The Evening Blues - 6-6-23
Hey! Good Evening!
Gene Burks - Monkey Man
"Commonly, people believe that defeat is characterized by a general bustle and a feverish rush. Bustle and rush are the signs of victory, not of defeat. Victory is a thing of action. It is a house in the act of being built. Every participant in victory sweats and puffs, carrying the stones for the building of the house. But defeat is a thing of weariness, of incoherence, of boredom. And above all of futility."
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
News and Opinion
Cornel West, the 70-year-old activist and public intellectual, announced on Monday that he is running for president in the 2024 election as a candidate for the People’s party. West made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter, saying that he had “decided to run for truth and justice”.
“I come from a tradition where I care about you,” West said. “I care about the quality of your life, I care about whether you have access to a job with a living wage, decent housing, women having control over their bodies, healthcare for all.”
West’s video, interspersed with photos of his life in activism and clips of himself on Joe Rogan’s and Bill Maher’s shows, also directed viewers to his campaign website, which includes some of his political platform and calls for donations. The range of West’s policies include instituting Medicare for All, banning corporate lobbying, disbanding Nato, stopping all foreign military aid and abolishing student debt.
I am running for truth and justice as a presidential candidate for the People’s Party to reintroduce America to the best of itself - fighting to end poverty, mass incarceration, ending wars and ecological collapse, guaranteeing housing, health care, education and living wages for… pic.twitter.com/u3NYGUbG1S
— Cornel West (@CornelWest) June 5, 2023
Dr. Cornel West, the moral philosopher and civil rights activist, will formally announce today he is running for president on the People’s Party ticket. Cornel will be a singular voice for serious social and political change in an electoral system saturated with corporate money and rigged to crush third parties. His decades-long commitment to the oppressed, his fierce opposition to American militarism and empire, his condemnation of the grotesque avarice of the billionaire class, and his determination to halt the ongoing ecocide, will see him contemptuously dismissed by the establishment. For all of these reasons we must support him.
“We’re at such a low point in the American empire,” Cornel said when we spoke about his decision. “Its spiritual decay and its immoral decadence are so profound that we have to begin on the foundational level of a spiritual awakening and a moral reckoning. Organized greed. Institutionalized hatred. Routinized indifference to the lives of poor and working people of all colors. We’ve got to get beyond an analysis of the predatory capitalist processes that have saturated every nook and cranny of the culture. We’ve got to get beyond the ways in which the political system has been colonized by corporate wealth and by monied elite. We’ve got to get beyond that sense of impotence of the citizenry. These are all the signs of an empire in decline. The only thing that we have to add is military overreach, and we see that as well.”
If this campaign becomes a movement, and it will need a lot of organizing to get Cornel on the ballot and build grassroots support, the array of forces that will seek to discredit and sabotage his candidacy will be formidable. The Israel lobby, the war industry, the courtiers in the media, the corporatists, the billionaire class and the Democratic Party leadership, will be as vicious to Cornel as these forces in Britain were to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Entrenched power will fight us with every tool in its arsenal. And, as with Corbyn, these assaults — rooted in a mendacious campaign of character assassination — will be relentless. ...
He said he will take his campaign south and into rural enclaves to address the disenfranchised white workers who support Trump.
“We must go to Trump’s social base,” he said. “We must tell those white brothers and sisters, ‘We know you’re still suffering. We know you’ve been the losers of corporate globalization. We’re going to speak to your needs in such a way that you don’t have to follow a neofascist pied piper.’ We on the left are concerned about working people even when they themselves are xenophobic. We can steal some of the thunder from the neofascists. We’re not in any way putting up with the xenophobia. No way! Not one minute! The anti-Black, anti-immigrant, anti-Jewish, anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim — I have no patience with that whatsoever! But I’ll go straight into Trump country and tell all those white working brothers and sisters that I am deeply concerned about their wounds and their inability to gain access to the resources that they ought to have as citizens. We cannot defeat fascism with glib milquetoast neoliberalism. We’ve got to get at the roots of it.”
“We’re trying to achieve the impossible,” he said. “By trying to achieve the impossible we’re going to do something that people think is not possible. The first thing is to break the back of the two-party system, to break the back of corporate duopoly. If we don’t, everything is at stake — democracy, dignity, the planet.”
The United States and seven other countries are responsible for torture and illegal detention of a Saudi prisoner awaiting a death penalty trial at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, a UN watchdog has ruled.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also hinted that the systematic use of Guantanamo to hold suspects rounded up in Washington's "war on terror" after the September 11, 2001 attacks, might in some cases amount to crimes against humanity. ...
