The Evening Blues - 9-29-23


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Matt "Guitar" Murphy

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues guitarist Matt "Guitar" Murphy. Enjoy!

Matt Murphy - Murphy's Boogie

"World dictatorship can be established only when the victory of socialism has been achieved in certain countries or groups of countries ... [and] when these federation of republics have finally grown into a world union of Soviet Socialist Republics uniting the whole of mankind under the hegemony of the international proletariat organized as a state."

-- Joseph Stalin

News and Opinion

A Global Call for Peace in Ukraine Emerges at UN General Assembly

As it did last year, the 2023 United Nations General Assembly has been debating what role the United Nations and its members should play in the crisis in Ukraine. The United States and its allies still insist that the UN Charter requires countries to take Ukraine’s side in the conflict, “for as long as it takes” to restore Ukraine’s pre-2014 internationally recognized borders.

They claim to be enforcing Article 2:4 of the UN Charter that states “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

By their reasoning, Russia violated Article 2:4 by invading Ukraine, and that makes any compromise or negotiated settlement unconscionable, regardless of the consequences of prolonging the war.

Other countries have called for a peaceful diplomatic resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, based on the preceding article of the UN Charter, Article 2:3: “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”

They also refer to the purposes of the UN, defined in Article 1:1, which include the “settlement of international disputes” by “peaceful means,” and they point to the dangers of escalation and nuclear war as an imperative for diplomacy to quickly end this war.

As the Amir of Qatar told the Assembly, “A long-term truce has become the most looked-for aspiration by people in Europe and all over the world. We call on all parties to comply with the UN Charter and international law and resort to a radical peaceful solution based on these principles.”

This year, the General Assembly has also been focused on other facets of a world in crisis: the failure to tackle the climate catastrophe; the lack of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals that countries agreed to in 2000; a neocolonial economic system that still divides the world into rich and poor; and the desperate need for structural reform of a UN Security Council that has failed in its basic responsibility to keep the peace and prevent war.

One speaker after another highlighted the persistent problems related to U.S. and Western abuses of power: the occupation of Palestine; cruel, illegal U.S. sanctions against Cuba and many other countries; Western exploitation of Africa that has evolved from slavery to debt servitude and neocolonialism; and a global financial system that exacerbates extreme inequalities of wealth and power across the world.

Brazil, by tradition, gives the first speech at the General Assembly, and President Lula da Silva spoke eloquently about the crises facing the UN and the world. On Ukraine, he said,

The war in Ukraine exposes our collective inability to enforce the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We do not underestimate the difficulties in achieving peace. But no solution will be lasting if it is not based on dialogue. I have reiterated that work needs to be done to create space for negotiations… The UN was born to be the home of understanding and dialogue. The international community must choose. On one hand, there is the expansion of conflicts, the furthering of inequalities and the erosion of the rule of law. On the other, the renewing of multilateral institutions dedicated to promoting peace.

After a bumbling, incoherent speech by President Biden, Latin America again took the stage in the person of President Gustavo Petro of Colombia:

While the minutes that define life or death on our planet are ticking on, rather than halting this march of time and talking about how to defend life for the future, thanks to deepening knowledge, expand it to the universe, we decided to waste time killing each other. We are not thinking about how to expand life to the stars, but rather how to end life on our own planet. We have devoted ourselves to war. We have been called to war. Latin America has been called upon to produce war machines, men, to go to the killing fields.

They’re forgetting that our countries have been invaded several times by the very same people who are now talking about combatting invasions. They’re forgetting that they invaded Iraq, Syria and Libya for oil. They’re forgetting that the same reasons they use to defend Zelenskyy are the very reasons that should be used to defend Palestine. They forget that to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, we must end all wars.

But they’re helping to wage one war in particular, because world powers see this suiting themselves in their game of thrones, in their hunger games and they’re forgetting to bring an end to the other war because, for these powers, this did not suit them. What is the difference between Ukraine and Palestine, I ask? Is it not time to bring an end to both wars, and other wars too, and make the most of the short time we have to build paths to save life on the planet?

…I propose that the United Nations, as soon as possible, should hold two peace conferences, one on Ukraine, the other on Palestine, not because there are no other wars in the world—there are in my country—but because this would guide the way to making peace in all regions of the planet, because both of these, by themselves, could bring an end to hypocrisy as a political practice, because we could be sincere, a virtue without which we cannot be warriors for life itself.

