The Evening Blues - 11-13-19
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features jazz and blues singer Lil Green. Enjoy!
Lil Green - Knockin' Myself Out
"Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen."
-- Zbigniew Brzezinski
News and Opinion
A whistleblower who works in Project Nightingale, the secret transfer of the personal medical data of up to 50 million Americans from one of the largest healthcare providers in the US to Google, has expressed anger to the Guardian that patients are being kept in the dark about the massive deal.
The anonymous whistleblower has posted a video on the social media platform Daily Motion that contains a document dump of hundreds of images of confidential files relating to Project Nightingale. The secret scheme, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second-largest healthcare provider in the US. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike other similar efforts it has not been made anonymous though a process of removing personal information known as de-identification. ...
The disclosed documents include highly confidential outlines of Project Nightingale, laying out the four stages or “pillars” of the secret project. By the time the transfer is completed next March, it will have passed the personal data of 50 million or more patients in 21 states to Google, with 10 million or so files already having moved across – with no warning having been given to patients or doctors.
Among the documents are the notes of a private meeting held by Ascension operatives involved in Project Nightingale. In it, they raise serious concerns about the way patients’ personal health information will be used by Google to build new artificial intelligence and other tools. The notes say that one employee “expressed concerns of individuals downloading patient data – need to make sure everyone is trained to not be able to do that”.
According to the whistleblower, the security fears raised at that meeting, including concerns that the transfer may be in breach of federal HIPAA rules on data privacy, have so far gone unanswered by Google.
In an interview with the Guardian, they explained the decision to go public. ... They had family members, they said, who have been through the health system and who were worried about even their body weight being shared with doctors. They would be alarmed to learn that their names, addresses, date of birth, medical conditions, lab records, hospitalization history and more might be included in the Project Nightingale data given to Google. “Most Americans would feel uncomfortable if they knew their data was being haphazardly transferred to Google without proper safeguards and security in place. This is a totally new way of doing things. Do you want your most personal information transferred to Google? I think a lot of people would say no.” The whistleblower also expressed concern that so much sensitive and potentially valuable data was being amassed by one big tech company. Google could go on to use its AI analytics to predict outcomes for individual patients, they posited.
The Wall Street Journal has broken an important story on Google’s foray into the medical arena. Without notifying patients or doctors, much the less obtaining their consent, the search giant has obtained the medical records of “tens of millions of people” in 21 states, all patients of Ascension, a St. Louis-based chain of 2600 hospitals. Moreover, you can see that the effort is aggressive, with the aim of generating patient medical histories, linking individuals to family members, and making staffing and treatment suggestions….as well as identifying opportunities for upcoding and other ways to milk patients. ...
And I wasn’t kidding about Ascension wanting to wring more out of patients:
Ascension, the second-largest health system in the U.S., aims in part to improve patient care. It also hopes to mine data to identify additional tests that could be necessary or other ways in which the system could generate more revenue from patients, documents show.
... The Wall Street Journal article is explicit that Google is not doing this major project for Ascension for free out of the goodness of its heart, but to develop a marketable product:
Google has assigned dozens of engineers to Project Nightingale so far without charging for the work because it hopes to use the framework to sell similar products to other health systems. Its end goal is to create an omnibus search tool to aggregate disparate patient data and host it all in one place, documents show.
That runs afoul of the HIPAA requirements. The fact that Google is not getting paid does not give it the right to use its work for Ascension for any purpose other than to help Ascension.
BREAKING: In a major victory for privacy, a federal court ruled today that the government’s suspicionless searches of international travelers’ smartphones and laptops at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment. pic.twitter.com/SJDIERJdV5
— ACLU (@ACLU) November 12, 2019
'Enormous Victory': US Judge Rules Suspicionless Searches of Travelers' Electronic Devices Unconstitutional
In a development that the Electronic Frontier Foundation declared "an enormous victory for privacy," a federal judge in Boston ruled Tuesday that suspicionless searches of travelers' phones, laptops, and other electronic devices by government agents at U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional. ...
The lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan, was filed by EFF, the national ACLU, and ACLU of Massachusetts on behalf of 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident who had their devices searched without warrants. The suit named as defendants the Department of Homeland Security and two agencies it oversees—Customs and Border Protection as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Plaintiffs in the case include Sidd Bikkannavar, an optical engineer for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory living in California; Jeremy Dupin, a journalist living in Massachusetts; and Diane Maye, a college professor and former U.S. Air Force captain living in Florida. When the suit was filed in September 2017, Maye said that she "felt humiliated and violated" after she was detained for two hours at Miami International Airport upon her return to the United States from a vacation in Europe.
"I worried that border officers would read my email messages and texts, and look at my photos," Maye explained. "This was my life, and a border officer held it in the palm of his hand. I joined this lawsuit because I strongly believe the government shouldn't have the unfettered power to invade your privacy."
Esha Bhandari, staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said Tuesday that "this ruling significantly advances Fourth Amendment protections for millions of international travelers who enter the United States every year." ... Bhandari added that "by putting an end to the government's ability to conduct suspicionless fishing expeditions, the court reaffirms that the border is not a lawless place and that we don't lose our privacy rights when we travel."
Based on government data, CBP conducted more than 30,000 searches in fiscal year 2017. The privacy advocacy groups pointed out in their joint statement Tuesday that "the number of electronic device searches at U.S. ports of entry has increased significantly" in the past few years.
The Bolivian senator Jeanine Añez has declared herself the country’s interim president after the resignation of Evo Morales, even though lawmakers from his party boycotted the legislative session where she assumed office. Añez, 52, took temporary control of the Senate late on Tuesday. “I will take the measures necessary to pacify the country,” she said, swearing on a bible to loud cheers and applause. The move is expected to pave the way for fresh elections.
Morales’s Movement Towards Socialism called the session illegal and its legislators refused to take part. Nearby hundreds of Morales supporters marched against Añez assuming the role. “She’s declared herself president without having a quorum in the parliament,” Julio Chipana told the Guardian. “She doesn’t represent us.”
Morales, who resigned under pressure from police and the army after a fiercely disputed election, has flown into exile in Mexico, leaving a confused power vacuum behind in Bolivia. Speaking at a hastily organised press conference on the tarmac, the former president thanked Mexico for “saving my life” and repeated his accusation that his rivals had forced him out in a coup. He said that before his resignation on Sunday a member of the army had showed him messages putting a $50,000 price on his head.
The US coup connection
2013: Gen.Kaliman served as Mil.Attaché
2018: Police Com.Calderón Mariscal was Pres. of APALA in DC https://t.co/q6z1ggEqqX
— Jeb Sprague (@JebSprague) November 11, 2019
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. He is now in Mexico. Before he left office, Morales had been involved in a long project to bring economic and social democracy to his long-exploited country. It is important to recall that Bolivia has suffered a series of coups, often conducted by the military and the oligarchy on behalf of transnational mining companies. Initially, these were tin firms, but tin is no longer the main target in Bolivia. The main target is its massive deposits of lithium, crucial for the electric car. ...
Over the course of the past few years, Bolivia has struggled to raise investment to develop the lithium reserves in a way that brings the wealth back into the country for its people. Morales’ Vice President Álvaro García Linera had said that lithium is the “fuel that will feed the world.” Bolivia was unable to make deals with Western transnational firms; it decided to partner with Chinese firms. This made the Morales government vulnerable. It had walked into the new Cold War between the West and China. The coup against Morales cannot be understood without a glance at this clash. ...
Bolivia’s key reserves are in lithium, which is essential for the electric car. Bolivia claims to have 70 percent of the world’s lithium reserves, mostly in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. The complexity of the mining and processing has meant that Bolivia has not been able to develop the lithium industry on its own. It requires capital, and it requires expertise. The salt flat is about 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) above sea level, and it receives high rainfall. This makes it difficult to use sun-based evaporation. Such simpler solutions are available to Chile’s Atacama Desert and in Argentina’s Hombre Muerto. More technical solutions are needed for Bolivia, which means that more investment is needed.
