The Evening Blues - 11-23-21


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Wilbert Harrison

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b singer Wilbert Harrison. Enjoy!

Wilbert Harrison - Baby Don´t You Know

"It is the height of stupidity to claim that men who for a thousand years have had the power to berate us, to fleece us and to oppress us with impunity, will now agree, with good grace, to be our equals."

-- Jean-Paul Marat

News and Opinion

Worth a full read, here's a snippet to get you started:

How the chemicals industry’s pollution slipped under the radar

It’s one of the biggest industries in the world, consumes more than 10% of fossil fuels produced globally and emits an estimated 3.3 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, more than India’s annual emissions – yet the chemicals sector has largely slipped under the radar when it comes to climate. This sprawling industry produces a huge range of products, many of which support other industries – pesticides for agriculture, acids for mining, lubricants for machinery, ingredients in cleaning agents, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and plastics.

While the industry has an important role to play in moving to low-carbon economies – providing coatings for solar panels, lightweight plastics to reduce vehicles’ energy consumption and insulating materials for buildings – it’s also hugely carbon intensive and predicted to become more so. Oil companies have been betting on chemicals as a way to remain profitable as the world pledges to turn away from fossil fuel energy. The International Energy Agency predicted that petrochemicals could account for 60% of oil demand in the next decade.

The chemicals sector is the largest industrial user of oil and gas but it has the third-largest carbon footprint – behind steel and cement – because only about half of the fossil fuels that the industry consumes are burned for their energy. The rest is used as feedstock for products such as plastics with the emissions released only when these products reach the end of their lives, for example, when waste plastic packaging or an old mattress is incinerated. Lowering the industry’s emissions is possible but technically daunting. Plus this large, complex industry, which supports millions of jobs worldwide, has significant political and economic clout.

Russia accuses west of building up forces on its borders

Russia has accused the west of building up forces on its borders as well as those of Belarus in remarks that appeared tailored to mirror recent US warnings about Moscow’s aggressive positioning towards Ukraine. The Kremlin, as well as Russian intelligence, security, and diplomatic officials, have all gone on the offensive in the past 48 hours after Vladimir Putin publicly instructed his diplomats that tensions should be maintained with the west as a form of aggressive deterrence.

US and Ukrainian officials have said that Russia has amassed nearly 100,000 troops in the border regions near Ukraine and warned it was seeking a pretext in order to justify a major intervention in the country. In a public statement on Monday, Russia’s foreign intelligence service announced that the situation was similar to that with Georgia in 2008, where Russia fought a short war against the government of Mikheil Saakashvili.

“The provocative policy of the United States and the European Union, which has deliberately strengthened Kyiv’s sense of permissiveness and impunity, causes extreme concern,” the agency wrote in the statement.

Also on Monday, the deputy head of Russia’s security council accused Nato members of increasing military activity in Black Sea, eastern Europe, and Arctic regions. Alexander Grebenkin, the body’s deputy secretary, said that the probability of a border incident was “not decreasing”.

The High Stakes of the U.S.-Russia Confrontation Over Ukraine

A report in Covert Action Magazine from the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic in Eastern Ukraine describes grave fears of a new offensive by Ukrainian government forces, after increased shelling, a drone strike by a Turkish-built drone and an attack on Staromaryevka, a village inside the buffer zone established by the 2014-15 Minsk Accords.

The People’s Republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR), which declared independence in response to the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014, have once again become flashpoints in the intensifying Cold War between the United States and Russia. The U.S. and NATO appear to be fully supporting a new government offensive against these Russian-backed enclaves, which could quickly escalate into a full-blown international military conflict.

The last time this area became an international tinderbox was in April, when the anti-Russian government of Ukraine threatened an offensive against Donetsk and Luhansk, and Russia assembled thousands of troops along Ukraine’s eastern border.

On that occasion, Ukraine and NATO blinked and called off the offensive. This time around, Russia has again assembled an estimated 90,000 troops near its border with Ukraine. Will Russia once more deter an escalation of the war, or are Ukraine, the United States and NATO seriously preparing to press ahead at the risk of war with Russia?

Since April, the U.S. and its allies have been stepping up their military support for Ukraine. After a March announcement of $125 million in military aid, including armed coastal patrol boats and radar equipment, the U.S. then gave Ukraine another $150 million package in June. This included radar, communications, and electronic warfare equipment for the Ukrainian Air Force, bringing total military aid to Ukraine since the U.S.-backed coup in 2014 to $2.5 billion. This latest package appears to include deploying U.S. training personnel to Ukrainian air bases.

Turkey is supplying Ukraine with the same drones it provided to Azerbaijan for its war with Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. That war killed at least 6,000 people and has recently flared up again, one year after a Russian-brokered ceasefire. Turkish drones wreaked havoc on Armenian troops and civilians alike in Nagorno-Karabakh, and their use in Ukraine would be a horrific escalation of violence against the people of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The ratcheting up of U.S. and NATO support for government forces in Ukraine’s civil war is having ever-worsening diplomatic consequences. At the beginning of October, NATO expelled eight Russian liaison officers from NATO Headquarters in Brussels, accusing them of spying. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, the manager of the 2014 coup in Ukraine, was dispatched to Moscow in October, ostensibly to calm tensions. Nuland failed so spectacularly that, only a week later, Russia ended 30 years of engagement with NATO, and ordered NATO’s office in Moscow closed.

