The Evening Blues - 11-18-22
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features somewhat obscure r&b singer and songwriter Dossie Terry. Enjoy!
Dossie Terry - Railroad Section Man
"Authority, when first detecting chaos at its heels, will entertain the vilest schemes to save its orderly facade."
-- Alan Moore
News and Opinion
A surprisingly frank article by The New York Times titled “Western Allies Look to Ukraine as a Testing Ground for Weapons” describes how the imperial war machine is capitalising on the US proxy war to test its weapons for future use.
“Ukraine has become a testing ground for state-of-the-art weapons and information systems, and new ways to use them, that Western political officials and military commanders predict could shape warfare for generations to come,” write’s NYT’s Lara Jakes.
Jakes writes that “new advances in technology and training in Ukraine are being closely monitored for the ways they are changing the face of the fight.” These new technological advancements include an information system known as Delta, as well as “remote-controlled boats, anti-drone weapons known as SkyWipers and an updated version of an air-defense system built in Germany that the German military itself has yet to use.”
A former Lithuanian president is quoted as saying, “We’re learning in Ukraine how to fight, and we’re learning how to use our NATO equipment,” adding, “It is shameful for me because Ukrainians are paying with their lives for these exercises for us.”
Yeah, no shit.
US government mouthpiece the New York Times admits that NATO imperialists are using Ukraine as a laboratory to test new weapons and technology.
The military-industrial complex makes more and more money while Ukrainians and Russians die https://t.co/m87gyvyl6g
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 16, 2022
At some point The New York Times article was re-titled from “Western Allies Look to Ukraine as a Testing Ground for Weapons” to the slightly less obvious “For Western Weapons, the Ukraine War Is a Beta Test.”
News that the west is using Ukraine to test weapons systems for future wars aligns with recent comments by the commander of the US nuclear arsenal that the proxy war is a test run for a much bigger conflict that’s on its way.
“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” said US STRATCOM head Charles Richard at a naval conference earlier this month. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.”
So in addition to being used to advance longstanding US geostrategic objectives, apparently this war is also being used to sharpen the imperial war machine’s claws for a looming hot war with China and/or Russia. The US would certainly have an advantage in military test runs over the years in such a conflict.
As an aside, it’s probably worth noting that all the testing of new western weapons technology would likely explain reports from Ukrainian astronomers that the skies over Kyiv have been “swarming with unidentified flying objects (UFOs).” The aforementioned New York Times article quotes Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov as saying that the weapons testing he’s seen has convinced him that “the wars of the future will be about maximum drones and minimal humans.”
One of the many reasons the US and its complex network of allies, partners and assets are always fighting so many wars is because new weapons technology needs to be tested in battle before it can be deemed effective. What this means in practice is using human bodies as test subjects, the way a scientist uses laboratory rats or guinea pigs.
The US-centralized empire pretends to care about Ukrainian lives, but in reality it only cares about them to the extent that a researcher cares about his lab rats. And for exactly the same reason.
What could be more sinister than that? Well, the agendas that they are running those tests in preparation for, I suppose.
One day after a series of explosions took place in a Polish farming village, it has become clear that Ukraine fired at least one missile into Poland, killing two Polish civilians. While Ukraine’s imperialist backers acknowledged that it was Kiev that launched the strike, they have claimed, without a shred of evidence or plausibility, that Ukrainian air defenses accidentally carried out a precision airstrike dozens of miles in the wrong direction.
If the Ukrainian air force was attempting to intercept Russian missiles, flying from the east, why were its missiles aimed to the west, at Poland? And why were they able to precisely target an inhabited building in a sparsely populated rural area? Why did Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Foreign Minister Dimitri Reznikov and an unnamed “senior U.S. intelligence official” falsely blame Russia for the attack before Polish authorities had even publicly confirmed details about the strike? The claims that the missile was fired from a “defensive” weapon have no credibility because the S-300 missile system has a well-known capability of striking land-based targets.
In reality, the missile strike was a calculated provocation by Ukraine, possibly with the assistance of factions within the American state, intended to accelerate direct NATO involvement in the conflict and preclude any discussion of a ceasefire or negotiated settlement of the war. Ukraine’s attack on Poland took place as the G20 was meeting in Bali, Indonesia, with the United States seeking to whip other countries into line against Russia. It also takes place amid reported conflicts within the US government about the extent and pacing of US involvement in the war, and suggestions from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley that the United States might initiate a ceasefire or peace negotiations over the winter.