Morales made it clear that any development of the lithium had to be done with Bolivia’s Comibol—its national mining company—and Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB)—its national lithium company—as equal partners. Last year, Germany’s ACI Systems agreed to a deal with Bolivia. After protests from residents in the Salar de Uyuni region, Morales canceled that deal on November 4, 2019. Chinese firms—such as TBEA Group and China Machinery Engineering—made a deal with YLB. It was being said that China’s Tianqi Lithium Group, which operates in Argentina, was going to make a deal with YLB. Both Chinese investment and the Bolivian lithium company were experimenting with new ways to both mine the lithium and to share the profits of the lithium. The idea that there might be a new social compact for the lithium was unacceptable to the main transnational mining companies.
Tesla (United States) and Pure Energy Minerals (Canada) both showed great interest in having a direct stake in Bolivian lithium. But they could not make a deal that would take into consideration the parameters set by the Morales government. Morales himself was a direct impediment to the takeover of the lithium fields by the non-Chinese transnational firms. He had to go.
After the coup, Tesla’s stock rose astronomically.
An alleged American member of Islamic State, stranded for a second day on the border between Greece and Turkey after Turkey expelled him, is “not our problem”, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said. The man, named by the Turkish news agency Demiroren as Muhammed Darwis B, is believed to be a US citizen of Jordanian descent. He was deported on Monday as part of Turkey’s controversial new policy to deport foreign jihadists in its custody.
A Turkish official told AFP that he had refused to be returned to the US and instead asked to be sent to Greece. Athens said he was refused entry when he tried to cross the no man’s land between the two countries to the Greek town of Kastanies. He is reported to have spent the night outside and witnesses said he has been trying to shout to reporters on the Turkish side of the border.
Asked to comment on the reports on Tuesday, Erdogan said: “Whether [the deported Isis fighters] are stuck there at the border it doesn’t concern us. We will continue to send them. Whether they take them or not, it is not our concern.” Speaking to reporters in Ankara on Tuesday, Erdogan threatened that Turkey could release all of its jailed foreign militants and send them to Europe.
Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) should seek a path out of the “neoliberal wilderness” and pull the plug on their support for Angela Merkel’s government unless it loosens its purse strings and seeks more investment in public services and infrastructure, the underdog duo vying for the leadership of the party have said. Founded in 1863, the world’s oldest social democratic party has been a central pillar of Germany’s postwar political order, but as a junior partner to Merkel’s CDU its fortunes have declined dramatically in recent years, dropping to historic lows in the European elections this year.
Following the resignation of Andrea Nahles as SPD chair in June, two relatively little-known politicians, Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken, standing as a joint ticket, have emerged as surprise leadership contenders from the leftwing of the party. They are up against Germany’s vice-chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and Klara Geywitz, from east Germany, in a run-off vote whose result will be announced on 30 November.
In an interview with three European newspapers – the Guardian, El País and La Republicca – the pair said that if they won they would seek a reorientation of the SPD along traditional leftwing principles that would probably put the party on a collision course with Merkel’s conservatives. “We took a turn into a neoliberal wilderness”, said Walter-Borjans, 67, whom German media have likened to the US Democrat Bernie Sanders. “There were advisers who also impressed on us Social Democrats that everything works best once it is privatised, if you lower taxes for high earners and increase VAT for those who earn less.” He said that to win back voters’ trust, the SPD needed to “face up to the mistakes made in the past”, which also included its tacit support for austerity measures in Europe. ...
The two politicians would not be drawn on whether joining the governing alliance was one of the mistakes they would seek to reverse. Instead, they signalled that the SPD under their leadership would make the government’s survival dependent on a number of policy shifts, especially in relation to the current prioritisation of balanced budgets over economic stimulus.
Spain’s Socialists and the far-left Unidas Podemos party agreed on the basis of a coalition government on Tuesday, just two days after a parliamentary election delivered a highly fragmented parliament. The unexpectedly fast preliminary agreement between two parties which recently refused to work together would require further steps including agreeing cabinet positions and bringing in smaller parties, which means it is far from a done deal.
The election - the country’s fourth in four years - left Spain’s parliament even more divided than a previous ballot in April, with the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) retaining its lead but further away from a majority. ...
