The Evening Blues - 5-5-21


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Sammy Price

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features boogie woogie piano player Sammy Price. Enjoy!

Sammy Price Septet - One O'Clock Jump

“The blessed in the kingdom of heaven will see the punishments of the damned, in order that their bliss be more delightful for them.”

-- Thomas Aquinas

News and Opinion

DOJ Threatened MIT Researchers With Subpoena in Collaboration With Bolivian Coup Regime

A Justice Department trial attorney repeatedly contacted Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers asking, eventually under threat of subpoena, about research they had conducted on the 2019 Bolivian presidential election, according to emails obtained by The Intercept. Sent between October 2020 and January 2021, the emails point to the existence of the Justice Department inquiry and add new evidence to support Bolivian allegations that the United States was implicated in its 2019 coup. The emails reveal the Justice Department’s involvement in the Bolivian coup regime’s criminal investigation into alleged voter fraud, which has not previously been reported. The inquiry targeted a pair of respected MIT researchers about their work for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in which they broadly refuted suspicions that Bolivia’s socialist party had rigged the election. ...

Researchers at MIT, commissioned by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, took a closer look at the data and evidence behind the allegations and concluded what many other independent observers had already found: The fraud claims were bogus, according to a statistical analysis conducted by Jack R. Williams and John Curiel of MIT’s Election Data and Science Lab. The fallout from the MIT researchers’ analysis, which was published by the Washington Post in February 2020, was considerable. In a stunning reversal, the New York Times published an article on the findings, saying that it “cast doubt on Bolivian election fraud.”

The prestigious release was a major blow to the coup regime, leading to references in many of the same major media outlets that had peddled the coup government’s election fraud narrative. The new insight sapped the coup government’s international credibility, which was further degraded as it repeatedly delayed a new election. With La Paz shut down by protesters — this time the crowds were on the side of MAS — the regime was finally forced to hold an election on October 18, 2020. Three days before the vote, the researchers received the first of the Justice Department’s requests. Trial attorney Angela George identified herself as an attorney at the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, or OIA, and said she had “received a formal request from Paraguay” for assistance in an ongoing criminal investigation. Curiel told her she had the wrong researcher, as he had not worked on any Paraguayan election study, and she told him that Bolivia was the one she had meant.

George never provided details about the nature of the criminal investigation, the existence of which has not been previously reported. ... “We have a few questions about the data report, and we would appreciate if you could let us know when you are available to speak with us via telephone before or by November 6, 2020,” George wrote to the researchers. When Williams explained that his research was based on publicly available information, she replied threatening “a subpoena being served on you and the lab” but also dialed down her demand, saying that an interview might not be necessary. “I am simply trying to find out if the report, Analysis of the 2019 Bolivia Election, that is embedded in the Washington Post article referenced below includes your research and is an authentic copy of the report that was produced … and includes the comprehensive research you and Mr. Curiel conducted,” the prosecutor wrote.

The threat of subpoena was an extraordinary move, as the Justice Department has strict protocols to protect the freedom of the press and prevent government intimidation. According to a source familiar with the investigation, who was not authorized to speak publicly, the Justice Department inquiry frightened election researchers in the academic community and may have had a chilling effect on subsequent research.

USAID admits to Venezuela regime change fraud

UN condemns violent repression of Colombia protests after at least 18 die

The United Nations has condemned the violent repression of protests in Colombia, after clashes between police and demonstrators left at least 18 dead and 87 people missing. In a week of unrest across the country, riot police have rampaged across the smoke-filled streets, shooting protesters at point-blank range and charging at crowds with their motorcycles.

At least five people died in Cali amid fresh violence on Monday night. The south-western city, which has a large Afro-Colombian population, has been the setting for much for the violence since protests began peacefully with a nationwide general strike last Wednesday. “We are deeply alarmed at developments in Cali overnight, where police opened fire on demonstrators, and a number of people were killed and injured,” a UN human rights spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Colombia’s defense minister, Diego Molano, faces growing calls to resign, but insisted on Tuesday that police officers’ conduct “fell within the law”.

“Our duty is to protect those who protest – and those who do not – from those who disguise themselves and take advantage of these crowds to terrorize Colombians,” he said. But witnesses said officers have seemed to exacerbate tensions. “It’s like the police are waiting for night to fall so they can roll up and start shooting indiscriminately,” said one community leader in a poor Cali neighbourhood that has been repeatedly raided by police. “Bodies are going to pile up, the dead on top of the dead.”

