The Evening Blues - 3-28-23


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Fenton Robinson

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues guitarist Fenton Robinson. Enjoy!

Fenton Robinson - Somebody Loan Me A Dime

"Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core."

-- Hannah Arendt

News and Opinion

Worth a full read:

Chris Hedges: The Donald Trump Problem

Donald Trump — facing four government-run investigations, three criminal and one civil, targeting himself and his business — is not being targeted because of his crimes. Nearly every serious crime he is accused of carrying out has been committed by his political rivals. He is being targeted because he is deemed dangerous for his willingness, at least rhetorically, to reject the Washington Consensus regarding neoliberal free-market and free-trade policies, as well as the idea that the U.S. should oversee a global empire. He has not only belittled the ruling ideology, but urged his supporters to attack the apparatus that maintains the duopoly by declaring the 2020 election illegitimate.

The Donald Trump problem is the same as the Richard Nixon problem. When Nixon was forced to resign under the threat of impeachment, it wasn’t for his involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity, nor was it for his illegal use of the CIA and other federal agencies to spy upon, intimidate, harass and destroy radicals, dissidents and activists. Nixon was brought down because he targeted other members of the ruling political and economic establishment. Once Nixon, like Trump, attacked the centers of power, the media was unleashed to expose abuses and illegalities it had previously minimized or ignored. ...

What led to the unraveling of Nixon’s government, and what lies at the core of the attacks against Trump, is the fact that, like Nixon, Trump’s targets included “the rich and respectable, spokesmen for official ideology, men who are expected to share power, to design social policy, and to mold popular opinion,” as Chomsky noted about Nixon at the time. “Such people are not fair game for persecution at the hands of the state.” This is not to minimize Trump’s crimes. Trump — nearly even in the polls with President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential race — appears to have committed several misdemeanors and serious felonies. ...

Trump’s alleged offenses should be investigated. Though, the cases involving Daniels and the retention of classified documents seem relatively minor and similar to those committed by Trump’s political opponents. ... As was the case with Nixon, the most serious charges Trump may face involve his attack on the foundations of the two-party duopoly, especially undermining the peaceable transfer of power from one branch of the duopoly to the other. In Georgia, Trump could face very serious criminal charges with potentially lengthy sentences if convicted, likewise if the federal special prosecutor indicts Trump for unlawful interference in the 2020 election. We won’t know until any indictments are made public.

Yet, the most egregious of Trump’s actions while in office either received minimal media coverage, were downplayed or lauded as acts carried out in defense of democracy and the U.S.-led international order. Why hasn’t Trump been criminally investigated for the act of war he committed against Iran and Iraq when he assassinated Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and nine other people with a drone strike in Baghdad airport? Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi condemned the strike and told his parliament that Trump lied in order to get Soleimani exposed in Iraq as part of peace talks between Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iraq’s parliament passed a resolution demanding that all foreign troops leave the country, which the U.S. government proceeded to reject.

Why not prosecute or impeach Trump for pressuring his secretary of state to lie and say that Iran wasn’t complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal? Trump ultimately unilateral, devastating and illegal sanctions against Iran, in violation of international law and quite possibly domestic U.S. law. Why wasn’t Trump impeached for his role in the ongoing attempts to engineer a coup and democratically elected president of Venezuela? Trump declared a previously unknown right-wing politician — and would-be coup leader Juan Guaido to be the true Venezuelan president and then illegally handed him control of the Latin American country’s U.S. bank accounts. The illegal U.S. sanctions that have facilitated this coup attempt have blocked food, medicine and other goods from entering the country and prevented the government from exploiting and exporting its own oil, devastating the economy. Over 40,000 people died between 2017 and 2019 due to the sanctions, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. That figure is certainly higher now. ...

Trump, like most of his opponents in the Republican and Democrat parties, serves the interests of the billionaire class. He, too, is hostile to the rights of workers. He, too, is an enemy of the press. He, too, backs the diversion of hundreds of billions of federal dollars to the war industry to maintain the empire. He, too, does not respect the rule of law. He, too, is personally and politically corrupt. But he is also impulsive, bigoted, inept and ignorant. His baseless conspiracy theories, vulgarity and absurd antics are an embarrassment to the established power elite in the two ruling parties. He is difficult, unlike Biden, to control. He has to go, not because he is a criminal, but because he is not trusted by the ruling crime syndicate to manage the firm.

The New York Times Is A Disgusting Militarist Smut Rag

The “paper of record” for the most murderous and tyrannical nation on earth, The New York Times has been run by the same family since the late 1800s, during which time it has supported every depraved American war and has reliably dished out propaganda to manufacture consent for the political status quo necessary for the operation of a globe-spanning empire that is fueled by human blood and suffering. It is a plague upon our world, and it should be destroyed, buried, and peed on.

And I am being charitable.

Among the latest items of unforgivable militarist smut churned out by the Times is an article titled “An Anxious Asia Arms for a War It Hopes to Prevent,” which freakishly frames the US as just a passive, innocent witness to the US military encirclement of China.

