The Evening Blues - 11-30-22
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features jump blues musicians The Treniers. Enjoy!
The Treniers - Rock 'n' Roll Call
"A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all."
News and Opinion
More than two years after the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad, at least 78 Iraqis filed a lawsuit in an Iraqi court on Sunday against then U.S. President Donald Trump and other officials of his administration. The plaintiffs demanded legal action against the accused, including Trump and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, among others, in their petition filed at Baghdad’s federal court of appeal. The plaintiffs include Muhammad Hassan Jaafar al-Muhandis, the brother of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Though the new Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani had promised to take legal action against Trump once in power, it is not clear whether the plaintiffs have the backing of the government.
Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite al-Quds forces, part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and Muhandis, commander of the Iraqi militia Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), were assassinated in a drone attack on Jan. 3, 2020, near the Baghdad airport.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday that NATO countries need to ramp up weapons production, or Kyiv won’t be able to win the war against Russia.
Kuleba said that NATO countries must “begin the production of necessary weapons today.” If that doesn’t happen, he said Ukraine “won’t be able to win — as simple as that.” ...
While being entirely reliant on military aid, the vast majority being provided by the US, Ukrainian officials are not afraid to criticize their backers. Kuleba said there are countries “in the world who have what Ukraine needs but who are not going to sell it in sufficient quantities for political reasons.”
A senior Ukrainian military delegation visited Israel last week in a bid to secure defense assistance, according to a news report on Israeli television Monday.
The delegation, which included a top Ukrainian military commander, held several meetings with Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry officials, Channel 13 news reported.
The Ukrainians reportedly sought to push ahead with creating a missile alert system, which Israel has allegedly promised to build for Ukraine.
The delegation also pushed Israel to supply weapons systems, which Israel has so far refused to do, sending only humanitarian aid and protective equipment.
The network added that Israel tried to play down the delegation’s visit to avoid sparking tensions with Russia.
Ukraine’s supplies of spare parts for its battered electricity grid are running out amid sustained Russian bombing, and European companies are being asked to urgently donate surplus kit to help the country get through the winter.
There were power cuts lasting 48 hours or more across the country last week after a fresh wave of Russian missile attacks, the latest step in a wave of bombings targeting power plants and substations which route energy around the network. ...
Although 37 shipments have already been organised it is unclear if enough kit is available to keep Ukraine’s lights on, prompting a call for more donations and heightened concern among the country’s western allies.
The warning came as ministers from Nato member countries met for a two-day meeting in Bucharest, Romania, where it is likely the 30-nation alliance will make fresh pledges of non-lethal support to Ukraine including fuel, generators, medical supplies and winter equipment, on top of new military support.
More info at the link.
The British government assigned at least 15 people to the secret operation to seize Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, new information shows.
The WikiLeaks founder was given political asylum by Ecuador in 2012, but was never allowed safe passage out of Britain to avoid persecution by the U.S. government.
The Australian journalist has been in Belmarsh maximum-security prison for the past three and a half years and faces a potential 175-year sentence after the High Court of England and Wales green-lighted his extradition to the U.S. in December 2021.
“Pelican” was the secret Metropolitan Police operation to seize Assange from his asylum, which eventually occurred in April 2019. Asylum is a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The operation’s existence was only revealed in the memoirs of former Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan which were published last year. The U.K. government routinely blocks, or obfuscates its answers to information requests about the Assange case.
The US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has announced that her fellow members of Congress plan to vote this week on imposing a new contract for railroad workers to avert a looming labor strike.
Pelosi made the announcement late on Monday afternoon just after Joe Biden called on Congress to intervene to prevent a strike, a possibility if an agreement between the freight rail industry and unions is not made by 9 December.
In a statement referring to the president’s request, Pelosi said that Democrats were “reluctant to bypass” negotiations but “we must act to prevent a catastrophic nationwide rail strike, which would grind our economy to a halt”. ...
The deadlock between management and the unions is mostly over paid sick leave. The union argues that workers should get at least six days of paid sick leave. They are currently expected to use vacation time if they call out sick and are penalized if they take time off without using vacation days. The agreement Congress is considering does not include a sick leave provision.
I guess the culture wars are the priority for dems during the interregnum before the new legislature comes in, rather than protecting social security and other economic issues.
The US Senate has passed the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation to protect same-sex unions that Democrats are hurrying to get to Joe Biden to be signed into law before Republicans take over the House next year.
The House must now pass the bill, a step the majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said could come as soon as Tuesday 6 December. Nearly 50 House Republicans supported the measure earlier this year. In the Senate, support from 12 Republicans was enough to override the filibuster and advance the bill to Tuesday’s majority vote, which ended 61-36.
Although the Respect for Marriage Act would not codify Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 supreme court decision which made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, it would require states to recognise all marriages that were legal when performed, including in other states. Interracial marriages would also be protected, with states required to recognise legal marriage regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin”
Same-sex marriage has been thought under threat since June, when the conservative-dominated supreme court struck down the right to abortion. Then, the hardline justice Clarence Thomas wrote that other privacy-based rights, including same-sex marriage, could be reconsidered next.
Five Connecticut police officers have been charged with cruelly neglecting a Black man after he was partially paralysed in the back of a police van, despite his repeated and desperate pleas for help.
Randy Cox, 36, was being driven to a New Haven police station on 19 June for processing on a weapons charge when the driver braked hard at an intersection to avoid a collision, causing Cox to fly headfirst into a metal partition in the van.
“I can’t move. I’m going to die like this. Please, please, please help me,” Cox said minutes after the crash. As Cox pleaded for help, some of the officers at the detention centre mocked him and accused him of being drunk and faking his injuries, according to dialogue captured by surveillance and body-worn camera footage. Officers dragged Cox by his feet from the van and placed him in a holding cell prior to his eventual transfer to a hospital.
