The Evening Blues - 1-3-19



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: The 5 Royales


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features doo wop and r&b group The 5 Royales. Enjoy!

The 5 Royales - Women About To Make Me Go Crazy

"You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it."

-- Malcolm X


News and Opinion

Worth a full read:

Trump bows to domestic pressure by delaying his withdrawal from Syria; a storm is gathering in the Levant

In response to domestic pressure, Trump agreed to extend the deadline for withdrawal of thousands of US troops from the northeaster Syrian province of al-Hasaka from the initial 30 days previously announced until April this year. Journalistic warmongers and hawks in think-tanks and among the US establishment have been railing at Trump with implausible arguments for maintaining the presence of US forces in Syria. The attacks on Trump are mainly justified on the pretext of protecting the US allies, the Kurds, from possible extermination by the Turks. Other analysts dare to repeat the absurd US mantra that “ISIS has between 20,000 and 30,000 militants in Syria and Iraq” to justify the continuous occupation of northeast Syria. If these arguments were not enough, others claim that Trump would be delivering the north of Syria to Iranian and Russian scarecrows, or that he would be facilitating the “Iranian-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut connection”. Trump remains determined to pull out, despite his allies Israel, France and the UK begging him to stay longer in the Levant. ...

The Arabs are engaged today in reopening their embassies in Damascus in an attempt to repair relationships they ruined during seven years of war. Sudan, the Emirates, Bahrein have all resumed official relations with the Syrian government, and soon Kuwait will do the same. Other countries are expected to follow suit. Saudi Arabia is not against the idea. Indeed, Sudan, Bahrein and the Emirates are very close allies to Saudi Arabia and would never move forward towards president Bashar al-Assad without Riyadh’s consent. ...

Damascus finds itself in a stronger position in 2019 than it has in the last seven years of war. Turkey is not willing to stand against Assad, but is relying on Iran and Russia to establish a proxy relationship with Damascus. President Erdogan needs Russia and Iran as strategic commercial allies. He knows that the US is not a reliable partner since it has armed Turkey’s enemies, the Kurdish YPG/PKK in Syria, to the teeth, on the pretext of fighting ISIS. He also is aware that Assad could support attacks inside Turkish borders by Kurds and Arab tribes if Turkey doesn’t align itself in a partnership with Russia, Iran and Syria. Turkey would suffer if Syria were to line up with the UAE and Saudi against it. The US Gulf allies, notably the Emirates, do not hide their animosity towards Ankara. The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash says his country wants to return to friendship with Syria and aims to “stand against the Iranian and Turkish fronts in the region [of the Middle East]”. ...

ISIS still occupy five to six villages along the Euphrates river where US forces have given them quiet protection for many months. These villages are the only physical geography still under ISIS control in Syria and Iraq, yet the Pentagon ridiculously claims there are 20,000 to 30,000 ISIS militants in the two countries. Syrian intelligence estimates the number of ISIS militants in the Euphrates villages as less than 1500. In Iraq there remain ISIS sleeper cells yet, unless the Pentagon has details on every single sleeper cell, it is impossible to count the number of ISIS supporters in various Iraqi cities. Iraqi counter-terrorism units and Hashd al-Shaabi have established tight control on all provinces and have infiltrated many ISIS cells, quietly arresting many of them on a regular basis. Iraqi security forces estimate the number of ISIS militants at between 1500 and 2000 all over Iraq. ... There is also no doubt that its “Islamic State” has been thrown irretrievably into the bin of history. The impossibly high Pentagon estimates can only be interpreted as part of an effort to justify an indefinite US presence in Syria and Iraq. ...

Indeed the Levant is returning to the centre of Middle East and world attention in a stronger position than in 2011. Syria has advanced precision missiles that can hit any building in Israel. Assad also has an air defence system he would have never dreamt of before 2011 thanks to Israel’s continuous violation of its airspace and its defiance of Russian authority. Hezbollah has constructed bases for its long and medium range precision missiles in the mountains and has created a bond with Syria that it could never have established if not for the war. Iran has established a strategic brotherhood with Syria thanks to its role in defeating the regime change plan. NATO’s support for the growth of ISIS has created a bond between Syria and Iraq that no Muslim or Baathist link could ever have created: Iraq has a “carte blanche” to bomb ISIS locations in Syria without the consent of the Syrian leadership (following Assad’s total blessing to the Iraqi leadership to join in the fight on ISIS), and the Iraqi security forces can walk into Syria anytime they see fit to fight ISIS. The anti-Israel axis has never been stronger than it is today. That is the result of 2011-2018 war imposed on Syria.

Trump’s Slowing Syria Pullout Raises New Questions About Policy

President Trump’s decision to slow the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, after initial reports that he planned for a “rapid” withdrawal, are raising a lot of questions. ... After the US pullout went from a reported 30 days to “around four months,” does that mean Turkey’s timetable has also slowed for attacking Manbij? If not, Manbij could be attacked by Turkey with US forces inside the city, and the Syrian Army present to try to keep the invading Turks away.

