The Evening Blues - 3-4-21



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Harmonica Fats

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues harmonica player Harmonica Fats. Enjoy!

Harmonica Fats - Tore Up (Over You)

"In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. Beside the objection to such a mixture of heterogeneous powers: the trust and the temptation would be too great for any one man: not such as nature may offer as the prodigy of many centuries, but such as may be expected in the ordinary successions of magistracy. War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war a physical force is to be created, and it is the executive will which is to direct it. In war the public treasures are to be unlocked, and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them. In war the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed. It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered, and it is the executive brow they are to encircle. The strongest passions, and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venial love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace."

-- James Madison


News and Opinion

After Airstrikes in Syria, Senators Introduce Resolution to Repeal Some Presidential War Powers

As frustration is building among federal lawmakers over President Joe Biden's recent retaliatory airstrikes on facilities in Syria that the administration said belonged to Iran-backed militia groups, a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday introduced legislation to rein in some of the president's war powers.

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) reintroduced a resolution (pdf) to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq. The measure—which notably leaves out the 2001 AUMF that passed after the 9/11 attacks—is co-sponsored by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky).

"Last week's airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers," Kaine said in as statement. "Congress has a responsibility to not only vote to authorize new military action, but to repeal old authorizations that are no longer necessary."

"The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs that underpinned the war against Iraq need to be taken off the books to prevent their future misuse," he added. "They serve no operational purpose, keep us on permanent war footing, and undermine the sovereignty of Iraq, a close partner. I call on Congress to promptly take up this measure and for the Biden administration to support it to finally show the American people that the Article I and II branches can work together on these issues."

The move came as Biden is facing criticism from lawmakers and legal scholars over the February 25 "revenge" bombing that served as an official response to a series of rocket attacks on Iraqi military bases that host U.S. troops. There was another rocket attack just hours before the resolution's introduction.

"If we assess a further response is warranted, we will take action again in a manner and time of our choosing and we reserve that option," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday. "What we won't do is make a hasty or ill-informed decision that further escalates the [situation] or plays into the hands of our adversaries."

Duckworth, a veteran, said in a statement that "as a nation, we are long overdue to have a thorough and honest reckoning about responsibly exercising congressional war powers, which includes repealing outdated authorities like the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. For decades, administrations of both parties have kept these authorizations on the books to justify military action in the region without returning to Congress to make their best legal case for the need for such action."

Politico reported Tuesday that some lawmakers—including Kaine—are frustrated that Biden did not notify them about Syria, ordered the strikes without seeking congressional approval, and still hasn't had a briefing for senators.

"I still need to be convinced that any president has the authorization required to take a retaliatory strike, especially outside of Iraq," said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who sat in on the briefing for Senate aides. "I didn't hear anything today that convinced me that there was justification that I'd apply to any administration."

Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, told Politico that he learned about the strikes "on the news" and "I don't think I should be learning about it that way." He added that because Biden served as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, "he should understand more than most—more than just virtually anybody—that the Article I branch has got to have a role here."

Though Kaine and other co-sponsors referenced the Syria strikes in their comments about the proposal, Lawfare noted that Biden did not rely on any AUMF in his legally required report to Congress on the action—he only cited his constitutional authority as chief executive and commander-in-chief.

"This is not surprising," Lawfare added. "Although the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations cited the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs as continuing authority to use force in Iraq and Syria (including against the Islamic State), members of Congress of both parties have grown increasingly uncomfortable as successive presidents have stretched the 2001 and 2002 authorizations beyond their original purposes—the latter authorization especially so."

Biden Is Bending Rules to Drop Bombs But Not to Raise Wages—That’s a Mistake

It took barely a month into Joe Biden’s presidency for him to boot the U.S. war machine back up, authorizing airstrikes on Syria on February 25. The administration claimed the attack was self-defense against Iranian-backed forces in the region.

Biden had campaigned on revitalizing U.S.-Iran relations by rejoining the nuclear deal that Trump had walked away from. Yet, like so many presidents before him, he reached for the military option rather than a diplomatic one.

This isn’t surprising. But it is illegal.

The Pentagon claimed that the strikes were retaliation for attacks by an Iraqi Shiite militia against American and coalition personnel. The administration apparently judged that a military response in Iraq would be politically complicated, so they struck an alleged militia base in Syria instead.

By international standards and common decency, it is unlawful to “send a message” to a third party by carrying out military attacks in a country that is not attacking you just because it’s convenient.

By domestic standards, in our system of checks and balances, the president does not have the authorization to use military force without the consent of Congress. But George W. Bush and every president after him has used the 2001 Authorization of Military Force and 2002 Iraq War Authorization as a blank check to bypass the Congressional War Powers Act and drop bombs freely.

A few lawmakers did speak out. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Chris Murphy (D-CT), along with House progressives like Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Rho Khanna (D-CA) called the administration out for the unexpected escalation. But most lawmakers remained silent.

