The Evening Blues - 4-19-21



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Chick Willis

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues singer and guitarist Chick Willis. Enjoy!

Chick Willis - This Is My Life

“The media tends to report rumors, speculations, and projections as facts... How does the media do this? By quoting some 'expert'... you can always find some expert who will say something hopelessly hopeless about anything."

-- Peter McWilliams


News and Opinion

Glenn Greenwald, worth a click and a full read:

Journalists, Learning They Spread a CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace a New One

That Russia placed "bounties” on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose. ...

The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump's refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump's “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”

What was missing from this media orgy of indignation and militaristic demands for retaliation was an iota of questioning of whether the story was, in fact, true. All they had was an anonymous leak from “intelligence officials” — which The New York Times on Thursday admitted came from the CIA — but that was all they needed.

Predictably, now that this CIA tale has served its purpose (namely, preventing Trump from leaving Afghanistan), and now that its enduring effects are impeding the Biden administration (which wants to leave Afghanistan and so needs to get rid of this story), the U.S. Government is now admitting that — surprise! — they had no convincing evidence for this story all along. The Daily Beast on Thursday was the first to notice that “the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had ‘low to moderate’ confidence in the story after all.” The outlet added: “that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.” The Guardian also reported that “US intelligence agencies have only ‘low to moderate confidence’ in reports last year that Russian spies were offering Taliban militants in Afghanistan bounties for killing US soldiers.” NBC News went even further, citing Biden’s campaign attacks on Trump for failing to punish Putin for these bounties, and noting: “Such a definitive statement was questionable even then….They still have not found any evidence, a senior defense official said Thursday.” ...

If you think that, upon learning yesterday's news, there was any self-reflection on the part of the media figures who spread this, or that they felt chastened about it in any way, you would be very, very wrong. In fact, not only did few if any admit error, but they did exactly the same thing on Thursday about a brand new evidence-free assertion from the U.S. Government concerning Russia: they mindlessly assumed it true and then stated it to millions of people as fact. They are not embarrassed to get caught spreading false CIA propaganda. They see their role, correctly, as doing exactly that. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, run by Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, issued a short Press Release about its targeting of Russian-Ukrainian political consultant, Konstantin Kilimnik, with new sanctions. One sentence of this press release asserted a claim that the Mueller investigation, after searching for eighteen months, never found: namely, that “Kilimnik provided the Russia intelligence services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” that he received from then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Is it true that Kilimnik passed this polling data to the Kremlin? Maybe. But there is no way for a rational person — let alone someone calling themselves a “journalist” — to conclude that it is true. Why? Because, like the CIA tale about Russian bounties — a claim they learned yesterday had no evidence — this is nothing more than a U.S. Government assertion that lacks any evidence. ...

These are not journalists. They are obsequious spokespeople for the CIA and other official authorities. Even when they learn that they deceived millions of people by uncritically repeating a story that the CIA told them was true, they will — on the very same day that they learn they did this — do exactly the same thing, this time with a one-paragraph Treasury Department Press Release. These are agents of disinformation: state media. And when they speak, you should listen to them with the knowledge of what they really are, and treat them accordingly.

Saagar Enjeti: 'Bombshell' Russian Bounties Story FALLS APART, Revealing Media Lies

Washington Pledges To Defend Japan With Nuclear Weapons

Yesterday U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met at the White House to hold a joint press conference reaffirming and expanding bilateral relations between the two nations. A statement was released after the press event which has raised the ire of China.

Both the press conference and the statement addressed a multitude of issues from economic to security to environmental to cyber concerns, but what caught the attention of many, especially Chinese, observers is this sentence: “The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear.” The treaty marks its seventieth anniversary this year, first having been signed during the height of the Cold War, as the war in Korea raged, in 1951.

The statement, titled U.S.-Japan Global Partnership for a New Era – also reaffirmed the two nations’ understanding that Article 5 of that pact – “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes” – would apply to China and Japan’s dispute over what Japan and the U.S. refer to as the Senkaku Islands, but China knows as the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. (Japan is also embroiled in a dispute with Russia over the Kuril Islands, which Japan, and occasionally the U.S. State Department, refer to as Japan’s Northern Territories.) The two leaders pledged to intensify military cooperation “across all domains, including cyber and space, and to bolster extended deterrence.” ...

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said that Biden’s and Suga’s statements went “far beyond the scope of normal development of bilateral relations.”

Richard Hanania: WAPO Publishes FOUR Op-Eds Opposing Afghan Withdrawal

The U.S. Could Have Left Afghanistan Years Ago, Sparing Many Lives

President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw most U.S. troops from Afghanistan marks a significant reduction in America’s participation in the war. But it is unlikely to mean peace for Afghans themselves, who remain caught between a weak and corrupt central government long propped up by U.S. military might and a resurgent Taliban movement that is stronger than at any time since the United States invaded. ... The U.S. will leave without having accomplished its goals and with more Afghan suffering ahead. It also doesn’t seem that America’s own “forever war” is actually ending. Biden reserved the right to carry out airstrikes and raids against suspected threats in Afghanistan indefinitely — washing America’s hands of its involvement in inter-Afghan conflict, while signaling that the United States would still be killing people in the country when it deems necessary.

