The Evening Blues - 11-29-22
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Texas blues guitarist Blind Lemon Jefferson. Enjoy!
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Easy Rider Blues
"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late."
-- William Shakespeare
News and Opinion
The US government must drop its prosecution of the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange because it is undermining press freedom, according to the media organisations that first helped him publish leaked diplomatic cables.
Twelve years ago today, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País collaborated to release excerpts from 250,000 documents obtained by Assange in the “Cablegate” leak. The material, leaked to WikiLeaks by the then American soldier Chelsea Manning, exposed the inner workings of US diplomacy around the world.
The editors and publishers of the media organisations that first published those revelations have come together to publicly oppose plans to charge Assange under a law designed to prosecute first world war spies.
“Publishing is not a crime,” they said, saying the prosecution is a direct attack on media freedom.
The Biden administration is considering an offer from military-industrial complex giant Boeing to supply Ukraine with long-range precision-guided bombs capable of striking targets up to nearly 100 miles away, Reuters reported Monday.
The Pentagon is reviewing Boeing's proposal to send Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB)—manufactured jointly with Sweden's SAAB—to Ukrainian forces, a move that would enable them to hit targets deep behind enemy lines as they fight to repel invading Russian troops.
The GPS-guided GLSDB combines the GBU-39 bomb and the M26 rocket motor, both of which are cheap and relatively abundant. GLSDB is compatible with existing launchers used by Ukrainian forces and could be added to Kyiv's arsenal by early next year.
While Ukrainians and their supporters encouraged the proposed transfer on social media, Bulgarian independent journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva—one of the few online critics of the proposal—tweeted, "This is how the U.S. military-industrial complex (Boeing) is dictating the U.S. foreign policy and profiteering from wars."
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has been invited to speak by video-link to the New Zealand parliament, as Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party-led government continues and deepens its support for the US-NATO imperialist war against Russia in Ukraine.
The invitation was publicly reported on November 22, although a date has not yet been announced. Underscoring its significance is the fact that Zelensky will be only the second world leader ever to speak to the New Zealand parliament (the first was Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011).
The announcement follows New Zealand defence minister Peeni Henare’s visit to Ukraine, which the government revealed on November 20. He met with Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksii Reznikov in Kiev and discussed New Zealand’s contribution to the war, which includes 120 NZ soldiers training Ukrainian troops in the UK, and $60 million in military and other support.
While in Europe, Henare also visited the UK, where he spoke with his British counterpart Ben Wallace about the war against Russia, and extended the deployment of 66 NZ soldiers in the UK as part of the training mission until the end of July 2023. New Zealand also has a dozen military personnel involved in intelligence operations relating to the war based in the UK, and another 12 embedded with NATO in Europe assisting with “administration support” and logistics.
Henare said in a statement that visiting Kiev had sent a message that “our support for the Ukrainian defensive effort against Russia’s illegal invasion is unwavering.” While saying “it is important to push for de-escalation and diplomacy,” Henare also expressed support for the Ukrainian regime’s “mind set of we can win, we will win, and we must win.” Kiev has rejected negotiations to end the fighting unless Russia meets its demand for a complete demobilisation and withdrawal.
Two-thirds of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have depleted their stockpiles by sending weapons to Kiev, according to an alliance official. Even larger NATO states are struggling to meet the demands of Ukraine’s war effort.
The New York Times reported on Sunday the North Atlantic alliance is struggling to meet Kiev’s battlefield needs. According to one NATO official, 20 out of 30 members are “pretty tapped out” regarding their ability to supply Ukraine with additional weapons. While larger states like the US, France, Germany, and Italy have the ability to arm Ukraine, those governments have also resisted sending specific weapons systems requested by Kiev. ...
Part of the cause of the dwindling arms supply is the massive demand for artillery. Currently, Ukrainian forces are firing thousands of rounds daily, but the US can only produce 15,000 rounds per month. Camille Grand, a defense expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told NYT, “[a] day in Ukraine is a month or more in Afghanistan.”
EU diplomats failed on Monday to agree on a set price cap for Russian oil as a December 5 deadline for the policy is approaching, Reuters reported.
