The Evening Blues - 4-13-21



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: The Larks

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b singing group The Larks. Enjoy!

The Larks - Eyesight To The Blind

"One cannot wage war under present conditions without the support of public opinion, which is tremendously molded by the press and other forms of propaganda."

-- Douglas MacArthur


News and Opinion

Media Concern Trolling About Afghanistan Withdrawal Again

Concerns mount that US withdrawal from Afghanistan could risk progress on women’s rights,” blares a new headline from CNN.

“Concerns are mounting from bipartisan US lawmakers and Afghan women’s rights activists that the hard-won gains for women and civil society in Afghanistan could be lost if the United States makes a precipitous withdrawal from the country,” CNN tells us.

What follows is yet another concern-trolling empire blog about why US troops need to stay in Afghanistan, joining recent others geared toward the same end like this CNN report about how the US military will open itself up to “costly litigation” if it withdraws now because it signed defense industry contracts into 2023, and this one by The New York Times about a US intelligence report urgently warning that a withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to the nation being controlled by the people who live there.

This latest article by CNN features an extensive series of quotes by Annie Pforzheimer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank regurgitating the tired old mantra that a withdrawal from Afghanistan needs to be “conditions-based”, to ensure that no women will be mistreated if the US ends its twenty-year military occupation of the country.

CSIS, for the record, is funded by war profiteering corporations like Northrop Grumman and Boeing, as well as fossil fuel companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco. It is also funded by plutocrats. It is also funded directly by the United States government and its allies. This article is precisely the sort of narrative management initiative that such think tanks exist for, and the fact that it’s considered normal journalistic practice to quote sources with such blatant ulterior motives as objective experts shows that western news media is propaganda.

When think tankers like Pforzheimer babble about a “conditions-based withdrawal” from Afghanistan, they are lying about what the requisite “conditions” would actually be. A complete and total withdrawal will have nothing to do with whether women are guaranteed to be treated nicely. It will have nothing to do with whether defense contractors will sue the US government or whether the Taliban will be able to retake control of the nation. A complete and total withdrawal from Afghanistan will happen when Afghanistan ceases to be a vital geostrategic point of control, which effectively means the US will maintain some sort of foothold in Afghanistan for as long as China, Russia and Iran remain sovereign nations.

A US puppet regime in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran. If that somehow happens one day, the empire will have no further use for Afghanistan. Those are the real “conditions”.

The US empire does not care about women. The US empire routinely kills women and creates lawless environments where rape and sexual slavery are commonplace with its military interventionism. What this hand-wringing about women’s rights in Afghanistan has actually accomplished is a convenient justification for further military occupation, a destructive industry of shady NGOs, and functionally not much else.

But this argument wouldn’t even make sense if it was sincere. The only way to argue with logical coherence that the US should militarily occupy a nation to uphold liberal values is to also argue that the US should invade and occupy all other nations in the world with illiberal cultural values and force them all to change at gunpoint. Unless you uphold this argument with logical consistency in this way (and almost nobody does this because that would be insane), it looks like you’re simply making up arguments to justify invading and occupying geostrategically crucial regions with great military and resource value. And, of course, this is exactly what you are doing.

So much empire propaganda is just concern trolling at mass scale. Oh my it sure is concerning how they’re abusing that poor oppressed population in that nation whose government we just so happen to want to topple. Sure we’d have to butcher mountains of human beings and destabilize entire vast regions in order to rescue them, but that’s a sacrifice we’d be willing to make. We are humanitarians, after all.

"Concern” is the propaganda carrier for the most violent of interventions. If imperialism was a virus, “concern” would be the benign-looking shape it took so the body didn’t set off an immune response. “Concern” is the most Karen of manipulations.

Still it says a lot that they need to tug at our humanitarian heart strings like that in order to advance their empire-building agendas these days. It used to be stuff like “They’re savages and they need to learn about Jesus,” or even just “Your King has decreed that those people shouldn’t get to control the land they live on anymore.”

We’ve evolved as a society to the point where at least now they need to appeal to our better demons. Where they need to hide their disgusting agendas behind noble-looking ones.

Russia-Ukraine border tension builds up as NATO, G7 warns Moscow over possible full-scale conflict

Military buildup near Ukraine sows confusion over Russian intentions

Russia’s fortnight-long military buildup to the east and south of Ukraine has helped it mass an estimated 80,000 troops in the border region in an attention-grabbing exercise that is increasingly occupying western thinking. Tanks and other artillery units have also been arriving at Voronezh, east of Ukraine, according to Janes, a military intelligence firm, and a staging ground for about 3,000 troops been established to the south of the city. A nervous government in Kyiv says Russian forces in the Voronezh region number 40,000. It says a further 40,000 are now stationed in Crimea, which was seized in a surprise operation by Moscow in 2014.

“This movement stands out as possibly the largest unannounced movement of troops since Russia’s invasion of Crimea,” said Thomas Bullock, an analyst at Janes. He estimates that several thousand troops have arrived in the last fortnight from as far afield as Siberia to the east and the Estonian border in the north.

Nor is it just the size of the redeployment that has attracted attention. Its broad composition, including short-range ballistic missile systems, plus a strengthening of the Black Sea fleet, has many of the components of a force military experts say could attack Ukraine, with the possible exception of combat aircraft. ...