This “light footprint” approach could have been adopted by the U.S. government from a position of greater strength in 2002, or at many points since. Having achieved the baseline goal of responding to the 9/11 attacks and scattering Al Qaeda’s networks in the country, there was a genuine chance to declare victory in the conflict. Instead, successive administrations chose to become permanent parties to an Afghan civil war that began with the Soviet invasion and has raged ever since. The net result has been to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Biden’s somber words reflected the undeniable fact that the U.S. did not win the war in Afghanistan. While no one else really won either, the Taliban make perhaps the most compelling case for having achieved victory after successfully enduring 20 years of pressure from a coalition of the most powerful militaries on the planet. ...

The costs of waging this war of choice have been high. In addition to roughly 2,400 U.S. service members who have died in Afghanistan, roughly 157,000 Afghans have lost their lives, according to the Costs of War Project run by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, including tens of thousands of civilians. The number of wounded and displaced is unknown but is believed to run into the millions. In addition to civilian casualties inflicted directly by U.S. raids and airstrikes, a network of death squads and militias built with American support seems likely to continue terrorizing Afghans for years to come. ... Many haunting questions remain, including why this change in America’s approach wasn’t made decades ago, what has been accomplished by the huge loss of life and resources, and who is responsible for the ultimate failure of the U.S. project in Afghanistan.

Biden isn’t ending the Afghanistan War, he’s privatizing it: Special Forces, Pentagon contractors, intelligence operatives will remain

On April 14, President Joe Biden announced that he would end the U.S.’s longest war and withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Over 6,000 NATO troops will also be withdrawn by that time. ... Biden’s claim that he is ending the forever war is misleading. As The New York Times reported, the United States would remain after the formal departure of U.S. troops with a “shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations Forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives.” ...

The meaninglessness of President Biden’s announcement becomes apparent when we consider that the Pentagon employs more than seven contractors for every serviceman or woman in Afghanistan, an increase from one contractor for every serviceman or woman a decade ago. As of January, more than 18,000 contractors remained in Afghanistan, according to a Defense Department report, when official troop totals had been reduced to 2,500. These totals reflect the U.S. government’s strategy of outsourcing war to the benefit of private mercenary corporations, and as a means of distancing the war from the public and averting dissent, since relatively few Americans are directly impacted by it. ...

The Afghan War will go on indefinitely not because of the threat of terrorism — which is accentuated by the U.S. military presence — but because the United States will not concede ground in the region. The U.S. has announced intentions to retain at least two military bases in Afghanistan after the official troop drawdown, and set up over 1000 bases during the war.

Uncle Sam also covets Afghans’ mineral wealth. A 2007 United States Geological Service survey discovered nearly $1 trillion in mineral deposits, including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and critical industrial metals like lithium, which is used in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and cellphones. An internal Pentagon memo stated that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.” ...

As a previous CovertAction Magazine article documented, the current Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani is largely a creation of the United States. Its military is funded by the United States at a cost of around $4 billion per year. This support is going to continue — unless Congress cuts it off — alongside large-scale U.S. foreign aid programs that amount to nearly $1 billion per year. The U.S. wants to keep Ghani in power, or replace him with another proxy that can help it win the geopolitical competition with Russia and China, which is little different from the 19th-century “great game” between Great Britain and Czarist Russia.

As long as the U.S. empire remains intact, the war as such will go on, and on — and on.

US gov detains CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin following Ecuador election

Raúl Castro Steps Down as Cuba's Leader

For the first time since the 1950s, Cuba will have a leader whose name is not Castro, as Raúl Castro announced Friday that he will step down as first secretary of the country's ruling Communist Party just ahead of the 10th anniversary of his appointment.

Castro—who has ruled Cuba since his brother Fidel resigned from the Communist Party central committee on April 19, 2011—announced his retirement during the 8th Party Conference in Havana, teleSUR reports.

"I believe fervently in the strength and exemplary nature and comprehension of my compatriots," he told the conference, "and as long as I live I will be ready with my foot in the stirrups to defend the fatherland, the revolution, and socialism."

The 89-year-old—who played a key role as a military commander in the revolution that overthrew the brutal U.S.-backed Fulgencio Batista regime in 1959—said that he has fulfilled his mission and "is confident in the future of the fatherland."

Castro leaves office after having implemented significant economic reforms, with the government recently allowing private businesses to operate in most sectors of the economy. While the government continues to repress political freedom, Cubans still enjoy social benefits unheard of in the United States, including free cradle-to-grave healthcare and education.

Under Castro, Cuba continued its globally renowned policy of international humanitarian assistance, which drew praise from then-U.S. President Barack Obama during his historic March 2016 visit to Havana. Last year, the Cuban government sent 2,000 doctors and nurses abroad to nearly two dozen nations during the coronavirus pandemic.

This year's party conference coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, a failed attempt by CIA-backed Cuban exiles to destroy the revolution that ended half a century of U.S. domination. In 1898, the U.S. conquered Cuba from Spain and directly ruled the island as a colony for years before backing a series of dictators friendly to Washington and Wall Street interests.

The U.S. repeatedly tried to murder the Castros, with Raúl becoming the target of the earliest-known CIA assassination plot against the brothers. The Castros survived more than 600 often outrageously outlandish assassination attempts against them, and outlasted 12 U.S. presidents. They also defiantly endured 60 years of internationally condemned U.S. economic embargo and a decades-long campaign of terror against the Cuban people.

