The Evening Blues - 11-2-22


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Big Bill Broonzy

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues guitarist Big Bill Broonzy. Enjoy!

Big Bill Broonzy - Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad

"In tribal times, there were the medicine men. In the Middle Ages, there were the priests. Today, there are the lawyers. For every age, a group of bright boys, learned in their trades and jealous of their learning, who blend technical competence with plain and fancy hocus-pocus to make themselves masters of their fellow men. For every age, a pseudo-intellectual autocracy, guarding the tricks of the trade from the uninitiated, and running, after its own pattern, the civilization of its day."

-- Fred Rodell

News and Opinion

Destroying Western Values To Defend Western Values

So it turns out the US intelligence cartel has been working intimately with online platforms to regulate the “cognitive infrastructure” of the population. This is according to a new investigative report by The Intercept, based on documents obtained through leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, on the “retooling” of the Department of Homeland Security from an agency focused on counterterrorism to one increasingly focused on fighting “misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation” online.

While the DHS’s hotly controversial “Disinformation Governance Board” was shut down in response to public outcry, the Intercept report reveals what authors Lee Fang and Ken Klippenstein describe as “an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms” in order to “curb speech it considers dangerous”:

According to a draft copy of DHS’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, DHS’s capstone report outlining the department’s strategy and priorities in the coming years, the department plans to target “inaccurate information” on a wide range of topics, including “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”

The report reveals pervasive efforts on the part of the DHS and its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with the FBI, to push massive online platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to censor content in order to suppress “threats” as broad as fomenting distrust in the US government and US financial institutions.

“There is also a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email to use,” The Intercept reports.

“Emails between DHS officials, Twitter, and the Center for Internet Security outline the process for such takedown requests during the period leading up to November 2020,” says The Intercept. “Meeting notes show that the tech platforms would be called upon to ‘process reports and provide timely responses, to include the removal of reported misinformation from the platform where possible.’”

While these government agencies contend that they are not technically forcing these tech platforms to remove content, The Intercept argues that its investigation shows “CISA’s goal is to make platforms more responsive to their suggestions,” while critics argue that “suggestions” from immensely powerful institutions will never be taken as mere suggestions.

“When the government suggests things, it’s not too hard to pull off the velvet glove, and you get the mail fist,” Michigan State University’s Adam Candeub tells The Intercept. “And I would consider such actions, especially when it’s bureaucratized, as essentially state action and government collusion with the platforms.”

The current CISA chief is seen justifying this aggressive government thought policing by creepily referring to the means people use to gather information and form thoughts about the world as “our cognitive infrastructure”:

Jen Easterly, Biden’s appointed director of CISA, swiftly made it clear that she would continue to shift resources in the agency to combat the spread of dangerous forms of information on social media. “One could argue we’re in the business of critical infrastructure, and the most critical infrastructure is our cognitive infrastructure, so building that resilience to misinformation and disinformation, I think, is incredibly important,” said Easterly, speaking at a conference in November 2021.

Another CISA official is seen suggesting the agency launder its manipulations through third party nonprofits “to avoid the appearance of government propaganda”:

To accomplish these broad goals, the report said, CISA should invest in external research to evaluate the “efficacy of interventions,” specifically with research looking at how alleged disinformation can be countered and how quickly messages spread. Geoff Hale, the director of the Election Security Initiative at CISA, recommended the use of third-party information-sharing nonprofits as a “clearing house for trust information to avoid the appearance of government propaganda.”

But as a former ACLU president tells The Intercept, if this were happening in any government the US doesn’t like there’d be no qualms about calling it what it is:

“If a foreign authoritarian government sent these messages,” noted Nadine Strossen, the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, “there is no doubt we would call it censorship.”

Indeed, this report is just another example of the way western powers are behaving more and more like the autocracies they claim to despise, all in the name of preserving the values the west purports to uphold. As The Intercept reminds us, this business of the US government assigning itself the responsibility of regulating America’s “cognitive infrastructure” originated with the “allegation that Russian agents had seeded disinformation on Facebook that tipped the 2016 election toward Donald Trump.” To this day that agenda continues to expand into things like plots to censor speech about the war in Ukraine.