Even if the US moves out of Manbij and other early targets for Turkey, the Syrian government’s involvement in the defense of Kurdish territory means the US will risk the appearance that they are handing over the defense of this region to Syria. In reality, the US has been comfortable with the Kurdish territory falling to Turkey, and wanted to facilitate that with the pullout. ... Trump may have found slowing the process necessary in the face angry opposition to the pullout from massive numbers of Congressional hawks. Yet it is forcing everyone to scramble to change plans to fit the still nebulous US schedule, and the future of the US-Turkey coordination is completely up in the air.

U.S. Ramps Up Bombing of ISIS in Eastern Syria Following Trump Withdrawal Announcement

After President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of 2,000 troops from Syria last month, the U.S. military ramped up its bombing campaign against the Islamic State’s remaining territory in the eastern part of the country, according to sources on the ground and photographs we obtained. The fiercest attacks in the past week have occurred in Al Kashmah, a village on the Euphrates River near the border with Iraq, according to three sources in eastern Syria. Amid U.S. airstrikes and artillery fire by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, civilians and family members of ISIS fighters fled to villages to the south, the sources said. While Al Kashmah has not yet fallen, the only people remaining there are fighters representing what has become the front line of the war against ISIS in Deir al-Zour province.

The ISIS fighters are clustered in villages along the Euphrates, from the border with Iraq to south of Hajin, a former ISIS stronghold that fell to the SDF, a Kurdish-led militia, in mid-December. There are about 50,000 to 60,000 people who remain in those areas, according to a civilian activist in Deir al-Zour who documents rights abuses and asked not to be named out of safety concerns. “The civilians in these areas have no place to go or hide from the U.S. bombardment of their villages,” the activist said, noting that the residents have been harmed at the hands of the Syrian government, the United States, and ISIS alike.

The ISIS-held villages along the Euphrates have been the targets of U.S. bombing sorties since November as part of Operation Roundup. In addition to military targets, Operation Roundup bombed civilian areas, including a hospital, The Intercept and Al Jazeera reported last month.

Yemen Rebels Accuse UN of Taking Sides After Aid Ultimatum

Yemen's Houthi rebels on Tuesday said they were "surprised" by accusations from the United Nations food agency that they are stealing humanitarian aid and accused it of taking sides in the nearly four-year-old war. The World Food Program on Monday threatened to suspend some aid shipments to Yemen if the rebels did not investigate and stop theft and fraud in food distribution, warning that the suspension would affect some 3 million people.

The Associated Press reported Monday that armed factions on both sides of the conflict are stealing much-needed food aid, diverting it to their fighters or reselling it for profit. Some groups are blocking deliveries to communities they view as their enemies.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the rebels' Supreme Revolutionary Council, said "we were surprised" by the allegations from the World Food Program, which he said "did not communicate officially" with the rebels. He said the decision to go to the media was "a major deviation in the work of the program."

"The work of these organizations is mostly politicized ... and this situation reflects that their work has shifted from independent to subordinate to the United States and Britain," he said.

[See also: World Food Program, Bribed By Saudis, Threatens Yemenis With More Famine]

Leader of France's 'Yellow Vest' protesters arrested

French police arrest gilets jaunes protests leader Eric Drouet

Police have detained one of the leaders of France’s gilets jaunes anti-government movement for organising an unauthorised protest, as authorities adopt a tougher approach to try to curb the demonstrations. Eric Drouet, a lorry driver, already faces trial in June for “carrying a prohibited category D weapon”, after he was allegedly found with a wooden stick at a previous protest.

He was arrested by police on Wednesday night as he was heading towards the Champs Élysées in Paris, where several demonstrators had been waiting for him. They said they intended only to light candles for the people injured during demonstrations or killed in road accidents during the six weeks of protests on roads and roundabouts, which began in November as a fuel tax revolt but morphed into a movement against the president, Emmanuel Macron, and policies seen to favour the rich.

Drouet’s lawyer called the arrest “totally unjustified and arbitrary”. He said Drouet had intended to lay candles at Place de la Concorde in Paris then meet others in a private place. The economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, defended Drouet’s arrest, saying: “It’s called respecting the rule of law ... It’s normal that when you break the laws of the republic, you face the consequences.” ...

The authorities now appear to be clamping down on the continuing protests. The interior ministry wrote to local police chiefs this week saying the rural and suburban roundabouts and toll booths that have been occupied for weeks should be cleared of protesters. ...

Benjamin Cauchy, another gilets jaunes media figure who takes a more moderate line on the protests, said after Drouet’s arrest: “Unfortunately I have the impression that the government wants to radicalise the movement. The executive is pouring oil on the fire. They’ve just put another coin in the jukebox and the gilets jaunes song is going to go on playing, that’s for sure.”