It is widely believed that Miguel Díaz-Canal, the 60-year-old president, will replace Castro. The next Cuban leader will face an ongoing pandemic and concurrent economic crisis exacerbated by the continuing U.S. embargo, and will face internal and external pressure to enact further reforms while remaining faithful to the ideals of the revolution.

Global death toll passes 3m as pandemic ‘grows at an alarming rate’

A grim Covid-19 milestone was passed on Saturday when it was revealed that the global death toll from the disease had passed three million.

The news was described as “chilling” by Wellcome Trust director Jeremy Farrar, who warned that the true number of deaths was probably much higher. “Worryingly, this pandemic is still growing at an alarming rate,” he said. “Hundreds of thousands are dying every month.”

According to the Covid-19 dashboard, run by Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 140 million cases of the disease since the pandemic began last year with the official death toll reaching 3,001,068 yesterday morning. The worst affected country was the US with more than 31 million cases and more than 560,000 deaths.

India and Brazil have also fared badly with the former recording more than 14 million cases and 175,000 deaths, while the latter has suffered just under 14 million cases and almost 370,000 deaths. Britain, which has also been hit heavily by the disease, has had more than four million cases and has a death toll that currently stands at more than 127,000.

“Only when we have tools to detect, treat and prevent Covid-19 everywhere will we be able to stop this pandemic and this senseless, tragic loss of life,” added Farrar, who said that a small number of rich countries had key roles to play in bringing the pandemic to a halt.

After criticism, Biden says he will raise U.S. cap on refugee admissions

President Joe Biden said on Saturday he will raise the cap on the number of refugees admitted this year to the United States, a day after he drew criticism from Democratic lawmakers for agreeing to keep the historically low figure in place.

Biden signed an order on Friday extending a 15,000 refugee admissions cap issued by his predecessor Donald Trump through the end of September. In signing the order, Biden shelved a plan announced in February to increase the cap to 62,500.

Biden told reporters in Delaware on Saturday after playing golf that he would go beyond the 15,000 limit.

"We are going to increase the number. Problem was the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up at the border with young people. We couldn’t do two things at once, so now we are going to raise the number," he said.

Police killing hundreds in Rio de Janeiro despite court ban on favela raids

Nearly 800 people were killed by police in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro in the past nine months, as raids remain a terrifying routine for favela families – despite a supreme court ruling to halt incursions during the coronavirus pandemic. ... The court ruled to suspend police raids in Brazilian favelas in June 2020, amid public outcry following the death of 14-year-old João Pedro Matos Pinto, who was shot in the back during a police incursion.

Between June and September, police raids plummeted 64% compared with the average for the same period in previous years, according to a report by Geni, a research group at the Federal Fluminense University (UFF). But incursions resumed in October, one month after the acting governor, Cláudio Castro, took office and rapidly doubled to 38 in October, compared with the previous month. In the following nine months, the communities of Greater Rio saw an average of nearly one raid every day, the report showed.

“It’s absurd,” Daniel Hirata, an author of the report and professor of sociology at UFF, said. “The highest court takes a decision, and political authorities do not respect it, violate it deliberately. This is a risk to the rule of law in Brazil.”

On Friday, the state supreme court started a two-day public hearing on police raids to draw up a new plan to reduce police killings and human rights violations. Police in Rio de Janeiro state, kill almost twice as many people each year as they do in the US. Most of the victims are black and brown.


Cops Have Brutalized Chicago's Latinx Community for Decades; Adam Toledo, 13, Is the Latest Victim

Hundreds protest in Chicago over police shooting of Adam Toledo

Hundreds marched through the streets of Chicago on Friday to protest the police shooting of Adam Toledo, a day after police released of body-cam video showing the deadly shooting of the 13-year-old boy with his hands in the air.

About a thousand people gathered on Friday evening in a park on Chicago’s north-west side, some holding signs that read “Stop killing kids” and “CPD can’t be reformed”. A brass band played music as the crowd chanted: “No justice, no peace.”

The demonstrators observed a moment of silence and expressed solidarity with the boy’s relatives, who had implored protesters to remain peaceful. The rally began in Logan Square Park, about five miles (8km) north of where the shooting occurred. ...

Speaking Friday on the floor of the Illinois house of representatives, the state representative Edgar Gonzalez, who lives four blocks from where Toledo died, called the killing a “murder” and expressed frustration at what he described as a too-familiar pattern of police abuse.

“So if you put your hands up, they shoot. If you put your hands down, they shoot. If you walk, you run, you hide, you sleep, you do exactly as they say, they still shoot,” Gonzalez said. “So I ask the members of this chamber, what are we supposed to do?”

Black & Latinx Lieutenant Sues Virginia Cops Who Threatened to Kill Him During Traffic Stop

George Floyd killing: protests flare as Americans await verdict in Chauvin trial

Protests against police killings flared across the US this weekend, from Minneapolis to Chicago to Portland, as Americans wait for a verdict in the trial of the white police officer charged with murdering George Floyd last year.

Closing arguments are expected in the Derek Chauvin trial on Monday. The most serious charge the former Minneapolis officer is facing in Floyd’s death is second-degree murder, but the jury might choose to find him guilty on third-degree murder or manslaughter, or acquit him altogether. ...

Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney representing the families of Floyd and Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old shot to death in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, by a white police officer during a traffic stop on 11 April, as the Chauvin trial played out, said guilty verdict for Chauvin could set a precedent in the US.

