The Evening Blues - 10-18-19
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features an assortment of tunes that I ran across while putting together other features. Enjoy!
Defenders - Taco Wagon
"The politicians in this world... have at their command weapons of mass destruction far more complex than their own thinking processes."
-- Charley Reese
News and Opinion
The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has agreed with the US vice-president, Mike Pence, to suspend Ankara’s operation on Kurdish-led forces in north-east Syria for the next five days in order to allow Kurdish troops to withdraw, potentially halting the latest bloodshed in Syria’s long war.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters would pull back from Turkey’s proposed 20-mile (32km) deep “safe zone” on its border, Pence told reporters in Ankara on Thursday evening after hours of meetings with Turkish officials.
General Mazloum Kobane of the SDF confirmed the ceasefire deal in comments to local television on Thursday night, but said it only applied to the area between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, both of which have seen heavy fighting. Damascus and Moscow, who have since also moved troops into the contested border zone, also had no immediate comment. Erdogan is due to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Sochi on Tuesday, where it is expected more concrete talks on the size of Turkey’s planned buffer zone will take place.
The initial plan was met with scepticism by many Syrian Kurds on Thursday night, as it gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with the military operation in the first place: removal of Kurdish-led forces from the border. ...
A statement released after the meeting reiterated the US understanding of Turkey’s need for a safe zone which will be “primarily enforced by the Turkish Armed Forces” after the Kurdish withdrawal, implying that Ankara still intends to occupy the 270m (440km) stretch of land, which includes several important Kurdish towns and parts of a major highway. ...
“Our people did not want this war. We welcome the ceasefire, but we will defend ourselves in the event of any attack … Ceasefire is one thing and surrender is another thing, and we are ready to defend ourselves. We will not accept the occupation of northern Syria,” the Kurdish political leader Saleh Muslim told local television.
withdraw to WHERE? it’s their *land* and this is ethnic cleansing pic.twitter.com/4dXUQCjxtm
— autumnal isi breen (it's pronounced ‘izzy’) (@isaiah_kb) October 17, 2019
Shifting frontlines and allegiances in Syria are making it difficult to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis triggered by Turkey’s offensive on Kurdish-controlled parts of the country, aid groups have said. After eight days of the Turkish operation about 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes and at least 71 people killed in north-east Syria, according to the UN and a human rights monitor. Local officials on Thursday put the number of dead at 231. Over the border in Turkey, 20 civilians have been killed in counterattacks.
The Syrian towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tel Abyad, the two main targets of Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies, have emptied of people after a week of shelling, rocket attacks and ground clashes as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fight back.
Roj hospital, Ras al-Ayn’s only medical facility, has reportedly been hit by heavy machine gun fire, two sources said. A medical worker at the facility died of his wounds on Thursday after being injured in shelling several days ago. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said an apparent airstrike hit a “trauma stabilisation point” run by a local organisation and that two of the group’s ambulances were damaged despite being clearly marked. It said its ambulances were being fired on every time they approached Ras al-Ayn, preventing them from reaching the town.
Unable to guarantee its employees’ safety, IRC and many other aid agencies have suspended operations and removed staff from the area.
Despite all the disastrous consequences of Donald Trump’s Syria policy, the U.S. president has in fact been right in one respect: The world has done far too little to find a solution for the individuals who once made up the Islamic State. In pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, Trump has said that Turkey is now responsible for the fate of thousands of ISIS fighters in the areas it is seizing, and he has threatened to impose sanctions on Ankara for its incursion into Syria. Turkish officials have said they are working on a plan to handle the ISIS detainees — that fighters will not be allowed to walk free — but based on Turkey’s past experience, it is unlikely that those fighters will spend much time in prison.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the U.S. until a few days ago, have been holding more than 70,000 suspected ISIS members in camps scattered across northeastern Syria. At least 10,000 are described by the Pentagon as fighters, including 2,000 or so who are not Iraqi or Syrian; 800 are from European nations. Many of them have been in those camps — the largest of which is just a collection of tents in squalid conditions that have led to the deaths of hundreds of children — with no sign of being put through any formal process that would weed out those who could be prosecuted from those who could be rehabilitated. “Western democracies have done almost nothing but stall on repatriations, accepting the returns of only token handfuls of young children, usually orphans,” said Letta Taylor, a senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch who has visited camps housing ISIS detainees in Syria. ...
