The Evening Blues - 1-10-20


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Snooks Eaglin

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features New Orleans blues musician Snooks Eaglin. Enjoy!

Snooks Eaglin - Dizzy Miss Lizzy

““A company of wolves, is better than a company of wolves in sheep's clothing.”

-- Anthony Liccione

News and Opinion

And the 2020 award for uselessness goes to congressional Democrats:

House Votes to Stop Trump From Attacking Iran

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a rare measure aimed at restricting President Donald Trump’s power to launch offensive military attacks against Iran. In the wake of the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani by U.S. drone last week, the House voted 224-194, largely along party lines, to pass the resolution, which directs Trump to terminate any unauthorized military hostilities against Tehran.

The Democrat-backed resolution was sponsored by Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D.-Mich, a former CIA analyst and national security official who specialized in Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.

But the resolution stops short of fully restraining Trump’s ability to strike Iran, carving out an exception for situations when military force is “necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent attack” on Americans.

Trump administration officials have repeatedly invoked the prospect of an “imminent threat” to justify Suleimani’s killing. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Sulemiani planned an attack that would put “dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk” and Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters earlier this week that it was “more fair to say” that the threat was “days” instead of weeks, away. On Thursday, Trump himself claimed that the Iranians were “looking to blow up our embassy” in Baghdad, but cited no facts to back up the assertion.

Democrats pass Pelosi’s phony antiwar resolution

The resolution adopted by the US House of Representatives Thursday evening, “directing” President Trump not to go to war with Iran without congressional approval, is a political fraud. It has two political purposes: to allow the Democratic Party to pretend it is opposed to war, without actually imposing the slightest restriction on the military actions of the Trump administration; and to cement the ties between the Democrats and large sections of the military-intelligence apparatus, who were clearly blindsided by Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian General Qassem Suleimani.

The impotent character of the House vote is demonstrated by the decision of the Democratic leadership to introduce it as a “concurrent resolution,” a designation generally reserved for empty formalities, statements of opinion by Congress that do not go to the president for his signature and therefore do not have the force of law.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, echoed by pro-Democratic media pundits, claimed that the Democrats would compel Trump to obtain congressional authorization before going to war, the resolution does no such thing. After passing the House by a near-party-line vote of 224-194, it goes to the Senate, where the Republicans have a 53-47 majority. If the Senate should approve it, the resolution would simply be published as a declaration of the wishes of Congress. For good reason, House Republicans sneered at the action as a vote on a “press release.” At her press conference Thursday before the vote, Pelosi claimed, “Today, to honor our duty to keep the American people safe, the House will move forward with a War Powers Resolution to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran.” She tried to make a virtue out of the nonbinding character of the resolution, saying: “This is a statement by the Congress of the United States. And I will not have that statement be diminished by whether the president will veto it or not.”

The remarks by Democratic representatives in the course of a nearly three-hour debate combined denunciations of General Suleimani, killed by the January 3 missile strike ordered by Trump, with demands that Congress be allowed to participate as a full partner in such homicidal decisions in the future. Michigan Democrat Dan Kildee summed up this view, declaring, “It’s not even a question as to whether or not there was justification to take out Mr. Suleimani, because clearly there was. But who gives the justification, who authorizes military action in this country?” They had no answer to the taunts of Republican speakers who noted that the Democrats had raised no such objections to the unilateral military actions of Democratic presidents, as when Barack Obama launched the war against Libya that ended in the murder of that country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, or interventions into Syria and Yemen, or the countless drone-missile killings during the eight years of his administration.

Trump Is a Reckless and Dangerous Warmonger, But Too Many Democrats Continue to Work Against Peace

The huge crisis with Iran is more dangerous because so many Democrats have been talking out of both sides of their congressional mouths. An example is the recent rhetoric from Sen. Chris Murphy. “The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable,” he tweeted on the last day of 2019. “Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us. America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away. What a disgrace.”

Fast forward one week: Murphy was on the Senate floor declaring “we can choose to get off of this path of escalation and make decisions that correct this president’s recklessness and keep Americans safe.”

On the same day, in Murphy’s home state, the Connecticut Mirror reported that he “has emerged as a leading critic of Trump administration hostility to Iran” and called him “the most vocal” Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “in criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike.”

