The Evening Blues - 10-22-21


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Pat Boyack & The Prowlers

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features bluesrock guitarist Pat Boyack & The Prowlers. Enjoy!

Pat Boyack & The Prowlers — Lover's Rhumba

"In the Tea Party narrative, victory at the polls means a new American revolution, one that will "take our country back" from everyone they disapprove of. But what they dont realize is, there's a catch: This is America, and we have an entrenched oligarchical system in place that insulates us all from any meaningful political change."

-- Matt Taibbi

News and Opinion

Greenwald, worth a full read. Here's a snippet to get you started:

Feeding the Liberal Flock: The Real Reasons for the Congressional 1/6 Committee

Underlying so much of the anger and resentment surrounding 1/6 is the complete dissonance between the narrative fed to the citizenry by Democrats and their media allies on the one hand, and the legal realities on the other. It must be infuriating and baffling to a large sector of the population to have been convinced that what happened on January 6 was an unprecedentedly dangerous insurrection perpetrated by an organized group of seditious traitors who had plotted to kidnap and murder elected officials, only for the Biden DOJ to have charged exactly nobody with any criminal charges remotely suggesting any of those melodramatic claims.

This was the same frustration and confusion that beset a large portion of liberal America when they were led to believe for years that Robert Mueller was coming to arrest all of their political enemies for treason and criminal conspiracy with Russia, only for the FBI Superman to close his investigation without charging a single American with criminal conspiracy with Russia and then issuing a report admitting that he could not find evidence to establish any such crime. How to keep the flock loyal when the doomsday prophecies continue to be unfulfilled, as the World-Ending Date comes and goes without so much as a bang, let alone an explosion?

Adam Schiff's new book — which essentially claims that Mueller is senile and was suffering from pitiful dementia — is obviously intended to provide some solace or at least a framework of understanding for disappointed liberals to keep the faith, but deep down, they know what they were expecting. The endorphin-producing fantasies on which they fed for years — of Trump and Trump, Jr. and Jared and Bannon and Ivanka being frog-marched out of the White House by armed, strapping FBI agents — were way too viscerally arousing for them to simply forget that none of it happened.

A repeat of this disorientation and disillusionment when it comes to 1/6 could be quite dangerous for Democrats. It could be devastating to the media outlets which survive on serving the Democrats’ messaging and feeding dramatic conspiracy theories to the beleaguered liberal flock. In the days and weeks following 1/6, liberals really thought that dozens of members of Congress — from Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz to Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene — would be not just expelled from Congress but summarily imprisoned as traitors by a newly righteous Justice Department. They were led to believe that, with Bill Barr out of the way, Trump and his mafia family would finally pay for their crimes.

Instead, they have been served a tepid, cautious, and compartmentally conservative Merrick Garland who seems barely able to send the Evil Insurrectionists — many of whom are just hapless and impoverished lost souls — to prison for more than a few months. The harsh reality is yet again destroying their cravings for promised vengeance and retribution, and something must be done, lest the cult loyalty be lost forever.

That is, at bottom, what the 1/6 Committee is really for. The House Democrats have smart lawyers who are fully aware of all the above-discussed case law and other limitations on congressional power. That is why they purposely structured their third-party subpoenas to ensure nobody can challenge them in court: they know those subpoenas vastly exceed the limits of their authority and cannot withstand judicial scrutiny.

Biden KIDNAPS Venezuelan Envoy -- For Real!

Assange to Get Same Judge Who Sided with US on Appeal Over Medical Issues

Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde, the High Court judge who reversed an earlier court order to bar the U.S. from appealing Julian Assange’s medical issues, will preside over the substantive U.S. appeal hearing at the High Court next week. In January, lower court Judge Vanessa Baraitser refused the U.S. request to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher because of his high risk of suicide and the conditions of U.S. prisons. The U.S. applied to appeal that decision, which was granted by the High Court in July. The court allowed three of five grounds of appeal, excluding the matter of Assange’s health.

The U.S. challenged that ruling and in an Aug. 11 High Court hearing, Holroyde overturned the earlier court decision, siding with the U.S. argument that Baraitser’s finding on Assange’s health could be appealed.

That will be the central argument in the two-day hearing beginning next Wednesday at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The U.S. says Assange is not too ill to be extradited and has accused him of being a malingerer. Joining Holroyde on the High Court bench will be Dame Judith Farbey, who remained silent during the Aug. 11 hearing. It is highly unusual for a judge who has already ruled in favor of one party to continue on the bench, according to Consortium News legal analyst Alexander Mercouris. In most cases, fresh judges would be brought in who have had no part in earlier rulings for either side.

