The Evening Blues - 12-1-22


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Washboard Sam

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features early Chicago blues singer Washboard Sam. Enjoy!

Washboard Sam - Diggin' My Potatoes

"If 'pro' is the opposite of 'con' what is the opposite of 'progress'?"

-- Paul Harvey

News and Opinion

US House approves bill to block rail strike and mandate paid sick leave

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to approve a bill to block a potentially crippling US rail strike – but also to mandate paid sick time for the workers. In the US Senate, Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, announced that he would object to fast-tracking Joe Biden’s proposal that Congress impose an industrial settlement, until he can get a roll-call vote on the amendment that would guarantee seven paid sick days for rail workers.

The House voted 290-137 to impose a tentative contract deal that had been reached in September, but which four key unions had refused to join, on a dozen unions representing 115,000 workers.

The US president, who built a reputation on being pro-labor and put himself at loggerheads with the unions after asking Congress to avert a strike, had warned of the catastrophic impact of a rail stoppage that could begin as early as 9 December and could cost the US economy about $2bn a day by some estimates, with chaos hitting freight and passenger traffic. ...

On Wednesday, the House passed the bill to block the strike and, separately, voted 221-207 to give seven days of paid sick leave to railroad employees, a plan that faces an uncertain fate in the evenly split Senate. Democrats and some Republicans have expressed outrage over the lack of paid short-term sick leave for railroad workers. ...

Asked if Biden supported the separate House measure to require sick leave, the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said that the president broadly supported paid sick leave for all Americans “but he does not support any bill or amendment that would delay getting this bill to his desk”.

Railway Workers TRASH Biden For Betrayal

US House Passes Bill Forcing Railway Workers To Not Strike

The bill makes them take a deal they had rejected before. Of particular note is that the bill gives them one sick day a year. Democrats voting against were:

Chu-CA, DeSaulnier-CA, Golden-ME, Norcross-NJ, Peltola-AK, Pocan-WI, Tlaib-MI & Torres-CA.

I note that AOC did not vote against. I was initially hopeful, but I think it’s now undeniable that she’s performatively left-wing only, she cannot be counted on.

The House then passed a separate bill which would give the railway workers 7 sick days and defenders of Democrats are claiming this makes it all good.

But if the House had the votes to pass the second bill, they could have included it in the initial bill. It was clearly done so that the union can be forced back to work: they are sure the “force back” bill will pass the Senate, but not if it includes sick days, but want to say they voted for sick days.

NATO Exists To Solve The Problems Created By NATO’s Existence

NATO has doubled down on its determination to eventually add Ukraine to its membership, renewing its 2008 commitment to that goal in a meeting between the foreign ministers of the alliance in Bucharest, Romania this past Tuesday.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp writes:

The Romanian city was where NATO initially made the promise to Ukraine back in 2008, and at the time, US officials acknowledged that attempting to bring the country into the alliance could spark a war in the region.

“We made the decision in Bucharest in 2008 at the summit,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday. “I was there … representing Norway as Prime Minister. I remember very well the decisions. We stand by those decisions. NATO’s door is open.”

In a joint statement, the NATO foreign ministers, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said that they “reaffirm” the decisions that were made at the 2008 Bucharest summit.

It has become fashionable among the mainstream western commentariat to claim that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had nothing to do with NATO expansion, but as recently explained by Philippe Lemoine for the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, that’s a completely false narrative that requires snipping past comments made by Putin out of the context in which they were made. Many western experts warned for years in advance that NATO expansion would lead to a conflict like the one we’re seeing today, and they were of course correct.

The recent push to expand NATO in Ukraine along with nations like Finland and Sweden as justified by “Russian aggression” is a good example of what professor Richard Sakwa has called the “fateful geographical paradox: that NATO exists to manage the risks created by its existence.” As the late scholar on US-Russia relations Stephen Cohen explained years before the Ukraine crisis erupted in 2014, Moscow sees NATO as an “American sphere of influence,” and the expansion of NATO and NATO influence as expansion of that sphere. It reacts to this with hostility just as the US would react to China or Russia building up aggressive military alliances on its borders, and arguably with vastly more restraint than the US would.

Other future examples of Sakwa’s fateful geographical paradox are likely to include the push to reconfigure NATO into an alliance dedicated to “restraining” China, which of course means halting China’s rise on the world stage and working to constrict, balkanize and usurp it. A recent Financial Times article titled “Washington steps up pressure on European allies to harden China stance” gives new detail to this agenda:

The US is pushing European allies to take a harder stance towards Beijing as it tries to leverage its leadership on Ukraine to gain more support from Nato countries for its efforts to counter China in the Indo-Pacific.

According to people briefed on conversations between the US and its Nato allies, Washington has in recent weeks lobbied members of the transatlantic alliance to toughen up their language on China and to start working on concrete action to restrain Beijing.