It’s a partisan pattern that’s all too common among Democrats on Capitol Hil—goading Trump as a wimp and then bemoaning his aggressive actions. And so, in a matter of days, Murphy was decrying the “recklessness” of the same president he’d alleged “has rendered America impotent in the Middle East” because “no one fears us.”

Murphy is one of the better senators on foreign policy—and that’s a key point here. He still couldn’t resist baiting Trump in a way that implicitly scorned him for failure to use enough military violence.

Soleimani killing: 'Pompeo even more clearly right-hand man of President Trump'

Is Pence a fool or a liar (or both)? You decide.

Corporate Media Welcome Back Iraq War Hawks To Make Case for Iran

As President Donald Trump spent the early days of 2020 instigating and then backing down from a potentially catastrophic confrontation with Iran, corporate media in the U.S. turned to the very same people who promoted the country's worst foreign policy disaster in a generation to advocate for repeating the mistakes of two decades ago.

The decision of networks and cable news outlets like CNNMSNBC, and Fox News to bring on a stream of past advocates for and architects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq was panned by progressives who watched in horror and frustration as the same arguments were deployed in service of all-out war with Iran.

"It's War Inc. all over again," tweeted The Nation's Dave Zirin. ...

Soleimani's death by drone strike was celebrated in real time by former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who spent the run-up to the Iraq War selling the public on the necessity of the conflict. "I think it is entirely possible that this is going to be a catalyst inside Iran where the people celebrate this killing of Soleimani," Fleischer told Fox in the hours after Soleimani's killing, flanked by Bush administration advisor Karl Rove. ...

On MSNBC, which bills itself as a liberal alternative to right-wing behemoth Fox, host Ari Melber on January 7 in the wake of Iranian retaliation for the assassination spoke to former General Barry McCaffrey, who called for a devastating response against Iran. ... Unmentioned in the segment was McCaffrey's position on the board of Raytheon, a major U.S. weapons suppplier.

The next day, Melber hosted former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a one-time Democrat whose embrace of the Bush administration's push for war across the Middle East led to an unofficial expulsion from the Democratic Party in 2006, though Lieberman was re-elected as an independent. Not disclosed by Melber to his audience? The fact that Lieberman works for Israel Aerospace Industries, a defense company with $1 billion in sales in the U.S.

[More at the link. - js]

US is not willing to withdraw troops from Iraq, says Pompeo

Washington is not willing to bow to Iraqi demands to withdraw its troops and any future discussions with Baghdad will be purely confined to the future structure of its forces in the country, the US State Department has said.

The recommitment to US troops in Iraq defies an Iraqi parliament vote last week demanding all US forces leave in the wake of the killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani by a drone strike in Baghdad. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the US was only willing to discuss force reconfiguration with the Iraqis, and a greater contribution by Nato forces.

Pompeo, still under pressure about the legality of the attack, again defended the breach of Iraqi sovereignty inherent in the killing by insisting there was clear evidence that Suleimani “had been plotting a large-scale imminent attack on US facilities throughout the region, including US embassies”.

Killing Iran general delivered 'American justice', Trump tells rally

At [a] campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio, Trump spent a lengthy part of his stump speech defending his order to kill Suleimani and rejecting criticism from Democrats who say he overstepped his authority with the US military’s drone strike against the commander of Iran’s military al-Quds force at Baghdad airport a week ago.

He accused Suleimani of organising violent protests by Iran-backed groups at the US embassy in Baghdad earlier this month. Trump, who frequently trumpets his support of the US military, said that if he had not sent US troops to protect the embassy, the demonstrators might have broken in and killed Americans or taken them hostage, a repeat of the 2011 storming of a US diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, in which the US ambassador was killed.

“Last week the United States once again took the bold and decisive action to save American lives and deliver American justice,” he said. ... Trump said he had been ready to launch retaliatory strikes until he was told that no American casualties had resulted. “They hit us with 16 missiles and I said, ‘How many?’ We were ready to go. We were ready to go. I said, ‘How many? How many died? How many were wounded?’ ‘Sir, none.’ None. Pretty good warning system. None. ‘How many were hurt?’ ‘None, sir,’” he said. “So we didn’t do anything. We were ready. We were ready. Not that I wanted to. But we were ready,” he said. “You have no idea. A lot of people got very lucky.” ...