The leader said that each night brings a new cacophony: the whirl of police helicopters overhead while sirens, flashbangs and the fizz of teargas dominate the streets. Protesters, seeking to block the entry of riot police into their communities, set up roadblocks made of burning debris. “The order was to militarize the city, so that’s what happens,” the leader said. “We hope the international community pays attention, because so far nobody else is.”

Snowden DRAGS Kamala For PRETENDING To Care About Press Freedom

CIA forges unity in diversity: everybody hates their ‘woke’ recruitment ad

In its long and colourful history, US intelligence has come in for a lot of criticism, for engineering coups, drug trafficking and torture, but just over 100 days into the Biden administration it faces a new charge no one saw coming: is the CIA just too woke? A social media campaign, Humans of CIA, aimed at boosting diversity at the agency has united critics on the right and left in a moment of shared derision, albeit for different reasons. ...

The terminology of wokeness drew a volcanic response on Fox News. One guest, Bryan Dean Wright, a former CIA operations officer turned political strategist, called it “propagandist garbage” and the culmination of what he claimed was a liberal takeover. ...

On the left, the critics accused the agency of appropriating woke language to gloss over an unsavoury history.

Execs at Top Pentagon Contractors Raked in $276.5 Million Last Year, Analysis Finds

With U.S. President Joe Biden still under fire for proposing a $753 billion national defense budget for the next fiscal year—the bulk of which would go to the Pentagon—a report published Tuesday exposes the "huge sums paid to the CEOs and other top executives of the nation's five largest weapons contractors" in 2020.

The new Center for International Policy (CIP) issue brief—entitled Executive Excess: CEO Compensation in the Arms Industry, 2020 (pdf)—was authored by William D. Hartung and Leila Riazi, who began by acknowledging the current president's recent proposal, which has been widely rejected by progressives.

"These enormous sums for the Pentagon are often justified as necessary to meet the needs of military personnel," Hartung and Riazi note, "but in fact, roughly half of the Pentagon's budget is spent on corporations like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon Technologies, and Northrop Grumman, as well as the hundreds of thousands of private contractors employed by the department."

The brief points out that those top five weapons firms received over $150 billion in Pentagon contracts during Fiscal Year 2020—and "not all of these funds are well spent."

"Cost overruns and performance problems, expenditures on weapons systems that are not relevant to current security challenges, and investments in weapons that actually make the world a more dangerous place all detract from, rather than enhance, America's security," the report says. "There is also widespread waste and excess overhead within the Pentagon, which is the only major federal agency that has never successfully passed an audit."

Hartung and Riazi highlight executive compensation as "one indicator of Pentagon waste," noting that in 2020 alone, the CEOs of those top five contractors collectively raked in $105.4 million.

"When other major executives at these firms are taken into account—those holding the top positions at each firm whose salaries are required to be publicly disclosed—total executive compensation at the major contractors comes out to $276.5 million for 2020," the report says. "Total compensation for major executives of the top five contractors exceeded $1 billion in total for the four years from 2017 to 2020."

The brief contrasts the wealth of weapons contractor executives with the pay of U.S. service members, noting that "average annual CEO compensation for the top five contractors is over $21 million per year, compared to roughly $39,000 in pay and basic benefits for a first-year military enlistee, a ratio of over 500 to one."

"A general of the highest rank earns well over $200,000 per year," the report adds, "still only about one one-hundredth of average CEO pay at the top five contractors."

The report also highlights the substantial share of each company's revenue that comes from Pentagon contracts—emphasizing that it means portions of "the salaries they pay their executives are subsidized by taxpayers."

Thousands of Afghans flee as fighting erupts after US troop withdrawal begins

Thousands of Afghans have fled their homes in Helmand province as fierce fighting between government forces and the Taliban erupted after the US military began withdrawing its remaining troops.

Afghan forces pushed back a string of insurgent attacks on checkpoints across the southern province, where the US military on Sunday handed over a base to government forces as part of its formal pullout that began on 1 May.

About 1,000 families have fled their homes to escape the fighting that erupted on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, and some other parts of the province, said Sayed Mohammad Ramin, the region’s director for refugees.

He said the families had taken refuge in Lashkar Gah and had come from areas where fighting was intense in the past two days. “We will survey their needs tomorrow, but many who still have not found shelter in the city need urgent assistance,” Ramin told AFP.

