The Evening Blues - 2-1-23
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features blues piano player Curtis Jones. Enjoy!
Curtis Jones - Lonesome Bedroom Blues
"When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour."
-- Piers Anthony
News and Opinion
US accuses Russia of violating key nuclear arms control treaty
The United States has accused Russia of violating the New Start treaty, the last major pillar of post cold-war nuclear arms control between the two countries, saying Moscow was refusing to allow inspection activities on its territory.
The treaty came into force in 2011 and was extended in 2021 for five more years. It caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy, and the deployment of land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.
The two countries, which during the cold war were constrained by a tangle of arms control agreements, still account together for about 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads. Washington has been keen to preserve the treaty but ties with Moscow are the worst in decades over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an element that could complicate attempts by Joe Biden’s administration to maintain and reach a follow-on agreement. ...
Moscow in August suspended cooperation with inspections under the treaty, blaming travel restrictions imposed by Washington and its allies after Russian forces invaded neighbor Ukraine in February last year, but said it was still committed to complying with the provisions of the treaty. ...
Talks between Moscow and Washington on resuming inspections under New Start were due to take place in November in Egypt, but Russia postponed them, accusing the United States of “toxicity and animosity”, and neither side has set a new date. On Monday, Russia told the United States that the treaty could expire in 2026 without a replacement because it said Washington was trying to inflict “strategic defeat” on Moscow in Ukraine.
Elites Fund The PENTAGON With YOUR PENSION
US and UK rule out sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine
Western allies appear to have retreated from supplying F-16 and other western fighter jets to Ukraine over the past 24 hours, with the UK joining the US in quashing Kyiv’s hopes it could obtain the jets soon after the west agreed to send it tanks.
US president, Joe Biden, when asked at the White House late on Monday if his country would provide F-16s, answered simply “no”, although he emphasised on Tuesday morning he would remain in discussions with Ukraine about its weapons requests.
Later on Tuesday, the UK also said supplying western jets was not practical. “These are sophisticated pieces of equipment,” a Downing St spokesperson said. “We do not think it is practical to send those jets into Ukraine.”
Ukraine responded by saying it would continue lobbying, arguing that the west had repeatedly said no to supplying weapons such as tanks before relenting over time. Oleksii Reznikov, the defence minister, said on a visit to Paris: “All types of assistance at the beginning went through the ‘no’ stage. This means ‘no’ as of today.”
His French counterpart, Sébastien Lecornu, reiterated there was “no taboo” on the supply of jets, echoing similar remarks made by Emmanuel Macron on Monday evening. France also said it would donate 12 Caesar howitzers to Ukraine after the summit between the two ministers.
Jimmy Dore On Tucker Carlson: The MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX Is America’s Greatest Enemy
Poland Says It’s Ready to Send F-16s to Ukraine in Coordination With NATO
Polish officials said Monday that Warsaw is willing to send US-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine but only in coordination with NATO. ...
Ukrainian officials appear confident that they will receive F-16s or some other kind of fighter jet. A Ukrainian Air Force spokesman said work was being done to prepare Ukraine’s airfields for advanced Western-made fighter jets.
In order to send F-16s, Poland needs the approval of the US under export rules. The Netherlands has also signaled that it might be willing to send Ukraine F-16s, with the Dutch foreign minister saying his country would have an “open mind” if asked to make the transfer.
Drone strike. Containing Iran, containing Russia
Western Officials Believe Russia Will ‘Gain the Upper Hand’ in Ukraine
American and European officials now assess that time is on Russia’s side, according to the Wall Street Journal. Washington and its Western allies transferred billions in weapons to Kiev under the mistaken belief it would force Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate.
“Officials in some capitals now fear the Kremlin…could gain the upper hand in any lengthy war of attrition,” the outlet reported on Sunday. Adding, there is “a worry in some Western capitals that time might be on Russia’s side.” ...
In response to this bleak assessment of the Western war effort, many officials are advocating for an increase in arms transfers of more advanced weapons. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis argued continuing the military aid to Kiev ensures more Russians will die on the Ukrainian battlefield. “The longer we give them, the more people…they can throw at the Ukrainians,” he said.
Worth a full read, here's a bit to get you started:
NATO’s 'war against Russia' inches 'closer to direct conflict'
Since the first week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron has repeated a mantra on behalf of his NATO partners: “We are not at war with Russia.” Nearly one year in, that notion has officially been dispelled. “We are fighting a war against Russia,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said this week.