Nuland reportedly tried to reassure Moscow that the United States and NATO were still committed to the 2014 and 2015 Minsk Accords on Ukraine, which include a ban on offensive military operations and a promise of greater autonomy for Donetsk and Luhansk within Ukraine. But her assurances were belied by Defense Secretary Austin when he met with Ukraine’s President Zelensky in Kiev on October 18, reiterating U.S. support for Ukraine’s future membership in NATO, promising further military support and blaming Russia for “perpetuating the war in Eastern Ukraine.”

More extraordinary, but hopefully more successful, was CIA Director William Burns’s visit to Moscow on November 2nd and 3rd, during which he met with senior Russian military and intelligence officials and spoke by phone with President Putin.

A mission like this is not usually part of the CIA Director’s duties. But after Biden promised a new era of American diplomacy, his foreign policy team is now widely acknowledged to have instead brought U.S. relations with Russia and China to all-time lows.

Judging from the March meeting of Secretary of State Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan with Chinese officials in Alaska, Biden’s meeting with Putin in Vienna in June, and Under Secretary Nuland’s recent visit to Moscow, U.S. officials have reduced their encounters with Russian and Chinese officials to mutual recriminations designed for domestic consumption instead of seriously trying to resolve policy differences. In Nuland’s case, she also misled the Russians about the U.S. commitment, or lack of it, to the Minsk Accords. So who could Biden send to Moscow for a serious diplomatic dialogue with the Russians about Ukraine?

In 2002, as Under Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, William Burns wrote a prescient but unheeded 10-page memo to Secretary of State Powell, warning him of the many ways that a U.S. invasion of Iraq could “unravel” and create a “perfect storm” for American interests. Burns is a career diplomat and a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, and may be the only member of this administration with the diplomatic skills and experience to actually listen to the Russians and engage seriously with them.

The Russians presumably told Burns what they have said in public: that U.S. policy is in danger of crossing “red lines” that would trigger decisive and irrevocable Russian responses. Russia has long warned that one red line would be NATO membership for Ukraine and/or Georgia.

But there are clearly other red lines in the creeping U.S. and NATO military presence in and around Ukraine and in the increasing U.S. military support for the Ukrainian government forces assaulting Donetsk and Luhansk. Putin has warned against the build-up of NATO’s military infrastructure in Ukraine and has accused both Ukraine and NATO of destabilizing actions, including in the Black Sea.

With Russian troops amassed at Ukraine’s border for a second time this year, a new Ukrainian offensive that threatens the existence of the DPR and LPR would surely cross another red line, while increasing U.S. and NATO military support for Ukraine may be dangerously close to crossing yet another one.

So did Burns come back from Moscow with a clearer picture of exactly what Russia’s red lines are? We had better hope so. Even U.S. military websites acknowledge that U.S. policy in Ukraine is “backfiring.”

Russia expert Andrew Weiss, who worked under William Burns at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, acknowledged to Michael Crowley of The New York Times that Russia has “escalation dominance” in Ukraine and that, if push comes to shove, Ukraine is simply more important to Russia than to the United States. It therefore makes no sense for the United States to risk triggering World War III over Ukraine, unless it actually wants to trigger World War III.

During the Cold War, both sides developed clear understandings of each other’s “red lines.” Along with a large helping of dumb luck, we can thank those understandings for our continued existence. What makes today’s world even more dangerous than the world of the 1950s or the 1980s is that recent U.S. leaders have cavalierly jettisoned the bilateral nuclear treaties and vital diplomatic relationships that their grandparents forged to stop the Cold War from turning into a hot one.

Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, with the help of Under Secretary of State Averell Harriman and others, conducted negotiations that spanned two administrations, between 1958 and 1963, to achieve a partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that was the first of a series of bilateral arms control treaties. By contrast, the only continuity between Trump, Biden and Under Secretary Victoria Nuland seems to be a startling lack of imagination that blinds them to any possible future beyond a zero-sum, non-negotiable, and yet still unattainable “U.S. Uber Alles” global hegemony.

But Americans should beware of romanticizing the “old” Cold War as a time of peace, simply because we somehow managed to dodge a world-ending nuclear holocaust. U.S. Korean and Vietnam War veterans know better, as do the people in countries across the global South that became bloody battlefields in the ideological struggle between the United States and the U.S.S.R.

Three decades after declaring victory in the Cold War, and after the self-inflicted chaos of the U.S. “Global War on Terror,” U.S. military planners have settled on a new Cold War as the most persuasive pretext to perpetuate their trillion dollar war machine and their unattainable ambition to dominate the entire planet. Instead of asking the U.S. military to adapt to more new challenges it is clearly not up for, U.S. leaders decided to revert to their old conflict with Russia and China to justify the existence and ridiculous expense of their ineffective but profitable war machine.