Sen. Joe Manchin’s Opposition to Biden Agenda Backed by History of Putting Corporations Over People

'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

Underscoring the yawning chasm between progressives' demands for a $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package and right-wing Democrats' refusal to accept such spending, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders wrangled over the bill's price tag behind closed Senate doors Wednesday, according to colleagues present during the fracas.

According to Axios, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who witnessed the exchange, recounted that "Joe said, 'I'm comfortable with nothing,'" while "Bernie said, 'We need to do three-and-a-half [trillion dollars].'"

"The truth is both of them are in different spots," said Tester.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who was also in the room, said Manchin argued, "We shouldn't do it at all," and that the $3.5 trillion proposal "will contribute to inflation."

"We've already passed the American Rescue Plan. We should just pass the infrastructure bill and, you know, pause for six months," Manchin reportedly argued, referring to the $1.2 trillion bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate in August before being indefinitely delayed by House progressives who insist upon first passing the reconciliation package.

Last month, Manchin admitted that it had been his plan all along to secure passage of the corporate-backed bipartisan infrastructure bill and then scupper the more ambitious $3.5 trillion package.

Coons claimed that "significant progress" was made in the meeting, despite the tension between Manchin and Sanders. The two senators have tussled in recent weeks, with Sanders calling Manchin's obstruction "absolutely not acceptable" and the West Virginian lashing out after the democratic socialist published an op-ed in a Charleston paper criticizing his intransigence.

While Coons and Tester both said they remain hopeful that Democrats will agree upon a top-line figure for the reconciliation package by the end of Thursday, Manchin threw cold water on the notion, warning that "this is not gonna happen any time soon."

On Thursday, West Virginia activists traveled to Manchin's houseboat in Washington, D.C., where they urged him not to sink his party's agenda while asking, "Who will you throw overboard?"

How Kyrsten Sinema, Once a Socialist, Is Now Obstructing the Democrats’ Progressive Platform

Sinema Shatters Democrats' Plan to Raise Corporate Tax Rate

Thanks to the intransigence of right-wing Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—who has refused to support proposed tax hikes on corporations and wealthy individuals to pay for her party's social infrastructure and climate package, all while taking tens of thousands of dollars from Wall Street—President Joe Biden on Wednesday shelved his long-standing and popular tax reform plan and is reportedly considering potential alternatives.

"Many Democrats would rather not dance around their goals by enacting more complicated proposals than those Sinema has rejected," Politico reported Wednesday. "But they may have no other choice: Democrats said she's the primary, and in some cases sole, impediment to raising the rates they've been campaigning against for years."

David Sirota & Julia Rock: Dark Money Group Thanks Sinema, Manchin For Holdout, “Fight For Seniors”

5 Sinema Advisers Quit in Protest

As U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema continues to be a leading impediment to her own party's flagship Build Back Better package, five of the Arizona Democrat's advisers resigned in protest Thursday, accusing her of "hanging your constituents out to dry" while favoring the big money donors who pad her campaign coffers.

In a letter obtained by The New York Times, five U.S. military veterans who served on a 20-member Sinema advisory board since 2019 excoriated the freshman senator for obstructing key parts of the $3.5 trillion social and climate investment bill, and for refusing to abolish the filibuster.

"You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people," the veterans wrote. "We shouldn't have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming."

The Times said the letter will be featured in a new advertisement from Common Defense, a progressive veterans' group that has previously targeted Sinema.

Study: Mega Corporations Driving US Food Prices

Amid mounting data showing that people are paying more for food at grocery stores around the United States, an analysis this week reveals how corporate power is “the real culprit behind rising prices at the checkout line.” After the U.S. Labor Department announced that the Consumer Price Index increased by 0.4 percent in September, researchers at the Groundwork Collaborative, a progressive think tank, explained the connections between “price hikes, monopoly and corporate greed.”

“The more sway mega-corporations have over our economy, the more power they have to gouge customers, squeeze Main Street, and exploit workers,” Rakeen Mabud, chief economist at the Groundwork Collaborative, said in a statement.

Since September 2020, food prices overall have increased by 4.6 percent, with the price of meats, poultry, fish, and eggs surging the most over the past 12 months, at 10.5 percent. The higher inflation rate in those industries, researchers noted, can be attributed to decades of consolidation, which has given a handful of corporations an ever-greater degree of market control and with it, the power to set prices.

According to the Groundwork Collaborative:

“Just four meat processing conglomerates control more than 80% of the beef industry and more than 60% of the pork industry. This enables them to dictate prices that both flatten returns for farmers and ranchers and inflate prices for consumers at the meat counter. As a result, consumers have seen a 12% increase in the cost of beef and a nearly 10% increase in the cost of pork over the last year. Meanwhile, the four major meat processors doled out billions of dollars to their shareholders in dividends and bought back millions of dollars of their own stocks.”

