The Evening Blues - 11-28-19



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Thanksgiving music


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Thanksgiving music. Enjoy!

Little Eva - Let’s Turkey Trot

"Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.”

-- Sir Peter Ustinov


News and Opinion

Key test for Democrat progressives coming soon:

Democrats Want to End U.S. Support for the Yemen War — but They Might Continue Funding It Anyway

As soon as next week, Democrats in Congress will have another chance to end U.S. participation in the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen.

When lawmakers return from Thanksgiving break, passing the National Defense Authorization Act — a bill known as the NDAA that specifies the annual defense budget — will be high on their list of priorities. Since President Donald Trump vetoed a bipartisan War Powers resolution to halt U.S. activity in Yemen in April, a broad coalition of anti-war groups, advocates, lawmakers, and, notably, a group of former national security officials have called on Congress to use its power over appropriations to bring U.S. involvement in the war to an end.

In July, California Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna and Adam Schiff, along with Washington Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith, who is chair of the House Armed Services Committee, co-sponsored an amendment to the NDAA that would defund U.S. military support for activities in Yemen. It passed with bipartisan support. Another amendment to the House bill prohibits war with Iran without congressional authorization.

Yet the Senate version of the defense bill contains neither of those measures — and it remains unclear whether they will survive reconciliation, the negotiating process by which bills from each chamber are merged.

The chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate armed services committees — Smith, Rep. Mac Thornberry, D-Texas, and Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who are collectively known as “the Big Four” — have been negotiating behind closed doors over language for a final bill since September. By the end of last week, those talks had stalled, largely over disagreements about matters unrelated to the Yemen language. A spokesperson for the House Armed Services Committee assured The Intercept that the negotiations were still underway “despite press reports” to the contrary.

If an NDAA comes to the floor without language similar to the Khanna-led amendment, anti-war groups are calling on Democrats to vote against it.

“Democrats increasingly purport to support putting an end to the country’s many endless wars,” said David Segal, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Demand Progress, “But anything less than using the NDAA to ensure an end to our involvement in the Yemen war would belie these claims.”

Keiser Report: Forever Wars & Negative Rates

Pompous Maximus blows kisses to the fascist president of Colombia.

U.S. stands by Colombia government during protests, Pompeo tells Duque

Colombia’s government has the support of the United States as it faces public protests and marches against rumored economic plans, corruption and police violence, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told President Ivan Duque in a phone call on Wednesday, according to a State Department spokeswoman.

“Secretary Pompeo reaffirmed the United States’ steadfast support for the government of Colombia in its efforts to facilitate peaceful democratic expression,” said State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus in a statement. ...

Demonstrators are rallying against economic plans - such as a rise in the pension age and a cut to the minimum wage for young people - that Duque denies supporting, as well what they say is a lack of government action to stop corruption and the murder of hundreds of human rights activists.

Colombian protesters return to streets as death of teenager fuels rage

Colombian unions and student groups have held their second national strike in less than week, in honor of a dead demonstrator and to protest against rumored government economic plans, corruption and police violence. The series of protests began last week with a 250,000-person march and a nationwide strike.

Demonstrators are rallying against economic plans – such as a rise in the pension age and a cut to the minimum wage for young people – that the president, Iván Duque, denies supporting, as well what they say is a lack of government action to stop corruption and the murder of hundreds of human rights activists.

Marches have attracted thousands of peaceful demonstrators, but Thursday and Friday were also marked by the destruction of mass transit stations, curfews in Cali and Bogotá and the deaths of three people in connection with alleged looting.

Thousands massed in Bogota’s central Plaza de Bolivar in front of congress and a block from the presidential palace on Wednesday afternoon. Additional marchers were on their way to join them. “We’re heading to the Plaza de Bolivar to shout to this government that we have many needs, that we are demanding our rights, that we are tired of them not listening,” said accountant Oliverio Zambrano, 33, as he headed to the plaza in a group of about 40 others.