The two men had been at odds for months and exchanged harsh words as acrimonious talks failed after the April election. On Tuesday they were all smiles, hugging after they signed the pact. “We’ve reached a preliminary agreement to create a progressive coalition government in Spain, which combines the experience of PSOE with the courage of Unidas Podemos,” Iglesias said. ...
Local media, including news website eldiario.es, said that Iglesias would be deputy prime minister, something which Sanchez had refused in the post-April election talks. Sanchez had also at the time opposed a coalition government. The two leaders said details would come later and did not comment further.
The Labour party has faced a second cyber-attack, a day after experiencing what it called a “sophisticated and large-scale” attempt to disrupt its digital systems.
It is understood the party was the subject of a second distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Tuesday afternoon. Such attacks use “botnets” – networks of compromised computers – to flood a server with requests that overwhelm it.
A Labour spokeswoman said: “We have ongoing security processes in place to protect our platforms, so users may be experiencing some differences. We are dealing with this quickly and efficiently.”
Labour has not said who it suspects is behind the attacks, but said it was confident its security systems ensured there was no data breach. ...
Labour has not said which digital platforms were targeted, but it is understood some of them were election and campaigning tools, which would contain details about voters. The party has sent a message to campaigners to say what happened and to explain why the systems were working slowly on Monday.
The architect of Trump’s hard-line immigration policy, Stephen Miller, regularly shared white nationalist reading materials with right-wing media company Breitbart during the 2016 election, according to leaked emails published by SPLC on Tuesday.
Many of the emails contain links to the website VDare, a white nationalist website known for its associations with prominent white supremacists and trafficking in racist, anti-immigrant conspiracies. The emails, leaked by a former Breitbart editor, offer a glimpse into Miller’s efforts to influence media coverage and public opinion surrounding immigration (as well as other hot-button issues, such as Confederate flags).
Miller has been credited with some of the Trump administration’s most controversial immigration policies and its messaging around immigration — and the leaked emails point to a troubling pipeline between white nationalist blogs and national policy.
SPLC’s Hatewatch, which monitors hate groups in the U.S., obtained over 900 emails from former Breitbart editor Katie McHugh, who was fired from the media company in 2017 amid a firestorm over her anti-Muslim tweets.
Violent hate crimes and threats have reached their highest levels in the US in 16 years, with a surge in attacks against Latinos and transgender people in 2018, according to new FBI data.
The data comes from more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies. Overall, the agencies reported a slight decrease in total hate crime reports, which include crimes against property, from 7,175 incidents in 2017 to 7,120 last year. But the number of reports of hate crimes against people, increased from 4,090 to 4,571, a roughly 12% jump.
In other words, the most serious and violent forms of hate crimes are increasing to dramatic levels, said Brian Levin, the director for the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, who analyzed the data.
“This is really significant,” said Levin, noting that the 16-year high has occurred despite an overall decline in crime across the country. In recent years, the spikes in incidents have consistently correlated with political attacks against specific marginalized groups, he said: “The more we have these derisive stereotypes broadcasted into the ether, the more people are going to inhale that toxin.”
An Arizona border activist accused of harboring migrants who snuck across the US-Mexico border goes on trial for the second time Tuesday, insisting he was simply trying to help two men in need.
The first trial for Scott Warren, 37, who is a volunteer with the migrant aid group No More Deaths, ended in a mistrial last June when the jury deadlocked. The group drops off water for migrants in the desert and runs a camp to aid injured migrants. Prosecutors have said Warren conspired to help the men avert authorities. ...
Warren and his supporters have said the government under Donald Trump has increasingly scrutinized humanitarian groups at the border – and prosecutors have asked the judge to prohibit Warren from mentioning Trump during the trial, according to court documents. They have argued that any mention of the president or his administration would be irrelevant and that doing so would pose the danger of unfair prejudice.
Warren’s defense attorneys have said that the government’s request would violate Warren’s rights and that the prosecution has not shown in what way it would suffer if the president were mentioned. The judge has not ruled on that request.
