The Evening Blues - 4-20-21



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Frankie Lymon

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features doo wop singer Frankie Lymon. Enjoy!

Frankie Lymon - Little Bitty Pretty One

"Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too."

-- Marcus Aurelius


News and Opinion

Worth a full read:

Hedges: The Unraveling of the American Empire

America’s defeat in Afghanistan is one in a string of catastrophic military blunders that herald the death of the American empire. With the exception of the first Gulf War, fought largely by mechanized units in the open desert that did not – wisely – attempt to occupy Iraq, the United States political and military leadership has stumbled from one military debacle to another. Korea. Vietnam. Lebanon. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Libya. The trajectory of military fiascos mirrors the sad finales of the Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, Russian, French, British, Dutch, Portuguese and Soviet empires. While each of these empires decayed with their own peculiarities, they all exhibited patterns of dissolution that characterize the American experiment.

Imperial ineptitude is matched by domestic ineptitude. The collapse of good government at home, with legislative, executive and judicial systems all seized by corporate power, ensures that the incompetent and the corrupt, those dedicated not to the national interest but to swelling the profits of the oligarchic elite, lead the country into a cul-de-sac. Rulers and military leaders, driven by venal self-interest, are often buffoonish characters in a grand comic operetta. How else to think of Allen Dulles, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Trump or the hapless Joe Biden? While their intellectual and moral vacuity is often darkly amusing, it is murderous and savage when directed towards their victims. ...

War, when it is waged to serve utopian absurdities, such as implanting a client government in Baghdad that will flip the region, including Iran, into U.S. protectorates, or when, as in Afghanistan, there is no vision at all, descends into a quagmire. The massive allocation of money and resources to the U.S. military, which includes Biden’s request for $715 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal year 2022, a $11.3 billion, or 1.6 percent increase, over 2021, is not in the end about national defense. The bloated military budget is designed, as Seymour Melman explained in his book, “The Permanent War Economy,” primarily to keep the American economy from collapsing. All we really make anymore are weapons. Once this is understood, perpetual war makes sense, at least for those who profit from it. ...

The worse it gets at home the more the empire needs to fabricate enemies within and without. This is the real reason for the increase in tensions with Russia and China. The poverty of half the nation and concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny oligarchic cabal, the wanton murder of unarmed civilians by militarized police, the rage at the ruling elites, expressed with nearly half the electorate voting for a con artist and demagogue and a mob of his supporters storming the capital, are the internal signs of disintegration. The inability of the for-profit national health services to cope with the pandemic, the passage of a Covid relief bill and the proposal of an infrastructure bill that would hand the bulk of some $5 trillion dollars to corporations while tossing crumbs — one-time checks of $1,400 to a citizenry in deep financial distress — will only fuel the decline. ...

The façade of empire is able to mask the rot within its foundations, often for decades, until, as we saw with the Soviet Union, the empire appears to suddenly disintegrate. The loss of the dollar as the global reserve currency will probably mark the final chapter of the American empire. ... The loss of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency will instantly raise the cost of imports. It will result in unemployment of Depression-era levels. It will force the empire to dramatically contract. It will, as the economy worsens, fuel a hyper-nationalism that will most likely be expressed through a Christianized fascism. The mechanisms, already in place, for total social control, militarized police, a suspension of civil liberties, wholesale government surveillance, enhanced “terrorism” laws that railroad people into the world’s largest prison system and censorship overseen by the digital media monopolies will seamlessly cement into place a police state. Nations that descend into crises these severe seek to deflect the rage of a betrayed population on foreign scapegoats. China and Russia will be used to fill these roles.

The defeat in Afghanistan is a familiar and sad story, one all those blinded by imperial hubris endure. The tragedy, however, is not the collapse of the American empire, but that, lacking the ability to engage in self-critique and self-correction, as it dies it will lash out in a blind, inchoate fury at innocents at home and abroad.

EU Walks Back Claim of 150,000 Russian Troops Near Ukraine Border

The European Union had to correct a claim made by its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, concerning Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. Borrell told reporters on Monday that there were “over 150,000” Russian troops near the border. The number was corrected in a transcript of his briefing on the EU’s website to “over 100,000.”

Despite the change, it’s still unclear how the EU determined that there are over 100,000 Russian troops near the border. Russia has announced the deployment of additional forces near Ukraine in recent weeks, but nothing has indicated it sent over 100,000 troops to the region. Last week, a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed there were 80,000 troops stationed along the border of Ukraine, with 40,000 of them in Crimea. ... But the base is located in southern Crimea, nowhere near the conflict zone in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Iraq PM hints at progress on coalition troop withdrawal

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has said that his government has succeeded in "imposing legal and time-based mechanisms" for the withdrawal of US and Coalition forces deployed in the country to fight Islamic State extremists.

In a meeting with military officers Al-Kadhimi praised the preparedness of Iraqi soldiers to lead the combat role against IS, while acknowledging their remained "challenges and needs" to be addressed before assuming that role fully, Iraqi media reported. ...

Abbas Sarout, a member of the Iraqi parliamentary security and defence council, said on Saturday that a joint committee - which emerged following the recent US-Iraqi strategic dialogue - was focusing on three areas: the withdrawal of US troops, closing down foreign military bases, and defining the role of troops who remain behind in support roles.