Trump mocked Democrats who felt more information was needed on the imminent danger Suleimani posed. He said he had to make a “split-section” decision and Democratic leaders would have dragged out the process and leaked to the US news media if he had given them a heads-up before the operation. “He was a bad guy,” Trump said of Suleimani. “He was a blood-thirsty terror, and he’s no longer a terror, he’s dead. And yet now I see the radical-left Democrats have expressed outrage over the termination of this horrible terrorist.”

Not Buying Trump Narrative, Majority of Americans Believe Soleimani Assassination Made US Less Safe: Poll

Trump administration officials have repeatedly claimed the assassination of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani last week made the United States safer, but a new poll published Thursday found that a majority of the American public disagrees and believes the White House's behavior toward Iran has been "reckless."

According to the national USA Today/Ipsos survey, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, 55% of the public believes the assassination of Soleimani made the U.S. either somewhat or much less safe, while just 24% said the killing made the country more safe. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they believe Soleimani's assassination made it more likely the U.S. would go to war with Iran.

The survey also found that 52% the public believes the Trump administration's Iran policies have been "reckless."

The poll suggests the U.S. public isn't buying the Trump administration's justification for assassinating Soleimani, who the White House claims—without offering a shred of evidence—was plotting "imminent" attacks on American forces in Iraq.

CrossTalk: De-escalating

Iranian missile commander claims strikes were 'start of big operations'

An Iranian missile commander has claimed this week’s strikes aimed US troops at military bases in Iraq were just the start of “big operations” across the region. The remarks by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) aerospace commander Brig Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who is in charge of missile forces, marked a much more aggressive tone that the official line pursued by Iran’s foreign ministry.

The country’s diplomats have insisted that the missile strikes on two bases “concluded” the Iranian response to the US drone strike killing of top IRGC general, Qassem Suleimani. Hajizadeh suggested they were just the start. “The missile strikes on one of the United States’ most important bases within the framework of martyr Suleimani operation were the start of big operations which will continue in the entire region,” the general told reporters in Tehran on Thursday.

Hajizadeh gave the press conference in front of the flags of Iran-aligned militia groups including those of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces and Yemen’s Houthis, an unusual piece of symbolism of Iran’s reach through regional networks – networks that Suleimani had established as the head of the Quds force, the elite external wing of the IRGC.

Hajizadeh claimed the ballistic missile strikes on the al-Asad and Erbil bases, both Iraqi facilities hosting a US presence, were aimed at damaging the American “military machine” and not inflicting US casualties, though he repeated apparently false Iranian claims that some Americans had been killed. “If we were looking to kill, we could have designed the operation in a way such that 500 [Americans] would be killed in the first step, and if they had responded, a further 4,000 to 5,000 would be killed in the next steps within 48 hours,” he claimed.

Provoked by Trump’s Crazed Attack, Shiite Militias Threaten US Military

According to al-Bina’, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (the Movement of the Nobles of the Party of God), led by Akram al-Kaabi, thanked Iran because it “once again helped Iraq to regain its sovereignty and prestige by targeting the bases of the evil occupying American forces on the usurped lands of our country in revenge for our dear guest Qasem Soleimani.” This Iran-backed militia forms part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a kind of Iraqi National Guard, but it also fights Sunni fundamentalists in Syria. Its leadership was thanking Iran for sending ballistic missiles on Iraqi bases that host US troops.

The movement’s official spokesman, Nasr Al-Shammari, warned American soldiers in Iraq, saying: “Do not close your eyes, for the revenge of the martyr Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is inevitably coming at the hands of the Iraqis, until the last American soldier is expelled.” In February of 2019, the US had designated the al-Nujaba’ a terrorist organization.

On Sunday January 5, the Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdulmahdi asked parliament to vote to expel US troops from Iraq, and the country’s legislature did so vote by a majority. This vote was not, as US officials keep saying, “advisory.” It was a vote of the parliament, and that body asked the prime minister to implement it in the executive branch.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Trump himself have insisted that US troops won’t be withdrawn from Iraq because “the Iraqi people” want them there. I’m not sure where Esper and Trump are finding “Iraqi people” to overrule the elected Iraqi government.

Why Trump's Iran Conflict Cannot Be Stopped Or Unwound

Europe Is a Hard Nope on Helping Trump With Iran

President Donald Trump has spent the last three years alienating allies in Europe and undermining the decades-old relationship with NATO. Now he needs their help. Trump on Wednesday appealed to the leaders of Germany, France, and the U.K. to help resolve the crisis in Iran by abandoning the nuclear deal and join his campaign of “maximum pressure.”