Times author Damien Cave writes ominously that China’s president Xi Jinping “aims to achieve a ‘national rejuvenation’ that would include displacing the United States as the dominant rule-setter in the region,” as though it makes perfect sense for the US to be the “dominant rule-setter” in the continent of Asia.

(You see lines like this in The New York Times constantly; earlier this month the Times editorial board bemoaned the fact that “the United States had tried with little success to persuade or compel China to abide by American rules,” like that’s a perfectly sane and normal line to write. Other nations make demands, the US makes “rules”. These people really do begin with the premise that the US government owns the entire world, and then write from there.)

Watch how Cave then frames the US military encirclement of China as something “China’s neighbors” are doing as a “response” to Xi’s goal of “displacing the United States as the dominant rule-setter in the region”:

In response, many of China’s neighbors — and the United States — are turning to hard power, accelerating the most significant arms race in Asia since World War II.

On March 13, North Korea launched cruise missiles from a submarine for the first time. The same day, Australia unveiled a $200 billion plan to build nuclear-propelled submarines with America and Britain that would make it only the seventh nation to have them.

Japan, after decades of pacifism, is also gaining offensive capabilities unmatched since the 1940s with U.S. Tomahawk missiles. India has conducted training with Japan and Vietnam. Malaysia is buying South Korean combat aircraft. American officials are trying to amass a giant weapons stockpile in Taiwan to make it a bristling “porcupine” that could head off a Chinese invasion, and the Philippines is planning for expanded runways and ports to host its largest American military presence in decades.

Notice the glaring contradiction between the narrative that the US is “the dominant rule-setter in the region” and the framing of this encirclement operation as something the US is merely supplying to locals who request it of their own free will. If you acknowledge that the US exerts enough control over those nations to be able to “set rules” for them, then it’s probably a bit nonsensical for you to claim they’re stationing US war machinery because it was their own idea that they chose of their own volition.

As we discussed recently with regard to Australia, we’ve all seen what the US does to nations which disobey its “rules”. Australia isn’t arming itself against China to protect itself from China, Australia is arming itself against China to protect itself from the United States. The same is true of all the other US assets listed above.

Just one paragraph after outlining the ways China is being military encircled, Cave then writes that China has “engaged in provocative or dangerous behavior” toward its neighbors:

In flashpoint after flashpoint over the past year, China’s military has also engaged in provocative or dangerous behavior: deploying a record number of military aircraft to threaten Taiwan, and firing missiles into the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone for the first time last August; sending soldiers with spiked batons to dislodge an Indian Army outpost in December, escalating battles over the 2,100-mile border between the two countries; and last month, temporarily blinding the crew of a Filipino patrol boat with a laser, and flying dangerously close to a U.S. Navy plane, part of its aggressive push to claim authority in the South China Sea.

The US empire asks us to believe many stupid things on a daily basis, but arguably the very stupidest among them right now is the narrative that the number one geopolitical rival to US power is being surrounded by US war machinery defensively.

The US is surrounding China — a nation on the other side of the planet — with war machinery in a way it would never permit itself to be surrounded for even an instant. One of these nations is the aggressor, and the other is responding defensively to those aggressions. If you can’t tell which is which, it’s because empire propaganda has melted your brain.

Another recent New York Times article titled “From Rockets to Ball Bearings, Pentagon Struggles to Feed War Machine,” author Eric Lipton warns urgently that the US isn’t producing enough weaponry to meet its current needs while preparing for war with China.

“If a large-scale war broke out with China, within about one week the United States would run out of so-called long-range anti-ship missiles, a vital weapon in any engagement with China, according to a series of war-game exercises conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank,” Lipton writes.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is funded by military-industrial complex entities like Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, and is also directly funded by the US government and its client states, including Taiwan. Lipton makes no mention of this immense conflict of interest.

The whole article reads like an advertorial for the need to pour more wealth and resources into arms manufacturers, even directly citing statements from war profiteering CSIS funders like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Lipton quotes Lockheed Martin COO Frank St John expressing his deep and solemn concern that the Pentagon might not be meeting its goals in procurement of expensive military equipment, saying, “Any time you see an analysis that says, hey, we might not be prepared to achieve our strategic objectives, that’s concerning.”

Hey thanks for your concern Frank, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that your company sells the murder machines which meet those strategic objectives. Great journalism, Mr Lipton.

“The surge in spending is likely to translate in the long run into increased profits at military contractors,” Lipton notes.

Yeah, no shit.

One of the most freakish and depraved things happening in our society is the way war machine-funded think tanks shape public opinion through the mass media and government without that conflict of interest being disclosed. Profoundly influential outlets like The New York Times routinely cite them as though they are impartial analysts of national security and foreign affairs and not functional PR firms for war profiteers and government agencies.

If you killed thousands of people and sold their skins for a fortune, the media would correctly call you the worst monster who ever lived. If you kill the same number of people for the same amount of money but do it by lobbying for war and selling the weapons used in that war, the media will call you an industrious job creator.