US president Joe Biden identified countering China as his main foreign policy goal at the start of his administration, but his efforts have been complicated by the focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

But with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion in its 10th month, Washington was making a concerted effort to push China back up Nato’s agenda, the people said.

The “North Atlantic” Treaty Organization added China to its security concerns for the very first time this past June, and ever since it’s seen a mad push from Washington to ramp up aggressions against Beijing. Another Financial Times article titled “Nato holds first dedicated talks on China threat to Taiwan” details a meeting between alliance members this past September:

They also discussed how Nato should make Beijing aware of the potential ramifications of any military action — a debate that has gained significance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid questions about whether the west was tough enough in its warnings to Moscow.

The US has been urging allies, particularly in Europe, to focus more on the threat to Taiwan, as concerns mount that Chinese president Xi Jinping may order the use of force against the island.

Senior US military officers and officials have floated several possible timelines for military action, with some eager to increase the sense of urgency to ensure Washington and its allies are prepared.

Some are noticing that Washington’s eagerness to “increase the sense of urgency” on this front can easily wind up having a provocative effect which serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, told Bloomberg a month ago that Washington’s haste to prepare everyone for another major conflict could “end up provoking the war that we seek to deter.”

“NATO should be renamed ASFP: the Alliance for Self Fulfilling Prophecies,” tweeted commentator Arnaud Bertrand of the alliance’s discussions about Taiwan.

“A defensive alliance doesn’t look to pick fights with a country on a different continent,” tweeted Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic. “This is some classic mission creep from NATO – or, more accurately, Washington.”

When you ignore all the empty narrative fluff and really boil it down to the raw language of actual behavior, NATO’s existence really does seem to be premised on the circular reasoning that without NATO there’d be nobody to protect the world from the consequences of NATO’s actions. It goes out of its way to threaten powerful nations and then justifies its existence by their responses to those threats. It’s a self-licking ice cream cone, or, if you prefer, a self-licking boot.

And this is all happening as news comes out that European nations are beginning to notice they’re bearing a lot more of the cost of Washington’s proxy warfare in Ukraine than the US is, while the US reaps all the profits. In an article titled “Europe accuses US of profiting from war,” Politico reports:

Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer.

“The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told POLITICO.

The explosive comments — backed in public and private by officials, diplomats and ministers elsewhere — follow mounting anger in Europe over American subsidies that threaten to wreck European industry.

Washington is taking extreme risks and angering allies at this time because it’s getting to do-or-die time as far as preserving US unipolar hegemony is concerned. As Antiwar’s Ted Snider explains in a recent article, the US proxy war in Ukraine has never really been about Ukraine, and hasn’t even ultimately been about Russia. In the long run this standoff has always been about China, and about the desperate campaign of the US empire to preserve its unrivaled domination of this planet.

“The war in Ukraine has always been about larger US goals,” writes Snider. “It has always been about the American ambition to maintain a unipolar world in which they were the sole polar power at the center and top of the world.”

“Events in Ukraine in 2014 marked the end of the unipolar world of American hegemony,” Snider says. “Russia drew the line and asserted itself as a new pole in a multipolar world order. That is why the war is ‘bigger than Ukraine,’ in the words of the State Department. It is bigger than Ukraine because, in the eyes of Washington, it is the battle for US hegemony.”

“If Ukraine is about Russia, Russia is about China,” Snider writes. “The ‘Russia Problem’ has always been that it is impossible to confront China if China has Russia: it is not desirable to fight both superpowers at once. So, if the long-term goal is to prevent a challenge to the US led unipolar world from China, Russia first needs to be weakened.”

Snider quotes Lyle Goldstein, a visiting professor at Brown University, who says that “In order to maintain its hegemonic position, the US supports Ukraine to wage hybrid warfare against Russia…The purpose is to hit Russia, contain Europe, kidnap ‘allies,’ and threaten China.”

As the world becomes more multipolar and securing total control looks less and less likely, the empire is fighting more and more like a boxer in the later rounds who’s been down on the scorecards the entire fight: taking more risks, throwing wild haymakers, preferring the possibility of a knockout loss over the certainty of losing a decision.

We’re at the most dangerous point in humanity’s abusive relationship with US unipolar domination, for the same reason the most dangerous point in a battered wife’s life is right when she’s trying to escape. The empire is willing to do terrible and risky things to retain control. “If I can’t have you no one can” is a line that can be said to a wife, or to the world.

The importance of opposing these megalomaniacs, and their games of nuclear chicken, has never been higher.