The price of eggs, meanwhile, has risen 9.9 percent since August 2020.

“State governments, including Minnesota, Texas, California and New York have sued egg producers and distributors for illegally raising the price of eggs during the pandemic,” the Groundwork Collaborative pointed out. “As one lawsuit put it, jacking up egg prices is allowing these companies, including some of the largest producers and wholesale distributors of eggs, to ‘profit from the misery of millions.'”

After Months of Organizing, Amazon Workers Ready Union Drive at Staten Island Warehouse

Amid the U.S. labor movement's recent surge in strikes, Amazon workers at a warehouse on Staten Island are planning to file for a union vote with the National Labor Relations Board next week.

After collecting nearly 2,000 union authorization cards from employees at the only Amazon fulfillment center in New York City—a monthslong effort that has faced stiff opposition from one of the world's most powerful corporations, which has managed to suppress previous unionization efforts—organizers with the Amazon Labor Union say they will have enough signatures by Monday to file for an election with the NLRB.

The Guardian reported:

The Amazon Labor Union is seeking to create an independent union of Amazon workers and has raised over $20,000 through GoFundMe to support the organizing efforts over the past six months. The election covers the sprawling Amazon JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island and surrounding facilities dubbed LDJ5, DYY6, and DYX2.

Through[out] the group's organizing efforts outside of JFK8, Amazon has reportedly distributed and posted anti-union flyers, installed a chain fence with barbed wire between the parking lot and the bus stop where organizers set up, and confiscated union literature.

Chris Smalls, the recently elected president of the Amazon Labor Union—which includes more than 100 organizers, all of whom are current Amazon staff—is a former employee at JFK8 who was fired from the Staten Island warehouse last March after organizing a walkout to protest Amazon's refusal to adequately protect workers during the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Soon after firing Smalls on March 31, 2020, Amazon executives held a meeting—attended by the world's richest man and the company founder, Jeff Bezos—to discuss how to smear the terminated employee, who worked at Amazon for roughly five years.

Amazon's general counsel David Zapolsky called Smalls, a Black man, "not smart or articulate" as part of an effort to discredit his organizing efforts, according to a leaked memo obtained by VICE News.

Amazon has gone to great lengths to undermine the ongoing unionization campaign on Staten Island, Smalls told The Guardian. He accused the company of calling the police on organizers multiple times and taking new hires to a nearby hotel rather than the JFK8 warehouse in order to prevent them from meeting organizers and potentially signing up.

"We've been out there for six months, meeting workers and signing workers day and night," Smalls told the newspaper. "Sometimes I've been out for 36 hours straight, just trying to get to our goal. The workers that are organizing themselves within these facilities, because they're the ones that are really inside the facility, to see that, to witness and to be a part of it, it's just been a magical experience, something that I've never fathomed."

"The energy and culture we built over the last six months with these workers, it's been very strong," he added. "Everybody's excited."

The Staten Island facility, which opened in September 2018, has earned a reputation for violating workers' rights.

The Guardian noted that "Occupational Safety and Health Administration data on injuries at the warehouse revealed an injury rate of 15.19 in 2018—a three-times higher rate than injuries at other warehouses nationwide. Workers at JFK8 have widely reported unsafe working conditions and pressure to meet quotas and rates, and have held protests and delivered petitions to management about their concerns."

In a Thursday statement, the Amazon Labor Union said that "we intend to fight for higher wages, job security, safer working conditions, more paid time off, better medical leave options, and longer breaks."

Shocking! Well, maybe not so much.

Fed Chair Sold MILLIONS In Stocks Right Before Market Crash, Corruption BAKED Into The System?

The Big Lie in Rahm Emanuel’s Senate Testimony

At Rahm Emanuel’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as potential ambassador to Japan, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) deserves credit for questioning Emanuel about what he knew as Chicago’s mayor about the police murder of 17-year-old African American Laquan McDonald—and when he knew it. Yesterday’s senate hearing marked the 7th anniversary of the 2014 killing, to the day.

But Emanuel was thoroughly dishonest, under oath, when he testified that his administration could not release the shocking dashcam video of the shooting because it did not want to taint “the integrity of an investigation”—and that if a politician intervenes in the release of evidence, "you've politicized that investigation."

Anyone who knows the timeline of events can see the big lie in this testimony. It was the suppression of the video that was "politicized"—a suppression that was decisive in Emanuel’s reelection as mayor. As for the so-called investigation, it had little or no "integrity.”