At UN, ex-Colin Powell aide calls out 'egregious' OPCW Syria cover-up

Israeli cabinet ‘concerned the US wants an Iran deal at all costs’

Israeli ministers expressed concern about the nuclear talks between the US and Iran, following a diplomatic-security cabinet meeting on Sunday. “The Americans want a deal at all costs and the Iranians know it,” said a source in the meeting. The Biden administration is open to hearing Israeli concerns, the source added, but doesn’t seem to be taking them into consideration.

The diplomatic-security cabinet meeting – the first in two months – focused on the Iranian threat a week after a major attack on the nuclear site at Natanz, as well as an attack on an Iranian ship serving as a military base on the Red Sea, both by Israel according to security sources, and as the US and Iran hold indirect negotiations.

Cabinet ministers heard security briefings from the head of security branches, including National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, who plan to travel to Washington next week and meet with Biden administration officials. The ministers discussed how to respond to the US position, and will continue meeting on the topic next week.

Warren is still trying hard to look like a progressive:

Elizabeth Warren Suggests U.S. Explore Conditional Aid to Israel

At today’s meeting of the annual J Street conference, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., suggested that the U.S. consider conditional aid to Israel. “I support military assistance to Israel,” said Warren’s planned remarks, referring to the aid as “the elephant in the room.”

“But if we’re serious about arresting settlement expansion and helping move the parties toward a two-state solution, then it would be irresponsible not to consider all of the tools we have at our disposal,” her speech went on. “One of those is restricting military aid from being used in the occupied territories. By continuing to provide military aid without restriction, we provide no incentive for Israel to adjust course.”

Warren’s position is consistent with the more progressive stance on Israel policy the senator has taken in recent years. Before the 2020 election cycle, Warren had come under fire for her vote on U.S. aid to Israel during the 2014 Gaza war. At the time, she defended the vote, saying, “America has a very special relationship with Israel.”

But Warren went out of her way during her presidential campaign to position herself among the new class of Democrats not afraid to question that special relationship. In October 2019, she said “everything is on the table” should Israel move away from a two-state solution, and in May 2020, she signed a letter with 18 Senate Democrats opposing Israel’s unilateral annexation of territories in the West Bank. On the campaign trail, the senator said she would push Israel to end its ongoing occupation of Palestine and denounced the country’s decision to bar Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from entering the West Bank and East Jerusalem. ...

During the J Street speech, Warren also reiterated support for a two-state solution, condemned the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and called on Israel to help Palestinians access Covid-19 vaccines. She called on the Biden administration to restore access to the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem to Palestinians, to reopen the Palestine Liberation Organization delegation office in Washington, D.C., and to take steps to end the ongoing blockade and ensuing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Krystal Ball: How The Government MANUFACTURES Terror "Plots" To Terrify The Public

Canada stimulus budget pledges funding for childcare and Covid-19 relief

Canada’s federal government has put childcare and Covid-19 relief at the heart of the country’s first pandemic budget, as the governing Liberals announced massive spending plans in an attempt to address growing inequality – and avert a snap election.

Delivering her government’s first budget in more than two years, the finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, on Monday framed the ambitious spending programme as both necessary to combat the disastrous “economic wounds” of the coronavirus pandemic and an opportunity to build a more equitable society. ...

The pandemic forced the government to spend heavily to avoid an economic crisis, and the Liberals have come under increasing pressure to release a financial roadmap for the country’s future. ... Freeland pledged C$30bn over the next five years to create a national childcare program – something the Liberals have repeatedly promised, in various forms, over the last 30 years. ...

Canada has some of the most expensive childcare in the world— reaching as high as C$1,900 a month in Toronto. Within five years, Freeland says Canadians would pay an average of C$10 a day. ...

Canada’s government also promised to spend C$100bn on stimulus projects – including affordable housing and green technology development – as well as billions on Indigenous communities and seniors.

Supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett reportedly signs $2m book deal

The former attorney general William Barr and supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett have reportedly signed book deals – with Barrett paid a reported $2m for a volume on how judges should not bring their personal feelings into the way they rule. ...

An unnamed source who spoke to Politico said Barrett’s advance was “eye-raising”. A spokesperson for the court did not comment.

Barr, who was also attorney general under George HW Bush, is also a strict Catholic conservative. Politico reported that he had begun work on his memoir about working for Donald Trump.

Bankruptcy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Keiser Report | This Isn’t Normal

Union Files 23 Objections Against Amazon for Illegal and 'Despicable' Conduct in Bessemer Election

The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union on Monday formally filed nearly two dozen objections to Amazon's conduct during the closely watched Bessemer, Alabama organizing drive, which the company defeated with an aggressive counter-campaign that observers say was replete with abusive and legally dubious activity.

In its 23 complaints (pdf) to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the RWDSU accuses Amazon of a range of "illegal conduct" during the union election, including threatening workers with a loss of pay, benefits, and time off; removing workers who supported the union from mandatory trainings; and creating "the impression of surveillance" by installing a ballot-collection box in the employee parking lot.