Petro was not the only leader who upheld the value of sincerity and assailed the hypocrisy of Western diplomacy. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines cut to the chase:

Let us clear certain ideational cobwebs from our brains. It is, for example, wholly unhelpful to frame the central contradictions of our troubled times as revolving around a struggle between democracies and autocracies. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a strong liberal democracy, rejects this wrong-headed thesis. It is evident to all right-thinking persons, devoid of self-serving hypocrisy, that the struggle today between the dominant powers is centered upon the control, ownership, and distribution of the world’s resources.

On the war in Ukraine, Gonsalves was equally blunt. “...War and conflict rage senselessly across the globe; in at least one case, Ukraine, the principal adversaries — the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Russia — may unwittingly open the gates to a nuclear Armageddon… Russia, NATO, and Ukraine should embrace peace, not war and conflict, even if peace has to rest upon a mutually agreed, settled condition of dissatisfaction.”

The Western position on Ukraine was also on full display. However, at least three NATO members (Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain) coupled their denunciations of Russian aggression with pleas for peace. Katalin Novak, the President of Hungary, said,

…We want peace, in our country, in Ukraine, in Europe, in the world. Peace and the security that comes with it. There is no alternative to peace. The killing, the terrible destruction, must stop as soon as possible. War is never the solution. We know that peace is only realistically attainable when at least one side sees the time for negotiations as having come. We cannot decide for Ukrainians about how much they are prepared to sacrifice, but we have a duty to represent our own nation's desire for peace. And we must do all we can to avoid an escalation of the war.

Even with wars, drought, debt and poverty afflicting their own continent, at least 17 African leaders took time during their General Assembly speeches to call for peace in Ukraine. Some voiced their support for the African Peace Initiative, while others contrasted the West’s commitments and expenditures for the war in Ukraine with its endemic neglect of Africa’s problems. President Joao Lourenço of Angola clearly explained why, as Africa rises up to reject neocolonialism and build its own future, peace in Ukraine remains a vital interest for Africa and people everywhere:

In Europe, the war between Russia and Ukraine deserves our full attention to the urgent need to put an immediate end to it, given the levels of human and material destruction there, the risk of an escalation into a major conflict on a global scale and the impact of its harmful effects on energy and food security. All the evidence tells us that it is unlikely that there will be winners and losers on the battlefield, which is why the parties involved should be encouraged to prioritize dialogue and diplomacy as soon as possible, to establish a ceasefire and to negotiate a lasting peace not only for the warring countries, but which will guarantee Europe's security and contribute to world peace and security.

Altogether, leaders from at least 50 countries spoke up for peace in Ukraine at the 2023 UN General Assembly. In his closing statement, Dennis Francis, the Trinidadian president of this year’s UN General Assembly, noted,

Of the topics raised during the High-Level Week, few were as frequent, consistent, or as charged as that of the Ukraine War. The international community is clear that political independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity must be respected, and violence must end.

You can find all 50 statements at this link on the CODEPINK website:

NYT Ukr No Gains, Budanov: Continuing on Foot; German MSM: Rus Army Stronger

People Are Dying For Inches In Ukraine, The “World’s Largest Arms Fair”

There’s a heartbreaking graphic going around right now showing the almost microscopic changes that have occurred to the frontline of the war in Ukraine this year despite nonstop death and destruction of unfathomable horror the entire time. 

The graphic comes from a New York Times article titled “Who’s Gaining Ground in Ukraine? This Year, No One.”, which eventually gets around to acknowledging that Russia has actually gained more ground than Ukraine in 2023 despite Kyiv’s much-hyped counteroffensive which began in June.

“When both sides’ gains are added up, Russia now controls nearly 200 square miles more territory in Ukraine compared with the start of the year,” the Times reports.

As Left I on the News noted on Twitter, this contradicts the titular claim in another New York Times article published last week under the headline “Ukraine Has Gained Ground. But It Has Much Further To Go.

