The Evening Blues - 3-8-21
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features doo-wop group The Champions. Enjoy!
The Champions - Mexico Bound
"Democrats cannot wait for the midterms so they can lose and go back to letting the Republicans play the bad cop."
-- Caitlin Johnstone
News and Opinion
Worth a peek:
Since the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor prompted unprecedented uprisings, some racial justice groups have successfully pressured municipal lawmakers to cut police funds and reinvest the money in services. And with reformed 2021 budgets coming into effect, cities are slowly beginning to redistribute law enforcement money to housing, mental health programs, food access and other programs.
“We are showing the country how reinvestments from the police budget can actually make many people’s lives so much better and safer,” said Gregorio Casar, a councilmember in Austin, Texas, who helped pass a major cut to the city’s law enforcement budget and is now reallocating those dollars to housing programs. “This will build momentum for changes to police budgets across the country.”
More than 20 major cities have reduced their police budgets in some form, an unprecedented trend, though the scale and circumstances vary dramatically. The activists who have long campaigned to take money from US police are now fighting to ensure that the initial cuts are only the start – and that a growing backlash from law enforcement, elected officials and some community groups does not derail their progress.
For years, local advocacy groups have packed city hall meetings, demanding “jobs not jails”, “care not cops” and “books not bars” – urging officials to stop expanding budgets for police and jails. They have argued that cities should instead prioritize the programs that have been defunded over the years that would address root causes of crime and poverty, like education, healthcare and homeless services.
Local lawmakers largely ignored activists’ pleas, and police spending has tripled over the last 40 years, helping to make the US a world leader in incarceration and police killings. Even as cities have faced financial shortfalls, local governments consistently spent an increasing share of their general funds on police (despite repeated research showing that increasing police funding does not correlate to reduced crime). ...
With public pressure on them, mayors and city councils responded. In 2020 budget votes, advocacy groups won over $840m in direct cuts from US police departments and at least $160m investments in community services, according to an analysis by Interrupting Criminalization, an initiative at the Barnard Center for Research on Women. In 25 cities, such as Denver and Oakland, officials moved to remove police from schools, saving an additional $34m. “Folks might look at $840m as a drop in the bucket of the $100bn we spend on police each year, but it definitely reverses the trend of constantly increasing police budgets over the past many decades,” said Andrea J Ritchie, one of the Barnard researchers, “and it did so in a way that also secured the transfer of funds from policing to community-based safety strategies.”
One of the most powerful Democrats in Washington has issued a frank warning to members of his own party, saying they need to find a way to pass major voting rights legislation or they will lose control of Congress.
The comments from Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip, came days after the House of Representatives approved a sweeping voting rights bill that would enact some of the most dramatic expansions of the right to vote since the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Even though Democrats also control the US Senate, the bill is unlikely to pass the chamber because of a procedural rule, the filibuster, that requires 60 votes to advance legislation.
In an interview with the Guardian this week, Clyburn called out two moderate Democratic senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have opposed getting rid of the filibuster. Republicans across the country are advancing sweeping measures to curtail voting rights and letting expansive voting rights legislation die would harm Democrats, Clyburn said. “There’s no way under the sun that in 2021 that we are going to allow the filibuster to be used to deny voting rights. That just ain’t gonna happen. That would be catastrophic,” he said. “If Manchin and Sinema enjoy being in the majority, they had better figure out a way to get around the filibuster when it comes to voting and civil rights.” ...
“I’m not going to say that you must get rid of the filibuster. I would say you would do well to develop a Manchin-Sinema rule on getting around the filibuster as it relates to race and civil rights,” Clyburn said. Clyburn said he has not discussed changing the filibuster with Biden, who has expressed support for keeping the filibuster in place.
Seeking to explain his part in dramatically prolonging marathon Senate proceedings before the passage of Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill, Joe Manchin may only have succeeded in exposing a dangerous fissure in Democratic ranks. In winning controversial modifications to benefits for struggling Americans, the West Virginia senator said, he had tried to “make sure we were targeting where the help was needed” and to do “everything I could to bring us together”.