Over the last few weeks, European officials have been meeting to discuss how to deal with the increasingly widespread disappearance of the Kurdish forces that kept guard over ISIS fighters since the caliphate’s defeat more than a year ago. They have yet to announce any policy on what should be done. The idea of an international tribunal, which had been proposed in the past, now is off the table. Such a tribunal would not be approved by powers like Russia and China on the U.N. Security Council, given that they vetoed a proposal in 2014 that could have led to the prosecution of Syrian government-aligned groups accused of war crimes. Trump has pushed for the fighters to be prosecuted in their own countries.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Friday morning that “it was aware of the situation and is collecting information with regard to possible use of chemical weapons”.
The Kurdish Red Crescent said in a statement that six patients, both civilian and military, were in hospital in Hasakah with burns from “unknown weapons” and it was working to evaluate what had been used. It said it could not confirm the use of chemical weapons and was “working together with our international partners to investigate this subject”.
A British chemical weapons expert sent photographs from a former colleague of a child with a badly burned torso in a frontline hospital said he thought it was likely they showed chemical burns.
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commander of the UK’s chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear regiment, said: “The most likely culprit is white phosphorus. It is a horrific weapon, and has been used repeatedly during the Syrian civil war; unfortunately its use has become increasingly normalised.”
White phosphorus is routinely held by militaries around the world and is used legally in combat as a smokescreen in daytime and as an incendiary to light up an area at night. But it is illegal to use it against civilians, because it causes serious and exceptionally painful burns on contact with skin.
Barcelona suffered its fourth and worst night of violence on Thursday as pro-independence supporters clashed with police and right-wing groups in running battles well into the small hours of Friday morning. The disturbances followed a now familiar pattern as a large demonstration called earlier in the evening dispersed and groups of protesters clashed with police in the city centre who say that a clothing shop was set on fire and a bank was vandalised.
In the early hours groups of protesters fought with police, throwing stones and at least one petrol bomb in an apparent attempt to reach the seat of the Spanish government in the city. One pro-independence protester was badly beaten by a group of right-wing supporters while once again the streets were acrid with the smell of bonfires of burning rubbish. Numerous injuries were reported.
In the midst of this chaos, Catalan public TV and the main Barcelona TV channel ceased broadcasting news, as did at least one of the online dailies, in support of the general strike called for Friday, when marchers from all over Catalonia will converge on the capital.
Earlier in the day the Catalan president, Quim Torra, condemned the violent protests that have erupted across the region this week but blamed the unrest on “infiltrators” seeking to undermine the peaceful image of the pro-independence movement.
More than half a million people have participated in a series of mass rallies in Barcelona called in protest at the jailing of nine pro-Catalan independence leaders over their roles in the failed push for secession two years ago. Earlier, workers in Catalonia downed tools, shops were closed and activists blocked roads in a general strike, while tens of thousands of people who marched from across the region began converging in Barcelona.
Their presence brought the city to a standstill before a huge demonstration began at 5pm local time. The entrance to the Catalan capital’s most famous landmark – the Sagrada Familia church – was blocked by pro-independence protesters and 57 flights were cancelled at Barcelona-El Prat airport. Barcelona police said about 525,000 people were taking part in the demonstrations.
During the afternoon the atmosphere in the city was quiet and there were few incidents, but by early evening there were isolated clashes between masked demonstrators and police. On Via Laietana, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, a crowd of protesters hurled stones and cans at police in riot gear, dragging large rubbish bins to the middle of the road and setting them ablaze. Police vans tried but failed to push people back to the pavements. ...
The militant Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) called for an indefinite protest camp to be set up at the key city centre junction of Gran Via and Passeig de Gràcia as of 6pm on Friday. Blocking this junction would paralyse traffic across a large swathe of the city. Meanwhile, a judge at Spain’s highest criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional, ordered police to shut down the website and social media accounts of Tsunami Democràtic, the pro-independence organisation that has used apps to co-ordinate and control protests. The group was behind Monday’s attempts to occupy Barcelona airport.