Kiev Rushes Reinforcements as Troops Face Bakhmut Encirclement, Russia Preparing Missile Strike

Russia Warns U.S. That Its Deeper Involvement in Ukraine Brings Growing Risks

Russia is trying to make the United States understand that Washington's increasing involvement in the Ukraine conflict carries growing risks, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday, according to Russian news agencies.

Moscow has repeatedly complained that Western military support for Ukraine is dragging out the conflict, now in its 10th month, while risking a possible direct confrontation between Russia and the West.

"We are sending signals to the Americans that their line of escalation and ever deeper involvement in this conflict is fraught with dire consequences. The risks are growing," the Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.

Russia Says It Delayed Nuclear Arms Control Talks Over Differences With US

Russia on Tuesday said it delayed nuclear arms control talks with the US that were set to start this week due to differences with Washington and tensions over Ukraine.

“We have encountered a situation where our American colleagues not only demonstrated a lack of desire to take note of our signals, acknowledge our priorities, but also acted in the opposite way,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters.

The US and Russia were scheduled to hold talks to discuss the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty, the New START, in Cairo from November 29 to December 6. Ryabkov said that Russia will eventually propose new dates for the dialogue, but only when “the time is right.”

Kurdish SDF Asks Russia to Mediate Security Deal With Syria

With Turkish officials talking up another imminent invasion of northern Syria, the Kurdish SDF are keen to negotiate a more formal alliance with the Assad government. They are hoping Russia will mediate.

Turkey’s invasions are aimed in part at curbing Kurdish autonomy, and propping up rebels they believe would be better for Turkish interests. The SDF has allied with the US in the past.

Kurdish hopes the US would put a stop to Turkish attacks haven’t amounted to anything, however. That and US hostility toward Assad seems to have convinced many that Russia might be a more useful partner.

Heh, get ready for screams of "anti-semitism" from various quarters:

Biden urged to threaten Israel weapons halt over far-right concerns

Two former senior US diplomats have made a highly unusual call for the Biden administration to cut weapons supplies to Israel if the incoming far-right government uses them to annex Palestinian land, expel Arabs or finally kill off the diminishing possibility of a Palestinian state.

Daniel Kurtzer, a former US ambassador to Israel under George W Bush, and Aaron David Miller, a US Middle East peace negotiator during several administrations, have called for what they described as an “unprecedented and controversial” break from America’s largely unconditional military and diplomatic support for Israel if “the most extreme government in the history of the state” pursues the stated aims of some of its members.

The pair warn that these could include “efforts to change the status of the West Bank”, in effect a warning against partial or wholesale annexation of Palestinian land to Israel. They also warned against increased use of force against Arabs in the occupied territories and Israel by incoming ministers who have espoused openly racist views, escalating settlement construction, and moves “to build infrastructure for settlers that is designed to foreclose the possibility of a two-state solution”.

“Israel should be told that, while the United States will continue to support its ally’s legitimate security requirements, it will not provide offensive weapons or other assistance for malign Israeli actions in Jerusalem or the occupied territories,” the pair wrote in the Washington Post.

Kurtzer and Miller also called for Washington to end its almost total protection of Israel in diplomatic forums, including the UN security council and the international court of justice, if its government takes “actions that deserve to be called out and condemned”.

Democrats, Progressive Groups Push DOJ to Publish Database of 'Corporate Lawbreaking'

After three congressional Democrats on Tuesday unveiled the Corporate Crime Database Act, which would direct the U.S. Department of Justice to make information about corporate wrongdoing and efforts to curb it publicly available, dozens of progressive organizations and individuals implored federal lawmakers to pass the legislation as quickly as possible.

Introduced by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.), and Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), the bicameral legislation would, according to the lawmakers, require the Justice Department "to collect, aggregate, analyze, and publish comprehensive data on federal corporate criminal enforcement actions."

As the trio—which sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland last month urging him to begin systematically tracking the DOJ's attempts to crack down on corporate crime—noted on Tuesday, people in the U.S. currently lack access to this crucial information.

"While the Department of Justice regularly collects data on nearly every type of street-level crime, there is very little reporting of corporate and white-collar crimes, with the last thorough DOJ report on corporate crime being in 1979," said Scanlon. "Without data or transparency, lawmakers, journalists, and the public are left in the dark about the size and scope of corporate crime in America and the effectiveness of the federal government's response."

Durbin argued that "comprehensive, national data collection and a searchable public database of the results of federal enforcement actions against corporations and individual actors engaging in corporate misconduct would provide better oversight, inform DOJ's corporate criminal prosecution practices, and demonstrate the effectiveness of corporate sanctions."

Fed Chair Blames WORKERS For High Inflation

Federal Reserve to slow interest rate rises as it tackles 40-year inflation high

The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, indicated the central bank is preparing to slow the pace of interest rate rises as it tackles a 40-year high in inflation. But Powell warned there “was more ground to cover” and rates would stay higher for an extended period.