It is never, ever acceptable, under any circumstances, for news media outlets to cite think tanks funded by governments and the military industrial complex as sources of information or expertise on matters of national security or foreign affairs. As soon as they do this, they’re guilty of journalistic malpractice. As soon as you find yourself writing anything like “According to my source from the Center for Strategic and International Studies,” you have ceased to function as a journalist and are now functioning as a propagandist. It’s insane that this extremely obvious fact isn’t better understood in western journalism, but we can understand why this point is obfuscated by looking at the power structures it serves.

Western media are the marketing department of the US-centralized empire, selling war and militarism to the public in the form of nonstop propaganda. And The New York Times is probably the most destructive offender among all of them.

Joint Chiefs Chairman: Record military budget “prepares us to fight” China

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a House subcommittee that the Biden administration’s record military budget request was directed primarily against China. Testifying before the House Appropriations Committee subcommittee on defense last Thursday, Austin said, “This is a strategy-driven budget and one driven by the seriousness of our strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China.”

The central target of the US military, Milley declared, was China. “The People’s Republic of China remains our number one long term geostrategic security challenge, the so-called pacing threat in our strategy... The PRC intends to be the regional hegemon in the western Pacific and Asia within the next 10 years, and exceed the United States’ overall military capability by 2049.”

Opening the hearing, subcommittee chairman Ken Calvert declared, “We must be ready to fight tonight and rapidly modernized to maintain the world’s greatest fighting force.”

Milley continued:

There are 10,330 units in the United States military: 4,680 of them are active duty.

Sixty percent of our active-duty force is at the highest stage of readiness right now and could deploy to combat in less than 30 days, and 10 percent to deploy to combat in less than 96 hours.

This military is ready. We are prepared to fight now, and we will continue to be prepared to fight in the future.

In order to maintain this “readiness,” Miley and Austin explained, the Biden administration has proposed the largest US military budget in history, with record-setting increases in every part of the military. Austin summed up the staggering level of US military rearmament:

This budget also makes the department’s largest-ever investments in both [research and development] and procurement, requesting more than $61 billion to sustain our air dominance. And that includes funding for fighters and the extraordinary B21 strategic bomber… We’re also seeking more than $48 billion in sea power, including new construction of nine battle force ships.

And we’re boosting capacity at America’s shipyards to build the ships that our strategy demands. And we’re investing a total of $1.2 billion in the submarine industrial base.

And we’re buying two Virginia-class attack submarines and one Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.

On land, we’re investing in air and missile defense. And we’re investing in defenses to counter unmanned aerial vehicles.

We’re also requesting $11 billion to deliver the mix of long-range fires that our security demands, including major investments in hypersonics. We will also continue to modernize all three legs of our nuclear triad and bolster our strategic deterrence. And we put forward the largest space budget in Pentagon history.

This gargantuan military budget, standing at $886 billion ($842 billion for the Pentagon, and the remainder for military-related programs in other departments), is to be further augmented by emergency supplemental appropriations for the war in Ukraine. This was $114 billion last year and is likely to be even higher this year, putting the actual war budget at over $1 trillion.

Robby Soave: BEWARE the Restrict Act; TikTok Ban a FEDERAL PLOT to Seize Control of Speech

Ukraine Receives Deliveries of German, British Tanks

The first batch of British-made Challenger 2 tanks arrived in Ukraine on Monday as reports said Berlin also delivered 18 of its Leopard tanks to the country.

The UK will send a total of 14 Challenger 2 tanks that will be armed with depleted uranium ammunition, a controversial munition that is radioactive and linked to cancer and birth defects in Iraq, where US forces commonly used the rounds.

Britain’s deputy defense minister confirmed last week that the Challenger 2s would be armed with depleted uranium despite Russian warnings. Over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus, a move he said was a response to the UK arming Ukraine with depleted uranium.

Also on Monday, reports said Germany has delivered 18 of its Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Der Spiegel reported the last of the tanks left Germany last week and were handed to Ukraine at the border. Poland said in February that it had delivered four Leopard tanks to Ukraine and was preparing to send more.

Nord Stream Commission REJECTED By United Nations Security Council

Russia may demand compensation over Nord Stream blasts: Diplomat

Russia may seek compensation over damage from last year’s explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines.

The pipelines, which connect Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea, were hit by unexplained blasts last September in what Moscow called an act of “international terrorism”.

“We do not rule out later the raising of the issue of compensation for damage as a result of the explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipelines,” Dmitry Birichevsky, head of Russia’s foreign ministry department for economic cooperation, said in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency.

He added on Monday that Western countries were opposing a Russia-prepared draft UN Security Council resolution urging an independent international investigation of the Nord Stream blasts.

“Despite this, we intend to continue to insist on a comprehensive and open international investigation with the mandatory participation of Russian representatives,” Birichevsky said.