The reason the map of gains and losses is so heartbreaking is because so much has been given up for so very, very little. At least tens of thousands have died in this war with hundreds of thousands wounded, all for those teeny, tiny little blips on the map. Ukraine is now freckled with more landmines than anywhere else on earth, which experts say will take decades to clear. This giant deathtrap is exacerbated by the cluster munitions that are covering the land with greater and greater frequency, which will go on to detonate and kill civilians (mostly children) for years to come. The mines and artillery fire on the frontline of this war are reportedly creating tens of thousands of amputees, numbers comparable to what was seen in World War I.

And all for what? Essentially nothing. A few inches gained here, a few inches lost there. The meaninglessness of it all is probably one of the reasons why military-aged Ukrainian men have been fleeing and attempting to flee the nation in droves to avoid conscription.

War is the worst thing in the world. The suffering, trauma and loss of mass military violence is too much to comprehend, even for people who are right there experiencing it. And the only thing worse than a war where one side gets completely steamrolled by the other is one in which people keep killing each other and killing each other over tiny gains and losses on the battlefield without an end to the nightmare anywhere on the horizon.

And now we see western officials and media outlets telling us all to prepare for this war to drag on for years, potentially into the 2030s. This nonsensical violence, which even the head of NATO now admits could have been avoided by simply ceasing to amass a western military threat on Russia’s doorstep, is scheduled to drag on as long as possible for no grander reason than the advancement of US strategic interests.

This news from The New York Times comes out at the same time as a Wall Street Journal article titled “The War in Ukraine Is Also a Giant Arms Fair,” subtitled “Arms makers are getting orders for weapons being put to the test on the battlefield.”

“The Panzerhaubitze howitzer is part of an arsenal of weapons being put to the test in Ukraine in what has become the world’s largest arms fair,” writes WSJ’s Alistair MacDonald. “Companies that make the weapons being used in Ukraine have won orders and resurrected production lines. The deployment of billions of dollars worth of equipment in a major land war has also given manufacturers and militaries a unique opportunity to analyze the battlefield performance of weapons, and learn how best to use them.”

This is one of those things that just sounds a bit uncomfortable at first, but if you really sit with the words and deeply contemplate what’s being said here it will show up as so deeply evil it will give you nightmares. The fact that weapons systems are being tested on human bodies to the immense benefit of war profiteers over a completely avoidable and deliberately provoked war is one of the most depraved things you can possibly imagine, and is a clear sign that we are living in a profoundly sick society.

This is so, so ugly, and it’s slated to get even uglier — these freaks haven’t even gotten started on China yet. The sooner this monstrous power structure can be brought to its knees, the better it will be for everyone.

Greenpeace curries the favor of the U.S. mic:

Greenpeace warns over safety of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

International regulators are incapable of properly monitoring safety at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, according to a critical dossier compiled by Greenpeace that is being sent to western governments on Thursday.

The environmental campaign group concludes the International Atomic Energy Agency has too few inspectors at Europe’s biggest nuclear plant – four – and that there are too many restrictions placed on their access.

It argues that the IAEA is “unable to meet its mandate requirements” but it is not prepared to admit as much in public, and as a result what it describes as Russian violations of safety principles are not being called out.

Shaun Burnie and Jan Vande Putte, nuclear specialists at Greenpeace, conclude: “The IAEA risks normalising what remains a dangerous nuclear crisis, unprecedented in the history of nuclear power, while exaggerating its actual influence on events on the ground.”

EU threatens sales bans to block use of western parts in Russian drones

Brussels has warned European companies and governments that it could ban the sale of certain components to Turkey and other countries from where Iran and Russia are sourcing parts for drones and other weapons striking Ukrainian cities.

The comments from the European Commission follows a leak to the Guardian of a 47-page document in which the Ukrainian government detailed the use of western technology and appealed for long-range missiles to attack drone production sites in Russia, Iran and Syria.

The Ukrainian paper, submitted to the G7 governments in August, claimed there had been 600 raids on cities using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) containing western technology in the previous three months.

Five European companies including a Polish subsidiary of a British multinational were named as the original manufacturers of the identified components. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by the western companies whose parts were identified. “Iranian UAV production has adapted and mostly uses available commercial components, the supply of which is poorly or not controlled at all,” the paper said.

Customs information was said to show that “almost all the imports to Iran originated from Turkey, India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Costa Rica”.

Rand Paul: Withdraw Ukraine money if you want to avoid shutdown

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) reiterated his threat Thursday to hold up a Senate government funding bill because it includes more than $6 billion in funding for Ukraine.

