The Evening Blues - 1-24-22


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Johnny "Guitar" Watson

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features West coast blues guitarist and piano player Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Enjoy!

Johnny "Guitar" Watson - Those Lonely, Lonely Nights

“Liars gain a huge advantage over truth-tellers, you know. Truth has been found to be a terrible weakness, an evolutionary catastrophe. The society that coated itself with lies was found to be a better survival machine. The man who told the truth was extraordinarily naive and stupid. Now the expectation is always of being lied to. Nowadays when one man is talking to another, he knows instinctively he is being lied to and his mind automatically overlays that set of lies with a neutralizing set of lies, leaving behind a kind of truth. But what sort of truth is it that arises exclusively from lies?”

-- Mark Romel

News and Opinion

Wow, these people have lost their flipping minds.

US vows ‘swift, severe and united response’ if Russia invades Ukraine

The US and its allies will deliver a “swift, severe and united response” if Russia invades Ukraine, the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, warned on Sunday amid rising tensions. The top US diplomat’s comments came as Russia continued its military build-up on the Ukraine border and Britain said it had exposed evidence of a plot by Vladimir Putin to install a pro-Moscow government in Kyiv. ...

“One thing we’ve been clear about, besides the massive economic, financial consequences that would befall Russia if it makes further aggression against Ukraine, is the ongoing, continued build-up of defense capacity in Ukraine and, equally, continuing to build up Nato’s defensive capabilities, including on the so-called eastern flank, the countries near Russia.

“A single additional Russian force” going into Ukraine would trigger a response, Blinken said. “We’re looking at every single scenario, preparing for every single one.”

With an estimated 125,000 Russian troops at or close to the Ukraine border, western allies have scrambled to bolster military assets in the region. About 90 tons of US equipment arrived in Ukraine this weekend, part of a $200m package of “lethal aid” approved by Joe Biden last month. The UK has sent anti-tank weaponry and personnel to help train Ukraine forces.

Heh, the deranged lapdog is barking furiously:

Ukraine taking UK claim of Russian invasion plot seriously, says adviser

Ukraine is reacting “seriously” to UK Foreign Office allegations that Moscow has plans to invade the country and install a puppet government, a senior government adviser has said, adding that Kyiv is resisting Russian efforts to destabilise its government and economy. The extraordinary Foreign Office claims that Moscow may topple the government and install Yevhen Murayev, a former MP who controls a pro-Russia television station, were met with shock and some scepticism in Ukrainian political and media circles on Sunday. ...

Murayev himself denied that he was involved in any plot, telling the Observer he had been banned from entering Russia and was in a conflict with a close ally of Vladimir Putin. “It isn’t very logical,” he said. ...

The Foreign Office has not provided any evidence to support the allegations, which came as Boris Johnson’s domestic political troubles deepened. British sources emphasised on Sunday afternoon that the coup plot warning on Saturday followed a UK intelligence assessment, a different formulation from earlier briefings that had suggested it was based on “US-led intelligence”.

The UK allegation came days after the US alleged that Russian intelligence was recruiting current and former Ukrainian government officials to take over the government in Kyiv and cooperate with a Russian occupying force.

US and UK escalate Russia war fever, but NATO splits over Ukraine emerge

Anonymous Officials Claim There’s An Evil Russian Plot Again But The Evidence Is Secret Again

Major western news publications are running a story about a sinister plot by the Russian government, and — you may want to sit down for this — the sources of the report are anonymous, and the evidence for it is secret.

The New York Times reports that according to anonymous individuals within the US and British governments, Russia is currently plotting to topple the existing government of Ukraine in some way using some method and then somehow install a puppet regime that is sympathetic to Moscow using some sort of means. What specifically those means and methods might be are not revealed to us in this very serious news report.

“The communiqué provided few details about how Russia might go about imposing a new government on Ukraine, and did not say whether such plans were contingent on an invasion by Russian troops,” the Paper of Record informs us. “British officials familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the intent was both to head off the activation of such plans as well as to put Mr. Putin on notice that this plot had been exposed.”

Now if you are hoping to be provided with some sort of evidence for these incendiary claims, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you, because get this: the journalists reporting on this story have not seen any evidence. Apparently they’re just passing on unverified government assertions made by unknown spies to their readers because they were told to, which I guess is something journalists can do now?

I know, I know, I was a little surprised when I learned that too. But here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

“The British communiqué provided no evidence to back up its assertion that Russia was plotting to overthrow the Ukrainian government,” the Times reports.

You will be reassured however to learn that despite the actual evidence of the actual Russian nefariousness being kept invisible to us, anonymous officials within the US government have reviewed the intelligence gathered by anonymous British spies for us and concluded on our behalf that the evidence is solid.