Few believe that immediate military action is likely. Security at the Voronezh staging post was sufficiently lax that journalists from Sky News were able to drive in, and if an attack was seriously meant then it would be more likely be conducted by surprise, according to Maryna Vorotnyuk, a research fellow at the Rusi thinktank.

Largest Chinese breach of Taiwan air zone in a year after US warning

Twenty-five Chinese military jets breached Taiwan’s defence zone on Monday, the island’s government has said, after a senior US official warned of an “increasingly aggressive” Beijing. The defence ministry scrambled aircraft to broadcast warnings to leave after Chinese jets, including 18 fighters, entered the island’s southwest air defence identification zone for a 10th straight day.

The incursion – the largest in a year – came after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, on Sunday warned China not to attempt to change the status quo around Taiwan, saying to do so would be a “serious mistake”. Democratic, self-ruled Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which has vowed to one day seize the island, by force if needed.

On Friday the US state department said it would make it easier for US officials to meet Taiwanese representatives, defying pressure from China. The sabre-rattling has increased since the 2016 election of Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, who rejects the idea that the island is part of “one China”.

Some analysts and US military officials have said tensions between Taiwan and China are now at their highest since the mid-1990s.

Rights Advocates Concerned Over Biden Push to Increase Militarization of Borders in Central America

Human rights defenders expressed concern Monday after the Biden administration announced it reached agreements with Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala for those countries to boost their deployments of military forces to stop the flow migrants trying to make their way to the United States.

"I think the objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey and make crossing the borders more difficult," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Psaki said that under the agreements—which were reached over recent weeks—Mexico will keep 10,000 troops at its southern border. Guatemala upped its number of police and military personnel to its southern border with Honduras to 1,500 and will put up 12 checkpoints along the country's migratory route, she said, while "Honduras surged 7,000 police and military to disperse a large contingent of migrants."

Tyler Moran, special assistant to the president for Immigration for the Domestic Policy Council, also spoke about the agreements in an interview with MSNBC earlier Monday.

"We've secured agreements for them to put more troops on their own border. Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala have all agreed to do this. That not only is going to prevent the traffickers, and the smugglers, and cartels that take advantage of the kids on their way here, but also to protect those children," Moran said.

Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, disputed that characterization of the agreements.

"While ostensibly a measure against, 'smugglers, traffickers, and cartels', this is exactly the thing the generates more smuggling, trafficking, and cartel exploitation and the most vulnerable will feel the brunt," tweeted Corbett, who called the development "so disappointing."

"The other day, I met an asylum seeking mom from Guatemala who was assaulted by the Mexican military as she and children tried to cross the border in El Paso," he added. "In [the] mayhem, kids got to the other side and were processed as unaccompanied minors. She hasn't seen them since December."

Erika Guevara-Rosas, the Americas director at Amnesty International, accused Biden of "repeating the mistakes of past administrations by securing agreements with Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras to further militarize their borders in a bid to stop people who are fleeing from state repression, violent crime, food insecurity, and the devastating effects of the climate crisis."

"Instead of deploying more troops, governments in the region must respect and uphold people's rights to seek asylum and live in safety," she said.

The agreements to further militarize international borders in the region also drew criticism from Clara Long, associate director with the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch, who tweeted that they "seem to focus on deterrence, rather than protection."

"A focus on deterrence and the coercion of other governments to collaborate with the United States on harsh measures," said Long, "was a major feature of the Trump administration’s policies." She called it "particularly worrying" that the agreements "seem to focus on the continued and increased deployment of security forces with problematic human rights records."

"The Biden administration should place human rights at the center of its migration discussions and agreements with regional governments," Long said.

Peru faces polarizing presidential runoff as teacher takes voters by surprise

Peru faces a polarizing presidential runoff vote, in which a hard-left schoolteacher – who caught a wave of popular discontent over the coronavirus and a cratering economy – will face the far-right heiress to one of the country’s most enduring and controversial political dynasties.

Pedro Castillo, a veteran teachers’ union leader, took pollsters and voters by surprise in Sunday’s first-round vote winning 18.47%, with 84% of the official vote counted. In second place, Keiko Fujimori – daughter of the jailed former leader Alberto Fujimori – polled 13.12%, closely followed by two more far-right candidates.

Castillo – who was largely unknown before polling day – stunned the country as he swept up votes in poorer regions of the country, winning in 16 of Peru’s 24 regions, and by more than 50% in two of the poorest Andean states. “The blindfold has just been taken off the eyes of the Peruvian people,” he told jubilant supporters from a balcony in his hometown of Tacabamba in the highland Cajamarca region.

“We’re often told that only political scientists, constitutionalists, erudite politicians, those with grand degrees can govern a country. They’ve had enough time,” he said to cheers as people danced in the streets. Castillo became a prominent figure in 2017 during a teachers’ strike over pay, and in October he announced he would run for president for the leftist Perú Libre party, after campaigning at a grassroots level.

But in opinion polls ahead of the election, he had failed to make it into the list of top six candidates until days before the vote. He barely registered 3% in a poll taken in mid-March.