The latter remark, on Sunday to ABC’s This Week, might have provoked hollow laughter on the left. As Manchin, a powerful centrist in a Senate divided 50-50, toured the talk shows, he also faced up to fierce criticism from Alexandria Ocasio Cortez over his opposition to a $15 minimum wage, a measure dropped from the stimulus bill. The progressive congresswoman from New York has attacked Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, another opponent of the $15 wage, as “two people in this entire country that are holding back a complete transformation in working people’s lives”. ...
But Biden and the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, refused to criticise Manchin, the senator slapping his podium and emphasising the need for “unity, unity, unity”, particularly as every Republican present voted agains the relief bill. ...
“I know they made a big issue about this,” Manchin told CNN, “and I understand. Everyone has their right. I respect where [Ocasio-Cortez] is coming from, I respect her input, we have a little different approach. We come from two different areas of the country that have different social and cultural needs. One was that you have to respect everybody.”
This trend is outrageous:
Reducing thresholds for payments (cutting off ~400k New Jerseyans)
Cuts to weekly payments
What are we doing here? I'm frankly disgusted with some of my colleagues and question whether I can support this bill.
— Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (@RepBonnie) March 5, 2021
It seems there's never a ceiling for the rich when they want a tax cut.
And never a floor for the poor when they need help.
If we're really #ForThePeople we best start acting like it. What I'm seeing of the negotiations right now doesn't cut it.
— Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (@RepBonnie) March 5, 2021
Unlike many corporatists in Washington, Sinema did not get her start as a standard-issue business-friendly cyborg created in a Westworld-style factory at the local chamber of commerce. She was a Green Party icon and social worker who had been elected to Arizona’s legislature as a proud, unabashed progressive. ... To really understand who Sinema was back then, watch this 2009 interview she did with PSN. ...
But as she got comfortable in the Washington swamp, Sinema began to change her tune. She voted to help corporate lobbyists harm lots of the marginalized people she claimed she got into politics to protect. She broke with her party to help the financial industry roll back already weak regulations passed in the wake of the financial crisis. She became one of the top recipients of campaign cash from predatory lenders, and helped Republicans advance legislation to protect those lenders.
In all, Sinema cast votes with Trump priorities half the time, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight. Her elevation to the Senate Banking Committee was considered a big win for Wall Street. Last summer, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce awarded Sinema their “inaugural Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award and Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship.”
All of this culminated in the COVID-19 relief bill, where she has played a particularly pernicious role. ... Despite her previous public advocacy for a higher minimum wage, Sinema has been making process arguments for weeks against including the $15 minimum wage in the COVID bill. ... And then came the now-infamous thumbs-down photo op. The move was apparently an attempt to channel late-Sen. John McCain’s high-profile vote to stop his own Republican Party from repealing the Affordable Care Act. But other than the fact that both Arizona senators made the same gesture, that’s where the similarities end.
McCain’s vote preserved medical protections for millions of Americans. Sinema, with her thumbs-down, was voting to preserve poverty wages for millions of workers. ... Sinema’s journey is now complete. She has become a timeless cautionary tale about what happens in a political process that typically self-selects for the most cynical among us. ... In a different era, advancement in the Democratic Party often required politicians to stand with workers and the poor. Today, that’s changed. Everyone in Washington knows the most reliable path to advancement is to serve power with a hearty thumbs-down anytime a proposal asks the wealthy to sacrifice anything.
Yes, yes, Jayapal and her fellow "progressives" will "fight" like tigers, but will not exercise their power.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus on Saturday welcomed the passage in the Senate of the coronavirus relief bill—calling it "a truly progressive and bold package"—but lamented that it did not include a proposed provision to boost the federal minimum wage and vowed to "continue our pressure on the Senate to pass $15."
"The minimum wage remains essential policy and we must deliver on this issue," CPC chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in a statement.
"We call on the president to lay out his plan in the coming days for providing a desperately needed raise for 32 million Americans," said Jayapal.
The Democratic congresswoman's statement came after the Senate's 50-49 vote along party lines to pass the $1.9 American Rescue Plan following a marathon session. The bill provides one-time $1,400 checks to most Americans, an extension of unemployment benefits, and an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), among other relief measures.
The coronavirus pandemic relief bill passed by the House of Representatives this week would raise the federal minimum wage in steps until it reached $15 an hour in 2025. But an increase in the minimum wage has been removed from the Senate’s legislation. At least for now, it is stuck at $7.25. This is bad enough in itself, but even worse is that almost no Americans understand how low we’ve allowed our aspirations to become. Our country’s productivity gains in recent decades should have translated into a minimum wage today of $24 an hour — and by 2025, it should be almost $30. ...
