The Evening Blues - 10-27-21



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Cab Calloway

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features jazz singer Cab Calloway. Enjoy!

Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers - Jumpin Jive

"Persecution is the compliment paid by a threatened lie to a conquering truth."

-- Chapman Cohen


News and Opinion

Access denied | Assange is not allowed to attend the extradition hearing

Julian Assange: what to expect from the extradition appeal

The year began with a legal defeat for an attempt to extradite Julian Assange to face espionage charges in the US, but he has remained in Belmarsh prison pending an appeal. When it takes place at London’s high court on Wednesday and Thursday, at least three developments over recent months could be potential gamechangers in the long-running battle over the WikiLeaks co-founder’s future.

One of them – a near unprecedented package of assurances from the US that Assange would not be held under the strictest maximum-security conditions and could serve jail time in his native Australia – is likely to be the biggest challenge for his legal team, say experts. The assurances were put forward this year as part of US attempts to overcome the ruling in January by the district court judge Vanessa Baraitser that Assange could not be extradited because of concerns over his mental health and risk of suicide in a US prison.

“What his legal team is likely to do is attempt to undermine and pick holes in those assurances by suggesting that they are not as watertight as they appear,” said Nick Vamos, a partner at Peters & Peters solicitors in London and a former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Also likely to be pivotal is Assange’s health, itself the focus of much expert evidence during the weeks of extradition hearings presided over last year by Baraitser and which has continued to be a focus of concern for his fiancee, Stella Moris. ...

Another recent development that has been seized upon by supporters of Assange, including the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, has been the apparent recanting of evidence by a witness in the US case, who now says the testimony attributed to him by the FBI was “a mistake”. Sigurdur Thordarson, who was a teenage worker at WikiLeaks before becoming an FBI informant, broke cover during the summer when an Icelandic news website, Stundin, reported that he had “fabricated” evidence cited by the US. ...

Irrespective of his credibility – and Thordarson accepts that his convictions “can be used against me” – Vamos suggests that the Icelander’s apparent about-turn could have a critical impact on the case, although he regarded it as an unknown quantity. “Either way, it’s an issue which Assange’s lawyers will say the US must address, because the US cannot simply insist that nothing about the prosecution case has changed,” he added.

Assange supporters gather in London as US challenges extradition block in UK court

US Asks UK To EXTRADITE Julian Assange After CIA Kidnap, Murder Plot REVEALED

Biden administration steps up war threats against Iran

Washington’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, warned Monday that if diplomatic efforts to resuscitate the Iran nuclear accord fail, the US “will use other tools to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.” Malley claimed that talks on the accord, which are moribund, were at a “critical stage” and that Washington’s patience was “wearing thin.” He vowed that the US was prepared to “pursue other steps, if we face a world in which we need to do that.”

This thinly veiled threat of US military action came amid rising tensions in the Middle East and ever more open threats by Washington’s chief ally in the region, Israel, to carry out air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. Echoing US bellicosity, Liz Truss, the foreign minister of the UK, Washington’s closest ally among the signatories to the Iranian nuclear accord, told Parliament that if Iran failed to “meaningfully” negotiate, “all options are on the table.” ...

After six rounds of talks in Vienna that have produced no progress for reinstating the JCPOA, Tehran has insisted on a “result-oriented negotiations,” meaning a return to sanctions relief. The country’s chief nuclear negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani, is to meet in Brussels today with the European Union’s negotiator, Enrique Mora, for talks on resuming negotiations.

In a state television interview last week, President Raisi insisted that Iran “never left” the JCPOA negotiations and that “lifting sanctions” was necessary as “an indication of seriousness” on the part of Washington.

Nick Turse, worth a full read:

How Biden is trying to rebrand the drone war

For months, the White House and Pentagon have been touting the efficacy of “over the horizon” warfare — purportedly an accurate and effective targeting of terrorists in nations where the United States has few or no boots on the ground. “Terrorism has metastasized around the world,” said President Joe Biden in August. “We have over-the-horizon capability to keep them from going after us.”