When it comes to international relations, it seems the rules don’t apply. But when we look at the rules of engagement at home, it really adds salt to the wound.


In the same week that the rules went out the window to bomb Syria, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the Senate couldn’t pass a provision raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour through the reconciliation process.

What Democrats could have done, if they really wanted to pass a living wage, is rewrite the language in the bill so that it meets the right criteria for the reconciliation process. Or the Biden administration could have tried to overrule the decision.

Under George W. Bush, Republicans actually fired the Senate parliamentarian who ruled against passing Bush’s tax cuts under reconciliation — and then passed them in a 50-50 Senate much like today’s.

Instead, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was “disappointed” but “respects the parliamentarian’s decision and the Senate’s process.” Basically, he threw up his hands and said sorry, but rules are rules.

When it comes to life-saving policy for millions of working families in the United States, there was no attempt from Biden to justify a workaround. But when it comes to life-destroying air strikes that only serve to enrich weapons manufacturers and destabilize the region, the rules went out the window.

Progressives Sell Out Workers on $15 Minimum Wage


In Cave to Right-Wing Dems, Biden Agrees to Further Limit Eligibility for Direct Payments

In the face of pressure from a faction of conservative Senate Democrats, President Joe Biden reportedly agreed Wednesday to limit eligibility for direct relief payments by accelerating the phase-out of $1,400 checks proposed in the emerging $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Under the new eligibility structure, according to the Washington Post, individuals earning $75,000 or less annually and couples earning $150,000 or less will still receive full $1,400 payments, as proposed by the relief package passed by the House last week.

But under the latest framework pushed by conservative Democrats and accepted by Biden, the phase-out of the $1,400 checks will end at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for joint filers—meaning individuals and couples who earn more will receive nothing, not even partial payments. The House bill proposes (pdf) ending the phase-out at $100,000 in yearly income for individuals and $200,000 for couples.

Among the Senate Democrats who pushed for the quicker phase-out were Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

Progressives have warned that because eligibility for the checks could, for some, be based on the income reported on their 2019 tax returns, people who were doing relatively well before getting hammered by the pandemic will be denied direct relief. Under the House relief bill, the IRS would be directed to base eligibility for the payments on 2020 income for those whose returns are on file.

"This is not targeting," Matt Bruenig, founder of the People's Policy Project, said last month of earlier efforts to restrict eligibility. "It is the illusion of targeting, an illusion that will end up hurting tens of millions of people who are currently in need but weren't in 2019."

An analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds that the new eligibility framework adopted by Senate Democrats with Biden's support would result in around 12 million fewer adults and five million fewer children receiving direct relief payments than would have gotten them under the House plan. The Senate is expected to begin voting on its version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package as early as Wednesday afternoon.

Robert Cruickshank, campaign director at advocacy group Demand Progress, pointed out Wednesday that under the new eligibility structure, "some people who got checks when Trump was president won't get them now that Biden is president."

"There is no upside to this, only the massive downside of handing Congress to the Republicans next year," Cruickshank added. "Madness."


Krystal Ball: Are Dems Facing "Near CERTAIN DOOM" In Midterms?

Wall Street on Parade is still doing great work. Wait, what's that chanting ... banks got bailed out, we got sold out ...

Senator Ossoff Drops a Bombshell: “The 12 or 13 Largest Banks” Got the Trillions from the Fed’s Repo Loans Last Year

The new, 34-year old Democratic Senator from Georgia, Jon Ossoff, let a very big cat out of the bag at yesterday’s Senate Banking hearing. For at least a year, from September 17, 2019 through at least September 30, 2020, the New York Fed, acting as an agent for the Federal Reserve, doled out a cumulative $9 trillion or more in repo loans. The Fed would say only that the money was going to some of its 24 Primary Dealers on Wall Street, without naming any specific bank receiving the money. In June of 2020, the New York Fed abruptly stopped reporting the dollar amounts it was pumping out each day. (See Watchdog Report: Fed’s Billions in Emergency Repo Loans to Wall Street Didn’t Go Away in June; They Just Went Dark.) The emergency repo loans by the Fed began months before there was any case of COVID-19 reported anywhere in the world. ...

The purpose of yesterday’s Senate hearing was to confirm two of President Joe Biden’s watchdog nominees – Gary Gensler for Securities and Exchange Commission Chair and Rohit Chopra for Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ossoff revealed the previously undisclosed information in this exchange with Chopra:

Ossoff: “Mr. Chopra, the largest investment banks are very heavily subsidized. And many would argue these massive financial institutions are dominant not because they’re efficient at capital allocation or risk management or because they offer the best products to consumers, but instead because they receive trillions in government bailouts, low interest loans, and quantitative easing. Do you agree with this assessment and is this in your view a form of regulatory capture?”