Britain is on course to sacrifice as much as £130bn in lost GDP growth over the next 15 years if the Brexit deal goes ahead, according to government figures.
Estimates published by the government last year show an agreement similar to Boris Johnson’s settlement, which envisions striking a limited free trade deal with the EU, would strip 6.7% from the UK’s expected path of GDP growth between now and 2034.
The 6.7% of GDP cost of Johnson also adds up to making people on average £2,250 a year poorer by 2034.
MPs previously rejected Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement and political declaration, which the same analysis found would knock about 2.1% off the UK’s total national income over 15 years, compared with remaining in the EU.
The estimates were made by the Department for Exiting the European Union in November last year when it examined the potential impact of various proposals on the growth of GDP, which is currently about £2.1tn.
oh looky, Hillary's Houndouran coup established a bunch of drug dealers as the government of Hondouras:
The Honduran politician Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández has been found guilty in a vast drug conspiracy case in New York City after prosecutors said he relied on “state-sponsored drug trafficking” enabled by his brother – the country’s president. ... The two-week trial put a spotlight on the lucrative drug trade between the United States and Honduras, where poverty, violence and corruption have driven thousands of migrants to flee north through Mexico.
US prosecutors say the drug conspiracy was protected by the Central American country’s government. The trial featured testimony that the convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán gave $1m in bribes to Antonio Hernández to pass along to his brother. ... The Honduran president was not charged in the case but was labeled a co-conspirator. ...
In a closing argument Wednesday, the assistant US attorney Emil Bove said the drug conspiracy was already over six years old in 2010 when Antonio Hernández and his associates gained control of the government to protect drug traffickers aligned with the country’s National party. ...
“Beginning in 2010, the defendant worked on massive cocaine shipments sent to the United States on a monthly basis. The president of Honduras deployed the military to the border with Guatemala to protect the defendant’s drug turf. The defendant used the national police to murder one of his drug rivals. And the ringleader in that murder was later promoted to become the chief of the entire police force,” Bove said.
BREAKING: Trump's chief of staff says the president "absolutely" mentioned to him that "corruption related to the DNC server" was part of the reason "why we held up the money" pic.twitter.com/XdpBeZZtNK
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) October 17, 2019
President Donald Trump's acting chief of staff acknowledged Thursday that aid to Ukraine at the center of a House impeachment inquiry was withheld because of the president's desire for the country to probe U.S. domestic politics. Mick Mulvaney's assertion was the first time a White House official conceded Trump set up a quid quo pro scenario in which money approved by Congress for Ukraine was used as leverage. Hours after his remarks drew bipartisan criticism, Mulvaney reversed course and said in a statement the money was withheld chiefly over concerns about corruption. ...
At a news briefing, Mulvaney said the president told him he was concerned about corruption and the fact that other countries weren't chipping in more to help pay for Ukraine's security. Mulvaney said Trump mentioned "in passing" that he considered part of that corruption to involve unfounded claims about the 2016 election. ...
As Mulvaney's comments bounced around Washington and drew fire from at least one Republican on Capitol Hill, the top aide to Trump issued a statement saying his remarks had been misconstrued to "advance a biased and political witch hunt." Mulvaney said the money was withheld for two reasons: lack of aid from other nations and corruption.
"Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election," Mulvaney said in the statement. "The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server."
President Trump directed top U.S. officials to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, on efforts to get Ukraine to launch politically helpful investigations, according to Trump’s EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Sondland said he was “disappointed” at Trump’s request to work with Giuliani, according to a copy of his prepared remarks to congressional committees obtained by VICE News on Thursday.
Sondland’s hotly-awaited testimony on Capitol Hill Thursday marks a key moment in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, which is looking into whether Trump abused his power by pressing Ukraine for politically helpful investigations while withholding hundreds of millions in military aid to Ukraine.
Sondland said Trump told him and other diplomats to work with Giuliani on his concerns about “corruption” — and that Giuliani told him Trump wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine would investigate a company linked to Trump’s 2020 rival Joe Biden’s son called Burisma Holdings.