Critically, both NATO as a whole and individual NATO members have now acknowledged that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that attacked Poland, with Ukraine continuing to insist that the strike came from Russia. On Wednesday morning, NATO published a statement declaring that the “incident was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory against Russian cruise missile attacks.” It added, “This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.” The White House echoed the statement by NATO, adding, “Whatever the final conclusions may be, it is clear that the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident is Russia, which launched a barrage of missiles on Ukraine specifically intended to target civilian infrastructure. ...
The United States has chosen, this time around, not to fully embrace the false narrative being promoted by Kiev. That is because to do so would draw the United States into a full-scale war with Russia for which it is not yet prepared. The Biden administration is, however, making far-reaching preparations for such a conflict, pumping tens of billions of dollars of weapons into Ukraine and constructing a NATO battlefront along Russia’s entire European border. ... Today, the declarations by the United States that it is not seeking war either with Russia or China are a ruse, aimed at buying time while it carries out the military and diplomatic encirclement of both countries and masses troops on their borders. The war that has broken out in Ukraine is seen by US military planners as an opening skirmish in a much broader global war.
Though all eyes have been on the Polish border blast and the resulting back-and-forth on who was responsible, a separate major attack unfolded in southern Russia near the Ukraine border on Wednesday.
Russian authorities described a suspected drone attack after a fuel depot exploded. It took place in Oryol oblast about 125 miles from the Ukrainian border. "Today [Wednesday] at 04:00 [01:00 GMT] a suspected drone blew up a fuel depot in the village of Stalnoi Kon. There were no casualties," the Oryol regional governor said in a statement.
If confirmed that it was a Ukrainian drone attack, it marks a significant escalation, given the distance of the facility from the border.
The AFP/Moscow Times observes, "Most of the attacks occurred against targets only tens of kilometers from the border, which makes Wednesday's incident stand out for taking place deeper into Russian territory"
Establishing a no-fly zone would pose a threat of direct confrontation between Russia and NATO, a German government spokesperson said, after a missile blast in Poland near the Ukrainian border killed two people on Tuesday.
The spokesperson rejected this and said, "Together with all our allies we are agreed that we want to avoid a further escalation of this war in Ukraine."
Berlin will offer support to the Polish air defence, a spokesperson for the defence ministry said at a regular news conference on Wednesday.
Workers at over 100 unionized Starbucks stores around the US walked off the job on Thursday, coinciding with Starbucks’ Red Cup Day, a promotional day where customers receive a free red reusable holiday Starbucks cup when they order a holiday seasonal beverage.
The strike was launched to protest against Starbucks’ failure to bargain with unionized stores and failure to adequately staff stores, especially on one of Starbucks’ busiest days where no pay differential is offered to workers. About 2,000 workers at 112 stores participated in the strikes in 25 states.
Workers have criticized Starbucks for delaying union bargaining after union elections and recently walking out on recent bargaining sessions across the US.
The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will change how it treats federal student loan borrowers seeking to discharge their debt through the federal bankruptcy process. Previously, the Department of Justice (DOJ) opposed any efforts by student loan borrowers to have their debt discharged through bankruptcy — which is already nearly impossible, even without opposition from government lawyers.
The move represents an about-face from the Biden administration. Up to this point, Biden’s DOJ actually moved to appeal the rare bankruptcy cases where student debtors were successful in discharging their debt. The Justice Department dropped those appeals after The Lever reported on the cases.
“Although the bankruptcy judge makes the final decision whether to grant a discharge, the new process announced today provides Justice Department attorneys with clear standards for recommending discharge to the judge without unnecessarily burdensome and time-consuming investigations,” said a DOJ press release on the new guidance. “The new process will also help borrowers who did not think they could get relief through bankruptcy more easily identify whether they meet the criteria to seek a discharge.”
Unlike every other type of consumer debt, student debt cannot be eliminated through bankruptcy, unless the debtor can prove the obligation is causing “undue hardship,” which is a nearly impossible legal standard to meet. The new guidance stipulates that Justice Department attorneys should support a discharge if a debtor is unable to meet their obligations because their expenses equal or exceed their income, when this inability to pay is likely to persist, and if the debtor has made “good faith efforts” to “earn income, manage expenses, and repay their loan.”
Heh, wonder how long it will take our brave congressional progressives to run away from this one ...
Dozens of U.S. House Democrats on Thursday sent a letter to the party's congressional leaders, calling on them to push for the reinstatement of the expanded Child Tax Credit in a year-end compromise tax package—and to use Republicans' demand for corporate tax breaks as a bargaining chip to secure much-needed aid for families across the country.