Will arrest of Yellow Vests leader provoke further unrest?

Holy sh@t! Giuliani is a stopped clock!

Giuliani Says Assange Should Not Be Prosecuted

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, said Monday that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange had not done “anything wrong” and should not go to jail for disseminating stolen information just as major media does. “Let’s take the Pentagon Papers,” Giuliani told Fox News. “The Pentagon Papers were stolen property, weren’t they? It was in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Nobody went to jail at The New York Times and The Washington Post.”

Giuliani said there were “revelations during the Bush administration” such as Abu Ghraib. “All of that is stolen property taken from the government, it’s against the law. But once it gets to a media publication, they can publish it,” Giuliani said, “for the purpose of informing people.”

“You can’t put Assange in a different position,” he said. “He was a guy who communicated.” Giuliani said, “We may not like what [Assange] communicates, but he was a media facility. He was putting that information out,” he said. “Every newspaper and station grabbed it, and published it.”

Giuliani also said there was no coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. “I was with Donald Trump day in and day out during the last four months of the campaign,” he said. “He was as surprised as I was about the WikiLeaks disclosures. Sometimes surprised to the extent of ‘Oh my god, did they really say that?’ We were wondering if it was true. They [the Clinton campaign] never denied it.” Giuliani said: “The thing that really got Hillary is not so much that it was revealed, but they were true. They actually had people as bad as that and she really was cheating on the debates. She really was getting from Donna Brazile the questions before hand. She really did completely screw Bernie Sanders.”

“Every bit of that was true,” he went on. “Just like the Pentagon Papers put a different view on Vietnam, this put a different view on Hillary Clinton.”

Greenwald. Worth a full read:

Veteran NBC/MSNBC Journalist Blasts the Network for Being Captive to the National Security State and Reflexively Pro-War to Stop Trump

A veteran national security journalist with NBC News and MSNBC blasted the networks in a Monday email for becoming captive and subservient to the national security state, reflexively pro-war in the name of stopping President Donald Trump, and now the prime propaganda instrument of the War Machine’s promotion of militarism and imperialism. As a result of NBC/MSNBC’s all-consuming militarism, he said, “the national security establishment not only hasn’t missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength” and “is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism.”

The NBC/MSNBC reporter, William Arkin, is a longtime prominent war and military reporter, perhaps best known for his groundbreaking, three-part Washington Post series in 2010, co-reported with two-time Pulitzer winner Dana Priest, on how sprawling, unaccountable, and omnipotent the national security state has become in the post-9/11 era. ... Arkin has worked with NBC and MSNBC over the years and continuously since 2016. But yesterday, he announced that he was leaving the network in a long, emphatic email denouncing the networks for their superficial and reactionary coverage of national security, for becoming fixated on trivial Trump outbursts of the day to chase profit and ratings, and — most incriminating of all — for becoming the central propaganda arm of the CIA, the Pentagon, and the FBI in the name of #Resistance, thus inculcating an entire new generation of liberals, paying attention to politics for the first time in the Trump era, to “lionize” those agencies and their policies of imperialism and militarism.

That MSNBC and NBC have become Security State Central has been obvious for quite some time. The network consists of little more than former CIA, NSA, and Pentagon officials as news “analysts”; ex-Bush-Cheney national security and communications officials as hosts and commentators; and the most extremists pro-war neocons constantly bashing Trump (and critics of Democrats generally) from the right, using the Cheney-Rove playbook on which they built their careers to accuse Democratic Party critics and enemies of being insufficiently patriotic, traitors for America’s official enemies, and abandoning America’s hegemonic role in the world.

Thousands vs 1 killed: Why did MSM notice Yemen bloodbath only after Khashoggi’s murder?

Corbyn defies calls from within Labour to back second Brexit referendum

Jeremy Corbyn will defy calls to change course on the party’s Brexit policy ahead of parliament’s vote on the deal, insisting that the government should secure a new deal with the EU if MPs reject Theresa May’s agreement. Under increasing pressure from Labour members and MPs to reconsider his approach as preparations for the delayed “meaningful vote” ramp up over the next week, Corbyn said on Wednesday that the party’s policy remained “sequential” and that no decision could be made on a second referendum until parliament voted down the deal on offer.

His remarks come as Westminster gears up for the end of recess and the return in earnest of the Brexit debate. MPs are expected to hold the delayed vote in the second week of January.

With Corbyn’s position coming under increasing scrutiny ahead of the crucial vote, it is understood that a number of high-profile leftwing Labour figures, including Ann Pettifor, a former adviser to the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, as well as the economics commentator Paul Mason, and Manuel Cortes, the general secretary of the TSSA trade union, are in advanced discussions about forming a policy commission to make the left’s case for remaining in the EU. Their planned intervention follows the publication of a new study revealing that an overwhelming majority of party members want the Labour leader to back a second referendum, though most remain loyal to Corbyn’s leadership.