Baerbock was trying to assuage NATO allies’ frustration over German reluctance to send Leopard 2 tanks into Ukraine. She can now claim vindication. In a reversal of its initial position, the German government has announced it that will deliver Leopard 2 tanks to the Ukrainian army. ...
As Gen. Mark Milley learned when he came out in favor of diplomacy with Russia to end the fighting, the Pentagon’s outlook is no match for Washington’s proxy war fever. The White House reversed course, Politico notes, after “a parade of Democrats and Republicans” in Congress “pressured the Biden administration to grant Berlin’s request to send U.S. tanks first.” What the Pentagon “was not taking into enough account,” the New York Times reports, citing a US official, “was the intense fear among European governments of doing anything to provoke Russia without having the cover of the United States doing the same thing first.” When it comes to provoking Russia, the US is undoubtedly first. ...
If the tanks’ likely impact on the battlefield is unclear, they do guarantee another ascent up the proxy war’s ever-growing escalation ladder. As Branko Marcetic observes, “the United States and its NATO allies have serially blown past their own self-imposed lines over arms transfers,” which “have now escalated well beyond what governments had worried just months ago could draw the alliance into direct war with Russia.”
That Didn’t Take Long: Latin American Governments Refuse to Send Weapons, Russian or Otherwise, to Ukraine
Four Latin American countries — Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico — have categorically rejected US and EU requests to send weapons to Ukraine. As readers may recall, the Commander of US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), General Laura Richardson, recently said that Washington is encouraging six countries in the region that have Russian military equipment, including the four mentioned above, to “either donate it or switch it out for United States equipment.”
The EU and Ukraine have also been furiously lobbying Latin American countries to provide weaponry, Russian made or otherwise. As I noted this time last week, such frantic calls for assistance could be construed as further evidence of the serious resource constraints afflicting the NATO alliance. But there will be no relief from Latin America’s largest economies, which are determined to maintain neutrality in the conflict.
Washington’s goal in pressuring countries to give away or “switch out” its Russian weaponry appears to be three fold: first, to reduce Russian arms sales and growing influence in its direct neighborhood; second, to supplant those sales and influence; and third, as a stopgap measure for rearming Ukraine. Until Ukraine’s armed forces have enough Western-produced weapons to replenish their stocks and are well versed in how to use them, which takes a long time, its soldiers desperately need ammunition for the Russian-manufactured arms they are more familiar with. ...
The six countries Washington has been trying to extract weapons from are reportedly Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru.
Africa Embraces Russia & China And SHUTS OUT The U.S.
How US Policy Devastated Small Dairy Farms and Boosted Corporate Monopolies
Food & Water Watch on Tuesday released an analysis of the U.S. dairy farming industry—the climate and food justice group's third in-depth report on the economic costs of food monopolies—revealing how corporate consolidation has helped push small family farms out of business over the past two decades, while worsening the climate emergency.
In The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies: Dirty Dairy Racket, Food & Water Watch (FWW) explains how factors including the gutting of farm supply management policies and higher production costs have helped cause rapid consolidation in the dairy sector, with 70% of family-scale dairy farms shutting down between 1997 and 2007.
"Corporate consolidation is at the heart of our food system's dysfunction," said Rebecca Wolf, food policy analyst for FWW. "Corporate-directed policymaking is throwing America's dairy industry into crisis. Family-scale dairies are collapsing at an alarming rate, and those that manage to hang on face rising costs, negative returns, and mounting debt, while consumers are sold an illusion of pastoral, sustainable milk products."
Just 30% of U.S. milk is now produced at family farms, while 83% of milk sales are controlled by just three dairy cooperatives: Land O' Lakes, DFA, and California Dairies, Inc.
In addition to forcing small farms to shut down, the consolidation of the dairy production industry has "serious climate implications," said FWW, with the shift to factory farms resulting in the doubling of annual methane emissions from the sector between 1990 and 2020.
"We can and must build better, more sustainable systems that support people, communities, and the environment," the group tweeted.
Two US Oil Giants Reap $90B in Combined Profit on the Backs of Consumers
Fossil fuel giant Exxon Mobil announced record-smashing profits today, further underscoring the need for officials in Washington to rein in Big Oil’s runaway enrichment at the expense of consumers struggling with high energy bills.