Chopra: “Well Senator, too big to fail is a huge problem that Congress sought to fix in Dodd-Frank [financial reform legislation of 2010] and we should continue to make sure that that happens. We want competition on the merits. We want to make sure there’s a market structure where small banks, small financial institutions can compete fair and square. And, it’s not fair if they can’t. Our regulators need to be attuned to every single consumer and institution, not just the largest ones.”

Ossoff: “Appreciate that Mr. Chopra and building on that theme, during this pandemic, much like the crisis of 07-08, the 12 or 13 largest banks have received trillions in emergency cash. It’s provided on an overnight basis, and there is no such instantaneous emergency cash for credit unions or regional banks, let alone ordinary people, who have had to wait months for stimulus checks. And I would note that many members of Congress who currently oppose sending cash to ordinary people in a pandemic, raise no concerns about the massive scale of cash and cheap loans provided to Wall Street banks….”

There is no question that Ossoff is referring to the repo loan operations of the New York Fed because that is the only entity that made loans of that magnitude on “an overnight basis.”

US warned of possible militia plot to attack Capitol on Thursday

Federal authorities on Wednesday warned that people associated with identified militia groups have been discussing plans for another attack on the US Capitol with the aim of removing Democratic politicians on or about 4 March.

The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the US Capitol police department have obtained intelligence pointing to a possible plot to “breach the Capitol by an identified militia group” on Thursday, the agency said on Wednesday.

The Capitol police statement added that it is working with local, state and federal agencies “to stop any threats to the Capitol” in Washington, almost two months after the deadly insurrection at the seat of the US Congress by supporters of Donald Trump on 6 January.

The police further stated: “We are taking the intelligence seriously.”

Thursday marks the date when some rightwing conspiracy theorists have claimed that the former president, Donald Trump, will be sworn in for a second term in office despite the fact that he lost the November presidential election and left the White House on 20 January just before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th US president.

Worth a full read:

Humanitarian Imperialism

Aversion to military intervention has been the default position of the left for at least half a century—certainly since the huge protests against the Vietnam War. Washington planners lamented the development of the so-called “Vietnam Syndrome”—a widespread progressive hostility towards US interventions (invasions, bombings, coups or economic warfare) around the world. A 2018 survey found the public still infected, with over two-thirds in support of limiting military action overseas, including 78% of Democratic voters.

President Joe Biden’s record of support for foreign intervention spurns that progressive tradition. As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden played a key role in selling the Iraq invasion to both Democratic colleagues and a skeptical public. He was also vice president in an administration that was bombing seven countries simultaneously by its end in 2016, and was a strong voice within the administration in favor of intervention (Foreign Policy, 2/25/11).

Worse, many of Biden’s cabinet picks have alarmed antiwar and human rights activists. His director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, was instrumental in covering up the US torture program, while his choice for head of USAID, Samantha Power, supported both the Iraq and Libya wars, arguing that the US must intervene on humanitarian grounds.

Earlier this week and barely a month into his presidency, Biden launched an airstrike on Syria, killing a reported 22 people, in supposed response to a rocket attack on a US base near Erbil, Iraq, that killed one US contractor. CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh (2/26/21) applauded the move, claiming Biden had successfully “sent a message” to Iran while being as “minimally lethal” as possible. For CNN, Biden had “used a scalpel instead of a sledgehammer.” Bloomberg columnist Bobby Ghosh (2/26/21) was similarly delighted, lauding the president’s unwillingness to tolerate Iranian “aggression,” claiming that this was sure to snap Iran out of its “sense of impunity.”

If history is any judge, further aggressive actions will also be met with approval by corporate media, who have continually found creative ways to pitch such actions to the traditionally anti-interventionist left, primarily through the use of progressive language to justify Washington’s global agenda.

Media are experts in using progressives’ empathy and compassion against them, presenting them carefully selected images and stories of suffering around the world, and suggesting that US military power can be used to alleviate it. As such, intervention is sold to the US left less on the basis of fear than of pity.

Marc Lamont Hill & Mitchell Plitnick on ICC Probe, the “Palestine Exception” in Progressive Politics

Dozens killed in Myanmar's worst day of violence since coup

At least 38 people have been killed after Myanmar’s security forces opened fire on peaceful anti-coup protesters in multiple towns and cities, in the worst day of violence since the military coup last month.

Police and military have increasingly used lethal violence in an attempt to crush demonstrations, killing more than 50 people since the coup on 1 February, according to the United Nations.

“Today it was the bloodiest day since the coup happened on the first of February. We had today 38 people died. We have now more than over 50 people died since the coup started, and many are wounded,” UN special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said in New York.

Crowds have continued to take to the streets daily in defiance of the military junta, with just goggles, hard hats and homemade shields for protection.

Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick on Israel’s “Indifference to Palestinian Health"

New Zealand state pension fund divests from Israeli banks

New Zealand’s $33 billion national pension fund has excluded five Israeli banks from its portfolio because of their role in financing Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An assessment by the NZ Super Fund concludes that holding shares in Israel’s biggest banks would violate its responsible investment policy.