Warren, of the small town of Ajo about 40 miles (65km) from the border, faces two felony counts of harboring.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear’s apparent victory in Kentucky might not seem to have much in common with the wins Chicago teachers secured after their October strike. But both events bear the imprint of massive teacher uprisings over the past several years and show how they are affecting the political landscape in deep – and surprising – ways. The strikes have stretched through deep red states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky but also cities in blue California and purple Colorado. My research documents how the teacher movement is inspiring new action in and out of the workplace – with real economic and political impacts.
In Kentucky, there’s clear evidence that the public is firmly behind school teachers. In a survey of Kentuckians fielded at the start of 2019, I found that over two-thirds of respondents said that they supported the teacher protests. An overwhelming majority of Kentuckians even said they would support future teacher strikes and walkouts to boost school spending and resources.
The Kentucky strikes also helped teachers to build their organizing strength. This left them well-positioned to mobilize for the gubernatorial election. Bluegrass state teachers volunteered in scores for the Beshear campaign and organized get-out-the-vote efforts on the same Facebook page that had become a hub for action in the walkouts. A recent survey conducted by Data for Progress just before the Kentucky election confirms the reach mobilized teachers had in the race. Over four in 10 likely voters said that they had talked with, or heard from, a public school teacher about the gubernatorial elections. This isn’t just happening with teachers in Kentucky. Teacher actions across the country are broadening out from organizing around education policy to organizing for political races.
With a team of researchers from Columbia University, I have been studying the six original “Red4Ed” states with teacher walkouts or strikes: Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia. I collected state and local newspaper coverage of teachers in those states from 2017 to present day, comparing differences in how teachers were described before and after the strikes. I also looked at newspapers in similar states where teachers did not go on strike. I found a regular pattern: teachers in striking states were moving from the streets to the ballot box, focusing on races at all levels of government, from state legislatures to Congress.
The former US president Jimmy Carter was admitted to a hospital on Monday evening for surgery to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding due to recent falls, his spokeswoman said.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, the Carter Center, the Atlanta-based nonprofit he founded after leaving the White House, said Carter was “recovering at Emory University hospital following surgery this morning to relieve pressure on his brain from a subdural hematoma”.
“There are no complications from the surgery,” the statement added, saying the former president would remain in hospital “as long as advisable for observation”.
In October, documents surfaced that appeared to contradict a key story told by Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail. In her telling, Warren’s “dream job” as a public school teacher ended in 1971 when the school principal noticed she was “visibly pregnant,” a form of employment discrimination that was legal and common during that era. On October 7, a conservative website presented archived documents that appeared to challenge that narrative, including the minutes of a meeting in which the school board had voted to extend Warren’s tenure and another in which the board notes that Warren herself resigned from the job. ...
But how did these documents surface in the first place? According to the results of an open records request, an opposition research group known as America Rising had requested documents from the Riverdale Board of Education in New Jersey just weeks before the news appeared. It asked for “Warren’s employment records,” as well copies of other records requested from the school board from the previous two years. In response to the request, a school official provided America Rising with the school board minutes that became the basis for the story that erupted the following month, along with emails from a Wall Street Journal reporter, who had requested similar records in April.
America Rising — which is affiliated with a political action committee, a public relations firm, and a for-profit research company, as well as several news websites — has been backed over the years by Republican donors, including hedge-fund billionaires Paul Singer and Ken Griffin, private equity investor John Childs, and banker Andrew Beal. ... America Rising is known for attempting to dig up dirt on politicians, journalists, and activists on behalf of donors’ interests. ...
The current America Rising research effort on Warren appears to be part of a broader dive into the Democratic field, which is being coordinated with America First Policies, the nonprofit arm of Trump’s Super PAC. The effort involves research on Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, and other Democratic candidates.
Citing Deep Commitment to Medicare for All and Green New Deal, Nation's Largest Nurses Union Endorses Bernie Sanders for President
Pointing to his tireless advocacy on behalf of Medicare for All, his bold proposals to combat the climate crisis, and his commitment to "putting people above profits," National Nurses United—the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S.—announced Tuesday morning that it is endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
"National Nurses United has endorsed Bernie Sanders because we need a president who will unite all workers to fight for social, economic, racial and gender justice, and who will champion bold ideas on workplace democracy, Medicare for All, and climate change," tweeted NNU executive director Bonnie Castillo, RN.