Other examples of this trend coming out at the same time include Alan MacLeod’s new report with Mintpress News that hundreds of former agents from the notorious Israeli spying organization Unit 8200 are now working in positions of influence at major tech companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon (just the latest in MacLeod’s ongoing documentation of the way intelligence insiders have been increasingly populating the ranks of Silicon Valley platforms), and the revelation that The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté were barred from participating in a Web Summit conference due to pressure from the Ukrainian government.

We’re destroying western values to defend western values. To win its much-touted struggle of “democracies vs autocracies“, western civilization is becoming more and more autocratic. Censoring more. Trolling more. Propagandizing more. Jailing journalists. Becoming less and less transparent. Manipulating information and people’s understanding of truth.

We’re told we need to defeat Russia in Ukraine in order to preserve western values of freedom and democracy, and in order to facilitate that aim we’re getting less and less free speech. Less and less free thought. Less and less free press. Less and less democracy.

I keep thinking of the (fictional) story where during World War II Winston Churchill is advised to cut funding for the arts to boost military funding, and he responds, “Then what are we fighting for?” If we need to sacrifice everything we claim to value in order to fight for those values, what are we fighting for?

Dissent is becoming less and less tolerated. Public discourse is being more and more aggressively disrupted by the powerful. We’re being shaped into the exact sort of homogeneous, power-serving, tyrannized, propagandized population that our leaders criticize other nations for having.

If the powerful are becoming more tyrannical in order to fight tyranny, what’s probably actually happening is that they are just tyrants making up excuses to do the thing they’ve always wanted to do.

As westerners in “liberal democracies” we are told that our society holds free speech, free thought and accountability for the powerful as sacrosanct.

Our leaders are showing us that this is a lie.

The problem with “western values” is that the west doesn’t value them.

In reality, those who best exemplify “western values” as advertised are the ones who are being most aggressively silenced and marginalized by western powers. The real journalists. The dissidents. The skeptics. The free thinkers. The peace activists. Those who refuse to bow down to their rulers.

Our ongoing descent into tyranny in the name of opposing tyrants calls forth a very simple question: if defeating autocracy requires becoming an autocracy, what’s the point of defeating autocracy?

How to End the War in Ukraine: Matt Duss and Ray McGovern Debate U.S. Policy on Russia, NATO & More

Pentagon confirms deployment of active-duty military personnel in Ukraine

US Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder acknowledged during an official briefing yesterday that active-duty US military personnel are not only deployed inside of Ukraine, but are operating far away from the US embassy in Kiev. The day before, an unnamed US Department of Defense official said at a background briefing that “U.S. personnel” had “resumed on-site inspections to assess weapon stocks” in Ukraine. Reporting on this announcement, NBC News noted that “these inspectors in Ukraine appear to be some of the first members of the U.S. military to re-enter the Eastern European country since the start of the war, outside of military guards posted at the U.S. Embassy...”

During Tuesday’s on-camera briefing, Travis Tritten of asked, “The military has personnel inside of Ukraine, who are doing weapons inspections now. I’m wondering what the rules of engagement for those personnel are if they are fired on by the Russians or they are targeted by the Russians.”

Ryder replied, “We do have small teams that are comprised of embassy personnel that are conducting some inspections of security assistance delivery at a variety of locations.My understanding is that they would be well far away from any type of frontline actions, we are relying on the Ukrainians to do that, we are relying on other partners to do that…. They’re not going to be operating on the front lines.” He continued, “We’ve been very clear there are no combat forces in Ukraine, no US forces conducting combat operations in Ukraine, these are personnel that are assigned to conduct security cooperation and assistance as part of the defense attaché office.”

To this, Tritten replied, “But this would be different because they would be working outside the embassy. I would just ask if people should read this as an escalation.”

Ryder claimed that the US action was not escalatory, and simply refused to answer Tritten’s question about what the US would do if any active-duty US troops were killed. ...

The open secret is that the actual US force presence in Ukraine is far greater even than that admitted by the Pentagon on Tuesday. In October, veteran journalist James Risen reported that the Biden administration had authorized the clandestine deployment of US Special Forces in Ukraine. “Clandestine American operations inside Ukraine are now far more extensive than they were early in the war,” wrote Risen.