“In Washington, officials said they believe the British intelligence is correct. Two officials said it had been collected by British intelligence services,” The New York Times informs us.

You see that? These claims about a devious Russian conspiracy have been confirmed by anonymous government operatives in both the US and the UK. That’s two separate, completely unconnected governments independently verifying that these claims are true. That’s called independent corroboration, gentlesirs. Basically the same as ironclad proof.

It does seem a little strange to me, though, that after taking great license to report anonymous government assertions without evidence The New York Times seems to take issue with the Russian government making unevidenced claims.

“Russian officials have repeatedly denied any intention of launching an attack against Ukraine, dismissing such accusations as ‘hysteria’ and claiming without providing evidence that it is the government in Kyiv that is seeking to escalate tensions,” write the article’s authors.

When this report came out I was a bit surprised by the way unproven claims by anonymous government sources are treated as actual news stories for grown adults to read instead of empty nothing stuff to be ignored and flushed down our mental toilet tubes, as I’m sure you were too. But I did a little digging and it turns out that this sort of thing is actually quite commonplace within western news media institutions, like when we were told without evidence that the Russians were plotting a false flag operation in Ukraine, or like when we were told without evidence that the Russians are using high-tech ray guns to scramble the brains of US diplomats and spies and it turned out to be baseless, or like when we were told without evidence that the Russians were paying Afghan resistance fighters to kill western occupying troops and it turned out to be false and wrong, or like when we were told without evidence that Russians interfered in the United States election and it monopolized all news reports and political discourse for years, or like when we were told without evidence for years and years that Russia was about to invade Ukraine any minute now and then it kept not happening.

I’m sure this time is different, though. After all that practice and all that trial and error, I’m sure our trusted news media institutions have perfected their craft and are now masters at reporting the truth.

NATO strengthens east European flank, Russia accuses West of hysteria

German navy chief quits after saying Putin deserves respect over Ukraine

The chief of Germany’s navy has resigned after arguing at a livestreamed event that Putin “deserves respect” and Kyiv will never win back annexed Crimea – comments that Ukraine’s ambassador in Berlin said “massively” called into question Germany’s trustworthiness. Vice-admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, who has led Germany’s naval force and represented it externally since March 2020, made his comments at a talk organised by a thinktank in Delhi on Friday.

Taking questions after a short presentation, Schönbach seemed to downplay the possibility of a military conflict with Russia and Ukraine. “Is Russia really interested in having a tiny strip of Ukrainian soil, to integrate into their country?” the 56-year-old said. “No. Putin is putting on pressure because he knows he can do it, he splits the European Union.”

What Putin really wanted, Schönbach argued, was respect. “On eye level, he wants respect. And my God, giving him respect is low cost, even no cost. It is easy to give him the respect he demands, and probably deserves.” ... The navy chief also said the annexed territories of Crimea were “gone” and would “never come back” to Kyiv, arguing in favour of closer economic ties with Russia to contain China’s rise. “Having this big country, even if it is not a democracy, as a bilateral partner … probably keeps Russia away from China.” ...

In a statement released on Saturday night, Schönbach said he had asked Germany’s defence minister, Christine Lambrecht, to relieve him of his duties with immediate effect, and the minister had accepted his request.

Kim Iversen: Russia-Ukraine Used As Political THEATER For Russiagaters And Warmongers In Washington

An excellent article by Scott Ritter, worth a click and a full read. Here are a couple of snippets:

US ‘Toolboxes’ Are Empty

Blinken has indicated that the U.S. has a toolbox filled with options that will deliver “massive consequences” to Russia should Russia invade Ukraine. These “tools” include military options, such as the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank with additional U.S. troops, and economic options, such as shutting down the NordStream 2 pipeline and cutting Russia off from the SWIFT banking system. All these options, Blinken notes, have the undivided support of U.S. European allies and partners. The toolbox is everywhere, it seems—Biden has referred to it, as has White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Blinken has alluded to it on numerous occasions. There’s only one problem—the toolbox, it turns out, is empty.

While the Pentagon is reportedly working on a series of military options to reinforce the existing U.S. military presence in eastern Europe, the actual implementation of these options would neither be timely nor even possible. One option is to move forces already in Europe; the U.S. Army maintains one heavy armored brigade in Europe on a rotational basis and has a light armored vehicle brigade and an artillery brigade stationed in Germany. Along with some helicopter and logistics support, that’s it. Flooding these units into Poland would be for display purposes only—they represent an unsustainable combat force that would be destroyed within hours, if not days, in any large-scale ground combat against a Russian threat.

