on that. This ties back into QMS' comment above. The rules for us do not apply to them in so many ways.

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ggersh's picture

@snoopydawg they also are beginning to look for protection from the people. This should be an essay on it's own

https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20201120b.shtml

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (A1649), which protects the home addresses and telephone numbers of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers from public disclosure. The bill, known as “Daniel’s Law,” is named in honor of Daniel Anderl, the late son of U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas. Daniel fell victim to a senseless act of gun violence committed by an individual who had compiled a dossier of personal information about Judge Salas, including the judge’s home address.

“This is a renewed commitment to ensure our judiciary, prosecutors, and members of law enforcement who answer the call of justice can do so without fear for their personal safety, or that of their loved ones,” said Governor Murphy. “By shielding the home addresses and private contact information for those who serve on the bench and enforce our laws, we are demonstrating that in the face of unspeakable tragedy, New Jersey responds not with thoughts and prayers, but with concrete action.”

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Raggedy Ann's picture

I'm cracking up at all the whiners regarding the Biden cabinet picks. People are such fools. People know who Biden is yet feign surprise. Anyone know the story about the scorpion who needed to cross the lake? Biden is that scorpion. So hilarious. Makes me happy I opted out of the whole voting scam.

Enjoy the evening! Pleasantry

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10 users have voted.

The UFO’s are coming to unify us.

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

yep, i certainly wasn't expecting any better from biden.

perhaps the whiners will be sufficiently alarmed by his choices that they skip brunch and get to work pestering the hell out of biden. while it probably won't do any good, it will be satisfying to watch.

have a good one!

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4 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

of his music. Had somebody asked me yesterday if somebody had ever written a paen to Thunderbird i would've laughed at what a preposterous idea that would be. Uh hu, heard everything now.

And this:

More than 1.1 million seniors in the Medicare program could die prematurely over the next decade because they cannot afford the exorbitant prices of prescription medications.

Who needs them? They no longer produce anything. If they can't afford their meds, they obviously don't invest in zip shit. The only remaining possible reason to keep them around is as consumers. Well, if they can't afford their meds, they probably aren't consuming a hell of a lot else so they clearly serve no purpose.

be well and have a good one

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9 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 --

@enhydra lutris but correct as far as I can tell.

"useless eaters" is a termm I've heard.

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6 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

yeah, but just think of what all of these premature deaths of old people is doing for the stability of social security and medicare!?!

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5 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@joe shikspack

we paid into the social security system our whole damn working lives
with the promise of getting something back when aged out
the dollars I paid in the 60's are barely worth pennies now
how does that work?

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joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

the bipartisans want to give your contributions to their criminal friends on wall street, so the fewer dollars that get used between now and when the theft is formalized, the more of the trust fund they have to give to their cronies.

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QMS's picture

@joe shikspack

thanks

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Creosote.'s picture

@enhydra lutris
and "there's no such thing as society"

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snoopydawg's picture

Instead of cutting Medicare congress can fight for lower drug prices and I bet that'd save quite a bit of money. You know like raising the cap on social security. I’m pretty sure that congress knows that don’t you? I can hear you now.

"But snoop if we did that then people would get the idea to reduce the military budget and put the money back into social programs and it would snowball from there."

This should be a priority for Biden because Trump just changed the rules for reviewing people on disability which of course makes it harder for them to stay on it. Hopefully most of Trumps last minute legislation won’t go into effect for months or years and democrats might be able to stall them. I guess it depends if it’s all congress or just the senate. That’s what republicans did on Obama’s when Trump took over.

Citing the new memo, progressive advocacy group Social Security Works urged Biden to make use of his power and remove top SSA officials "who have been waging a regulatory war on people with disabilities."

I knew Biden would be bad, but he’s worse than I thought. It’s good to see this much attention being focused on who he puts in.

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7 users have voted.

People are going to be sick for the rest of their lives and the people responsible will pay no price.

Sam still thinks she’s a cat.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

It’s good to see this much attention being focused on who he puts in.
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heh, i hope that people start pressuring the hell out of their senators (especially the dems) to vote down biden's egregious cabinet choices. that would be a great way to kick off the campaign hold biden's feet to the fire.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

There is a lot of flack about Biden’s picks on Twitter, but they are getting the same old talking point back at them.

He’s not in office yet.
Well at least they are better than the ones in Trumps right now.
Geez can you wait a bit to see how he will do?

New rule for criticizing Biden:

There is never a good time to criticize Biden! And any criticism of Kamala means that you are racist and sexist.

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6 users have voted.

People are going to be sick for the rest of their lives and the people responsible will pay no price.

Sam still thinks she’s a cat.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

tell them that the transition has officially started and biden is eligible for criticism of his actions. he's using our gummint money at this point so he's fair game.

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4 users have voted.

I wanted to share a lawsuit prevention story.
I informed my client I would beat him over the head if he ever came to me to get a divorce and fight over stupid stuff, like meat grinders, dead bobcats in the freezer, or Yeti coolers.
What he brought me a couple of days later was this "yeti" cooler full of iced down beer.

Yeti.jpg
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Raggedy Ann's picture

@on the cusp
is a keeper! Pleasantry

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6 users have voted.

The UFO’s are coming to unify us.

@Raggedy Ann a few years later, he hired me to help him adopt his wife's 2 daughters. It went off without a hitch.
After court, on the courthouse steps, he said when his child was born, he was overwhelmed with some feeling He said when the judge ruled for granting the adoptions, he got that same feeling.
He is, indeed, a keeper.
He is my heart.

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joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

that sounds like a great client to have. may his legal troubles be few and his gratitude continue nonetheless. Smile

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6 users have voted.

@joe shikspack over the holidays. I can't wait to hide out at that "other" lake.

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joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

i'm looking forward to slacking off for a few days, avoiding the news, stuffing myself with turkey and the trimmings hanging with the grandkid and cranking up the tunes.

you guys have a great time at your alt lake and watch out for those gators!

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3 users have voted.
Situational Lefty's picture

latest report on the Open Skies Treaty.

The Trump administration is destroying the planes to make sure it never happens again.

An agreement between two WWII allies is being destroyed in the name of profits for the oligarchs who run their respective countries.

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2 users have voted.

"The enemy is anybody who is going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on." Yossarian