“The outcome that we pray for and Derek Chauvin is for him to be held criminally liable for killing George Floyd, because we believe that could be a precedent,” Crump told ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “Finally making America live up to its promise of liberty and justice for all. That means all of us - Black people, Hispanic people, Native people - all of us.” ...

Minneapolis is braced for potential citywide protests if Chauvin is acquitted or convicted on one of the lesser charges, with buildings across town boarded up, and National Guard troops already in place across the city. The outcome in the case is expected to resonate nationwide, particularly in cities that have seen continuing demonstrations over police violence.

Meet Cariol Horne, Black Police Officer Fired After Stopping Fellow Cop's Assault on Handcuffed Man

As police riot against protesters and journalists, Democratic governors activate thousands of National Guard soldiers to quell protests

In response to protests against unending police violence and in anticipation of a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in the coming days, Democratic governors and mayors across the country are preemptively declaring emergency protocols at police departments and activating National Guard soldiers in an attempt to intimidate protesters and deprive them of their First Amendment rights. In Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs of Champlin and Brooklyn Center, where 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by 26-year police veteran Kimberly Potter, after she allegedly mistook her pistol for a Taser last Sunday, more than 3,000 National Guard troops and at least 1,100 law enforcement agents from agencies across the state have been activated as part of the misnamed “Operation Safety Net.” ...

In addition to flooding working class neighborhoods with tear gas, militarized police and soldiers, an unconstitutional curfew has been in effect for the last week in Champlin and Brooklyn Center, preventing many residents from going about their day. Disturbing images and videos over the weekend revealed scenes of militarized police backed by soldiers, pointing semi-automatic rifles at unarmed women attempting to pump gas who were allegedly in violation of the curfew.

Demonstrating the immense fear within the ruling class and the state that the protests, similar to last summer’s, might grow to encompass broad layers of workers and youth and spiral out of their control, state agents have been deliberately targeting journalists to prevent the distribution and documentation of on-the-ground footage of the occupation. During Friday evening’s protest in Brooklyn Center, during which police boasted of 136 arrests, multiple journalists reported being assaulted by police while taking photographs or simply standing on the sidewalk. Freelance photographer Tim Evans told the Associated Press that he witnessed police charge into a crowd of peaceful protesters and begin pepper-spraying and tackling people, with one officer punching Evans in the face before ripping off his press credentials and forcing him to lie on his stomach with a knee in his back.

“I was yelling ‘press.’ He said he didn’t care and to shut the f*ck up,” Evans told the AP. Evans said another officer came over and smashed his head into the ground and then zip-tied his hands behind his back. “I’m extremely upset,” Evans said. “I felt like they were targeting the press in general. I’m out there doing what I’m doing because I have such strong convictions about the importance of this work.” Evans added that without his protective equipment, such as goggles, respiratory mask and helmet, he would have been seriously injured. ...

Maribel Perez Wadsworth, president of USA TODAY Network and publisher of USA Today, issued a statement following the police riot Friday night condemning the actions of the police in Brooklyn Center. “We condemn the actions of the police in Brooklyn Center in the strongest possible terms,” Wadsworth said. “Requiring journalists to lie prone on the ground and photographing their credentials are purposeful intimidation tactics. To be clear, we will not be intimidated or deterred in fulfilling our First Amendment right and responsibility to hold power to account in our reporting.”

'Believe your eyes,' prosecutors say in closing argument at Chauvin murder trial



the horse race



Dems CAVE To Manchin, Sinema On Lower Corporate Taxes

Far-right Oath Keepers member is first suspect to plead guilty in US Capitol riot

A member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group and heavy metal guitarist has become the first defendant to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the insurrection at the US Capitol.

Jon Ryan Schaffer, the frontman of the band Iced Earth, has agreed on Friday to cooperate with investigators in hopes of getting a lighter sentence, and the Justice Department will consider putting Schaffer in the federal witness security program, a US district judge said.

This signals that federal prosecutors see him as a valuable cooperator as they continue to investigate militia groups and other extremists involved in the insurrection on 6 January as Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win.

Schaffer, a supporter of Donald Trump, was accused of storming the Capitol and spraying police officers with bear spray. He pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors in federal court in Washington to two counts: obstruction of an official proceeding, and entering and remaining in a restricted building with a dangerous or deadly weapon. ...

The 53-year-old was not charged in the case involving Oath Keepers members and associates, who are accused of conspiring with one another to block the certification of the vote. The case is the largest and most serious brought by prosecutors so far in the attack.

TYT Melts Down Over Squad's Surrender To Biden

Wall Street Gave More Money During 2020 Election Than Any Campaign Season in US History

As part of Wall Street's "relentless push to influence decision-making" in Washington, D.C., the powerful financial sector spent a record $2.9 billion on campaign donations and lobbying in the 2020 election cycle, a new report shows, with Democrats including President Joe Biden accepting millions of dollars.

According to Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), which published the study Thursday, the historic sum was spent by Wall Street executives, employees, and trade groups, and included campaign contributions as well as lobbying expenses.

The sector's goal was to ensure lawmakers pass "policy that makes the already wealthy richer, and the rest of us poorer," regardless of which party is in power.

The spending detailed in AFR's report likely does not represent Wall Street's total contributions, the organization noted, because $1.05 billion in dark money, with unknown original sources, was spent on the 2020 federal elections.

