The Evening Blues - 9-22-23
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features blues rock outfit Pat Boyack & The Prowlers. Enjoy!
Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - For You My Love
"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism."
-- George Washington
News and Opinion
Heh, well, if they want to stop defense spending, more power to 'em!
The House Republican speaker, Kevin McCarthy, was dealt his second humiliating defeat of the week on Thursday, when his conference again failed to approve a procedural motion as members continued to clash over government spending levels with just days left to avert a federal shutdown. With no clear path forward in Republicans’ negotiations, the House concluded its work on Thursday without any stated plan to reconvene on Friday. ...
A proposal to take up House Republicans’ defense spending bill failed in a vote of 216 to 212, with five hard-right members joining Democrats in opposing the motion. The vote marked the second time this week that the motion had failed, after members of the House Freedom caucus first blocked the bill on Tuesday.
The defeat was interpreted as a dismal sign for House Republicans’ prospects of approving a separate stopgap spending bill before government funding runs out at the end of the month.
Leaving the floor on Thursday, McCarthy voiced exasperation with his critics within the Republican conference. “I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate,” McCarthy told reporters. “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down. That doesn’t work.” ...
Given that the defense spending bill is usually one of the least contentious spending measures in the House, the second failed vote spelled major trouble for the spending talks. If no agreement is reached on a series of funding bills, the federal government will shutter on 30 September. In the event of a shutdown, starting 1 October, hundreds of thousands of federal workers would likely go without pay and key healthcare and other public programs would be affected.
Silicon Valley, mass media and British government doing everything they can to delegitimize allegations against Russell Brand
Silicon Valley, the mass media and the British government seem to be doing everything they can to delegitimize the very serious allegations against Russell Brand by making it abundantly clear to everyone that what they actually care about is his online content, not his accusers. The Google-owned platform YouTube has demonetized Brand’s account, empire propagandists like James Ball of “The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride” fame are writing screeds attacking Brand’s content, and a British MP with ties to the British army’s psychological warfare division has been writing letters to other social media platforms demanding that Brand be demonetized.
With the below letter to TikTok from the UK Parliament, they sent a similar letter to Rumble, demanding that Rumble deplatform and demonitize Russell Brand - a citizen who has not been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 20, 2023
I wasn’t even going to weigh in on this controversy. But I also wasn’t expecting the media, government officials and Google to openly advertise the fact that they care solely about removing Brand’s content from the internet, not about helping his accusers.
At least empire propagandists are being open and honest about the fact that Russell Brand's *content* is the reason they're glad he was demonetized by YouTube, not the sexual assault allegations against him. https://t.co/xStbyKnfUT
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) September 19, 2023
Volodymyr Zelenskiy is finding his latest visit to Washington a much tougher occasion than the hero’s welcome he was given nine months ago. Zelenskiy was given a standing ovation when he delivered an address to a joint sitting of Congress in December. This time, he addressed the Senate in a closed session, but House Republicans turned down a request to address both chambers again. They are also reported to have turned down an administration briefing on Ukraine.
Zelenskiy arrived on Capitol Hill in the midst of a bitter spending battle that could trigger a government shutdown, and he faced difficult conversations when he met congressional leaders behind closed doors. Republicans have proposed a stopgap bill that does not include funding for Ukraine, an omission that the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, called “an insult to Ukraine and a gift to Putin”.
The Republican leadership in the Senate is broadly pro-Ukrainian, but the party is more divided in the House, where the speaker, Kevin McCarthy, faces a restive group on the right hostile to military support for Kyiv. McCarthy made clear to his party that he would approach Biden’s pending request for an additional $24bn in support for Ukraine with considerable scepticism.
“Is Zelenskiy elected to Congress? Is he our president? I don’t think I have to commit anything and I think I have questions for him,” McCarthy told ABC News. “Where’s the accountability on the money we’ve already spent? What is the plan for victory? I think that’s what the American public wants to know,” McCarthy added.
America's old people might not get their Social Security checks, but Ukraine will keep getting its welfare.