Corbyn and several of his closest allies have been both publicly and privately sceptical of the policy, and the Labour leader has said in a previous interview with the Guardian that the party would pursue a negotiated Brexit deal even if it won a snap general election. Corbyn said May should return to Brussels once her deal is voted down to find an agreement that Labour could support, including a full customs union. “What we will do is vote against having no deal, we’ll vote against Theresa May’s deal; at that point she should go back to Brussels and say, ‘This is not acceptable to Britain’ and renegotiate a customs union, form a customs union with the European Union to secure trade,” he said.

'Stop This Fiscal Madness': Dems Urged to Vote Down 'Brainless Republican Idea' as Pelosi Plows Ahead With Pay-Go

After the incoming House Democratic majority's newly released rules package made clear that presumptive Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is moving to ram through a fiscally conservative "pay-go" measure despite widespread grassroots opposition, progressives condemned the proposed rule as a harmful "roadblock" to a bold agenda and urged their representatives to vote it down.

"In order for pay-go to go into effect, it needs to pass the House," Warren Gunnels, policy director for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), pointed out on Twitter. "If some 18 Democrats vote no, it fails. The vote will take place on Thursday. Will enough progressives have the courage to vote no on the first roadblock to Medicare for All, Green New Deal, and college for all? Let's see."


If implemented, pay-go would require all new spending to be offset by budget cuts or tax hikes. Such a restriction, progressive lawmakers and economists argue, would unnecessarily hamstring the House Democratic majority's ability to pursue the bold agenda that voters demanded in the November midterms. ...

Just hours after the House Democrats' proposed rules package was made public, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — who will be sworn in on Thursday — and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) became the first lawmakers to vow to vote no if pay-go is included.

Breaking: Trump Vows Indefinite Shutdown After Meeting With Dems

From 'Depleted' Food Stores to Understaffed Health Clinics, Native Americans 'Among Hardest Hit' by Trump Shutdown

Adding to the long and ever-growing list of harmful consequences stemming from President Donald Trump's government shutdown—from hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers to gutted food stamps offices to trashed public parks—the New York Times published a report late Tuesday highlighting the damage Trump's prolonged border wall temper tantrum has done to Native American communities.

"For one tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the government shutdown comes with a price tag: about $100,000, every day, of federal money that does not arrive to keep health clinics staffed, food pantry shelves full, and employees paid," the Times noted. "The tribe is using its own funds to cover the shortfalls for now. But if the standoff in Washington continues much longer, that stopgap money will be depleted. Later this month, workers could be furloughed and health services could be pared back."

Because the staff of the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs has been significantly diminished due to the shutdown—which entered its 12th day on Wednesday—basic services such as road maintenance, healthcare, and disaster relief have been cut or put at risk, the Times reported.

The shutdown has also "curtailed a Department of Agriculture food program that helped feed about 90,000 Native American people in fiscal year 2017," the Times notes. Joseph Rupnick, chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, said his tribe's food distribution center "will be depleted" if the partial government shutdown continues for much longer.


Trump and top lawmakers fail to resolve shutdown after meeting

Donald Trump and top congressional leaders failed to resolve a partial government shutdown that has stretched well into a second week as the president refused to back off from his demands for billions of dollars for a long-promised wall along the southern US border with Mexico. ...

At a cabinet meeting prior to the briefing, Trump warned that parts of the government would could remain closed for a “a long time” without a deal. ...

On Capitol Hill after the briefing on Wednesday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, told reporters that it could take “weeks” to break the stalemate and that Wednesday’s meeting did not produce “any particular progress”. “We are hopeful that somehow in the coming days or weeks we will be able to reach an agreement,” he added. ...

Trump made his case for the wall during extensive comments to the press in which he made several false or misleading claims about illegal immigration and border wall. At the start of his cabinet meeting, Trump said the border was “like a sieve” and insisted the US needed a “physical barrier” to deter illegal border crossers.

Democrats to test power by passing legislation to end shutdown

In their first act after officially taking control of the House of Representatives on Thursday, Democrats will test their power in a newly divided Washington by passing legislation to end a partial government shutdown that is entering its 13th day. The 116th Congress was gaveled into session swathed in history, ushering in a diverse class of Democratic freshmen ready to confront president Donald Trump.

Though the vote on the proposed funding legislation is unlikely to break the impasse over the shutdown – Trump has vowed to reject it – it sets the tone for what is expected to be a tumultuous final two years of the president’s first term. ...

Trump started Thursday by blaming Democrats for the impasse, calling their opposition to a wall “strictly politics”. He wrote on Twitter: “The Shutdown is only because of the 2020 Presidential Election. The Democrats know they can’t win based on all of the achievements of ‘Trump,’ so they are going all out on the desperately needed Wall and Border Security – and Presidential Harassment. For them, strictly politics!” ...