Saturday’s marches took a dark turn when 18-year-old protester Dilan Cruz was fatally injured by a teargas canister fired by the ESMAD riot police. Cruz died on Monday and has become a symbol for protesters, who allege the ESMAD is using excessive force in its crowd dispersion efforts. His private memorial service was held on Wednesday morning, and his family has called for nonviolence.

There's some interesting stuff in this article, along with lots of things that we've already been over. Overall, it's worth a read. Here are a couple of interesting extracts:

US Is Again Complicit in an Illegal Coup, This Time in Bolivia

The U.S. and Argentine governments helped to engineer the Bolivian coup, Stella Calloni reported in Resumen: Latinoamerico. She cited the presence of advisers from the U.S. Southern Command on the Argentine border with Bolivia.

Calloni also documented “the surprising trip of Ivanka Trump” to the Argentine province of Jujuy near the Bolivian border on September 4-5. Accompanied by 2,500 U.S. agents and Undersecretary of State John Sullivan, Ivanka Trump was ostensibly there to “visit” a small NGO dedicated to furthering women’s rights, and she delivered an “aid” package of $400 million for “road works.” Alicia Canqui Condori, national representative of MAS, said that, “in Jujuy Donald Trump’s daughter had met with Gov. Gerardo Morales to plan what happened in Bolivia.”

Moreover, according to Calloni, Bolivian Gen. Williams Kaliman, who “suggested” that Morales resign after the election, traveled to the United States 72 hours after the coup began and he received $1 million from the U.S. embassy in Bolivia. Like many Latin American strongmen over the years, at least six of the top military leaders involved in the coup, including Kaliman, were trained at the notorious U.S. Army School of the Americas (now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) in Fort Benning, Georgia. ...

Peter Haberfeld, a retired lawyer and labor organizer who has studied the “Pink Tide” governments in Latin America, documented NED grants in Bolivia. He told Truthout that “between 2016 and 2019, NED gave grants to over 30 organizations for ‘democracy promotion’ in Bolivia. The grants total $3,209,887.”

Haberfeld said the grants were officially earmarked for “lofty objectives such as expanding participation by women, youth, media and entrepreneurs in a vibrant political process, particularly in connection with elections,” but cautioned “it is wise to be suspicious.” Haberfeld cited author Neil A. Burron, who wrote in The New Democracy Wars: The Politics of North American Democracy Promotion in the Americas, that “democracy promotion is typically formulated to advance commercial, geopolitical and security objectives that conflict with a genuine commitment to democracy development.” Burron noted, “For the US, the political manipulation of democracy promotion in support of a North American-led regional order is a continuation of long-standing forms of intervention [that have been] used as a license to meddle in the domestic affairs of others.”

Bolivian TV operator announces RT Spanish to be taken off air

Lots here, worth a click and a full read:

Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia coup, Trump dubs Nicaragua ‘national security threat’ and targets Mexico

One successful coup against a democratically elected socialist president is not enough, it seems. Immediately after overseeing a far-right military in Bolivia on November 10, the Trump administration set its sights once again Nicaragua, whose democratically elected Sandinista government defeated a violent right-wing coup attempt in 2018.

Washington dubbed Nicaragua a threat to US national security, and announced that it will be expanding its suffocating sanctions on the tiny Central American nation.

Trump is also turning up the heat on Mexico, baselessly linking the country to terrorism and even hinting at potential military intervention. The moves come as the country’s left-leaning President Andrés Manuel López Obrador warns of right-wing attempts at a coup.

As Washington’s rightist allies in Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador are desperately beating back massive grassroots uprisings against neoliberal austerity policies and yawning inequality gaps, the United States is ramping up its aggression against the region’s few remaining progressive governments. These moves have led left-wing forces in Latin America to warn of a 21st-century revival of Operation Condor, the Cold War era campaign of violent subterfuge and US support for right-wing dictatorships across the region. ...