RWDSU, the union that attempted to organize the roughly 6,000 Bessemer workers, argued that its objections "both separately and cumulatively constitute grounds" to set aside the election results that were tallied by the NLRB earlier this month.

"Amazon knew full well that unless they did everything they possibly could, even illegal activity, their workers would have continued supporting the union," RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement, alluding to the union's success in getting more than 3,000 Bessemer warehouse workers to sign union cards.

The union was ultimately only able to convert 738 of those 3,000-plus cards into yes votes, a massive gap that Appelbaum attributed to Amazon's months-long propaganda and intimidation effort.

"That's why they required all their employees to attend lecture after lecture, filled with mistruths and lies, where workers had to listen to the company demand they oppose the union," said Appelbaum. "That's why they flooded the internet, the airwaves, and social media with ads spreading misinformation. That's why they brought in dozens of outsiders and union-busters to walk the floor of the warehouse. That's why they bombarded people with signs throughout the facility and with text messages and calls at home."

"Amazon has left no stone unturned in its efforts to gaslight its own employees," Appelbaum added. "We won't let Amazon's lies, deception, and illegal activities go unchallenged."

In the coming weeks, the NLRB will likely hold hearings to review the evidence behind the union's charges and determine whether Amazon's conduct merits an election do-over.

David Dayen: How CRONY CAPITALISM Could DESTROY Biden's Infrastructure Plans

DeSantis Signs 'Outrageous and Blatantly Unconstitutional' Anti-Protest Bill Into Law

Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed into law a bill that civil rights groups warn is designed to crack down on peaceful demonstrations and criminalize dissent by redefining "rioting" in an overbroad way and creating draconian new felonies for protest-related offenses.

While DeSantis and the bill's Republican sponsors in the Florida legislature presented HB1 as a response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters earlier this year, critics say the measure—crafted well before the January 6 attack—is in fact a reaction against the racial justice protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd last May.

"Let's be clear: this is not an anti-riot bill, regardless of what supporters claim," Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement Monday. "It is a bill that criminalizes peaceful protest, and the impact HB1 will have on Floridians cannot be disputed. Each and every provision harkens back to Jim Crow."

Kubic went on to warn that under the new law—which is part of a wave of similar Republican measures under consideration nationwide—protesters could be arrested and charged with a felony if others at a protest or gathering became violent or disorderly, even if they themselves didn't." According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, HB1 defines rioting as a public disturbance by at least three people with "common intent to mutually assist each other in disorderly and violent conduct."

"The goal of this law is to silence dissent and create fear among Floridians who want to take to the streets to march for justice," said Kubic. "Every single Floridian should be outraged by this blatant attempt to erode our First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. It is outrageous and blatantly unconstitutional. Gov. DeSantis' championing of and signature on this law degrades, debases, and disgraces Florida and our democracy."

As the Orlando Sentinel reported Monday, the new law makes blocking a highway a felony offense and "creates a broad category for misdemeanor arrest during protests, and anyone charged under that provision will be denied bail until their first court appearance."

The law also "grants civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road, which Democrats argued would have protected the white nationalist who ran over and killed counter-protester Heather Heyer during the Charlottesville tumult in 2017," the Sentinel noted.

Minneapolis, other cities boost security ahead of Chauvin verdict

Judge condemns Maxine Waters’ remarks on Derek Chauvin trial

The judge overseeing the trial of Derek Chauvin has expressed frustrations with recent comments by the Democratic US representative Maxine Waters, in which she expressed support for protesters against police brutality, saying the remarks could lead to a verdict being appealed and overturned.

On Saturday, Waters spoke in Brooklyn Center, the Minneapolis suburb where Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by police last week. ...

“I’m going to fight with all of the people who stand for justice,” said Waters, who is Black. “We’ve got to get justice in this country and we cannot allow these killings to continue.” ... Waters said: “We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

Of Chauvin, Waters said: “I hope we’re going to get a verdict that will say guilty, guilty, guilty. And if we don’t, we cannot go away.”

Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the Chauvin trial, showed frustration with Waters’ rhetoric shortly after the jury was dismissed Monday to begin deliberations. Chauvin’s defense attorney had motioned for a mistrial in light of Waters’ comments. Cahill denied the motion but told Chauvin’s attorney: “Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”

The judge also called it “disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch” for elected officials to comment on the outcome of the case. “Their failure to do so, I think, is abhorrent,” he said. “But I don’t think it has prejudiced us with additional material that would prejudice this jury. They have been told not to watch the news. I trust they are following those instructions.”

Jurors Deliberate in Derek Chauvin Trial as Prosecution Urges Them to “Believe What They Had Seen”

Much more detail at the link:

Derek Chauvin jury begins deliberations as America braces for verdict

The Derek Chauvin murder trial heard closing arguments on Monday before the jury began considering a verdict over the death of George Floyd that is anxiously awaited by millions of Americans. Tensions are high in Minneapolis, with hundreds of national guard soldiers deployed. ...

Many Americans have reached their own verdict in the Chauvin case, and see the trial as part of a reckoning in the broader struggle for racial justice. Nonetheless, on Monday lawyers focused on persuading the jury. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher said the key to the case lay in video footage of Chauvin pressing his knee on to Floyd’s neck even as he pleaded for his life, right to his very last words of “I can’t breathe”.