While NATO has pledged to do more, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have ignored Trump's demands, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson chose to phone Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday morning, reaffirming the U.K.’s support for the Iran nuclear deal.

French government and union leaders resume talks on pension reform

Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill heads for Lords after MPs’ vote

Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill cleared the House of Commons on Thursday in a major milestone that means the UK is on track to leave the EU on 31 January.

The prime minister won a vote on the EU withdrawal bill at third reading by 330 votes to 231, a majority of 99.

Before the election, MPs had thwarted Theresa May’s Brexit bill and threatened to do the same to Johnson’s revised deal.

However, the make-up of the new parliament is now strongly pro-Brexit, with Johnson’s sizeable Tory majority.

The bill will now go to the House of Lords where peers could give it a more challenging hearing but are still unlikely to block its passage.

In Unprecedented Move, NYC Bar Association Calls for Congress to Probe Attorney General for Partisan Bias

The New York City Bar Association on Thursday urged Congress to launch a formal investigation into Attorney General William Barr, alleging recent statements and actions by the country's top law enforcement official show he is a right-wing partisan "willing to use the levers of government to empower certain groups over others."

In a letter (pdf) to leaders of both parties in the House and Senate, the NYCBA cites several examples of Barr's conduct they view as particularly troubling, including repeated attacks on progressive district attorneys, an October speech touting "Judeo-Christian values," and his December threat to strip protections from unspecified "communities" that don't show sufficient respect to police.

Bloomberg reported that the letter represents the first time the NYCBA or any comparable association has called for an investigation into a sitting attorney general.

"Mr. Barr has spoken and acted in a manner communicating an impression that he views himself as serving as the Attorney General not for the entire nation, but more narrowly for certain segments of society—whether defined in terms of religion, ideology (his own 'side,' to borrow the language of Mr. Barr's Federalist Society speech), or party affiliation," reads the letter, signed by NYCBA president Roger Juan Maldonado and Stephen Kass, chairman of the association's task force on the rule of law.

"We have significant concerns about the propriety of Mr. Barr's recent actions and statements," the letter states. "We urge Congress to exercise its constitutional obligations by expeditiously commencing formal inquiries into Mr. Barr's conduct."

Trump legislation added $4.7 trillion to debt: watchdog

President Trump has signed bills into law that will add $4.7 trillion to the debt through the end of 2029, according to a study by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an anti-debt advocacy group

Four pieces of legislation contributed the lion’s share of the new debt, the group said. The 2017 GOP tax cut, the largest of the bills, will add $1.8 trillion to the debt by the end of 2029, researchers noted, adding that the bipartisan 2019 budget deal to increase spending caps was a close second, at $1.7 trillion.

The final set of appropriations bills that Congress approved in December added another $500 billion, mostly through the repeal of three taxes that were meant to pay for the Affordable Care Act, the group said. A smaller 2018 spending deal also added $445 billion. ...

As a candidate, Trump said he would eliminate the debt, and his administration has frequently promised spikes in economic growth that never materialized to reduce it.

the horse race

The Weaponization of Data: Cambridge Analytica, Information Warfare & the 2016 Election of Trump

So Facebook Cleared Things Up for 2020: Politicians Can Totally Lie to Users

After months of public pressure that roiled the tech industry, Facebook said Thursday that politicians and interest groups can still target specific segments of users with lies during the presidential campaign.

Facebook broke from its competitors in declining to change its rules. Twitter and Spotify have banned political ads entirely in recent months, while Google and YouTube limited advertisers’ ability to target users with data the platforms collect. Hitting select audiences with highly tailored messages was key to the Trump campaign’s dominance of Facebook four years ago.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has consistently defended Facebook’s hands-off approach under the banner of free speech, a stance that hundreds of employees criticized as a “threat to what FB stands for” in a letter in October. But the company held fast in a blog post announcing its decision Thursday.

“In the absence of regulation, Facebook and other companies are left to design their own policies,” it said. “We have based ours on the principle that people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public.”

Instead, Facebook said it will expand its public archive of political ads, outsourcing accountability to journalists and other watchdogs. The company will also give users on Facebook and Instagram the option to opt out of the content.