Paul wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that he would only allow a vote on the spending stopgap before the Sept. 30 deadline for funding government if Senate leaders pull out the money for Ukraine.

“To avoid a government shutdown, I will consent to an expedited vote on a clean CR without Ukraine aid on it. If leadership insists on funding another country’s government at the expense of our own government, all blame rests with their intransigence,” he wrote.

Nazi Veteran Honored in Canada Was Part of Wave of Collaborators Harbored in West

Pot. Kettle. Black.

China’s manipulation of media threatens global freedoms, says US report

China is manipulating global media through censorship, data harvesting and covert purchases of foreign news outlets, according to a new report from the US state department, which warned the trend could lead to a “sharp contraction” of global freedom of expression.

The report released on Thursday found that Beijing had spent billions of dollars annually on information manipulation efforts, including by acquiring stakes in foreign media through “public and non-public means”, sponsoring online influencers and securing distribution agreements that promote unlabelled Chinese government content. ...

Citing public reports and “newly acquired government information”, the state department’s global engagement center said that Beijing had created its own information ecosystem by co-opting foreign political elites and journalists. It had also invested in satellite networks and digital television services in developing regions that prioritise Chinese state-backed media content.

Chinese data harvesting overseas “has enabled Beijing to fine-tune global censorship by targeting specific individuals and organisations”, it said.

Fearing Ethnic Cleansing, 90,000 Armenians Flee Nagorno-Karabakh After Azerbaijan Military Blitz

Nagorno-Karabakh’s breakaway government says it will dissolve itself

The breakaway government of Nagorno-Karabakh has announced it will dissolve itself and that the unrecognised republic will cease to exist by 2024, formally ending more than 30 years of separatist rule.

The president of Armenia’s self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Samvel Shahramanyan, signed a decree to dissolve all state institutions by 1 January 2024, Karabakh Armenian authorities said in a statement. The republic would cease to exist from that day, the decree said.

More than half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population has fled to Armenia in what the country has described as “ethnic cleansing” after a 24-hour blitz last week by Azerbaijan to reclaim full control over the breakaway region.

The decree also said the local population must “familiarise themselves with the conditions of reintegration presented by the Republic of Azerbaijan” and make “an independent and individual decision” on whether to stay or leave the region. ...

Nagorno-Karabakh, which declared independence in 1991, was run by ethnic Armenian authorities for about 30 years.

SHUTDOWN: McCarthy VS. Gaetz Feud Heats Up, House GOP Rolls Out Short-term Spending Bill

US shutdown moves ever closer as McCarthy digs in over stopgap deal

A government shutdown appeared all but inevitable as the House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, dug in on Thursday, vowing he will not take up Senate legislation designed to keep the federal government fully running despite House Republicans’ struggle to unite around an alternative. Congress is at an impasse just days before a disruptive federal shutdown that would halt paychecks for many of the federal government’s roughly 2 million employees, as well as 2 million active-duty military troops and reservists, furlough many of those workers and curtail government services.

But the House and Senate are pursuing different paths to avert those consequences, even though time is running out before government funding expires after midnight on Saturday.

The Senate is working toward passage of a bipartisan measure that would fund the government until 17 November as longer-term negotiations continue, while also providing $6bn for Ukraine and $6bn for US disaster relief.

The House, meanwhile, has teed up votes on four of the dozen annual spending bills that fund various agencies in hopes that would cajole enough Republicans to support a House-crafted continuing resolution that temporarily funds the government and boosts security at the US border with Mexico. It’s a long shot, but McCarthy predicted a deal.

“Put your money on me; we’re going to get this done,” he said in a CNBC interview. “I think we can work through the weekend. I think we can figure this out.”

Billionaires Have Gotten $2.2 Trillion Richer Since Trump-GOP Tax Cuts: Analysis

U.S. billionaires have seen their collective fortunes surge by more than $2 trillion since the enactment of the 2017 Trump-GOP tax cuts, according to a new analysis released Thursday as Republicans work to extend the law's expiring provisions.

Using Forbes wealth data, the progressive advocacy group Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) calculated that the combined wealth of the nation's 748 billionaires exceeded $5 trillion this month—up 77%, or $2.2 trillion, since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect in 2017.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk saw the biggest wealth increase of all U.S. billionaires, surging from $20.4 billion in December 2017 to nearly $270 billion in September 2023—a 1,222.8% boost.