While peddled as innovative, experts say that over-the-horizon warfare is effectively a rebranding of the drone campaign that has been employed for almost 20 years in places like Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. It is also, they told Responsible Statecraft, likely to fail. “This idea that over-the-horizon strikes are going to solve all the problems is absolute horseshit,” said Marc Garlasco, who served for seven years at the Pentagon, including as chief of high value targeting during the Iraq War in 2003.

Luke Hartig, who worked on drone strike policy for the Obama administration as a senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council, was less colorful but similarly dubious. “I’ve been skeptical of ‘over the horizon’ as the means to conduct counterterrorism strikes since it first started being discussed,” he said. “I’m highly skeptical that maintaining a steady pace of counterterrorism operations — meaning mostly drone strikes — against al Qaeda and ISIS-K is absolutely necessary to keep our country safe.”

The debate regarding over-the-horizon warfare is occurring as the White House attempts to complete its new rules for overseas counterterrorism operations and the Pentagon is doing the same in terms of civilian casualties. All of it comes in the wake of the Taliban victory in Afghanistan and a parting drone strike there that calls the efficacy of remote warfare into question. ...

The White House, Pentagon, and State Department have been peddling over-the-horizon counterterrorism operations as a panacea for Afghanistan and beyond. “There are other parts of the world — Somalia, Libya, Yemen — where we don’t have a presence on the ground, and we still prevent terrorist attacks or threats,” said White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, while discussing “over-the-horizon capacities” on August 30. U.S. military spokespersons contradicted Psaki, telling Responsible Statecraft that America does, indeed, have troops on the ground in Somalia and Yemen. Even more worrisome, say experts, is that “over the horizon” looks like a retread of ineffective remote warfare programs of the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations that took a grave toll on civilians.

“Over the horizon? It’s the same program, the same weapon, the same targeting process,” said Jennifer Gibson, a human rights lawyer and project lead on extrajudicial killing at the international human rights group, Reprieve. “It’s as if they said, ‘If we rename it, nobody will know that it’s the same program that’s been killing innocent civilians for more than a decade.’”

EU, France condemn Israel over plans to build 1,300 new settlement homes

The European Union on Monday criticized Israel’s declaration that it will build over 1,300 new homes in West Bank settlements.

“Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between the parties,” the bloc said in a statement. “The European Union has consistently made clear that it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by both sides.

“We call upon the government of Israel to halt settlement construction and to not proceed with the announced tenders.”

France also denounced the Israeli announcement.

“France calls to halt any unilateral step that undermine the two-state solution, a solution based on agreed upon international parameters and that is the only one that has the ability to lead a just and sustainable peace in the region,” the French foreign ministry said.

The statements came a day after the Housing Ministry said that tenders had been published to build 1,355 new housing units in seven different settlements.

Justin Trudeau names women to top posts in Canada cabinet reshuffle

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has carried out a major cabinet shuffle, naming women to the foreign affairs and defense posts in his gender-balanced cabinet. Trudeau named Mélanie Joly as foreign minister and Anita Anand as defence minister. Chrystia Freeland, widely considered a favorite to replace Trudeau at some point, retains her positions as deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Women make up half of the cabinet, as they have done since Trudeau’s Liberal government was first elected in 2015. ...

Trudeau, who took power in 2015, won a third term last month but had to act after he lost three ministers and another quit before the election. Fewer than 10 of the 38 ministers kept their existing positions. His Liberals hold 159 seats in parliament but do not have the 170 needed to pass legislation without the support of an opposition party. Minority governments do not usually last a full four-year term in Canada.

Worth a full read, lots more detail at the link:

Billionaire political meddlers, disinformation agents launch ‘Good Information Inc.’ to fight disinformation

On Tuesday, billionaires Reid Hoffman and George Soros launched Good Information Inc., a “public benefit corporation” to serve as a conduit of funds to newsrooms that “cut through the echo chambers with fact-based information.” On its website, Good Information further describes itself as a “civic incubator” aimed at fostering and financially backing projects that “counter disinformation where it spreads by increasing the flow of good information online.” But more than merely providing an alternative to bad information through their own reporting=, the company suggests that censorship is also on the menu: “We believe there is an urgent need for regulation of social media platforms,” their website states.

And what exactly is “good information?” The company provides another clue; that the “good information” resides exclusively on the pages established media outlets with billion-dollar budgets, lamenting on its website that “185 million Americans don’t trust traditional media.”