In a speech to the Brookings Institution, Powell said that the Fed may increase its key interest rate by a smaller increment at its December meeting, only a half-point, after four straight three-quarter point hikes. But Powell also stressed that the smaller hike should not be taken as a sign the Fed will let up on its inflation fight anytime soon.

“It is likely that restoring price stability will require holding [interest rates] at a restrictive level for some time,” Powell said. “History cautions strongly against prematurely loosening policy.”

Powell acknowledged there had been some good news on the inflation front, with the cost of goods such as cars, furniture and appliances in retreat. He also said that rents and other housing costs – which make up about a third of the consumer price index – were likely to decline next year.

But he warned that the Fed still sees the US’s strong labor market as an issue and that the cost of services such as dining out and healthcare are still rising too fast. “The labor market … shows only tentative signs of rebalancing, and wage growth remains well above levels that would be consistent with 2% inflation,” he said.

As Corporations Enjoy Record-High Profits, Experts Urge Congress to 'Rein Them In'

Economic justice advocates on Wednesday responded to new U.S. government figures showing nonfinancial corporate profits soared to record levels during the third quarter of 2022 by urging congressional lawmakers—most of whom receive substantial corporate campaign contributions—to take action against the capitalist greed that progressive experts say is the main driver of inflation.

The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis reported nonfinancial sector corporate profits of $2.08 trillion during the third quarter, up from just under $1.9 trillion during the same period last year, $1.6 trillion in Q3 2020, and $1.37 trillion from July-September 2019.

Wednesday's figures follow similar record second-quarter profits of $2.07 trillion, as well as a 15.5% increase in Q2 after-tax profits as a share of gross value added for non-financial corporations—the biggest margin since 1950.

"Today's record corporate profits mirror what we have been hearing on earnings call after earnings call: Corporations are gleefully reporting that their strategy to burden families with unnecessary price hikes is working," Rakeen Mabud, chief economist and managing director of policy and research at the Groundwork Collaborative, said in a statement. "Powerful corporations in concentrated industries will keep prices sky high until lawmakers rein them in."

Numerous analyses, including a report released earlier this month by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, have shown that corporations are using soaring inflation as a pretext for consumer price gouging.

There's a mistake in this headline. The dems are great at ducking, there is no problem with lameness in their ducks, the headline should call out "Lame-Ass" dems, as the problem seems to be that so many dems cannot get off of their asses to do anything for the people.

Lame-Duck Dems Must Lift Debt Limit, Advocates Say as GOP Doubles Down on Social Security Threats

Progressives on Wednesday warned that time is running out for Democratic leaders to take Republicans at their word regarding slashes to social safety net programs, as U.S. Sen. John Thune indicated the GOP will use a potential fight over the debt ceiling next year as leverage to push cuts—unless the Democrats act now to raise the debt limit while they still control the Senate and House.

Thune (R-S.D.), who is the number-two Republican in the Senate as the chamber's minority whip, told Bloomberg Tuesday that the party has a "long list" of policy priorities for the next Congress, which will commence on January 3. The party plans to put forward budget reforms including to federal programs which they have long claimed, erroneously, are unsustainable.

"There's a set of solutions there that we really need to take on if we're going to get serious about making these programs sustainable and getting this debt bomb at a manageable level before it's too late," Thune told a panel of Bloomberg journalists in Washington.

Thune's comments came weeks after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is expected to be named House speaker in the next Congress, told Punchbowl News that Republicans plan to "eliminate some waste" as lawmakers negotiate the debt limit next year, in comments widely seen as referring to Social Security and Medicare.

The programs have long been targets of Republicans, despite the fact that Social Security is fully funded through 2035 and is able to pay for 90% of benefits for the next 25 years, even without Congress acting to expand it.

"It's past time for [Democratic leaders] to believe the Republicans when they say, again and again, that they are going to force cuts to Social Security benefits first thing next Congress," Alex Lawson, executive director of advocacy group Social Security Works, told Common Dreams Wednesday. "Democrats must do whatever it takes to defeat Republican attacks on our earned Social Security benefits. That means raising the debt ceiling this year, before Republicans take control of the House."

Killer ROBOCOPS? San Francisco Police To Use Remote-Controlled Machines Equipped With EXPLOSIVES

the horse race

David Dayen on Rail Contract, Respect for Marriage Act, Debt Ceiling & What a GOP Congress Means

House Democrats elect Hakeem Jeffries as first Black leader in Congress

House Democrats on Wednesday elected the New York congressman Hakeem Jeffries as their new leader, making him the first Black American to lead a major political party in Congress after Nancy Pelosi, the current speaker, announced that she was stepping aside to pave the way for a new generation.