Giuliani also told Sondland that Trump wanted an investigation into Ukraine’s possible role in the 2016 election, in an echo of a conspiracy theory that, if it weren’t already debunked, might take responsibility off Russia for hacking Democratic computers in an attempt to tilt the election in Trump’s favor.
Researchers Detail How Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All While Creating Progressive Foreign Policy Americans Want
The Institute for Policy Studies on Thursday shared the results of extensive research into how the $750 billion U.S. military budget could be significantly slashed, freeing up annual funding to cover the cost of Medicare for All—calling into question the notion that the program needs to create any tax burden whatsoever for working families.
Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), took aim in a New York Times op-ed at a "chorus of scolds" from both sides of the aisle who say that raising middle class taxes is the only way to pay for Medicare for All. The pervasive claim was a primary focus of Tuesday night's debate, while Medicare for All proponents Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) attempted to focus on the dire need for a universal healthcare program.
For months, we've been saying that we could fund plans like #MedicareForAll by cutting over $300 billion from the military budget.
— Institute for Policy Studies (@IPS_DC) October 17, 2019
"All these ambitious policies of course will come with a hefty price tag," wrote Koshgarian. "Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely?"
"Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it," she added. "That's nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary)."
"While we can't un-spend that $4.9 trillion," Koshgarian continued, "imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20 years."
Koshgarian outlined a multitude of areas in which the U.S. government could shift more than $300 billion per year, currently used for military spending, to pay for a government-run healthcare program. Closing just half of U.S. military bases, for example, would immediately free up $90 billion. "What are we doing with that base in Aruba, anyway?" Koshgarian asked.
Other areas where IPS identified savings include:
- cancellation of current plans to develop more nuclear weapons, saving $20 billion
- a total nuclear weapons ban, saving $43 billion
- ending military partnerships with private contractors, saving $364 billion
- production cuts for the F-35—a military plane with 900 performance deficiencies, according to the Government Accountability Office—saving $17.7 billion
- a shift of $33 billion per year, currently used to provide medical care to veterans, servicemembers, and their families, to Medicare for All's annual budget.
As Koshgarian published her op-ed in the Times, progressive think tank Data for Progress released its own report showing that a majority of Americans support a "progressive foreign policy" far less focused on decades-long on-the-ground wars, establishing military bases around the world, drone strikes, and arms sales.
"The public rejects the predominant, fear-based framing and policies; instead, they want to see a revamped, demilitarized American foreign policy focused on international cooperation, human rights, and peacebuilding," wrote Data for Progress.
"Voters want to see U.S. funding go to domestic needs such as healthcare, or to other national security tools like diplomacy, instead of to the Pentagon and more endless war," according to the report.
House Hearing Highlights How Corporate Stock Buybacks Enrich the Wealthy While Rigging Economy Against Workers
The House Financial Services Committee on Thursday held a hearing about one of the main ways the one percent keeps money in the hands of the richest Americans—stock buybacks—winning praise from progressives for shining a light on the practice. ...
The hearing, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), featured testimony from Janie Grice, a Walmart worker and United for Respect member. Grice told lawmakers that she was upset to find out the company used $20 billion in profits for stock buybacks instead of giving that money to employees. "I don't mind investors making profits," said Grice. "I do mind when associates like me, who have been putting the work in, day after day and year after year, don't get to share in those profits."
— Roosevelt Institute (@rooseveltinst) October 17, 2019
According to University of Massachusetts economics professor Lenore Palladino, stock buybacks represent yet another example of how inequality works in the U.S. "Gains from share selling flow disproportionately to a small group of wealthy households," said Palladino.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) noted that stock buybacks can also be used to manipulate valuation for profit. "Executives can use a buyback program to boost the company's stock price, right before selling their own stock at these artificially inflated prices," said Maloney.
"Executives can use a buyback program to boost the companies stock price, right before selling their own stock at these artificially inflated prices."@RepMaloney breaking down how CEO's use stock buybacks to enrich themselves at today's @FSCDems
#stockbuybacks hearing. pic.twitter.com/iTtx32p0Lw
— Take On Wall St (@TakeOnWallSt) October 17, 2019
New York City lawmakers voted to close the notorious Rikers Island jail complex, which has become synonymous with violence and neglect. Rikers is scheduled to shutter by 2026, ending a decades long run as one of the world’s largest jails. It will be replaced with four smaller and more modern jails located closer to the city’s main courthouses in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.