Virginia Cop Who Pepper-Sprayed Army Officer Fired After Damning Video Released

A Virginia police officer who pepper-sprayed and threatened a uniformed Black and Latinx Army officer during a routine traffic stop was fired Sunday after video footage of the incident was published, sparking nationwide outrage.

WAVY reports Windsor police officer Joe Gutierrez was terminated hours after Gov. Ralph Northam—who called the incident "disturbing"—ordered the Virginia State Police to launch an independent investigation of the event. 

In a statement, the town of Windsor "acknowledges the unfortunate events" of the December 5, 2020 incident in which Gutierrez and another Windsor officer, Daniel Crocker, conducted a traffic stop of Caron Nazario, an active duty U.S. Army second lieutenant.

The town said it "immediately" began an investigation and "determined that Windsor Police Department policy was not followed" by the officers.

According to a lawsuit (pdf) filed by Nazario earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia, the soldier was driving on a dark stretch of road in a newly purchased Chevrolet Tahoe with temporary tags taped inside when Crocker initiated a traffic stop. 

Nazario almost immediately slowed down and activated his turn signal. Crocker was joined by Gutierrez in following Nazario as he drove into a well-lit BP gas station less than a mile away and stopped.

The lawsuit states that "without justification or excuse," the officers reported the routine stop as a "felony traffic stop" and a "high-risk traffic stop."

"Likewise, without justification or excuse, the defendants chose to immediately escalate the encounter by threatening deadly force and a homicide," the suit states. "Particularly, they exited their vehicles and immediately trained their firearms on Lt. Nazario and subsequently threatened to murder him."

Officer body camera video and footage recorded by Nazario from inside his vehicle shows the soldier complying with commands to show his hands while refusing to exit his SUV as ordered and repeatedly asking, "What's going on?"

"I'm serving this country and this is how I'm being treated?" says Nazario, who is wearing his Army uniform.

After Gutierrez told Nazario he was "fixin' to ride the lightning, son"—an execution reference—the soldier said that he was "honestly afraid to get out" of the SUV.

"Yeah, you should be," Gutierrez replies shortly before grabbing Nazario's arm and pepper-spraying him. About a minute later, as Nazario—whose eyes are closed and is visibly in pain—slowly steps out of his vehicle with his hands in the air, Gutierrez asks: "What are you, a specialist? Corporal? What are you?"

"I'm a lieutenant," Nazario says as he exits the vehicle and is forced to the ground and handcuffed.

The lawsuit alleges that "Gutierrez and Crocker, realizing that they had acted illegally... threatened Lt. Nazario's job and his commission in the United States Army if he spoke out," but said that if he would "chill and let this go" they would not file charges against him.

Nazario was released. According to the lawsuit, the two officers "coordinated their efforts to hide their misdeeds" and "submitted false narratives of the events in their official records."

Widespread outrage followed the release of video footage of Nazario's traffic stop. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who represents Windsor, called for a federal investigation of the incident.

"I was horrified when I viewed the recently released video footage of the police treatment of Caron Nazario," Scott said in a statement. "This should have been a routine traffic stop and the video speaks for itself."

"The release of this video also comes while the Hampton Roads community is still mourning the loss of Donovan Lynch who was killed by officers while their body worn cameras were not activated," Scott added, referring to a fatal police shooting last month in Virginia Beach. "Both of these instances should be investigated by federal authorities." 

The Isle of Wight County NAACP responded to the video with a Facebook post saying: "We are done dying. We will not stand silently while another African American's civil rights are violated."

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring called the incident "unacceptable."

"As our office continues to monitor the situation, the Windsor Police Department needs to be fully transparent about what happened during the stop and what was done in response to it," he added.

Killed over a Car Air Freshener: Outrage Grows over Police Shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota


Police say officer who shot and killed unarmed Daunte Wright intended to fire Taser

Police in a Minneapolis suburb said an officer accidentally shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man on Sunday afternoon during a traffic stop, releasing graphic body-camera footage they say shows an officer intended to use a Taser not a handgun during the death of unarmed Daunte Wright. ...

The county medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide. ...

As the body-camera footage was released, a small group of activists in the police headquarters waiting area demanded the officer, who has not been identified, be fired immediately.

“Seeing the video just confirms what we already knew,” said Toshira Garraway, the founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence. “It’s just killing after killing after killing.”

She added: “They will always say, ‘I was afraid, or it was an accident.’ But the fact of the matter is: this was a murder. If she is not fired, this is only going to escalate.”


Derek Chauvin Trial Breaks Down "Blue Wall of Silence" as Police Officials Testify Against Ex-Cop

The Grassroots Battle To Change America’s Labor Laws

For the first time ever, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is joining forces with major unions on a national campaign. On March 7, DSA, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Union of Painters and Associated Trades (IUPAT) launched an effort with an ambitious goal: getting Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. If signed into law, the legislation would be the most significant labor rights bill since the New Deal era.

Over the past month, thousands of volunteers and organizers representing both DSA and the unions have made over 500,000 phone calls to voters in key legislators’ home states, asking voters to tell their representatives to support the PRO Act. This month, DSA and the unions plan on escalating the campaign with in-person rallies and town halls.