In 2018, Mexican voters made history when they elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president in a landslide. López Obrador, who is often referred to with his initials AMLO, is Mexico’s first left-wing president in more than five decades. ... AMLO is wildly popular in Mexico. In February, he had a record-breaking 86 percent approval rating. And he has earned this widespread support by pledging to combat neoliberal capitalist orthodoxy. ... AMLO’s left-wing policies have caused shockwaves in Washington, which has long relied on neoliberal Mexican leaders ensuring a steady cheap exploitable labor base and maintaining a reliable market for US goods and open borders for US capital and corporations. ...

Mexican journalist Alina Duarte explained that, with the Trump administration’s designation of cartels as terrorists, “They are creating the idea that Mexico represents a threat to their national security.”

“Should we start talking about the possibility of a coup against Lopez Obrador in Mexico?” Duarte asked. She noted that the US corporate media has embarked on an increasingly ferocious campaign to demonize AMLO, portraying the democratically elected president as a power-hungry aspiring dictator who is supposedly wrecking Mexico’s economy.

Human Rights Watch says Turkish fighters could be guilty of war crimes against local population

Turkey’s newly established “safe zone” in northern Syria is far from safe, according to a report by a human rights watchdog, citing ongoing fighting and abuses such as executions and home confiscations. ...

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday that Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups that had done much of the fighting on the ground could be guilty of war crimes against the local population, the majority of which is Kurdish. “Contrary to Turkey’s narrative that their operation will establish a safe zone, the groups they are using to administer the territory are themselves committing abuses against civilians and discriminating on ethnic grounds,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director at HRW.

“Executing individuals, pillaging property and blocking displaced people from returning to their homes is damning evidence of why Turkey’s proposed ‘safe zones’ will not be safe,” she added.

Turkey is seeking to repatriate up to 2 million of its 3.6 million mainly Arab Syrian refugee population in the safe zone.

Protesters burn down Iranian consulate in southern Iraq

Anti-government protesters have burned down the Iranian consulate in southern Iraq, while six protesters were killed by security forces who fired live rounds amid ongoing violence in the country.

Protesters torched the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf late on Wednesday. One protester was killed and at least 35 people were wounded when police fired live ammunition to prevent them from entering the building, a police official said.

The demonstrators removed the Iranian flag from the building and replaced it with an Iraqi one. Iranian staff were not harmed and escaped the building from the back door and authorities imposed a curfew in Najaf.

The incident marked an escalation in the demonstrations that have raged in Baghdad and across the mostly Shiite southern Iraq since the start of October. The protesters accuse the Shiite-led government of being hopelessly corrupt and complain of poor public services and high unemployment. They are also decrying growing Iranian influence in Iraqi state affairs.

Security forces have fired bullets, teargas and smoke bombs on a near daily basis since the unrest began. At least 350 people have been killed and thousands wounded in what has become the largest grassroots protest movement in Iraq’s modern history.

Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protesters despite China's opposition

Donald Trump has signed into law legislation backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, despite angry objections from Beijing, and swift condemnation from the Hong Kong government.

The legislation, approved unanimously by the US Senate and by all but one lawmaker in the House of Representatives last week, requires the state department to certify, at least annually, that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to justify favorable US trading terms that have helped it maintain its position as a world financial center. The law also threatens sanctions for human rights violations.

Congress passed a second bill, which Trump also signed, banning the export to the Hong Kong police of crowd-control munitions, such as teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun guns.

“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all,” Trump said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Hong Kong government said it '“strongly opposes and regrets” the legislation and that it would damage the city’s relationship with the US. The government added that the legislation interfered with Hong Kong’s internal affairs and would send the wrong signal to protesters.

Jeremy Corbyn reveals dossier 'proving NHS up for sale'

Labour has obtained official documents showing that the US is demanding that the NHS will be “on the table” in talks on a post-Brexit trade deal, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The Labour leader said the uncensored papers gave the lie to Boris Johnson’s claims that the NHS would not be part of any trade talks, and revealed that the US wanted “total market access” after the UK leaves the EU.