McDonald was killed on Oct 20, 2014, and the police review authority and the Cook County state’s attorney promptly launched investigations (followed by the U.S. Attorney). Crucially, they soon had access to dashcam video clearly showing that McDonald was veering away from Officer Jason Van Dyke who shot him repeatedly, including as he lay on the ground. The authorities quickly received the official autopsy showing sixteen shots.

This was an open-and-shut case, and it started leaking to community leaders and independent journalists that the police claim about McDonald having lunged at police was totally false.

Authorities had all the vital evidence within weeks, and certainly by the end of 2014.

Emanuel stood for reelection on February 24, 2015, four months after the shooting. In an article about the upcoming election that appeared a week before McDonald’s death, Chicago Reporter journalist Glenn Reedus noted that Emanuel’s “tumbling poll numbers put him in poor stead among the city’s African-American voters.” Reedus reported: “An August poll by the Chicago Tribune put Emmanuel’s approval rating at 35 percent. His popularity dropped across all demographics. It is difficult to imagine that with the overwhelming majority of those opposed to him or undecided, there is a possibility he will be returned to office.”

With the video still unknown to the public, Chicago voters denied Emanuel a majority vote in February 2015 – and the mayor was forced into a runoff. Emanuel had received 46 percent of the vote; progressive Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (now a member of Congress) had received 34 percent.

The video remained under wraps during the hard-fought runoff between Emanuel and Garcia that was very much a battle for the hearts and minds of Chicago’s African American voters. On April 7, 2015, Emanuel won the runoff by 56 to 44 percent. If the video had not been suppressed, it’s clear Emanuel would not have been reelected.

Eight days later after Emanuel’s reelection, the Chicago city council approved – without any debate – a $5 million payout to Laquan McDonald’s family, even before a suit was filed; the settlement, crucially, included an agreement that the family could not release the video.

For the next seven months, from April 2015 until November 2015, nothing happened in this open-and- shut case. The authorities indicted no one.

But on Nov 18, 2015—a full 13 months after the shooting—Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama began considering a lawsuit filed by freelance journalist Brandon Smith demanding release of the dashcam video. A day later, Valderrama ordered the city to release the video.

On Nov. 24, 2015, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who’d sat on the video for more than a year, brought charges against Officer Jason Van Dyke for first degree murder. Hours later, the city complied with the judge’s order by releasing the dashcam video to the public – leading to angry street protests and loud calls for the mayor to resign, with a poll showing that most Chicagoans (by 51 to 29%) wanted Emanuel to resign.

Under oath yesterday, Rahm Emanuel portrayed the 13-month suppression of the video as needed to safeguard the investigation’s “integrity.” All it safeguarded was Emanuel’s reelection.

In the few minutes he was afforded at yesterday’s hearing, Senator Merkley was correct to probe what Emanuel knew about the murder and when he knew it. All he heard from Emanuel was double-talk and evasion.

Now all eyes will be on Merkley—and other Democratic senators who profess that “Black lives mater” and that police need to be held accountable—to see whether they vote to confirm this tainted mayor and elevate him to a prestigious ambassadorship.

As Murder Trial Begins in Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing, Family Worries About Impartiality of Jurors

Police officer who fatally shot Justine Damond gets nearly five years in prison

A Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed woman after she called 911 to report a possible rape happening behind her home was sentenced on Thursday to nearly five years in prison – the maximum allowed for manslaughter after his murder conviction was overturned.

Mohamed Noor was initially convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual US-Australian citizen and yoga teacher who was engaged to be married. But the Minnesota supreme court tossed out Noor’s murder conviction and 12 1/2-year sentence last month, saying the third-degree murder statute didn’t fit the case because it can only apply when a defendant shows a “generalized indifference to human life”, not when the conduct is directed at a particular person, as it was with Damond.

Judge Kathryn Quaintance, who also presided at Noor’s trial, granted prosecutors’ request to impose the maximum sentence called for by state sentencing guidelines on Noor’s manslaughter conviction, 57 months. In doing so, she brushed aside the defense’s request for 41 months, which is the low end of the range. With good behavior, Noor could be freed on supervised release by next summer.

US border agents engaged in ‘shocking abuses’ against asylum seekers, report finds

Shocking instances of sexual and physical abuse of asylum seekers at the southern US border by federal officers have been uncovered by Human Rights Watch, after a years-long battle to wrestle the information from the Department of Homeland Security under freedom of information laws.

A stash of redacted documents released to the human rights group after six years of legal tussles uncover more than 160 cases of misconduct and abuse by leading government agencies, notably Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Border Patrol. The papers record events between 2016 and 2021 that range from child sexual assault to enforced hunger, threats of rape and brutal detention conditions. Some of the incidents involve alleged criminal activity by federal agents.