Officials said the Taliban fighters initially captured some checkpoints but they were retaken by government forces who pushed back the insurgents.

Israeli Man Trying to Take Over Palestinian Home Says 'If I Don't Steal It, Someone Else' Will

In what Palestinian observers and advocates call a glaring example of settler colonialism in action, a video circulating on social media this week shows a Palestinian woman confronting an Israeli man who admits he is trying to steal her family's home in occupied East Jerusalem.

According to Al Jazeera, Palestinian activist Tamer Maqalda recorded the footage of the exchange between Mona al-Kurd and a man with a North American accent named Jacob, whom al-Kurd knows because his family has already stolen half of her home. 

"Jacob, you know that this is not your house," al-Kurd tells the man in her backyard, who replies: "What's the problem? Why are you yelling at me?"

"I didn't do this," the man insists. "It's easy to yell at me, but I didn't do this."

Al-Kurd then pleads, "You are stealing my house!"

Jacob replies: "And if I don't steal it, someone else is going to steal it."

Al-Kurd then protests that "no one is allowed to steal it."

According to Al Jazeera, half of the al-Kurd family home was seized by Israeli settlers in 2009. Mona's twin brother Mohammed previously told the outlet that the family has been sharing the property with "squatters with Brooklyn accents" in a situation he described as "insufferable, intolerable, [and] terrible." 

"They are just sitting in our home, tormenting us, harassing us, doing everything they can to not only force us to leave the second half of our home but also harassing our neighbors into leaving their homes as part of an effort to completely annihilate the presence of Palestinians from Jerusalem," Mohammed said. 

Al-Kurd's home is located in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, which has been illegally occupied by Israeli forces since 1967, and where Israeli settlers have been seizing Palestinian homes with state support. Last March, an Israeli court in the occupied city ordered half a dozen families including the Al-Kurds to leave their homes so that Jewish settler colonists could take possession of them. 

Dozens of other Palestinian families in the neighborhood live under the constant threat of eviction.

"The inherently unjust system of Israel's colonial courts is not considering questioning the illegal settlers' ownership and has already decided on the families' dispossession," a statement from the affected Palestinian families said, according to Al Jazeera.

The video's publication follows an April 27 report from the U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch that accuses Israel of "crimes against humanity" including apartheid and persecution. It also follows the publication of videos showing rampaging mobs of far-right Israelis attacking Palestinian people and property in East Jerusalem. 

The modern state of Israel was founded largely through the theft of Palestinian land and the ethnic cleansing of more than 700,000 Arabs from their homes in 1948 and 1949. Over 400 Arab villages were destroyed or abandoned, their residents—some of whom still hold the keys to their stolen homes—were never allowed to return, despite a United Nations resolution guaranteeing the right of return. 

Israeli war hero and Cabinet minister Moshe Dayan acknowledged in a 1969 speech that:

We came to this country, which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing... a Jewish state here. Jewish villages were built in place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because those geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either... There is not one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.

Hundreds of thousands more Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes during Israel's seizure of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. 

Israel’s Netanyahu fails to form government before deadline

Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a coalition government, extending a two-year political deadlock in Israel – and putting the country’s longest-serving leader back on the defensive as his rivals move to unseat him.

Following an inconclusive snap election on 23 March – the fourth since 2019 – the 71-year-old leader had hoped to clinch what would be a unique and historic partnership in Israeli politics.

Netanyahu sought to forge an agreement between far-right Jewish politicians and a conservative Islamist party, called the United Arab List, or Ra’am in Hebrew.

Without such a deal, the prime minister had few other options to form a majority government of 61 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Complicating his efforts and part of the reason for the political stalemate is Netanyahu’s corruption case. While he denies the charges, some politicians have pledged not to serve under a prime minister who is on trial.

Bolsonaro ignored repeated warnings about Covid, ex-health minister says

Jair Bolsonaro ignored repeated warnings that his anti-scientific response to Covid-19 was leading Brazil down an “extremely perilous path” and putting tens of thousands of lives at risk, the country’s former health minister has claimed.

Giving oral evidence to a senate inquiry into Brazil’s coronavirus calamity on Tuesday, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who led the health ministry at the start of the pandemic, said he believed the Brazilian president’s conduct had helped generate an unnecessarily large tragedy.

Asked by one senator if Bolsonaro – whose sabotage of social distancing has been globally condemned – had understood that failing to heed international scientific consensus on Covid containment measures could cause “death on an enormous scale”, Mandetta replied: “Yes, sir.”