“Rikers Island is a symbol of brutality and inhumanity and it is time for us to once and for all close Rikers Island,” said the city council speaker Corey Johnson, a Democrat who shepherded the plan through the council. “As a city we must do everything we can to move away from the failed policies of mass incarceration.” ...
The Rikers complex counts 10 jails on an island between Queens and the Bronx that mainly houses inmates awaiting trial. The complex has housed jail inmates since the 1930s and has long been known for brutality. It saw hundreds of stabbings each year during the 1980s and early 1990s. It has been nicknamed Gladiator School, Torture Island, the Guantánamo of New York and, in summertime, the Oven.
More recently, a 2014 Associated Press investigation detailed dozens of inmate deaths including that of a homeless ex-marine who essentially baked to death in a hot cell.
In September, Billy Foister, a 48-year-old Amazon warehouse worker, died after a heart attack at work. According to his brother, an Amazon human resources representative informed him at the hospital that Billy had lain on the floor for 20 minutes before receiving treatment from Amazon’s internal safety responders.
“How can you not see a 6ft 3in man laying on the ground and not help him within 20 minutes? A couple of days before, he put the wrong product in the wrong bin and within two minutes management saw it on camera and came down to talk to him about it,” Edward Foister said. ...
The incident is among the latest in a series of accidents and fatalities that have led to Amazon’s inclusion on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s 2019 Dirty Dozen list of the most dangerous employers in the United States. The report cited six Amazon worker deaths between November 2018 and April 2019, and several news reports over the past few years that have detailed dangerous working conditions.
Since Donald Trump’s inauguration more than two years ago, Alex Mensing, a volunteer with the immigrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, has been pulled into secondary screening nearly 30 times at U.S. ports in the San Diego-Tijuana area, as well as the Los Angeles airport. His longest interrogation, in late 2018, spanned roughly four hours. It was hardly an isolated experience, Mensing told me. “Pretty much every member of Pueblo Sin Fronteras who crossed the border was interrogated during that time,” he said.
An Intercept investigation in February uncovered the backstory to the those interrogations, revealing that Pueblo Sin Fronteras was targeted in a secretive joint U.S.-Mexican intelligence gathering operation, which also swept up immigration attorneys and journalists working along the border. NBC News later obtained documents showing that the operation was carried out by officials within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the FBI, and included a secret database made up of 59 activists, journalists, attorneys, and unspecified others. At least 10 of the government’s targets were volunteers with Pueblo Sin Fronteras. Mensing was one of them.
While CBP eventually admitted to the operations, which sparked multiple internal and congressional investigations, the federal law enforcement agencies involved have emerged from the episode largely unscathed. Mensing is hoping to change that. On Wednesday, he joined two other plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and Kirkland & Ellis, in filing a lawsuit against CBP, ICE, and the FBI for violations of their First and Fourth Amendment rights. Though Mensing and his co-plaintiffs “did not commit any crime, violate any customs or border regulation, or engage in any other activity that could reasonably give rise to a suspicion of criminality,” the ACLU alleged, they nonetheless “faced repeated and prolonged detentions and interrogations at the border.”
“The government’s powers are not limitless,” the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, read. “It cannot target people for intrusive surveillance, detention, searches, and interrogation because of their expressive political activity protected under the First Amendment. And it cannot use its border control powers — to regulate the import of goods, verify travelers’ identities, and stop the entry of contraband — to conduct suspicionless fishing expeditions for criminal activity unconnected to border enforcement that it could not conduct within the country.”
The Trump administration’s border enforcement agencies illegally and unconstitutionally exploited their border enforcement authorities, the complaint went on to say, by “directing surveillance, detention, intrusive searches accompanied by excessive physical restraint, and intensive interrogation at the border” against individuals “because of their lawful humanitarian activities.”
An excellent discussion:
For Supporting Medicare for All, Biden Accuses Sanders and Warren of "Playing Trump's Game and Trying to Con the American People"
Speaking to reporters during a campaign event in Ohio on Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden accused Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—his two top rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination—of "playing Trump's game and trying to con the American people" by supporting Medicare for All.