Human Rights Watch said that the documents “paint a picture of DHS as an agency that appears to have normalized shocking abuses at the US border. The US should take urgent and sustained action to stop such abuses”. ...

The Human Rights Watch documents point to numerous ways in which asylum seekers appear to have had their right to due process violated. One of the records released in the freedom of information suit appears to relate to a federal inquiry into CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) violations of correct procedure. The inquiry found 27 possible cases where asylum seekers were blocked from filing complaints or forced to sign papers they could not understand. One Honduran man applying for asylum was told by a Border Patrol agent that unless he signed paperwork rescinding his application “he was going to be sent to a jail where they were going to rape him”.

the horse race

House holds Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress

The House voted on Thursday to hold Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress, over his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the 6 January Capitol attack.

The approval of the contempt citation, by 229 votes to 202 against, escalates the select committee’s efforts to punish Bannon for his non-compliance as they intensify their inquiry into whether then-president Trump helped plan or had advance knowledge of the insurrection.

The House select committee chair, Bennie Thompson, the Democratic congressman from Mississippi, said the authorization of the criminal referral against Bannon signalled their determination to deploy their most aggressive measures to take action both against Bannon and any other Trump aides who might ultimately defy subpoenas.

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday endorsed Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton, who has faced a spate of attacks from fellow Democrats within and beyond New York since defeating incumbent Byron Brown in the party's primary earlier this year.

"As Buffalo voters start to head to the polls this weekend, I urge them to cast their ballot for India Walton as the next mayor of Buffalo," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "India is an inspiring community leader, mother, nurse, and a lifelong Buffalonian with a clear progressive vision for her hometown."

"India Walton won the Democratic primary fair and square and is the nominee," he continued, "and I have always believed that the Democratic Party is a big tent and is strongest and most able to build national majorities and bring meaningful change when it is inclusive—that is exactly how the Senate Democratic Caucus is structured."

"Throughout my career, I have worked long, hard, and diligently to bring federal resources to Western New York," he added, "and I look forward to doing that with India Walton for the betterment of the people of Buffalo."

The Buffalo News noted that Schumer's move comes as other Democrats, such as New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Congressman Brian Higgins, who represents Buffalo, "have refused to take sides in the battle between an upstart primary winner and a four-term incumbent who's waging a write-in campaign."

Walton, a democratic socialist, welcomed Schumer's support in a tweet, saying she was "honored" to receive his endorsement and vowing that together they "will beat back these Republican attacks and build the safe, healthy Buffalo we all need and deserve."

The development comes after several Walton supporters and party members in the state called for the resignation or removal of New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs after he compared the progressive mayoral candidate to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

CBS New York reports that Walton said she accepts an apology from Jacobs over his widely rebuked comments.

"Initially, I was disappointed, but also, I've not always said the right thing at the right time, so I extend a lot of grace to Mr. Jacobs," Walton said. "I think that had he had an opportunity to know who I am and what kind of person I am, he wouldn't have made that type of parallel."

the evening greens

Cartoon villain gets live-action payoff:

State water official fired over Flint, Michigan water crisis awarded full back pay

A mediator ruled last month that the director of the Michigan Office of Drinking Water was wrongfully fired in 2016. The official, Liane Shekter Smith, was awarded full back pay and compensation, amounting to $199,880. Shekter Smith was responsible for the safety of the state’s drinking water during the operation that switched the city of Flint from its treated Great Lakes water source to improperly treated water from the historically toxic Flint River. As head of the department, she oversaw the conspiracy to ignore legally-required treatment, falsify sampling methods and lie to the public about the operation.

She infamously lied in an August 2015 meeting to two concerned Flint mothers whose children were lead-poisoned, telling them that the city’s water complied with federal standards. That meeting was also attended by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) officials. She also asserted that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) field expert who discovered the issue was “being handled.” When an MDEQ spokesman called the EPA expert a “rogue employee,” Shekter Smith gloated to the mothers that his report would never see the light of day. She was fired in 2016 after the criminal events of the Flint water crisis were brought to light.

The Associated Press obtained the 22-page ruling issued in September by arbitrator Sheldon J. Stark. In it he said, “politics and the need for a public scapegoat” were behind Shekter Smith’s termination. The state, according to Stark, failed to present evidence that the firing was justified. The arbitrator continued that her record in government was “exemplary.” The use of the term “exemplary” compels one to keep from laughing. Clearly, Stark is addressing this to the establishment elite. The qualifications for that badge of honor require one to be a conformist toady who is willing to be a liar-for-hire for her higher-ups.