The U.S. can deploy a second heavy armored brigade to Poland which would fall in on prepositioned equipment already warehoused on Polish soil. This brigade would suffer a similar fate if matched up against the Russian army. The U.S. can also deploy an airborne brigade. They, too, would die. There are no other options available to deploy additional U.S. heavy forces to Europe on a scale and in a timeframe that would be meaningful. The problem isn’t just the deployment of forces from their bases in the U.S. (something that would takes months to prepare for), but the sustainability of these forces once they arrived on the ground in Europe. Food, ammunition, water, fuel—the logistics of war is complicated, and not resolved overnight.

In short, there is no viable military option, and Biden knows this.

The U.S. has no sanctions plan that can survive initial contact with the enemy, which in this case is the collective weakness of the post-pandemic economies of both Europe and the U.S.; the over-reliance of Europe on Russian-sourced energy, and the vulnerability of democratically elected leaders to the whim of a consumer-based constituency. Russia can survive the impact of any sanctions regime the U.S. is able to scrape together—even those targeting the Russian banking system—far longer than Europe can survive without access to Russian energy. This is a reality that Europe lives with, and while U.S. policy makers might think hard-hitting sanctions look good on paper, the reality is that whatever passes for U.S.-European unity today would collapse in rapid order when the Russian pipelines were shut down. The pain would not just be limited to Europe, either—the U.S. economy would suffer as well, with sky-high fuel prices and a stock market collapse that would put the U.S. into an economic recession, if not outright depression.

The political cost that would be incurred by Biden and, by extension, the Democrats, would be fatal to any hope that might remain for holding onto either house of Congress in 2022, or the White House in 2024. It would be one thing if Biden and his national security team were honest and forthright about the real consequences of declaring the equivalent of economic war on Russia. It is another thing altogether to speak only of the pain sanctions would cause Russia, with little thought, if any, to the real consequences that will be paid on the home front.

Biden Floats Sending THOUSANDS Of Troops To Ukraine

Coons opposes sending US troops to Ukraine: 'We would simply be sacrificing them'

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said in an interview that he did not support deploying U.S. troops into Ukraine in the event that Russia invades the former Soviet nation, saying “we would simply be sacrificing them.”

“I would not support sending American troops into Ukraine in response to a Russian invasion, because frankly, I think we would simply be sacrificing them. I think the Russians would escalate dramatically,” Coons told Greta Van Susteren in an interview set to air on Sunday.

“I do think that we should provide as much support as we possibly can from our NATO allies that are immediately adjacent to Ukraine.”

The Delaware Democrat, considered a close ally to President Biden and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he was looking into bipartisan legislation that would “provide material support to Ukraine,” adding that it was something that the Biden administration was moving on.

Julian Assange Can Appeal Extradition; Stella Moris Blasts "Politically Motivated Prosecution"

Fears grow that US action on inflation will trigger debt crisis

Fears are growing that action by the US central bank to combat high inflation will trigger a fresh debt crisis, as it emerged poor-country repayments to creditors are already running at their highest level in two decades.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign said debt payments by developing countries had more than doubled since 2010 and were likely to increase further if, as expected, the Federal Reserve pushed up interest rates.

Urging deeper debt relief, the JDC said payments to creditors already accounted for 14.3% of poor-country government revenue in 2021, up from 6.8% in 2010 and the highest level since 2001.

Many poor countries have borrowed in US dollars, exposing them to the dual risk of higher borrowing costs and a weakening of their currencies against the greenback. ...

Heidi Chow, the executive director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: “The debt crisis has already stripped countries of the resources needed to tackle the climate emergency and the continued disruption from Covid, while rising interest rates threaten to sink countries in even more debt.”

Market CRASH Worst Since March '20: Is FED Causing Decline?

The super-rich live on a different planet. Their thoughts on US salaries prove it

It costs over $100,000 a year to attend the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. I don’t know what you get for that money exactly but insights into the everyday economy clearly aren’t on the syllabus. Nina Strohminger, an assistant professor at Wharton School recently asked her students how much they reckoned the average American makes a year. A quarter of the class, she reported in a viral tweet, thought it was over six figures; one student thought it was $800,000. The real figure? Around $53,838, according to figures from the Social Security Administration (SSA) last year.

Now, clearly, this is just an informal poll broadcast on Twitter; it’s not a peer-reviewed scientific study. Still, it touched a nerve with a lot of people because it’s a reflection of the fact that the super-rich seem to live on a completely different planet than everyone else. According to data from the New York Times the average family income of a Penn student is $195,500; 19% of its students come from the top 1% of earners while only 3.3% come from the bottom 20%. Wharton is the alma matter of people like Ivanka Trump and her father. Wharton is a place, to risk being somewhat over simplistic, that largely takes in people from rich families – these people then go on to become politicians and titans of industry and make even more money.