US troops in Ukraine, inspect weapons. Serbia warned, Russia or EU. Sweden, yes to NATO nukes.

Viagra-fueled Russian rampage?

Finnish Law Enforcement: Arms Sent to Ukraine Ending Up in Hands of Criminals

Finland’s national law enforcement agency, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), has warned that weapons being shipped to Ukraine are ending up in the hands of criminal gangs.

The Finnish broadcaster YLE reported Sunday that a preliminary investigation conducted by the NBI found that criminals in Finland may have captured military arms sent to Ukraine.

“We’ve seen signs of these weapons already finding their way to Finland,” Christer Ahlgren, the NBI’s detective superintendent, told YLE. Ahlgren said that weapons shipped to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Russia rejoins un-brokered grain deal after Erdogan's mediation

Briahna Joy Gray: Fund Ukraine OR ELSE? Libs Called Me A ‘SUBHUMAN FASCIST’ For Defending CPC Letter

Israel election: Netanyahu may be able to build coalition with far-right allies, exit polls suggest

The former Israeli prime minster, Benjamin Netanyahu, may have scraped a razor-thin election win with the help of new far-right allies, according to exit polls in the country’s fifth vote in four years.

His Likud party is projected to win 30 or 31 seats, Israel’s public broadcaster and two private channels said when polls closed at 10pm (8pm GMT) on Tuesday. The longtime leader’s rightwing religious bloc is set to win 61 or 62 seats overall – just clinching a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

Netanyahu appeared to strike a cautious tone in the early hours of Wednesday, saying that his party is “alive and kicking” but supporters would need to wait until final results arrived to celebrate.

The longtime premier’s main rival, incumbent prime minister Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid, was predicted to win 24 seats, with his camp at 54 seats overall. Another four seats would go to a pro-Arab rights alliance, which may or may not lend its support to Lapid’s centre-left bloc.

Worried about turnout among an exhausted electorate, all 36 parties engaged in an energetic last campaigning push to encourage voters to leave the house during the 15-hour voting window on Tuesday.

Bolsonaro breaks election silence but refuses to recognise Lula’s victory

Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has broken his almost two-day silence over his defeat in Sunday’s presidential election – but refused to congratulate or recognize the victory of his rival Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro lost what was widely seen as Brazil’s most important election in decades by a margin of 2.1m votes – 50.9% to 49.1% - and dozens of world leaders swiftly recognized Lula’s victory.

But Bolsonaro said nothing, with local media reports suggesting the erratic right-wing populist was holed up in his presidential residence consumed by anger, despondency and disbelief.

In a brief appearance on Tuesday afternoon Bolsonaro at last broke his silence, amid growing public indignation at his undemocratic stance. “Our dreams are more alive than ever,” the 67-year-old told journalists who had been summoned to the Alvorada palace in the capital Brasília. However, Bolsonaro, who is the first serving president to lose a re-election bid in Brazilian history, made no mention of the election’s winner and did not say whether he accepted the result.

He thanked the 58 million voters who had backed his failed campaign but did not explicitly say he would respect Lula’s win or allude to the 60 million people who voted for his opponent. ...

After Bolsonaro had delivered his message, his chief of staff Ciro Nogueira indicated that his administration would not contest the election result.

FBI Demands 66 YEARS Before Releasing Seth Rich Laptop Data!?!

US Unemployment System 'Wholly Unprepared' as Fed Risks Throwing Millions Out of Work

With the Federal Reserve poised to induce mass layoffs in its ongoing campaign to curb inflation, a study published Tuesday warns the notoriously fragmented U.S. unemployment system is nowhere near ready to handle another surge in jobless claims, potentially spelling disaster for the millions of people who could be thrown out of work next year.

Authored by Andrew Stettner and Laura Valle Gutierrez of The Century Foundation (TCF), the new analysis notes that "the share of jobless workers actually receiving UI benefits has shrunk dramatically" since federal benefit increases expired last year. According to TCF, just 26.8% of jobless workers were receiving state unemployment benefits in the 12 months that ended in August 2022, a sharp decline from the 76% rate through early 2021.