The document cites New Zealand’s 2016 vote for UN Security Council resolution 2334 which reaffirms the illegality of the settlements, as well as statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he intends to proceed with large-scale annexations of occupied Palestinian land.

Israel’s construction of settlements is a war crime.

It is one of the matters currently before the International Criminal Court, whose judges last month cleared the way for a formal investigation of Israel’s actions in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In a 2018 report, Human Rights Watch documented the essential role Israeli banks play in building the colonies and perpetrating large-scale abuses of Palestinian human rights.

Drug Lobby Asks Biden to Punish Foreign Countries Pushing for Low-Cost Vaccines

President Joe Biden’s administration is being asked to punish Hungary, Colombia, Chile, and other countries for seeking to ramp up the production of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics without express permission from pharmaceutical companies. The sanctions are being urged by the drug industry, which has filed hundreds of pages of documents to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative outlining the alleged threat posed by any effort to challenge “basic intellectual property protections” in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The drug industry has sharply criticized any attempt to share vaccine patents or the technological knowledge needed to manufacture them, despite global need. According to one estimate, wealthy countries representing just 16 percent of the world’s population have already secured more than half of all Covid-19 vaccine contracts. And current projections show that much of the middle-income and developing world will not achieve widespread vaccinations for years. Some projections predict that low-income countries such as Mali, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe may not achieve significant levels of vaccination until early 2024.

The delay will undoubtedly cost countless lives and risk future, potentially dangerous mutations of the Covid-19 virus. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, initial tests showed, is far less effective against the Covid-19 variant that has spread rapidly through South Africa, for example. A prolonged pandemic will also threaten to extend and exacerbate a global economic downturn. In response, governments around the world are considering a temporary exemption to traditional intellectual property rights in order to rapidly produce coronavirus treatments at low cost, a demand intensely opposed by American lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry. ...

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, another drug lobby group, requested that the Biden administration “pursue a variety of enforcement initiatives” and “use all available tools and leverage to ensure America’s trading partners” do not suspend traditional intellectual property rights in the fight against the coronavirus. ... The strident corporate opposition to any intellectual property flexibility has rankled public health advocates, many of whom note that much of the vaccine technology has been financed by the public sector and transferred into the private domain.

Biden accuses Republican governors of 'Neanderthal thinking' over plans to reopen

Joe Biden criticized Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi on Wednesday, calling their decisions to end state-wide mask mandates “a big mistake”. The US president said the country was on the “cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease” with the distribution of vaccines and added: “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine.”

Public health officials have also expressed disapproval of US states that are lifting mask mandates and reopening businesses. They urged that safety measures were still essential despite Biden’s announcement earlier this week that his administration was ahead of schedule on vaccinating all US adults against the coronavirus.

Government experts have spoken out loudly this week to sound the alarm that the US is at risk of yet another Covid-19 surge as states such as Texas rushed to dispense with public health orders designed to slow the spread of the disease.

“We’ve been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions. The next month or two is really pivotal,” Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. She warned: “Today we are at a critical nexus in the pandemic. So much can turn in the next few weeks.”

Neera Tanden Denied Confirmation -- Justice Democrats Weep

Ice reached a new low: using utility bills to hunt undocumented immigrants

If you had to choose between having running water at home or risking your home being raided by the authorities, which would you choose? The correct answer is: this shouldn’t even be a question.

But it’s become one. The startling truth is that signing up for even basic utilities in this country has turned into a gamble for many people, particularly undocumented immigrants. Last week, the Washington Post revealed that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has paid tens of millions of dollars since 2017 for access to a private database that contains more than “400m names, addresses and service records from more than 80 utility companies covering all the staples of modern life, including water, gas and electricity, and phone, internet and cable TV”. The information has been mined by Ice, the Post reported, for immigration surveillance and enforcement operations.

Neither Ice nor any other federal agency should have unfettered access to this data. In fact, there are strict protocols and regulations that determine how the federal government can gather your information and when it can infringe on your privacy, much of this is codified in the Privacy Act of 1974, as the Post notes. So how are federal agencies like Ice getting around these legal safeguards, which would otherwise prevent them from scooping up such data on their own and without a court order? Simple. They just buy it. With taxpayer money.

Ice paid almost $21m for access to a database called Clear, which is owned by the multinational media conglomerate Thomson Reuters. Clear is reported to contain billions of your records, including employment and housing information, credit reports, criminal histories, vehicle registrations and data from utility companies in all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands. It’s also updated daily. ...

The contract Ice had with Clear expired on 28 February 2021. It’s unclear if the Biden administration will seek to renew it, but they shouldn’t.