The main hindrance to reaching a deal was Poland, which is demanding a much lower price cap than what the G7 has requested. The EU was asked to put the price cap between $65 to $70 per barrel, but Poland wants it slashed down to $30, a similar figure to what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would like to see.
“The Poles are completely uncompromising on the price, without suggesting an acceptable alternative,” an EU diplomat told Reuters. “Clearly there is growing annoyance with the Polish position.”
China Keeps Aggressively Surrounding Itself With US Bases: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix
Why does China keep aggressively surrounding itself with US military bases?
US Military Set to Return to Subic Bay, Philippines to Counter China
The US closed its military base in Subic Bay 30 years ago
by Dave DeCamp@DecampDave https://t.co/6gmTbebKc3 pic.twitter.com/1jniZiFr9q
— Antiwar.com (@Antiwarcom) November 25, 2022
Funny how Biden is willing to stop a strike, but unwilling to tell the railroad owners to grow up and stop acting like greedy dicks.
Joe Biden called on Congress to intervene and block a railroad strike before next month’s deadline in the stalled contract talks, saying a strike would “devastate our economy”. Biden’s move comes as business groups have warned that the looming strike would hit just before the holiday season and worsen the US’s inflation problems.
“Let me be clear: a rail shutdown would devastate our economy,” Biden said in a statement. “Without freight rail, many US industries would shut down.” The strike comes after long-running negotiations reached an impasse and both sides agreed to a cooling-off period that ends next week.
Congress has the power to impose contract terms on the workers, but it’s not clear what lawmakers might include if they do. They could also force the negotiations to continue into the new year. ...
Last month the Biden administration said it was up to unions and the rail companies to reach an agreement. In his statement Biden said that as “a proud pro-labor president” he was reluctant to override the views of people who voted against the agreement. “But in this case – where the economic impact of a shutdown would hurt millions of other working people and families – I believe Congress must use its powers to adopt this deal.”
Railroad workers still get zero paid sick leave. Increased risk of exposure to infectious illness is part of many jobs. Paid sick leave is both a basic part of fair employment practices and an absolutely essential part of national public health policy.https://t.co/sKu0jbyt6m
— Eric Reinhart (@_Eric_Reinhart) November 28, 2022
Amazon will be forced to read out a public notice this week to all employees at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, where workers won the first Amazon union election, stating it will “cease and desist” from retaliating against people involved in union organizing.
US district judge Diane Gujarati ruled on 18 November that Amazon cease and desist from retaliating against workers for organizing in the workplace, in response to Amazon employee Gerald Bryson’s termination in April 2020. She included in her ruling that Amazon read out publicly her 30-page decision to employees, which is set to be conducted on Thursday 1 December.
While the order does not reinstate Bryson, Amazon could be held in contempt of court if found to be violating the order.
“The judge’s order in this case recognizes Amazon’s unlawful conduct and provides the full force of a federal court injunction to prohibit Amazon from further discharging employees for engaging in protected concerted activity,” Teresa Poor, the regional director of the Brooklyn office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), said in a statement. ...
Amazon has aggressively opposed unionization efforts within its warehouses, fending off union elections in Bessemer, Alabama, a second warehouse in Staten Island, and another outside Albany, the New York state capital. Numerous unfair labor practice charges against Amazon related to those campaigns are still under review at the NLRB.
Republican officials in a rural Arizona county refused on Monday to certify the results of the 2022 midterm election, despite no evidence of anything wrong with the count from earlier this month.
Some officials who have embraced voter fraud theories held out, defying a state deadline and setting the stage for a legal battle.
The move came amid pressure from prominent Republicans to reject results showing Democrats winning top races, and the county was holding out in the afternoon of a nail-biting day that was the deadline for several counties to confirm results.
State election officials have said they will sue Cochise county if the board of supervisors misses Monday’s deadline to approve the official tally of votes, known as the canvass.
The two Republican county supervisors delayed the canvass vote until hearing once more about concerns over the certification of ballot tabulators, though election officials have repeatedly said the equipment is properly approved.