“The uncensored documents leave Boris Johnson’s denials in absolute tatters,” he said at a news conference in London. “We have now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed.”

Corbyn said the 451 pages of documents covered six rounds of talks from July 2017 to “just a few months ago”. He said the meetings took place in Washington and London. “We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit,” he said.

Responding to the Labour claims, the Conservatives said the documents had already been online for two months and were simply readouts from meetings of the UK-US trade and investment working group. The Tories accused Labour of using the documents to try to divert attention from the issue of antisemitism in its ranks.

Lakota Historian Nick Estes on Thanksgiving & Indigenous Resistance

An Unjust Society Is Far Costlier': AOC Says Beware the Deficit Scolds Who Only Complain About Paying for Stuff When It Benefits People

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday asked voters to question why U.S. politicians and pundits only consider the cost of government programs when those programs help the public and least fortunate—and ignore price tags on policies that benefit the most wealthy and powerful.

The New York Democrat made the comments on Twitter, pointing out that members of Congress approved billions in funding for Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

"I see decisions made every day that cost the American public billions of dollars a year for bogus reasons and nobody asks how we pay for it," said Ocasio-Cortez.

Even though her colleagues know about ICE abuses, said Ocasio-Cortez, they voted for funding the agency without a thought.

"I saw members voting YES without even a summary of the bill," said the congresswoman. "Nobody cared then how we'd pay for it. Now ICE is setting up fake universities to trap students."

Reporting Wednesday exposed how ICE used a fake university in Michigan to entrap over 250 undocumented students since January.

Reporting from The Detroit Free Press indicated that the dummy school was set up solely to lure students to the U.S. and then deport them:

The students had arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the University of Farmington was later revealed to be a creation of federal agents, they lost their immigration status after it was shut down in January. The school was located on Northwestern Highway near 13 Mile Road in Farmington Hills and staffed with undercover agents posing as university officials.

...

Attorneys for ICE and the Department of Justice maintain that the students should have known it was not a legitimate university because it did not have classes in a physical location.

New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali tweeted that appeals to fiscal responsibility in government programs is a losing strategy for Democrats.

"Bringing a calculator to a knife fight each time and losing," said Ali.

Ocasio-Cortez suggested it was a question of morality.

"Look out for those in politics who like to label themselves 'fiscally responsible,' yet only seem to care about the price of justice—not the cost of oppression," said the congresswoman. "Everything has a price. And an unjust society is far costlier than one that invests in and values all people."

Why Are Drug Prices Rising So Much? Pharma Exec Admits 'No Other Rationale' But Profit-Making

Corporations' quest for profits is what "is driving up drug prices and nothing more."

That's according to Dennis Bourdette, M.D., chair of neurology in the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine, who co-authored a study published Monday that sought to find out companies' rationale for the escalating prices on medications for patients with multiple sclerosis.

Prices for those drugs, an accompanying press release notes, have jumped up by 10% to 15% every year for the past decade.

The study by a team of researchers at OHSU and the OHSU/Oregon State University College of Pharmacy, which appears in the journal Neurology this month, was based on interviews with four current and former pharmaceutical industry executives who had direct involvement in the pricing or marketing of MS drugs.

The executives, who were not named, laid bare the motivating factor for the surges.

"I would say the rationales for the price increases are purely what can maximize profit," sad one executive. "There's no other rationale for it, because costs [of producing the drug] have not gone up by 10% or 15%; you know, the costs have probably gone down."

Such statements, said the researchers, counter the industry's narrative that the high drug prices are an effort to recoup their research and development costs.

"The industry executive said the quiet part out loud," said Zain Rizvi, law and policy researcher with Public Citizen's Access to Medicines project, in a statement to Common Dreams. "Price-gouging is central to the industry business model."

One executive inteviewed for the study pointed out that the U.S. is a global outlier when it comes to the price hikes. They said that "it is only in the United States, really, that you can take price increases. You can't do it in the rest of the world. In the rest of the world, prices decline with duration in the marketplace."