Conflict mood swings. Pumping USD into Ukraine, holding up the hryvnia

Congress to Invite South Korea’s Yoon to Give Address

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is expected to receive an invitation to address Congress when he visits Washington in April as American hawks are looking to strengthen the alliance with Seoul to work against North Korea and China, Nikkei Asia reported Monday.

President Biden is scheduled to host Yoon for a state visit and a dinner on April 26. Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) told Nikkei that the plan is for Yoon to address a joint session of Congress during the visit.

Kim said she and several other members of Congress, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), have sent a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urging him to invite Yoon to make the address.

Russia Negotiates PEACE Between Saudi Arabia & Syria!

Assorted hawks and professional busybodies really feel horrible that they have let an opportunity to get their war on slip through their hoary fingers:

US urged to hold Assad to account as power shifts in Middle East

Moves to re-engage Bashar al-Assad without him taking steps to stabilise Syria or commit to reforms should be met by more robust US leadership that holds the Syrian leader to account and addresses a litany of US policy failings, a group of prominent former officials say. In an unprecedented letter to Joe Biden and the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, the officials called for moves to stop a regional drift towards normalisation with Assad and impose a formalised ceasefire that facilitates a more impactful aid effort and helps ignite a political process.

The appeal follows moves by the UAE to normalise relations with Assad, which are likely to be followed by other Arab states. Saudi Arabia on Friday flagged that it may follow suit, after a highly public state visit by the Syrian leader to Abu Dhabi earlier this month in which a 21-gun salute and a motorcade appeared to herald his official reappearance on an Arab stage, after being treated as an outcast for nearly 12 years.

Signatories to the letter include a former CIA director, John McLaughlin, the most senior US official to work on Syria since 2011; James Jeffrey, a former US special envoy for Syria; retired Mne Corp General Anthony Zinni; and Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force – as well as civil society activists at the forefront of efforts to highlight crimes against humanity committed by the Assad regime.

The regional moves to re-engage Assad have sparked alarm in parts of the Biden administration and in Europe, where steps are under way to prosecute low-level regime officials for war crimes. Investigators have been gathering material that could place more senior officials in the crosshairs of international prosecutors.

Palestinians to Pay the Price as Netanyahu Pauses Judicial Plan While Further Empowering Far Right

Israel: Netanyahu announces delay to judicial overhaul plan

Israel’s embattled prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has announced a delay to his far-right government’s proposals to overhaul the judiciary after 12 weeks of escalating political crisis. Netanyahu said on Monday he would delay his flagship judicial changes to the next parliamentary session, saying he wanted to give time to seek a compromise over the contentious package with his political opponents.

Speaking in a televised address on Monday evening, ten hours after he was originally scheduled to give a statement, Netanyahu – looking tired and striking an unusually flat tone – said he was “not willing to tear the nation in half … When there’s a possibility of avoiding fraternal war through dialogue, I, as prime minister, will take a time out for that dialogue.”

“We have the ability to pass the legislation with a strong majority,” he added, before praising the government’s supporters. “No one will silence you,” he said.

The decision to delay only postpones the issue for several weeks, and it is not clear if the protests will end. In exchange for agreeing to the delay, the far-right Jewish Power party said the prime minister had offered the formation of a civil “national guard”, causing concern about an armed group under the control of the far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir.

With corruption charges hanging over his head, Netanyahu has been forced to rely on unruly, extremist coalition partners. Although famous for his working his way out of tight spots in the past, “King Bibi” appears to be losing his touch, struggling to maintain control inside and outside the Knesset.

Palestinians See HYPOCRISY Behind Israeli Protests

France pension reform: Why is the govt not negotiating with the unions?

France pension reform protest: Motorways blocked, transport hubs hit by strikes

Millions of Germans face transport disruption in cost of living ‘mega-strike’

German commuters face serious disruption on Monday as transport staff across the country staged a strike to push for wage rises in the face of brisk inflation. Workers at airports, ports, railways, buses and metro lines throughout much of Europe’s biggest economy heeded a call from the Verdi and EVG unions to take part in the 24-hour stoppage.

“A labour struggle that has no impact is toothless,” the Verdi leader, Frank Werneke, told the public broadcaster Phoenix. ...

Verdi represents about 2.5 million public sector employees, while EVG represents 230,000 workers on the railways and at bus companies. The rare joint call for a strike in Germany marks an escalation of an increasingly ill-tempered pay dispute that comes at a time of surging inflation. Verdi is demanding a 10.5% rise in monthly salaries and EVG is seeking a 12% rise for its members.

Employers – mostly the state and public sector companies – have so far refused the demands, instead offering a 5% rise with two one-off payments of €1,000 (£880) and €1,500, this year and next.

In anticipation of Monday’s strike, the state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) suspended all long-distance trains for the day. Regional and local connections in seven out of Germany’s 16 federal states also came to a standstill.

“Everyone Wants A Raise When The Minimum Wage Goes Up”

The corporate lobbying group fighting a New York state effort to raise the minimum wage has publicly argued that an increase will throw more than a hundred thousand people out of work. But behind closed doors last week, the lobbying group claimed many of its members are already paying their lowest-paid workers more than the state minimum wage.