The collaboration offers something new to both sides, organizers told The Daily Poster. Though individual DSA chapters have worked with IUPAT and CWA locals before, walking picket lines and providing strike support, collaborating with unions on the national level offers the organization the credibility of labor groups that are major representatives of the working class, something that has so far proved elusive for the socialist group.

The unions, for their part, are able to access DSA’s passionate volunteer base. Both sides of the coalition told The Daily Poster that they hope that this campaign is just the beginning of a much closer working relationship between organized labor and the socialist left.

Though DSA is officially a staunch supporter of organized labor, relations between DSA and major unions have not always been smooth. In 2019, DSA activists were kicked out of a New York City CWA meeting, after being accused of plotting to infiltrate the union.

Billionaires GO ALL OUT To FIGHT Tax Hike, Progressives Preemptively Surrender

Rotating villainhood?

Sen. Mark Kelly Is Emerging as an Obstacle to the PRO Act

Sen. Mark Kelly has resisted co-sponsoring a major piece of labor law reform legislation known as the PRO Act, citing a policy of not endorsing measures that don’t also have Republican support, according to sources familiar with the reasoning provided to advocates of the bill.

Winning Kelly’s support for the legislation is crucial, as it is hoped that if he comes on board he could bring his Arizona colleague, Sen. Kysten Sinema, with him, leaving backers just three cosponsors short of the 50 that would bring the bill to the floor. Kelly has told advocates that he doesn’t want to be the only Arizona senator to cosponsor the bill, so backers of the bill are hoping to win the two in tandem.

The PRO Act, short for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, has already passed the House of Representatives. The legislation would make it easier to form a union and win a contract, harder for companies to union-bust, and easier for the National Labor Relations Board to crack down on rule-breaking companies. It would also make more workers eligible to unionize, including independent contractors. It would arguably be the most transformative piece of legislation enacted since the 1970s.

Amazon’s ability to snuff out a union drive in Bessemer, Alabama, this week, replete with what the union has called out as unfair labor practices during the election, has highlighted the need for the PRO Act, as workers often face insurmountable obstacles under current labor law. Currently, even when workers do vote to unionize, companies are able to stall collective bargaining agreements, sometimes for years.

The act of co-sponsoring the legislation has taken on heightened importance in the wake of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s pledge to bring the bill to a floor vote if it obtains at least 50 co-sponsors, as The Intercept previously reported. The bill has 45 co-sponsors, including 44 Democrats and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The other holdouts include Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mark Warner of Virginia, Angus King of Maine, and Sinema of Arizona. Though five Republicans voted for it in the House, there is no credible scenario in which a Senate Republican endorses the PRO Act, meaning that Kelly’s rationale would doom it to failure.

Krystal Ball: Bernie Vs Pelosi! Battle Brewing Over Healthcare

Biden Looks to Extend Trump’s Bolstered Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing

The Biden administration is expected to announce support this week for the temporary extension of a Trump-era policy expanding mandatory minimum sentencing to cover a range of fentanyl-related substances. More than 100 civil rights, public health, and criminal justice advocacy groups sent a letter last week urging Congress and President Joe Biden to oppose any extension of the Trump policy.

The administration can’t extend the policy without congressional action, which it is expected to support during a Wednesday hearing on substance use before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to two groups on the letter and several Democratic aides. The aides note that the administration will likely request additional time to explore the policy’s ramifications and has not yet decided whether it will adopt a full extension.

Biden ran on a platform that included criminal justice reform and an end to mandatory minimum sentencing, a practice he helped establish during his time as a senator in the 1980s and ’90s. Criminal justice and drug policy advocates say extending the Trump policy would be an abandonment of those promises and a return to the kinds of strategies that escalated the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and the opioid epidemic. Current laws impose a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, and a 40-year maximum sentence, for selling substances with trace amounts of fentanyl analogues in a mixture weighing between 10 and 100 grams.

“Class-wide scheduling would exacerbate pretrial detention, mass incarceration and racial disparities in the prison system, doubling down on a fear-based, enforcement-first response to a public health challenge. As we approach the 50-year milestone of President Nixon’s announcement of the War on Drugs, there is ample evidence that these unscientific policies destroy communities, entrench racial disparities, and do nothing to reduce drug supply or demand,” the letter reads. “We must learn from the lessons of the past: It is time for Congress and the Biden administration to embrace a public health approach to drug use.”



the horse race



Pelosi CAUGHT Buying Microsoft Stock BEFORE Giant Military Contract

Kentucky Progressive Charles Booker Considers US Senate Run

In a move swiftly cheered by progressives, Kentucky Democrat Charles Booker announced in a video message on Monday that he was forming an exploratory committee to consider running against Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in 2022.

"As Kentuckians, we know about tough times. But over these last few years, we have truly been through a lot," said Booker in a statement. "It's been hard, but as Kentuckians, we stood up and showed up for our neighbors, finding ways to uplift and help each other however we could."

"But even in a historic, unprecedented public health and economic crisis, most of our politicians couldn't be bothered to do anything, voting against survival checks for working families and trying to take away our healthcare in order to give our money away to wealthy campaign donors," he continued.

According to Booker: "Kentuckians deserve a senator who will fight as hard for us as we fight for each other, and that's why I'm formally announcing an exploratory committee for U.S. Senate. We can, we will, and we must build a future that works for all of us instead of just for a wealthy few."