Billionaire “philanthropist” George Soros has weaponized his vast wealth in support of US foreign policy for several decades. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and later the unraveling of the socialist bloc in Eastern Europe, The Washington Post celebrated Soros as a member of a “new network of overt operators” supporting “pro-democracy activists” and media operations in place of – and alongside – the CIA. Continuing his anti-communist crusade into the 21st Century, Soros has sponsored color revolutions and information warfare campaigns against designated US enemies from Hong Kong to Syria to Russia. ...

Good Information will be led by an advisory board that is heavily made up of former Obama alumnus and Democratic Party apparatchiks united in their hunger for control over the American information ecosystem and zeal for censoring ideological opponents.

Board members include Dan Pfeiffer, a former Senior Advisor to President Obama who co-hosts the popular neoliberal Pod Save America podcast; Jason Goldman, the Obama White House’s Chief Digital Officer; Eli Pariser, former Executive Director of MoveOn and co-founder of the online activist group Avaaz, which promoted regime change wars on Libya and Syria; Nandini Jammi, a former co-founder of Sleeping Giants, a pro-censorship Democrat lobby that pressures advertisers to cut ties from right-wing news outlets, and the co-founder of Check My Ads, a non-profit that runs background checks on companies to help them avoid advertising on platforms that promote “disinformation” and hate speech; Stephanie Valencia, who “served President Barack Obama in senior roles through his presidential campaign and both terms in office,” Michael Tubbs, a former mayor and current advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom; Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United and Let America Vote; Nicole Gill, co-founder and executive director of Accountable Tech, an organization that says it is “fighting back” against “social media giants…eroding our consensus reality and pushing democracy to the brink;” and Jennifer Gunter, a gynecologist and author of “The Vagina Bible” and “Menopause Manifesto.” ...

Good Information is much more than another partisan op. It a domestic echo of the aggressive information warfare operations that billionaire activists like Soros and Omidyar have sponsored abroad, usually alongside US intelligence cut-outs, in the service of imperial goals. And this time, the target is the American public.

Pelosi and Hoyer to Progressives: Just Pretend Democrats Are Winning

Democratic leadership advised House progressives behind closed doors Monday night that they better start acting like they are getting a major win even if the reality is that President Joe Biden's signature domestic infrastructure plan seems on the verge of "being gutted beyond recognition" thanks to an aggressive assault by corporate lobbyists and the obstructionism of a small handful of right-wing lawmakers within the party.

"If we don't act like we are winning, the American people won't believe it either," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told Democrats during a private meeting, according to Politico.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also suggested that spinning the current situation—one in which an initial $6 trillion ambition to invest in the nation's crumbling physical infrastructure and care economy over ten years has reportedly been reduced by relentless corporate pressure down to something between $1.5 and $2 trillion—will be necessary.

After Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)—both in their own way but also with the backing of huge sums of campaign donations from Wall Street, Big Pharma, the right-wing Koch network, and the fossil fuel industry—have stood against the ambitions and popular policies embraced by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), Pelosi suggested to her members Monday that it was time to admit that the corporate influence campaign has won the game.

"Embrace this," Pelosi reportedly said during the same closed-door meeting. "And have a narrative of success."

So what is there to embrace? And what is the new vision of "success" that Democrats should be touting—especially progressives in the 95-member CPC who have so far been heralded for holding the line against the internal sabotage by Manchin, Sinema, and other corporate Democrats?

As of this writing, the hope for 12 weeks of paid family leave has dwindled to just four weeks—or perhaps none at all. The promise of Medicare expansion is in serious doubt, with dental on the chopping block, an industry-friendly voucher now replacing full coverage on hearing and eye care (though Manchin opposes even this industry giveaway), and the drug-pricing portion possibly out entirely. The expanded childhood tax credit is now just one year, as opposed to ten or five or even three. Tuition-free community college is likely out. Universal pre-K and childcare remains, but only as a fraction and likely mean-tested into a worrying absurdity.

On climate, the Democrats' plan has been massacred by Manchin—a lawmaker who received over $400,000 from the fossil fuel industry over recent months and who thanks his personal fortune to investments in coal. Specifically, Manchin appears to have successfully stopped inclusion of the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), an omission which experts warn will make it now impossible for the U.S. to meets is international emission reduction obligations under the Paris climate agreement.