“I think the message that a lot of small businesses have been trying to send is that… a lot of businesses are paying well above the minimum wage because of the labor shortage right now,” said Ashley Ranslow, the New York state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the lobbying group hosting the call.

The real problem, Ranslow said, is that “everyone wants a raise when the minimum wage goes up,” which creates “a spiraling and compounding effect for small businesses.”

It’s a remarkable admission from one of the main corporate lobbying groups fighting the legislative effort to increase New York’s minimum wage — and directly contradicts her organization’s public line.

“This is so typical — [NFIB is] ‘Chicken Little’ every time there’s a proposal to raise the wage,” said Paul Sonn, state policy director for the National Employment Law Project, which is backing the minimum wage increase. “But even they know the sky isn’t falling. They’re saying the quiet part out loud, admitting that the minimum wage is irrelevant right now, it’s far too low, and would have to be an awful lot higher before it actually starts to have an impact.”

Police state ramping up:

IRS TARGETS Matt Taibbi Day Of Testimony

Eight Remain in Jail from March 5 Weelaunee Forest Raid, 15 Released

Fifteen of the twenty-three people arrested and charged with domestic terrorism on March 5 are now out of jail. The nearly two dozen people were arrested during the South River Music Festival for their alleged involvement in the ongoing effort to stop ‘Cop City’ and to defend the Weelaunee Forest. During the bond hearing on Thursday, March 23, Chief Assistant District Attorney Peter Johnson stated how some of the defendants allegedly had ‘jail support numbers’ written on their bodies, which he claimed “is important because it shows intent.” Johnson also said that the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which bails out and supports arrested protesters, is “being investigated as part of the whole thing.”

(On February 25, 2023, local community organizations including the Atlanta Solidarity Fund made an announcement that they believe state prosecutors are planning on releasing indictments charging them as a “criminal organization” under anti-racketeering (RICO) statutes. They have not received indictments as of the publication of this story.) Jail support numbers — phone numbers associated with jail support organizations — have long been a part of social movements and are used to help people who have been arrested in getting the aid and help they need.

Hannah Riley, the communications director at the Southern Center for Human Rights, live-tweeted the bond hearing and commented how if someone has a jail support number on them, it’s actually “evidence that we live in a horrifying police state.” The majority of the eight individuals denied bond have yet to be tied to the sabotage scene — the massive direct action on March 5 where hundreds stormed the main police security outpost within the Weelaunee Forest at the proposed ‘Cop City’ construction site. In addition, none of the eight have been shown to have committed any crime at that location. Even without any substantial evidence, Judge Gregory A. Adams sided with the prosecution.

the horse race

NEW Financial Records PROVE Hunter, Joe, Jim, Hallie Biden Received CHINA PAYMENTS

the evening greens

Train carrying hazardous materials derails in North Dakota

A train carrying hazardous materials derailed in North Dakota late on Sunday night in the latest toxic railway accident to hit the US. The incident happened less than two months after a train derailed near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, causing a raging fire and leaking cancerous chemicals near the small town of East Palestine.

The incident on Sunday involved a Canadian Pacific freight train that derailed around 11.15pm, according to initial reports, affecting 31 of the train’s 70 cars. Spilled cargo from the derailment included petroleum used to make asphalt.

Emergency response personnel and hazmat experts were at the crash scene, in a rural area of Richland county, on Monday morning. There was no fire and the spill occurred in a cold and snowy area, minimizing the threat to public safety, according to the rail company.

Officials will allow the spilled materials to freeze in order to aid the cleanup, which is expected to take seven to 10 days.

World ‘population bomb’ may never go off as feared, finds study

The long-feared “population bomb” may not go off, according to the authors of a new report that estimates that human numbers will peak lower and sooner than previously forecast.

The study, commissioned by the Club of Rome, projects that on current trends the world population will reach a high of 8.8 billion before the middle of the century, then decline rapidly. The peak could come earlier still if governments take progressive steps to raise average incomes and education levels.

The new forecasts are good news for the global environment. Once the demographic bulge is overcome, pressure on nature and the climate should start to ease, along with associated social and political tensions.

But the authors caution that falling birthrates alone will not solve the planet’s environmental problems, which are already serious at the 8 billion level and are primarily caused by the excess consumption of a wealthy minority.

Declining populations can also create new problems, such as a shrinking workforce and greater stress on healthcare associated with an ageing society, as countries like Japan and South Korea are finding.

Philadelphians rush to buy bottled water despite officials claiming water is safe after spill

Residents in Philadelphia and nearby areas have been buying bottled water after a chemical spill upstream in the Delaware River in neighboring Bucks county, despite officials’ latest advisory insisting tap water was safe to drink at least up to midnight Monday.

The concerns came after a leak late Friday evening at the Trinseo Altuglas chemical facility in Bristol Township spilled between 8,100 and 12,000 gallons of a water-based latex finishing solution into the river, Bucks county health officials said Sunday.