If this poll just demonstrated that a few overprivileged students are incredibly out of touch that would be one thing. However, the myopia represented at Wharton is mirrored in society as a whole. As a Harvard professor noted in the Twitter thread, research shows that what you think others make depends on how much you make yourself. People tend to massively underestimate the gap between the rich and the poor.

Indentured Servants: Judge ORDERS Hospital Staff To WORK

Kyrsten Sinema: Arizona Democrats censure senator for voting rights failure

The Arizona Democratic party has formally censured Kyrsten Sinema, the US senator whose opposition to filibuster reform helped sink attempts to protect voting rights.

In a statement on Saturday the Arizona party chair, Raquel Terán, said: “While we take no pleasure in this announcement, the ADP executive board has decided to formally censure Senator Sinema as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy.”

The attempt to pass voting rights legislation died in the Senate this week, a huge blow to Joe Biden and his party in a year which finishes with midterm elections in which Republicans are expected to prosper.

Sinema supported two bills but they were blocked by Republicans after hours of emotional and at times deeply personal debate over voting rights, racism and the fragility of American democracy.

Republicans were able to block the bills because Sinema and another moderate Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, opposed a move to carve voting rights issues out of the filibuster, the Senate rule by which most legislation requires 60 votes to progress.

the horse race

Capitol attack committee has spoken to Trump AG William Barr, chairman says

The chairman of the congressional committee investigating the US Capitol attack and Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election revealed on Sunday that the panel has spoken to the former attorney general William Barr, a further indication that the inquiry has moved closer to the ex-president’s inner circle.

Bennie Thompson told CBS’s Face the Nation that Barr, who was accused of making the justice department Trump’s tool but who resigned before Trump left office, had spoken more than once with the panel.

“To be honest with you, we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,” Thompson said.

His host, Margaret Brennan, asked if the panel would seek answers from Barr over the discovery of a draft executive order for the US military to seize voting machines in contested states.

“We have talked to Department of Defense individuals,” Thompson said. “We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false. If you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know.”

To 'Hold Her Accountable for What She Did,' Primary Sinema Project Gets Into Gear

As outrage grows this week over U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's obstruction of her own party's pro-democracy agenda, a movement to back a 2024 primary challenger to the right-wing Arizona Democrat is gaining momentum.

"It's official," the Primary Sinema Project said in a Friday fundraising email after Sinema joined Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and all 50 Republican senators to uphold the filibuster and kill Democratic voting rights legislation. "We're going to hold her accountable for what she did."

"Kyrsten Sinema is unfit to be a United States senator," the group added. "Just like the filibuster itself, we need to get rid of her if we want to save our democracy before it's too late."

While she's been praised by numerous Republicans, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the GOP U.S. senators who lined up to shake her hand after she voted against modifying Senate filibuster rules—a move that would have stopped Republicans from blocking the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act—Sinema's obstructionism has infuriated many Democrats.

"Her approval rating among Democrats in Arizona is 8%," Emily Kirkland, director of the advocacy group Progress Now Arizona, told KNXV, citing a Civiqs poll conducted last week.

"So the level of frustration is there among voters, organizers, and volunteers," Kirkland added, including her own former staff and campaign volunteers.

In addition to losing the backing of progressive organizations including the reproductive rights groups EMILY's List and NARAL Pro-Choice America, Sinema's actions have fueled increasing support for Democratic primary challengers. Ninety-four percent of respondents to a Tuesday "flash poll" of members of the progressive activist group Indivisible said they favor primarying Sinema if she does not change course.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), widely viewed as a potential primary challenger to Sinema, says numerous Democrats have asked him to make a run for the Senate.

When asked who's asking him to run, Gallego coyly told CNN that "it wasn't Bernie, I'll tell you that," a reference to Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Vermont independent said earlier this week that Sinema and fellow right-wing Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) are imperiling "the future of American democracy," and that he is open to supporting primary challengers to run against the obstructionists.

"I have gotten a lot of encouragement from elected officials, from senators, from unions, from your traditional Democratic groups, big donors," said Gallego, a United States Marine Corps veteran who has served for seven years in the House. "Everything you can imagine under the sun."

Gallego said he believes Sinema is "vulnerable because nobody in the state has seen hide nor hair of her for the last three years."

"She hasn't had one town hall; everything she does is scripted," he added. "She says she refuses to negotiate in public, but we want to know who is she negotiating for? Is it for Arizonans? Or is it for the pharmaceutical companies or whatever other interests that she is more likely to have meetings with than... with the actual constituents?"

Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts wrote Friday that "Gallego could beat Sinema in a primary. Probably, at this point, Krusty the Clown could beat Sinema in a Democratic primary," a reference to the deeply troubled but beloved children's celebrity in the long-running animated TV series The Simpsons.

"Gallego has a great story and he's a rising star on the left," she continued. "The question is, could he win the general election? Two years ago, no way. But two years from now? That's the calculation Democrats need to make."

Roberts asserts that "if Republicans regain their sanity in the next two years and put up a candidate with broad appeal, Gallego would have a hard time pulling out a win."

However, she adds that if the GOP continues its "bizarre obsession" with former President Donald Trump, and nominates a "Big Lie-spouting, pandemic-downplaying, misinformation-peddling" candidate—someone, she says, like state Republican Chair Kelli Ward—then "Gallego's fortunes would dramatically improve."

the evening greens

Biden Outpaced Trump on Drilling Permits in First Year

Despite President Joe Biden's promise to phase out federal leasing for fossil fuel extraction, his administration approved more permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands in its first year than the Trump administration did in 2017.

That's according to the Center for Biological Diversity's new analysis of federal data released Friday, which shows that the Biden White House rubber-stamped 3,557 permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands in 2021—a 34% increase over former President Donald Trump's administration, which greenlit 2,658 drilling permits in its first year.

Of the drilling authorized by the Biden administration in the past year, almost 2,000 permits were approved for public lands in New Mexico, followed by 843 in Wyoming, 285 in Montana and North Dakota, and 191 in Utah. In California, Biden signed off on 187 permits—more than twice as many as the 71 that Trump approved for drilling on the Golden State's public lands during his first year in office.

"Biden's runaway drilling approvals are a spectacular failure of climate leadership," the Center for Biological Diversity's Taylor McKinnon said Friday in a statement. "Avoiding catastrophic climate change requires ending new fossil fuel extraction, but Biden is racing in the opposite direction."

One year ago, Biden issued an executive order suspending new oil and gas leasing. The president's pause of the federal leasing program was meant to give the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) time to conduct a comprehensive review of the "potential climate and other impacts associated with oil and gas activities on public lands or in offshore waters."

However, a group of Republican attorneys general awash in $4.5 million of campaign cash from the fossil fuel lobby sued the Biden administration in March, arguing that its moratorium violated a federal law requiring quarterly lease sales. In June, a Trump-appointed federal judge sided with them and issued a preliminary injunction.

While the U.S. Department of Justice challenged the ruling—and ultimately said in August that the judge's decision to invalidate the pause does not compel the Biden administration to immediately resume new fossil fuel lease sales—the DOI backed down and took steps to resurrect the then-frozen oil and gas leasing program.

In November—just days after Biden professed Washington's alleged commitment to decarbonization at the COP26 climate summit—the White House held Lease Sale 257, an auction condemned as ecologically irresponsible for offering up 80 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico's seabed to the highest-bidding oil and gas companies.

Despite Biden's pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of this decade, his administration also plans to allow fossil fuel corporations to purchase drilling rights for hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands.

As Food & Water Watch explained last month, the Biden administration has "acknowledged that it has many other legal mechanisms to prohibit new oil and gas leasing aside from" the disputed moratorium, which undermines its claim that "its hands were tied" by a right-wing judge.

Earlier this week, as Common Dreams reported, a coalition of more than 360 progressive advocacy groups submitted a petition calling on the Biden administration to use its executive authority to phase out oil and gas production on public lands and in offshore waters.

The petition comes equipped with a regulatory framework to wind down oil and gas production by 98% by 2035. According to the coalition, the Biden administration can achieve this goal by using long-dormant provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and the National Emergencies Act.

"Biden squandered precious time seeking climate action from a broken Congress," McKinnon said Friday, referring to the Build Back Better Act that has been put on the shelf due to obstructionism from corporate Democrats and Republicans. "We need executive action now to meet the climate emergency with the urgency it demands, starting with ending the fossil fuel extraction the president controls."

The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that roughly 25% of the nation's total carbon emissions can be attributed to fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters, and according to the DOI, the social costs of burning oil and gas obtained by drilling and fracking on government-owned parcels—including rising sea levels, extreme weather disasters, and adverse public health effects—range from $357 million to over $4 billion.

Nevertheless, the DOI's long-awaited review of its oil and gas leasing program largely ignored the climate crisis, leading environmental justice campaigners to describe the November report as a "shocking capitulation to the needs of corporate polluters."

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, "Federal fossil fuels that have not been leased to industry contain up to 450 billion tons of potential climate pollution; those already leased to industry contain up to 43 billion tons."