Rodney King: 30 years after brutal beating, activists say LAPD 'still corrupt and violent'

Thirty years after the savage assault on Rodney King, the Los Angeles police department is facing a reckoning over its failure to curb brutality, racial profiling and officer misconduct since the historic uprising. For some in LA, Wednesday’s anniversary of the 1991 attack is a painful reminder of the ways the racist and deadly law enforcement practices of the 1990s remain alive today.

LAPD in recent years has faced scrutiny from a new wave of activists who have organized against police killings of civilians, discriminatory arrests and traffic stops, harassment and surveillance of Black and Latino residents, and militarized responses to protests. Arguing previous reforms have done little to curb the department’s brazenness, they are calling for sweeping change: take away power, and funding, from LAPD.

“LAPD is still corrupt and violent and brutal,” said Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter LA. “Since Rodney King, LAPD has just gotten slicker. Very little has changed, other than they’ve gotten better at PR.” The calls to defund LAPD gained traction during last year’s uprisings after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor – and activists are launching a new campaign to build on that momentum. “We can reimagine public safety by divesting from police and freeing up those dollars to invest in the things that actually bring about safe communities,” said Abdullah. ...

It is unclear whether the reforms have gone far enough – or are even working as intended. Recent data has repeatedly shown that LAPD officers stop and search Black and Latino residents at significantly higher rates than white residents. In the last two years, officers have been accused of falsely labeling civilians as gang members in databases, citing fabricated information. Last year, the LA Times found that the police department appeared to have repeatedly violated its own rules when it used force against protesters, in some cases causing significant injury. And in the last month, the LAPD has been twice forced to apologize – first after officers allegedly circulated an offensive meme mocking George Floyd, then after the chief admitted he gave hugely inaccurate data to the LA Times that falsely suggested a major decline in controversial traffic stops.

“There have been reforms on paper, but if you ask community members if anything has changed, they say nothing has, really,” said Andrés Dae Keun Kwon, a lawyer with the ACLU of Southern California. “It’s the same old disproportionate stops, targeting, harassment, brutalizing and killing.”

“We were hopeful that this kind of confirmation of our experiences would mean that there would be justice and meaningful change,” Abdullah, of BLM, said of the King footage. Instead, “we saw police double down on violence and brutality … telling the world, ‘Don’t believe your lying eyes.’ It reminded us that the truth wasn’t really important to a system that put targets on the backs of Black people.”



the horse race



Cuomo Approval Rating PLUNGES Amid Scandal

Andrew Cuomo says he will not quit over sexual harassment allegations

Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday he would not resign as New York governor following the emergence of sexual harassment allegations. Cuomo, who achieved national and global prominence because of his direct briefings last year on the Covid-19 pandemic, spoke at his first public appearance since three women accused him of misconduct, including inappropriate remarks and unwanted touching. ...

When the third-term governor was asked about calls for his resignation, Cuomo said: “I wasn’t elected by politicians. I was elected by the people of the state of New York. I’m not going to resign.”

Cuomo discussed their claims during a press conference that otherwise concentrated on New York’s coronavirus response.

Elaine Chao ACCUSED Of Using Cabinet Office To Help Family's Chinese Business



the evening greens


Wisconsin hunters kill 216 wolves in less than 60 hours, sparking uproar

Hunters and trappers in Wisconsin killed 216 gray wolves last week during the state’s 2021 wolf hunting season – more than 82% above the authorities’ stated quota, sparking uproar among animal-lovers and conservationists, according to reports.

The kills all took place in less than 60 hours, quickly exceeding Wisconsin’s statewide stated limit of 119 animals. As a result, Wisconsin’s department of natural resources ended the season, which was scheduled to span one week, four days early.

While department officials were reportedly surprised by the number of gray wolves killed, they described the population as “robust, resilient” and expressed confidence in managing the numbers “properly going forward”.

Most of the animals were killed by hunters who used “trailing hounds”, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The state’s overkill was exacerbated by Wisconsin law that mandates 24-hour notice of season closure, rather than immediate notification.

California’s snowpack signals another dry year, prompting calls to save water

California will face another critically dry year, and residents will need to adapt quickly to cope with water shortages and a warmer, drier climate that has helped fuel destructive wildfires.

Officials with the state’s department of water resources announced on Tuesday they had found that the water content of the overall snowpack for 2 March amounted to 61% of the average. The state’s largest reservoirs were storing between 38% and 68% of their capacity, officials said, meaning that the state would have a lot less water to carry it through the rest of the year.

“With below-average precipitation across the state, California’s reservoirs are starting to see the impacts of a second consecutive dry year,” said Sean de Guzman, the department’s chief of snow surveys and water supply forecasting. ...

The Sierra snowpack, which starts building up in the fall, usually supplies about a third of California’s water each year. December, January and February are usually the wettest months – but this year, rain and snowfall at higher elevations have fallen below average month after month.