"Thus, total Wall Street spending [accounts] for, at a minimum—because it is impossible to track dark money from the industry—one in seven dollars that financed the 2020 federal elections, the most expensive ever," AFR reported.

The financial sector spent the most money ever on political elections last year since 2016, when Wall Street poured $2 billion into campaigns and lobbying efforts. AFR executive director Lisa Donner noted that Wall Street is likely to continue breaking records in the coming years.

"The enormous sums that Wall Street has at its disposal, combined with a broken campaign finance system, means there is little practical limit to the amount of money the financial services industry can inject into American debate on politics and policy," Donner said in a statement.

The majority of the campaign contributions from Wall Street went to Democratic candidates, with Democrats taking 53% of the donations. More than $74 million was given to Biden's campaign.

Krystal Ball: NYers Aren't Buying Media SMEARS Of Andrew Yang



the evening greens


Haaland Revokes Trump-Era Orders, Creates Climate Task Force

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders. ...

Secretarial Order 3398 (pdf) rescinds a dozen orders issued under the Trump administration which an Interior statement collectively described as "inconsistent with the department's commitment to protect public health; conserve land, water, and wildlife; and elevate science."

Specifically, she revoked: S.O. 3348; S.O. 3349; SO 3350; S.O. 3351; SO 3352; S.O. 3354; S.O. 3355; S.O. 3358; S.O. 3360; S.O. 3380; SO 3385; and SO 3389 (pdfs). Implemented throughout former President Donald Trump's term, they related to "American energy independence," the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska, and leasing and permitting for energy projects, among other topics. With the order, Haaland reinstated the federal moratorium on coal leasing.

Haaland's other measure, Secretarial Order 3399 (pdf), establishes a departmental Climate Task Force that will identify policies needed to tackle the climate emergency, support the use of the best available science on greenhouse gas emissions, implement the review and reconsideration of federal gas and oil leasing and permitting practices, identify actions needed to "address current and historic environmental injustice" as well as "foster economic revitalization of, and investment in, energy communities," and work with state, tribe, and local governments.

The department also noted that "the solicitor's office issued a withdrawal of M-37062, an opinion that concluded that the Interior secretary must promulgate a National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program consisting of a five-year lease schedule with at least two lease sales during the five-year plan," which allows DOI "to evaluate its obligations under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act."

Chemical Industry Lobbyist in Trump EPA Suppressed Evidence of Cancer Risk

Trump administration officials withheld information about carcinogenic pollution from Illinois communities, according to a report released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general. Bill Wehrum, who served as assistant administrator of the office of Air and Radiation until 2019, kept information from residents of Willowbrook, Illinois, about results of air monitoring that showed they had an elevated risk of cancer due to ethylene oxide from a local sterilizing plant, according to the report, “EPA Delayed Risk Communication and Issued Instructions Hindering Region 5’s Ability to Address Ethylene Oxide Emissions,” which was produced in response to a request from Congress.

Measurement of the levels of ethylene oxide around the facility, which was owned by Sterigenics and has since closed, was conducted in May 2018 and showed an elevated risk of cancer due to the gas. In June, the regional administrator responsible for the area was briefed on the monitoring results and was preparing to release them to the public by posting them to the agency’s website. According to the report, “the then-Region 5 regional administrator expressed concern about the monitoring results and wanted to immediately release them to the public to avoid another public health emergency like the Flint, Michigan drinking water crisis.”

But Wehrum, who was not mentioned by name but referred to as “then-assistant administrator for air and radiation,” directed the regional administrator not to release the results to the public, according to the report. Before serving as head of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, Wehrum was a lobbyist who represented chemical and oil companies. He left the post in 2019, while under scrutiny from the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the EPA’s inspector general. The Senate report found Wehrum was instituting changes that would increase air pollution and benefit his former clients at the lobbying firm Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.

Biden Approves DAPL! Betrays Native Americans Again

Worth a full read:

Local Cops Said Pipeline Company Had Influence Over Government Appointment

As the Canadian oil pipeline company Enbridge awaited its final permits last summer to begin construction on the Line 3 tar sands oil transport project, Minnesota sheriff’s offices along the route fretted. With an Anishinaabe-led movement pledging to carry out nonviolent blockades and demonstrations to prevent the pipeline’s construction, local police worried they’d be stuck with the costs of policing and wanted Enbridge to pay instead.

As part of its permit to build Line 3, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, or PUC, created a special Enbridge-funded account that public safety officials could use to pay for policing Enbridge’s political opponents. The police were concerned about who state officials would hire to decide which invoices to pay or reject.

Last June, Kanabec County Sheriff Brian Smith wrote an email to other sheriffs along the pipeline route. “I think we need to let the PUC know that the person selected needs to be someone that we also agree upon,” Smith wrote. “Not a member of the PUC, not a state, county or federal employee, but someone that has an understanding of rioting and MFF operations” — referring to mobile field force operations, or anti-riot policing.

In response, Enbridge offered reassurances, according to other police on the email chain. “I had a discussion with Troy Kirby (Enbridge Chief of Security) this morning, and expressed concern over that position and the escrow account,” Aitkin County Sheriff Daniel Guida replied. “He indicated they have some influence on the hiring of that positon [sic] and he would be involved to ensure we are taken care of, one way or another.”