Peer-reviewed research, meanwhile, has estimated that a nationwide ban on federal fossil fuel leasing would reduce carbon emissions by 280 million tons per year.

"Without such action," the Center for Biological Diversity explained Friday, "it will become increasingly difficult for the United States to meet its pledge to help avoid 1.5°C of warming and its unprecedented social, environmental, and economic damage."

According to a recent analysis by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the worldwide transition to renewable energy is far behind schedule—with fossil fuel use projected to increase this decade even as annual reductions in coal, oil, and gas production are necessary to avoid the worst consequences of the climate emergency.

If countries—starting with the rich polluters most responsible for exacerbating extreme weather—fail to rapidly and drastically slash greenhouse gas pollution, UNEP warned last fall, the planet is on pace for a "catastrophic" 2.7°C temperature rise by the end of this century.

Scientists have repeatedly made the case that averting such dangerous levels of heating requires halting new coal, oil, and gas projects. Ramping up drilling, as Biden has done, defies evidence-based recommendations made by the International Energy Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and others to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Oil industry board members to testify to Congress on climate disinformation

A US congressional committee has invited board members at four large oil companies to testify in February about the industry’s role in the climate crisis and spreading “disinformation”, turning up the heat on big oil after lawmakers grilled their CEOs last year.

The hearing of officials from Exxon, Shell, Chevron and BP, scheduled for 8 February, is the next phase of the House oversight committee’s investigation into the role of fossil fuel companies in blocking action on climate change and misrepresenting the industry’s efforts to address it.

The panel had concluded the first of these hearings last October, which featured the oil company CEOs, by issuing subpoenas for documents on company scientists’ statements about the climate crisis and any funds spent to mislead the public on global heating.

By turning its focus to board members who were elected to spur change at these companies on the climate crisis, the committee plans to scrutinize corporate pledges to cut emissions and invest in cleaner sources of energy. “These are board members who ran on changing these institutions from the inside,” chair of the oversight panel’s environment subcommittee, Ro Khanna, told Reuters. “They will have to chose between their life convictions or fealty to their CEOs.”

Among the board members selected to testify is Alexander Karsner, a strategist at Google owner Alphabet Inc who won one of three seats for the activist hedge fund Engine No 1 to Exxon’s board to address growing investor concerns about global warming. The committee also sent a letter to Susan Avery, an atmospheric scientist and former president of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who was brought on to Exxon’s board in 2017 as a climate expert.

California’s ‘great bacon crisis’ has yet to arrive

In the months leading up to the arrival of a strict new animal welfare law in California, headlines warned of aGreat California bacon crisis. The law sets minimum living-space requirements for breeding pigs, which restaurants said could make bacon more expensive and harder to get. But so far, the pork apocalypse has yet to arrive.

“There seems to be little disruption,” said Ronald Fong, the president of the California Grocers Association, of the law that took effect this month. “We just have not seen a pork shortage.”

California voters approved the law, known as Prop 12, in 2018. It creates minimum space requirements for animals raised to be sold in California, including pigs, calves and chickens. A vital element of the law is that even if a producer is based outside California, they have to follow the rules if they want to sell inside the state. ...

The lack of disruption in California’s pork supply chain so far could be due to the fact that pork produced before 31 December 2021 is considered compliant, and grocers and restaurants can keep inventory for five to six months before it needs to be sold. That means the final supply of 2021 pork is due to arrive in June.

Industry groups, however, have continued to protest against the law, saying it will destabilize the multibillion-dollar US pork supply chain by raising the cost of raising animals. California consumes about 14% of the country’s pork yet only 4% of existing sow housing nationwide meets Prop 12’s standards, according to a 2021 report by the financial services company Rabobank.

Also of Interest

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

Lunatic Pundit Says It’s “All But Certain” We’re On The Cusp Of A Massive War With Russia

German Navy Chief Resigns; Britain Spreads Fears of Russian ‘Coup’ & Wider War

Godot Likely To Arrive Before Russia Invades Ukraine

U.S. - Russian Talks Show Signs Of Progress

From war reporter to USAid chief: Samantha Power returns to Bosnia

Saudi Coalition Attacks Yemen Youth Soccer Game: Civilians Killed

Can the Fed Engineer a Soft Landing for the Biggest Bubble Since $12,000 Tulip Bulbs?