If the House sends the bills to the Senate, which remains under Republican control, it would need 60 votes to prevail. Last month, the Senate easily passed legislation that would have funded the government through 8 February without money for Trump’s border wall.



the horse race



Bernie Sanders says he was not aware of claims of sexism in 2016 campaign

Senator Bernie Sanders has said he was not aware of allegations of sexism and pay discrimination that occurred during his insurgent campaign for president in 2016 and pledged to “do better” should he run again in 2020. “I certainly apologize to any woman who felt she was not treated appropriately and, of course, if I run we will do better next time,” Sanders told CNN on Wednesday night.

His comments follow a New York Times report on Wednesday, which described one incident in which a female member of the Latino outreach team said she was told she was supposed to share a bedroom with three men she didn’t know. Another former staffer told the paper that she made $2,400 a month but that a younger male staffer whom she was supposed to manage made $5,000 a month. When she raised the issue her salary was adjusted to achieve parity.

The story was published days after more than two dozen staff members from his 2016 presidential campaign signed a letter seeking a meeting with the senator and his top advisers to address the issue of “sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign, for the purpose of planning to mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle,” according to Politico, which obtained a copy of the letter.

The allegations are surfacing as the Vermont senator weighs a second run for the White House. Some former female staffers say the claims raise questions about whether he is the right candidate to lead the Democrats in the era of #MeToo and after a historic number of female candidates helped propel the party to power in the House of Representatives.

British Spy Found Inside Bernie Sanders Campaign



the evening greens

Interesting article, here's a taste to get you started:

The Farm Bureau: Big Oil’s Unnoticed Ally Fighting Climate Science and Policy

When Republican Rep. Steve Scalise stepped to the dais in the U.S. House of Representatives in July and implored his colleagues to denounce a carbon tax, he didn't reach for dire predictions made by the fossil fuel titans that pushed for the resolution. Instead, he talked about America's farmers.

"Why don't we listen to what the American Farm Bureau Federation said about a carbon tax?" the Louisiana congressman said, holding up a letter from the group, the nation's largest farm lobby. "'Agriculture is an energy-intensive sector, and a carbon tax levied on farmers and ranchers would be devastating,'" he read.

Advocacy groups with close ties to the oil billionaires Charles and David Koch had urged House leaders to get the anti-tax resolution approved.

When the measure passed, by a big margin, it proved — not for the first time, nor the last - the Farm Bureau's role as a powerful defender of the nation's fossil fuel interests.

For more than three decades, the Farm Bureau has aligned agriculture closely with the fossil fuel agenda. Though little noticed next to the influence of the fossil fuel industry, the farm lobby pulled in tandem with the energy lobby in a mutually reinforcing campaign to thwart the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, legislation like the Waxman-Markey economywide cap-and-trade plan, and regulations that would limit fossil fuel emissions. ...

In pursuit of their common goals, the fossil fuel industry and the Farm Bureau worked to sow uncertainty about the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change and the economic consensus on how to solve the problem. Fossil fuel companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a network of think tanks and friendly lawmakers who gave climate denial political credibility as part of a decades-long misinformation campaign. The Farm Bureau provided a national grassroots network that was hard for Congress to oppose.

Warren Shows Support for Green New Deal

After garnering some criticism from progressives for leaving her plans to combat the climate crisis out of her announcement regarding a potential 2020 presidential run, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) indicated Wednesday that she broadly supports the Green New Deal. An aide to the senator told Axios that Warren backs the proposal that includes shifting the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy in the next decade—a plan that has gained some traction in the House and elements of which the Senate could see in legislation Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is planning to introduce, following tireless advocacy by the youth-led Sunrise Movement.

"Senator Warren has been a longtime advocate of aggressively addressing climate change and shifting toward renewables, and supports the idea of a Green New Deal to ambitiously tackle our climate crisis, economic inequality, and racial injustice," the staffer told Axios. The statement suggested support for the sweeping green economy framework championed by progressive freshmen lawmakers including Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), which would create 10 million jobs over the next decade, putting Americans to work creating sustainable technology and infrastructure while rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels in order to stem the climate crisis.

Warren's statement of support won praise on social media, including from progressives who argued that any Democrat who refuses to back the Green New Deal has no place in the 2020 presidential race.

Meanwhile, the Sunrise Movement acknowledged Warren's support but withheld praise, demanding to know whether the senator backs the specifics within the proposal—moving to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, investing in communities that are most affected by the climate crisis, and a jobs guarantee for anyone who wants to help to create the new sustainable infrastructure.

No North Atlantic right whales killed in Canadian waters in 2018

No North Atlantic right whales were killed in Canadian waters last year – a rare glimmer of hope for officials working to protect one of the world’s most endangered species. While the government protection measures appear to be working, the outlook for the whales remains bleak: only 411 are believed to remain worldwide, with fewer females giving birth than in previous years.