The Pentagon will exempt its operations supporting Ukraine in the war against Russia from a government shutdown that will happen if Congress fails to pass a funding bill by September 30.
During government shutdowns, the US military typically suspends activities that are deemed not vital to US national security. But Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood told POLITICO on Thursday that US support for Ukraine would not be suspended.
“Operation Atlantic Resolve is an excepted activity under a government lapse in appropriations,” Sherwood said, using the name for US military activities in Europe that have come in response to events in Ukraine since 2014, the year a US-backed coup in Kyiv led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the civil war in Ukraine’s Donbas region.
Russia has temporarily banned exports of petrol and diesel to all countries outside a circle of four ex-Soviet states with immediate effect, in order to stabilise the domestic market. “Temporary restrictions will help saturate the fuel market, which in turn will reduce prices for consumers,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
The energy ministry said the measure would prevent unauthorised “grey” exports of motor fuels. Diesel prices in Europe jumped 5% to more than $1,000 a tonne in response.
In recent months Russia has suffered shortages of petrol and diesel. Wholesale fuel prices have spiked, although retail prices are capped to try to curb them in line with official inflation. Brent crude prices are approaching $100 a barrel, and rose 1% to $94 on Thursday.
Jair Bolsonaro’s former secretary has reportedly told investigators his ex-boss met the heads of Brazil’s army, navy and air force late last year to discuss a “putschist plan” for a military coup. The claims – reported by two of Brazil’s most important news outlets, O Globo and UOL – prompted calls for the alleged rightwing conspirators to be brought to justice. ...
The news website UOL reported that Bolsonaro’s former aide-de-camp, Lt Col Mauro Cid, had told federal police that one such scheme was brought to Bolsonaro after he lost the election to his leftwing rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The draft document, reportedly shown to Bolsonaro by a former foreign policy adviser called Filipe Martins, allegedly outlined plans to call fresh elections and for political rivals to be arrested. Martins and Bolsonaro reportedly held a “secret meeting” on 18 December 2022.
Cid, who cut a plea deal with police after being arrested in May, reportedly told investigators that Bolsonaro had subsequently floated that plan during a meeting with the military top brass. Bolsonaro’s former aide told police the then commander of the navy, Adm Almir Garnier, voiced support for the “putschist plan”, according to both O Globo and UOL. However, the head of the army high command rejected the idea.
The television network CNN Brasil, which also reported the allegations, said Cid had told investigators the navy commander had advised Bolsonaro “his troops were ready to act [and were] only awaiting his order”.
Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chair of Fox and News Corp – ending a seven-decade run as one of the world’s most transformative and controversial media moguls.
In a note to staff first reported in the Murdoch-controlled Wall Street Journal, he wrote: “For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change. But the time is right for me to take on different roles.”
Murdoch, 92, will become chairman emeritus of the two corporations, the company said in a release.
Lachlan Murdoch, Murdoch’s eldest son, now seems to be his successor.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) looks set to escalate strike actions against US car plants on Friday as the union struggles to reach a deal with the automakers General Motors, Stellantis and Ford.
The UAW president, Shawn Fain, announced last week that the union would launch a series of “stand up” strikes at individual car plants after failing to reach agreement over a new union contract with the car companies.
“If we don’t make serious progress by noon on Friday, September 22nd, more locals will be called on to stand up and join the strike,” Fain said this week. “Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the big three. We’re not waiting around and we’re not messing around, so noon on September 22nd is a new deadline.”
In the aftermath of the Flint water crisis, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2016 established a new lead contamination response system that regulators claimed would help prevent a repeat of the deadly catastrophe. But that newly implemented policy was ignored by EPA staff starting in 2018 as residents in Benton Harbor, Michigan, for three years drank water poisoned with astronomical levels of lead in some cases far above what was found in Flint, federal investigators charge.
In a new audit of the agency’s Benton Harbor response, the EPA office of inspector general criticized EPA staff for not alerting senior leadership to the unfolding crisis, as the policy recommends. Sounding the alarm might have resulted in a swifter response – instead, the water remained contaminated as state regulators attempted fixes that failed for three years.