"Furthermore, UI benefits are not going as far as they used to," Stettner and Gutierrez observe. "In the first quarter of 2022, the average weekly UI benefit payment of $347.22 only replaced 39% of the average wages that had been earned each week ($883.43) by those accessing benefits. A year earlier, the combined payout from state benefits and the $300 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program totaled $617.36, which means federal and state UI benefits at that time equaled 79% of pre-layoff wages."

The U.S. unemployment system is overseen by the Labor Department but run by states, resulting in a wide variance in benefit size and duration—differences spotlighted by TCF's newly updated Unemployment Insurance Data Dashboard. Cracks in the system were exposed in a major way during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a rapid spike in job losses and a resulting jump in unemployment claims, overwhelming states plagued by inadequate staffing, funding shortfalls, and outdated technology.

While the sizeable federal benefit boost enacted in 2020 helped many unemployed workers cope—and kept millions out of poverty—the enhanced UI program expired in 2021, and Congress didn't pass legislation to permanently modernize the system in preparation for another labor market downturn.

Such a downturn may be coming soon, despite being entirely avoidable. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Federal Reserve officials will meet and likely impose another large interest rate increase aimed at further slowing economic demand—and, as a result, hiring—even as experts say the central bank's chosen approach will harm workers without tackling the true drivers of price hikes, such as corporate profiteering and supply chain snags.

The Fed's own projections indicate that its policy moves—which have spurred growing backlash from economists and progressive lawmakers—could cause the unemployment rate to rise to 4.4% by the end of 2023, which translates to around 1.5 million more Americans out of a job.

Bank of America has suggested the Fed's estimate understates the likely damage by close to 2 million workers.

"At a time of growing economic uncertainty, one thing is clear: the nation's system of unemployment benefits is inadequate and inequitable even during good times, let alone being wholly unprepared for another downturn," said Stettner, TCF's director of workforce development. "This new data reveals just how threadbare the baseline of support available through state unemployment programs has become, following the expiration of federal pandemic programs."

"If another wave of job losses does indeed hit," Stettner added, "the unemployment safety net isn't ready to cushion the blow without significant improvements."

Though the labor market has remained strong despite the Fed's aggressive rate hikes throughout the year and explicit willingness to cause a recession, unemployment claims have ticked up in recent weeks and economists fear the central bank has already overshot as tighter financial conditions take their toll on the housing market and other major components of the U.S. economy.

The Fed Chair’s November Surprise

The Federal Reserve, as part of a broader campaign by Republican Board Chairman Jerome Powell to “get wages down,” is expected to increase interest rates again by 0.75 percentage points at its meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Doing so would put even more strain on workers and reduce consumer confidence just days before Americans head to the polls — and potentially help Powell’s GOP colleagues win back control of Congress.

While a small group of Democratic senators are pushing the Federal Reserve not to further wreck the economy one week before the midterm elections, party leaders remain silent on the matter — suggesting that top Democrats are more eager to maintain good relations with powerful corporations and the ultra-rich than preserve their Congressional majorities.

The Fed has repeatedly hiked interest rates to constrict wages and therefore supposedly help ease inflation. But that relief hasn’t happened, largely because the primary driver of the higher costs Americans are experiencing is markups: Companies, particularly those with market power, are raising prices because they can.

Americans are facing higher prices in their daily lives and seeing their real wages rapidly decline, according to a recent Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas study. Nearly 41 percent of households are having difficulty paying their typical expenses, per the latest U.S. Census Bureau survey data. Polls show the economy and inflation are the top issues on Americans’ minds this year, and most voters trust Republicans over Democrats to better handle these issues. ...

Under Powell’s leadership, the Fed has hiked interest rates five times this year. He has been transparent about the point of the increases: He wants to “get wages down” and “bring some pain to households and businesses,” with the idea being that this will help drive down prices. There is no evidence that the rate hikes are doing much, if at all, to limit inflation. Indeed, corporate giants continue to report staggering profits, even as many other contributing factors to inflation have subsided. ...