The urgency in deploying environmental protections comes after a catastrophic 12 right whales were killed in Canadian waters in 2017 – the deadliest year on record for the species. Most of the deaths were the result of collisions with marine vessels. Rope entanglements from fishing boats were also suspected in two deaths. Another six were killed in American waters.

Sweeping measures introduced last year by Canada’s government include a 100-meter buffer zone between the whales and boats, fishing closures and vessel slowdowns. Violations of the rules can run steep: fines range from C$100,000 ($73,000) to C$500,000 ($366,543) – with repeat offenders facing potential jail time.

Large boats, including cruise ships, are required to slow their speed down to 10 knots in protection zones, reducing the risk of colliding with whales. The new limits have prompted some cruise ship companies to modify itineraries and bypass the region.


Also of Interest

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

How the long history of leaderless movements helps us understand the ‘yellow vests’ protests

On Boys, Frogs, and The Weekly Standard

In 2018, Israel’s Mask Finally Came Off

Fired School Employee Sues Over Israel Loyalty Oath

Why Iran Is Not the Winner in Syria

The Collapse of the ‘War on Terror’ Paradigm

PG&E Could Face Murder Charges for California’s Wildfires


A Little Night Music

The 5 Royales - Too Much Of A Little Bit

The 5 Royales - I'm With You

The 5 Royales - 1st Recording of Dedicated To The One I Love

The 5 Royales - Catch That Teardrop

The 5 Royales - I Like It Like That

The 5 Royales - I Ain't Getting Caught

The 5 Royales - Laundromat Blues

The 5 Royales - They Don't Know

The 5 Royales - Messin' Up

Five Royales - Roll With the Punch

The "5" Royales - Baby Don't Do It

The 5 Royales - Right Around The Corner


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17 users have voted.

Comments

QMS's picture

wtf? what exactly is that? Boeing, Grumman, Halliburton, Exxonmobil.
What about us, ffs? Domestic pressure is changing. The multi-nationals are losing influence. We do not want their destruction.

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10 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

heh, domestic pressure = media wurlitzer.

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2 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

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10 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

heh. you've got to hand it to trump; when he finds something that irritates his enemies and motivates his base, he flogs it like nobody's business.

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6 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

I got some stuff.
Caity Johnstone on the Arkin resignation: Reporter Quits NBC Citing Network’s Support For Endless War
Pat Buchanan at The American Conservative: How the War Party Lost the Middle East
Looks like Winter's over here, 'bout time. We had some snow for a day or two, but it's all over now.

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12 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Azazello

Love the ones with the kids and dawgs playing in it. And the ones of the Saguaro cactus. I'd love to visit the area some day.

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8 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

thanks for the links. it's scary when pat buchanan has something intelligent to say.

arizona looks pretty good with a coat of fresh snow.

have a good one!

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5 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

Greenwald's piece of Arkins letter is scary

Sweet sweet tunes Joe, thanks!

Still, that a network insider has blown the whistle on how all this works, and how MSNBC and NBC have become ground zero for these political pathologies of militarism and servitude to security state agencies, while not surprising, is nonetheless momentous given how detailed and emphatic he is in his condemnations.

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12 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." William Casey, CIA Director 1st staff meeting, 1981

“USA will export two things soon, jack and squat. no planes, no cars soon.”

Pluto's Republic's picture

@ggersh

That business is behind us, now. One less thing to worry about.

I'm not sure there is a compelling reason for political discussions, other than entertainment.

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8 users have voted.

May you come to dwell in an enlightened nation that judges itself by the well-being of its people. At the very least, this is your birthright.

ggersh's picture

@Pluto's Republic +100 nice comment, tRump already pulling back the pullback
what a 4th world country we are.

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4 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." William Casey, CIA Director 1st staff meeting, 1981

“USA will export two things soon, jack and squat. no planes, no cars soon.”

joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

heh, pluto (above) makes a great point. the military has already solidified its position.

these days, presidents are expected to take direction from military planners, a cut in funding for the military is inconceivable and there is no political body that the military will submit to be accountable to.

a coup would be superfluous.

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8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

... something weird going on behind the curtains. What is it? Sounds as if he needs to save his own butt, but who would have kicked him into his butt to cause such 'change of the colors'?

Good evening, all.

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

i can't even begin to imagine what caused giuliani to make such a statement. i find it bewildering that something like that could pass his lips.

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

or maybe Engels has always been over there, but I bet he saw some horrible things during his time as a war reporter. How one can see the effects of war and not be changed by it?

The cable network’s key anchor, Rachel Maddow, once wrote a book on the evils of endless wars without congressional authorization, but now routinely depicts anyone who wants to end those illegal wars as reckless weaklings and traitors.