The exchange between the sheriffs is an example of the public-private collaborations between law enforcement and fossil fuel companies that have raised alarms for civil rights advocates and environmental activists across the U.S. Oil, gas, and pipeline corporations have forged a range of creative strategies for funding the police who respond to their political opponents, from paying elected constables for work as private security to creating an entire police unit dedicated to protecting infrastructure. Other industries have found ways to route money to police, but corporate law enforcement funding related to pipeline projects is among the most pervasive. Civil liberties advocates say the corporate cash raises troubling questions about private influence over the public institution of policing, noting that growing anti-pipeline protest movements have been met by heavy-handed police tactics.

Clam hunters’ supertool has California worried: ‘It might be too good’

Along the beaches of northern California, and the past year has seen a boom in crowds on the hunt for one of the region’s favorite edible delights: clams. But among the buckets and shovels, clam hunters are increasingly coming armed with a powerful new tool: hand-operated, water-squirting pumps that allow them to take more clams, faster than ever before.

The surge in the use of these hydraulic pumps, which have the capacity to collect a day’s worth of clams in just a few minutes, has raised concerns about their effects on the coastline and clam populations. As a result, the state is cracking down – opting in March to temporarily ban their use until the impact can be fully understood.

Fishing and hunting license sales increased 10% in California during the pandemic, reversing years of decline. Clamming has grown in popularity for several reasons: people are looking for safe activities to do outdoors, but also some are clamming for subsistence and trying to get money from selling the shellfish (which is illegal without a commercial license). The most common clams dug on the beaches are Pacific gaper clams, fat gaper clams, and butter clams. They can make a tasty dinner alone or chopped up in a clam chowder.

The new hydraulic pumps work like a bicycle pump, liquifying the sediment around the clam and allowing people to easily pick them up in shallow water. A team of clammers can catch their allotted amount of gaper clams and butter clams in just minutes. Legal catch limits are 10 per day. While the pumps aren’t a new problem, their prevalence has risen. Two years ago, Mastrup says, you might see one or two pumps among 50 groups. But this year, about 80% of the clammers are using the hydraulic pumps.

That can be a problem because the pumps are just too efficient, meaning clammers hit their daily limit very quickly. They don’t often bury the smaller clams they’re not taking home, and leaving them on the warm sandy beach can kill them. Using the pumps can disturb the eelgrass bed – floating underwater plants that play an important role in feeding and sheltering creatures – since the catchers are often walking in shallow water rather than standing on the shore.


Also of Interest

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

Two Dozen Senators Tell Biden It Is 'Past Time' to Finally Close Guantánamo

Pentagon: Unclear if Contractors Will Leave Afghanistan

Russia to Expel 10 US Diplomats in Response to Biden’s Actions

NATO Nations Train, Arm Ukrainian Military for War With Russia

36 Progressive Groups Demand Pentagon Cuts

How Taiwan Beat COVID-19 – New Study Reveals Clues to its Success

She survived Hurricane Sandy. Then climate gentrification hit

A beach town seized a Black couple’s land in the 1920s. Now their family could get it back

Despite Campaign Promise, Biden Admin Seizes Family’s Property in Court to Build Trump’s Border Wall

‘Divisive’: How Corporate Media Dismiss Ideas Unpopular With Elites

Kamala’s KHive trolls boosted by bots while media defends harassment campaigns

New Study Finds Undisclosed Ingredients in Roundup Lethal to Bumblebees

New Google Earth Timelapse Feature Offers Devastating View of Climate Emergency

The Aliens Are Not Coming

The Realignment #114​ | Glenn Greenwald: Securing Democracy and the Lessons from Bolsonaro’s Brazil

Aaron Glantz: Housing Prices At RECORD High, Is This A New Bubble?

Jonathan Cohn: Why Healthcare Has VANISHED From Our Political Debate

Krystal and Saagar: Bezos CLAIMS He Wants To 'Do Better' For Employees After Union Vote


A Little Night Music

Chick Willis - Mr. Moon Man I've Come To Bring You Some Food

Chick Willis - Stoop-Down Baby

Chick Willis - You Win Again

Chick Willis - It Ain't Right

Robert Chick Willis - Pleading

Chick Willis - Something To Remember You By

Chick Willis - Call My Name

Chick Willis - Mother Fuyer

Chick Willis - Lou's Place

Chick Willis & The Kenyattas - Love Doctor

Chick Willis - Black Widow Spider


Share
up
17 users have voted.

Comments

Evening Joe. Thanks for the clip. It is the most accurate coverage Yang has gotten that I can see.

He is leading in every demographic and it is driving the Media/DNC crazy. They hate him because they cannot control him.

The AARP poll that Krystal cited is important because in NYC seniors are the most reliable voting constituency.

I have stopped posting in other venues because they support the media/DNC smearing of Andrew Yang.

If readers here are interested I would be happy to provide the inside story of this campaign. Seen through the eyes of not only me but the retired public officials and union leaders I see and speak with on a daily basis.

up
19 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

i think that rising has been pretty fair-minded in its coverage of yang and it's pretty much the only outlet that i check regularly that covers him.

i'd be interested in reading what local opinion about him is from your perspective if you care to share.

up
15 users have voted.

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack far into the weeds right now is what is shaping up in the Yang run, is the news that is reported versus the news that is withheld.

Specifically, are the 4 leading candidates for or against the rule of Andrew Cuomo and Jay Jacobs, the NY State (D) leader? That question is the REAL and relevant one and it is purposely avoided by posing questions and answers that avoid the actual intent.