In August, when it still seemed like Democrats might be able to push something through equal to the ambition outlined by President Biden and bolstered by progressive like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other progressive members of Congress, the Washington Post was among those who reported that "Corporate America" was launching a "massive lobbying blitz to kill key parts" of the economic recovery plan focused on lifting up the nation's working families devastated by the pandemic and years of neglect.

"The emerging opposition appears to be vast, spanning drug manufacturers, big banks, tech titans, major retailers and oil-and-gas giants," the Post reported at the time. "In recent weeks, top Washington organizations representing these and other industries have started strategizing behind the scenes, seeking to scuttle key elements in Democrats’ proposed overhaul to federal health care, education and safety net programs."

Over the ensuing weeks and months, that corporate investment to "blitz" lawmakers has clearly paid off.


Reconciliation Framework 'Not Enough' to Push Through Infrastructure Bill, Progressives Warn

U.S. House progressives led by Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Cori Bush dug in their heels Tuesday as right-wing Democrats attempted to salvage a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill while sidelining the more ambitious Build Back Better package championed by the party's left wing and President Joe Biden until after the weaker bipartisan legislation is passed.

Bloomberg reports House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and congressional Democratic leadership insisted that a framework agreement on the budget reconciliation bill would be sufficient for lawmakers to proceed with a separate vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure legislation delayed by progressives earlier this month over concerns that their $3.5 trillion package would be sacrificed.

CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju tweeted that after Pelosi "pushed back on progressives' demands" that a "larger bill must pass [the] House first before they agree to vote for infrastructure," Jayapal (D-Wash.) asserted that a framework was unacceptable.

"Our members don't want to do that," Jayapal said of the Congressional Progressive Caucus she chairs.

Pressed if she would vote against the infrastructure bill absent anything more than a framework on the larger bill, Jayapal told Raju that "at this point, there are dozens of our members who are in that place."

Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) agreed with Jayapal, telling Bloomberg that "a mere framework is not enough."

"We need to have a vote ready for the Build Back Better plan, not a framework," she insisted. "We want to have both of these votes together."

A resolute Bush (D-Mo.) also dismissed talk of a framework agreement, tweeting simply, "It's not enough for me. And there are more of us."

The impasse came as Bloomberg and others reported Democratic leadership is working to reduce the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill favored by the president and progressives to less than $2 trillion.

Some progressives took aim at right-wing, corporate-backed Democrats—namely, Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.)—who have relentlessly worked to shrink the size and scope of the reconciliation package.

"I'm pissed off, man," fumed Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) in an interview with CNN about Manchin's outsized influence in an evenly split Senate. "It's just unacceptable to me that one person from one state can have all this power."

'Bottom Line,' Says Bernie Sanders, Deal Must Include Medicare Expansion, Lower Drug Prices

As congressional leadership pushes Democrats to "act like we are winning" even as a few corporate-backed party members and business lobbyists water down the Build Back Better bill, Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders reiterated Tuesday that the package must expand Medicare and include reforms to lower prescription drug prices.

"Bottom line is that any reconciliation bill must include serious negotiations on the part of Medicare with the pharmaceutical industry, lower the cost of prescription drugs," Sander (I-Vt.) told reporters on Capitol Hill. "That's what the American people want."

Sanders also said that a "serious reconciliation bill must include expanding Medicare to cover dental, hearing aids, and eyeglasses."

While Sanders has pushed for the inclusion of such benefits and allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices throughout the budget reconciliation process, his comments come a day after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—who, along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), has held up the package—made clear that he does not support expanding the federal healthcare program.

UAW Picketer Killed Outside John Deere Facility, Execs Scramble To Conceal Oct 15 Tractor Crash

McDonald's Workers Join 'Striketober' and Walk Out Over Sexual Harassment

Amid of wave of worker walkouts that supporters are collectively calling "Striketober," McDonald's employees in at least 12 U.S. cities took to the streets Tuesday to raise concerns about how the fast food giant has handled sexual harassment and to demand a union.

