The Evening Blues - 11-6-23
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Kansas City jazz and blues piano player, singer and bandleader Jay McShann. Enjoy!
Jay McShann – Confessin' The Blues
"Not since Iraq has the US empire allowed itself to get caught looking this brazenly evil in front of everyone. It’s always been the most murderous and depraved power structure on earth, but usually its psychopathy is more hidden and harder for the general public to understand.
And this is like if everyone was watching the Iraq invasion online in real time, with raw footage of all the civilians it’s killing flooding their social media feeds 24/7. There’s only so much propaganda spin you can put on that."
-- Caitlin Johnstone
News and Opinion
In a bizarre new article titled “White House frustrated by Israel’s onslaught but sees few options,” The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration believes Israel has gone too far and is killing too many civilians in its assault on Gaza, but are powerless to do anything about it.
The Post’s Yasmeen Abutaleb writes the following, citing anonymous US officials:
“As Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza escalates, the Biden administration finds itself in a precarious position: Administration officials say Israel’s counterattack against Hamas has been too severe, too costly in civilian casualties, and lacking a coherent endgame, but they are unable to exert significant influence on America’s closest ally in the Middle East to change its course.
“U.S. efforts to get Israel to scale back its counterattack in response to the Oct. 7 killings by Hamas that left at least 1,400 Israelis dead have failed or fallen short. The Biden administration urged Israel against a ground invasion, privately asked it to consider proportionality in its attacks, advocated a higher priority on avoiding civilian deaths, and called for a humanitarian pause — only for Israeli officials to dismiss or reject all those suggestions.
“In recent days, they said, the administration has become deeply uncomfortable with some of Israel’s tactics. Last week, Israel bombed the densely packed Jabalya refugee camp two days in a row, an attack that Israel said killed a Hamas leader but that also killed dozens of civilians. On Friday, an Israeli airstrike hit near the entrance of Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, a strike the Israeli military said was aimed at an ambulance ‘being used by a Hamas terrorist cell.’ And Israeli authorities recently expelled thousands of Palestinians who had been in Israel for work, sending them back into Gaza even as it continues to bomb the enclave.”
Biden administration officials say Israel’s counterattack against Hamas has been too severe and too costly in civilian casualties, but they are unable to exert significant influence on America’s closest ally in the Middle East to change its course. https://t.co/bOiUspVHAo
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 5, 2023
All this helpless hand-wringing is exposed for the load of ridiculous bullshit that it plainly is a few paragraphs down in the very same article:
“Washington is Israel’s largest military backer, and the White House has asked Congress for an additional $14 billion in aid for Israel in the wake of the Hamas attacks. But administration officials and advisers say the levers the United States theoretically has over Israel, such as conditioning military aid on making the military campaign more targeted, are nonstarters, partly because they would be so politically unpopular in any administration and partly because, aides say, Biden himself has a personal attachment to Israel.”
So the Biden administration does in fact have tons of leverage it can use to stop the genocidal massacre in Gaza, it just doesn’t want to because it would be “politically unpopular” and because “Biden himself has a personal attachment to Israel.”
The US president does indeed have a personal attachment to Israel. Biden has proudly described himself as a Zionist, and has gone on record to say that if Israel didn’t exist the United States would have to invent an Israel to advance its interests in the middle east.
In summary, this Washington Post article is telling us that Biden is powerless to stop the genocidal massacre in Gaza because he really likes the people doing the genocide and doesn’t want to stop them from doing it.
We’ve been asked to believe a lot of very stupid things since this onslaught began last month, but the idea that the Biden administration is powerless to stop a genocide that it is directly arming and supplying has got to be the absolute stupidest.
Of course the US can stop this. Of course it can. The US is currently pouring weapons into Israel on an almost daily basis, is pouring billions of dollars into Israel and is preparing to pour in billions more, and is currently physically assisting Israeli operations in Gaza with drones and special operations forces while US warships swarm the eastern Mediterranean. All of this can easily be pulled away if Israel refuses to stop murdering children by the thousands in an indiscriminate bombing campaign that reportedly isn’t even doing any meaningful damage to Hamas.
“One senior U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details, said the operations so far have not come close to destroying Hamas’s senior and middle leadership ranks.” https://t.co/lUChBdQNKa
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) November 5, 2023
What’s that? You didn’t know this murderous bombing campaign is doing no meaningful damage to Hamas? Well let’s clear that up then.
A new report by The New York Times cites an anonymous US military official saying that Israel “has not come close” to destroying Hamas leadership or even its mid-level command.
“One senior U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details, said the operations so far have not come close to destroying Hamas’s senior and middle leadership ranks,” The New York Times reports.