“I warned him systematically, with projections even,” added the 56-year-old doctor-turned-politician who is the inquiry’s first witness.

Not long before he was sacked in April last year, Mandetta claimed he had warned Bolsonaro 180,000 Brazilians could die by the end of the year unless restrictions were introduced by the federal government. They were not, and by the end of the year 191,000 Brazilians had died.

Biden’s new goal: get 70% of Americans vaccinated by Fourth of July

Joe Biden has announced a goal of ensuring 70% of American adults receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by Independence Day on 4 July.

The US president urged people in their 20s and 30s in particular to get inoculated and said his administration was “ready to move immediately” if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 to 15.

“Our goal by July 4th is to have 70% of adult Americans with at least one shot and 160 million Americans fully vaccinated,” Biden said at the White House on Tuesday. “That means giving close to 100m shots – some first shots, others second shots – over the next 60 days.” ...

The president had previously announced 4 July as a target for when people can gather in small groups to signal a return to greater normality.

His latest remarks came as the administration faces a shift from a scarcity of vaccine supply to a scarcity of demand, with many people hesitant about the vaccine and so-called “herd immunity” still a distant prospect.

“Millions of Lives Are at Stake”: Pressure Grows on Biden to Back WTO Waiver on Vaccine Technology

Pfizer forecasts $26bn from annual sales of Covid-19 vaccine

The US drugmaker Pfizer has smashed its sales forecasts and now expects to bring in $26bn (£19bn) of revenue from its Covid-19 vaccine this year, with its soaraway product accounting for more than a third of the company’s annual income.

The company had expected the vaccine to bring in $15bn over the course of 2021, and the 73% increase in expected revenues to $26bn is still likely to be an underestimate as it counts only orders received by the middle of April and Pfizer is expected to sign more multibillion dollar supply contracts.

The jab, called Comirnaty or BNT162b2, was developed with Germany’s BioNTech, and is priced at $39 for the required two doses in the US and about $30 in the EU. The company said takings from the shot had already generated sales of $3.5bn in the first three months of this year and that the better-than-expected sales would feed through to higher profits.

The new sales estimate is based on contracts signed so far for the delivery of 1.6bn doses globally this year. The firm is already supplying the US, the UK, the EU, Japan and Israel, among other countries, and is reportedly close to signing a contract with Brazil for 100m doses. It has also struck deals with Canada and Israel to supply the jab beyond this year. ...

Moderna, a loss-making US biotechnology firm, has also gone down the commercial route, similar to Pfizer, charging $30 for two shots in the US and $36 in the EU. Its vast vaccine sales are expected to push the firm into profit for the first time. In February, it estimated revenues from the jab at $18bn this year based on the orders it had then, but said the final number could be higher if it signed more contracts. It will report its first-quarter results on Thursday.

DSA Leader Sneers At Healthcare Activists

Treasury Secretary Yellen warns interest rates may need to rise

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the Federal Reserve may have to lift interest rates in order to head off inflation in the US economy.

She made the comments in a pre-recorded statement for an event hosted by the Atlantic magazine as growing concerns have been raised over whether Biden’s spending plans will lead to an increase in inflationary pressures.

“It may be that interest rates will have to rise somewhat to make sure that our economy doesn’t overheat, even though the additional spending is relatively small relative to the size of the economy,” Yellen said.

“So it could cause some very moderate increase in interest rates to get that reallocation. But these are investments our economy needs to be competitive and to be productive.”

Coming from a former Fed chief, Yellen’s comments were something of a departure from previous practice in which Treasury secretaries do not comment on Fed policies and the Fed refrains from commenting on the policies of the administration.

Aware of the concerns in financial markets about the prospect of an interest rate rise, Yellen appeared to backtrack somewhat from her remarks in later comments in an interview at a CEO Council Summit held by the Wall Street Journal.

In that forum, she said a lift in interest rates by the Fed was “not something I’m predicting or recommending.”

Briahna Joy Gray: Biden Promised Bare Minimum And FAILING To Deliver Even On That

LA sheriffs frequently harass families of people they kill, says report

Los Angeles sheriff deputies frequently harass the families of people they have killed, including taunting them at vigils, parking outside their homes and following them and pulling them over for no reason, according to a new report from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The LA sheriff’s department (LASD), which has faced national scrutiny for its corruption scandals and killings of young Black and Latino men, has routinely retaliated against victims’ relatives who speak out, the groups said in the report released on Tuesday.