Though McDonald's in April announced new sexual harassment training standards that all of its restaurants worldwide will be required to meet by January 2022, workers still joined the one-day walkout from Chicago and Detroit to Houston and Miami, charging that the company has not done enough to keep employees safe on the job.

"I'm going on strike because despite years of protests, McDonald's still refuses to take responsibility for the countless women and teenagers who face harassment on the job at its stores across the globe," Jamelia Fairley, a McDonald's employee in Florida said in a statement ahead of the walkout. "No matter what McDonald's says, not much has changed for workers like me."

"I do believe that we're in a moment where workers are standing up more for their rights," said Fairley, a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit accusing McDonald's of systemic sexual harassment. "I have met others who have experienced sexual harassment… We want a union to prevent it from happening."

The strike comes after a civil lawsuit filed against McDonald's in September alleged that Walter A. Garner, a 42-year-old manager previously convicted of sexual assault, raped a 14-year-old employee in the bathroom of a franchise restaurant operated by Rice Enterprises in Pennsylvania.

Michele Rice of Rice Enterprises said last month that the manager was fired "as soon as we learned about a complaint against him." Garner was charged with rape but his attorneys negotiated a plea of indecent sexual assault and corruption of a minor, according to KDKA in Pittsburgh. He was sentenced last week to four to 10 years in prison and five years probation. ...

Tuesday's action also comes after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, at the end of September, sued another McDonald's franchisee, AMTCR, for subjecting young employees at 22 locations in Arizona, California, and Nevada to "egregious sexual harassment" that included "unwanted groping and touching, offensive comments and gestures regarding male genitalia, unwelcome sexual advances, sexual ridicule, intimidation, and insults."

White Nationalists on Trial in Charlottesville over Deadly Rally After Victims Sued Under KKK Act

Native American groups capitalize on record donations to confront chronic hardship

Leaders of non-profit organizations serving Native American communities in the US say they have been inundated with unprecedented financial support over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Native Americans are three times as likely to have died from the virus in the US as white Americans, according to the APM Research Lab. America’s largest Indian reservation, the Navajo Nation, has lost 1,471 residents to Covid-19 so far. That figure equates to a staggering death rate of 847 per 100,000 residents – double the rate in the worst-affected US state.

With all this loss and hardship has come media attention and donations from the public, Indigenous organizations say. At least $8.7m poured into GoFundMe campaigns for Native communities between March and October 2020 alone, according to Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP). In June, NAP announced it had also received a “multimillion-dollar” donation from MacKenzie Scott, former wife of the Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos.

“I’m very optimistic,” said Erik Stegman (Carry the Kettle First Nation – Nakoda), chief executive officer of NAP. “There’s this consciousness in the public, across the board, that didn’t used to be there.” Native Americans constitute 2.9% of the American population according to 2020 census data, but between 2002 and 2016 received just 0.4% of its philanthropic dollars, according to a recent report from NAP. Yet due to the devastating effects of colonization and systemic racism, Indigenous populations in the US continue to experience hunger, homelessness, and lack of access to electricity and running water at rates at least twice as high as Americans as a whole.



the evening greens


Lawyer Who Sued Chevron over “Amazon Chernobyl” Ordered to Prison After 800+ Days of House Arrest

Anti-Chevron Crusader Steven Donziger Denied Reprieve, Says He Must Report to Prison Within a Day

An environmental advocate who helped win a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron says he must report to prison to serve his six-month sentence by Wednesday afternoon. A trio of federal appellate judges unceremoniously rejected Steven Donziger’s request for bail pending his appeal.

“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the bail motion is DENIED,” the Second Circuit’s unanimous three-judge panel wrote. ...

“After 100 pages of legal briefing, the appellate court today denied my release in 10 words,” Donziger tweeted. “This is not due process of law. Nor is it justice.”

Sunrise Movement Corrects Manchin: US 'Has Done More Than Any Other' to Cause—Not Solve—Climate Crisis

As activists with the Sunrise Movement confronted Sen. Joe Manchin in Washington, D.C. Tuesday—their seventh day of a hunger strike for climate justice—the leader of the youth-led green group shot down a claim by the fossil fuel-funded West Virginia Democrat that the United States leads the world in tackling the planetary emergency.