In an opinion adopted late last year, but only discreetly made public on Friday, the UN working group determined that all eight countries were "jointly responsible for the torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Mr. al-Nashiri".
"The submissions that Mr. al-Nashiri was tortured stand unrefuted," it said, also finding that all eight countries were responsible for his "arrest, rendition and arbitrary detention".
Nashiri's lawyer Sylvain Savolainen described the decision as "immensely powerful and important".
The working group, made up of five independent experts, whose opinions are not binding but carry reputational weight, called on the countries to "take the steps necessary to remedy the situation of Mr. Al-Nashiri without delay".
Taking into account all the circumstances of the case, they said "the appropriate remedy would be to release Mr. al-Nashiri immediately", and provide him compensation and reparations.
Fresh off the Guardian propaganda catapult:
Ukrainian troops went on the attack at multiple points along the frontline in the Donetsk region on Monday, driving back Russian forces in at least two areas in what appeared to be the preliminary stages of Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive.
Russia said on Tuesday it had thwarted another major Ukrainian offensive in Donetsk, inflicting heavy losses.
In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed the advances made by Ukraine’s “warriors” after his government declared it had shifted to offensive operations in some sectors, with reports of intense close-quarter fighting in several locations. He also welcomed what he called “the news we have been waiting for” from Bakhmut, without giving further details.
“I am grateful to each soldier, to all our defenders, men and women, who have given us today the news we have been waiting for. Fine job, soldiers in the Bakhmut sector!” Zelenskiy said.
Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba told Reuters on Monday that Ukraine has enough weapons to begin the counteroffensive operation.
Grab your salt shaker, this is also from the Guardian:
Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner group of mercenaries has captured a Russian commander, as the notorious leader further escalates his feud with the regular army.
In a video posted on Prigozhin’s social media channels, Lt Col Roman Venevitin, the commander of Russia’s 72nd Brigade, tells an interrogator that, while drunk, he had ordered his troops to fire on a Wagner convoy.
In the footage, which resembled clips of prisoner of war soldiers, Venevitin said he acted because of his “personal dislike” for Wagner and then apologised.
Last week, Prigozhin accused the Russian army of trying to blow up his men as they were pulling back from the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut.
The businessman, who is best known as “Putin’s chef” because of his catering contracts with the Kremlin, also claimed his men had discovered explosives, which he said were planted on purpose by defence ministry officials.
The Russian ministry of defence has yet to comment on the footage.
On Monday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Ukraine was “well prepared” to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces thanks to the support the US and NATO have provided.
“So, I think it’s too early to tell what outcomes are going to happen. I think the Ukrainians are very well prepared, as you know very well. The United States and other allied countries in Europe and really around the world have provided training and ammunition and advice, intelligence, et cetera, to the Ukrainians,” Milley told CNN.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Monday that his government is asking Ukraine if Belgian rifles were used by pro-Kyiv fighters in a recent attack on Russia’s Belgorod region.
De Croo’s comments came after US officials told The Washington Post that groups of Russian volunteers fighting for Ukraine were armed with US-made armored vehicles and rifles that were made in Belgium and the Czech Republic during a raid on Belgorod.
“Our defense ministry and its intelligence agencies have started an investigation and are asking for information to determine what has happened exactly,” De Croo said, according to Al Jazeera.
“European weapons are delivered to Ukraine under the condition that they are used on Ukrainian territory with the purpose of defending that territory. And we have strict controls in place to see that this is the case,” he added.
The US military has released video footage of a Chinese navy ship cutting across the path of an American Destroyer in the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, reportedly forcing the US vessel to slow down to avoid a collision.
A statement on the incident from US Indo-Pacific Command says the Chinese ship “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner” in the presence of US and Canadian warships during a “routine south to north Taiwan Strait transit” by the naval forces of those nations, coming as close as 150 yards from the American vessel.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: what is a Chinese navy vessel doing in the Taiwan Strait, right where US and Canadian warships are peacefully conducting routine navigation exercises?
Well I don’t know if this news will be as shocking to you as it is to me, but it turns out that China has somehow managed to place its country immediately adjacent to the Taiwan Strait, and is now only 100 miles from Taiwan itself. This narrow channel of water was the only space the US and Canadian navies were given to travel through, placing them dangerously close to Chinese warships, and to the country of China.
China has yet to issue a formal apology for menacing the US navy with the unsafe maneuverings of both its battleship and its geographical location.
Noting in its statement that it was acting “in accordance with international law” at the time of the incident, US Indo-Pacific Command says that its transit “demonstrates the combined U.S.-Canadian commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” adding that the US military “flies, sails, and operates safely and responsibly anywhere international law allows.”