The authors collected detailed accounts of alleged harassment from the families of Paul Rea, an 18-year-old killed during a traffic stop in 2019, and Anthony Vargas, a 21-year-old shot 13 times in 2018. The report, also produced by Black Lives Matter LA and Centro Community Service Organization, alleges:

  • LASD deputies regularly drive by or park in front of the Rea and Vargas families’ homes and workplaces and at times have taken photos or recorded them for no reason.

  • Deputies have repeatedly pulled over relatives, searched their cars and detained and arrested them without probable cause, allegedly in retaliation for their protests.

  • Officers have shown up to vigils and family gatherings, at times mocking and laughing at them or threatening to arrest them, and have also damaged items at memorial sites.

“Since my son’s death, we have been terrorized. Every day, we’re watching our backs,” said Leah Garcia, Rea’s mother. “We are scared because we know what their capabilities are.”

Derek Chauvin: ex-officer convicted in George Floyd’s murder asks for new trial

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, has asked a judge for a new trial, according to a court document filed Tuesday. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, said his client had been deprived of a fair trial, adding that there had been prosecutorial and jury misconduct and errors of law at trial and that the verdict was contrary to law.

Nelson cited many reasons in his request for a new trial, including allegations of prosecutorial and jury misconduct. Nelson also said judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the trial, had abused his discretion when he denied an earlier request for a new trial based on publicity during the proceedings, which Nelson said threatened the fairness of the trial.

Nelson also took issue with Cahill’s refusal to sequester the jury for the trial or admonish them to avoid all media, and with his refusal to allow a man who was with Floyd at the time of his arrest to testify. ...

Nelson also asked the judge for a hearing to impeach the verdict on the grounds that the jury committed misconduct, felt race-based pressure, felt intimidated or threatened, and/or failed to adhere to jury instructions, though the filing did not include details about that assertion. To impeach a verdict is to question its validity. ...

A request for a new trial is routine following a guilty verdict and often mirrors issues that will be raised on appeal, said Mike Brandt, a Minneapolis defense attorney who has been closely following the case. If this request is denied, it can add another layer of decisions for Nelson to appeal. Brandt and others have said Chauvin’s convictions are unlikely to be overturned.

the horse race

Saagar Enjeti: Dem, GOP Senators CAUGHT Trading TENS OF MILLIONS On Stock During Pandemic

How Top White House Adviser Anita Dunn Is Dodging Ethics Disclosure

President Joe Biden’s promise to reverse the revolving door of lobbying and usher in a new, transparent administration hasn’t extended to one of his closest advisers. Thanks to an ethics loophole, Anita Dunn, a member of the president’s inner circle, does not have to file the public financial disclosure required of every other presidential appointee.

Dunn, an influential figure in Democratic politics, became the de facto campaign manager for Biden after his dismal showing last year in the Iowa Democratic caucus. Dunn and SKDK, formerly SKDKnickerbocker, a corporate and political consulting firm she co-founded, helped steer the Biden campaign to victory. After initially claiming that she would return to SKDK after the campaign, Dunn changed course and became a senior adviser to Biden, one of the most coveted roles in the White House. The role, she told reporters, would only last until summer, at which point she will return to SKDK.

The temporary status allows Dunn to skirt traditional ethics disclosures, which require government officials to make public previous consulting clients, investments, debts, and other potential conflicts of interest. Instead, she was hired into a special, temporary role that keeps her disclosure — and, therefore, her client list at SKDK and any conflicts of interest — out of the public eye. ...

SKDK reportedly works with companies with a major stake in decisions made by the Biden administration, including Pfizer, which is currently engaged in a high-stakes lobbying campaign to oppose the creation of generic coronavirus vaccines and other price-cutting measures. Its recent clients also include Microsoft, IBM, Ford, and Comcast — major corporations with a stake in Biden policies.

Krystal Ball: Are Progressives Falling For Another MeToo SCAM?

the evening greens

Carbon offsets used by major airlines based on flawed system, warn experts

The forest protection carbon offsetting market used by major airlines for claims of carbon-neutral flying faces a significant credibility problem, with experts warning the system is not fit for purpose, an investigation has found. Money from carbon offsets can provide vital financial support for projects seeking to protect and restore some of the most beautiful threatened ecosystems around the world. ...