Manchin, who addressed the Economic Club of D.C.—where he professed his belief that "government should be my partner, not my provider"—was confronted by the hunger-striking activists as he left the Capital Hilton, which hosted the event. 

One of strikers, Abby Leedy, asked Manchin, "Does the fossil fuel industry money you've taken have anything to do with you blocking vital climate legislation right now, despite the fact that millions of people are going to die?"

"Abby, let me tell you, the United States has done more than any country," Manchin replied, repeating a claim he made to another Sunrise activist that the U.S. "does more than any nation on Earth to clean up our environment," and that "we have basically reduced emissions in the last 10 years more than anybody else."

Sunrise Movement executive director Varshini Prakash set Manchin straight in a statement, saying, "To be clear, the United States has done more than any other country to cause climate change, emitting more than anyone else by a fair margin."

"Sen. Manchin is clearly drafting his climate plan with false information," she added. "At worst he's telling us lies given to him by his fossil fuel donors. At best, he's misinformed."

Leedy also did not accept Manchin's claim, telling him that "if the United States of America doesn't cut our emissions by at least 50%, I will grow up through nonstop climate emergencies."

As Common Dreams reported last week, Manchin—whose family has made a fortune from coal—is by far the top congressional recipient of Big Oil campaign contributions this election cycle, and has taken $400,000 from fossil fuel PACs and executives in the last quarter alone.

Manchin told her to call his office.

"Millions of people have called your office," Leedy shot back. "We have been trying to reach you for months and months because you are standing against everything I need to have a livable future."

"If the U.S. doesn't pass massive climate action this fall, it is too late," she added. "This is one of our last chances."

Hunger Striker Out of Hospital Demands Biden Keep All Climate Provisions in Build Back Better Plan

Fossil fuel messaging has won over Republican voters, poll reveals

Nearly two in three Republicans believe oil and gas companies are at least somewhat responsible for the climate crisis – but they don’t want to keep these companies accountable. In fact, even when they were told that oil and gas companies knowingly misled the public about their products driving climate change, most Republicans said the public and the government should not hold those companies accountable.

These findings are part of a new YouGov poll commissioned by the Guardian, Vice News and Covering Climate Now, which reveal America’s lasting attachment to the fossil fuel industry.

The poll findings suggest that much of the marketing campaigns that fossil fuel companies have released to paint themselves in a positive light have worked. About 90% of Republicans said they have neutral or positive feelings toward America’s two biggest fossil fuel companies, Shell and Exxon. But about half of Democrats said the same, despite more than 90% of them saying oil and gas companies were at least somewhat responsible for climate change.

Weather whiplash: California’s historic downpour interrupts historic drought

Over the span of two days, dramatic scenes of dried landscapes and wildfires that have defined California’s summer were replaced with surging rivers, floods and mudflows as a historic rainstorm – deemed a category 5 atmospheric river – pummeled the state. For scientists, the storm – though shocking in its magnitude – was not a surprise. It’s been clear that the climate crisis would intensify the extremes between wet and dry seasons, but many wonder whether this weather whiplash is a preview of catastrophes to come.

Steven Ostoja, the director of the US Department of Agriculture’s California Climate Hub, said even though climate scientists have expected shifts of this intensity, it was nonetheless startling to witness. Just days before the storm the state’s capital of Sacramento, where Ostoja is based, set a record of more than 200 days without measurable rain. “All of a sudden it’s just like, my God. I have never seen it rain this hard outside of being in the Belizean rainforest,” he said.

Questions remain, however, as to whether the downpour will make a dent in the ongoing drought, which has seen many of the state’s reservoirs sink to historic low levels. ... Lake Oroville rose roughly 25ft, taking on hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water. But even that increase amounted to a modest change, from 22% to 27% full. Shasta Lake – the state’s largest – added just 1%, going from 21% to 22%. Most of California’s reservoirs are still far below where they should be, even after tens of billions of gallons flooded in. Roughly 3ft of snow fell in the Sierras, but unless temperatures stay low through the rest of autumn, the snow might not stay for long.

Even the thirstiest landscapes were ill-equipped to absorb the heavy rain, and it’s too early in the season for much of the water to be stored as snow. To have a true impact on the drought, California needs a wet winter. One big storm – even a huge one like this – won’t be enough to turn the tide. ...