Which is of course true. These are international waters after all, and the Chinese navy should therefore stay out of the way of US military vessels traveling through them, just as the US navy would stay out of the way of Chinese military forces traveling a few miles off the coast of California or transiting between the islands of Hawaii. The US is only asking for the same freedom of navigation it would afford anyone else.
We saw another incident of China’s aggressive and dangerous terrestrial placement on the 26th of May, when a US spy plane was buzzed by a Chinese fighter jet during peaceful surveillance operations over the South China Sea. A statement by US Indo-Pacific Command called the incident “an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” which interrupted the “safe and routine operations” of the spy plane.
What the hell is going on here? What is a Chinese fighter jet doing all the way over in the South China Sea?
Obviously Chinese fighter jets have no business operating in that region, especially when their movements endanger the US spy planes who are flying their peaceful missions there. But as with the Taiwan Strait, the imperialist aggressions of the Chinese Communist Party have been so expansionist in nature that the South China Sea now sits immediately adjacent to mainland China.
Here’s hoping that China stops with its brazen aggressions against the US military forces who are minding their own business in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, stops endangering poor defenseless warships and spy planes by moving through waters and airspace they have no business entering in the first place, and starts respecting the rules-based global sovereignty of the United States of America.
Mexico’s oldest party has lost control of the country’s most populous and influential state, in an election result that could signal the end of a powerful network that has dominated politics in the region for almost a century. Alejandra del Moral Vela – the candidate for the incumbent Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) which has governed the state of Mexico (Edomex) uninterrupted since 1929 – was beaten by eight points on Sunday, despite claiming victory during the vote count.
The winner, Delfina Gómez, a former school teacher and mayor, and a close ally of the populist president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will be the first woman to govern the sprawling state of 17m people that wraps around Mexico City. It’s a huge blow for the PRI, which had clung on to Edomex despite years of allegations of foul play – and despite losing every other state and the presidency in recent years. It marked an impressive victory for Morena, the party founded by López Obrador, also known as Amlo, less than a decade ago.
Gómez had consistently led in the polls, but in recent weeks the PRI had claimed that Moral was closing the gap and had the momentum. ...
Now, the future of the PRI is “uncertain” after Sunday’s defeat, and this setback could prove to be “insurmountable” when it comes to contesting the presidential elections next year, according to political analyst Gabriel Corona Armenta at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “The results on Sunday should have happened in 1999, but the PRI has managed to stay in power 24 extra years using electoral tricks, negotiations and money.”
Your tax dollars at work:
A three-year-old Palestinian boy has died in hospital, four days after he was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers while riding in a car with his father in the occupied West Bank.
Mohammed al-Tamimi was airlifted to the Sheba hospital near Tel Aviv after the incident on Thursday night and remained in a critical condition until medical officials announced his death on Monday. His father, Haitham al-Tamimi, 40, is still being treated at a Palestinian hospital. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said troops had opened fire near the village of Nabi Saleh after Palestinian gunmen fired shots towards a guardpost. Tamimi told reporters there had been no other gunfire, and that he had just buckled up his son in order to drive to an uncle’s house when their car was shot at. ...
After initially blaming the wounding of the father and son on Palestinian crossfire, IDF officials later said that it was not clear who had shot them and that an investigation had been opened, and later said that the pair had been injured by Israeli fire. In a statement, the IDF said it “regrets harm to noncombatants and is committed to doing everything in its power to prevent such incidents”.
Many Palestinians see similarities in the shifting Israeli narrative over what happened to the Tamimis with last year’s killing of the Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. In that case, the IDF eventually admitted there was a “high possibility” the reporter had been shot by a soldier, but maintains that it was accidental and that a criminal investigation is not warranted.
A US senator lashed out at a top Biden administration official on Wednesday over delays in releasing a summary report on the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, demanding that it be available to review by Friday.
"As you probably know, I've been trying for weeks and weeks now to get a hold of the updated summation report done by the General Fenzel of the [United States Security Coordinator] regarding the shooting death of Shireen Abu Akleh. I just want to tell you, I've run out of patience," Van Hollen said during a Senate budget hearing on Wednesday.
"I expect to be able to view the report wherever you want in a classified setting by Friday. I will otherwise use whatever powers I have here in ways that I've never done before," he warned Barbara Leaf, the US State Department assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs.
Cop City: Atlanta City Council OKs $67M for Facility Despite Mass Protests & Armed Raid on Bail Fund
For the second time in four days, Florida picked up people seeking asylum and took them by private jet to Sacramento at taxpayer expense, California officials said on Monday after another flight arrived at a local airport.