Exxon posted $56 billion in earnings for the full year 2022, breaking its 2008 record and setting a new high for Western oil majors. Combined with Chevron’s $35.5 billion 2022 profits reported last week, the two giants totaled more than $91 billion in earnings – another record.
Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:
“Big Oil has imposed a private tax on the American people – to the tune of more than $90 billion from just two companies alone.
“It’s past time for the American people to take that money back. A windfall profits tax would tax Big Oil on its inflated revenues – due only to the rising global price of oil and having nothing to do with Big Oil’s costs or investments – and return the money to American consumers.
“This industry is out of control. Big Oil is price gouging us to record profits while destroying the ability of future generations to live on our planet. Meanwhile, consumers spent last year paying high prices to put fuel in their cars and are spending more to heat and power their homes this winter. It is long past time to crack down on this out-of-control industry.”
Tyre Nichols: Advocates Say Police Abolition Is Only Way Forward After Fatal Memphis Police Beating
Tyre Nichols death: white officer’s belated suspension raises questions
Questions have been raised over why Memphis police waited weeks to name a white police officer involved in the beating death of Tyre Nichols, as it emerged an unnamed seventh officer and three emergency responders have also been disciplined over the case. Major Karen Rudolph of Memphis police announced on Monday that the white officer in question, Preston Hemphill, was placed on desk duty on 8 January, a day after Nichols – who is Black – was beaten by police and two days before he died.
Police had named and fired five Black officers on 20 January – all of whom have since been charged with murder over Nichols’s death – but waited to reveal Hemphill’s identity.
On Tuesday, the civil rights attorney representing Nichols’s family, Ben Crump, said video footage from the beating shows Hemphill pulling Nichols from his car before shocking the 29-year-old with a Taser stun gun. ...
According to Crump, the footage – including from officer body cameras – also captures Hemphill saying of colleagues at the scene: “I hope they stomp his ass.”
Crump criticized Memphis police for waiting to name Hemphill, who has not yet been fired or charged with a crime.
Judge who told Pence not to overturn election predicts ‘beginning of end of Trump’
The conservative judge who convinced Mike Pence he could not overturn the 2020 election has predicted “the beginning of the end of Donald Trump” – the former president who incited the January 6 insurrection but is now trying to return to the White House.
Speaking to the Washington Post, J Michael Luttig also made a common comparison to another notorious former president, Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 over the Watergate scandal.
“What Nixon did was just an ordinary crime,” Luttig said, referring to the cover-up of a break-in at Democratic headquarters. “What Trump has done is quite arguably the worst crime against the United States that a president could commit.”
Luttig was a staffer for Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, who put him on the federal bench in 1991. Now 68, he is a retired conservative jurist widely deemed unlucky not to have made the supreme court. He came to national attention last June, when he appeared before the House January 6 committee.
In a televised hearing, using precise and powerful words, Luttig explained why on 4 January 2021 he told Pence he could not do as Trump wished and block certification of Joe Biden’s election win, an argument Luttig also published on Twitter.
New York Dems DOOMED? Asian & Hispanic Voters Move RIGHTWARDS In Potential CRISIS For Left: Report
Arizona’s top election official seeks investigation into Republican Kari Lake
The Arizona secretary of state, Adrian Fontes, asked the state attorney general Monday to investigate and potentially charge the losing Republican candidate for governor with a felony for sharing images of voters’ signatures online.
Fontes, a Democrat, said GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake may have violated a state law that protects a voter’s signature from being accessed or shared by anyone other than the voter or an “authorized government official in the scope of the official’s duties”. Violations of this law carry a class six felony charge, the lowest-level felony in Arizona.
Lake posted the voters’ signatures on Twitter on 23 January, claiming they were part of a “bombshell” that showed mismatching signatures that shouldn’t have been counted, a frequently repeated claim after Republican losses in 2020 and 2022. The signatures she posted were from 2020 ballots.
In his letter to the Democratic attorney general, Kris Mayes, Fontes asked that Mayes “investigate and take appropriate enforcement action against Kari Lake”. Mayes’ office confirmed receipt of the referral but said it wouldn’t have further comment on the matter at this time.
Emissions divide now greater within countries than between them
The difference between the carbon emissions of the rich and the poor within a country is now greater than the differences in emissions between countries, data shows. The finding is further evidence of the growing divide between the “polluting elite” of rich people around the world, and the relatively low responsibility for emissions among the rest of the population.
It also shows there is plenty of room for the poorest in the world to increase their greenhouse gas emissions if needed to reach prosperity, if rich people globally – including some in developing countries – reduce theirs, the analysis has found.