Jeffries, 52, will assume the role of minority leader when the new Congress is sworn in early next year, inheriting the position held for nearly two decades by Pelosi, a towering figure in Democratic politics who was the first woman speaker.

In a show of unity after losing the House but delivering a stronger-than-expected performance in the midterm elections, Democrats unanimously approved Jeffries and two other top leadership positions by acclamation.

Emerging from the closed-door meeting room, the soon-to-be leader declared: “House Democrats fight for the people. That’s our story. That’s our legacy. That’s our values. That’s our commitment.”

The trio of top leaders led by Jeffries will include the Massachusetts congresswoman Katherine Clark, 59, as whip and Pete Aguilar of California, 43, as caucus chair, in charge of messaging. They will take the mantle from three octogenarians: Pelosi and her long-serving deputies, Steny Hoyer of Maryland (majority leader) and James Clyburn, the whip from South Carolina.

the evening greens

US justice department sues city of Jackson over water crisis

The US justice department has taken drastic action regarding the crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, that has affected drinking water for its 150,000 residents for several months. On Tuesday, the city of Jackson and the Mississippi health department signed an order agreeing to federal oversight of the failing water system, in an attempt to restore clean and safe drinking water.

The justice department filed a complaint on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against the city, for failing to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act. In a statement, the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, said he was “taking action in federal court to address longstanding failures in the city of Jackson’s public drinking water system. ...

In a statement to the Guardian on Wednesday, the mayor of Jackson, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, said the city was “pleased we have finally reached an agreement that represents a critical next step in our efforts to provide immediate and long-term solutions for Jackson’s water issues”. Lumumba also said his city government would work with an appointed administrator to “make smart choices for the city’s drinking water system and ensure that we can provide safe, clean and sustainable drinking water for all”.

'Finally, Some Justice': Fracking Company to Pay Millions for Poisoning Town's Water

Environmental justice advocates celebrated Tuesday when a fracking company accepted responsibility for poisoning drinking water supplies in Dimock, Pennsylvania.

Nearly 14 years after a well explosion on New Year's Day 2009 revealed to Dimock residents that methane had percolated into their groundwater, Cabot Oil & Gas pleaded no contest to 15 criminal charges, including nine felonies. The notorious driller, now owned by Coterra Energy, was featured in the 2010 HBO documentary Gasland.

In addition to taking full responsibility for destroying the small rural town's drinking water supplies for the first time—following more than a decade of denial and alleged harassment of residents—the Houston-based company agreed to pay $16.3 million to build new public water infrastructure and to cover the costs of delivering clean water to those who have been harmed for the next 75 years.

The historic settlement stems from charges that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat and the commonwealth's governor-elect, filed in June 2020 based on recommendations issued at the conclusion of a two-year grand jury investigation into the fracking industry.

"Dimock residents have known for 14 years that Cabot Oil & Gas is guilty of contaminating our water," Dimock resident Ray Kemble said Tuesday in a statement. "Finally, some justice."

"This case proves once and for all that drilling and fracking contaminated our drinking water," said Kemble, one of many victims who traveled to Washington, D.C. in 2014 to personally deliver samples to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). "Now we need immediate relief in the form of water deliveries."

Dimock residents were forced to go to the nation's capital due to regulatory inaction.

"There were failures at every level," Shapiro said after Tuesday's hearing. "The local elected officials where someone would normally go, ignored them. The regulators whose job it is to set the boundaries for industry to operate in, failed."

Food & Water Watch, a progressive advocacy group that has long supported anti-fracking struggles waged by the residents of Dimock and other communities, summarized those failures in a timeline.

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, for instance, acknowledged in 2010 that Cabot's drilling activities had contaminated the drinking water of several Dimock households and ordered the company to stop fracking in part of the town. In August 2012, however, the agency allowed Cabot to resume fracking in the same area where it had previously been prohibited.

At the federal level, meanwhile, the EPA claimed in July 2012 that added filtration systems made the water in Dimock safe to drink and announced its plans to halt the testing it had begun earlier that year. The following summer, reporting showed that regional EPA staff wanted to continue their probe after tests found a link between fracking and methane contamination of drinking water.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ultimately confirmed the presence of harmful contaminants in Dimock's drinking water. In a 2016 report, the agency wrote that chemicals had been found in 44 private water wells "at levels high enough to affect health" or "pose a physical hazard." In addition, the agency warned that the presence of methane created "an immediate risk of explosion or fire" for five households.

Last summer, Physicians for Social Responsibility uncovered internal records revealing that since 2012, fossil fuel companies have injected potentially carcinogenic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or chemicals that can degrade into PFAS, into the ground while fracking for oil and gas—after the Obama administration approved their use despite EPA scientists' concerns about toxicity.