A former member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, Booker gained national attention last year for a primary race he narrowly lost to establishment candidate Amy McGrath, who was soundly defeated by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in November.

In the Monday statement, Booker's new committee celebrated his previous "insurgent" campaign as well as the progressive agenda and vision he ran on, including "healthcare for all, ambitious action to address the climate crisis, an end to generational poverty, and a visionary racial justice platform."

GOP Smears DOJ Civil Rights Pick Kristen Clarke in Latest Attack on Voting Rights & Racial Justice



the evening greens


Much more detail at the link:

Airborne plastic pollution ‘spiralling around the globe’, study finds

Microplastic pollution is now “spiralling around the globe”, according to a study of airborne plastic particles. The researchers said human pollution has led to a global plastic cycle, akin to natural processes such as the carbon cycle, with plastic moving through the atmosphere, oceans and land. The result is the “plastification” of the planet, said one scientist.

The analysis calls plastic pollution one of the most pressing environmental issues of the 21st century. It indicates that the billions of tonnes of plastic discarded into the oceans and land and being broken down into tiny pieces are being thrown back into the air by road traffic and winds over seas and farmland.

People are already known to breathe, drink and eat microplastics and the other research suggests levels of pollution will continue to rise rapidly. The scientists said this “raises questions on the impact of accumulating plastics in the atmosphere on human health. The inhalation of particles can be irritating to lung tissue and lead to serious diseases.”

Prof Natalie Mahowald, at Cornell University in the US and part of the research team, said: “What we’re seeing right now is the accumulation of mismanaged plastics just going up. Some people think it’s going to increase by tenfold [per decade]. ... The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined airborne microplastics, which have been far less studied than plastic in oceans and rivers.

Fukushima: Japan announces it will dump contaminated water into sea

Japan is to release more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, the government has said, a decision that is likely to anger neighbouring countries and local fishers.

Official confirmation of the move, which came more than a decade after the nuclear disaster, will also deal another blow to the fishing industry in Fukushima, which has opposed the measure for years.

The prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, told a meeting of ministers on Tuesday that the government had decided that releasing the water into the Pacific Ocean was the “most realistic” option, and “unavoidable in order to achieve Fukushima’s recovery”. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco], and government officials say tritium, a radioactive material that is not harmful in small amounts, cannot be removed from the water, but other radionuclides can be reduced to levels allowed for release.

“The Japanese government has compiled basic policies to release the processed water into the ocean, after ensuring the safety levels of the water … and while the government takes measures to prevent reputational damage,” Suga told reporters. Work to release the diluted water will begin in about two years, the government said, with the entire process expected to take decades. ...

Greenpeace Japan said it “strongly condemned” the water’s release, which “completely disregards the human rights and interests of the people in Fukushima, wider Japan and the Asia-Pacific region”.

Citing Climate and Investment Risks, NY State Pension Fund to Ditch Tar Sands

In a development climate campaigners welcomed as a harbinger of more institutions ditching fossil fuel investments, New York state's pension fund will divest $7 million from seven tar sands companies, the state comptroller announced Monday.

"As nations around the world become increasingly serious about addressing the threat of climate change and as market forces drive a low-carbon economic transition, we need to make sure our investments line up with this reality," said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a statement.

"We have carefully reviewed companies in the oil sands industry and are restricting investments in those that do not have viable plans to adapt to the low-carbon future," he said. "Companies responsible for large greenhouse gas emissions, like those in this industry, pose significant risks for investors."

New York's is the nation's third largest public pension fund, holding $247.7 billion in assets.

Seven companies were singled out by the comptroller because they "failed to show they are transitioning out of oil sands production"—Imperial Oil, Canadian Natural Resources, Husky Energy, MEG Energy Corp., Athabasca Oil Corporation, Cenovus Energy, and Japan Petroleum Exploration.

In addition to selling off the over $7 million in securities it now holds in those companies, the pension fund will not in the future purchase or directly hold debt or equity securities in them.

The divestment announcement reflects the broader plan for the pension fund to divest from fossil fuels and conduct reviews of the "riskiest" fossil fuel assets. In December, DiNapoli announced a 2040 goal for net-zero carbon emissions for the fund.


Also of Interest

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

Secretary of State Blinken Throws Down the Gauntlet to China and Russia… Again

CNN - Ukrainian Trains With Heavy Weapons Going East Are 'Russian Aggression'

AOC panders to Israel lobby

Support the Tropes: How media language encourages the left to support wars, coups and intervention

Republicans push ‘tsunami’ of harsh anti-protest laws after BLM rallies

Georgia is updating Jim Crow. Now, he’s Dr James Crow

Officer who shot Daunte Wright and Brooklyn Center police chief resign

Native communities confront painful choice: move away, or succumb to rising waters?