Amazon executive chairman Jeff Bezos, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also enjoyed massive net worth spikes.

"The staggering runup of billionaire wealth since the passage of the Trump-GOP tax law is a sure indicator of who that law was meant to serve—and who it would go on serving if Republicans succeed in their plan to make its expiring provisions permanent," said David Kass, ATF's executive director. "Instead of extending tax breaks for billionaires, Congress should be working to better tax them through President Biden's Billionaire Minimum Income Tax and other reforms in how we tax the super-wealthy."

Three officers placed on leave after Louisiana police abuse allegations

Three Baton Rogue, Louisiana, police officers are on administrative leave after a series of federal lawsuits exposing the abuse and sexual humiliation taking place at an unmarked torture warehouse known as the “Brave Cave” that was operated by members of the Baton Rouge police department (BRPD).

Baton Rouge’s police chief, Murphy Paul, told city councilors on Wednesday night that the department would hold itself accountable as the FBI investigates alleged civil rights violations at the agency stemming from the “allegations that members of the department may have abused their authority”.

Paul noted during the meeting that the Brave Cave, which had been used to process “prisoners” after an arrest, had received nine complaints, four of which resulted in criminal investigations, the Advocate reported.

The alleged abuse by the Street Crimes unit at what was known as the narcotics processing facility echoed past incidents of police misconduct and abuse at off-site facilities. Those facilities include Homan Square in Chicago, where police officers detained thousands of people, most of whom were Black, at a warehouse on the city’s west side. ...

Not long after the abuse allegations surfaced in lawsuits, Baton Rouge’s mayor, Sharon Weston Broome, disbanded the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (Brave) unit and the city’s police department reassigned its officers. The BRPD also “permanently closed” its warehouse facility.

the horse race

RFK Jr. Teases Party Switch To Run As A Libertarian!

Biden warns voters a second Trump presidency will threaten democracy

Joe Biden dramatically raised the ante in the forthcoming US presidential election campaign on Thursday with a stark and impassioned warning that American democracy is imperiled by a vengeful Donald Trump, his likely opponent next year.

Faced by stagnant approval ratings and worries about his advanced age, the US president attempted to stir his dormant supporters and animate the undecided by spelling out the dangers he insisted a second Trump presidency would pose to the US’s status as the world’s leading beacon of democratic government.

Declaring US history at “an inflexion point”, Biden, 80, said the country’s character and future was threatened by the authoritarian values of Trump’s self-styled Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement. “There is something dangerous happening in America,” he told an audience in Phoenix, Arizona. “There is an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs of our democracy: the MAGA movement … History has brought us to a new time of testing. ...

Referring to Trump by name just once in his half-hour speech, Biden nevertheless set out to contrast democratic norms and traditions with conduct that appeared to characterize his predecessor. Democracy, he said, “means rule of the people, not rule of the monarchy, not rule of money, not rule of the mighty." ...

Biden has reportedly been regularly portraying Trump as a threat to democracy to donors at events to raise funds for next year’s election. Thursday’s speech was the first time he had done so publicly since before last year’s congressional mid-term elections and indicated that he intended to make the theme a central presidential campaign issue.

MSM UNINTERESTED In Biden Impeachment Evidence Provided In GOP-led Hearing

Trump suing ex-MI6 officer who alleged he was ‘compromised’ by Russian security service

Donald Trump is suing a former MI6 officer and the intelligence consultancy he founded, high court records in England show. The former US president, who is mired in lawsuits in his own country, is bringing a data protection claim against Orbis Business Intelligence and its founder Christopher Steele, who previously ran the secret intelligence service’s Russia desk.

According to a court order published on Thursday, a two-day hearing for the legal action is set to start on 16 October , the PA news agency reported. No other details of the case have been made available and the current frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is not expected to attend.

Steele was the author of the so-called Steele dossier, which included allegations that Trump had been “compromised” by Russian security service the FSB. The dossier, which was leaked to the website BuzzFeed in 2017, also alleged that Vladimir Putin “supported and directed” an operation to “cultivate” Trump as a presidential candidate for “at least five years”. Trump denied the claims.