Maintaining or lowering the prices would give a negative impression about the medication, said one executive. "We can't come in at less," they said. "That would mean we're less effective, we think less of our product, so we have to go more." ...

Thus, the need for fundamental change is clear, said Rizvi.

"This is not the case of just one bad actor. This is the case of an entirely bad system," he added. "The study underscores that we need a sea change in our drug pricing system to put public health over private wealth."



the horse race



Chris Hedges & Abby Martin: No Way Out Through Elections

Billionaire-funded protest is rearing its head in America

Last week, Elizabeth Warren went to Atlanta to give a major speech about issues of concern to black women. Her speech touched on knotty, existential topics such as the legacy of slavery, institutional racism, voter suppression, mass incarceration and reparations. But the next day’s headlines overwhelmingly focused on the fact that the speech was interrupted by a loud group of pro-charter school protesters. We were supposed to be talking about challenging centuries of institutional racism, but now we’re talking about charter schools. How did that happen? If you suspect that some sort of nefarious action that can be traced back to plutocratic billionaires is involved – well, of course.


The protesters themselves were, by all accounts and appearances, a group of concerned people who passionately oppose Warren’s plan to bolster public education and crack down on the charter school industry. But they did not all materialize in the crowd together in matching shirts by chance. Their existence was orchestrated by pro-charter school groups that are funded by an array of billionaires, including Netflix founder Reed Hastings, art and philanthropy titan Eli Broad and, most prominently, the Walton Foundation, controlled by the staggeringly wealthy family that owns Walmart. Thus we are all forced to deal with the spectacle of classic tactics of grassroots protest being coopted and fueled by a tiny group of the very sort of people that such tactics were developed to target in the first place.

Of course, astroturfing is nothing new – the suburbs of Washington DC are strewn with post office boxes that serve as the headquarters address for zillions of groups that all have names like Working Americans for Freedom and Reduced Taxation on Pass-Through Business Structures. ... It would be a mistake, though, to think that this little propaganda incident is about a single issue. The real lesson of this is how well even transparently corrupt tactics like this work. One of the emotional backbones of Warren’s speech was the story of the 1881 Atlanta washerwomen strike – a relatively little known incident in labor history that she was no doubt inspired to cite by the union leader Sara Nelson’s recent speech on the same topic in front of the Democratic Socialists of America convention. Yet what should be a shining example of radical ideas rising to mainstream prominence in a presidential campaign has been pushed to the bottom of most news stories in favor of the charter school ruckus. This points to the fact that astroturf campaigns don’t have to be very sophisticated, or even very secret; they just need to make enough noise to weasel their way into a 30-second TV hit to get the job done.

And so we are all left to gaze in dread at our dystopian very near future, when an increasingly small and savvy pool of billionaires is responsible for not only the majority of businesses, political connections and wealth, but also protests. If you thought that misleading stories on Facebook were bad, imagine a horde of angry activists, staging classic protests around the country, whose existence is entirely facilitated by the richest and most powerful people on earth.

Joe Rogan Experience #1391- Tulsi Gabbard & Jocko Willink

We’re Still Waiting for ‘Early and Often’ Climate Debate Questions

As the Democratic Party prepared for its first presidential primary debates in June, climate activists pushed the DNC to schedule a single-issue debate on the climate crisis, given the urgency of the problem and the lack of attention given to it in previous debates. DNC chair Tom Perez refused, saying he had “the utmost confidence” that climate disruption would be discussed in the debates “early and often” (FAIR.org, 6/18/19).

Now that seven nights of debates have passed, and multiple media outlets have been given a chance to decide how early and often each issue is discussed, how accurate has Perez turned out to be? Pretty much dead wrong.

Across all the debates thus far, questions on the climate crisis have accounted for 7% of all questions, or 1 in every 14. (In raw numbers, it’s 47 out of 638.) And last week’s MSNBC debate was the first in which climate made it into the first hour of questioning—slipping in at the 59-minute mark. It has never been the lead question in a debate.