Polls show increasing frustration with a slowing economy, induced by Powell’s earlier rate hikes, and that voters whose biggest priority is the economy favor Republicans over Democrats by a two-to-one margin.

the horse race

US supreme court blocks handover of Trump’s tax returns to Congress

The US supreme court’s chief justice, John Roberts, on Tuesday put a temporary hold on the handover of Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee. Roberts’s order gives the supreme court time to weigh the legal issues in the former president’s emergency appeal to the high court, filed on Monday.

Without court intervention, the US treasury department could have provided the tax returns to the Democratic-controlled House ways and means committee as early as Thursday.

Roberts gave the committee until 10 November to respond. The chief justice handles emergency appeals from Washington DC, where the fight over Trump’s taxes has been going on since 2019.

Lower courts ruled that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns and rejected Trump’s claims that it was overstepping.

If Trump can persuade the nation’s highest court to intervene in this case, he could delay a final decision until the start of the next Congress in January. If Republicans recapture control of the House after the 8 November midterms, they could drop the records request.

Pennsylvania by the sea: Mehmet Oz implies state has Atlantic coastline

Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for US Senate in Pennsylvania, risked mockery on Monday by giving the impression he believes the state, which is landlocked, has an Atlantic coastline.

“Pennsylvania is way is too important,” the celebrity doctor told the Fox News host Sean Hannity.

“And listen, this is important, we do not have a Republican senator north of North Carolina on the Atlantic coast, until you get to Maine, if I don’t hold this seat. There’s been a Republican senator in Pennsylvania most of my life, I’m gonna keep one here as well.” ...

Oz’s Democratic opponent, John Fetterman, has already made hay on the campaign trail by pointing out that Oz has stronger ties to neighboring New Jersey than to Pennsylvania.

Supreme Court Quashes Graham Attempt to Avoid Testifying in Georgia

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an emergency request from Sen. Lindsey Graham to block a subpoena forcing him to testify before a special purpose grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia probing efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in state.

The high court's decision, which did not include any dissents or recusals, came after Justice Clarence Thomas last week temporarily blocked the subpoena following a ruling against Graham (R-S.C.) by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Washington Post reported that Democratic Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wants to question Graham on November 17 about calls he made to Georgia election officials in the wake of then-President Donald Trump electoral loss two years ago.

According to the newspaper, "Prosecutors say Graham has 'unique knowledge' about the Trump campaign and the 'multistate, coordinated efforts to influence the results' of the election in Georgia and elsewhere."

The Supreme Court noted Tuesday that lower courts recognized Graham should not be questioned about any "informal investigative fact-finding" that is protected by the Constitution, and further disputes about specific questions can be settled in court.

The Post pointed out that "jurors already have heard testimony from several Trump lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, and Boris Epshteyn. A judge has also ruled that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows must testify."

the evening greens

Enormous emissions gap between top 1% and poorest, study highlights

The top 1% of earners in the UK are responsible for the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions in a single year as the bottom 10% over more than two decades, new data has shown. The findings highlight the enormous gaps between what have been termed “the polluting elite”, whose high-carbon lifestyles fuel the climate crisis, and the majority of people, even in developed countries, whose carbon footprints are far smaller.

It would take 26 years for a low earner to produce as much carbon dioxide as the richest do in a year, according to Autonomy’s analysis of income and greenhouse gas data from 1998 to 2018, which found that people earning £170,000 or more in 2018 in the UK were responsible for greenhouse gas emissions far greater than the 30% of people earning £21,500 or less in the same year.

The period covered by the dataset ends in 2018, before the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, which disrupted high-carbon activities such as flying.

Autonomy also found that if the UK had started taxing carbon emissions from just the top 1% of income groups two decades ago, the effort could have raised about £126bn by now, which could have gone towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in an equitable way, for instance through home insulation for poorer households. ...

The UK is not alone in having such a gulf between high and low earners on greenhouse gas emissions. A growing body of research points to the existence of a “polluting elite” whose lifestyles bear little relation to those of the majority of people. This holds true in developed and developing countries, where the poorest tend to be responsible for a tiny amount of greenhouse gas emissions, while those with most wealth are comparable in their impact with the elite of rich countries.