Senator Feinstein Dies At 90

the evening greens

Forever chemicals at former Nasa lab are leaking into LA River, say watchdogs

Two highly toxic chemicals polluting a former Nasa research site are also probably contaminating the Los Angeles River and aquifer from which the region’s agricultural growers draw their water, watchdog groups and a whistleblower charge. The Santa Susana field laboratory about 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles is already notorious for its radioactive waste, but the site, which is owned by the federal government and Boeing, is also now suspected of leaching polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) “forever chemicals” into the water.

Despite evidence of the pollution and pressure from environmental groups to act, state regulators have so far allowed Boeing to continue polluting without a cleanup or proper monitoring for the dangerous chemicals, say the groups.“California’s pollution control agencies are not just asleep at the switch but appear to be in a coma,” said Jeff Ruch, Pacific director of the non-profit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), which has filed a lawsuit over the site’s cleanup. ...

The PFAS and PCB pollution in the ground probably migrates into the Los Angeles River headwaters. Water from the aquifer below the site is used by farmers in Ventura county and is likely to be contaminating crops, Peer charges. ...

Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration and Boeing last year struck what Ruch characterized as a “sweetheart cleanup deal” that would only require the company to remove about 10% of the site’s contamination. It superseded a 2007 consent order with the state with more stringent monitoring requirements. The deal, which Ruch said was struck behind closed doors and largely remains shielded from the public, also does not require testing for PFAS or PCBs. Peer and other environmental groups are suing the state to open the full deal to scrutiny, and to force a stricter cleanup.

Big European insurers ‘underwrite 30% of US coal despite net zero pledges’

Lloyd’s of London and other big European insurers are underwriting almost a third of US coal production despite their net zero pledges, according to research, with the Lloyd’s insurance market emerging as the second-biggest player.

A report from the Insure Our Future campaign group found that Lloyd’s, Zurich and Swiss Re are among the top 10 insurers of the 25 biggest US coalmines, which produced more than 60% of the country’s output last year. They underwrite 13 mines producing 30.7% of US coal.

Coal is the largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions, and the US is the fourth largest producer of coal worldwide, last year mining 595m short tons – a measure commonly used in the US equal to 2,000 pounds (907.18 kg).

Even though 45 big global insurers have adopted policies limiting coal underwriting in recent years, the report found that some are exploiting loopholes or violating their own policies to continue insuring coalmines.

AIG is the biggest underwriter of US coal, insuring seven mines producing 167m short tons in 2022, 28.1% of national output. Lloyd’s of London comes second, with Lloyd’s insurers underwriting 10 mines producing 135m short tons, 22.8% of output.

Swiss glaciers lose 10% of their volume in two years

Swiss glaciers have lost 10% of their volume in just two years, a report has found.

Scientists have said climate breakdown caused by the burning of fossil fuels is the cause of unusually hot summers and winters with very low snow volume, which have caused the accelerating melts. The volume lost during the hot summers of 2022 and 2023 is the same as that lost between 1960 and 1990.

The analysis by the Swiss Academy of Sciences found 4% of Switzerland’s total glacier volume vanished this year, the second-biggest annual decline on record. The largest decline was in 2022, when there was a 6% drop, the biggest thaw since measurements began.

Experts have stopped measuring the ice on some glaciers as there is essentially none left.

‘I call it botanarchy’: The Hackney guerrilla gardener bringing power to the people

Anarchism gets a bad rep. In the popular imagination, anarchists dress in black, they smash windows and hurl firebombs at police. Or else, they are young social misfits with green hair and too many piercings. Often they are both. But what if anarchy could be beautiful, what if it could bring local communities together planting flowers in the streets? For Ellen Miles, the new doyenne of guerrilla gardening, it is. “I call it botanarchy,” she says.

With trowel in one hand and watering can in the other, Miles is inspiring young people to take up rakes and hoes, not to wave them at the gates of Downing Street, but to till the soil in the neglected flower beds and green patches of their streets and estates. And in so doing, she says, they are not just brightening up the concrete vistas of urban cityscapes, but beginning the essential adaptations industrialised societies need to make to preserve biodiversity and become more resilient to global heating – and all the while challenging the liberal capitalist state.