From both a moral and practical perspective, the minimum wage should go up in step with the productivity of the U.S. economy — that is, our ever-increasing ability to create more wealth with the same amount of work. Morally, as a country grows richer, everyone should share in the increased wealth. Practically, companies that sell things need lots of people with the money to buy them. ...
Democrats can now try to pass a stand-alone increase in regular order over a GOP filibuster, but that would require all of the Democratic senators and 10 Republicans, which is difficult to imagine. They could also change Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster, something that seems equally unlikely. So for the moment, it appears that America’s worst-paid workers have been abandoned yet again by the federal government. But let’s not pretend this isn’t a choice we’re making. Any time we want, we can choose to get back on the path to a different, fairer, better country.
The first round of rental assistance used money from a $150 billion Treasury Department stream known as the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which gave local and state governments money that could be spent on a wide range of emergency programs. An extra $25 billion was approved in December, though the Treasury included guidelines that made it more difficult for renters to access the money. Some of those guidelines have now been revised, and President Joe Biden has also called on lawmakers to pass an additional $30 billion in rental and utility assistance as part of the broader $1.9 trillion stimulus package currently being negotiated.
But many rental assistance programs have been woefully underused, in part because of bureaucratic hurdles and the realities of administering funds. Implementation of the assistance programs is up to individual states and cities, and many local governments have had trouble reaching those in need. Some jurisdictions have even had to reallocate millions intended to go toward paying people’s rent. In Arizona, rental assistance has expanded, but the state has only received about 330 applications, Fox 10 Phoenix reported. ...
“There’s never been a comprehensive set of solutions put in place to protect tenants and keep them stably housed during the pandemic,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “There’s been a patchwork of resources and protections at the federal, state, and local level that has kept most renters stably housed but there’s been an alarming number of evictions that have proceeded despite the protections.” Though the federal eviction ban has helped keep many tenants in their homes over the past year, Yentel noted that eviction moratoriums on their own have “never been the end solution.” These orders only postpone evictions, as the amount of unpaid rent accrues. A January report from Moody’s Analytics estimated that Americans owe about $57 billion in back rent.
Some of the emergency rental assistance programs that struggled to distribute aid didn’t have the staff or capacity to be able to review all the applications that were coming in, while some programs were slowed down by additional layers of bureaucracy. Burdensome documentation requirements and complicated application processes — which vary place to place — are also barriers to assistance, excluding some of the households that were most in need. But one of the biggest hurdles in distributing the money so far has been landlords’ refusal to participate. To receive the money, landlords had to agree to certain conditions and tenant protections to participate in the program, including the promise to not raise rent for a certain amount of time and to not to evict them. Some property owners outright declined, turning down payments to pay for their tenants’ rent, while others failed to respond at all. ...
“Congress has already provided $25 billion, which is a really substantial, historic amount of rental assistance that will go a long way,” Yentel said. “But it’s not enough, and we need more.”
The US will do what it sees as necessary to defend its interests after a rocket attack this week against the Ain al-Sada airbase in Iraq, which hosts American, coalition and Iraqi forces, the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, said on Sunday.
Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Austin said the US was urging Iraq to quickly investigate the incident at the base in the western Anbar province and determine who was responsible. US officials have said the incident fit the profile of a strike by Iran-backed militia.
“We’ll strike, if that’s what we think we need to do, at a time and place of our own choosing. We demand the right to protect our troops,” Austin said.
Asked if Iran had been given a message that US retaliation would not constitute an escalation, Austin said Iran was fully capable of assessing the strike and US activities.
In response to reporting on President Joe Biden's review of policies governing lethal airstrikes in foreign countries and implementation of "temporary" limits on drone killings outside of designated war zones, the ACLU is telling the administration that the only acceptable reform is to permanently abolish the United States' extrajudicial overseas assassination program.
"In the name of counterterrorism, U.S. presidents have for two decades authorized unlawful, secretive, and unaccountable killing abroad," Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's national security project, said Thursday in a statement. "This lethal program violates domestic and international law and has caused years of devastating harm to people in the majority-Muslim countries on the receiving end of American power."