“This case is exactly what you saw with your eyes. It’s what you know in your heart,” he said. Schleicher said the video showed Chauvin had a complete indifference to Floyd. “For nine minutes and 29 seconds George Floyd begged until he could beg no more, and the defendant continued this assault,” he said.

If the jury agrees that Chauvin, 45, did commit an assault as he pinned Floyd to the ground, that will open the path to a conviction on the most serious charge of second-degree murder, which requires the former officer to have committed a felony that led to death. ... If the jury does not agree that Chauvin’s use of force was criminal in itself but showed “reckless disregard for human life”, it could still convict him of third-degree murder. Chauvin also faces a manslaughter charge.

In instructions to the jury, Judge Peter Cahill said Chauvin was culpable if he took an action that caused Floyd’s death, even if other factors contributed to it.



the horse race



Judge orders two Proud Boys leaders held in custody over Capitol attack

A federal judge has ordered two leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group to be detained in jail pending trial for their involvement in the 6 January attack on the Capitol in Washington DC.

Both were indicted in one of many Proud Boys conspiracy cases to stem from the investigation into the assault on the building that followed a pro-Donald Trump rally.

Ethan Nordean of Washington state and Joseph Biggs of Florida, along with two other Proud Boys regional leaders, are charged with conspiring to stop the certification of the 2020 election – and with organizing and leading dozens of Proud Boys to the Capitol.

Many of those followers were among the first to breach the building and cause damages in scenes of violence that shocked the world and led to five deaths.

“The defendants stand charged with seeking to steal one of the crown jewels of our country, in a sense, by interfering with the peaceful transfer of power,” the US district judge Timothy Kelly said as he explained his decision on Monday. “It’s no exaggeration to say the rule of law … in the end, the existence of our constitutional republic is threatened by it.”

Capitol police officer injured in attack died of natural causes, examiner says

Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer injured while confronting rioters during the 6 January insurrection, suffered a stroke and died of natural causes, the Washington DC medical examiner’s office ruled Monday, a finding that lessens the chances that anyone will be charged in his death.

Investigators initially believed the officer had been hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements collected early in the investigation, according to two people familiar with the case. And they later thought the 42-year-old Sicknick might have ingested a chemical substance – possibly bear spray – that could have contributed to his death.

But the determination of a natural cause of death means the medical examiner found that a medical condition alone caused his death – it was not brought on by an injury. The determination is likely to significantly inhibit the ability of federal prosecutors to bring homicide charges in Sicknick’s death.

US Capitol police said that the agency accepted the medical examiner’s findings but that the ruling didn’t change the fact that Sicknick had died in the line of duty, “courageously defending Congress and the Capitol”. ...

Federal prosecutors have charged two men with using bear spray on Sicknick during the riot. The arrests of George Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, and Julian Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, were the closest federal prosecutors have come to identifying and charging anyone associated with the five deaths that happened during and after the riot.

Greenwald - worth a click and a full read:

The Media Lied Repeatedly About Officer Brian Sicknick's Death. And They Just Got Caught.

It was crucial for liberal sectors of the media to invent and disseminate a harrowing lie about how Officer Brian Sicknick died. That is because he is the only one they could claim was killed by pro-Trump protesters at the January 6 riot at the Capitol. So The New York Times on January 8 published an emotionally gut-wrenching but complete fiction that never had any evidence — that Officer Sicknick's skull was savagely bashed in with a fire extinguisher by a pro-Trump mob until he died — and, just like the now-discredited Russian bounty story also unveiled by that same paper, cable outlets and other media platforms repeated this lie over and over in the most emotionally manipulative way possible. Just watch a part of what they did and how:

As I detailed over and over when examining this story, there were so many reasons to doubt this storyline from the start. Nobody on the record claimed it happened. The autopsy found no blunt trauma to the head. Sicknick's own family kept urging the press to stop spreading this story because he called them the night of January 6 and told them he was fine — obviously inconsistent with the media's claim that he died by having his skull bashed in — and his own mother kept saying that she believed he died of a stroke. ...

Because of its centrality to the media narrative and agenda, anyone who tried to point out the serious factual deficiencies in this story — in other words, people trying to be journalists — were smeared by Democratic Party loyalists who pretend to be journalists as "Sicknick Truthers,” white nationalist sympathizers, and supporters of insurrection. ... Because the truth usually prevails, at least ultimately, their lies, yet again, all came crashing down on their heads on Monday. The District of Columbia’s chief medical examiner earlier this morning issued his official ruling in the Sicknick case, and it was so definitive that The Washington Post — one of the media outlets that had pushed the multiple falsehoods — did not even bother to try to mask or mitigate the stark conclusion it revealed. The first line tells much of the story: “Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes a day after he confronted rioters at the Jan. 6 insurrection, the District’s chief medical examiner has ruled.” Using understatement, the paper added: “The ruling, released Monday, likely will make it difficult for prosecutors to pursue homicide charges in the officer’s death.” ...