IMG_3022_0.JPG

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9 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Pluto's Republic's picture

@snoopydawg

What was the point? It's not like he's passing on the baton of activism or subterfuge. For 40 years he was a handmaiden for this evil. Now he retires. What did I miss?

Perhaps he's shopping a book deal. That makes the most sense. A designated publisher will pick it up and bury it.

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7 users have voted.

May you come to dwell in an enlightened nation that judges itself by the well-being of its people. At the very least, this is your birthright.

joe shikspack's picture

@Pluto's Republic

i mean it's not like he said anything that anyone who has been paying attention sometime in the last 60 or so years doesn't know. sure, occasionally the information operation gets outed and there are "reform efforts," complete with legislation.

but, of course, the operation continues without pause and the military writes the talking points for the teevee talking heads.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

i am amused by the mic troll's commentary.

he seems out of touch w/ the modern US military.

heh, that damned trump doesn't know his place. the commander-in-chief's role is to be the supine servant of the military, taking direction from his military minders.

It's not a conscript army. Elite Special Forces in Syria are not forced to be there, pining for home. They believe in the mission, don’t want to betray allies.

not conscripts, so they are mercenaries? are they paid to believe in the mission or are they screened so as only to allow the gullible to serve?

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10 users have voted.
NCTim's picture

The Steve Cropper tribute is quite good. Even garage rock bands like 5 Royales.

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5 users have voted.

Fourteen percent of Americans are illiterate – which accounts for a large proportion of the third of Americans who assert that the Bible is the literal word of a god. - Trevor Treharne -

joe shikspack's picture

@NCTim

yep, lowman pauling was the man. i hear his influence in a ton of records.

cropper's tribute was excellent, i especially like the bb king/shemekia copeland duet which is totally excellent.

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4 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

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5 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

it's been a busy week, but a happy one. i hope you guys are doing well, too.

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4 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/robert-reich-removing-trump-must-be-am...

Snippet:

On-site inspections at power plants have been halted. Hazardous waste cleanup efforts at Superfund sites are on hold. Reviews of toxic substances and pesticides have been stopped. Justice Department cases are in limbo.

Meanwhile, now working without pay are thousands of air traffic controllers and aviation and railroad safety inspectors, nearly 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents, 42,000 Coast Guard employees, 53,000 TSA agents, 17,000 correctional officers, 14,000 FBI agents, 4,000 Drug Enforcement Administration agents, and some 5,000 firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service.

Having run the Department of Labor during the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, I’m confident most of these public servants will continue to report for duty because they care about the missions they’re upholding. But going without pay will strain their family budgets to the point that some will not be able to.

Shame on him for jeopardizing America this way in order to fund his wall—which is nothing but a trumped-up solution to a trumped-up problem designed only to fuel his base.

In his second year, he’s also done even more damage to the nation’s judicial-criminal system than he did before.

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7 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

snoopydawg's picture

@divineorder

by the shutdown. Cities around the national parks are not getting people visiting so hotels, restaurants, etc are losing money.

Food trucks around government buildings are losing money because nobody is there. Contractors are not building if they can't get their permits and they might be laying people off and then they aren't buying stuff from lumber stores or hardware stores, etc and this is filtering down to countless people who are losing money. People aren't doing things that they normally do because they have money for it or are not sure when they will get paid. Then there's all the people who work for contracted companies that hire people to do janitorial work ....

Bottom line the shutdown is hurting millions of Americans and I doubt that Trump, Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell or others in congress are even thinking about them. Who was it that said that the shutdown hurts poor people? And why are government departments like HUD, food stamps and many others that people depend on considering non essential? The department that runs the medical clinics for native Americans is essential in my book!

Then there's all the costs it's going to take to clean up the national parks and repair the damage that people caused because they couldn't just obey the rules and haul out their trash! Did you see that photo from the Washington monument where garbage cans were overflowing? People can't bother to just take their trash home or to some place else? I'm very disappointed and disgusted with people who are doing this. And yes this was a rant.

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6 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

divineorder's picture

@snoopydawg

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6 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

snoopydawg's picture

@divineorder

as long as it's not for Russia Gate offenses. As Joe wrote:

but they want to impeach him for doing something with the russians. hillary must be charged vindicated.

Hillary, Obama, many people in Obama's administration and in the CIA and FBI committed crimes that I believe Mueller is trying to cover up. Hillary should have been charged under the espionage for her private email server and sending classified information through it to people who weren't authorized to read it by Comey and Obama should have been for telling them to cover up. And for looking the other way on her play to play influence peddling.

He is breaking the emoluments clause and has been since he got into office. Today he funded the old post office in NY (DC?) where his Trump tower is which directly affects his pocket. I haven't heard anyone say anything about that, but I haven't looked to see if anyone did.

At least twice in the past month, he’s reportedly raged against his acting attorney general for allowing federal prosecutors to reference him in the crimes his former bagman Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to committing.