It’s not just climate activists that want to hear the environment discussed in the debates—it’s the public. Polls consistently show climate ranked among Democratic voters’ top concerns, and one that they want to see discussed more in debates. The New York Times asked readers what they wanted to hear about both before and after the debate they co-hosted; climate topped the list both times. But during the debate, the Times hosts (and their CNN counterparts) didn’t ask a single question about it (FAIR.org, 10/17/19).

FAIR’s accounting counts hand-off prompts (such as, “Senator, your response?”) as questions, since we’re interested in who’s being given the chance to speak on which topics. If you only count unique questions on climate, 20 have been asked across all debates. ... While media report on a “bleak” new UN report that finds, in the words of a Washington Post reporter (11/26/19), “rapid, unprecedented cuts in greenhouse gas emissions offer the only hope of averting an ever-intensifying cascade of consequences,” you can’t help but be struck by how blithely they undercut such reporting by minimizing the climate problem in the public forums that are expressly designed to help determine who might lead our country for the next four years.



the evening greens

Climate emergency: world 'may have crossed tipping points’

The world may already have crossed a series of climate tipping points, according to a stark warning from scientists. This risk is “an existential threat to civilisation”, they say, meaning “we are in a state of planetary emergency”.

Tipping points are reached when particular impacts of global heating become unstoppable, such as the runaway loss of ice sheets or forests. In the past, extreme heating of 5C was thought necessary to pass tipping points, but the latest evidence suggests this could happen between 1C and 2C.

The planet has already heated by 1C and the temperature is certain to rise further, due to past emissions and because greenhouse gas levels are still rising. The scientists further warn that one tipping point, such as the release of methane from thawing permafrost, may fuel others, leading to a cascade.

The researchers, writing in a commentary article in the journal Nature, acknowledge that the complex science of tipping points means great uncertainty remains. But they say the potential damage from the tipping points is so big and the time to act so short, that “to err on the side of danger is not a responsible option”. They call for urgent international action. ...

Prof Tim Lenton at the University of Exeter, the lead author of the article, said: “We might already have crossed the threshold for a cascade of interrelated tipping points. The simple version is the schoolkids [striking for climate action] are right: we are seeing potentially irreversible changes in the climate system under way, or very close.” ...

Phil Williamson at the University of East Anglia, who did not contribute to the article, said: “The prognosis by Tim Lenton and colleagues is, unfortunately, fully plausible: that we might have already lost control of the Earth’s climate.”

South America: On the path of extremes

'Not Enough to Declare Climate Emergency': Ahead of EU Vote, Demand for Action Not Just Words

Ahead of an expected vote Thursday by European Union lawmakers to declare "an environment and climate emergency in Europe and globally," green groups are emphasizing that the symbolic declaration must accompany ambitious action.

"Our house is on fire. People around the world are suffering and nature is collapsing," Sebastian Mang, Greenpeace E.U. climate policy adviser, said in a statement Wednesday. "But instead of doing everything within their power to put out the blaze, our governments are dithering about."

"If the E.U. listens to U.N. scientists and takes action now to drastically cut emissions by 2030," Mang added, "we could prevent the most severe consequences for our planet."


In response to the recent reports, 350.org campaigner Nick Bryer wrote Wednesday, "When your house is on fire, can you really afford the time to come up with declarations, or do you grab a bucket and do whatever you can to stop everything from burning?"

"The current E.U. target is to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030. Both science and a sense of justice tell us that isn't [anywhere] near good enough," he continued. "The world needs to hit stop burning all fossil fuels by 2050 at the latest, if we're still to have any chance of averting the worst impact of the climate crisis, and ensure a safe future for the generation of school strikers."

Bryer outlined three ways in which E.U. lawmakers could "go beyond declarations and take meaningful action" to address the climate crisis:

  • End the use of fossil fuels. Stop permitting any new fossil fuels projects, and rapidly phase out existing coal, oil, and gas infrastructure.
  • Stop financing and subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, now. End fossil finance.
  • Invest in a just, equitable, 100% renewable Green New Deal for Europe.