Like the apocryphal frog that doesn’t notice the rising water temperature until it’s boiled alive, we as a global society are still struggling to recognise that anthropic global warming is hastening us towards irreversible environmental and ecological catastrophe. While there is consensus among climate scientists about the urgency of the situation, and widespread political acknowledgment that the use of carbon fuels must be reduced, targets have not been met and as the UK’s Cop26 president, Alok Sharma, said, the lack of progress at this month’s Cop27 demonstrates the 1.5C limit is on “life support” and there is growing evidence that we are further along the road to a tipping point than previously thought.
So advanced is this process that some scientists are beginning to argue that merely cutting carbon is not enough and an emergency measure involving what is known as geoengineering is called for. There have been a number of plans suggested, some more outlandish than others. They range from building giant mirrors in space to reflect away sunlight to painting the roofs of buildings white to help counteract heatwaves in cities. One particular area of concern is the Arctic, which, according to the latest research by Norwegian scientists, is warming at four times the speed of the rest of the planet. The more it warms, the more ice cover it loses, which in turn leads to further heating, creating a so-called positive feedback loop (although, paradoxically, the effect is entirely negative).
Two suggestions for geoengineering the poles’ climate have drawn serious attention and have been the subject of theoretical modelling. The most popular and perhaps advanced of these is what is known as stratospheric aerosol injection, in which sulphur dioxide would be released into the stratosphere to gather around the poles. The idea is that the aerosols will have a similar effect to the ash clouds from volcanoes, which reach a high altitude and reflect sunlight, bringing down temperatures on Earth. There are many critics of the proposal, who point out that sulphur dioxide, which is associated with acid rain, asthma and chronic bronchitis, is itself environmentally damaging and there is no guarantee that its effects would be limited to the poles or, indeed, what its long-term effects might be. There has been some very limited field work examining aerosol effects, but it has been too restricted to offer any definitive answers. ...
In theory, the sulphur dioxide particles would settle over the poles, but in practice, no one can be sure. It’s one of the reasons that cloud brightening has been suggested as a less risky and more viable option. Sir David King is the founder of the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge (CCRC). A multidisciplinary team, it has three main objectives: to reduce CO2 emissions, remove excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and to refreeze damaged parts of the climate system. The CCRC is backing research into cloud brightening, which King insists is not geoengineering. “We reserve the phrase geoengineering for putting sulphates into the stratosphere,” he explains. While he is in favour of small-scale experiments with sulphates, he believes there should be a moratorium on “at scale” use of them in the stratosphere. Marine cloud brightening, by contrast, he says is not geoengineering but “biomimicry”, a means of imitating a natural process on a huge scale. The science is straightforward in theory.
Clouds formed over oceans tend to build around salt crystals left after droplets of sea spray evaporate. Salt crystals vary in size and if they are at the smaller end of the spectrum, then clouds are formed of lots of small droplets. Clouds made from smaller droplets appear whiter than those composed of larger droplets and as a result reflect more sunlight, even if they carry the same amount of water. The idea is to whiten clouds by creating sea spray with a flotilla of boats armed with pumps and nozzles.
Waves of orange, glowing lava and smoky ash belched and sputtered Monday from the world’s largest active volcano in its first eruption in 38 years, and officials told people living on Hawaii’s Big Island to be ready in the event of a worst-case scenario.
The eruption of Mauna Loa wasn’t immediately endangering towns, but the US Geological Survey warned the roughly 200,000 people on the Big Island that an eruption “can be very dynamic, and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly”.
Officials told residents to be prepared to evacuate if lava flows started heading toward populated areas.
The eruption began late Sunday night in the summit caldera of the volcano on the Big Island, the US Geological Survey said. Early on Monday, it said lava flows were contained within the summit area and were not threatening nearby communities. ...
Ken Hon, scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said air quality could deteriorate while the eruption lasted, which scientists expect will be about one or two weeks if the volcano follows historical patterns.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Match Box Blues (Alternate Take 3)
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Dry Southern Blues
Blind Lemon Jefferson - See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Long Lonesome Blues
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Black Snake Moan
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Broke And Hungry
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Hot Dogs
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Stocking Feet Blues
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Mean Jumper Blues
Blind Lemon Jefferson - One Dime Blues