NNU, which also endorsed Sanders in the 2016 presidential race, boasts over 150,000 members nationwide and has been a driving force in the grassroots push to build support for Medicare for All across the United States.
"We are so proud that together, in 2016, Bernie Sanders and NNU elevated Medicare for All to the national mainstream, where it has advanced to a top 2020 presidential race issue," Castillo said in a statement. "Nurses are beyond tired of watching our patients suffer and die needlessly, simply due to inability to pay, and we know Bernie Sanders is, and has been, leading on Medicare for All through his advocacy and Senate legislation."
NNU said it will officially endorse Sanders at a press conference on Friday, November 15.
Justice Democrats Accuses Buttigieg of Abandoning Medicare for All After Taking 'Tons of Cash' From Corporate Interests
Providing a two-year timeline of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg's remarks about Medicare for All, progressive advocacy group Justice Democrats on Wednesday accused the South Bend, Indiana mayor of abandoning support for single-payer healthcare in favor of an incremental half-measure after realizing "he could raise tons of cash from corporate executives in the pharmaceutical and insurance industry."
Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for Justice Democrats, said in a statement that Buttigieg "has no credibility" to criticize fellow 2020 contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for being "evasive" on Medicare for All "given how far his position has shifted over the past two years and how much money he's been taking from Big Pharma and insurance executives."
According to a Business Insider analysis published in August, Buttigieg—who is now running on a public option plan called "Medicare for All Who Want It"—has received more campaign cash from the healthcare industry than any other 2020 presidential candidate aside from President Donald Trump.
Shahid suggested Tuesday that industry cash played a role in Buttigieg's decision to ditch Medicare for All and go on the attack against the popular proposal in campaign ads and the presidential debates.
"Buttigieg was for Medicare for All before he was against it," said Shahid. "What happened this summer that made him abandon Medicare for All? He realized he was never going to beat Warren and Sanders as a progressive. He got scared of the fight. He realized he could raise tons of cash from corporate executives in the pharmaceutical and insurance industry."
The Buttigieg campaign pushed back against Justice Democrats' criticism on Twitter, insisting that the South Bend mayor expressed support for Medicare for All when it was "not synonymous" with the single-payer system proposed by Sanders' Medicare for All legislation.
Shahid said that is "not true," pointing to an op-ed Buttigieg wrote in 2004 expressing support for single-payer.
"The meaning [of Medicare for All] hasn't changed," said Shahid. "Him cozying up to the industry has."
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request from more than two dozen multinational energy companies to block a state court lawsuit brought by the city of Baltimore seeking to hold the companies accountable for their role in changing the earth’s climate. The companies want to move the suit to federal court, and they had asked the justices to halt proceedings in state court while the question of which court should hear the case was resolved.
The Supreme Court’s brief order gave no reasons. It noted that Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. had disqualified himself from the case, presumably because of a financial conflict.
The case, BP P.L.C. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, No. 19A368, is one of more than a dozen filed by state and local governments around the nation seeking compensation for what they said were injuries caused by the energy companies’ conduct. In its suit, Baltimore said the companies’ “production, promotion and marketing of fossil fuel products, simultaneous concealment of the known hazards of those products, and their championing of antiscience campaigns” harmed the city, which “is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding.”
Judge Ellen L. Hollander of the Federal District Court in Baltimore rejected what she called the companies’ “laundry list” of reasons for trying to move the Baltimore case to federal court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit refused to stay that ruling while it considers an appeal.
In the Supreme Court, the energy companies argued that the issues in the case require adjudication in federal court. “It is difficult to imagine,” they told the justices in court papers, “claims that more clearly implicate substantial questions of federal law and require uniform disposition than the claims at issue here, which seek to transform the nation’s energy, environmental, national security and foreign policies by punishing energy companies for lawfully supplying necessary oil and gas resources.”
Lots more detail at the link.