JPMorgan’s Board Made Jamie Dimon a Billionaire as the Bank Rigged Markets, Laundered Money, and Admitted to Five Felony Counts

Big Sur wildfire causes evacuations as Harris visits state to tout federal plan

Beavers Offer Lessons About Managing Water in a Changing Climate, Whether the Challenge Is Drought or Floods

Nothing Fundamental Has Changed: Biden Administration Greenlights More Fossil Fuel Drilling Permits in 2021 for Public Lands and Waters than Did Trump in 2017

Syria’s post-war recovery challenges US hegemony

Biden's Support Amongst Black Voters SINKS 20Pts

A Little Night Music

Johnny 'Guitar' Watson - Too Tired

Johnny Guitar Watson - One More Kiss

Johnny Guitar Watson - Sweet Lovin' Mama

Johnny 'Guitar' Watson - Three Hours Past Midnight

Johnny Guitar Watson - Cuttin' In

Johnny Guitar Watson - You Can Stay But The Noise Must Go

Johnny Guitar Watson - Big Bad Wolf

Johnny "Guitar" Watson - Don't Touch Me

Johnny "Guitar" Watson - Gangster Of Love

Billy Preston w/ Johnny "Guitar" Watson - Hootchie Coochie Man

Concert Berlin 1975, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, James Booker, Bo Diddley

18 users have voted.


ggersh's picture

It appears as if Jesse also had a few thoughts about the truth

“The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.”

William of Ockham

"Ignorance is the mother of presumption."

Marie Le Jars de Gournay

“The most important things to say are those which often I did not think necessary for me to say — because they were too obvious.”

André Gide

10 users have voted.

Yes the DHS’s Ministry of Truth is headed by a weird ridiculous person. Please don’t let that distract from the vastly more significant fact that the DHS has a Ministry of Truth.


joe shikspack's picture


heh, truth seems to be about the scarcest commodity of all these days. it seems to be largely absent in the public square except on occasions when its use drives profit.

7 users have voted.

It seems that the two leaders (US & UK)pushing the hardest on the Russian invasion of the Ukraine are guilty of "wagging the dog".

Bojo for partygate.

(CNN)It could be a crucial week for Boris Johnson in his battle to stay in power.

The British Prime Minister has been under pressure for weeks over alleged summer garden parties and Christmas gatherings held in Downing Street when the rest of the country was under strict Covid-19 lockdowns. A report into the allegations, set to be released this week, could be the final straw for Johnson's increasingly mutinous party.
Johnson's approval ratings are plunging and there appears to be a growing sense among some parts of his ruling Conservative Party that he is becoming a liability. Two polls in the last week suggested that as many as two-thirds of voters want him to resign.

Brandon for his abysmal polling.

Biden approval rating hit a new low in the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll as the White House faces crises on multiple fronts.

Biden’s approval rating fell to 39 percent in the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, which was released exclusively to The Hill. Of that, 18 percent of registered voters said they strongly approve of the job he’s doing, while 21 percent say they somewhat approve. Meanwhile, 53 percent said they somewhat or strongly disapprove of his job performance.

That number is six points down from his approval rating in November when he was at 45 percent, while his disapproval rating ticked up from 51 percent two months ago. His 39 percent approval rating is the lowest since the poll first started gauging it in March.

The polling comes as the White House struggles on several domestic and foreign issues.

Inflation is causing economic concern nationwide, reaching the highest level in decades

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i wonder how long the dog can sustain the violent shaking. Smile

it seems to me that biden is not going to be able to use dog wagging effectively as there are so many pressing things happening domestically.

i guess we'll see.

7 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

(CNN)President Joe Biden was heard calling a reporter from the Fox channel a "stupid son of a bitch" on a hot microphone following a White House event Monday afternoon.

The President's profane remark came as reporters were shouting questions while exiting the East Room following a White House Competition Council meeting on efforts to lower prices.
Fox White House Correspondent Peter Doocy asked Biden, "Would you take a question on inflation ... ? Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?"
"It's a great asset -- more inflation," Biden deadpanned. "What a stupid son of a bitch."
Doocy said on Fox later Monday that he asked Biden about inflation because the President, when asked about Russia and Ukraine, said he wouldn't take any questions that were off-topic.

7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i don't know if that's an indication that the pressure is getting to him. joementia is usually pretty irascible.

heh, he didn't call doocy, "fat," after all.

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


Now imagine if Trump had said that. But of course the shitlibs thinks it’s great that Biden did and especially to
Doocy. Bunch of effing hypocrites.

Welcome to Utah every winter

8 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Azazello's picture

Good to see the beginnings of a Primary Sinema Project although I haven't heard anything locally yet. Everybody talks about Ruben Gallego being the challenger. Many of his positions are good and I applaud him for his remarks on "Latinx" but he's also a Blob supporter on the Armed Services Committee.
And then there's this:

Tulsi hits the nail on the head:

These guys have some good observations on Ukraine: The Duran, YouTube, 32 min.