The rain did serve up some notable good news though – it extinguished wildfires still smoldering in the state. Close to 2.5m acres have burned in California so far this year according to Cal fire, nearly double the five-year average, but scientists say this storm will probably dampen any future infernos . “This storm should put a definitive end on the wildfire season in northern California,” said Park Williams, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. In southern California, which didn’t get drenched to the same degree, the picture isn’t as clear. But it is hopeful.

'Nature's revenge': The sinkholes left behind by the shrinking Dead Sea


Also of Interest

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

The US Appeal and CIA Plans to Assassinate Assange

The PATRIOT Act's Poisoned Tree

Taiwan Is Not About China

On The Delusion In U.S. Foreign Policy And What Might Change It

Worst Polluters Spending Over Two Times More on Border Militarization Than on Climate Action

One of world’s biggest pension funds to stop investing in fossil fuels

Climate crisis: economists ‘grossly undervalue young lives’

ACTION ALERT: The New Climate Denial: Don’t Worry, Do Nothing

“No Way Out”: Taxi Drivers, Allies Enter 2nd Week of Hunger Strike Against Crushing Medallion Debt

Jimmy Dore: Bill Gates Digital ID Will Control Your Life


A Little Night Music

Cab Calloway's Jitterbug Party

Cab Calloway & his Band - Geechy Joe

Cab Calloway - Are You Hep to the Jive ?

Cab Calloway - Zaz Zuh Zaz

Cab Calloway - The Ghost of Smokey Joe

Cab Calloway - The Reefer Man

Cab Calloway - Skunk Song

Cab Calloway - The Viper's Drag

Cab Calloway - A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird

Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher


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Give us money or we will attack you?

Ukraine can take "asymmetric" measures if Russia stops using Ukraine as a transit route for natural gas, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday, without elaborating.

Ukraine accuses Russia of using energy as a weapon against Europe and bitterly opposes the launch of Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine.

"Russia has not yet cut off gas supplies to Ukraine," Kuleba said in a question-and-answer session on Twitter. "In case the Kremlin decides to do so and destroy the remnants of its reputation as an energy supplier to Europe, we have a series of asymmetric steps in return."

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joe shikspack's picture

@gjohnsit

wow, that's some gale force bluster coming from ukraine. i'm sure that putin is quaking in his boots, now.

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A few excerpts from a May article:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/02/joe-biden-unions

Biden stakes claim to being America’s most pro-union president ever

Just over 100 days into his presidency Joe Biden is showing that he is one of the most pro-union presidents in American history, declaring the “unions built the middle class” in his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

Last Monday, Biden issued an executive order establishing the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, a move that aims to help unions expand their ranks.

Biden’s new taskforce is seen as an important pro-union move – headed by Vice-President Kamala Harris, it includes most cabinet members and aims to have the entire executive branch promote unionizing and collective bargaining. In this way, Biden is undertaking an extraordinary effort to help reverse the decades-long decline in labor unions’ membership and power.

Some labor experts say Biden may prove to be even more pro-union than Franklin D Roosevelt, who signed landmark legislation creating a minimum wage and giving workers a federal protected right to unionize.

That was then this is now.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-sidelines-striketober...

Oct. 24, 2021, 11:16 AM EDT

WASHINGTON — As a wave of workers across the country take to picket lines, President Joe Biden is witnessing a resurgence in the labor movement he spent decades championing — at a time when it could hamper the economic recovery he is fighting to protect.

Biden has said that he supports the workers' right to strike but that he is "not going to get into the negotiation," and White House officials say he doesn't plan to get involved in any of the labor disputes involving more than 100,000 workers across the country. Instead, he has taken the position that the decision to strike is up to the workers, leaving it to them and their employers to resolve disputes, the officials said.

It's a shift for Biden. As a presidential candidate and a senator, Biden joined picket lines and tweeted out support for striking workers. He has called himself the most pro-labor president in history, having come out in support of Amazon workers trying to unionize and repeatedly inviting labor leaders to the White House.

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10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

see, he said all that stuff during vote raising season. it's money raising season now.

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9 users have voted.

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11 users have voted.

NYCVG

snoopydawg's picture

@NYCVG

I’m so sick of our two tiered justice system.