California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, on Monday branded his rightwing Republican Florida counterpart, Ron DeSantis, a “small, pathetic man”, and appeared to threaten kidnapping charges after the first incident in which a group of migrants was dumped at a Sacramento church.
Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general, said in a statement that 16 South Americans abandoned outside the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento on Friday were “in possession of documentation purporting to be from the state of Florida”, and may have been duped into boarding charter flights via New Mexico after entering the US in Texas. On Monday morning, a second flight of 20 migrants arrived in the state’s capital. ...
Newsom, in a tweet posted Monday lunchtime directed at DeSantis, said: “You small, pathetic man. This isn’t Martha’s Vineyard. Kidnapping charges?” and linked to a section of California’s penal code stating anybody who “abducts or takes by force or fraud” a person found within the state “is guilty of kidnapping”.
Bonta, meanwhile, also said Florida was guilty of “state-sanctioned kidnapping” if it was found to be behind the flights. He told the New York Times the migrants showed documents to California authorities that indicated their travel had been administered by the Florida division of emergency management and its contractor, Vertol Systems Company. Vertol Systems is the same contractor hired last year by Florida’s department of emergency management to move migrants from Texas to Massachusetts for $1.6m.
Sailors testing the waters during the Ocean Race, which travels through some of the world’s most remote ocean environments, have found microplastics in every sample.
Up to 1,884 microplastic particles were found per cubic metre of seawater in some locations, up to 18 times higher than in similar tests during the last Ocean Race, which ended in 2018. Scientists noted that the sensitivity of their instruments is now higher.
“It’s really concerning that we are finding microplastics in every sample, from coastal areas to the most remote regions of the ocean,” said Victoria Fulfer, a visiting scientist from the University of Rhode Island at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in the UK. “We are seeing much higher concentrations this year, which can be a sign of increased pollution, but also is related to the increased sensitivity of our analysis.”
The samples were collected during the initial legs of the race, which started in January and finishes in July, passing through the South Atlantic Ocean near a location considered to be the farthest from land anywhere on Earth.
The 45 samples collected from leg two, running from Cabo Verde to South Africa, showed microplastic concentrations from 92-1,884, while in leg three – between Cape Town and Itajaí, Brazil – the concentrations ranged from 160-1,492 per cubic metre.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a call from several fossil fuel companies to hear their challenge to a lower court ruling handed down a year ago, which prohibited fracking in federal waters off the coast of California.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last June upheld a decision to bar the issuing of permits for offshore fracking, finding that the U.S. Department of the Interior had violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act when it allowed fracking in offshore gas and oil wells in the Pacific.
In the original case, the ruling was the result of three separate lawsuits filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Wishtoyo Foundation, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, and the state of California, challenging the federal government.
Earlier this year, fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil and DCOR, LLC were joined by the American Petroleum Institute in intervening in the case, filing a petition for certiorari in an effort to overturn the 9th Circuit ruling.
From owls to hedgehogs to fungi, genetic material from plants and animals is being inadvertently hoovered up by air-quality monitoring stations around the world, creating an untapped “vault of biodiversity data”, according to a new scientific paper.
Globally, thousands of air filters are continually testing for heavy metals and other pollutants in the atmosphere. Scientists are now realising that this monitoring network is also picking up invisible traces of genetic material known as airborne environmental DNA (eDNA) from bits of hair, feathers, saliva and pollen.
Testing eDNA from two UK air-quality stations – one in a London park and another in a rural location outside Edinburgh – revealed the presence of more than 180 fungi, insects, mammals, birds and amphibians, including badgers, dormice, little owls, hedgehogs and smooth newts. Plant eDNA was also collected, including yarrow, daisies, nettles, wheat, soya beans and cabbages.
The data can tell scientists which animals live nearby, and could become an important tool in monitoring declines in biodiversity by amassing large amounts of local data over long periods of time.
“This infrastructure may represent a tremendous opportunity to collect high-resolution biodiversity data on national scales,” researchers wrote in the paper published in Current Biology. “This is gamechanging for our approach to biodiversity monitoring on land.”
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Gene Burks - You Got It
Gene Burks - You Don't Love Me
Gene Burks - Shirley Jean
Gene Burks - Can't Stand Your Fooling Around
Little Junior Lewis - Can She Give Me Fever
Little Junior Lewis - Your Heart Must Be Made Of Stone
Little Junior Lewis - [You're Just My Speed] and That's All I Need
Little Junior Lewis - Half a Heart
Junior Lewis - Too Bad
Junior Lewis - Hear What I Say