LeeAnn Walters, credited as being the resident most responsible for exposing the lead-in-water crisis in Flint, was one of the mothers who met with Shekter Smith six years ago. “As far as I am concerned the judicial system just spit in the face of every Flint resident who died or was harmed due to her actions,” Walters told the World Socialist Web Site, adding, “She should NOT be getting financially compensated for killing and harming innocent children and people. This narrative that she is not to blame is despicable and a lie because of the position she held.

“She, along with other members of MDEQ, should be in jail!”

US plastics to outstrip coal’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, study finds

The plastics industry in the United States is on track to release more greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) than coal-powered electricity generating plants by the end of the decade, according to a new report released on Thursday. The report, by Bennington College’s Beyond Plastics project, found that the American plastics industry is releasing at least 232m tons of GHG annually, the equivalent to 116 average-sized coal-fired power plants.

“Plastics is the new coal and it is a major environmental justice concern … The health impacts of the emissions are disproportionately borne by low-income communities and communities of color,” said Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics and former regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator under President Obama.

Ninety per cent of the plastics industry’s reported climate change pollution takes place in just 18 communities, where residents earn 28% less than the average American household and are 67% more likely to be minority communities. The report identified 10 different stages in which plastics manufacturing emits the most significant GHG.

Climate crisis likely to fuel conflicts over water and migration, US analyses say

The climate crisis is likely to intensify cross-border clashes, aggravate conflicts over water and migration and cause instability, especially in developing countries, in ways that could threaten global security, the Biden administration warned on Thursday. A clutch of simultaneously released reports by the White House, the US intelligence community and the Department of Defense paint a grim picture of the raft of security and humanitarian disasters that could strike at once as climate disaster continues to set in.

They warn that rising temperatures and extreme physical effects are likely to lead to conflicts over water and to the displacement of tens of millions of people over the next 30 years, including within the US where sea-level rise, drought and wildfires already menace communities.

In one of the more ominous forebodings, US intelligence predicts that new disputes could erupt between countries that seek to protect themselves unilaterally by deploying a strategy known as large-scale solar geoengineering. Should a country conclude that international efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5C over pre-industrial levels had failed, it might turn to its own use of geoengineering – an attempt to cool the planet by reflecting solar rays back to space through the injection of stratospheric aerosols or other risky techniques.

“Without an international agreement on these technologies, we assess that such a unilateral effort probably would cause blowback,” the intelligence report said. It added that such large-scale geoengineering could be disruptive internationally by distorting the Earth’s biosphere, leading in turn to changed weather patterns that could have adverse effects in some regions.

The three reports from the National Intelligence Estimate, the Pentagon and the White House were commissioned by Joe Biden in February when he asked his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, to look into options for how to deal with increased migration as a result of the climate crisis.

Ivory poaching has led to evolution of tuskless elephants, study finds

Ivory poaching over decades has led to the evolution of tuskless elephants, researchers have found, proving that humans are “literally changing the anatomy” of wild animals.

A previously rare genetic mutation causing tusklessness has become very common in some groups of African elephants after a period in which many were killed for their tusks, according to a study published in the journal Science.

Researchers looked at why female elephants in Gorongosa national park in Mozambique were frequently born without tusks, and found that the animals were in effect genetically engineered by mass poaching for ivory.

Elephants with tusks were highly likely to be hunted during the Mozambican civil war from 1977 to 1992, when 90% of the elephant population was slaughtered by armed forces on both sides to produce ivory that was sold to finance the conflict. Those without tusks were left alone, leading to an increased likelihood they would breed and pass on the tuskless trait to their offspring.

A couple of generations later, the effects of this are still visible on the group of about 700 elephants that live in the national park. Robert Pringle, of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University, which led the study, said it showed the impact of human interference in nature.

Also of Interest

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

Alex Saab’s Extradition Proves the Hard Truth of ‘Soft’ US Imperialism

Public health or private wealth? How digital vaccine passports pave way for unprecedented surveillance capitalism

US Officials Can Guard Against Havana Syndrome With This Innovative Home Solution

The Destruction of the United Kingdom

Some Musings On 'Wokeness'

Kamala Harris’ Response to Student Provokes Zionist Ire

Americans no longer have faith in the US supreme court. That has justices worried

Biden Faces Deadline for Release of More JFK Assassination Papers

“Kyrsten Sinema Fought For Seniors”

China vows no concessions on Taiwan after Biden comments

Biden's Plan To RESUME Student Loan Payments Could Hurt Dems In 2022

UFOs DISABLED U.S. Nuclear Missiles At HEIGHT Of Cold War, According To Former USAF Officials

A Little Night Music

Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - I'll Be the Joker

Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - Mr Moondog Man

Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - The Girl, She's Crazy

Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - The Way You Do

Pat Boyack - Get Out

Pat Boyack - Goin to Chicago

Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - Mexican Vodka

Pat Boyack - Who's Gonna Help Brother Further

Pat Boyack & The Prowlers - She Did The Do

15 users have voted.


mimi's picture

at exactly 7:30 am CET next morning.

thanks for your work. How do you survive your own work without collapsing?