What is most depressing about this entire spectacle is that, this time, they exploited the tragic death of a young man to achieve their tawdry goals. They never cared in the slightest about Officer Brian Sicknick. They had just spent months glorifying a protest movement whose core view is that police officers are inherently racist and abusive. He had just become their toy, to be played with and exploited in order to depict the January 6 protest as a murderous orgy carried out by savages so primitive and inhuman that they were willing to fatally bash in the skull of a helpless person or spray them with deadly gases until they choked to death on their own lung fluids. None of it was true, but that did not matter — and it still does not to them — because truth, as always, has nothing to do with their actual function. If anything, truth is an impediment to it.

Wow, they are trying to rehabilitate the torturer-in-chief. Christ, next thing you know, they'll be trying to rehabilitate that mass-murdering bastard Barack "Droney" Obama.

George W Bush is back – but not all appreciate his new progressive image

He’s back.

George W Bush, the former US president, returns to the political stage this week with a promotional book tour comprising numerous “virtual conversations” and TV and radio interviews, including a late night talkshow. The media appearances, focused on immigration reform, look set to confirm Bush’s improbable journey from reviled architect of the devastating Iraq war to elder statesman venerated even by some liberals. The Republican’s approval rating has soared since he left office in 2009 and he has been praised by his Democratic successor, Barack Obama.

Not everyone, however, is comfortable with the rehabilitation of a leader whose “war on terror” yielded waterboarding and other forms of torture. They argue that Americans with short memories have become overly eager to embrace Bush, 74, as a folksy and avuncular national treasure.

“I’m hoping there’ll be some pushback against this because I think it’s an absolute scandal that man should be rehabilitated and tarted up as in any way progressive,” said Jackson Lears, a cultural historian. Lears added: “This is a man who, in company with [vice-president Dick] Cheney of course, created more permanent and long-lasting damage to the presidency and the American system of government than probably anyone before or since.”

Bush’s new book, Out of Many, One, fits his new image. The 43rd president has painted 43 portraits of immigrants he has got to know and has written their stories. His purpose, says his office, is to put human faces on the important debate around immigration and the need for reform. Bush’s publicity blitz will be reminiscent of that undertaken by Obama last November for the publication of his presidential memoir. It includes a virtual conversation with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the immigrant Hollywood actor and former governor of California, hosted by the George W Bush Presidential Center on Sunday.

Krystal and Emily: Joe Scarborough SNEERS At Andrew Yang Mayoral Campaign



the evening greens


Secretary of state says countries investing in new coal ‘will hear from US’

The Biden administration is ready to challenge countries whose inaction on the climate crisis is setting the world back, including those that fail to cut their reliance on coal, the top American diplomat has warned. The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, called for much stronger action to address global heating over the course of this decade, hours after Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, continued to emphasise the costs of acting on climate change.

The prime minister told the Business Council of Australia on Monday evening that net zero emissions would not be achieved by “taxing our industries that provide livelihoods for millions of Australians off the planet”.

“We’re not going to achieve net zero in the cafes, dinner parties and wine bars of our inner cities,” Morrison said, adding it would be “achieved by the pioneering entrepreneurialism and innovation of Australia’s industrial workhorses, farmers and scientists”. Morrison is among 40 leaders invited to join a virtual climate summit hosted by Joe Biden later this week.

Blinken’s speech in Maryland on Tuesday morning Australian time was part of an attempt to build momentum for countries to commit to stronger climate action, including more ambitious 2030 targets. Without naming any particular countries, Blinken said the US state department would “weave” the climate crisis into the fabric of everything it did. “Our diplomats will challenge the practices of countries whose action – or inaction – is setting the world back,” Blinken said.

‘A great deception’: oil giants taken to task over ‘greenwash’ ads

Some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies have used advertising to “greenwash” their ongoing contribution to the climate crisis, according to files published by the environmental lawyers ClientEarth. They describe the practice as “a great deception”. The files compare the adverts produced by ExxonMobil, Aramco, Chevron, Shell, Equinor and others with the companies’ operations and products, overall climate impact and progress toward climate-safe business models.

ClientEarth is calling on policymakers to ban all fossil fuel company ads unless they come with tobacco-style health warnings about the risks of global heating to people and the planet. Its lawyers lodged a complaint in 2019 alleging that BP’s advertising campaigns had misled the public by focusing on the company’s low carbon energy products, when more than 96% of its annual spend was on oil and gas. BP withdrew the ads before the complaint was assessed. ClientEarth said it was now putting other fossil fuel companies on notice over greenwashing adverts.

“We’re currently witnessing a great deception, where the companies most responsible for catastrophically heating the planet are spending millions on advertising campaigns about how their business plans are focused on sustainability,” said Johnny White, one of ClientEarth’s lawyers.


Also of Interest

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

Why Washington's Anti-Russian Policies Are Likely To Intensify

Why Do We Do That?

Mobs Rioted in Washington 173 Years Ago Monday to Defend Slaveholders

Covid Is Hitting Workers Differently Than the Financial Crisis

US workers who risked their lives to care for elderly demand change

Wall Street’s Mega Bank CEOs To Be Hauled Before Congress in May; Nobody Will Say Why

Mike Mitchell, guitarist on the Kingsmen’s Louie Louie, dies aged 77

Will Rich Liberals REVOLT Over Biden's Tax Hikes On The Wealthy?