But a joint investigation into the offsetting schemes used by some of the world’s largest airlines carried out by the Guardian and Unearthed, Greenpeace’s investigative arm, found that although many forest projects were doing valuable conservation work, the credits that they generated by preventing environmental destruction appear to be based on a flawed and much-criticised system, even though these credits were being used to back up claims of “carbon-neutral flying” and net-zero commitments.

We looked at 10 forest protection schemes that airlines were using before the pandemic which had been accredited by Verra, a US nonprofit which administers the world’s leading carbon credit standard, VCS (Verified Carbon Standard). Projects estimate the emissions they have prevented by predicting how much deforestation and land clearing would have occurred without them. The reductions are then sold on as credits. We found their predictions were often inconsistent with previous levels of deforestation in the area and in some cases, the threat to the trees may have been overstated.

Beyond that, there are concerns about the inherent problem of looking into the future and predicting which trees would and would not have been felled, and of proving additionality – that the project itself made a difference to the outcome – which have dogged the offset system from its outset. Although there has been work to address this fundamental issue, we found that concerns remained.

Highlighting Need for World Leaders to Go Into 'Emergency Mode,' Analysis Finds Earth on Track for 2.4˚C of Warming

Nations' updated climate targets put the planet on track for 2.4˚C of warming by 2100 and reveal "there is still a long way to go" to meet the Paris climate agreement's goal, an analysis released Tuesday finds.

The projection from the Climate Action Tracker (CAT)—a collaboration of Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute—includes nationally determined contributions (NDCs) announced at U.S. President Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate last month and other targets announced since September. NDCs refer to each nation's pledge to reduce emissions under the Paris agreement.

End of century warming could be kept to 2.0°C under an "optimistic targets" scenario in which countries follow through on full implementation of the announced net-zero targets. The analysis states that 131 countries, including the U.S. and China, have now either adopted or pledged such a target.

The estimated increase in warming reflecting updated pledges represents an improvement; CAT projected in November 2.6˚C of warming. Yet there's still a clear gap between the organization's newly projected level of warming and the Paris agreement's aspirational goal of limiting planetary warming to 1.5˚C by the end of the century, and that should serve as a call to action, researchers said.

"It is clear the Paris agreement is driving change, spurring governments into adopting stronger targets, but there is still some way to go, especially given that most governments don't yet have policies in place to meet their pledges," Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, said in a statement.

"Our warming estimate from current policies is 2.9˚C," said Hare, "still nearly twice what it should be, and governments must urgently step up their action."

Among the signs of progress singled out in the new publication were commitments announced by some world leaders at Biden's climate summit. From the analysis:

The U.S., Japan, and Canada announced new 2030 nationally determined contribution (NDC) targets. The U.S. target of 50-52% below 2005 levels is a significant step forward, but falls short of the 57-63% below 2005 levels needed to be compatible with the Paris agreement's 1.5°C temperature limit. The Japanese target of 46% below 2013 levels fell short of expectations that the country would announce halving emissions in 2030, let alone adopt the more than 60% needed to be Paris compatible. Canada would only improve its CAT rating if it ditched the less ambitious end of its newly announced target range of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030.

There is more cause for concern:

Brazil's President [Jair] Bolsonaro brought forward the country's climate neutrality goal by 10 years from 2060 to 2050. However, the commitment is dubious [given that] changes in Brazil's 2030 baseline as part of its NDC update last December effectively weakened its NDC target. Likewise, Australia promised to reach to net-zero emissions, at an unspecified date depending upon technology development, but failed to announce stronger 2030 targets. While the leaders of India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey all spoke, none announced stronger NDCs.

Researchers welcomed a narrowing of the 2030 emissions gap by around 11-14%. The biggest contributors to that decline, according to the analysis, were the U.S, the European Union, China, and Japan.

There is also clear evidence that climate policies CAT has been tracking over the past  decade are moving in the right direction. The report found "the national policies implementation has improved over time, driven by new pledges and in particular falling prices of renewable energy. Our temperature effect of climate policies has also decreased by 0.7°C (from 3.6°C to 2.9°C)."

Despite indications of progress, the 1.5˚C threshold is far off, CAT warns.

"The fact that current global warming is now at 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels only serves to reinforce the urgency of further NDC updates. Moreover, governments have yet to adopt sufficient policies to actually meet the targets they have set. In September 2020, we estimated that currently implemented policies, including the effect of the pandemic, will lead to a temperature rise of 2.9°C by the end of the century."