Whales ingest millions of microplastic particles a day, study finds

Filter-feeding whales are consuming millions of particles of microplastic pollution a day, according to a study, making them the largest consumers of plastic waste on the planet.

The central estimate for blue whales was 10m pieces a day, meaning more than 1bn pieces could be ingested over a three- to four-month feeding season. The weight of plastic consumed over the season was estimated at between 230kg and 4 tonnes.

In highly polluted areas, or if plastic pollution continues to rise in the future, the whales could be eating 150m pieces a day, the researchers warned. The data was collected in the coastal waters of California, but the scientists said other parts of the world were more polluted.

The research is the first to estimate microplastic consumption for blue, fin and humpback whales, which are baleen whales and use filters to catch their prey. It found that virtually all the microplastics consumed are in the krill and fish the whales eat, rather than in the water. The plastic particles are similar in size to the food the smaller organisms eat.

The whales could be harmed by the microplastics and the toxic chemicals they carry, and previous work has found plastic-derived contaminants have been identified in their blubber. The mammals are still recovering from the whaling trade and face other human-caused impacts such as noise and ship strikes.

Constant noise': Bitcoin mining brings misery for Niagara Falls residents

On Guam there is no birdsong, you cannot imagine the trauma of a silent island

The sihek, or the Guam kingfisher, is a beautiful blue-gold songbird that’s been extirpated in the wild since the 1980s. Like most of Guam’s native birds – 10 out of 12 native species – the sihek rapidly declined after the introduction of the invasive brown tree snake brought to the island after the second world war as a stowaway on military ships. It is hard to articulate the trauma that is the absence of birdsong. It’s even harder to describe the feeling that accompanied the recent announcement by the US Fish and Wildlife Service of its proposal to release some of the roughly 140 sihek now being bred in captivity in zoos across the country, not on Guam, but on Palmyra Atoll instead.

Palmyra Atoll is a set of remote islands roughly 1,000 miles (1.609km) south of Hawaii, and over 3,500 miles east of Guam. ... While the federal government’s laudable hope is that the successful release of the sihek in Palmyra will pave the way for their eventual repatriation in Guam, we have our doubts. ... As I write this, the US military – in the name of national security and as part of its broader strategy of containing China’s rising influence in the region – is dramatically expanding its footprint on the island. As part of that expansion, it is constructing a firing range complex on the northern end of the island, which involves the destruction of hundreds of acres of limestone forest. The razing of these forests will endanger not only the sihek but other species as well, including the Marianas crow, the Marianas fruit bat and the Marianas eight-spot butterfly.

And that’s only on land. At sea, the military is moving forward with plans to engage in nine types of advanced warfare activities over an area of 501,873 square nautical miles (1.7m square kilometres) – a surface size equivalent to California, Oregon, Washington, New York and New Jersey combined. These activities – which will include the use of explosives and active sonar – pose a serious threat to sea turtles and several species of dolphins and whales. The navy has secured permission to “take” – that is, to injure or otherwise disturb a marine mammal in the wild – 29,000 whales and 37,000 dolphins each year. To take but one example, the navy has been authorized to “take” up to 150 humpback whale mother-calf pairs a year: that is, 75 mothers and 75 calves. ...

The truth is we’ve lost so much already. The truth is we’re buckling beneath the pressure of three threats at once: climate change, invasive species and military expansion. The truth is that the three have formed an unholy trinity that now threatens to smash our small but ancient civilization and thereby rob the world of the gift of our difference.

Huge ‘planet killer’ asteroid discovered – and it’s heading our way

Astronomers say they have discovered the largest planet killer-sized asteroid in eight years, and that the huge space rock will cross Earth’s orbit. The asteroid, named 2022 AP7, was reported by researchers looking for space rocks within the orbits of Earth and Venus.

Writing in the Astronomical Journal, lead study author Scott Sheppard and colleagues at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington say they have found three “rather large” asteroids, one of which – 2022 AP7 – crosses the Earth’s orbit, making it a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA). ...

While the finding of 2022 AP7 may bring to mind visions of the asteroid Armageddon depicted in the film Don’t Look Up, the study also offers reassurance.