“After Flint, everyone said ‘Never again’, and yet 175 miles from Flint, it happened again, and for a longer period of time,” said Cyndi Roper, senior policy advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Benton Harbor is an impoverished community with approximately 9,000 residents, about 87% of whom are Black. The city’s median income is about $24,000, and regulators’ slow response is viewed as a clear environmental injustice by many public health advocates. ... Residents reported that tap water was the color of tea and “sizzling like Alka-Seltzer”, but they were not given clean water or advised on how to avoid the dangers until 2021.
Environmental regulators with Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration first tried in 2018 to lower the amount of lead leaching into drinking water by tweaking chemicals that control corrosion. But that failed as staff in the EPA’s region five office monitored the state and local response, the inspector general audit found. The situation met four out of five criteria for alerting senior leadership, as recommended by the “Policy on Elevation of Critical Public Health Issues’’, but staff did not “elevate” it. Though the system is voluntary, clear evidence of highly contaminated water should have prompted staff to act, the audit found.
Duh! Boy the elites are slow on the uptake (or dumb like a fox).
Fossil fuel companies should not be included in the Cop28 climate summit if they continue to block climate action, the UN’s former climate chief told reporters on Thursday. “If they are going to be there only to be obstructors, and only to put spanners into the system, they should not be there,” said Christiana Figueres, who was pivotal to the delivery of the landmark Paris climate agreement in 2015.
Figueres made the statement a day after global leaders from more than 100 national governments gathered for the United Nations’ climate ambition summit to outline new plans to curb global heating and adapt to its effects, in preparation for this fall’s Cop28. The remarks came as part of an interview with the NBC News anchor Zinhle Essamuah at a conference at Columbia Journalism School in New York City convened by the global journalism collaboration Covering Climate Now and its partners, including the Guardian.
Figueres for years argued that oil and gas companies should have a seat at the table in climate policymaking discussions, but in June wrote an op-ed in Al Jazeera entitled: “I thought fossil fuel firms could change. I was wrong.”
“My patience ran out, and I say that with sadness,” Figueres said on Thursday about her change of heart. In recent years, she noted, oil companies have rolled back their climate pledges and continually lobbied against climate regulations, while reaping record profits and “paying dividends” to their shareholders.
“They could have an amazing impact on accelerating decarbonization, but they’ve decided not to do it.”
Brazil’s supreme court has blocked efforts to dramatically strip back Indigenous land rights in what activists called a historic victory for the South American country’s original inhabitants. Nine of the court’s 11 members voted against what rights groups had dubbed the “time limit trick” – an agribusiness-backed attempt to prevent Indigenous communities claiming land they did not physically occupy in 1988. ...
Only two supreme court justices voted in favour of the “marco temporal” (time marker) thesis restricting Indigenous land claims: Kassio Nunes Marques and André Mendonça. Both men were appointed to the supreme court by the former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who activists accused of unleashing a historic assault on Indigenous territories by dismantling protection agencies and with his anti-Indigenous and anti-environmental rhetoric. Before joining the court, Mendonça was Bolsonaro’s justice minister.
Ahead of Thursday’s decisive hearing, activists had warned the “time limit trick” could scupper scores of legitimate claims for the delimitation of Indigenous lands, from groups who had already been evicted from their ancestral lands or whose presence had yet to be recognized at the cut-off date. Many Indigenous groups were driven from their ancestral lands during Brazil’s 21-year military dictatorship which ended in 1985.
Casting her vote against a thesis a majority of justices decided was unconstitutional, judge Cármen Lúcia Antunes Rocha said: “We are caring for the ethnic dignity of a people who have been decimated and oppressed during five centuries of history.”
Brazilian society had “an unpayable debt” to the country’s native peoples, Rocha said.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - Operator
Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - I Know It's Over
Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - Lover's Rhumba
Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - Goin' To Chicago
Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - Look at Me, Look at You
Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - Mr. Moondog Man
Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - She Did The Do
Pat Boyack & the Prowlers - Mexican Vodka
Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - Louisiana Love Shack
Pat Boyack, Bobby Counts & DB Denny - I'm A Hog For You