Critics Warn $15 Billion Merger of Global Water Giants Would Create 'Dangerous Corporate Monopoly'

Keiser Report | Disorder Will Come

Ryan Grim: Here Are Dems STANDING IN WAY Of Pro-Union Legislation

Rising: Dem Pollsters ADMIT They Failed, Have No Clue Why

Saagar Enjeti: Biden's ATF Pick Is Literally A WACO CONSPIRACY Theorist


A Little Night Music

The Larks - Hey Little Girl

The Larks - How Long Must I Wait For You

The Larks - Shadrack

The Larks - Lucy Brown (Teevee version)

The Larks - Little Side Car

The Larks - Forget It

The Larks - Rockin In The Rocket Room

The Larks - When I Leave These Prison Walls

The Larks - Tippin' In

The Larks - Os-Ca-Lu-Ski-O

The Larks - Margie

The Larks - Lucy Brown (Recorded version)


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20 users have voted.

Comments

I will start with the latest murder by cop in Minnesota.

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/547965-officer-who-shot-daunte-...

The officer who police say fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, in Brooklyn Center, Minn., on Sunday has resigned, along with the local police chief.

"I am tendering my resignation from the Brooklyn Center Police Department effective immediately," officer Kim Potter said in a letter obtained by local media outlets.

"I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and to my fellow officers if I resign immediately," Potter added.

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon has also resigned, Mayor Mike Elliott announced during a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

I almost shed a tear for Kim. But there is this!

Potter, 48, is a 26-year veteran of the police force. She was once union president for her department’s officers and has been a longtime member of the Law Enforcement Memorial Association, according to the Star Tribune.

She was previously involved in another police shooting two years ago, being the first officer on the scene after 21-year-old Kobe Dimock-Heisler was shot. Dimock-Heisler, who was on the autism spectrum, allegedly rushed at the two other police officers at the scene.

Potter reportedly told the two officers to "exit the residence, get into separate squad cars, turn off their body worn cameras, and to not talk to each other," the Tribune reported. The officers' actions were found to be justified, and no one was charged.

The pigs (oops I should say police) are just like the mafia and most police unions are as corrupt as can be.

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12 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

heh, i'm glad for the community that she resigned. now if we could just get thousands more of the bad apples to resign.

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9 users have voted.

@humphrey including killing a traffic violator.
She has a retirement. She is gonna be just fine, unless she goes to prison.

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6 users have voted.

@humphrey
It boggles the mind. Especially since (according to WGN news) department policy is to wear the taser on the left.

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5 users have voted.

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

ggersh's picture

we've lost the battle, nothing left but revolution?

https://www.reddit.com/r/lostgeneration/comments/mpfj66/priorities/

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13 users have voted.

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Søren Kierkegaard

NO MORE WAR

joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

nothing left but revolution?

heh, back when reagan was in office and i was a much younger man, i thought that a revolution was just around the corner.

i'm thinking now that it's possible but unlikely.

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10 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

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5 users have voted.

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

@ggersh
Really laughable that the US military is dependent on China to build weapons (especially silicon chips) and thinks they can throw their weight around in the Western Pacific.

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7 users have voted.

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

mimi's picture

to think that weak leaders always need a war more desperately than real leaders, otherwise they would feel weak. The war is the force that gives them meaning... with the words of Chris Hedges.

Sigh, the next great business idea would be to make plastic taste really good. At least then we would eat it and not throw it in the environment and air.

Ok, I get silly again. Thanks for the news and blues. Have a good evening. Waiting for the end of all these idiocies. There are others who can comment intelligently. Go ahead and read those.

Good night. Be well, don't get sick. Have a good one. Are Ms Shikspack garden's trees and bushes showing little green leaves already? We have a shimmer of green and each day we think about the next day to get closer to spring time.

Can you convince me to believe in science and scientists again? Gosh, when I think from where I came from, it is a disaster of where I ended up. Angie Baby (Merkel) still believes in them. I guess I should too.

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

Sigh, the next great business idea would be to make plastic taste really good.

heh, it's already in your food!?!

Are Ms Shikspack garden's trees and bushes showing little green leaves already?

we've got buds on our maples, the forsythia are blooming and our red bud tree is bursting out with purple goodness. the neighbor's magnolia trees and cherries have already passed peak bloom.

leaves will be along shortly.

Can you convince me to believe in science and scientists again?

i think that scientific method is a great way to think about things. it has, over thousands of years been a fairly reliable way of figuring out what we do and don't know.

i think that what people (sometimes including scientists) think that we know is often overstated, to the detriment of everybody.

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10 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
hopefully will come back to my senses. Hopefully ... oh well, I have no other choice. Will talk again when it happened.Thanks for your patience and generosity to keep up with me.

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@mimi
not academic ass kissers.

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6 users have voted.

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

I am not going to provide examples but there certainly many to choose from.

Oh heck I will include one. AIPAC

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11 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

What I really liked today was Saager taking down Bidens new ATF head - just a perfect explanation of why the guy shouold not only NOT run the ATF, but why he shouldn't even be allowed to hold any political appointment at all. If he wants to run for some office, fince, but he should not be any kind of appointee, ever, like so so many others.

Peru will be fun to watch, I expect the propaganda tying Castillo to the Sendero Luminoso to start about right now.

"Plastification of the planet" is a good phrase, we need to somehow sloganize it, like "don't plastify me bro" or something of that ilk.