"Tinkering with the bureaucracy of this extrajudicial killing program will only entrench American abuses," Shamsi added. "It must end."
In a tweet shared Thursday, the ACLU noted that "President Biden promised to end forever wars, but his administration has yet to take meaningful action."
President Biden promised to end forever wars.
But his administration has yet to take meaningful action.
— ACLU (@ACLU) March 4, 2021
Forgoing an official announcement, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan quietly issued the order to temporarily limit drone warfare "outside conventional battlefield zones" on January 20, the day of the president's inauguration, according to the New York Times.
"The military and the CIA must now obtain White House permission to attack terrorism suspects in poorly governed places where there are scant American ground troops, like Somalia and Yemen," the Times reported. "Under the Trump administration, they had been allowed to decide for themselves whether circumstances on the ground met certain conditions and an attack was justified."
Despite having issued "interim guidance" about the so-called "targeted" use of military force, Biden illegally "revenge" bombed Syria last week without congressional approval.
Caitlin Johnstone: The Left Will Never Achieve Its Goals Until It Prioritizes Countering Establishment Propaganda
A new Gallup poll finds that Americans’ opinion of Russia and China have plummeted to historic lows this year, with 79 percent of the population now reporting an unfavorable view of China and 77 percent reporting an unfavorable view of Russia.
The hate predictably falls along partisan lines, with Republicans showing more disfavor toward China and Democrats reserving more of theirs for Russia, but there is plenty of overlap. China is only seen positively by 10 percent of Republicans compared to 27 percent of Democrats, while only sixteen percent of Dem voters view Russia in a positive light compared to 25 percent of Republicans. Unfavorable opinions of both nations dominate across the board no matter how you slice it.
In a recent Mintpress News article titled “After Years of Propaganda, American Views of Russia and China Hit Historic Lows“, Alan MacLeod points the finger at the obvious culprit in this shift in public opinion:
Last year, American military planners advised that the U.S. should step up its campaign of psychological warfare against Beijing, including sponsoring authors and artists to create anti-China propaganda. The Pentagon’s budget request for 2021 makes clear that the United States is retooling for a potential intercontinental war with China or Russia. It asks for $705 billion to “shift focus from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a greater emphasis on the types of weapons that could be used to confront nuclear giants like Russia and China,” noting that it requires “more advanced high-end weapon systems, which provide increased standoff, enhanced lethality and autonomous targeting for employment against near-peer threats in a more contested environment.” ...
Russia, meanwhile, has been the focus of Democratic Party ire since their defeat in the 2016 election. Prominent Democrats have accused Vladimir Putin of being behind the rise of Bernie Sanders, paying Afghans to kill American soldiers, and of helping spark the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. RussiaGate — the belief that Moscow managed to hack the 2016 election, swinging the result for Trump — has hardened liberal attitudes towards the country and drastically increased suspicion and fear of Russians. This was crystallized by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s comments on NBC’s Meet The Press, where he claimed that Russians are “typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor.” As with China, the U.S. government has attempted to score diplomatic points, taking up the case of imprisoned politician Alexey Navalny.
And, I mean, of course. Of course this is the case. There is no rational reason for anyone to hold particularly negative views of either of those countries based on actual facts in evidence, and there is certainly no rational reason to perceive them as a threat. The idea that China or Russia pose a threat to you is so self-evidently ridiculous, so transparently absurd, that the only way to make you believe it would be to propagandize you. And if you do believe it, that’s exactly what has happened.
You can expand this principle to include the entirety of US foreign policy on the global stage today. No ordinary American benefits from the US having troops in Syria, sanctioning Venezuelans to death, supporting Saudi Arabia while it rapes Yemen, circling the planet with military bases and working to destroy any nation which refuses to bow to its dictates. The only way to get Americans to consent to any of these agendas is to propagandize them into doing so.
Indeed, you can also expand this principle to include our entire financial/economic/political system as a whole. Ordinary people would not accept as normal a system in which they have to toil long hours just to feed themselves while parasitic middlemen hoard all the profits and use their immense wealth to shape the political paradigm. The only way to get them to accept this exploitative, oppressive and intrinsically unjust system as normal would be to propagandize them.
And that’s precisely what is happening. That’s the only reason our world is ordered in the way that it is.