I have to find a way to solve my problems. Good night.

4 users have voted.


joe shikspack's picture


How do you survive your own work without collapsing?

over the many years that i have done this, i have developed some efficiencies that help me a lot. also, i am a pretty fast reader.

the other thing is that i take weekends and holidays off, much of the time completely avoiding news.

have a great weekend!

9 users have voted.
QMS's picture

by next summer. Cause cops do no harm in the line of duty. Just shoot people
indiscriminately with no repercussions. What kind of justice system is this?
Rhetorical question ..

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


What kind of justice system is this?

a misnamed one.

have a great weekend!

7 users have voted.
QMS's picture

this court’s conservative supermajority insists on using its power to advance a partisan agenda at the expense of our constitutional rights and democratic legitimacy

Oh woes, hit the bandits in the nose. What is democratic illegitimacy after all?

Somehow above the law

remember when we believed in justice

8 users have voted.

It can give one quite a headache.

My headache this morning started with reading this....

And following up on that, a WSJ essay by physicist Lawrence Krauss...

This is how we are going to fix the racial issues in this country... by censoring history and forcing political correctness on students?

Reminds me of the letter we got from Joe Biden and the DNC (asking for money of course). In it there was a paragraph about Kamala Harris. Joe (or his surrogate) wrote that he was very proud of Kamala Harris because she was the first black/asian/woman VP. That was it. Nothing more was said, like what her achievements were, etc.

This is the highest form of racism, when all you ask of someone is regarding their race and not their accomplishments.

George Washington had better be ducking into a corner because I'm sure he's the next person to feel the giant eraser running over him.

Then there is the issue of Dave Chappelle's The Closer. My husband and I watched it on Netflix. It is being blasted by the Trans community, and yet we couldn't see anything that earned this condemnation. John Stewart just came out to support Dave. Jerry Seinfeld stated years ago that he would no longer do comedy on college campuses because of the sense that everything was perceived as an insult if it involved making fun of groups of people. So we in essence we can no longer laugh at ourselves.

We worry about the tyranny of the government, the oligarchs, the military etc. etc. but right now one of the biggest threads of tyranny running in the US is coming from the citizens themselves.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

QMS's picture

@Fishtroller 02

not to demean your comment, many good points here
just got to find another way to go ..

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joe shikspack's picture

@Fishtroller 02

heh, i am glad for the public debate about the virtues of various public figures who were considered in previous times virtuous enough to be cast in bronze and put on display as exemplars to all of us. it is a long overdue debate, but one that seems now to be carried out in a less than balanced, nuanced way.

i suppose that a full reconsideration of american historical figures would leave precious few allowed to stand on a pedestal in public by the standards that are being applied to jefferson. for example, consider this quote from the great emancipator:

"While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making VOTERS or jurors of negroes, NOR OF QUALIFYING THEM HOLD OFFICE, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

-- A. Lincoln, Sept. 18, 1858

the article in the wsj is interesting and i have no way of validating the claims of the professor complaining of the subjugation of scientific talent to racial preferences. in a perfect world, everyone (regardless of race) would be able to rise to the heights that their talent will take them and opportunities for educational growth would not be artificially constrained by the class and profit-driven unwillingness of institutions to expand resources to meet the needs of society.

We worry about the tyranny of the government, the oligarchs, the military etc. etc. but right now one of the biggest threads of tyranny running in the US is coming from the citizens themselves.

hmmm... is this tyranny really possible without the cooperation or perhaps even direction of larger social/political institutions - or have we achieved the dictatorship of the proletariat at last?

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mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
what a big hole he had to drop that kind of shit.

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@joe shikspack

most people have never read. And what a pickle it would put the politically correct judge in if it was common knowledge? Can you imagine the Dems trying to field that one?? Ha! Lincoln also jailed newspaper editors who criticized his handling of the war. It's like Roosevelt putting the US Japanese citizens in camps. So where do we draw the line on who gets a statue and who doesn't?

I read Krauss's book The Physics of Star Trek a long time ago. It was a good read.