While officials insisted the solution is non-toxic to humans and that no known adverse health effects have been reported in the county, many residents have been buying bottled water after officials earlier advised that some people may want to use it to drink and cook. Social media showed long lines for bottled water at Philadelphia area stores.

Early on Sunday Mike Carroll, deputy managing director for Philadelphia’s office of transportation, infrastructure and sustainability, said there had been no sign of contaminants in city water but added officials “cannot be 100% certain” traces won’t show up by Sunday afternoon. He called health risks from the material “very low if present at all” but said officials wanted people to be aware so they could consider using bottled water to drink or cook with to further minimize any risk.

The city water department said in an update on Sunday evening that water “will remain safe to drink and use” at least through Monday, based on the time it takes water to move through treatment and water mains before reaching customers.

Also of Interest

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

Polish Nukes

MSNBC Pundit Goes To Fight In Ukraine, Acts Like A Disruptive Troll And Leaves

Foreign Devils on the Road to Afghanistan

In major shift, Brazil challenges OPCW's Syria cover-up

Is France Near A New Republic?

Macron Accused Of Putting Ukraine ABOVE Workers; Tension FLARES In France After Pension Reform

Exxon in the classroom: how big oil money influences US universities

South Africa Invites Putin To Summit & REFUSES To Arrest Him

Matt Taibbi HARASSED By IRS On Day Of Twitter Files Testimony: Report

A Little Night Music

Fenton Robinson - You don't know what love is

Fenton Robinson ~ The Getaway

Fenton Robinson - Checking On My Woman

Fenton Robinson - Schoolboy

Fenton Robinson - Directly From My Heart To You

Fenton Robinson - I Hear Some Blues Downstairs

Fenton Robinson - Going To Chicago

Fenton Robinson ~ Country Girl

Fenton Robinson - Gotta Wake Up

Fenton Robinson - Find A-Way

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joe shikspack's picture


heh, i saw that story the other day and my first thought was that once the water runs out on earth, rich folks will send mining missions to the moon to bring it back for their richie-rich families.

9 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture


.... to me. China handed out samples to every space research agency on the planet. Including NASA

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The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato

@Pluto's Republic

Of course Biden will shoot them down when it is safe to do this. LOL

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10 users have voted.

@humphrey Lying bastards.

9 users have voted.

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

Pluto's Republic's picture


...the UN has allowed itself to become. But under the circumstances, where there is a strong superpower that will not hesitate to cause unilateral harm to any UN member who votes contrary to US wishes — compromise is understandable. The UN goes through desperate contortions to keep the dialogue open with the US to prevent escalation of threats or walk-outs or abrupt resignations. In recent years, the US has selected its UN Ambassadors from the Deep State pool — most of whom regard the UN with tremendous contempt and disrespect, while peddling their dangerous lies before the Assembly. John Bolton is a good example of this, as was Colin Powell. When the UN finally participated in the lies about the false-flag chemical weapons attacks in Syria, it signaled its own moral capitulation. A long period of complete reform at the UN will be necessary to restore the promise of UN to what it once was — if that is even possible. In the meantime, I do recognize that maintaining a clean, well-lit forum where a dialogue between nations can takes place is also an important service. Sigh.

These days, everything is a proxy or a stand-in for something else — for something finer that is no longer available.

11 users have voted.


The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato
snoopydawg's picture


inside Ukraine? We know that some US troops have gone AWOL and are fighting in Ukraine uniforms with the knowledge of their military leaders. Plus only gawd knows how many US mercenaries are fighting with Ukraine. Oh yeah and how many people who are driving the drones actually American troops? How many of the NATO folks that got bombed in their underground bunker were Americans? Did the captured general get released during a prisoner swap?


Q- if there are no US troops in Syria how did they get injured?

A- Yeah that’s weird.

10 users have voted.

Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

joe shikspack's picture


that tweet should be winning the internet.

baghdad bob has moved into the un.

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that there was to be no militarization? I guess it is OK if Uncle Sam does the weaponizing.

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

i missed this earlier:

Five planets line up to put on celestial show for skywatchers tonight

Five planets will align in the night sky for an extraordinary view on Tuesday in a phenomenon dubbed a “planetary parade”.

The planets – Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus and Mars – will come together on the western horizon, near the crescent moon, for a brief display after sunset. People almost anywhere on Earth with a westerly view and clear skies will be able to catch it.

Although the best day to see the full array is Tuesday, several of the planets will remain visible for the next two weeks. Jupiter, Venus and Mars will be the easiest to spot, as they shine brightly, according to Cooke. Mars will appear close to the moon, with a reddish glow, while Mercury and Uranus will appear dimmer and best viewed through binoculars.

If you’re a “planet collector”, Cooke said, it’s a rare chance to spot Uranus – which will appear as a green glow above Venus.

But the view will be ephemeral; Mercury and Jupiter will quickly dip below the horizon around half an hour after sunset.

8 users have voted.

wonder if he has been watching MSNBC lately.