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11 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

joe shikspack's picture

@NYCVG

another day in the "justice" system without a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.

sad, maddening, stupid.

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8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

Joe, you can win that competition.
I dream of the day, when the EB is just the Blues.

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5 users have voted.

mimi

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

heh.

I dream of the day, when the EB is just the Blues.

hold on to that dream. it's going to happen one of these days. i've been doing this thing for a lot of years, the world hasn't changed a whit and one day i will up and retire.

but not today.

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9 users have voted.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

i wonder why doesn't mr. "i got my gavel at the 5 and dime" save us all a whole bunch of time and just deliver the verdict now? clearly he's not concerned about the appearance of partiality.

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Looks like Joe Lieberman has struck again and has blocked democrats from passing the agenda that they worked so hard to to get passed. But don’t worry the progressives are working on putting lipstick on this pig and they will tell voters that it’s actually a good deal, but won’t say that Pelosi ordered them to say it. You’ll never guess who’s saying that what they do get passed is better than not passing anything at all…go ahead…guess. Just got to get them a bigger majority if we want things done. Blehh! During Trump Nancy said that she also needs the senate if we want her to pass the bills that McConnell sat on. Voters did so where are they? I’m sure that once BBB is done she’ll rewrite them and send them to Schumer ASAP…

Seems young people have caught on to the democrats spiel a lot faster than most of older folks did. I seriously wonder if democrats even wanted to have both houses? Biden will become a lame dude president just as fast as Obama did. Didn’t Biden run on knowing how to work both sides of the isle? Yes he did. And kept pushing for bipartisanship. Sure Joe, McConnell is going to work with you when he takes the senate again. Then it will probably be Pompeo who wins in 24. A smarter and meaner Trump. Well done Dems!

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13 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

@snoopydawg

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9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

the only hope now is that the alleged progressives in the house and senate have enough self respect to kill the bill. it's the only way they are ever going to get anything done going forward, because if they cave now, they will never get anything from the other hardball players and no sane member of the voting public would ever believe them again when they make promises.

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9 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Jayapal recently said that Biden has been excellent working with her.

Yup this.

363FB5FD-2769-4022-B705-873CC73A35A9.jpeg

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12 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

why would they stand up now when they have made a career of being spineless wimps at best and traitorous decoys at worst?

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10 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@snoopydawg

Welp that's how it works when you don't have fifty votes. We got the best we could this time around. Celebrate the good and get to work electing more Dems that hold your views.

Best we could even though we hold all branches of government and the ones who derailed the best parts of the bill were from our own gd party. Hey shit for brains quit giving centrist democrats a pass for selling us out to big money. Jeezus! Heh…someone did bring up Biden’s saying that he knows how to work with republicans and yet…

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5 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Azazello's picture

Evening all,
Sirota at Rolling Stone - Democrats’ Betrayals Are Jeopardizing American Democracy
From my local paper - Sen. Kyrsten Sinema officiated wedding where some guests dressed in Native American costumes
There's a link in that article to the Bisbee wedding video if you haven't seen it, or just go here.

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10 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

@Azazello

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9 users have voted.

@humphrey today's images and news are staggering.

it's difficult to see how this ends peacefully.

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9 users have voted.

NYCVG

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

sirota is pretty good at pointing out the obvious. democrats are pretty good at ignoring it. if we are relying on the democrats, we're going down the tubes.

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9 users have voted.

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8 users have voted.

@humphrey is a good descritption of whatever it is the Dems are doing. At this rate the number of people they are attracting (very low) will be an effective voter suppression tactic this year and next.

We have an election for NYC Mayor in a few days and there is barely any evidence of that in the City. Nobody I know has even mentioned it and I am predicting the lowest turnout in years, if not ever.

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6 users have voted.

NYCVG

LOL

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@humphrey

moon of alabama has a good article about this up:

Pentagon Generals, News Writers Abuse Chinese Test Flight To Argue For More Weapons

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7 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

I will check it out.

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5 users have voted.
CB's picture

My cat Snookums (aka Snooks) was greatly impressed by Schrodinger's Cat. Snooks says he is now able to get in twice as many catnaps in half the time.

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6 users have voted.