So, I noted this language in the babble about Fukushima releasing contrminated water into the ocean:

“unavoidable in order to achieve Fukushima’s recovery”

.
Do you think "recovery" means "restarting" as in they plan on putting what's left back into operation because TEPCO needs the money?

be well and have a good one

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11 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

saagar did a good job there. biden's appointee sounds like just the sort of (insert expletive) that i would expect biden to appoint.

looks like the cia has its work cut out for it in peru.

"Plastification of the planet" is a good phrase, we need to somehow sloganize it, like "don't plastify me bro" or something of that ilk.

heh, i believe in the pastafication of the planet by the noodly one, the flying spaghetti monster. Smile

Do you think "recovery" means "restarting" as in they plan on putting what's left back into operation because TEPCO needs the money?

i can't imagine that tepco is thinking that the fukushima plant can ever be resurrected. i think that they're just hoping that the government will let them sneak out the back door and take over the costs of cleanup. on the other hand, surely they would like to figure out a way to get licensed to make a mess somewhere else, though.

have a great evening!

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8 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

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4 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

heh:

Their last Apollo session was held on September 2, 1954; it resulted in four more tunes: "No, Mama, No" (led by Gene), "Honey From The Bee" (Gene), "Os-Ca-Lu-Ski-O" (Gene and David), and "Forget It" (all/David). When I interviewed David Bowers, he admitted that he had no idea what "Os-Ca-Lu-Ski-O" was about.

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7 users have voted.

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joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

i hear that lavrov responded to a question about it by saying, "they're here because we live here."

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8 users have voted.

which respected the rights of women. We financed and armed the Mujahedeen, the forerunners of the Taliban/Al Qaeda In order to punish the USSR, who were supporting the secular government. Everything for the US is geostrategic, the rest is bullshit marketing. How do the Saudi's treat women, human rights? No problem, geostrategically they are our allies. This betrays the incredible bullshit of our government and media.

Think of Jimmy Carter self righteously boycotting the Moscow Olympics, while we supported head-choppers in Afghanistan, who threw acid in the faces of young girls who wanted to go to school.

Is there some point in history when the US went off the rails, or have we always been this way and willing politicians and media have always covered this up?

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16 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Wizard

Is there some point in history when the US went off the rails, or have we always been this way and willing politicians and media have always covered this up?

if i may be so bold, may i direct the wizards attention to the manner by which the land on which this country was founded came into the possession of the united states?

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9 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@The Wizard
have even been this way in their original homelands.

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11 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
English in Ireland. many Scots would say English in Scotland.
Austrians in Italy and Sicily. French, Spanish and Dutch empires.
Russians in Poland. No, not just twentieth century. more like forever.
Romans, Alexandrian Greeks. Turks. Umpteen Chinese dynasties. Egyptians in Sudan.

Face it. It's not just America. It's the whole human race. From the dawn of time. Cro-Magnons came out of Africa, what? 100,000 years ago? Killed off Neanderthals,kept some of the women as slaves.

EDIT:
OMG! I ignored what the Spanish and Portuguese did in "Latin" America. Of course, people there were also happily killing and enslaving their neighbors.
Don't know much about India's history, but the caste system seems to have been rooted in conquest and racism also.

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4 users have voted.

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

makes a great point:

https://original.antiwar.com/rick_rozoff/2021/04/11/secretary-of-state-b...

April 11, 2021
Secretary Of State Blinken Throws Down The Gauntlet To China And Russia… Again
Rick Rozoff

... Though no two cases are exactly alike, the irony of threatening one fellow nuclear power – Russia – for obstructing the reunification of Ukraine while threatening another – China – for seeking reunification of its country seems rather contradictory. The country the U.S. identifies as its closest ally in the world has for decades occupied territory it seized from its neighbors and treats a religious and ethnic minority within that territory in a manner some would compare to Todd’s and Blinken’s characterization of China’s treatment of its Uyghurs. That country wasn’t mentioned in the Meet the Press episode. It’s never been told that “it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change the existing status quo by force” or “If [it] acts recklessly, or aggressively, there will be costs, there will be consequences."

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joe shikspack's picture

@Linda Wood

heh, americans are apparently impervious to irony.

or maybe they're just gritting their teeth and hoping that the idiots that run the country won't get us all killed.

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10 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

That article from FAIR was good:
Support the Tropes.
Should be required reading for all "Democrats".
Rhymes with this book I just started reading: Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance. I could do without the Orwell reference but this little book is pretty good so far, straight history, concisely stated.
This trope was in this morning's NYT:

After Backing Military Force in Past, U.S.A.I.D. Nominee Focuses on Deploying Soft Power
If confirmed to oversee the U.S. Agency for International Development, Samantha Power will confront adversaries by bolstering democracy and human rights. China is an early focus.

Classic.

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11 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

heh, so the great "humanitarian," samantha power's new job is to put a smiley face on whatever the cia is up to. woo hoo!

have a great evening!

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8 users have voted.

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

that's one that i'll have to see to believe, too.

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8 users have voted.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/24/biden-signs-executive-order-to-address-c...

WED, FEB 24 2021

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday meant to address a global chip shortage impacting industries ranging from medical supplies to electric vehicles.

The action follows calls from bipartisan members of Congress and industry leaders warning about the potential consequences of the shortage.

The Covid pandemic has underscored issues with U.S. reliance on supply chains abroad in many areas, including semiconductor manufacturing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/04/13/intel-ceo-semicondu...