But the very nature of a Cold War is that it involves the threat and use of force, overt and covert, to contest the political allegiances and economic structures of countries across the world. In our relief at the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which both Trump and Biden have used to symbolize the “end of endless war,” we should have no illusions that either of them is offering us a new age of peace.

Quite the contrary. What we are watching in Ukraine, Syria, Taiwan and the South China Sea are the opening salvos of an age of more ideological wars that may well be just as futile, deadly and self-defeating as the “war on terror,” and much more dangerous to the United States.

A war with Russia or China would risk escalating into World War III. As Andrew Weiss told the Times on Ukraine, Russia and China would have conventional “escalation dominance,” as well as simply more at stake in wars on their own borders than the United States does.

So what would the United States do if it were losing a major war with Russia or China? U.S. nuclear weapons policy has always kept a “first strike” option open in case of precisely this scenario.

The current U.S. $1.7 trillion plan for a whole range of new nuclear weapons therefore seems to be a response to the reality that the United States cannot expect to defeat Russia and China in conventional wars on their own borders.

But the paradox of nuclear weapons is that the most powerful weapons ever created have no practical value as actual weapons of war, since there can be no winner in a war that kills everybody. Any use of nuclear weapons would quickly trigger a massive use of them by one side or the other, and the war would soon be over for all of us. The only winners would be a few species of radiation-resistant insects and other very small creatures.

Neither Obama, Trump nor Biden has dared to present their reasons for risking World War III over Ukraine or Taiwan to the American public, because there is no good reason. Risking a nuclear holocaust to appease the military-industrial complex is as insane as destroying the climate and the natural world to appease the fossil fuel industry.

So we had better hope that CIA DIrector Burns not only came back from Moscow with a clear picture of Russia’s “red lines,” but that President Biden and his colleagues understand what Burns told them and what is at stake in Ukraine. They must step back from the brink of a U.S.-Russia war, and then from the larger Cold War with China and Russia that they have so blindly and foolishly stumbled into.

Is China Really a Threat? Noam Chomsky Slams Biden For Increasingly Provocative Actions in Region

Erm I Know You’re Busy But Nuclear War Is Getting Increasingly Likely

While mainstream western media have been spending their time concern trolling about a “missing” Chinese tennis player who is not actually missing, hardly any coverage has gone toward NATO’s announcement that if the new German government does not continue to allow US nuclear weapons on its soil those weapons will be relocated to the east of Germany. This would put them closer to Russia’s border, a major provocation of Moscow and yet another step forward in the western empire’s steadily escalating game of nuclear brinkmanship.

“Germany can, of course, decide whether there will be nuclear weapons in (its) country, but the alternative is that we easily end up with nuclear weapons in other countries in Europe, also to the east of Germany,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week.

“Should NATO decide to move U.S. nuclear weapons to Poland, for example, that would likely be seen as a step towards angering Moscow by bringing them closer to the Russian border,” Reuters reports.

Meanwhile the US is considering sending more weapons to Ukraine as tensions mount between Moscow and Kiev, and Vladimir Putin is warning that western powers are ignoring Russia’s red lines which are meant to serve as a deterrent to prevent escalation into full-blown nuclear war. The cold war against China has been continually ramping up as well and appears likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Half of Americans would now reportedly favor going to war against Russia in defense of Ukraine and a majority would now favor going to war with China in defense of Taiwan. These drastic spikes in opinion are not an accident; the consent has been forcefully manufactured by an aggressive propaganda campaign against those two nations. They are not manufacturing that consent for fun; they are doing it for a reason.

And I just keep tripping on how weird it is that so few people see the US empire’s headlong charge into cold war conflict with two separate nuclear-armed nations as the single most urgent concern of our day. It probably doesn’t even make most people’s top ten. Very few people seem to believe the most pressing threat to humanity might be all those armageddon weapons we’ve been stockpiling and how increasingly irresponsibly our leaders are treating them.

I write about this issue a lot because to me it seems obvious that when you really look at the facts of the matter it’s the most worrying thing of all worrying things in this world. It is entirely possible that climate chaos causing heat spikes and flash freezes which destroy plant life could be the thing which sends us the way of the dinosaur, or it could be the reckless development of weaponized artificial intelligence, but those fates are a bit further down the track. There’s only one threat facing us which could technically wipe us all out tomorrow, and it’s the rapidly increasing likelihood of boring old nuclear holocaust.

I write about it a lot, but it’s never shared particularly well. I could get a lot more traction telling people the most urgent threat of the day is government abuses related to Covid, or white supremacists, or one of the two mainstream political factions which so much energy goes into amplifying the enmity between. But when I write about what I see as the actual greatest threat to our world it’s like yelling into the wind. People don’t want to hear it. My words get swallowed up by a big black hole in the ground and their energy just kind of fizzles.