Also of Interest

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

Our Society, the Slave Factory

US Supreme Court poised to finish off Voting Rights Act

The Filibuster Was Grounded in Slavery & Now Threatens All Life

By Following Trump's Policies Biden's 'Deterrence' Predictably Fails

How the NATO Alliance Is Fighting Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine With Subsidies From State Budgets and the Gates Foundation, Hidden by the Financial Times

US militia group draws members from military and police, website leak shows

'Utterly Damning 'Docs Reveal Meatpacking Industry Fought Feeble Covid-19 Safeguards Under Trump

Democracy Now: COVID Deaths Soar in Brazil as Bolsonaro Blasts Lockdowns. Experts Warn It Will “Get Worse.”

Defiant Sarkozy on offensive after graft conviction

Keiser Report | A Scarcity of Honest Profits

Krystal and Saagar: Biden SLASHES Stimulus Checks For 17 MILLION Americans

Ayman Mohyeldin: Is Biden Just Like Trump On MBS?

Marriott Hotel SUCKS UP PPP Money, Fire Workers Anyway

Krystal and Saagar: Glenn Beck Says Dr. Seuss Ban Is FASCISM


A Little Night Music

Harmonica Fats - Drive Way Blues

Harmonica Fats - Granny In The Groove

Harmonica Fats - I Get So Tired

Harmonica Fats - How Low Is Low

Harmonica Fats - My Baby Didn't Come Home

Deloris Ealy & The Kenyattes with Harmonica Fats - Come Into My Bedroom

Harmonica Fats W/ Joe Kincaid & Soul Brother Band - Harmonica Symphony Stomp

Harmonica Fats W/ Joe Kincaid & Soul Brother Band - It's Hard To Get Along


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Comments

QMS's picture

to dump Israel holdings
hit them where it hurts.
now, if the US could cut
the purse strings, we'd
have something

thanks joe

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joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

yep, go kiwis!

it's a shame that the u.s. government favors the delusion that it's anti-semitic to follow international law in this.

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dystopian's picture

Great sounds Joe. Fats could blow. Saw it was Jimmy Reed yesterday, another great one, a majorly influential great player.

Gotta love those Kiwis, they even have leaders with useful beneficial convictions. Which for some reason are so hard to find here. Good for them.

CA better hope for some spring storms for more snowpack... but getting late for it. Some years March and April have them.

Thanks for the tunes! Have a good one!

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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

yeah, i am worried that california is going to wind up depleting all of its groundwater resources over the next several years. they don't seem to be using their water resources responsibly/sustainably.

have a great evening!

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Pricknick's picture

@joe shikspack Every time they get a good year, they abuse what they have.
The Colorado River will likely hit historic lows this year. Lake Mead (Hoover Dam) is also on course for it's lowest level since the dam was finished in 1935.
Without the river, California goes back to what it was after they drain the aquifers.
Mostly desert.

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8 users have voted.

Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

enhydra lutris's picture

Ethics and such: A huge thank you and standing ovation for NZ.

US Politics: I don't think it is likely that they will be able to get a veto proof majority for the repeal of the prior AUMFs and, fwiw, leaving the post 911 outstanding is a horrendous loophole even if they do. Can't help but wonder what the proponents are up to. Aside: Given the unlikelihood that any significant number of Congresspersons are Bisexual, how could any possible action of any fraction of the uniparty be "bi-partisan"?

Covid Vaccine Side Effects: We had our second and final shots of the Moderna vaccine at about 2:15 pm pacific, a little over 2 hours ago. Somehow we have both been metabolically compelled to consume some 2013 Sbragia "Godspeed" cabernet sauvignon from Napa's Mount Veeder and some Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar. In addition I was compelled to eat one of my wife's chocolate brownies. Beyond that, nothing seems amiss.

Thanks for the tunes and news joe.

be well and have a good one

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13 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 @enhydra lutris So a bunch of us got our second shot on the same day. The younger crowd either didn't come to work or were in serious pain the next day. I went home, grilled some lamb chops, had a nice glass of wine with them, then went to work the next day like nothing. The two guys sitting next to me were the same. The following day the young whipper snappers came in with horror stories. We laughed....

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enhydra lutris's picture

@Mickt

had some annoying things happen, so I'm knocking on wood for the first 24 to 48 hours or so, but so far so good.

be well and have a good one

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7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

looking at the names that are behind the repeal resolution (many of them conservadems) does not exactly fill me with hope that they are up to anything good. at best it looks like another kabuki performance. i guess we'll see.

glad you seem to have had enjoyable side effects of your vaccination. Smile

i'm still waiting for my state to get around to my group for vaccinations. things seem to be going desperately slowly.

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@enhydra lutris
Sure their wasn't a little hash in those shots?

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5 users have voted.

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

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

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6 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

joe shikspack's picture

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@joe shikspack ...what is it???

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2 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

it's kind of a pink monster with green eyes.

here's something i did years ago when i was testing out some animation software that'll let you get a better look at him:

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

he only cited his constitutional authority as chief executive and commander-in-chief.