'The Law Is on Our Side': Extinction Rebellion Celebrates Dropped Charges Against 105 Climate Activists

Extinction Rebellion and its supporters celebrated Wednesday after the agency that conducts criminal prosecutions in England dropped charges against 105 activists who were arrested in London last month for participating in the environmental movement's "Autumn Uprising" actions.

The Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) decision to end the cases against Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists came after a high court in the U.K. ruled early this month that a protest ban imposed by London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) under section 14 of the Public Order Act was unlawful.

"It is to be hoped that the police will, in future, take much greater care to act within the law and to balance the right to protest with their desire for public order," Martin Marston-Paterson, one of the XR activists arrested under the section 14 order in October, said in a statement.

"Extinction Rebellion is glad to see that the Met Police and the CPS have recognized the implications of our successful challenge earlier this month," said Tobias Garnett, a human rights lawyer in the movement's legal strategy team. "It underlines the need for proper policing that doesn't waste precious public resources."

These admissions of unlawful arrest, said Garnett, "affirm that when the people of this country assemble peacefully to demand action on the climate and ecological emergency the law is on our side." ...

XR activists in the U.K. are now gearing up for holiday season protests to highlight the movement's three key demands:

  • Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  • Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  • Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens' Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

On Saturday, Extinction Rebellion activists will launch nonviolent direct actions for "12 Days of Crisis," which will coincide with the U.N.'s COP 25 climate summit in Madrid and run up to the eve of the U.K. general election on Dec. 12.

Climate activists protest Black Friday sales in France

Just One Week After Trump Rolled Back Safety Measures, Chemical Plant Explosion Rocks Texas Town

Concerns about air quality lingered Wednesday following a major early morning explosion at a chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas that shot a fireball into the sky.

The disaster at the TPC Group-owned facility roughly 94 miles west of Houston took place a week after the Trump administration rolled back safety rules meant to protect workers and people who live near chemical plants. In light of the timing, Catherine Fraser, Environment Texas's clean air associate, called Wednesday's explosion "a timely warning that state and federal officials need to do more to keep communities safe." ...

According to a statement from TPC Group, the incident occurred at 1:00am local time. The company said it "cannot speak to the cause of the incident or the extent of damage." The Port Neches Police Department, in a statement posted to Facebook, said, "There's extensive damage throughout the city."

Area residents reported damaged homes, with some suffering shattered glass and blown-off doors. Three workers at the plant also suffered minor injuries, the company said.

"Throughout the morning more booms could be heard in the area as firefighters attempted to control the blaze," reported Beaumont's KBMT.

Local ABC affiliate KTRK reported that the chemical burning is butadiene, which the EPA classifies as carcinogenic.


Also of Interest

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

Intercepted poidcast: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling’s Life as an “Unwanted Spy”

The ‘Whistleblower’ and the Politicization of Intelligence

John Kiriakou: The Press Should Not Be Shielding FBI Malfeasance

Glenn Greenwald Sounds the Alarm on Bolsonaro's Brazil

The Privatized Internet — Entire .ORG Domain Registry Sold to Investment Equity Firm “Ethos Capital”; Registration Fee Restrictions Removed

New Study: "Russian Trolls" Did Not "Sow Discord" - They Influenced No One

Attacking The Source: The Establishment Loyalist’s Favorite Online Tactic

The Hidden Victims of Trump’s War on the Border

Republicans tried to rig the vote in Michigan – but ‘political novices’ just defeated them

The 'Climate Crisis Is a Health Emergency': New Report Warns US Fracking Boom Making People and Planet Sick

Send Thanksgiving Greetings to Chelsea Manning, Heroic Whistleblower In Jail

Bad luck may have caused Neanderthals' extinction – study


A Little Night Music

Otis Redding - I Want To Thank You

Sam and Dave - I thank you

Jr. Walker & The All Stars - Home Cookin'