A big part of it is probably due to the fact that this isn’t something which fits neatly into any of the partisan filters we’ve been trained to view the world through. Detente is no longer an issue promoted by the mainstream parties which present themselves as the “left” end of the spectrum; when aggressions against Russia or China come up it’s usually in an argument over which one we should hate more. Nobody’s self-reinforcing ideological social media echo chamber is going to help them amplify the message that we’re getting way too close to nuclear war; it’s even a back burner issue for most socialists and anti-imperialists.

Another reason is that people simply aren’t being told about the rising threat of nuclear war with any regularity. Western mass media exist first and foremost to protect and promote the interests of the US-centralized empire, and it’s in that empire’s interests not to have the public too keenly aware of the fact that it is gambling the life of every terrestrial organism on geostrategic agendas of unipolar global domination.

Another part of it is just garden variety psychological compartmentalization from an uncomfortable idea; nobody likes to think of everyone they know and love being vaporized or dying of nuclear radiation.

Another part might be because people simply cannot wrap their heads around the idea of billions of people dying and what that would mean. It’s been pointed out that most people lack an intuitive understanding of how much more a billion is than a million, which is often cited to highlight the extreme difference between a billionaire and a common millionaire. But it also applies to human lives; we can barely wrap our minds around the idea of a million lives having been snuffed out in the Iraq invasion, much less billions perishing in nuclear war.

Perhaps the biggest part of it, though, is the fact that this threat has been around a long time. I can’t tell you how many older people I’ve had pish-poshing my concerns saying “Bah, I remember doing duck-and-cover drills as a kid! Turned out to be a whole lotta nothing.”

But it was never nothing. We came extremely close to wiping ourselves out multiple times in the cold war between the US and the Soviet Union because nuclear brinkmanship is an inherently unpredictable affair with far too many small moving parts to control, any one of which could set off an apocalyptic chain of events due to something as simple as miscommunication, technical malfunction, or misinterpretation by any of the thousands of individuals involved amid the chaos and confusion of escalating aggressions.

It just doesn’t sit well with people’s understanding of the world that it could all end through the same nuclear armageddon scenario their grandparents used to worry about. If two men were holding guns to each other’s heads it would be experienced as very dangerous at first, but after a while if nobody pulled the trigger the emotional tension would begin to diminish. If years went by and the men got older it would diminish even further. If they got so old they couldn’t hold the guns anymore and had their children take over for them, and then their children’s children years later, the emotional experience of the standoff would be all but forgotten.

But the guns never got any less deadly. And now the grandchildren of those who initiated the standoff are starting to get careless.

I keep having this scene go through my head where something happens and the nukes start flying and everyone’s surprised, because of all the things they’ve been herded into worrying about the idea that actual nuclear war could happen was nowhere near the forefront of their awareness. And someone looks out the window and sees a mushroom cloud growing on the horizon and says “What?? This is how it all ends? With all those weapons we’ve been deliberately building with the full knowledge that they can end it all?”

I mean, how stupid would we feel for having missed that one?

And now there’s a massive push to weaponize space to stay ahead of Russia and China, opening up a whole new dimension of unpredictable moving parts where things can go cataclysmically wrong. You’d think our place on such a precipice would be drawing us all together, but because we’re so manipulated by such deeply malignant forces, we’re instead more divided than ever.

Chile’s right rejoices after pro-Pinochet candidate wins presidential first round

Chile’s right wing have claimed a jubilant victory after José Antonio Kast, a former congressman with a history of defending the Pinochet dictatorship, secured a surprise win in the first round of the country’s presidential election. Kast, who campaigned on a platform of public order, migration controls and conservative social values, confounded expectations to take 28% of the vote and beat the progressive former student leader Gabriel Boric by two percentage points.

The two will face off in a second-round repechage on 19 December.

But the result is a bracing reality check for the Chilean left after two years in which the country has followed a broadly progressive trajectory. Since 2019, mass anti-inequality protests have rocked the country, leading to the election of a broadly leftwing assembly to rewrite Chile’s Pinochet-era constitution. But Sunday’s result suggested that the protest movement’s ability to galvanise support has worn thin.

Throughout the campaign Kast has managed to project his short, simple messages on TikTok to a younger generation of voters far more efficiently than his competitors. And his vision for Chile has found a solid foil in Gabriel Boric, a former student protest leader who has served two terms in congress since being elected in 2013.

Boric’s agenda is feminist, green and progressive, but his strong support among young, middle-class, university-educated Chileans in Santiago appears not to have seeped into other demographics. “It looks like some of the things Boric stands for don’t respond to people’s urgent needs,” says Valentina Rosas, a political scientist at Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University. “They have no bearing on the price of bread or stopping people breaking into your home.”

Biden Taps Petroleum Reserve ESCALATING Saudi Conflict

Jerome Powell nominated for second term as chair of US Federal Reserve

Jerome Powell’s handling of the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic has won the chair of the Federal Reserve the backing of the White House for a second term running the world’s most important central bank.

Despite speculation that he might sack Donald Trump’s appointee, Joe Biden cited the “decisive action” taken by Powell during the early stages of the crisis as a reason to reappoint the 68-year-old Republican for another four years.