“It has no chance to hit the Earth, currently,” said Sheppard, noting that at present 2022 AP7 crosses the Earth’s orbit when the Earth is on the other side of the sun.

Sheppard added that slowly, over time, the asteroid will start to cross Earth’s orbit closer to where our planet is. But, he said, “this will be centuries into the future and we do not know the orbit of 2022 AP7 precise enough to say much about its dangers centuries from now.”

Also of Interest

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

War as Presentation

Secrecy & Empire

Some Ukraine Items ...

What Accounts For the War Lust Among American Liberals?

Putin Skewers US Ineptitude

Is Venezuela’s US-Appointed “Interim” President Juan Guaidó On His Way Out?

Michigan Democrat’s lead shows abortion may be the issue that decides midterm races

New Senate Report Spotlights 'Barbaric Consequences' of GOP Abortion Bans

The U.S. Diesel Shortage Is Worsening

Waterlogged wheat, rotting oranges: five crops devastated by a year of extreme weather

'Powerful Victory' as Judge Dismisses Charges Against Line 3 Water Protectors

I like your tone: research suggests why older violins sound so good

Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations – in pictures

"Working People Everywhere Have Had It": SEIU Pres. Mary Kay Henry on Unions Mobilizing for Midterms

Inside DHS, Big Tech Collusion To POLICE SPEECH Online, 'Route Out Disinformation': Ken Klippenstein

The Duran: Truss text. Sunak, one week as UK Prime Minister

A Little Night Music

Big Bill Broonzy - Joe Turner Blues

Big Bill Broonzy - This Train

Big Bill Broonzy - Midnight Special

Big Bill Broonzy - Black, Brown and White

Big Bill Broonzy - The Glory Of Love

Big Bill Broonzy - See See Rider

Big Bill Broonzy - Big Bill Blues

Big Bill Broonzy - Frankie And Johnny

Big Bill Broonzy - Hey Hey

16 users have voted.


The way the Pentagon says the air defense systems will be ready to ship to Ukraine in a few months sounds to me like it will be too late. Or is the Pentagon's way of saying "never."

Kiev is dark and there are lines for water.

IMHO DC is bluffing. What else can they do?

DC keeps saying that Russia has threatened Nuclear action. NO--it has not.

The only one talking about dirty bombs and nuclear activity is the West.

Meanwhile the NY Times has a big story about Kiev in darkness---lots of photos---and in another story repeats the absurd "Russia is losing" theme.

How much longer can this go on?

15 users have voted.



but this kinda BS has no expiration date.
Forever is a long time when one is desperate.

13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


The way the Pentagon says the air defense systems will be ready to ship to Ukraine in a few months sounds to me like it will be too late. Or is the Pentagon's way of saying "never."

or, perhaps it's the pentagon's way of saying, "keep fighting and dying, help will be on the way in a few months if you can gut it out 'til then."

of course, the pentagon's been saying that sort of thing all along.

How much longer can this go on?

presumably until the last ukrainian.

11 users have voted.

Is that like 'I got mine, fuck you' or something more dispersed
like 'you ain't never get to my level'? Screw the intellectual bandits.
There is yet no copyright on free thinking. The entire concept is lost
in the miniature of twitter feeders. We still have the right to disagree.

11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


Is that like 'I got mine, fuck you' or something more dispersed
like 'you ain't never get to my level'?

i think that it's like "fuck you, we are in charge. we will baffle you with bullshit and even if you figure it out we will compel you to do what we want or have the other menials slaughter you as an heretic."

11 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

we, the deplorable, have no right to complain as
those considering themselves in charge are apparently
the only ones qualified to make those decisions

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


they're experts, dammit! they went to the best schools, they were born booted and spurred, ready to ride.

"The mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately."

-- Thomas Jefferson

9 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Another CISA official is seen suggesting the agency launder its manipulations through third party nonprofits “to avoid the appearance of government propaganda”:

The bill goes farther than just pushing propaganda because it is also working with social media to keep us from using our 1st amendment right. The founders made it the 1st right because it is the most important right we have. It sure looks like they are colluding with the media here. But I’m betting that the shitlibs will yawn at this because they have already said that anyone spreading mis, dis and mal information needs to be censored.