10 users have voted.

We wanted decent healthcare, a living wage and free college.
The Democrats gave us Biden and war instead.

QMS's picture


They must be joking. Threatening dollar flows thru another country is reason enough
for the western bankers to declare war anywhere. That is not democracy that is being
threatened. It sounds more like hegemony. But this is all being transcribed by the MSM
to make aggression more palatable to the domestic audience. Fighting for freedom, liberty,
democracy and the American way! So we can drive oversized chevy trucks. And such.

That's why we bomb and kill all over the globe to maintain this unique quality of life.

8 users have voted.

interview with closed captions.


13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, is there a progressive politician in arizona that is not in the pocket of the mic?

thanks for the clips! it's always good to see somebody on a national network calling out the warmongers.

the duran piece was interesting. i wonder what happens if ukraine defaults and through the process, their economy (which has been circling the drain for years) destabilizes the country. i suppose the u.s. would find a way to blame that on russia, too.

8 users have voted.

9 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

Not taking bets on Kirsten's fate or her potential/probable replacement. People are talking big worry about possible crash leading to an actual depression. A crash-depression would be truly horrible for a lot of people, but it also might make the threat of pitchforks and torches real enough to bring about change - it did last time.

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 --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

obviously, it's way too early to make anything like a prediction about sinema's future political fortunes, but there are certainly some ominous clouds forming over her continuance in office. it seems to me that if she does nothing to assuage her constituents that she can easily be primaried, it is a whole other thing whether a primary challenger could win office, though.

heh, well, the folks lower down the economic ladder have never fully recovered from the 2008 crash and obama's tragically callous non-response to the needs of working people. if there's another crash, i'm guessing that working people are not going to be satisfied with a steady diet of platitudes from some slick-talking wall street executive flunky.

have a great evening!

5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Consider the possibility that if the powerful were able to surgically implant microchips in our brains and control everything we think and do, what they’d make us think and do would not be significantly different from what the overwhelming majority of us already think and do.

Consider the possibility that the dystopia we’ve been worried about has already been ushered in, not from any of the directions we’ve been conditioned to anticipate, but through the simple fact that the human mind is far more hackable than we’ve been conditioned to believe.

Consider the possibility that while we’ve been trained to fear communist authoritarians taking over and forcing us to obey their will, capitalist authoritarians have had us marching to the exact drumbeat they desire for generations. And we only think this is freedom because we’ve been trained to think that.

Consider the possibility that you’ve been trained to believe freedom looks like being able to buy a gun which we all know you’ll never use against the powerful, or choose from 197 kinds of potato chip at the grocery store, when really that mindless consumption is just you turning the gears of your own prison.

Consider the possibility that real freedom isn’t being able to consume whatever advertisers have convinced you to consume, it’s being able to think with a mind that has not been molded by the powerful, to educate yourself in an information ecosystem that is not locked down by those who rule over you, and to speak the truth without having your speech stifled by oppressive dominators.

8 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

joe shikspack's picture


heh, microchip implants might be an excellent explanation for the rise of the shitlibs. Smile

5 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Hi Joe and all,

The great Johnny Guitar Watson. He was amazingly awesome. A true pioneer too, with a way bigger influence than many realize. I know its not blues, per se, but his 1954 Space Guitar was mind blowing for the time. Feedback and reverb the likes of which had never been heard that way then. The way he would explode into speed was incredible. You can hear that in Frank Zappa. When Frank Zappa keeps wanting to have someone on his albums, folks ought to give an ear a bend. Space Guitar
(in case anyone interested)

As for Biden issuing a third more drilling permits than Trump his first year, there goes that 'lesser-of-two-evils' and 'bluenomatterwho' thingie right out the window. That should take care of the climate problem, eh?

Thanks for the great sounds man!

8 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture


heh, zappa also ranked clarence gatemouth brown as one of his big influences. both gate and watson were heavily influenced by t-bone walker not only in phrasing and licks but also in terms of guitar tone. walker is also definitely worth a listen for zappa fans.

heh, biden was trying to run as obama's "third term" at one point (of course obama was shrubya's third term), but biden is really trump's second term.

have a great evening!

7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture


reminiscent of some of Bo Diddley's work, or vice-versa, as the case may be. Fun listening, thanks.

be well and have a good one

2 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 --

We had Hilary and now Blinken and previously there was this one who is still getting plenty of air time in the MSM.,&sxsrf=AOaemvLeug9Fb4i0hDb...

6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


makes you wonder if farkas has emailed biden begging him to let her press the nuke button.

7 users have voted.

8 users have voted.