The White House said Lael Brainard – the only Democrat on the Fed board, whom some had tipped as a possible replacement for Powell – was its choice to become the vice-chair. ...

Both nominations are subject to approval by a Democrat-controlled Congress and come at a time when the Fed is grappling with an annual inflation rate of 6.2% – the highest level in more than three decades.

‘Corporate’ Senate Democrats imperil the Build Back Better plan, says Tlaib

“Corporate” Democrats in the Senate imperil Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, a leading House progressive warned – but not just Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, the targets of most leftwing ire. Such Democrats, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said, are influenced by donors who “don’t have the best interests of the American people in mind”.

At the same time, the New York Times reported that Manchin and Sinema are increasingly receiving money from corporate and conservative donors.

In an interview broadcast on Sunday, she told Axios she was “fearful” that “corporate Dems” would “guide this agenda. It’s gonna be the people that are gonna continue to profit off of human suffering. ... Tlaib said she was referring to Manchin and Sinema, “but I think there are some others that ... have issues with the prescription drug negotiations there.

“And so I can’t say it’s just those two. They seem to be leading the fight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if folks are hiding behind them.”

John Deere Workers Win Big & End Strike!

‘Indentured servitude’: low pay and grueling conditions fueling US truck driver shortage

The trucking industry’s main trade body has said America is short about 80,000 drivers, a figure that’s made headlines around the country. Truckers say the problem isn’t a shortage of qualified drivers; there’s plenty of people who have been through the training programs and hold a commercial driver’s license. The rot, they say, is far more systemic: low pay, long hours and an industry that treats drivers like “cannon fodder”, churning out new recruits who inevitably quit because the job is so grueling.

“There is no driver shortage; there’s a retention problem,” said Mike Doncaster, a 30-year veteran and driver trainer who parked his big rig at Joe’s Travel Plaza for the night, before heading up to Canada with another load of vegetables. He said of the five drivers he’s trained in recent years, only one stuck with the industry. “It’s not a job; it’s a lifestyle – and new recruits don’t receive enough pay for the lifestyle.”

This month, the American Trucking Association said the nation will need to recruit nearly 1 million more drivers in the next decade to keep up with demands. Bob Costello, the chief economist for the American Trucking Association, said in a statement that the reasons behind the latest shortage are myriad – an increasing demand for freight, pandemic-related challenges, early retirements and driving school and DMV closures, to name a few. “There has been tremendous pressure on the driver pool,” as a result, he said.

But labor economists, trucking experts and the drivers themselves described an industry where deregulation and constant pressure to deliver goods at ever-cheaper prices has resulted in working conditions so poor and pay rates so low that they amounted to “indentured servitude”. As a result, companies that trained and recruited new drivers often had turnover rates as high as 100% in a year, they said.

Trucking used to be a high-paying, blue-collar job, but since the industry was deregulated in 1980, pay rates have dropped dramatically, said economics professor Michael Belzer, who authored the book Sweatshops on Wheels: Winners and Losers in Trucking Deregulation.

Debating CRT, White Supremacy, and Kyle Rittenhouse

Outcry as Kyle Rittenhouse sits down for Tucker Carlson Fox News interview

Kyle Rittenhouse’s claim that he is “not a racist person”, and is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, is likely to provoke a new round of controversy and condemnation when the teenager’s first interview since he was cleared of homicide airs in full on Fox News on Monday night. ...

“This case has nothing to do with race,” Rittenhouse told Tucker Carlson in excerpts released by Fox News. “It never had anything to do with race. It had to do with the right to self-defense.”

Rittenhouse has attracted support from conservative groups and lawmakers, some of whom, on the far right of the Republican party, have celebrated his acquittal and offered him internships. On Sunday Christina Pushaw, press officer for Republican governor Ron DeSantis, welcomed Rittenhouse to the “free state” of Florida in a tweet.

Before his trial, Rittenhouse was photographed in a bar with apparent members of the far-right Proud Boys, where he is alleged to have flashed white power hand signs. While his attorneys have insisted Rittenhouse is not a white supremacist, others have said otherwise.

Ahmaud Arbery killing: prosecutor urges jury to ‘use common sense’

As the trial of the white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery reached closing arguments on Monday, prosecutors urged the jury to “use your common sense” and convict all three defendants. Defense attorneys then attempted to place the blame for the shooting on the unarmed 25 year-old himself. ...

After 10 days of evidence, prosecutors asked the jury to consider whether the men’s claims of self-defense and attempted citizen’s arrest were “completely made up for trial”, pointing out that Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery three times, did not mention citizen’s arrest to police on the day of the killing. “Ladies and gentlemen, use your common sense,” said Linda Dunikoski in a fervent closing argument. “Put your critical thinking caps on. It’s all the state can ask you to do.”

Dunikoski repeatedly told the jury the three men were the aggressors and made a series of assumptions and “driveway decisions” when they chased Arbery for five minutes after seeing him running through the neighborhood of Satilla Shores and linking him without evidence to a series of alleged burglaries. ... She argued that a scuffle between Travis McMichael and Arbery, in which defense attorneys have claimed Arbery reached for McMichael’s shotgun, provided no legal justification for shooting.