Alrighty then. Game over. Obama made it so presidents can murder any US overseas. Trump made it so they can do it here in da homeland. Now Biden’s saying he will take us to war no matter what congress says. Most of our rights are gone. Democrats want to censor their opponents and both parties want more draconian laws made against what we can do. Good luck with the United States of Republicans because if democrats don’t drop the filibuster and pass the voting rights act republicans will rig elections even more. Ha! Whata ride. A republic if you can keep it indeed. Sorry Ben. We didn’t.

What are the chances Biden intervenes with Pfizer in the countries that they are blackmailing? Slim to non existent. It’s genocide if drug companies don’t share with poorer countries. Can you imagine making that plan? Like I said. Lots and lots of Hitlers to fight this time. Devious of them to do it like this. But then China and Russia can sell it to them or give them the recipe for it. Drug companies lose even more if they do.

More states will open soon because it’s been about a year since they closed everything down. I bet that was the deal they made with Trump last March.

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12 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

ain't it amazing how little has changed after the most consequential election ever changed everything?

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9 users have voted.

@snoopydawg
Drug companies will make out like the bandits that they are.

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6 users have voted.

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

Had my 2nd shot today as well and am not feeling any effects so far. I, also have decided that a nice glass of wine is in order, or maybe two! Sat outside and enjoyed a nice sunset on top of it all.

Went and checked out my old house up in the hill country for damages to the pipes. Do have some leaks, but seem to be minor. Will invite brother in law to come assist in the repairs and then see if there are more severe leaks to be reckoned with.

This has been a year of weighing options of what is best for me as I move forward. Lots of decisions and options ahead. Glad I have options and am not just hanging on. It is a shame people have to be put in this situation. Sure the taxpayers will be bearing the brunt of the expenses of the power grid failure.

Have a good evening all,

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13 users have voted.

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

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

joe shikspack's picture

@jakkalbessie

glad you got your shot and are feeling well. i'm sure you'll be feeling even better after the second glass!

heh, the ratepayers always wind up paying for the failures of the energy provider one way or another. it's baked into the system, socialism for the wealthy owners, predatory capitalism for the end users.

have a great evening!

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enhydra lutris's picture

@jakkalbessie

be well and have a good one

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6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/541747-harris-speaks-with-ne...

Vice President Harris talked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone Thursday after the Biden administration condemned the International Criminal Court for “unfairly” targeting Israel in its new investigation.

In the call, Harris praised Netanyahu for his peace talks with other countries in the Middle East and affirmed the U.S.’s commitment to ensure Israel’s security especially with regards to Iran and its nuclear program.

“She expressed strong support for Israel’s recent groundbreaking normalization agreements with countries in the Arab and Muslim world, and stressed the importance of advancing peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” the press release of the call states.

Harris and Netanyahu also discussed COVID-19 and how the two countries may work together to fight the pandemic that has taken hold of the world for a year now.

I wonder if she thanked him for not wasting the vaccine on Palestinians?

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joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

heh, you gotta wonder if she saluted and said "yes sir!" as she hung up the phone.

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Azazello's picture

Also of Interest, this is for sure worth a look: Keiser Report, E1666.
This makes sense, I hadn't made the connection before: Bad Stimulus: Government Payments to Individuals Are a Terrible Way to Solve America’s Structural Economic Problems

Biden’s stimulus is not the stuff of economic revolution—it’s a mix of common sense and keeping the lights on. And the fundamental thinking behind the stimulus approach reflects a continuation of neoliberal policies of the past 40 years; instead of advancing broader social programs that could uplift the population, the solutions are predicated on improving individual purchasing power and family circumstances. Such a vision of society as a collection of enterprising individuals is a hallmark of the neoliberal policy formula—which, as the stimulus bill is about to make clear, is still prevalent within the Democratic and the Republican parties. This attention to individual purchasing power promises to be the basis for bipartisan agreement over the next four years.

Border Report: SUV in crash where 13 died came through hole in border fence
This is depressing:

Have a Nice night.

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7 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

yep, that keiser episode is pretty interesting. i don't know if things will play out the way that max anticipates, but i think that he is correct that the current way that the fed is pumping quantitative easing into the rich people's pockets and creating asset inflation is unsustainable in the long term.

i skimmed the article in naked cap. a cursory read seems to bolster my sense that biden's plans are stop-gap measures based on the presumption that everything is fine and when the pandemic is over everything will go back to normal and the government may need to sort out some lingering issues, but basically everything is fine.

personally, i am sick and tired of the people, hat in hand, begging our institutions to do right by them.

it's time for the people to make some serious demands that their existential needs are guaranteed. everybody should get housing, food, medical care, education and other basic needs as an entitlement. and things should be set up to help make people as self-sufficient as possible. give them rooftop solar and backyard wind turbines, make sure that they have the means to plant a decent garden, or if they would like to farm, give them some land and a bit of help to get started.

it's time to rebuild communities and help people help themselves.

i think that iverson is right about harris as the next dem candidate, come hell or high water. it'll be interesting to see what sort of crooked manipulations the dems will sink to to make that happen.