Ryan Grim And Wall St Whistleblower Claim Banks Engaged In SYSTEMIC FRAUD In Commercial Real Estate

Rising: Cuomo faces FOURTH investigation as poll numbers PLUMMET


A Little Night Music

Frankie Lymon + The Teenagers - Why Do Fools Fall In Love

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers — I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent

Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers - Fortunate Fellow

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers - The ABC's of Love

Frankie Lymon - Seabreeze

Frankie Lymon - Mama Don't Allow It

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers - Love Put Me Out of My Head

Frankie Lymon - Diana

Frankie Lymon - My Girl

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers - Who Put The Bomp


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https://www.rt.com/op-ed/521528-america-defend-taiwan-china-military/

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of 'SCORPION KING: America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

The US military has deteriorated to the point that the only way it could win a simulated war game in which it was called on to defend Taiwan from a ‘Chinese invasion’ force was by inventing capabilities it does not yet possess.
In 2018 and 2019, the US Air Force conducted detailed simulated war games that had its forces square off against those of China. On both occasions, the US was decisively defeated, the first time challenging the Chinese in the South China Sea, and the second time defending Taiwan – which China sees as an integral part of its territory – against a Chinese invasion.

In 2020, the US repeated the Taiwan scenario, and won – but only barely. The difference? In both 2018 and 2019, it played with the resources it had on hand. Last year, it gave itself a host of new technologies and capabilities that are either not in production or aren’t even planned for development. In short, the exercise was as far removed from reality as it could get. The fact is the US can only successfully defend Taiwan from a full-scale Chinese invasion in its dreams.

Paging Jeff Besos.

https://commercialobserver.com/2021/04/staten-island-amazon-warehouse-wo...

Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island are taking lessons from the failed union efforts in Bessemer, Ala., as they set out on their own union drive, Truthout first reported.

Staten Island’s “JFK8” warehouse employees and The Congress of Essential Workers (TCOEW) are pursuing their own independent union led directly by workers at the facility. They hope their union will eventually expand past the Staten Island site.

The New York City-based union push comes after Amazon defeated a historic union vote in the Bessemer, Ala., warehouse. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) filed objections to the election on Friday, claiming that the e-commerce giant threatened, intimidated and confused workers before the vote.

A former JFK8 worker, Chris Smalls, told Truthout that he was not shocked by the allegations. TCOEW has already contacted the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to ensure they are taking the right steps to establish their own local Amazon labor union.

Representatives from TCOEW and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

heh, them imaginary weapons are the best ones. Smile

on the other hand, the pivot to a great power struggle is what the mic wants. the money will be huge.

good for india. it's a good thing as the u.s. actually cares about their opinion.

sooner or later amazon is going to have to give in and treat its workers like humans. i hope i see it soon.

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@joe shikspack
With security forces saying they were forced to fire because they were in fear for their lives or some other made up BS.

Money talks. Sometimes it talks with a chatter gun.

EDIT:
The FBI will investigate and say there was Putin Plot to kill security forces.

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5 users have voted.

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

mimi's picture

today, I ask myself how you and the community would rank the presidents starting after JFK.
Who was/is the best, who was/is the worst?

1963-1969 Lyndon B. Johnson
1969-1974 Richard M. Nixon
1974-1977 Gerald R. Ford
1977-1981 Jimmy Carter
1981-1989 Ronald Reagan
1989-1993 George Bush
1993-2001 Bill Clinton
2001-2009 George W. Bush
2009-2017 Barack Obama
2017-2021 Donald J. Trump
2021- Joseph R. Biden

I heard a lot of people in the US didn't like Jimmy Carter much, I liked him most. But I was very young and didn't know anything back then about the US. Not that I know much more today, but a little bit more. I came to the US under Reagan and started to pay a little bit more attention to my political surroundings since Bill Clinton.

I started with Hedges article but it is too long to finish it today.

Be well and thanks for the news.

PS I am so grateful for Colonel Wilkerson. Such an honest and moral man.

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Please get along with each other. We have only one planet. Do not destroy what we have. Do not kill anyone and do not kill yourself. Nature doesn't care about what you think.

orlbucfan's picture

@mimi Fascist curse Reagan.

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7 users have voted.

Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

heh, here's my ranking of your rogue's gallery starting from bad to seriously evil.

Leaving off Biden, not enough data yet.

1977-1981 Jimmy Carter
1963-1969 Lyndon B. Johnson
1969-1974 Richard M. Nixon
1974-1977 Gerald R. Ford
1989-1993 George Bush
1981-1989 Ronald Reagan
2017-2021 Donald J. Trump
1993-2001 Bill Clinton
2001-2009 George W. Bush
2009-2017 Barack Obama

have a great night!

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mimi's picture

@joe shikspack

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Please get along with each other. We have only one planet. Do not destroy what we have. Do not kill anyone and do not kill yourself. Nature doesn't care about what you think.

@mimi
LBJ did some very good things, all negated by destroying my generation in Vietnam.
It just went downhill from there.

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

mimi's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness tr
to go through. Get some rest and try to survive without more pain. Nothing more I can say to all of it. Just some prayers in your direction.

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Please get along with each other. We have only one planet. Do not destroy what we have. Do not kill anyone and do not kill yourself. Nature doesn't care about what you think.