Most global climate policy has focused on the difference between developed and developing countries, and their current and historical responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. But a growing body of work suggests that a “polluting elite” of those on the highest incomes globally are vastly outweighing the emissions of the poor. This has profound consequences for climate action, as it shows that people on low incomes within developed countries are contributing less to the climate crisis, while rich people in developing countries have much bigger carbon footprints than was previously acknowledged.
In a report entitled Climate Inequality Report 2023, economists from the World Inequality Lab dissect where carbon emissions are currently coming from. The World Inequality Lab is co-directed by the influential economist Thomas Piketty, the author of Capital in the Twenty-first Century, whose work following the financial crisis more than a decade ago helped to popularise the idea of “the 1%”, a global high-income group whose interests are favoured by current economic systems.
The report found that “carbon inequalities within countries now appear to be greater than carbon inequalities between countries. The consumption and investment patterns of a relatively small group of the population directly or indirectly contribute disproportionately to greenhouse gases. While cross-country emission inequalities remain sizeable, overall inequality in global emissions is now mostly explained by within-country inequalities by some indicators.”
EPA vetoes Alaska mine to protect salmon in win for environmentalists
The US Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday in effect vetoed a proposed copper and gold mine in a remote region of south-west Alaska that is coveted by mining interests but that also supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.
The move by the agency, heralded by Alaska Native tribes and environmentalists who have long pushed for it, deals a potentially devastating blow to the proposed Pebble mine and comes while an earlier rejection of a key federal permit for the project remains unresolved.
John Shively, the CEO of Pebble Limited Partnership, in a statement called the EPA’s action “unlawful” and political and said litigation was likely. Shively has cast the project as key to the Biden administration’s push to reach green energy goals and make the US less dependent on foreign countries for such minerals.
The Pebble Limited Partnership, the developer behind Pebble Mine, is owned by Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.
Tuesday’s announcement marks only the 14th time in the roughly 50-year history of the federal Clean Water Act that the EPA has flexed its powers to bar or restrict activities over potential impacts to waters, including fisheries.
California holds out as western states agree to cut Colorado River water use
Six western states that rely on water from the Colorado River have agreed on a model to dramatically cut water use in the basin, months after the federal government called for action and an initial deadline passed.
California – with the largest allocation of water from the river – is the lone holdout. Officials said the state would release its own plan.
The Colorado River and its tributaries pass through seven states and into Mexico, serving 40 million people and a $5bn-a-year agricultural industry. Some of the largest cities in the country, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas, two Mexican states, Native American tribes and others depend on the river, which has been severely stressed by drought, demand and overuse.
States missed a mid-August deadline to heed the US Bureau of Reclamation’s call to propose ways to conserve 2m to 4m acre-feet of water. They regrouped to reach consensus by the end of January to fold into a larger proposal Reclamation has in the works. Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming sent a letter on Monday to Reclamation, which operates the major dams in the river system, to outline an alternative that builds on existing guidelines, deepens water cuts and factors in water that is lost through evaporation and transportation.
Those states propose raising the levels where water reductions would be triggered at Lake Mead and Lake Powell, which are barometers of the river’s health. The model creates more of a protective buffer for both reservoirs – the largest built in the US. It also seeks to fix water accounting and ensure that any water the Lower Basin states intentionally stored in Lake Mead is available for future use. The modeling would result in about 2m acre-feet of cuts in the Lower Basin, with smaller reductions in the Upper Basin. Mexico and California are factored into the equations, but neither signed on to Monday’s letter.
'Drought Profiteers' Under Fire as Wall Street Targets Colorado River Water
Financial speculators are buying and selling rights to the Colorado River's dwindling water resources in a bid to profit as historic drought conditions intensified by the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis lead to worsening scarcity.
Wall Street investment firms "have identified the drought as an opportunity to make money," Andy Mueller, general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, told CBS News on Tuesday. "I view these drought profiteers as vultures. They're looking to make a lot of money off this public resource."
Matthew Diserio, the co-founder and president of a Manhattan-based hedge fund called Water Asset Management (WAM), makes no secret of his intentions, having described water in the United States as "the biggest emerging market on Earth" and "a trillion-dollar market opportunity." The company's website declares that "scarce clean water is the resource defining this century, much like plentiful oil defined the last."