“They [the defense] are going to try and convince you that Ahmaud Arbery was the attacker,” Dunikoski said. “That he was somehow threatening to them.” The incident was “three on one”, she said. “Two pickup trucks. Two guns. Mr Arbery? Nothing in his pockets. Not a cellphone. Not a gun. Not even an ID. They want you to believe that he is a danger to them.” ...

Laura Hogue, representing Greg McMichael, described Arbery as a “recurring night-time intruder” whose presence was “frightening and unsettling”. Hogue argued it was Arbery’s decisions on 23 February last year and during previous trips to the neighborhood that led to his death. “No one but Ahmaud Arbery made the decision not to stop when Travis’s truck rolled up beside him,” she said. “To wait, to tell the police what he was doing there.”

the horse race

'Total Asymmetric Warfare': Georgia GOP Redraws Political Map as US Senate Dems Do Nothing

Voting rights advocates within and beyond Georgia ramped up calls for congressional action after the Peach State's Republican lawmakers became the latest to approve a gerrymandered political map intended to give the GOP a political advantage for the next decade.

Following similar moves by GOP-controlled state legislatures in Ohio and Texas, the Georgia General Assembly sent the new congressional map to the desk of Republican Gov. Brain Kemp, who is expected to sign it into law. These redistricting efforts have come as right-wingers in the evenly split U.S. Senate block various voting rights bills and a few Democrats refuse to support killing the filibuster.

The Georgia GOP's map is designed to increase the number of congressional districts the party controls from eight to nine, leaving Democrats with just five. According to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Though Georgia's voters are split between the two political parties, none of the state's 14 congressional districts would be competitive."

It's not just the new congressional districts that serve Georgia's GOP. Democracy Docket noted that "the state House and Senate maps... were criticized by Democrats for cementing a Republican advantage in the General Assembly and failing to account for the growth of Georgia's minority population."

Common Cause Georgia executive director Aunna Dennis said in a statement Monday that "when the redistricting process is led by the politicians, the maps will be drawn to benefit the politicians—and that's exactly what state legislators have done today." ...

Mother Jones' Ari Berman, who wrote the book Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, noted Monday that the new congressional map gives Republicans "64% of seats in state Biden won with 49.5%."

Highlighting that the Georgia map is part of a national trend of GOP state lawmakers trying to give Republican congressional candidates clear advantages, Berman expressed frustration with U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who refuse to support abolishing the filibuster to pass federal voting rights protections.

"It's beyond enraging that Manchin and Sinema continue to say voting rights legislation needs 60 votes when [the] GOP [is] rigging elections and shutting Dems out of power for next decade on simple majority party-line votes," he said, calling it "total asymmetric warfare."

Calls for Senate Democrats to scrap the filibuster have mounted as the chamber's Republicans have blocked the For the People Act, Freedom to Vote Act, and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance on Monday even labeled the United States a "backsliding" democracy.

"Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around," tweeted U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). "Today's partisan redistricting decision at Georgia's State Capitol undermines voters' voices and harms our democracy."

"Congress must pass federal voting rights legislation," he added. "We can't wait any longer."

Cuomo Used NY Resources For Personal Profit On Book

the evening greens

UK’s Hochschild fights Peru’s plans to close mines over environmental impact

The UK metals company Hochschild Mining is to fight plans by Peru’s government to hasten the closure of several mines in the southern Ayacucho region because of concerns over their environmental impact. The London-listed mining company has promised to “vigorously defend” its plan to continue mining gold and silver from two mines – Pallancata and Inmaculada – which it claims operate under the “highest environmental standards”.

Ignacio Bustamante, the Hochschild chief executive, said he was “surprised” by the “illegal nature” of the government’s planned action and would “vigorously defend its rights to operate these mines using all available legal avenues”.

Shares in Hochschild plunged nearly 40% on Monday morning, wiping more than £300m off the value of the company, after the Peruvian prime minister, Mirtha Vásquez, told local media over the weekend that four mines in the southern Ayacucho region would be barred from further expansion, and would be closed “as soon as possible”. They closed down 27%, the lowest since April 2020. Hochschild said it had “not received any formal communication from the government regarding this matter”.

The announcement is likely to raise hackles throughout the mining sector in Peru, the world’s second largest producer of copper, which includes UK miners Anglo American, Newmont, Glencore and Freeport-McMoRan. Peru’s mines are also operated by China’s MMG and Chinalco alongside local producers such as Buenaventura.

Peru’s mining industry has been linked to a string of environmental issues in recent years including deforestation, pollution and the mistreatment of environmental activists.

Outrage after two journalists detained at Indigenous protest in Canada

Press organizations in Canada have condemned the arrest of two journalists who were detained while covering Indigenous-led resistance to a controversial pipeline project and remain in custody.

Amber Bracken, an award-winning photojournalist who has previously worked with the Guardian, and Michael Toledano, a documentary film-maker, were arrested on Friday by Royal Canadian Mounted police officers who were enforcing a court-ordered injunction in British Columbia. More than a dozen protesters were also arrested.