"After more than a decade of glaring inaction from state and federal leaders, finally the people of Dimock have a measure of justice thanks to the work of Attorney General Shapiro," Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said Tuesday.

However, she continued, "countless other communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction in Pennsylvania and elsewhere will continue to suffer from the inherent health and safety risks of fracking until our country fully transitions to a clean, safe, renewable energy future."

"Pennsylvania needs more action from Shapiro to rein in the oil and gas industry," said Hauter, "and federal leaders must act to ensure that no American is subjected to continued poisoning, sickness, and harm from drilling and fracking."

Roughly 17.3 million people in the United States live within a half-mile radius of active oil and gas production, according to the Oil & Gas Threat Map, a geospatial analysis released in May.

A massive body of research has documented the deadly consequences of fracking and other forms of fossil fuel extraction, including planet-heating and illness-inducing air pollution as well as drinking water contamination, which creates another pathway of exposure to cancer-linked chemicals.

Peer-reviewed studies published earlier this year found that kids living in close proximity to fracking and other so-called "unconventional" drilling operations at birth are two to three times more likely to develop childhood leukemia and that elderly individuals who live near or downwind of fracking sites are at higher risk of early death.

Big polluters given almost €100bn in free carbon permits by EU

Big polluting industries have been given almost €100bn (£86bn) in free carbon permits by the EU in the last nine years, according to an analysis by the WWF. The free allowances are “in direct contradiction with the polluter pays principle”, the group said.

Free pollution permits worth €98.5bn were given to energy-intensive sectors including steel, cement, chemicals and aviation from 2013-21. This is more than the €88.5bn that the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) charged polluters, mostly coal and gas power stations, for their CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, the WWF said, the free permits did not come with climate conditions attached, such as increasing energy efficiency and some polluters were also able to make billions in windfall profits by selling the permits they did not use. ...

Carbon emissions covered by the ETS have fallen by 37% since it began in 2005, largely thanks to the growth of renewable energy. But the WWF said the free allowances had undermined the ETS and emissions from heavy industry had not fallen. The analysis also found that at least a third of the revenue raised from the ETS was not spent on climate action, rising to almost half if projects to increase the efficiency of burning fossil fuels were excluded. ...

“The analysis shows that for the last decade, the ETS was based on a ‘polluters-don’t-pay principle’, with billions and billions of forgone revenue that EU countries could instead have invested in industrial decarbonisation,” said Romain Laugier, at the WWF’s European policy office and lead author of the report. “EU negotiators should phase out free allowances as soon as possible, and in the meantime make sure companies that receive them meet strict conditions on cutting their emissions.”

Giving up on 1.5C climate target would be gift to carbon boosters, says IEA head

The world can still limit global heating to 1.5C, and to claim that the target is now out of reach is to play into the hands of fossil fuel proponents, the world’s leading energy economist has warned. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, the global authority on energy, slammed scientists and activists who have claimed that the recent Cop27 UN climate summit killed off hopes for the crucial 1.5C limit.

“It is factually incorrect, and politically it is very wrong,” said Birol. “The fact is that the chances of 1.5C are narrowing, but it is still achievable.” Birol said that the claims that the 1.5C limit was dead were coming from an “unusual coalition” of scientists, activists and fossil fuel industry “incumbents”.

“I find the emerging chorus of this unusual coalition of people saying 1.5C is dead factually and politically wrong,” he told the Guardian. “They are jumping to conclusions that are not borne out by the data.”

He added that the claims were “unhelpful” to efforts to shift the global economy to a low-carbon footing. “They are making a mistake. Proponents of the existing energy systems will be the beneficiaries if the obituary of 1.5C is written,” he warned.

Also of Interest

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

The Guardian Could Help Assange By Retracting All The Lies It Published About Him

Cryptome Founder Asks to Be Indicted With Assange

NATO summit vows to continue troop surge to Russia’s borders

NYT Has Found New Neo-Nazi Troops to Lionize in Ukraine

Türkiye Losing Patience with the US

Israel condemns Netflix film showing murder of Palestinian family in 1948 war

Biden Is Breaking His Sick Leave Promise To Crush Rail Workers

GOP Senators SHAME Biden ON Labor

Democrats Screw Over Rail Workers HARD

Briahna Joy Gray: Biden BLEW IT And Chose To SCREW OVER WORKERS Over Standing Up To Rail Bosses

CT scans of toothed bird fossil leads to jaw-dropping discovery

Evidence Biden Ordered Trudeau To Crush Trucker Protests

Cops ARREST Mom For Having Son Walk Half A Mile Home

A Little Night Music

Washboard Sam - River Hip Mama

Washboard Sam - Barbecue

Washboard Sam - Back Door

Washboard Sam - Bucket's Got A Hole In It

Washboard Sam - Minding My Own Business

Washboard Sam - I Love All My Women

Washboard Sam - Soap And Water Blues

Washboard Sam - Good Old Cabbage Greens

Washboard Sam - Phantom Black Snake

Washboard Sam - Ain't You Comin' Out Tonight

12 users have voted.


joe shikspack's picture

i will be out at the movies tonight, the movie about the 50th anniversary of neil young's harvest plays tonight (according to ms shikspack, who thinks she's got it right this time), so i won't be around until later on.

depending upon how late i get back tomorrow's eb may be news-light or news less.

have a great evening!