"I mean, look, I don't want to pick on Elizabeth Warren, but this is ridiculous," Biden said. "The idea that someone is going to be able to go out and spend what turns out to be, if you add on everything that's going to be free beyond Obamacare, excuse me beyond Medicare for All, which is going to come out to about 3.4 trillion dollars a year."
Biden went on to falsely claim that the $3.4 trillion estimate, for which he did not provide a source, is "bigger than the entire federal budget."
The former vice president neglected to mention that the United States spent $3.65 trillion on healthcare in 2018, a number that is expected to rise rapidly over the next decade under the for-profit system Biden's public option plan would leave intact.
"God love Bernie, and it was really good, I really mean it, to see him so healthy and moving last night," said Biden. "But Bernie, Bernie doesn't pay for half his plan... Look the last thing the Democrats should be doing is playing Trump's game and trying to con the American people to think this is easy. There's nothing easy about it. If you're going to do it, tell us how you're going to do it. It's called truth in speaking."
'It Is Really Sad': Sanders Rips Biden for Deploying Insurance Industry Talking Points Against Medicare for All
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday issued a statement condemning former Vice President Joe Biden for parroting insurance industry talking points in an effort to convince voters that Sanders is "trying to con the American people" with Medicare for All.
"It is really sad that Joe Biden is using the talking points of the insurance industry to attack Medicare for All," said Sanders. "Joe must know that we currently spend twice as much per capita on healthcare as the people of almost any other major country and that we pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs."
"Under Medicare for All, funded in a progressive manner, all Americans will have comprehensive healthcare coverage as a guaranteed human right and, with no premiums, co-payments, or out-of-pocket expenses, ordinary Americans will be spending far less for that care than they currently pay," the Vermont senator added.
The statement comes a day after Biden attacked Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for "playing Trump's game" by supporting Medicare for All.
Worth a full read:
It’s not hard to figure out that corporate media represent the perspectives and interests of a small elite investor class of the US population, rather than its vast working class majority. Simply compare the size of the “Business” section in major newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times—ostensibly on opposite sides of the political spectrum—with the nonexistence of their “Labor” sections. But it is hard to think of a more palpable example of corporate journalists seeing themselves aligned with the interests of the investor class, against literally everyone else on the planet, than the celebration of the “shale revolution” and US “energy independence,” found in their cheerleading coverage of the US’s journey to becoming the world’s top oil producer despite the ongoing climate catastrophe.
A 2012 editorial in the Wall Street Journal (11/14/12), “Saudi America,” salivated over the prospects of the US surpassing Saudi Arabia as the “world’s largest oil producer as early as 2020,” due in large part to fracking and other methods of extracting fossil fuels from underground shale deposits. But this enthusiasm for new sources of carbon to burn is virtually indistinguishable from the ostensibly “objective” coverage found in the regular reporting of the Journal and the Times.
The Journal’s “The Shale Revolution’s Staggering Impact in Just One Word: Plastics” (6/25/17) gloated over how “new parents in Rio de Janeiro buy[ing] baby food in plastic containers” are “bringing home a little piece of the US shale revolution.” The Journal noted how the “boom in drilling” has lowered “the prices for the primary ingredients” the US chemical industry uses to make “tiny plastic pellets” that are then “melted and shaped into plastic products,” and how “integrated oil firms” like Exxon Mobil and Shell are “racing to take advantage of the cheap byproducts of the oil and gas being unlocked by shale drilling.” The Journal noted how “a spike in demand” for the raw materials used to manufacture plastics “could make drilling more profitable,” without once mentioning the climate catastrophe or the devastating pollution from plastics for the environment (Guardian, 6/9/18).
The Journal’s “US Becomes Net Exporter of Oil, Fuels for First Time in Decades” (12/6/18) declared that the US becoming “the world’s top producer of oil and natural gas” was a “symbolic milestone,” because a “renaissance in US drilling” is solving the apparent “problem of scarcity” that had “defined US thinking and strategy around oil, the world’s economic lifeblood.” The Journal relished the thought that “reducing American dependency on oil imports” meant that “America is moving closer to achieving ‘energy independence’” as a result of “the shale revolution.” There was no acknowledgment that this meant that the US—already the biggest carbon polluter in history—would be leading the planet toward an even greater climate disaster, against the opposition of less-developed countries with large indigenous populations (TeleSur, 4/1/19). ...