The analysis suggests a number of actions including for countries to either update their emissions targets or sumbit targets that are 1.5°C-aligned. Countries must scale up actions in terms of climate policies and implementation. An additional step is for richer nations to boost climate finance, because "many developing countries will only be able to meet ambitious 1.5°C compatible pathways with significant support from developed countries."

According to Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute, "The wave towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is unstoppable."

"The long-term intentions are good," said Höhne. "But only if all governments flip into emergency mode and propose and implement more short-term action, global emissions can still be halved in the next 10 years as required by the Paris agreement."

US south braced for more severe weather after tornadoes and hailstorms

The American south is still reeling from a day of severe weather throughout the region and bracing for more through Wednesday. Following reports of tornadoes, hail and severe storms, more than 90,000 people in states such as Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina were without power as of late Tuesday morning.

The Associated Press reported storms on Tuesday could include wind gusts up to 70mph and golf ball-sized hail. Tornadoes in parts of Mississippi are likely.

A tornado warning in Atlanta on Monday forced thousands to seek shelter ... In Mississippi, forecasters confirmed 12 tornadoes on Sunday evening and night, including the Yazoo City twister, which stretched for 30 miles (48 kilometers), and another tornado that moved through suburbs of Byram and Terry south of Jackson that produced a damage track 1,000 yards (910 meters) wide. ...

The NWS meteorologist Sam Herron told Tennessean that small hail and tornadoes can’t be ruled out in the state on Tuesday, either. Most of the severe weather in the state is expected to occur south of Nashville on Tuesday. Flooding is also a concern, especially in middle Tennessee where residents might experience between 1.5 to 3 inches of rain by early Wednesday.

Also of Interest

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

Blinken Says US Is Pulling Troops Out of Afghanistan But ‘Not Withdrawing’

NATO Prepares Azerbaijan’s Army for Its Next War

CIA Whistleblower: “Julian Assange Will Not Receive an Impartial Jury”

Hundreds in Ukraine attend marches celebrating Nazi SS soldiers

German society ‘brutalised’ as far-right crimes hit record levels

Intersectional Torturers

How CBS’s Norah O’Donnell tried to out-hawk Antony Blinken on China

Saudi delegation met Assad in secret Syria talks

Claims by Scott Stringer Accuser Unravel as Progressives Flee New York Mayoral Candidate

Covid ‘Doesn’t Discriminate by Age’: Serious Cases on the Rise in Younger Adults

Democrats Bankrolled by Big Pharma Are Refusing to Back Covid Vaccine Patent Waiver

Cuba punches above its weight to develop its own Covid vaccines

India Just Became Latest Country to Approve Use of Ivermectin to Treat Covid-19

68 Nobel Laureates Demand DOJ Probe Into Chevron's Prosecution of Steven Donziger

Why won’t this giant oil pipeline reveal its secret backers?

New Soil Study Shows Pesticides 'Destroying the Very Foundations of Web of Life'

The Nature Conservancy Caught Greenwashing Corporate Pollution

France remains divided over Napoleon's legacy on bicentenary

Matt Stoller: Is Biden ALREADY Blowing It On Anti-Trust?

Krystal and Saagar: Fauci PAVES WAY For Biden To CAVE To Pharma On Patent Protections

Krystal and Saagar: Biden’s DOJ Uses Woke Language To Ask For MILLIONS To ‘Fight Domestic Extremism’

A Little Night Music

Sammy Price, Betty Janette - Backwater Blues

Sammy Price and His Bluesicians - Big Joe

Sam Price - Sammy Sings the Blues

Sammy Price - Struttin with Georgia

Sammy Price - Honky Tonk Caboose

Sammy Price - Boogin' With Big Sid, Frantic

Sammy Price & His Texas Blusicians - Do You Dig My Jive

Henry Red Allen + Sammy Price - Aunt Hagar´s Blues

Sammy Price and The K&K Dixie Band - Please Don't Talk About Me

12 users have voted.


mimi's picture

ones, I don't want to be part of that kingdom.
This quote shocks me quite a bit. I had no appetite to read further. What an a**.

Ah, yes, read the article in the guardian about German society ‘brutalised’ as far-right crimes hit record levels" It hits the nail on its head. It's very true.

Thanks for the Sammy Price Septet - One O'Clock Jump piece. Makes my foot jump...

Thanks for the EB, always. Have a good evening, all.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, i don't think that i'd want to go to a "heaven" full of sadists, either. kinda shows you where the philosophical underpinnings of our perverse society come from, though.

glad you liked sammy price, i've always enjoyed his music.

have a great evening!