A newly published joint investigation by CBS News and The Weather Channel found that WAM has purchased at least $20 million worth of land in Western Colorado over the past five years, making it one of the biggest landowners in a farming and ranching region known as the Grand Valley.
According to Mueller, WAM has bought more than 2,500 acres of farmland in the area. But "it's the water"—not the land—that investors are really interested in, he said, observing that the farmland comes with water rights.
Notably, WAM has "hired Colorado's former top water official as one of its lawyers," CBS News reported. Diserio previously stated that "one of his firm's strategies is to profit from water in part by making the farms it buys more efficient and then selling parts of its water rights to other farmers and cities increasingly desperate for the natural resource."
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
NATO Continues Its Disarmament
Scott Ritter: Germany Risks Forgetting Its History
Russia’s “Sanction-Proof” Trade Corridor to India Frustrates the Neocons
What Hungary’s Purge of Senior Military Officers Can Teach Us All
Jenin's bereaved residents left in a 'war zone' following Israeli raid
Wife of Chief Justice Causes Latest Ethics Concerns at US Supreme Court
Goldilocks Wants to Eat the Poor
Can a trillion-dollar coin end the US debt-ceiling standoff?
‘It can be scary’: how corporate America is hitting back against unions
‘Less clumpy’ universe may suggest existence of mysterious forces
Biden, McCarthy FACE-OFF On Debt Ceiling
UK teachers, civil servants join biggest strike in decade
Millions protest against proposed pension reforms in France
BREAKING: FBI Searches Biden's Rehoboth Home, Hunter Allies To BEEF UP Legal Defense
A Little Night Music
Curtis Jones - Roll Me Over
Curtis Jones - Fool Blues
Curtis Jones - Tin Pan Alley
Curtis Jones - Black Gypsy Blues
Curtis Jones - Reefer hound blues
Curtis Jones - Moonlight Lover Blues
Curtis Jones - Highway 51 Blues
Curtis Jones - Weekend Blues
Curtis Jones - My Baby's Getting Buggish
Curtis Jones - Good Time Special
Good for Orban taking a stand
Re: your link -
What Hungary’s Purge of Senior Military Officers Can Teach Us All
He recognizes the internal threat and is taking measures to preemptively neuter the beast
Related to Hungary. Tell the truth this is what you get.
yep, seems like a pretty astute move on orban's part to try to limit the damage that the eu and the u.s. can do to him. i'm not sure what his standing is with the hungarian public, but he may have to engineer a "hexit" if the madness in the eu continues growing.
Somehow there is supposed to be some logic applied here.
Supplying weapons with a greater range gets this.
A Good Tweet
So, if Ukrainian artillery can shoot further, then Russia will require more Ukrainian territory for its buffer zone. That is a certainty.
Russia holds all the cards. We are in the final stages of the West's disintegration.
Will the West back away sooner or later is the question.
Unlike many pundits, I do not see a nuclear threat.
i don't know about the eu, but the u.s. has a hard time backing away from losing engagements. my guess is "later."
i would rather imagine that most of nato would gladly dump turkey, which has been at best problematic in order to take in sweden and finland whom are culturally more european.
on the other hand, i would rather imagine that the neocons might rather just take another swing at a coup in turkey.
With regards to Peru of course the US is deeply involved.
surprise! the u.s. "remains committed to helping peru through this difficult time" that the u.s. "helped" peru to get into.
the u.s. "remains concerned about violent protests" but not that the violence seems to be entirely on the side of the fascist police forces. what a tired bunch of gasbag rhetoric that imbecile peddles.
Good evening Joe, thanks for the evening blues.
Hungary ought to consider publicly forming a pact with their ancient enemy Turkiye to act exclusively in their own interests and see just what the EU and NATO threaten them with. There are, after all, multiple poles in a multipolar world.
be well and have a good one
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 --
heh, that would be interesting. given that the eu has been sanctioning hungary, there might be some considerable sentiment within hungary for an exit from the eu. an alliance with turkey that irritates the eu might be a quick way out if that's orban's intent.
Once again Biden kiss the butt of Big Oil (his donors).
somebody ought to ask lyin' joe biden how that action squares with his campaign promises. oops.
Easily made, easily broken. Trust a politician - to promise anything and deliver nothing you want.
There is no justice. There can be no peace.
US officials must think that that the public will believe
whatever they are told.
Worst part about it is they are probably correct.
What about this?
Morale contiues to be good in the Ukrainian forces.
A bit of an understatement dontcha think?