I think requiring students to proclaim some sort of racial equality activism, whether true or not, does more to produce resentment rather than sympathy and support. I would think actually that minorities would not appreciate such statements. In fact, I would think that this might create an atmosphere where minorities would not only question whether they got a position based upon their talents or their race. They might also wonder if everyone around them thinks the same. What a terrible situation this causes!

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@Fishtroller 02 Jefferson is in our history, and insofar as his ideas, check our our Declaration of Independence. No history is complete without plenty of mention of the brilliant man.
It is a statue. Put in it a place for art, as it is a commissioned work of art. Keep the Declaration of independence (in his handwriting) in the history museums and national archives where it should be prominently placed, and you get the accomplishments of the man. Though not entirely admirable, he was nevertheless a great thinker about new ways to govern.
I do not believe I ever saw anyone at any time fawn over a statute. I guess they do. Wow.
I have seen people go practically to their knees at the Magna Carta, and I admit to having some tears and wobbly knees.
May we all keep our eyes on the prize.
Not the people, their true monument is what they left to us in their written words and deeds.

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@on the cusp

I've also visited Monticello twice (and Madison's place which is awesome). I particularly focused my interests on these men and their opinions on separation of church and state. There is a great book that contains all the letters between Jefferson, Madison and Adams regarding religion. It's titled "Jefferson and Madison on Separation of church and state, edited by Lenni Brenner. I highly recommend it.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@Fishtroller 02 and have numerous volumes of biographies of the man in my bookshelf.
I was shocked at the slave quarters behind his mansion.
My bachelor's degree is in history, US from colonial to reconstruction. There were no words written or spoken aloud that criticized Jefferson.
Those words came later, and they still come.

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ggersh's picture

Thanks for the EB's Joe.

I'll keep it short, they've(the bankers) just about stolen everything they could from us
so taking the Gold and pleading "Force Majeure" is just another day in the office
for the crooks

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The correct response to someone who supports going to war if China attacks Taiwan is “Are you enlisted?”

The correct response when they inevitably answer “no” is “Then shut the fuck up.”


joe shikspack's picture


the banksters will steal anything that is not nailed down. anything that they can pry up is by definition not nailed down.

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joe shikspack's picture


yep, it's crazy, but that's what religion does to people sometimes.

have a great weekend!

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joe shikspack's picture


it appears pretty obvious that getting past this negotiation thing quickly so that we can get down to some serious bombing is biden's intention.

buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

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Azazello's picture

Here's some more on Colin Powell.
Jimmy Dore:

Margaret Kimberley: The Many Crimes of Colin Powell

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It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the video and the link.

margaret kimberley is right on target. colin powell needs to be held accountable and shouldn't be given a pass just because he was black. it would have been much better if it had been done while he and his war criminal cronies could face the cameras and respond to questioning, but there's enough of a documentary trail to follow.

have a great weekend!

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snoopydawg's picture

For real this time.


Sam says squeak squeak….

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

joe shikspack's picture


any time is a great time to start a weekend. Smile

you and sam have a good one!

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dystopian's picture

Hi all, Hey Joe! Hope all are well!

Every day Joe I think it can't possibly get any worse than that! And every day you prove me wrong. Wink This has been going on for many years, as in Groundhog Day. I used to think America and humanity were going to make it right. The optimist can dream ya know.

Didn't take those elephants long to change did it? Great to see another obvious undeniable example of just how fast these changes can occur due to one type or another of population pressure. One of my theories is that bees heads have become narrower due to hummingbird feeders. They could not get in them very much when I was young (non-beeguard feeders). Now they can easy. This should be fairly easy to verify with museum and current specimens. No time for anything but to ponder that... too busy keeping the boat floating and moving forward.

Thanks for the great soundscape Joe! Have a great weekend!

Be well all!

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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


heh, the optimist and the cynic sneer at each other in my headspace all the time. Smile

you might have something there with the bees getting into the hummingbird feeder. let me know if your researches turn out. we have a couple of feeders and they almost always fill up with bees doing the backstroke in short order.

have a great weekend!

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joe shikspack's picture


i'd like to see a real socialist beat the dem machine. i hope india walton turns out to be all that.

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Lookout's picture

Hope everyone survived nicely and you all came out on the other side! Appreciate all the news and blues today and through the week.

Not much to add tonight just an idea that we could do better and it didn't have to be this way. But like Kurt said..."so it goes".

...but, how did the taters turn out? Didn't turn out a'tall , we had to dig 'em! They still look good.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

joe shikspack's picture


week done, still standing. so it goes ...

have a great weekend!

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joe shikspack's picture


which might lead to a step up out of the abyss of "justice." fingers crossed.

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@humphrey The last state I would have imagined! Big Oil (Awul) State!
That is a great law school, stellar Professors.
I hope he kicks some ass!

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