Republicans are calling for the reversal of a rule which requires companies to amortize domestic research and development expenses every five years, instead allowing them to deduct those expenses every year.
Combined with a reinstatement of loan interest deductions and a renewal of a "bonus depreciation" tax break, the Republicans' proposal would amount to about $50 billion in corporate tax cuts in the must-pass bill.
Led by Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), 58 Democrats signed the letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), calling on them to also include billions of dollars in relief for families.
"We should not extend corporate tax breaks unless and until we deliver additional relief for families," wrote the lawmakers. "Should a particular provision to delay or terminate the R&D amortization requirement be included in any must-pass or tax extender bill, it must be paired with provisions that will provide crucial support to families, specifically an extension of the expanded [Child Tax Credit] CTC and an expansion of the [Earned Income Tax Credit]."
In an order that begins by quoting the famous opening line of George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, a federal judge on Thursday blocked key provisions of a Florida censorship law that aimed to restrict how state university professors teach race, gender, and U.S. history.
"'It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,' and the powers in charge of Florida's public university system have declared the state has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of 'freedom,'" Judge Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, an Obama appointee, wrote in his scathing decision, which temporarily halts enforcement of parts of the law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible 2024 presidential candidate.
"To confront certain viewpoints that offend the powers that be, the state of Florida passed the so-called 'Stop WOKE Act in 2022—redubbed (in line with the state's doublespeak) the 'Individual Freedom Act,'" Walker continued. "The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints. Defendants argue that, under this act, professors enjoy 'academic freedom' so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the State approves. This is positively dystopian."
The Thursday decision, which concludes that the GOP law violates the First Amendment rights of public university faculty and students, marks the second time Walker has ruled against the "Stop WOKE Act" in recent months. In August, the judge blocked the part of the law pertaining to private businesses. ...
Part of a recent wave of censorship laws advanced by Republicans in Florida and across the U.S., the "Stop WOKE Act" was billed as an attempt to "give businesses, employees, children, and families tools to fight back against woke indoctrination."
But civil liberties groups and other critics of the law have argued it is both unjustifiable and exceedingly vague in its mandates, creating a chilling effect on educators as they attempt to teach their classes under the threat of state retaliation.
Attorneys for a Georgia jail detainee shown on security footage being punched by guards repeatedly in the head and neck have called for the deputies to be fired and arrested, insisting the videos show the violence was unjustified. “There is no way in hell that anybody should be beaten the way this man was beaten,” Harry Daniels, an attorney, told reporters. “I don’t care what he did. I don’t care if he knocked the damn door down. You don’t beat a person like that.”
Jarrett Hobbs, a 41-year-old Black man from North Carolina, was booked into the Camden county jail on 3 September on traffic violation and drug possession charges. Security video from the same night shows Hobbs standing alone before five guards rush in and surround him. At least three deputies can be seen landing punches before Hobbs is dragged from the cell and hurled against a wall. ...
The Camden county sheriff, Jim Proctor, who oversees the jail, and the Georgia bureau of investigation have announced separate investigations. Hobbs’s attorneys are questioning why the sheriff did not investigate sooner, considering the incident happened more than two months ago. Hobbs was charged immediately with fighting the guards. ...
The jail videos came to light because Hobbs of Greensboro, North Carolina, was on probation for a 2014 federal conviction. His Georgia arrest prompted an investigation into whether he violated terms of his supervised release. The jail footage became part of the evidence in that case. Hobbs’s attorneys released the video on Monday.
Nancy Pelosi, a giant of American politics and the first woman to lead the House of Representatives, is stepping down from leadership to make way for a new generation, she said on Thursday.
The 82-year-old, an ally of Joe Biden who led congressional Democrats for two decades, made the announcement after Republicans regained a majority in the chamber.
“With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor. “For me, the hour’s come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect, and I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”
Quick, crank it out before the Republicans come in and shut it down! Pffffftttt!!!
The House January 6 select committee has created a subcommittee to examine the scope of potential criminal referrals it might make to the justice department over the Capitol attack as well as what materials to share with federal prosecutors, its chairman and other members said on Thursday.
The special subcommittee – led by Congressman Jamie Raskin, overseeing a four-person group that also involves Liz Cheney, Adam Schiff and Zoe Lofgren – has been chiefly focused on whether they have uncovered sufficient evidence that former US president Donald Trump violated civil and criminal statutes.