Tribal leaders, fishermen and environmentalists from Alaska will testify before Congress on Wednesday in an effort to save America’s biggest national forest – the latest battle against the Trump administration’s assault on environmental protections. The Tongass national forest, one of the world’s last intact temperate rainforests which plays a crucial role in fighting the climate crisis, is under threat of logging as Alaska seeks exemption from the Roadless Rule, which protects millions of acres of pristine forests across the US. The Tongass is considered the “crown jewel” of the national forest system, sequestering huge amounts of carbon dioxide to keep the greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere.
The Roadless Rule prevents mass clearcutting of trees in undeveloped forested areas and is seen as one of the most broadly supported environmental protections in the US. Donald Trump has reportedly intervened in the Alaska case, raising fears that other states with strong extractive industry lobbying machines will seek to fast-track similar exemptions without properly consulting communities on the impact that felling trees in wilderness areas will have.
“There are indications that many other states are watching to see what happens with Alaska, which has shown us how this administration is blindly following whatever industry, corporations and lobbyists want without thinking about future generations,” said Blaine Miller-McFeeley, senior legislative representative at the legal not-for-profit Earthjustice.
Wednesday’s hearing by the natural resources subcommittee on national parks, forests and public land (NPFPL) will hear evidence on the potentially devastating consequences for the Tongass and its people.
“We’ve been here for thousands of years. These are our lands and we depend on the Tongass for food security,” Joel Jackson, 63, president of the organized village of Kake, said. “Tribes everywhere are worried and watching very closely at what they’re trying to do in Alaska,” added Jackson, who will testify. “Tourism and commercial fishing run this region economically, not timber, which is a pathetically small sector,” said Lance Preston, 47, a fisherman and board member of the Seafood Producers Cooperative in Sitka. “The salmon already faces challenges from ocean acidification and warming … A very small minority stands to gain economically by being very irresponsible.”
350 Action Endorses Three 'Progressive Climate Champions' in 2020 House Races Against Establishment Democrats
Three progressive challengers to establishment House Democrats won endorsements for their 2020 campaigns from climate action group 350 Action on Tuesday. ... The three first-time candidates are all strong supporters of Green New Deal legislation authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey's (D-Mass.) which includes a just transition for fossil fuel sector workers as the country shifts away from coal, oil, and gas and towards 100 percent renewable energy sources.
Jamaal Bowman of New York's 16th district launched his challenge to 12-term Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in June, pledging to fight mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline in the Bronx and push for a Green New Deal to help protect children in his district from the effects of carbon emissions.
The middle school principal supports "a federal ban on fracking, as this practice not only hurts our environment at the macro level, but also has serious, well-documented consequences for individuals living near fracking sites," Bowman said in response to a survey 350 Action distributed to 2020 candidates. "I also support taxing fossil fuel companies to subsidize the transition to renewable energy."
Engel signed on as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal legislation earlier this year, but critics in his district have called on the congressman to stop taking donations from military contractors and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which backs pipeline projects. ...
In south Texas, Jessica Cisneros is challenging Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), a conservative Democrat, who said in August the Green New Deal "would kill jobs for hard-working Texans." ...
Alex Morse, the 30-year-old mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, is running against Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who has served in Congress for Morse's entire life. Neal has not signed on as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal—a source of anger and frustration for many of his constituents, including Morse.
"As mayor, I committed Holyoke to becoming the first 100 percent renewable energy city in Massachusetts, even though we have the lowest median household income in the state," Morse said in response to 350 Action's survey. "This is because my administration recognizes the immediate threat of climate change, as well as the opportunity that exists for equitable economic revitalization within a Green New Deal and a green economy." ...
The three candidates are the first 2020 congressional hopefuls to win the support of 350 Action.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Lil Green - Why Don't You Do Right
Lil Green - Romance In The Dark
Lil Green - Give Your Mama One Smile
Lil Green w/ Howard Biggs Orch. - I've Got That Feeling
Lil Green - Every Time
Lil Green - Cherry Tree Blues
Lil Green & her Orch. - Blow Top Blues
Lil Green - Love Me
Lil Green - I'm Wasting My Time On You
Lil Green - Rock Me Baby