“Guerrilla gardening is the practice of planting in public spaces in your neighbourhood” she says on a humid summer afternoon, walking between outlaw flower beds in Hackney, east London. “And that’s how I define it … because, for me, it’s all about community ownership and belonging, and I think we have a right to cultivate these spaces in the areas we call home – and a responsibility to, as well. “So-called public spaces have been really privatised, and communities actually don’t get a chance to interact with them often. So I think we do have a right to do that in the places we put down our roots, where we live.”

But in order to enjoy that natural right, guerrilla gardeners upturn another right, one which has become foundational to western society: the right to property. “Some people don’t [realise], they are not really aware; but for me guerrilla gardening is the Trojan horse into anarchist ideals. “It’s wholesome, but that’s the thing: it’s not all about violence and hate, it can be wholesome. And it’s fundamentally about bringing people together to shape the places we live. We shouldn’t be prevented from improving our neighbourhoods by powers that don’t really live here or care.” ...

“I do think there is an issue in society at the moment with the lack of agency and autonomy for people,” she says. “Guerrilla gardening, even if it is just sowing something in a tree bed, it might not change the world – you might help some bees, you might bring joy to someone walking down the street – but you’re also reminding people, or awakening something that is like ‘Maybe this is how it should be.’

“We know now that we can’t trust the government to do this stuff. We have to take it into our own hands.”

The Hidden Life of Trees': How they communicate, nurture and even show tribal loyalty

Also of Interest

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

Canadian establishment doubles down on its efforts to “move on” from parliament's hailing of Ukrainian Nazi SS veteran

The News Has Nothing To Do With Newsworthiness

China's 'Shared Future'

Blinken Says China Threatens US-Led ‘Liberal World Order’

Patrick Lawrence: The Undiscovered Country

US Home Insurers Are Leaving Climate Risk Areas. We Need Affordable Housing Now

There’s a Trump Era/Charles Koch Big Law Firm Behind the Supreme Court Case that Hopes to Gut the Federal Agency that Fights for the Little Guy

UN Report Urges End to Forced US Prison Labor—a 'Contemporary Form of Slavery'

Roger Waters accused of repeated antisemitism in new documentary

‘We are just getting started’: the plastic-eating bacteria that could change the world

Trillion Dollar Aircraft ONLY FLIES 55% Of Time

Trudeau & Zelensky VICIOUSLY Heckled By Canadians

A Little Night Music

Matt Murphy - Big City Takedown

Memphis Slim & Matt Murphy - I'm lost without you

Matt Murphy - Taking Off

Billy Boy Arnold, Matt Guitar Murphy & Joe Louis Walker - Rebecca

Matt Murphy - The blues don't bother me

Matt ''Guitar'' Murphy ~ Born Under A Bad Sign & Going Down

The Blues Brothers - Shotgun Blues

Matt Murphy - Way Down South

The James Cotton Band w/ Matt 'Guitar' Murphy - N.Dartmouth, MA (February 25, 1973)

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

I met Senator Diane Feinstein once, in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She had just recently been assigned to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (in 2001), and it was in that capacity that she had a senior staffer from the committee ask me to come to Washington DC to brief her on Iraqi WMD and the allegations being made by the Bush administration that Iraq continued to possess them. We met in a secure conference room in the Capital building—me, the Senator, and a half dozen staffers and aides. It was a polite, professional affair, with the Senator asking questions and taking notes. Eventually she confronted me—“Your position is causing us some difficulty. You are making the US look bad in the eyes of the world.” I replied that my analysis and the underlying facts were rock solid, something she agreed with. I said that while I knew she couldn’t reveal sensitive intelligence, if she could look me in the eye and say she has seen unequivocal proof that Iraq retained WMD, I’d shut up and go away. She looked at her retinue, and then me. “I have seen no such intelligence,” she replied. She thanked me for the briefing, and said it provided her with “food for thought.”
On October 11, 2002, Senator Feinstein voted in favor of the resolution authorizing war with Iraq. Later, she said she had been misled by the Bush administration and bad intelligence.
I will forever know Senator Feinstein as someone who had been empowered by the truth, and lacked the moral courage to act on it. The blood of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis stains her soul. I hope when she stands in judgment before her maker, she is punished accordingly.

18 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!