After Trump Attacks Bernie on Foreign Policy, Sanders Campaign Says 'Bring It'

After President Donald Trump's reelection campaign used its massive email list to go after potential 2020 rival Sen. Bernie Sanders on two consecutive days this week, team Sanders welcomed the president's attacks as a sign that he views the Vermont senator as a serious threat to his hopes for a second term.

In an email Wednesday attacking Sanders for condemning the likely illegal U.S. assassination of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, Trump described the senator as "Democrats' 2020 front-runner" and accused him of repeating "talking points straight from Iran' Ayatollahs."

"Bring it," Sanders foreign policy adviser Matt Duss tweeted in response to the email blast, which appeared to mark the first time of the 2020 cycle that Trump's campaign has used its list to hit the Vermont senator.

Following the Trump campaign's second email of the week—headlined, "FACT: Bernie Sanders Is A Wealthy, Fossil Fuel-Guzzling Millionaire"—Sanders said "Donald Trump is attacking us because he knows we will beat him in the general election." ...

National polls and surveys of key states have consistently shown Sanders outperforming Trump in hypothetical general election match-ups. Sanders has also been surging in recent Democratic primary polls, as the senator's speechwriter David Sirota pointed out Thursday.

"It is not a coincidence that Trump suddenly began attacking Bernie the same week this national poll came out showing Bernie now in first place in the Democratic primary race," Sirota tweeted, citing a Reuters/Ipsos survey that put Sanders at the top of the Democratic field, two percentage points ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Dems Won't Abandon Losing Strategies and Centrism!

Krystal & Saagar: Pelosi's impotence on full display with War Power

Tom Steyer qualifies for Democratic debate after surge in early voting states

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer has narrowly qualified for next week’s key debate in Iowa after polls in the early voting states of Nevada and South Carolina showed a surprise surge in support.

Steyer, a San Francisco-based billionaire investor whose candidacy has languished in polls near the bottom of a narrowing Democratic field, came in second place with 15% in South Carolina and tied with the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren in third place at 12% in Nevada. ...

Steyer qualified for the Iowa debate next week under what is called the early-state polling method where candidates must get 5% support in at least four national or early-state polls, or 7% support in at least two early-state polls.

He will now join Biden, the former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, and the US senators Amy Klobuchar, Sanders and Warren at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday for the first debate of the 2020 election year and the the last before voting begins in Iowa.

Krystal Ball deconstructs our infatuation with billionaires

Marianne Williamson ends 2020 presidential campaign

Marianne Williamson, the bestselling self-help author who ran a year-long unusual presidential campaign with new age themes, dropped out of the race Friday, saying she did not want to “get in the way of a progressive candidate winning” the Democratic nomination.

“I stayed in the race to take advantage of every possible opportunity to share our message,” Williamson said in a message posted on her website. “With caucuses and primaries now about to begin, however, we will not be able to garner enough votes in the election to elevate our conversation any more than it is now.”

The Hill's Editor-In-Chief: New concerns that Biden is Hillary 2.0

Steady Hand Joe: Turning Biden's support for Iraq War into foreign policy 'experience'

For pundits, what makes a politician strong on foreign policy? Apparently doing something for a long time matters more than honesty and good judgment—and it helps if the bad choices made are the same ones corporate media have cheered. With Donald Trump’s recent assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, foreign policy has taken the spotlight in the presidential race. But despite Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s prominent role in leading the US into the disastrous Iraq War, and his recent stream of lies and equivocations about why he supported it and when he began to reverse his position, many pundits continue to uncritically paint Biden as “mature” or a “steady hand” on foreign policy.

It shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise: When Barack Obama tapped Biden as his running mate in 2008, pundits lauded the choice as “shoring up” Obama’s “weakness” on foreign policy. It was precisely because of Biden’s initial support for the Iraq War (which Obama had opposed) that media observers saw him as a serious foreign policy thinker, given that those same media observers likewise initially supported the war (, 8/27/08). In recent days on the campaign trail, Biden has touted his years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, while Bernie Sanders has hammered Biden on his Iraq vote. (Sanders voted against the war authorization.) On NBC‘s Meet the Press (1/5/20), Chuck Todd contrasted Biden and Sanders, wondering if

voters are going to look at this on the Democratic side of the aisle and say, “Steady hand, Joe Biden,” or, how about the guy who was always against the interventions here? I don’t think we know how Democratic voters are going to react.