Propaganda is the single most overlooked and under-emphasized aspect of our society, bar none. It’s so pervasive that most of us don’t even notice it, like that old joke about the two fish who are asked “How’s the water?” and then turn to each other and say “What’s water?” ...
Until fighting the empire’s propaganda engine becomes the agenda the left focuses the bulk of its energy on, none of its other agendas will ever come to pass. People will never rise up and revolt as long as they are being successfully propagandized not to. They won’t even vote for anyone with sufficient numbers if their words diverge too sharply from the consensus worldview they’ve been manipulated into espousing as true. It doesn’t seem to matter how badly the people’s material conditions deteriorate, because they can always be manipulated into blaming someone else and consenting to the status quo anyway.
How do we do this? We just do it. We begin focusing our efforts, for the first time ever, on drawing public attention to the fact that the mass media have been deceiving them. For the first time ever, we begin in sufficient numbers to prioritize above all else the disruption of public trust in the plutocratic media and the imperial narrative management scams which keep everyone from clearly seeing what’s wrong with the world. We seize control of the narrative.
This has never been tried before. Whenever I bring up prioritizing a grassroots media rebellion I’ll get a few leftists telling me “We’re already doing that!” No you’re not. You’ve never come anywhere close. At no time in the information age has killing trust in imperial propaganda been the foremost priority of western leftists. At no time has it ever been our collective priority to use our newfound ability to network and share information to weaken public trust in the mass media and tell the public the truth about economic injustice and the kleptocratic depravity that is western imperialism. Our energy has been spread all over a variety of issues which have nothing to do with this far more crucial one.
Information has never been more democratized, and trust in the mass media has never been more low. The opportunity to expand awareness of what’s really happening in our world has never been riper; all we need to do is seize on this opportunity and wake the working class out of its propaganda-induced coma before the window on that possibility closes on us forever.
China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccines to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press. With just four of China’s many vaccine makers claiming they are able to produce at least 2.6 billion doses this year, a large part of the world’s population will end up inoculated not with the fancy Western vaccines boasting headline-grabbing efficacy rates, but with China’s humble, traditionally made shots.
Amid a dearth of public data on China’s vaccines, hesitations over their efficacy and safety are still pervasive in the countries depending on them, along with concerns about what China might want in return for deliveries. Nonetheless, inoculations with Chinese vaccines already have begun in more than 25 countries, and the Chinese shots have been delivered to another 11, according to the AP tally, based on independent reporting in those countries along with government and company announcements. ...
Like many other countries, Chile received far fewer doses of the Pfizer vaccine than first promised. In the month after its vaccination program began in late December, only around 150,000 of the 10 million Pfizer doses the South American country ordered arrived.
It wasn’t until Chinese company Sinovac Biotech Ltd. swooped in with 4 million doses in late January that Chile began inoculating its population of 19 million with impressive speed. The country now has the fifth highest vaccination rate per capita in the world, according to Oxford University.
The Minnesota court of appeals has ordered a judge to reconsider adding third-degree murder to charges against the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing George Floyd last year. The development could delay Chauvin’s trial, which is due to begin with jury selection on Monday. ...
The Minnesota court said the Hennepin county district judge Peter Cahill erred last year when he rejected a prosecution motion to reinstate the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin. ...
It was not clear on Saturday whether Friday’s ruling would delay Chauvin’s trial. He is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Chauvin has the option of appealing the ruling to the state supreme court, which would force Cahill to delay the trial, said Ted Sampsell-Jones at the Mitchell Hamline school of law in St Paul. But if Chauvin doesn’t appeal, the professor added, “then Judge Cahill will almost certainly reinstate the third-degree charge” and jury selection can still begin on Monday, with a further decisions on the extra charge prior to opening arguments due by 29 March.
A reinstated third-degree murder count would increase the odds of a murder conviction. Floyd’s family originally urged a first-degree murder charge and outrage is likely if Chauvin is not convicted. Legal experts have said reinstating third-degree murder to the case could be a strategic move by the Minnesota attorney general, Keith Ellison, leading the prosecution, to give jurors more chances to convict, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Andrew Cuomo suffered a major blow on Sunday in his attempt to stay as governor of New York in the face of allegations of sexual harassment and workplace bullying and a scandal over nursing home deaths under Covid. The majority leader of the state senate and the speaker of the assembly, two of the most powerful Democrats in New York, said it was time for Cuomo to go.