8 users have voted.

and thanks for all this

7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


thanks! if nothing else, there's some delicious pit beef in my near future, which i am off to now - so it's going to be great. Smile

6 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

how else to watch old Neil than on a full belly?

one of his many good'uns from my favorite album of his


8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

but probably in countless other cities by ignoring their water systems being poisoned by fracking. And now his brainless VP, another best president evah according to shitlibs is screwing over the rail workers as is money bags Pelosi and her girls. Even Bernie is not standing up for them. He wants them to take only the 7 days of sick leave which they declined, but he has to know of the bait and switch which leaves them with nothing. Since they can’t legally strike I think every man should have a migraine and the women should have severe cramps. Neither can be disproved. The Reagan democrats have succeeded in becoming Reagan at last.

The youths of the world are upset…..

And the adults becoming upset with the youths….

10 users have voted.

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Seems like there is some reaction to the idiot ways of the controlling mafias.
This is a natural reaction. Wish it were more than just kids.
Good for the rebellion, think it may get more prerfunctory in the future?

3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


it's time for a wildcat strike and some lawsuits. it's not up to the government to create long-term labor agreements, that seems to me to be a clear constitutional overreach.

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

'Screw the railroad workers' bill without any sick leave.

Biden is patting himself on the back.

Biden vowed to “continue to fight for paid leave,” but said the contract was “so much better than anything they ever had. “I negotiated a contract no one else could negotiate,” Biden said. “The only thing that was left out was whether or not there was paid leave.”

“Working together, we have spared this country a Christmas catastrophe in our grocery stores, in our workplaces, and in our communities,” Biden said following the vote. “I know that many in Congress shared my reluctance to override the union ratification procedures. But in this case, the consequences of a shutdown were just too great for working families all across the country.”

Yeah it’s not like congress had any leverage over the railroad oligarchs that get massive tax breaks and subsidies and could have pushed them to give their workers sick leave. Oh no it’s ALWAYS the workers who are forced to make concessions whilst the oligarchs continue to buy back their stocks instead of investing in workers.

Well looky there. Biden does know how to work with republicans after all. Boy it’s a damn good thing people gave democrats the senate again so that they could stand up for we the people. And way to slow things down, Bernie. Heck of a job dude! That and $t will get you a cup of coffee. Oh yeah and kudos from your supporters who can never see how you keep selling them out.

Well there’s still a chance that Biden can be pushed left, right? Right?! I wonder how long it would have taken for the oligarchs to come to the table if the strike was allowed to happen?

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is his lies. You gonna get this, and ain't I grand? Except reality doesn't quite
shake out. $600, no. Student loans? No. Helping workers? No. Fixing any of
his stupid administration's screwing the country is beyond his ken.

11 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


is beyond me. Biden has shown that he’s against we the people his entire career and he’s responsible for some of the worst legislation passed in the last 50 years, but people thought he would change if he became president. So many people knew about his history and they tried reminding people during the primary, but they just couldn’t let Bernie win.

It’s not just Biden who owns this though. Pelosi set it up so that the senate could reject the sick leave when she allowed 2 different bills to pass. Her words were almost verbatim of Biden’s. But guess who is getting the blame? Manchin and republicans. Even Schumer voted for the screw out bill. But sure it’s Joe Manchin's fault. Sad for the workers.

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words can't describe

songs help somewhat

5 users have voted.

fueling up the truck, I noticed the guy behind me without legs trying to insert his credit card.
Obviously a victim of an UID in some foreign war. Just stopped pumping and helped him with
the insertion. His hands were shaking so bad and had no control over his fingers.
Was a simple gesture to help someone in need. He was so grateful. Made me sad.

12 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


I noticed an elderly woman huffing and puffing after putting her groceries in her car and I offered to take the cart back for her. Her face lit up and she thanked me. It’s the little things that make people’s day.

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in the moment
just look around
the needs are there


6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


the owner class is right on it when they can screw the working class.

Senate moves quickly to avert US rail strike by passing key bill

The Senate moved quickly on Thursday to avert a rail strike that the Biden administration and business leaders warned would have had devastating consequences for the nation’s economy.

The Senate passed a bill to bind rail companies and workers to a proposed settlement that was reached between the rail companies and union leaders in September. That settlement had been rejected by some of the 12 unions involved, creating the possibility of a strike beginning 9 December.