Sima's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat
Thanks for sharing them. 'I will forever know Senator Feinstein as someone who had been empowered by the truth, and lacked the moral courage to act on it. The blood of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis stains her soul. I hope when she stands in judgment before her maker, she is punished accordingly.'

My husband and I were joking just before I read this. He asked, 'I wonder if Charon is going to take her across the river?' I said, 'Nope, he's going to giver her a high kick on the butt and boot her across.'

12 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

joe shikspack's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

thanks for ritter's commentary. sometimes i wonder, given the scale of some people's crimes, if there is a punishment on earth or in the afterlife that is adequate. then again, i suppose that is none of my business.

12 users have voted.
The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@joe shikspack

5 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!

not a bad day.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


indeed. the human race's misery just got a little bit smaller.

8 users have voted.
Dawn's Meta's picture

I often read that Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe. What does that really mean? France is the size of Oregon and Washington plus the six parts that stick out.

Ukraine is the size of Oregon, Washington and the northern quarter of California. That's it. How can we picture the amount of ammunition, bombs, tanks and other war stuff that have landed or been dragged into Ukraine. There must be no visible land left, as the carpet of war things must be thick indeed.

I stumbled on this interview with a surviver of Ruby Ridge in Idaho. This story is just beginning to see the true light of day. Sara Weaver is the daughter of the couple under siege in an off grid cabin. The fire power brought to this one house, lived in by one family is mind boggling.

Sara tells the story in a calm straightforward manner. The FBI, local law enforcement and other agencies look really bad. What is stunning is the tactics used then, are what we see today. So sad and so bad.

Thanks Joe for all you do.

13 users have voted.

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

joe shikspack's picture

@Dawn's Meta

thanks for the video, it sounds quite interesting.

have a great weekend!

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


More Pot. Kettle. Black.

By their reasoning, Russia violated Article 2:4 by invading Ukraine, and that makes any compromise or negotiated settlement unconscionable, regardless of the consequences of prolonging the war.

I can’t believe anyone would say that to a group of people who knows that NATO and especially America was much more guilty of doing just that. Obama used R2P to invade Libya and then turned around and armed the terrorists that were used to kill Gaddafi. And is right now occupying a 3rd of Syria and stealing its oil. Glad to see leaders pointing out the hypocrisy.

In case you haven’t heard NYC has received more than 5 inches of rain today and large parts of the city are under feets of water. The subway has been closed and the FDR bridge is a parking lot as are many main streets.

Lots of people posting about this are including headlines about Feinstein’s demise and posting the video of her grumpy response to the kids who asked her to stop climate change.

9 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


yeah, it's pretty obvious to an outsider, i.e. one of those countries that is not a contending global power, that the u.s. is guilty (maybe moreso) of all of the charges that it makes against russia and china. it's a bizarre comedy that is not really funny.

i saw some video footage of nyc, it looks pretty bad. i hope that their suits against the oil companies pay off.

10 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


of Feinstein being a total asshole to a group of kids who are worrying about climate change here it is.

B*tch says that she doesn’t respond to my way or the highway…..
I’m still holding my tongue on her death. For once.

5 users have voted.

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

enhydra lutris's picture

Have a great weekend, be well and have a good one.

5 users have voted.

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 --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

good to see you, have a great weekend!

5 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Hi all, Hey Joe!

Great Matt Murphy! He was awesome, what a player! That Wille Dixon Memphis Slim footage is outstanding! His Goin' Down was great too.

I guess investors 'pledging', isn't quite like a pledge of allegiance? I don't think pledge means what they think it means.

Gotta fly! Have a good one! Thanks for the great soundscapes!

5 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture


an investor's pledge is a statement of intent to profit from an unequal relationship.

have a great weekend!

6 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

Nowadays, when it comes to trying to comment in good faith on reality in the Middle East, if you’re not being called an antisemite by some people you obviously haven’t been paying attention…

Jewish settlers stole my house. It’s not my fault they’re Jewish (Mondoweiss)

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


you don't even have to be an anti-semite to be called an anti-semite, witness the case of jeremy corbyn.

10 users have voted.

@lotlizard IF Waters had not addressed the UN, and did not support Assange, this PR campaign would not exist.

10 users have voted.

to a most excellent article.

6 users have voted.
The Liberal Moonbat's picture

7 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is declared mentally ill for describing colors.

Yes Virginia, there is a Global Banking Conspiracy!