Perhaps not—though more Democratic voters are troubled by Biden’s past support for the Iraq War than reassured by it. But by uncritically labeling Biden—who changed both his position on the Iraq War and his story about that position—as a “steady hand” on foreign policy, Todd certainly boosts the narrative Biden is hoping for. That same sort of uncritical framing of experience as strength came out on the PBS NewsHour (1/6/20), where the New York Times‘ Lisa Lerer opined:

But I do think this could strengthen the hand of two men that have been leading the polls for a while, that have been rising in the limited data we have since the holidays, which is Joe Biden, who can run very strongly on his experience in foreign policy, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s really staked out ground as the liberal messenger, sort of the anti-interventionist face of the party.

Later in the show, when Judy Woodruff asked David Brooks and Mark Shields which candidates benefit from the escalation with Iran, both named Biden; Shields argued that Biden “offers stability and maturity and knowledge.”

[Much more at the link. - js]

the evening greens

Climate Movement Takes Aim at Wall Street, Because 'Money Is Only Language Fossil Fuel Industry Speaks'

Climate activists on Thursday announced a new campaign that aims to send a message to Wall Street: "Stop financing fossil fuels and deforestation and start respecting human rights and Indigenous sovereignty."

Organized by a coalition of climate, youth, and Indigenous groups, Stop the Money Pipeline will officially launch Friday at the final event in a weekly civil disobedience series that actor and activist Jane Fonda kicked off in October called Fire Drill Fridays.

Several vocal climate campaigners plan to join Fonda at the Friday launch, including celebrities Martin Sheen and Joaquin Phoenix, Indigenous leaders Tara Houska and Eriel Deranger, Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard, and authors and activists Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben.

Like previous weeks, before the Friday rally and protest there will be a Thursday night livestreamed teach-in, which will feature Deranger, Leonard, and McKibben. ...

Other groups involved in Stop the Money Pipeline include Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, Sunrise Project, Future Coalition, Divest Ed, Divest-Invest, Native Movement, Giniw Collective, Transition U.S., Oil Change International, 350 Seattle, EarthRights International, Union of Concerned Scientists, Majority Action, The YEARS Project, and Amazon Watch.

While the campaign's broad demand is that "banks, asset managers, and insurance companies stop funding, insuring, and investing in climate destruction," the advocacy organizations have identified three primary and initial targets: JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, and Liberty Mutual.

Oil and Gas Emissions Are Reversing Progress from Coal’s Decline

Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station, a gargantuan coal plant responsible for more than 16 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, shut down in November. Its closing capped a decade in which coal generation in the United States was cut in half — a development recently credited with reducing nationwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2 percent last year.

But thanks in large part to the booming oil and gas industry, that slight decline in emissions is likely just a blip on the radar. Emissions from a single proposed petrochemical complex in Louisiana’s St. James Parish, for example, would replace the lion’s share of the greenhouse gas pollution prevented through closing the Navajo Generating Station. Once built, the $9.4 billion Formosa plastics plant is expected to release more than 13.6 million tons of greenhouse gases per year.

The St. James facility is just one of dozens of new polluting plants expected to contribute to ballooning emissions from the U.S. oil and gas industry in the coming years. According to a new report published Wednesday by the Environmental Integrity Project, or EIP, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., the industry is slated to pump an additional 227 million tons of planet-warming gases into the atmosphere in 2025 — a 30 percent increase over 2018 emissions — bringing its total emissions close to one billion tons per year. That’s equivalent to the full-time greenhouse gas pollution of well over 200 major coal-fired power plants.

About 60 percent of that rise is from expanding fossil fuel drilling, new liquified natural gas plants, and other additional oil and gas infrastructure. The remaining increases in emissions are expected to come from refineries and chemical plants that process crude oil and natural gas into gasoline, plastics, fertilizers, and other products.

Those emissions “would eat up more than half of the reductions that we expect to get out of the power sector,” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the EIP. “We need to get on top of the runaway growth in greenhouse gas emissions from oil, gas, and petrochemicals and get standards in place to restrain that growth before it’s too late.”

Olympia, Washington moves to Create 'Zero Fare' Public Transit

Public transit in the Washington state capitol Olympia and surrounding areas is free at point of service as of January 1 as the region's Intercity Transit pilots a "zero fare" program through the next five years. ...