Dee Dee Sharp - Mashed Potato Time

James Brown aka Nat Kendrick and The Swans - (Do The) Mashed Potatoes (Pt. 1)

Ohio Players - Jive Turkey

Bill Thomas & The Fendells - Southern Fried Chicken

Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels - Thank You Mama

Devo - I'm a Potato

James Brown - Mashed Potatoes

Drive-By Truckers - The Thanksgiving Filter

Ray Davies - Thanksgiving Day

Texas Tornados - Guacomole


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travelerxxx's picture

Man, this is worth an "Amen!" –

"Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.”

-- Sir Peter Ustinov

Since Trump is declaring drug cartels terrorist organizations, I guess that means we can start sending American troops into Mexico (again), right?

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Not Henry Kissinger's picture

Trump is also turning up the heat on Mexico, baselessly linking the country to terrorism and even hinting at potential military intervention. The moves come as the country’s left-leaning President Andrés Manuel López Obrador warns of right-wing attempts at a coup.

got into this very topic during the debate, after Buttigieg floated the trial balloon earlier in the week and Tulsi called him out.

Funny how Sneaky Pete was promoting Trump's Mexico policy before Trump. No?

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Peace Sells

Thanks for the blues this evening and hope you had all the turkey you wanted! Was supposed to go to a friend's house but snowed all night and all day and now raining so am happy to be here in my warm place.

Guess we can be thankful for our day but there is not much that our government is doing that I am thankful for. What a mess we are creating for the world and ourselves.

The explosion in Port Neches is very frightening. That entire area is a time bomb. There are chemical plant after chemical plant and the thought of a chain reaction is hard to contemplate.

Chris Hedges does seem to nail things with apology. Max and Stacey were very interesting and the bug eyes did bring some humor to the awful news they were delivering.

Have a good rest of your Thanksgiving weekend.!

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Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

lotlizard's picture

Looks like only a few of us are checking in tonight. I assume it’s because of the holiday — folks’ hearts and minds are elsewhere, occupied with gatherings and, one hopes, good cheer.

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from Guatemala City, but that didn't happen.
From Texas, a sincere thanks for giving me lots to read and think about on the TG/Day of Mourning.
Good wishes for all.

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Daenerys's picture

Happy Thanksgiving all.

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10 users have voted.

This shit is bananas.

joe shikspack's picture

happy thanksgiving to all!

just got back from a fine turkey dinner with the family and the tryptophan is getting the better of me, so it will be off to a long winter's nap. Smile

i hope that everybody is warm and toasty and enjoying the holiday.

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snoopydawg's picture

After over a foot of heavy snow fell through the night 10,000 of us lost our power. Sure is hard for the brain to realize that flipping a switch doesn't make the lights go on when there is no power. Or the computer or the dang coffee machine. Finally got on the road for the trip to my brother's with lots of kids. Fun watching them play the role I used to play decades ago and me playing my elders role. The cynical of life keeps cycling don't it?

Yay. More snow tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday. Plus a huge drop in temperature. Hope everyone had a good time no matter how you spent it.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Azazello's picture

Hope y'all had a nice dinner.
What I'm listening to now:

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11 users have voted.
janis b's picture

I hope your day included something to be thankful for. If it was busy, I hope your efforts were also fun and satisfying. If a quiet day, I hope it was enjoyably reflective.

Purely by coincidence, I got to celebrate it here with friends who wanted to understand it better. I found it difficult to explain, having conflicted feelings around the significance of what it represents in America.

I guess it is what you make of it ; ).

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lotlizard's picture

https://theintercept.com/2019/11/25/iraq-children-birth-defects-military/

Because of the United States, Iraqi women will give birth to babies with gruesome birth defects for many generations to come.

No one has been impeached for this.

The cause of the birth defects is military use of depleted uranium. The United States caused a similar rise in birth defects in Vietnam when it blanketed the countryside with Agent Orange.

No one was impeached for that, either.

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