But the governor was not budging, telling reporters he would not quit after reportedly telling the state senate leader she would have to impeach him.
“We need to govern without daily distraction,” the majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, said in her statement. “For the good of the state, Governor Cuomo must resign.” Assembly speaker Carl Heastie backed her, calling the allegations “disturbing” and saying Cuomo should “seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York”.
Cuomo said he would not resign because he was elected by people not politicians and the system depended on due process. “I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” the governor said. “The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic.”
Five women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, accusations he denies. On Saturday the Washington Post published new claims of bullying. One former aide claimed Cuomo ran “a systemic, intentional, hostile, toxic workplace environment”. A Cuomo aide rejected the accusation.
Former US president Donald Trump will be allowed back on YouTube but only when the threat of his inciting violence abates, the head of the popular online video sharing platform said Thursday.
YouTube in late January suspended Trump's channel, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts following the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.
"We will lift the suspension of the Donald Trump channel when we determine that the risk of violence has decreased," YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki said during a streamed Atlantic Council interview.
"Given just the warnings by the Capitol Police yesterday about a potential attack today, I think it is pretty clear that that elevated violence risk still remains."
Wojcicki said that when the Trump channel is reinstated, it will remain subject to the same "three strike" system as everyone else at YouTube.
On the 30th and last day of their hunger strike, activists from Chicago’s Southeast Side held a vigil. Mourning the health of the hunger strikers who’ve gone without food for a month, demonstrators clad in funeral attire carried a fake casket on Thursday through Logan Square, the North Side neighborhood where Mayor Lori Lightfoot lives. Southeast Side organizers and residents are demanding the city stop a metal shredder from operating in a Latino neighborhood already overburdened by pollution. ...
Lightfoot has come under fire for aiding the owners of General Iron, a controversial metal scrapper in an affluent white neighborhood, in closing the facility last year - and then allowing the business to construct a new metal recycling plant in a low-income Black and brown community across town. The mayor wrote a letter on 23 February acknowledging the hunger strike and the environmental racism the East Side neighborhood faces, but stopped short of denying the final permit needed for Southside Recycling to operate. Hunger strikers called the letter “insulting” in their own statement.
Thursday’s rally drew more than 200 people from across the city. It started at a church outside Lightfoot’s block, which was heavily blockaded by police, and snaked through the streets of Logan Square. Protestors wore “Stop General Iron” masks (referring to the metal shredder that closed in December) and carried signs saying “We deserve clean air!” and “Ecological devastation is immoral.” At one point, they stopped traffic at a busy intersection.
As global banking giants and investment firms vow to divest from polluting energy companies, they’re continuing to bankroll another major driver of the climate crisis: food and farming corporations that are responsible, directly or indirectly, for cutting down vast carbon-storing forests and spewing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
These agricultural investments, largely unnoticed and unchecked, represent a potentially catastrophic blind spot. “Animal protein and even dairy is likely, and already has started to become, the new oil and gas,” said Bruno Sarda, the former North America president of CDP, a framework through which companies disclose their carbon emissions. “This is the biggest source of emissions that doesn’t have a target on its back.”
By pouring money into emissions-intensive agriculture, banks and investors are making a dangerous bet on the world’s growing demand for food, especially foods that are the greatest source of emissions in the food system: meat and dairy. Agriculture and deforestation, largely driven by livestock production, are responsible for nearly one quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, livestock production alone could consume nearly half the world’s carbon budget, the amount of greenhouse gas the world can emit without blowing past global climate targets. ...
The American banks that are the four leading financiers, globally, of fossil fuels —JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America—all, to varying degrees, have made climate action more of a priority. But these and other major global banks continue to funnel dollars into companies that trade in “soft commodities,”including beef, soy, timber and palm oil, that are linked to the destruction of forests and critically important ecosystems.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
The Champions - Keep A-Rockin'
The Champions - I'm So Blue
The Champions - Annie met Henry
The Champions - Come And Love Me
The Champions - No Good Woman
The Champions - The Same Old Story / Pay Me Some Attention
The Champions - Cute Little Baby
The Champions - Come On