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snoopydawg's picture

WAT?

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6 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

i think it needs this tweet on top to make sense:

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snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Nothing like bringing a joke but leaving the point out.

Thanks for the save.

The truth about America the go fund me nation.

Remember when people in countries that are sane found out about gfm? The shock was almost as much as when they found out how much it costs to have a baby.

I saw a tweet about insurance CEOs. It said that man promises you that he will pay your medical bills and so he goes with you to see the doctor. After the visit with lots of tests he tells you that he is not going to pay your bill and you can’t make him because he pays congress millions of dollars every year to let him do it. Sums up Biden’s cobra bill. He pays the CEOs for your premium, but you’re on the hook for everything else because your deductible is so effing high. More transfer of wealth.

Thanks for the clip from Fox last night. I did see it.

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9 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

Cuomo is getting hit from all sides at once. Ridicule. Shame. So sad. NOT.

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10 users have voted.

NYCVG

@NYCVG

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joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

heh. it's a pretty fast fall from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the barrel.

i'm sure that cuomo is already planning his rehabilitation.

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7 users have voted.

That is except for "Nothing is going to change".

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snoopydawg's picture

makes total sense.

Someone asked what happened with Biden doing what he is. I asked if they knew his history and they went and looked it up and said if they had known that they would never have voted for him. And why didn’t the media tell people? They are in 30's and only started paying attention to politics because Trump. I said yeah mine was Reagan/Bush and then I got Clinton. I think that’s the rub. After people see the game and drop out new people are entering from the beginning and everything starts anew. Same with the PTB doing things to us. They target the next generation and then everyone is used to it. Repeat...

Heh..Sam learned how to retrieve and mine tonight and I’m down to the last 3 milkbones. She keeps bringing me things. 2 left.

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14 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

And why didn’t the media tell people?

because the media was in the bag for biden.

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snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Telling him that this is the 3rd time democrats have pulled this crap blew his mind enough. I finally got around to Hedges and wow. It’s just such a hard concept for me to believe that congress is turning a blind eye to people’s suffering. I will never wrap my mind around how anyone could.

Can you put this in English for me? I read that the bond market blew up and interest went below zero, but not why. You don’t have to answer tonight. And not too detailed. It says the fed can’t stop QE or else.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/fed-will-need-more-words-keep-bubble-i...

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8 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

well, with the caveat that a short answer leaves much out...

there are more bonds being offered for sale than the market can absorb, so prices fall (which means that the yield of the bond goes up, hence the government has to pay more to borrow the money)

the government has been borrowing heavily, the debt has been rising and markets look at this and say, "this can't go on forever." so they become more conservative in buying bonds, thinking that the fed may change policy and bond yields will rise. if they buy just before the price drops they will be stuck holding a bunch of low-performing bonds while there are higher performing bonds available, meaning they will take a loss on the bonds that they have in stock.

the big money chasing returns in the stock market and bond markets is the same. if bond yields rise, since bonds are safer than stocks they become more attractive. if stock investors expect that there might be some high-yielding bonds available in the near future, they liquidate stock to buy bonds.

so those, i think, are the underlying things that might make the story make sense to you now. i hope. clear as mud? Smile

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Shahryar's picture

No matter how bad Biden is, and he's really bad, it was important to get rid of Trump. Now it's important to get rid of Biden. He's doing a good job on that score. He's quickly making himself unelectable. My hope is that the repubs don't decide to nominate the freakiest rightwinger in 2024.

We received our DCCC "survey" today. It made me laugh out loud. The first question is basically "how much money are you going to send us?" Apparently it's vital, out of all issues, that we pass the Elijah Cummings Low Cost Prescription Drugs Act.

There were some extremely shallow questions, like "should we protect social security and Medicare?" and we were assured that our responses would be passed to Democratic leaders to help them set the agenda. In a just world Nancy's head would blow up over the dishonesty of the thing. Its a sad cynical nasty document proving they they believe their constituents are brainless.

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12 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Shahryar

heh, i used to get those surveys. i haven't gotten one in a while, though. i guess never giving them money eventually got me off of their list.

i don't think that we have to worry about getting rid of biden, he doesn't seem terribly durable at this point. i'd worry more about getting rid of kamala.

it's hard to imagine what sort of creature that the reps might come up with in 24, right now it looks like trump has a pretty decent shot at it if he really wants it.

have a great evening!

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lotlizard's picture

https://www.reddit.com/r/WayOfTheBern/comments/ly284g/happy_cake_day_dai...

“Cake day” is Reddit slang for “anniversary of the day you joined Reddit.”

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6 users have voted.