6 users have voted.

Not sure if it is just a headline grab but there is this.

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it supports waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines, as countries struggle to manufacture the life-saving doses.

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai wrote in a statement.

10 users have voted.
QMS's picture


intellectual property rights are wavered and
stock prices drop
does anything speak to the evil of wall street
more than this?

maybe peace in the middle east
and the defense contractors stocks tumble
have to wait for that one...

12 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i am glad that biden is going to back the waivers. i hope that he really means it.

kinda hilarious the stock prices plunging. these companies are making record profits already, the shareholders are going to get a return. somebody ought to ask these jackasses, how much is enough?

8 users have voted.

9 users have voted.

doing Scott Stringer in. That's the media spin.

The reason his supporters are defecting in droves was the Politico reporting of Stringer's own words to the Real Estate interests at his fundraiser. He assured them that his turn to the Left was for the Primary Only. Scott is, and always has been, a pampered Fortunate Son of the Democratic National Party. He is 60 and his first election work was at 12. 48 years and anybody thought he was Progressive????????

Finally, Progressives found out that they had been suckered and they are gone no matter what happens with Jean Kim.

Good Evening Joe. Thanks for the clip from Krystal. She is wrong on this one.

9 users have voted.


joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the skinny on stringer. i guess even crappy candidates can have smear jobs done on them, when just highlighting their public record ought to be enough.

have a great evening!

8 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

How about just a straight up hate based cult:

“The blessed in the kingdom of heaven will see the punishments of the damned, in order that their bliss be more delightful for them.”

-- Thomas Aquinas

I'm definitely with mimi on this.

Heh --

According to a source familiar with the investigation, who was not authorized to speak publicly, the Justice Department inquiry frightened election researchers in the academic community and may have had a chilling effect on subsequent research.

which was no doubt the intended and hoped for effect.

Netanyahu is staggering, but he has before, so let's not celebrate too soon.

Thanks for the news and the blues, especially the latter.

be well and have a good one

9 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, that quote is one that i have been trying to dig up for a while and i ran across it last night when i was trying to find a quote to sum up the day's news and found that wouk quote. since i read hedges' latest article yesterday i have been thinking about how twisted and sadistic our elites are and how they got license to be that way.

what you think that the government would want to intimidate researchers and journalists? perish the thought! /s

one of the articles i read about netanyahu's failure to form a government (perhaps the one i posted, can't remember) concluded by noting that netanyahu has always been considered something of a magician, always finding some clever, cunning or devious artifice to get his way, but wondered if perhaps all magicians don't eventually run out of rabbits.

have a good one!

7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack

cultural evolution of a certain sect which was that the invincible, all knowing, all powerful warrior god starting with a yod got his ass kicked by polytheistic Rome and a new ideology was rolled out that was more or less - "see those Romans, they will get theirs and you will be triumphant, not here and now, but in the fullness of time, if you stick with us, you will be elevated and plied with eternal glory and fulfillment and they will be thrown down and subjected to horrible tortures and you will get to sit on high and watch them suffer and laugh.

And there it is, right out of the horses ass's mouth, I thank you for finding it.

be well and have a good one.

7 users have voted.

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

Granma's picture

@enhydra lutris died in 1274. There have been some changes in the churches and the world since then. Thankfully.
Awfully glad I wasn't around in his time.

6 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

Could be.
I watched this entire thing today.
Hour and a half long but really good.

I'm watching Dore LIVE right now.
Maybe I ought to cut back.


10 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture


heh, there seem to be a lot of interesting voices on youtube these days and i just can't keep up.

thanks for the michael hudson vid, i always enjoy his insights. perhaps i can watch the whole thing over the weekend.

have a good one, thanks again for the vids!

6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

and though it was good. They should make a short version of it. It was a bit tiring to follow live, but it was at a time that was late night for me. That is probably why.

5 users have voted.

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i'd say we are already there.

when i was younger, i thought that if an authoritarian government was imposed in the u.s. it would be by the republicans. now i see that it will be bipartisan with the media cheering furiously.

9 users have voted.
Dawn's Meta's picture

@joe shikspack

5 users have voted.

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

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

I hope that the Taliban doesn't mind this.

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heck, why would they mind? this is just how the empire shows that it cares about you.

6 users have voted.

5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

their 'Unwanted Ones' would kinda be a suitable solution ...

6 users have voted.