The change reportedly came after the transit system mulled over the best way to continue to collect fares and found that the cost of upgrading collections machines outweighed the benefits of the revenue.

According to the Olympian:

[Intercity Transit] says fares currently net less than 2 percent of its operating revenue, while replacing an outdated fare collection system would cost at least $1 million.

Instead, the system decided to fund the "zero fare" approach to riders by increasing sales taxes in the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater tricity area serviced by Intercity Transit.

"It costs a lot of money to collect money, which is surprising to a lot of people," the system's general manager Ann Freeman-Manzanares told OPB. "Looking at the broad list of things the community wanted us to address—in terms of access, equity, speed, reliability, addressing the environment, making sure that we're as efficient as possible—the combination of those things actually led us to zero-fare."

Also of Interest

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

Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine & the Illegal Murder of Soleimani

From Resistance to Assistance: Little Pushback to Trump’s Iran Assassination

Donald Trump’s rant against Iran is the howl of a dying empire

Was 'Imminent Threat' His Impeachment? Trump Reportedly Admitted Soleimani Killed to Appease GOP Senators

USAID Arriving in Bolivia to 'Monitor Elections,' Raising Fears of US Meddling in May 3 Vote

The biggest voting rights win in recent US history – and the Republicans trying to thwart it

Progressive Coalition Makes the Case for Unity in the Democratic Primary

The blackest city in the US is facing an environmental justice nightmare

This Map Shows You Where Violence Could Break Out Because There's Not Enough Water

Rising: Trump comes for Bernie as he surges to lead in national poll

Rising: Does this stat explain Steyer's rise?

Rising: Epstein Update - Government claims footage does not exist

Nina Turner on Campaigning for Bernie, MLK, and Why Class Matters, Plus Iran | Useful Idiots

A Little Night Music

Blind Snooks Eaglin - That's Alright

Snooks Eaglin - I Get the Blues When It Rains

Snooks Eaglin - That Certain Door, By The Water

Snooks Eaglin - Yours Truly

Snooks Eaglin - Groove Me

Snooks Eaglin - Josephine

Snooks Eaglin - I Hear You Knockin'

Snooks Eaglin - Lilly Mae

Snooks Eaglin - Live (1985)

Snooks Eaglin - WWOZ-FM Studio, New Orleans, LA. 2005

Snooks Eaglin - Malaguena

15 users have voted.


mimi's picture

but can't figure out what is the larger number: a fool to the power of a liar or a liar to the power of a fool.

As it is beyond my bedtime, I leave this question with the EB-ers. I hope the result will blow someone's mind.

That Snook Eaglin guy makes my legs and feet dancing on my chair. Smile

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


hmmm, i think that a fool who is a liar is more dangerous than a liar who is a fool. the latter would seem to be easier to spot than the former.

just a guess.

let me know what the correct answer is. Smile

4 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack
I would say we have more liars. So the fools to the power of liars are more than the liars to the power of fools, mathematical speaking according to mimi-math.
My math gets a little shaky in my old age ...

2 users have voted.
mimi's picture

Sen. Bernie Sanders: I Will Do Everything I Can To Stop A War With Iran
598,191 views •J an 10, 2020

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joe shikspack's picture


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dystopian's picture

Great tunes as always JS! Wonderful stuff. I love his take on Malaguena. He was a great player with a really unique style. Presume the lack of vision was a major factor.

Dems: lost with last centrist so here are 10 centrists to pick from, any one will do, they are really interchangable corpwhores. Just pick one of the centrists and shut up.

Sure would be neat to see Barr get disbarred. A fella can dream right?

I think USAID was one of those claiming election irregularities in Bolivia, which was then repeated endlessly, and no proof was ever offered. USAID doesn't monitor elections, they fix them.

Then, where is OUR exit polling?

Have a good one! Thanks for the tunes!

3 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


yep, snooks was a great guitarist with an enormous repertoire, a real blast to check out live.

yep, the dems are the establishment and they will do whatever they can to make sure that an establishment candidate is their nominee. the rest of the establishment (especially the media) will do its best to assist.

usaid is a front for the cia. it bodes ill for bolivians that they are back in bolivia.

have a great weekend!

2 users have voted.

and on this night, the Malaguena.
That song crosses race, creed, color, and everything else, just goes for the passion in all of us to sing out.
Maybe we are all the fighting bulls.

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

mimi's picture

1 user has voted.