For example: The UFT narrowed the race to 4 candidates. Yang, Adams, Stringer, Wiley.

The UFT question was, "Do you support the cap on Charter Schools?" All 4 dutifully answered "Yes," the publicly approved answer and that was all that got covered.

The next question was, "Do you want to continue Mayoral Control of the NYC schools?" Yang said "Yes." The other 3 said "No."

Mayoral control is what has allowed Mayor de Blasio to provide every 4 year old in NYC free, all day, all meals included Pre-K public school education for the last seven years. Cuomo has yet to get that done in NYS and has fought it all the way.

Now, NYC is rolling out the same benefit to every three year old in the City.

Eric Adams, Scott Stringer and Maya Wiley play Progressives on TV. In reality they are Team Cuomo---owners and donors are what counts. Not the people who live in the city.

The NYC voting public is way smarter that the Press and the DNC Machine. That is what this election comes down to.

My buddies---one is the retired Commissioner of the NYC Board of Elections and another is a retired Labor Union leader, just for an example, think that this is the time when the common sense and decency of the NYC voting public is going to win AGAIN as we did in 2013 when every force was assembled against generosity and care for our fellow human beings and we won.

Losing to the accumulated force of Big Money interests is, of course, always a possibility. Yang might not make it.

Cuomo and Company has spent those 7 years lying about Bill de Blasio so if you think he has done a bad job it is understandable. Low income and poor people know the truth and so do middle class folks who care about something bigger than their own self-interest.

up
7 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

thanks for the info.

i guess what i am wondering is if the wealthy people are mad at yang because he's not part of the machine or because he is some sort of threat, like he might raise their taxes or something?

up
3 users have voted.

@joe shikspack not on the DNC or Daily Kos approved list. Only propaganda addicts get approval from the New York Democratic Party Establishment who take their orders from Cuomo/Bloomberg/Clinton coalitions for former or secret (R.)

up
3 users have voted.

NYCVG

ggersh's picture

Headline says hundreds

Cops Have Brutalized Chicago's Latinx Community for Decades; Adam Toledo, 13, Is the Latest Victim

it was actually thousands!

Headline says world is on tipping point, inserted it says Biden will act

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/04/19/un-chief-warns-world-verge-...

WMO released its report just before U.S. President Joe Biden hosts a two-day virtual climate summit to which 40 world leaders were invited.

By the time the gathering begins Thursday, the U.S. "will announce an ambitious 2030 emissions target as its new Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement," the White House said.

Scientists and climate advocacy groups have urged Biden to set a target of slashing emissions by 50%—or more—below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Associated Press reported Monday that a 50% reduction target from the White House was likely. As CNBC noted, however, that "would fall behind commitments by the U.K. and European Union, which have pledged to reduce emissions by 68% and 55% by 2030."

Without one mention of stopping all the wars it ain't gonna happen people

We're fucked, the shit going down w/Russia/China/Iran is the same shit the Dulles boys pulled way back when, like Joementia says "nothings going to fundamentally change"

up
14 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

i am expecting that jomentia will with great fanfare announce that the u.s. will commit to doing far less than is really needed, or if by some miracle his people have figured it out, he won't follow through with the actions needed to implement such a plan.

i have no faith in biden or the u.s. government to respond appropriately to the climate crisis because it would mean inconveniencing the donor class.

up
13 users have voted.

@ggersh Oh well.

And more..

Zelensky is pushing for war.

up
13 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

@MrWebster Yep this stooge, I guess he's still playing the role of "President"

This time is different though, I believe this "cold war" will go hot as the idiots believe they have a clue.

Volodymyr Zelensky
Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky, or Vladimir Aleksandrovich Zelenskiy, officially Zelenskyy, is the 6th and current president of Ukraine since 20 May 2019. Prior to his political career, he obtained a degree in law and created a production company, Kvartal 95, which produces films, cartoons and TV comedy shows, including Servant of the People, in which Zelensky played the role of President of Ukraine.Wikipedia

up
3 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

enhydra lutris's picture

The critter on the lady's arm is NOT a black widow, probably a tarantula or trapdoor, this is one kind of black widow
Black Widow

Thanks for the news and blues.

If robo-dog can't bite, I say replace all cop dogs with them, somebody (not Lady Ida, however) will have a jammer out soon, or at least should.

be well and have a good one

up
12 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, sometimes the internet can be so disappointing in its illustrations. Smile

i'm sure that we will all eventually need a whistle that will irritate the hell out of robo-dogs.

have a great evening!

up
10 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack know one spyder from another. For example, here's a porsche

Porsche 550 Spyder

This is an alfa
Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder

And this is the world famous Spider of the Andes

Bug-o-Rama 2017

up
10 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

i'm partial to the first generation alfa spider, myself. of course, i'd gladly drive a porsche. Smile

up
6 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

@enhydra lutris I would say that looks like a Tarantula on that arm. Funny how often these 'bio-spoilers' appear. In seemingly everything. I can't stand it, a real pet peeve for me. An early scene in The Godfather in Scicily nice California Quail calling, MASH = another Calif. Quail, and on and on. Most advert Bald Eagles have calling a Red-tailed Hawk, etc. ad. infinitum. Forget utube thumbnails! LOL Smile

That is a neat widow ya got there...

up
7 users have voted.