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ggersh's picture

@humphrey you just can't make this shit up.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/Social-media-gas...

“Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice, for being there to call out to your mom — how heartbreaking was that — call out for your mom, ‘I can’t breathe,’” Pelosi said at a press conference with the Congressional Black Caucus following the verdict. “But because of you and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice.”

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I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned

Prof. Feynman

@ggersh

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@humphrey
Enough reason to impeach HER!

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4 users have voted.

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

@ggersh
What I see on the news is that he sacrificed his life to avoid riding in the back of a squad car.
Granted, the man was probably nuts, but it raises the question, "How crazy do you have to be to be permanently housed in a mental institution."
I see a guy freaking out about being arrested and dying from rough handling. Chaupin and partner were not called until Floyd refused to get into the first squad car.
Honestly, I have to say,"Ok, he shouldn't have sat on the guy's neck until he passed out, but what was he supposed to do?" Taze him? He might have died from that. Let him go? Shot him? Punched him until he passed out? What?
I'm hearing on TV, not arresting him at all because the cop was white and the arrestee was black. Full circle from Birmingham 1960.

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0 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

if they didn't find that son of a bitch guilty it would have to be said that it is not possible.

i hope that floyd's family finds at least some comfort in the verdict.

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orlbucfan's picture

"Why do fools fall in love?" I have to go waaay back to some very good little kid memories. My uncle had this tune on a 45 (believe it or not). He bought it when it came out. I went nuts the first time he played it--I was 6 as I recall. He eventually gave it to me. Thank you, joeshpk for one terrific memory. Smile
BTW, I have been a diehard educated music junkie since then. Rec'd!!
-------------------------------
Verdict just in on the Chauvin trial. Guilty on all counts.

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11 users have voted.

Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

joe shikspack's picture

@orlbucfan

"i'm not a juvenile delinquent" and "why do fools fall in love" were both frequent earworms for me when i was a kid and, well, still. they are just great songs, really well performed.

i'm glad that the correct verdict came in from the jury, let's hope that it leads to some real change.

have a great evening!

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ggersh's picture

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I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned

Prof. Feynman

joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

heh, the word "revolution" is utterly meaningless these days and one should instantly suspect that anyone using it has something to sell besides the dictatorship of the proletariat.

'It Is a Revolution': Ocasio-Cortez and Markey Reintroduce Green New Deal Resolution

their resolution is revolutionary in the same way that tennis shoes and toothpaste can be revolutionary.

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@gjohnsit Holyrood election on May 6. I will cover that in detail as it draws closer and hope that others who care about Scotland will correct me if I get it wrong.

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NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@gjohnsit

heh, i guess they were short of tar and feathers on short notice. too bad. richly deserved.

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@joe shikspack
I've been wanting to do an essay on the housing bubble, but I haven't had much time recently.

I thought this was an interesting observation

“According to this theory, population growth in excess of the productivity gains of the land has several effects on social institutions. First, it leads to persistent price inflation, falling real wages, rural misery, urban migration, and increased frequency of food riots and wage protests.

Second, rapid expansion of population results in elite overproduction—an increased number of aspirants for the limited supply of elite positions. Increased intra-elite competition leads to the formation of rival patronage networks vying for state rewards. As a result, elites become riven by increasing rivalry and factionalism.

“all these trends intensify, the end result is state bankruptcy and consequent loss of military control; elite movements of regional and national rebellion; and a combination of elite-mobilized and popular uprisings that expose the breakdown of central authority.”

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joe shikspack's picture

@gjohnsit

i skimmed it a bit and it looks like something that will require some reflection to extract the value from.

the first thing that jumped out at me, though, was this:

population growth in excess of the productivity gains of the land

considering this in terms of the u.s. - at current we are not nearly at a point of such excess growth. the fact of the matter is that the land provides more than enough food and other basics for everyone, though we have a tremendous problem with distribution. our economic system has been gamed to generate scarcities in order to increase profits for the elites and to hell with those at the bottom.

rapid expansion of population results in elite overproduction

i don't think that the u.s. is really in a rapid expansion of population. heck, wasn't mitt romney just suggesting that we pay women to have children? why yes, indeed he was:

How Mitt Romney proposes to encourage Americans to create families, have children

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s proposal to provide monthly payments to families for children was borne out of his desire to encourage marriage and raise the birth rate in the United States, both of which he says are not going in the right direction.

“That was the concern, people not having kids,” he said. “I believe that family foundation and having children is at the foundation of our nation.”

Americans, he said, are delaying childbirth or having fewer children because of the cost. Many women who decide to have abortions do so because of an inability to care for the child financially, he said.

“Any society, any civilization wants to maintain itself, and we’re not,” the Utah Republican said.

now, there probably is an argument to be made that an expansion of higher education production over the past several decades has churned out more college graduates and people with post-grad education creating a larger pool of individuals vying for elite positions.

it seems to me that this situation causes elite classes to circle the wagons and bar the way of rising class individuals into elite positions. biff and muffy will take care of their own - which will of course piss off the rising classes, many of whom have made significant sacrifices to obtain the credential that social propaganda told them was all that stood between them and elite paradise.

anyway, there are some random thoughts. i'll read the piece more closely later. thanks!