This is potentially the most direct obstruction of justice yet. He’s now pressuring an official whom he hand-picked and whose entire future depends on him, to take actions that would impair the independence of federal prosecutors.

He could probably also be removed for doing this. And yes he is intentionally hurting us by shutting down the government and if it's illegal for him to do it then congress has a duty to start impeachment proceedings against him. The last line is a scary scenario isn't it? His shutdown whenever he doesn't get his way. But unfortunately it will leave Pence in position to be VP. And we'll still be left with the congress critters who will continue to asset strip the country. Can't we impeach all of them?

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6 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

divineorder's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg against impeachment? Hearings?

His shutdown whenever he doesn't get his way. But unfortunately it will leave Pence in position to be VP. And we'll still be left with the congress critters who will continue to asset strip the country. Can't we impeach all of them?
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Ralph Nader has said not to be afraid of impeachment hearings, they are just what is needed. If the white' domestic terrorists rise up maybe they will be arrested? We will see.

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5 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

snoopydawg's picture

@divineorder

I hope that if Trump is impeached for the right reason then those white domestic terrorists will see how bad he was for their country. Describe in detail what laws he broke and what it costs us and maybe they will finally wake up. I've been seeing that people who think that the GOP tax cuts were good for them are going to be surprised by how much more they will owe in taxes because of how the deductions were changed.

You might enjoy this article on this.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/01/03/russiagate-vs-climate-genocide-h...

I think that Trump has just been a puppet for the corporations that run the republicans. The tax cuts, the deregulations on so many industries and the other issues that republicans have wanted to do for a long time. Just like Obama was a puppet for the banks.

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5 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

divineorder's picture

@snoopydawg

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1 user has voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

but they want to impeach him for doing something with the russians. hillary must be vindicated.

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7 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack the Russkies.

Which prompted his rejoinder: “Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’” followed by his baseless and incendiary claim that “they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country,” and their “rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!”

In his second year, he’s displayed even less commitment to keeping the military nonpartisan than he did initially.

During last month’s teleconference with U.S. troops and Coast Guard members, he continued his rampage against the judiciary, calling the Ninth Circuit “a big thorn in our side” and “a disgrace.”

Then he turned last week’s surprise visit to American troops in Iraq and Germany into a political rally—praising troops wearing red “Make America Great Again” caps, signing a “Trump 2020” patch, and accusing Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats of being weak on border security.

Some Americans are becoming so accustomed to these antics that they no longer see them for what they are—escalating attacks on America’s core democratic institutions.

Where would we be if a president could simply shut down the government when he doesn’t get his way? If he could stop federal prosecutions he doesn’t like and order those he wants? If he could whip up public anger against court decisions he disapproves of? If he could mobilize the military to support him, against Congress and the judiciary?

Could he? Would he?

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4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

in case you had any doubt, i agree that america needs to put trump out of its misery. on the other hand, trump's danger is obvious, his successor will no doubt be sneakier and more politically palatable - and the public has been primed to support a bloodthirsty foreign policy by the democrats and their media allies.

fabulous.

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8 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack

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5 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

divineorder's picture

@divineorder

his successor will no doubt be sneakier and more politically palatable -

mayb the sumbeetch be taken up in the rapture before then? President Pelosi now that Ryan is gone? Same as it ever was.

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6 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

@divineorder

was that the R's would allow or encourage TheRump to be taken down before the midterms, and have the godbotherer come forth as a White Knight replacement. I was horribly wrong. They've seen the propensity of a portion of Americans for fascism, and decided to run with it.

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5 users have voted.

If I'm wrong, it's the first time I'm happy to be confused. -Don Van Vliet

divineorder's picture

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8 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

i guess warren just ripped up her ticket to appear on msdod.

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7 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack

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5 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

enhydra lutris's picture

spy. The question isn't were there any?, but how many were there?. Nice tunes too, thanks mucho.

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7 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

heh, it seems that i may have been inadequately cynical in light of the possibilities suggested by the british spy group involvement in anti-corbyn and perhaps anti-sanders manipulations.

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6 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@joe shikspack  
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/24/undercover-police-spy-girlfri...

If that’s what ordinary U.K. police are up to, one can only imagine how much license a full-fledged British spy and/or MI6 agent has.

“The name’s Bond — James Bond.”

“Welcome to the Bernie campaign strategy committee, Mr. Bond. Would you like some coffee or tea? The meeting should be getting underway in a few minutes . . .”

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3 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

@lotlizard I remember back in college the local undercover guy who busted a bunch of guys over in one of the local dorms.

Was sleeping with at least 3 college girls who he spoiled mercilessly with op funds. Never was charged, anything. Just another successful bust.

Feel sorry for those guys who got woken up with the gun in their faces, but pot's dangerous don't you know? (This was the mid 90s.)

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6 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.