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

Azazello's picture

Here's some commentary from The Duran on this bit of news: Russia & Belarus Say US-Backed "Assassination" & "Coup" Attempt Against Lukashenko Thwarted

Glenn Greenwald with Jimmy Dore:

up
11 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

thanks for the vids.

sounds like putin is done putting up with u.s. spooks stirring the pot in the russian sphere of interest. i suppose there is really no point in him expecting goodwill from the u.s.

have a great evening!

up
8 users have voted.

Watch Jimmy Dore’s TYT Meltdown video. Keep your eye on the screen every time he stops Cenk. The faces Cenk makes are hysterical!

up
9 users have voted.

Just another Bozo on the bus.

joe shikspack's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

the whole idea of cenk getting upset at the cow wandering after he let the cow out of the barn is pretty amusing to start with.

have a great evening!

up
9 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

It's been the warmongering that is getting under my skin of late. All the real problems, and we create war, promote resource depletion, and accelerate environmental destruction to make ever more corporate/oligarch profit.

Well, I enjoyed the nice weather today. Had to put cages around the new trees cause deer love the chestnuts and such I've planted. Garden is recovering from the few freezing nights we had, and the summer 'maters and such are near ready to set out. Mid 30s this week, so I'll wait a bit before setting out summer stuff.

Loved Jimmy and Glenn's conversation, makes me appreciate your nightly coverage. We're lucky to have your regular curation. Have a good one!

up
17 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

mimi's picture

@Lookout
very lucky. Thanks. May he be that for a long time to come.
Just woke up in the middle of the night here and asked myself some nagging questions.

up
10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

thanks for joining me on my voyage of discovery.

yeah, it appears that with a new administration all of the forces of greed and evil are lining up to push for wars in diverse places. it will take some time to sort out if the new administration will want to and/or be able to rein in the deep state that is pushing us ever closer to the edge of destruction.

our deer here have quite an appetite, too. i am going to have to get some more cages or our plants are all going to get eaten up. we have a new mama rabbit that has been hanging around (i affectionately refer to her as "stewpot the rabbit") that has put a hurting on some of our new plantings.

there's another, longer, but i found interesting, conversation with greenwald in the posts of interest section that you might want to check out. heh, here's a link to it.

have a great evening!

up
7 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

https://www.reddit.com/r/WayOfTheBern/comments/mu5ui9/priorities_he_rais...

He raised over $40,000 on Facebook to feed hungry neighbors during the pandemic. Now he owes $16,000 in taxes.

up
14 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

excellent graphic!

heh, that story about the good samaritan getting screwed by the irs brings to mind mark twain's observation that no good deed goes unpunished.

up
8 users have voted.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/17/us/police-shootings-killings.html

MINNEAPOLIS — Just seven hours before prosecutors opened their case against Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, a Chicago officer chased down a 13-year-old boy in a West Side alley and fatally shot him as he turned with his hands up.

One day later, at a hotel in Jacksonville, Fla., officers fatally shot a 32-year-old man, who, the police say, grabbed one of their Tasers. The day after that, as an eyewitness to Mr. Floyd’s death broke down in a Minneapolis courtroom while recounting what he saw, a 40-year-old mentally ill man who said he was being harassed by voices was killed in Claremont, N.H., in a shootout with the state police.

On every day that followed, all the way through the close of testimony, another person was killed by the police somewhere in the United States.

The trial has forced a traumatized country to relive the gruesome death of Mr. Floyd beneath Mr. Chauvin’s knee. But even as Americans continue to process that case — and anxiously wait for a verdict — new cases of people killed by the police mount unabated.

Since testimony began on March 29, at least 64 people have died at the hands of law enforcement nationwide, with Black and Latino people representing more than half of the dead. As of Saturday, the average was more than three killings a day.

up
14 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

3 killings by the police a day is in line with the long-term average reported by the guardian that u.s. cops kill about a thousand people a year.

i don't know why a government of the people, by the people and for the people would perpetuate this.

up
9 users have voted.

@humphrey

up
6 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

"Opposition leader" refuses food, US makes threats, with Chris Hedges:

up
9 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

thanks!

up
4 users have voted.

up
10 users have voted.

@humphrey Again, i refer to "Let's Exterminate All The beasts." on HBO.

up
4 users have voted.

NYCVG

dystopian's picture

Hey Joe! Great sounds man! Stoop on down is Hall of Fame material, and so is M.Fuyer. Both are classic A++ stuff. He was a great player, and at times was really pushing it with the tone. About as radical as one could be at the time in the format. Lotta hot licks too. Very nice stuff! Thanks for the soundtrack. Sorry about the news bro. Haaland has hope.

Did anyone tell Cenk to take his DNC millions and go cry at home?

Hope all are well!

Thanks for the work JS!

up
9 users have voted.

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

good to see you! glad you dug the music.

heh, i have a hard time taking cenk seriously anymore. it's funny, back in the earlier days of the gos, i kind of enjoyed a lot of his posts, but time and success have turned him into a kos-like party hack.

have a great evening!

up
7 users have voted.

up
7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

i listened to a bit of it. it sounds pretty much like i expected with cardin eagerly spouting the party line on russian sanctions and generally being hostile towards russia.

up
7 users have voted.

up
10 users have voted.

Adding this image to show the part missing from the tweet.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EzWy2ucUcAIHfed?format=jpg&name=360x360

up
8 users have voted.