Bracken was on assignment for the environmental outlet the Narwhal, which had previously notified police that Bracken was reporting in the area.

“The Narwhal is extremely disturbed that photojournalist Amber Bracken was arrested for doing her job while reporting on the events unfolding in Wet’suwet’en territory on Friday,” said the editor-in-chief, Emma Gilchrist, in a statement. “Bracken has been held in jail for three nights, in violation of her charter rights. We strongly condemn the RCMP for this behaviour and all violations of press freedoms in this country.”

Gilchrist told the Guardian the publication had not been able to access Bracken’s photos from the day she was arrested.

Also of Interest

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

US added to list of ‘backsliding’ democracies for first time

The White House Needs An Off-ramp From War In Ukraine

Corrupting Science: in Syria probe, OPCW erased experts’ inconvenient findings

Iraq Election Commission Promises ‘Strong’ Changes to Vote Results

In Bahrain, US SecDef Vows to Counter Iran

U.S. Blacklists Strategic Culture Foundation in Attack on Independent Journalism and Political Dissent

The Ongoing Depression Which Started in 2008

Why Is JPMorgan Chase Making “Emergency” Payments to a Former Government Official Tied to Jamie Dimon?

Venezuela's socialists win elections in landslide - so US tries to discredit them

Matt Taibbi: Media STAMPEDE Of Kyle Rittenhouse Reveals ROT In Modern Journalism

Ro Khanna: "NO Reason" Biden Shouldn't Cncl Student Debt, Dems WON'T Win Culture War On Just Policy

A Little Night Music

Wilbert Harrison - Lets Work Together

Wilbert Harrison - Listen, My Darling

Wilbert Harrison - Forgive Me

Wilbert Harrison - Since I Fell for You

Wilbert Harrison - Let's Stick Together

Wilbert Harrison - Cheating Baby

Wilbert Harrison - Happy in Love

Wilbert Harrison - Don't Drop It

Wilbert Harrison - Gin And Coconut Milk

Wilbert Harrison - Kansas City

17 users have voted.


Lookout's picture

Boy ain't this right?

And I just keep tripping on how weird it is that so few people see the US empire’s headlong charge into cold war conflict with two separate nuclear-armed nations as the single most urgent concern of our day. It probably doesn’t even make most people’s top ten. Very few people seem to believe the most pressing threat to humanity might be all those Armageddon weapons we’ve been stockpiling and how increasingly irresponsibly our leaders are treating them.

I've been wondering lately about my joke that the plan for global heating is a nuclear winter. What a bunch of fools!

Thanks for the news and blues!

16 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


yeah, it's kind of like being stuck in the audience watching one of those awful horror movies, where the people go into a house and they hear a grisly voice whispering, "don't go into the basement" - and of course they go into the basement.

have a good one!

9 users have voted.
mimi's picture

"Baby don't you know" song. Great piece. And yeah I know that all that followed would be crap.
So I didn't want to spoil my good mood and just sang along.

Thank you for the EB and the music. I wonder when I have the strength back to read it all.

Be well, have a good one, don't freeze, don't drown. All the best.

Good Night and Good luck.

9 users have voted.


joe shikspack's picture


good move just listening to the music. to help you out further, there will be a couple of days this week where music will be all that is on offer. Smile

5 users have voted.
QMS's picture

About the dire consequences of stalling on the " MUST PASS CRITICAL DEFENSE SPENDING BILL" by congressional porkers.

Perhaps the pentagods have enough already saved up from past unrestricted budgets? Doubt it is all that dire in reality.

Thanks for EB's Joe!

10 users have voted.


14 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, well, i think that they should take their time. we can wait until next year. or the year after that ...

6 users have voted.

to be a forgone conclusion.

An informative read on the makeup of the jury.

It is difficult to put the contents in a short quote but it is worth a read to see the likely verdict.

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


there are some interesting commonalities among most of the jurors. it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

HAFB is about 10-15 miles from my house and I’m going to be a tad closer to it this weekend. I’d rather go in the big blast wave then die slowly from cancer. Putin keeps warning us about Russia’s red line and we keep pushing ever closer to it. He’s been giving ample warnings about what we are doing over there next to their borders, but we keep doing it anyway. How patient would we be if Russia was doing what we are? Maybe they’d get their friends in China and Iran to play with them.

It’s hard to know what to believe anymore, but Biden says one thing and the pentagon does something else entirely. Who’s actually running the country? Biden, the pentagon or an old collection of Obama-bots? Weird how there wasn’t this much tension between Russia and Ukraine before Obama decided to overthrow Ukraine’s president. Imagine if they did that in France or Australia… I had to look to see who wrote the red lines article because it’s typical of CD authors. Media Benjamin of course.

I saw that poll yesterday on how many were in favor of war with Russia over Ukraine or China over Taiwan and couldn’t believe how many people bought the propaganda. Thanks Obama you POS-HEAD!

“Germany can, of course, decide whether there will be nuclear weapons in (its) country, but the alternative is that we easily end up with nuclear weapons in other countries in Europe, also to the east of Germany,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week.