The subcommittee has also been tasked with resolving several other outstanding issues, the panel’s chairman Bennie Thompson said. They include what materials to share with the justice department before the end of December, and its response to Trump and Republican lawmakers who have not complied with subpoenas. ...
Meanwhile Thompson said the committee will release its report on the Capitol attack next month.
“Our goal is to get it completed soon so we can get it to the printer,” Thompson told reporters. “We plan to have our product out sometime in December.”
A US agency seeking to restore habitat for endangered fish gave final approval on Thursday to decommission four dams straddling the California-Oregon border, the largest dam removal undertaking in US history. Dam removal is expected to improve the health of the Klamath River, the route that Chinook salmon and endangered coho salmon take from the Pacific Ocean to their upstream spawning grounds, and from where the young fish return to the sea.
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order surrendering the dam licenses and approving removal of the dams.
The project has long been a goal of several Native tribes whose ancestors have lived off the salmon for centuries but whose way of life was disrupted by European settlement and the demand for rural electrification in the 20th century. “The Klamath salmon are coming home,” Joseph James, chairman of the Yurok tribe, said in a statement. “The people have earned this victory and with it, we carry on our sacred duty to the fish that have sustained our people since the beginning of time.”
Climate change and drought have also stressed the salmon habitat; the river has become too warm and too full of parasites for many fish to survive.
Canada has rejected a mine expansion project in the Arctic after years of uncertainty and fierce protest, in what community members and campaigners say is a win for the vulnerable marine ecosystem and wildlife.
Baffinland Iron Mines’ planned expansion to its Mary River site would have seen it double output to 12m tonnes of iron ore. To bring the ore to market, the mine also said it needed to build a 110km railway to a port near the community of Pond Inlet as well as doubling its shipping.
The company – the biggest private-sector employer in Nunavut territory with nearly 2,600 workers – has said the expansion is critical to remaining profitable.
On Wednesday evening, after repeated delays, Canada’s northern affairs minister, Dan Vandal, rejected the company’s application, citing fears from Inuit groups that the expansion could have devastating effects on marine mammals, including key populations of narwhal. The region is home to the densest narwhal population in the world – an important food source for Inuit communities.
That decision comes six months after the Nunavut Impact Review Board came out against the expansion. The board held in-person meetings in Pond Inlet, the community closest to the mine, as well as in the territorial capital of Iqaluit. After hearing from community members and the mine, it concluded the project could result in “significant adverse eco-systemic effects on marine mammals and fish, caribou and other terrestrial wildlife, along with vegetation and freshwater” as well as “significant adverse socio-economic effects on Inuit harvesting, culture, land use and food security in Nunavut”. The board’s review lasted four years, the longest in its history.
The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has flown to the attempted rescue of troubled climate talks in Egypt, warning of a “breakdown in trust” between rich and poor governments that could scupper hopes of a deal. ...
Guterres appeared on Thursday alongside the Egyptian foreign minister and president of the talks, Sameh Shoukry, who gave a gloomy assessment of the state of negotiations with only one full day of official negotiating time to go. “It is evidently clear that at this late stage of the Cop27 process, there are still a number of issues where progress remains lacking, with persisting divergent views among parties,” Shoukry said.
There are four key concerns: countries’ plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels; how to help poor countries adapt to the effects of the climate crisis; finance for poor countries to cut emissions and adapt to extreme weather; and loss and damage, which covers ways of helping countries afflicted by the worst ravages of climate disaster.
On each, Shoukry listed severe setbacks. “The mitigation work programme [on cutting emissions] is yet to reach the desired outcome. Adaptation is still held back by procedural matters. Ambitious outcomes on finance have not yet materialised. And on loss and damage, parties are shying away from taking the difficult political decisions,” he said.
Guterres – who in an interview with Guardian before Cop27 had warned that without a “historic pact” between rich and poor nations, “we are doomed” – appealed to governments.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Dossie Terry - Thunderbird
Dossie Terry - Twenty-Four Years
Dossie Terry - I Got A Watch Dog
Dossie Terry - She's Alright
Dossie Terry - Lost My Head
Dossie Terry - When I Hit the Number
Dossie Terry - You Will Be Mine
Dossie Terry - Fool Mule
Dossie Terry - Soul Food
Bonus! Some more "Thunderbird" and Thunderbird derivative tunes:
Red Prysock - What's The Word? Thunderbird!
Bobby And Buddy - What's the Word, Thunderbird
The Nightcaps - Thunderbird
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Thunderbird
Billy Gibbons - Thunderbird