“I think I cracked my neck,” Cox said after the van arrived at the detention centre. “You didn’t crack it, no, you drank too much ... Sit up,” said Sgt Betsy Segui, one of the five officers charged. Cox was later found to have a fractured neck and was paralysed.
The five New Haven police officers were charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty, both misdemeanors. The others charged were Oscar Diaz, Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera. All have been on administrative leave since last summer.
Police in San Francisco could get the ability to deploy potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations if supervisors of the politically Democratic city grant permission on Tuesday in a highly watched board vote.
Police oversight groups are urging the 11-member San Francisco board of supervisors to reject the idea, saying it would lead to further militarization of a police force already too aggressive with poor and minority communities. They said the parameters under which use would be allowed were too vague.
The San Francisco police department said it did not have pre-armed robots and had no plans to arm robots with guns. But the department could deploy robots equipped with explosive charges “to contact, incapacitate, or disorient violent, armed, or dangerous suspect” when lives are at stake, the SFPD spokesperson Allison Maxie said in a prepared statement.
“Robots equipped in this manner would only be used in extreme circumstances to save or prevent further loss of innocent lives,” she said.
The proposed policy does not lay out specifics for how the weapons can and cannot be equipped, leaving open the option to arm them. “Robots will only be used as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available to SFPD,” it says.
The number of people casting early ballots in the runoff election for one of Georgia’s seats in the US Senate has already broken records since the process began on the weekend, with some counties posting staggeringly long wait times at early voting sites during the first days of early voting.
Reports on Monday’s turnout varied from more than 250,000 voters to more than 300,000 on the first day of statewide early operation of the polls. Some counties began earlier.
As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, 11 of 27 early voting locations in Fulton county, the state’s most populous, had a wait time of at least an hour. Several reported wait times of more than two hours.
In Gwinnett county, in suburban Atlanta, eight of the 11 early voting sites reported wait times of at least 45 minutes, including three sites with wait times of more than an hour. Zach Manifold, the county’s election administrator, attributed the long waits to “heavy turnout and only seven days of advance voting”. Georgia Republicans passed a law last year that shortened the runoff period from nine weeks to four.
Manifold said his county was operating at “maximum capacity on check-ins” and was equipped to handle about 20,000 voters a day. Nearly 18,000 people voted in person in the county on Monday, according to state data.
Almost a million stillbirths a year can be attributed to air pollution, according to the first global study.
The research estimated that almost half of stillbirths could be linked to exposure to pollution particles smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), mostly produced from the burning of fossil fuels.
The study covered 137 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where 98% of stillbirths occur. Dirty air was already known to increase the risk of stillbirth but the research is the first to assess the number of foetal deaths. The work was based on data from more than 45,000 stillbirths and live births. ...
The research, published in Nature Communications, used data on stillbirths and air pollution between 1998 and 2016 from 54 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), including Pakistan, India and Nigeria. This was used to estimate the number of stillbirths attributable to PM2.5 exposure across the 137 LMIC countries, taking into account the fact that the impact of dirty air was greater on older mothers.
Virtually all the mothers in the study were exposed to PM2.5 levels above the WHO’s current guideline level of 5 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3). There were 2.09 million stillbirths recorded in the studied countries in 2015, and 950,000 of them (45%) were attributable to exposure above the 5 μg/m3 level, the study estimated.
The World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday in its first annual State of Global Water Resources report that every region of the world suffered water extremes last year as the climate crisis intensified flooding and droughts, inflicting deadly damage on the most heavily impacted areas.
"In 2021, all regions experienced significant hydrological extremes in the form of floods and droughts, having substantial impacts on communities, including numerous fatalities," the WMO, a United Nations agency, notes in its new report. "Record-breaking floods were observed in western Europe and in the northern Amazon. At the same time, the Paraguay and Paraná Rivers experienced all-time record low water levels."
Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the WMO, attributed last year's global water extremes to "the impacts of climate change," which he noted are "often felt through water—more intense and frequent droughts, more extreme flooding, more erratic seasonal rainfall and accelerated melting of glaciers—with cascading effects on economies, ecosystems, and all aspects of our daily lives."
To mitigate the impacts of water-related extreme weather events—which have continued to wreak havoc on a massive scale in 2022—the WMO urged countries to "accelerate development of end-to-end drought and flood early warning systems for reducing the impact of hydrological extremes on people, lives and livelihoods, ecosystems, and the economy at large in all parts of the world."
The report also focused on dangerous shortages of freshwater access, a growing emergency made worse by increasingly intense and frequent extreme weather.
The WMO estimates that 3.6 billion people across the globe lack adequate access to clean water for at least one month each year, a number that's expected to surpass 5 billion by 2050 without urgent action from policymakers.
For the first time in the history of the U.N. climate conferences, water scarcity was on the agenda at the recently concluded COP27 summit in Egypt as drought-stricken nations teamed up to work on solutions to the crisis. As Reuters reported earlier this month, Senegal and Spain formed an alliance "to help each other manage water scarcity by sharing technology and expertise."
"By 2050, weather disturbances, including drought as well as heavy winds and rains, could cost the global economy some $5.6 trillion, a report published in August by environmental engineering consultancy GHD found," Reuters noted.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
The Treniers - Good Rockin' Tonight
The Treniers - Rockin' is Our Bizness
The Treniers - Ragmop
The Treniers - Poontang
The Treniers - It Rocks! It Rolls! It Swings!
The Treniers - Hadacole (That's All)
The Treniers - (We Want A) Rock & Roll President
The Treniers - Go! Go! Go!
The Treniers - Bug Dance