I am not a fan of Trump but he is only one of the war criminals who have been running the country lately.

The ineptitude of US foreign policy is a gift that keeps on giving to Trump.

Intel Slava

Trump on deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus:

"This situation was caused by us - this is what happens when your government is run by incompetent people. All I can tell you now is pray."

9 users have voted.

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


rumors are swirling that corbyn will stand as an independent if starmer and his stenchly henchpersons don't back down.

9 users have voted.
soryang's picture

...particularly concerning China as the "aggressor" in Asia, is right on. That I could even read the Times article without getting the usual paywall block, is a tell that it's function is pure propaganda. There are so many mischaracterizations and misrepresentations that I wouldn't have the patience to address them as she does very well.

Some of the issues are very technical like the disputes by the riparian states to South China Sea maritime rights and various islands. I think one thing people are disregarding and imo is part of a US-Japanese premeditated effort is to characterize Chinese claims to the South China Sea in prejudicial terms rather than examining them closely under international law. The idea is to sway the reader or listener to their partisan view without actually addressing the underlying facts, principles and arguments.

The fact is the US has no significant stake in the claims to the South China Sea. Except maybe for some corporate oil and gas drilling contracts with actual parties to the disputes. There is no substantial obstruction of free navigation in the South China Sea, except in the case of efforts of states involved in the disputes directly to violate the EEZ claims that adhere to China by virtue of Chinese control of the largest island in the Spratly Islands, and the largest island in the Paracels. Those islands generate a 200nm radius EEZ from the territorial limit of each island. This means the rights of fishing and economic exploitation in those zones belong to the Chinese. These are the predominant claims in the region. This is difficult for people to understand because no one reads the PCA determination engineered by Japan, or the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. The Permanent Court of Arbitration's ex parte decision which lacked jurisdiction defined away Chinese rights by claiming Taiping Island isn't an island, which is clearly a false determination, and legal jiggery-pokery. Then people leapfrog to the conclusion that the same applies to the Paracels.

On the periphery or even within these 200nm zones, any competing states with disputes, have to come to terms with the concept, that their claims must adjust to the central reality that the Chinese claim to a vast expanse of the South China Sea, has multiple geographical bases, it's southern coast, the continental shelf, Hainan Island, Woody Island in the Paracels, and Taiping Island in the Spratly Islands. Any reefs, low water elevations, or smaller islands, (only rocks in the PCA definition) generate no EEZ rights whatever. The only adjustment that should be made is for 200nm extensions or continental shelf extensions for EEZs generated by features such as the Vietnam coast, or the coasts of other riparian states. Reefs and low water elevations in China's EEZs belong to China regardless of whether they are developed into "artificial islands" or not. There is nothing illegal about artificial islands unless they lie withing someone else's EEZ. Other states have built "artificial islands" including Vietnam. There are disputes concerning the limits of the respective states claims, but there are other diplomatic dispute mechanisms in place that preempt the PCA "compulsory arbitration" which the Chinese rejected. The US has no legal stake in the EEZ disputes, but attempts to use so called freedom of navigation operations as a wedge issue to bootstrap itself into issues that are technically speaking none of their business.

Beyond this when one considers that the US has over a thousand recon, surveillance and intel flights a year in the SCS, pointing out one or two incidents, as evidence of aggression is a complete failure of proof. There is no "border" between China and Taiwan. The US fires and drops missiles, drones, and other military devices in the EEZs of other countries all the time. When China does it, it's an act of aggression. Clearly this is nonsense. EEZs are economic in nature. The waters themselves are international. I think I read that one US admiral had said, "we've been sailing here for over a hundred years." That generates nothing in terms of claims to territory and maritime economic zones. That's just the typical American gunboat diplomacy showing its ugly face in Asia. It's the old "might makes right" argument of the great white fleet.

I can't wait for Yoon to visit the US and even address the Congress. Americans have no idea what kind of individual he is, he is purely a creature of the English language press to us. Yoon has made gaffes of various kinds at previous diplomatic engagements, and hopefully that will continue here. It will most likely have no affect on US perception but it will impact his deteriorating political standing at home.

The truth rarely fits into convenient black and white, good and evil, us them, characterizations. There is a conservative media pundit Byun Hee-jae in South Korea who has written a book, the title of which is something like "I know what you did." It concerns a piece of "evidence" that was used in the Park Geun-hye impeachment and trial, a "tablet" device alleged to belong to Choi Soon-shil, the personal aide, consultant, guru, drug supplier and gate keeper of Park Geun-hye. The thrust of the contents of the laptop, was that Choi was writing Park's speeches, determining her policies, controlling the president's calendar, etc. She had no statutory authority at all, and was functioning as a corrupt Rasputin type in the Presidential Office. I remember at the time the tablet was said to be faked, a forgery. And the foundation for its use as evidence was perjury according to the book's current allegations. President Yoon, and the current Justice Minister Han Dong-hun were a part of the special prosecution team for the impeachment trial that put this trial evidence together as the story goes.