Chip shortage will last beyond 2022 as demand far outstrips supply, Intel chief says
Head of largest chipmaker in U.S. says short-term fixes may help, but building additional factories will take years

The global semiconductor shortage hammering the auto industry and other manufacturers is going to take “a couple of years” to abate, as demand soars alongside limited manufacturing capacity, the chief executive of chipmaking giant Intel said.

Semiconductor companies can take some short-term steps to alleviate some of the pain, Pat Gelsinger said in an interview, adding that Intel aims to boost production of automotive chips within six to nine months. But a full solution to the problem will take much longer, he said.

“We do believe we have the ability to help,” said Gelsinger, who recently took over as CEO of the United States’ largest-by-revenue semiconductor company. But “I think this is a couple of years until you are totally able to address it,” he said. “It just takes a couple of years to build capacity.”

The computer-chip supply crunch, fueled by pandemic supply-chain gyrations and soaring demand, has most visibly hurt automakers, forcing them to temporarily idle factories. But it’s affecting a variety of businesses, Gelsinger said, including manufacturers of personal computers and other equipment.

Maybe Biden could ask China for some help if its OK with Blinken. /S

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8 users have voted.

@humphrey
Both Intel and AMD used to make chips in the USA. Then they got deals from China and Germany and sold off their technology for bigger profits.

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6 users have voted.

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

Dawn's Meta's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness built Intel plants in their heyday. We were building so much chip capacity, at one time we were ahead of the curve.

AMD was the primary competitor. They would take Intel chips, reverse engineer them after a certain period of time elapsed after the Intel chips were out, then come out with cheaper versions. We always figured that Intel had eighteen months to make a profit after a FAB came online, then it was diminishing returns and/or retooling.

We are talking real pioneering and cowboy shootem' ups.

By the mid 90s the Koreans, Taiwan, and other SE Asian firms were frequent visitors to our shop and looking for faster and better builds than the ones we had been doing. Of course knowing the processes and equipment strategies for a plant/FAB was a large key to the success of the chip-producing strategy.

The new guys were often peering over the shoulders of our designers and engineers on their computer stations. We had to seal off portions of our floors so that (industrial) spying did not occur. Our teams were somewhat naive to the idea that competitors would steal process and plant information. But they sure tried.

Interesting times.

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4 users have voted.

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

Dawn's Meta's picture

read through last night's offerings.

The (cop - I never know what to call police anymore) Potter, I had a visceral reaction which probably says more about my age and experiences as I came up in the 70s and 80s. She was/is being more badass than the guys to prove her bonafides.

I was in the half generation of women who came up in management of many sectors after the first women made the corner office. I was at Georgia Pacific many, many years ago, working under a woman who was the first in management. Word was that her fingernail scratches were on the doorway to her office as she clawed her way in. (Sexist much hmmmm?)

When she finally moved into her office she found a secretary-type chair instead of a chair with arms on it at her desk. Nasty.

She had trouble with any female who showed initiative, as they were her competitors.

So this was the reaction I had to Ms Potter. Also, too, it must be said, surely a 9mm of any kind (or whatever that was in the body cam video) is much heavier than a Taser. Anybody? Really?

Plastics: years ago I had an intern in my department learning our design and build of data and Telephony networks. She was from of all countries, France. Her biggest comment on our culture was the amount of packaging we had which of course is plastic. My pet peeve are those heavy formed and crimped cases around hardware items. Ironically, now in France buying in bulks is rare, and paper wrapping though still an art in bakeries and butchers is hard to find. There is a bill in the National Assembly to bring back bulk buying (vrac). We can only hope. The cost of eliminating the plastiques would more than cover the miniscule theft of goods.

Fukushima: what they dump there, will move with currents and end up sliding up the west coast of the US. The same currents which the Salmon live in for various lengths of their lives.

In a very strange intersection of a couple of things the Silver or Coho Salmon have been found to be dieing as a result of bits of tires flowing into their stream habitat. Something really unforeseen. Unbelievable. The entire species and many subs are very in danger. Some of my best fishing was for these beautiful fighting shimmering fish. I was born soon enough to know these things personally and feel their loss.

Thanks for all the news and comments.

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10 users have voted.

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

joe shikspack's picture

@Dawn's Meta

surely a 9mm of any kind (or whatever that was in the body cam video) is much heavier than a Taser. Anybody?

certainly. a taser is light, a few ounces. a 9mm glock, fully loaded with ammo weighs in the neighborhood of 3lbs.

i do not believe that the cop confused one for the other any more than i believe that she regularly confuses her left and right hands or the colors yellow and black.

I was born soon enough to know these things personally and feel their loss.

i find myself explaining to my kid and grandkid things that once existed and no longer do. i suspect that i will be doing a lot of that in the years to come.

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5 users have voted.

@Dawn's Meta

She had trouble with any female who showed initiative, as they were her competitors.
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2 users have voted.

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

If I am a right handed person, I would be trained at the police academy on the proper way to get my gun out of my right holster to defend myself. To the point where it is automatic. I would not be taught to pull a taser for self-defense. Tasers are for offensive action.
There is no way in hell I would be taught to reach across my body to pull out a gun to save my life.

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5 users have voted.