The bipartisan expansion of US oil production is a major indicator that Washington has never taken the climate catastrophe seriously, viewing US oil reserves not as a peril that needs to be kept underground but as an opportunity for profit and geopolitical advantage. Examining how corporate media have cheered on the “shale revolution” and US “energy independence” suggests that the “conservative” Wall Street Journal and the “liberal” New York Times sound the same because they are both owned by for-profit corporations owned by the same investor class, which has a strong financial stake in continuing to profit off the disastrous status quo (FAIR.org, 8/1/17).
The Democratic governor of Wisconsin is launching a taskforce to brainstorm ways to cut climate pollution, despite inevitable pushback from the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. Tony Evers has vowed Wisconsin will meet the goals of the international Paris climate agreement, even as Donald Trump aims to leave the pact and has discounted climate science, rescinded pollution efforts and promoted fossil fuels. ...
Evers is one of two dozen governors in the Climate Alliance, whose members have pledged to reduce their states’ heat-trapping pollution at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. Wisconsin is also trying to use only carbon-free electricity by 2050, even though it currently gets about half its power from coal. Eliminating Wisconsin’s climate footprint would require transformative changes to its electrical, transportation, industrial and agricultural sectors.
Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, who will lead the taskforce, said that to achieve its full potential, Wisconsin needs a federal government “that is less ridiculous than the federal government we have now”. ...
The taskforce’s recommendations are due in less than a year, but there is no timeline outlined for implementing the suggestions. Barnes acknowledged that state Republicans will argue any climate efforts would raise costs, but he said Wisconsin voters want action.
Extinction Rebellion Making Things Inconvenient? Actually, Says Naomi Klein, the Climate Crisis 'Is Really, Really Inconvenient'
As Extinction Rebellion activists in London on Wednesday ramped up their latest mobilization with a tenth consecutive day of action, author Naomi Klein pushed back against criticism of the climate protesters and said the climate crisis itself is what's truly disruptive.
In an interview with Sky News presenter Adam Boulton posted Wednesday, Klein refuted the notion that "a lot of action" to address the climate crisis is "being taken by politicians," saying their lack of sufficient action is what has drawn youth climate and Extinction Rebellion activists into the streets across the world in recent weeks.
The interview came as the global mobilization—which has blocked major roads and bridges in their bid to demand greenhouse gas emissions go down to net zero by 2025—staged a number of actions on Wednesday in defiance of a London-wide ban.
Extinction Rebellion has also announced that several affinity groups plan to disrupt Tube services on Thursday. "In any other circumstances," the group said in a statement, "these groups would never dream of disrupting the Tube but this is an emergency."
Boulton, in his interview with Klein, said the climate activists put others in a position such that their "route to work is being obstructed" and said XR was "trying to shut down the Tube system."
"Yes, it's inconveniencing people," said Klein. "As somebody who has covered natural disasters that are fueled by climate change for 15 years—there is nothing more inconvenient than being hit by a Category 5 hurricane, by having a wildfire raze your town."
"Let me tell you how inconvenient it is for the people in Paradise, California, 14,000 of whom lost their homes," she continued. "Climate change is really, really inconvenient. And so if people have to deal with this inconvenience of some protests in London to get the attention of politicians who have been focused on a singular way on the emergency of Brexit, then so be it."
The author and activist argues that the impact of climate change is more "inconvenient" than the group's protests.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 16, 2019
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Dick Dale - Taco Wagon
Eddie Cochran - C'mon Everybody
The Rumblers - Boss
Link Wray - Fatback
The Rivieras - California Sun
The Chantays - Pipeline
Swingin' Medallions - Double shot (of my babys love)
Sir Douglas Quintet - She's About A Mover
Guitar Slim - Quicksand
Eddie Cochran - Twenty-Flight Rock
Guitar Slim Green - Shake 'Em Up