Americans need to start asking this question.

keep thinking of the (fictional) story where during World War II Winston Churchill is advised to cut funding for the arts to boost military funding, and he responds, “Then what are we fighting for?” If we need to sacrifice everything we claim to value in order to fight for those values, what are we fighting for?


Or feed poor grade school kids or find housing for the 500,000 people who are living on the streets, or give us health care, or, or, OR!

Speaking of democracies and autocracies Michael Hudson writes about what that actually means.

Germany’s position in America’s New World Order

President Biden has characterized this split as being between democracies and autocracies. The terminology is typical Orwellian double-speak. By “democracies” he means the U.S. and allied Western financial oligarchies. Their aim is to shift economic planning out of the hands of elected governments to Wall Street and other financial centers under U.S. control. U.S. diplomats use the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to demand privatization of the world’s infrastructure and dependency on U.S. technology, oil and food exports.

By “autocracy,” Biden means countries resisting this financialization and privatization takeover. In practice, U.S. rhetoric means promoting its own economic growth and living standards, keeping finance and banking as public utilities. What basically is at issue is whether economies will be planned by banking centers to create financial wealth – by privatizing basic infrastructure, public utilities and social services such as health care into monopolies – or by raising living standards and prosperity by keeping banking and money creation, public health, education, transportation and communications in public hands.

Hudson includes lots of history of the other times countries were doing what Biden is doing now going back to the 1200's and how that worked out for them. Very interesting. This is what the Ukraine war is about and it includes the upcoming war with China…. The good news is that not only are they aware of what is at stake, but many other countries know it too. Remember it’s not the whole world that has signed on with Biden and Europe, but there are more that are hoping both Russia and China win and the rules based order goes down in flames. Just like others have.

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Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.
- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

joe shikspack's picture


it's certainly an abuse of office. the shitlibs will yawn at it so long as it feels like their side is in control of the constitutionally proscribed methods. when the tide turns, they will squeal louder than a stuck pig.

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Reminds me of that ditty by Country Joe and the Fish at Woodstock.
Gimme an F .. you know the one.

Thanks for the Hudson link. He is a thinker.

6 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

This is from Raúl Ilargi Meijer’s blog The Automatic Earth, but it fully applies to c99 as well.

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


But it still goes on. Inside the echo chamber, nobody hears the echo.

7 users have voted.

Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.
- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

joe shikspack's picture


yep, we are the balance, but our catapult is much, much smaller.

5 users have voted.


The whole idea of the UN being an arbitrator gets weary with political gamesmanship.
Who is to decide the fates of a Venezuela, Serbia or just about any other country?
Turns out it is the power players. The difference seems to be the rationale used to
proscribe "democracy". If raping countries floats the dollar, then Rus and China are
right to advance their protective Silk Road for international peace and prosperity.

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


to the UN Security Council and of course got blown off. The first part is about their evidence and the 2nd is about the replies they got and he lets them have it.

I was able to translate it so I hope others can too. Russia does things by the book to show the countries that support them that they are trustworthy which is not what one can say about America. Biden has totally ditched the Iran deal because Iran made too many demands and besides we are focusing on the color revolution that we instigated there. Nice to get an admission of what our goals are.

8 users have voted.

Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.
- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

enhydra lutris's picture

Good to see some of the water protectors get a break, though I do wish the judge had gone a lot further.

Really good to see the feebs ask for 66 years. On what basis, that they are a criminal conspiracy and need to make sure the actual perps are dead? They can't need time to review for matter that needs to be redacted, becasuse they have no legal standing to review or redact anything - it is not their property, not their documents, not the work product of any of their employees or contractors, unless, some of it, quite illegally is work product of agent or contractor moles, bwahahaha. What are they hiding and why and isn't that a crime for them to be hiding shit, especially shit they stole?

Ah well, be well and have a good one

7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

yeah, it's a mystery to me what standing the feebs have to sequester the information from rich's laptop for decades, presumably until nobody alive at that time gives a damn about it. perhaps they are claiming possession of the evidence gives them standing? it'll be interesting to see the details of their claim.

have a great evening!

7 users have voted.