One cannot help but notice that this impeachment trial allegation of evidentiary fabrication is quite similar to the prosecution of former Justice Minister Cho Guk's wife that forced him out of office. I read accounts presented in videos of how there was no chain of custody on Chung Kyung-shim's laptop, that it was seized illegally, searched illegally and that data analysis factually was not legally valid or admissible in a court of law. This was another Yoon -Han operation. It was pointed out that there was other abuse of power and misconduct during the Park administration, justifying impeachment. The point is no one from Yoon's administration has thus far threatened to prosecute the author Byun Hye-jae for libel, which is quite strange under the circumstances and suggests the book is credible. The falsification of evidence and perjury proffered at trial would provide a sufficient legal basis for impeachment of Yoon and Han. Whether anyone will act on it is another matter. This is only one of many instances of official misconduct of Yoon and Han who have almost completely corrupted the administration of justice in South Korea.

Great news roundup and tunes Joe thanks! I'm a big Hannah Arendt fan. 감사합니다

9 users have voted.

語必忠信 行必正直


situation in the area that we certainly won't find in the MSM.

6 users have voted.
soryang's picture

@humphrey I could write an article and post it over at SV on this subject matter which I used to do for a few years, and if I got 400 views, I'd be lucky to get one like.

I appreciate these open threads, your posts and those of virtually everyone here, because they are quite informative, thoughtful, and thought provoking. It helps me to keep up with or learn about other subjects that I'm neglecting so I can focus on the Korean reports and the diplomatic and military news from the far east.

There is one person over there at SV, Alexander Of Assyria, who is a person of similar political interests and foreign policy views as my own, who fights the good fight over there trying to wake people up out of their illusions however induced. Frankly, I got tired of the rude remarks and innuendo, so I admire his perseverance. I fit in better here I think. It's much more civil here. It's been five years since I started writing about what I learn from Korean media. Before that for a couple of years I would just discuss Korean affairs with a friend on Wire. I liked Jackpine but I guess it's gone now.

6 users have voted.

語必忠信 行必正直


We hope to inform (in our own little way) to keep on top of ongoing events.

PS. I am not sure what SV is as it is new to me. But then again I often skim over comments.

5 users have voted.
soryang's picture

@humphrey ...democratic underground. I think SV means skinner's view, who I guess founded the site quite a few years ago.

4 users have voted.

語必忠信 行必正直

Cyberspec News

Take this with a grain of salt but it can't be completely discounted

According to the Western sources, secret weapons from "neutral countries" were supplied to Ukraine.

The Indian government has approved the transfer of several hundred Milan ATGMs in various modifications. Also, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar handed over to Ukraine several hundred Mistral MANPADS through various intermediaries that had already been received by Kiev.

MANPADS were also transferred by South Korea and Egypt. Before the weapons are sent to Ukraine, they are sent to the developer, MBDA, for "pre-sales preparation" to remove service plates in Korean, Arabic or Sanskrit to avoid unnecessary trouble if the weapons are seized by Russian troops.
Mar 28 at 21:02

6 users have voted.

location correctly.

A Baltimore contractor has agreed to relocate the processing of hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic wastewater from the site of last month’s Norfolk Southern train derailment after local officials mounted strong opposition to the disposal plan. Clean Harbors of Baltimore Environmental Services announced on Tuesday morning that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 gallons of water from East Palestine, Ohio would be processed elsewhere.

Local officials had only learned on Friday that Norfolk Southern had contracted with Clean Harbors to ship enormous amounts of contaminated water from the derailment site to Baltimore. From there, the water would have been piped into Baltimore’s aging, leaky sewer system, and from there it would travel to the city’s troubled Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Just last year, the state declared the plant to be on the brink of “catastrophic failure,” and less than a month ago one of the plant’s buildings dedicated to processing sewage sludge suffered a massive explosion requiring its closure.

While the Baltimore city council voted on Monday to implore the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider allowing the wastewater to be sent there, the agency has refused to hear any objections, having warned state environmental agencies in a letter earlier this month that blocking Norfolk Southern’s hazardous materials from their jurisdictions would be “impermissible” as a violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

7 users have voted.

All it takes is "MORE MONEY"!

The US Air Force has revealed at least the fourth failed test of a hypersonic missile system made by defense contractor Lockheed Martin, suggesting that it’s more likely to adopt a competing system built by Raytheon.

“The one we just had was not a success,” Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall told members of a US House committee on Tuesday. “We did not get the data that we needed from that test, so they’re currently examining that to try to understand what happened.”

In light of the latest ARRW test, the Air Force is “more committed” to its other hypersonic program, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM), Kendall told lawmakers. A budgeting decision on whether to adopt the ARRW is expected to be made next year, after as many as two more test launches.

The Air Force reportedly received about $423 million in research and development funding for the ARRW in the past two years, and it has requested an additional $150 million in the budget for its next fiscal year. HACM funding totaled $423 million for the current fiscal year alone, and the Air Force plans an additional $1.9 billion in spending on the program over the next five years.

6 users have voted.