What did you call him last week? A pissant? If so not enough to describe him. Jeezus! How can he not know what would come from that?

7 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


there are a lot of variables involved regarding the blast radius of a nuke. the payload and the height at which the explosion occurs are big factors.

i would guess that in any case, if you want to be sure to go, if you can get within 5-10 miles of ground zero, given the relatively much larger size of modern bombs compared to the ones we dropped on japan, you could pretty much be assured of shuffling off this mortal coil.

yeah, that pissant stoltenberg is part of the death cult.

6 users have voted.

If anyone out there is an Asleep at the Wheel fan, and needs something fun and light to ameliorate some bad news, there is a good article out at Texas Monthly:

How a Band of Hippies and Potheads Kept Western Swing Alive
Asleep at the Wheel (belatedly) celebrates fifty years of championing a genre once considered all but dead. By John Spong

If you don't have time to read, and are a fan, make sure you at least check out the embedded video.."How Asleep at the Wheel Found Its Sound". Lots of cool vintage video of the band as well as Waylon, Willie and the boys. I lived in Austin during this time, fun stuff and memories flooding back. Take care all. I hope you all have a great holiday.

7 users have voted.
Azazello's picture


5 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

snoopydawg's picture


Why make a movie about a book series but change most of the highlights of the book? I loved the series and was excited to see it on TV only to grumble my way through it. "That never happened."
Good grief people fell in love with a series because of how it went, but let’s change everything for the camera story for no reason. Under the dome was a great book ruined by the series on TV. Grrrrrrrrrr!

5 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the article! what a great band.

have a great holiday!

5 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

Here's some more good stuff.
From The Saker: In Memory of JFK: The First U.S. President to be Declared a Terrorist and Threat to National Security
Krystal Ball: Utterly DELUSIONAL Dems Pray Trump Will Run Again

I thought this was good: Media KNOWINGLY Misled About Rittenhouse Case

Wife and I are flying up to Portland tomorrow,
gonna' have Thanksgiving with our Kid.
See y'all on the other side.

7 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture


that saker piece on jfk looks good, i guess i'll have something to read over the thanksgiving break. Smile

have a safe trip and a great thanksgiving!

3 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture


4 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 --

4 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


looks like there will be no interruption in israel's regularly scheduled war.

4 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

Interesting history on/of Let's Work Together. All news to me. Thanks for including Let's Stick Together as well.

I like the way the defense in the Arbery case tried to argue that everybody onthe planet has some sort of legal obligation to stop and obey the verbal instructions of every asshole in a pick-up who feels like ordering them around --

“No one but Ahmaud Arbery made the decision not to stop when Travis’s truck rolled up beside him,” she said. “To wait, to tell the police what he was doing there.”

I mean really, people are supposed to stop and obey rednecks in pick-ups in the deep south. That's beyond ridiculous.

be well and have a good one

10 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, i wonder if a jury will buy that crap about the exceptional police powers of rednecks in pickup trucks. one would hope not, but i guess you never know.

have a good one!

5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

on their bingo card?

with Strategic Culture Foundation. Our online journal greatly appreciated their intelligent insights and analysis of U.S. and international politics. Sadly, we will no longer be able to publish their columns because of the threat levied on them by the U.S. federal authorities who accuse SCF of being an influence operation directed by the Kremlin. The allegations and threats are baseless and draconian.

If U.S.-based writers defy the ban, they have been threatened with astronomical financial penalties of over $300,000. The prohibition has only emerged in recent weeks. It follows earlier moves by the U.S. State Department and the Treasury Department accusing SCF of being an agent of Russian foreign intelligence. No evidence has been presented by the U.S. authorities to support their provocative claims. The Editorial Board of SCF categorically dismisses the allegations. In a statement, the editors said: “We reject all such claims by the U.S. authorities that the journal is an alleged Russian intelligence operation. We have no connection with the Russian government. We provide an independent forum for international writers to debate and freely critique major topical issues of world importance.”

We warned people that this would happen if America went after Julian Assange.

But the real objective is to criminalize critical journalism and indeed any form of critical dissent. Arguably, the draconian attack by the U.S. authorities has to be seen in the wider context of persecuting Julian Assange and other whistleblowers who have exposed Washington’s crimes and corruption.

No due process for this news site just it’s Russian and people will have to pay a honking fine if they get their writing posted on the site. Democrats spent the last 4 years bitching about Trump warring on journalism and yet here’s Biden actually doing what they accused him of doing. I certainly didn’t think it’d be democrats doing that.

7 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


obama would have done it if he thought could have gotten away with it. i'm sure that he's jealous. but at least he has all those espionage act prosecutions to keep him warm.

obama, trump, biden - they all take their turns greasing the slippery slope to fascism.

4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Democrats had amnesia when it came to Obama’s persecutions of whistleblowers too. But Trump right? Funny how no one shitlib has noticed that Biden’s doing almost everything Trump did. Or that Trump did what Obama did. It’s this f’cking hypocrisy that gets me panties in a twist.

7 users have voted.

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