The Senate vote was 80-15. It came one day after the House voted to impose the agreement. The measure now goes to Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

“I’m very glad that the two sides got together to avoid a shutdown, which would have been devastating for the American people, to the American economy and so many workers across the country,” the Democratic majority leader, Chuck Schumer, told reporters.

Schumer spoke as the labor secretary, Marty Walsh, and transport secretary, Pete Buttigieg, emphasized to Democratic senators that rail companies would begin shutting down operations well before a potential strike would begin. The administration wanted the bill on Biden’s desk by the weekend.

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Finally read an article from the RR workers point of view. Crews are stretched thin and when one person doesn’t show up a person who has been on the rails for days gets home and then gets called back in.

People who are tired and stressed are going to make mistakes that they will get blamed for and eventually there’s going to be a very bad accident and who knows how many people will get killed? Who even knows if it’s a safe environment right now and if it isn’t then where the hell is the federal labor union? Probably the same damn place as it is for Amazon warehouses and meat processing plants. I’d love to see them walk off the job and be joined by every other industry that is thinking of striking. A California university has been on strike for weeks. Airline crews are also working without a contract and nurses across the country are also striking. The oligarchs have made their moves and they are making buko profits with congress blessings. Enough. People have the power if they would just realize it.

As William Buffet, one of the owners of the American railroads pointed out, "The class war in America is over and the working class has lost."

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joe shikspack's picture


People who are tired and stressed are going to make mistakes that they will get blamed for and eventually there’s going to be a very bad accident and who knows how many people will get killed?

it's already happened and there's a body count:

Railroad deaths totaled 893 in 2021, a 20% increase from the 2020 revised total of 744 and the highest since 2007. Nonfatal injuries totaled 5,781, a 4% increase from the 2020 revised total of 5,544. From 2020 to 2021, fatalities at highway-rail crossings increased 21%, while fatalities involving other types of incidents increased 20%. The latter included 617 deaths (94%) attributed to trespassers. Eleven employees were killed while on duty, equal to the 2020 death toll. There were six train passenger deaths, up from two deaths in 2020.

The ratio of railroad-related deaths to nonfatal injuries and illnesses is about 1:6. In 2021, of the total 893 deaths, 26% occurred at rail-crossings. Of the 3,216 nonfatal occupational railroad injuries and illnesses reported in 2021, 66 were attributed to highway-rail crossing incidents.

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

For each accident the trains are out of commission for an amount of time and Buffet loses money and it probably costs him more than if he’d ran a full crew. But then he probably gets to write off the money for down time. No matter what happens the fcking oligarchs come out ahead. What pisses me off more about this is the number of shitlibs giving democrats cover for screwing the workers whilst shitpubs are blaming people for voting for democrats. Democrats once again keeping their powder dry. How many years is that now? 2022-2006 = ?

In case you need something funny to lift your spirits I’ll repost these.

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joe shikspack's picture


heads i win, tails you lose world for the oligarchs.

2 users have voted.

punished beyond belief for insisting her son walk home on a side walk sends me almost, but not quite, over the edge.
I did a bit of research, and she can get the record of her arrest and guilty plea expunged. I got it goofed with deferred adjudication, in my head. Can't expunge those. But, she must hire a lawyer to do that. Because...she is bad? I swear, when I was 8, I rode a damn jack ass named Tarbaby a quarter mile down a dirt road to school. I turned her loose to graze, bridled her,rode her home when school was dismissed. Then motorbike. Then car, when I was 11. There were pervs in town then. We sort of knew who they were. Our Dads would beat the crap out of them.
I will vote for John Young for President.Enjoy all things Harvest Moon. Young used to be very cool. I love his cool time, do not let his current assholishness take from what he has added to my life.
Thanks for all you do, my friend!

4 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

that story about the woman arrested for letting her kid walk home from school is really pretty shocking on a number of levels. first, it really shows that i am not living in the country that i grew up in at all anymore. i walked to school every day for 12 years. so did most of my friends and classmates. granted, i grew up in a fairly small town, but i'm certain that it was common pretty much everywhere.

if we live in a country where it's too god-damn dangerous for a kid to walk home from school unaccompanied - then the problem isn't with the parents - the problem is with our country. somebody ought to fix it, rather than jailing parents for making a bad choice of nations to call home.

5 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@joe shikspack  
The Japanese custom of celebrating a child’s first errand alone:

Japan would be crazy to sacrifice homogeneity and safety to please the “woke” West…

…which seemingly worships as universal, and strives to export, a multicultural ideal of maximum minorities, all continually elbowing each other in a “vibrant” and borderline-violent power struggle for urban cultural hegemony.

5 users have voted.