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8 users have voted.

Nothing to add except:

hello? Andrew comes from an immigrant family with a very modest background. He is a Person of Color but somehow his color isn't colorful enough for the DNC. An Asian man will be a BFD if it happens. The DNC enthusiasm doesn't seem to include Asian Americans. Except kamala.

Yang's kids go to public school in a neighborhood named Hell's Kitchen. First renamed as "Clinton" which didn't catch on so now it is "Hudson Yards." It is still a multi-cultural area that looks like America. rich and poor. all colors.

Please contrast with Scott Stringer who also says his kids are in public school. But--Scott's kids now live in the whitest part of NYC Lower Manhattan, FiDi, the financial district, which has a spanking new school, and his kids are in Gifted and Talented programs, which, wait for it-----Scott is campaigning on eliminating. Scott's campaign would like you to think he lives in a rent regulated apartment he grew up in, but that is Not the case. He is phony in every way that counts. My friend, The Commish, thinks that this is the single thing that will eliminate Scott Stringer from the race.

Enough from me. You get where I am on this race and why by now.

Oh. my manners. Evening Joe. You asked for this . Hope you are not sorry already.

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11 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

identity politics is only for awarding bonus points to those favored by the party machine and its media wurlitzer and of course for smacking down those in disfavor regardless of their identities.

You asked for this . Hope you are not sorry already.

not at all. i appreciate the local perspective. i am generally interested in yang and some of his ideas, i think of him as a guy who with a bit of evolution of some of his ideas could be a politician to watch for the future in national politics.

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10 users have voted.

@joe shikspack Identity politics is only for the PMC. The privileged and pre-selected acolytes of the current propaganda efforts.

I get confused. The actual America bears so little resemblance to the myths we are trained to believe in.

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10 users have voted.

NYCVG

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Azazello's picture

I wish they hadn't chosen that date but since they did, I will use this opportunity to remind everyone that there is no Hitler but Hitler. How many years now ? All my life Hitler and his movement have been studied to death. All these books and articles about "fascism". Always from "the left" it was warnings about the return of Hitler and how so-and-so is the "next Hitler". No my friends.
The 20th Century is long over and there is no Hitler but Hitler.
Arizona Report
Arizona's governor sending National Guard troops to border with Mexico
Ain't she cute ?

Galloway on the OPCW:

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It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

great videos, thanks!

my condolences on having to share a state with kyrsten sinema.

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8 users have voted.

thx.

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@irishking

yep, it's a great tune. if i recall correctly, it was one of the last songs that he recorded before he died. definitely worth a listen.

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3 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

...or a pay off...or a loyalty payment. Same difference. Right out in the open. They don't even hide it anymore.

Supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett reportedly signs $2m book deal

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10 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

joe shikspack's picture

@GreatLakeSailor

why would they have to hide it? she already got installed in her lifetime appointment.

it's a pretty nice gratuity.

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6 users have voted.

during Itty Bitty Pretty one were really bored and snobby ass wipes. Lyons rocked it! I am 99% (pun) sure I watched that performance and danced all around the living room. (Dens were not a thing back then.)
I am going to dig deeply into the articles and videos. Hedges is always great.
I am furiously texting a cop about another cop's rehire, and spending my last night forever with the stray cat that showed up in my yard.
Insofar as the top ranked prez in my life, I tend toward Johnson who caved to the CIA in Viet Nam, or Carter who kissed corporate ass without much fanfare, but he did negotiate something with Israel/Palestine.
The worst was Reagan. Trickle Down man. Low or no taxes. The government is the problem. It is like that perpetual virus. Can't kill it, live with it.
Great reading and listening tonight.
Great stuff, joe!

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joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

i will give johnson that he tried to do some good, though i can't forgive him for vietnam.

carter is the least evil of the bunch, though he is responsible for u.s. engagement in afghanistan and the subsidization of headchoppers. he was the first neoliberal president and set the economy against working people - a policy that was enforced by his fed pick (volcker) and enhanced by every president since.

i think that obama is far worse than reagan. reagan was an idiot with bad ideas. obama was a stone cold killer and torturer who took all of darth cheney's worst ideas and amplified them.

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12 users have voted.

@joe shikspack is absolutely correct. Great Society., amazing, Civil Rights Bill, amazing, and Obama took everything Shrub did to the higher level, and like Hillary, chuckled about mass murders. Nam...killed and maimed and poisoned the poor boys of my generation. (How many funerals of Nam vets have you attended? I have lost count.)I have clients coming in all the time, doing their wills, Agent Orange getting them, and they are the lucky ones that didn't get blown to bits in Nam. Draftees one and all.
I know what Obama did, but the general public isn't getting it. Not a mantra. Whereas, trickle down is coffee shop chat. Low or no taxes! No unions! Government is the problem! That Reagan rat bastard did a psyops and twisted heads forever. Obama did every evil thing with such poise, grace, and proper deportment, he didn't sway the little people on about face. He brilliantly tweaked and turned, was so subtle. He is not quoted, has no cause celebre', but 40 years later, I still hear Reaganism at the coffee clache.
My cop guy finally stopped sending me texts, so I can do some reading.

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