This revelation is devastating to the Israeli narrative about what it has actually been doing in Gaza. Israel said on Thursday that it had bombed some 12,000 targets in Gaza since October 7, and that number would be even higher by now, especially with unprecedented levels of strikes now being reported by people on the ground. There are reportedly only some 20–25,000 members of Hamas in total, which means the number of airstrikes is fast approaching the total number of Hamas members in existence, yet going from this New York Times report no meaningful damage has been done to Hamas itself.
This despite the fact that we are being told Hamas makes prevalent use of “human shields”, hiding their units in clusters of civilians for protection. How has Israel managed to kill some ten thousand Palestinians in Gaza without managing to do any real damage to Hamas if Hamas fighters are hiding amongst all those civilians? You’d think by sheer law of averages they’d have taken out some significant leaders with all that civilian-massacring?
Maybe Hamas is using really high-level human shields, the kind that don’t even have any Hamas fighters hidden behind them. It’s all 100 percent human shield with zero percent combatant — the most secure type of human shield there is!
— Stephen Semler (stephensemler.bsky.social) (@stephensemler) November 4, 2023
The Washington Post report about Biden’s imaginary powerlessness to stop this massacre makes a bit more sense when you look at an NBC News article which came out a few days earlier, which reports that White House leadership are concerned about an emerging “narrative” that Biden supports the killing in Gaza.
NBC News reports the following:
“Biden and his top aides have in the past week adjusted the administration’s public message to emphasize concern for Palestinian civilians and U.S. efforts to get them humanitarian relief. The shift follows growing criticism at home and abroad of Biden’s decision to swiftly and staunchly back Israel’s military response to Hamas while initially speaking less forcefully about protecting Palestinians; meanwhile, images of civilian casualties in Gaza continue to ricochet around the world.
“‘If this really goes bad, we want to be able to point to our past statements,’ a senior U.S. official said. The official said the administration is particularly worried about a narrative taking hold that Biden supports all Israeli military actions and that U.S.-provided weapons have been used to kill Palestinian civilians, many of them women and children. The Defense Department has said the U.S. is not putting any limits or restrictions on the weapons it’s providing Israel.”
So it’s probably a safe bet that the anonymous US officials who spoke to The Washington Post about how “frustrated” the White House is with Israel’s unbridaled murderousness are White House officials who are trying to manage the public narrative about Biden. They’re trying to let the Biden White House wash its hands of this genocidal massacre like Pontius Pilate, even as it backs that very massacre to the hilt.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: the US is every bit as culpable for the murder of all these civilians as Israel. Don’t let the empire’s narrative managers try to tell you different.
Aaron Mate - worth a full read:
At a Minneapolis fund-raiser on Wednesday, President Joe Biden was interrupted by Jessica Rosenberg, a rabbi and member of the group Jewish Voice for Peace, who called for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Biden rejected the suggestion, but claimed that he now endorses a “pause” to help “get the prisoners out.” To make his case, Biden revealed that he recently convinced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the bombing of Gaza and allow for Hamas’ release of two American hostages. “I’m the guy that convinced Bibi to call for a cease-fire to let the prisoners out,” Biden said.
The White House later clarified that Biden’s use of the word “cease-fire” was an error, when he meant to say pause. But his botched admission underscored that his White House holds unprecedented leverage over the Israeli government, which has relied on US military, economic, and diplomatic support since becoming its client state in the aftermath of the 1967 war. Accordingly, Biden’s refusal to demand a ceasefire makes him an equal partner in Israel’s assault on Gaza, and the deaths of thousands of Palestinian civilians — a majority of them reportedly women and children — that continue to mount. ...
When the White House has opted to use its leverage, Israel has complied. When Israel shut off Gaza’s phone and internet connection – depriving 2.3 million people of contact with themselves and the outside world – the US intervened. “We made it clear they had to be turned back on,” a US official told the Wall Street Journal. Before that, the US also pressured Israel to allow a trickle of aid into Gaza, rather than follow through on its vow for a complete cut-off. “The Americans insisted and we are not in a place where we can refuse them,” Israeli Defense Minister Yaov Gallant privately explained. “We rely on them for planes and military equipment. What are we supposed to do? Tell them no?”
If the Biden administration opted to use that leverage to end Israel’s assault, it would not be for the first time. According to the book “The Last Politician,” an insider account of Biden’s presidency by The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer, a May 2021 Israeli assault on Gaza only ended under White House pressure.
Foer describes a hands-off approach in which Biden initially “declined to chastise” Israel after it destroyed civilian buildings in Gaza, including one housing the Associated Press. And even when Netanyahu “inadvertently admitted he had no defined objective” in Gaza, Biden still “held his tongue.”
When Biden finally decided to act, Israel complied. In their fourth call of Israel’s offensive, Netanyahu “kept begging for time” but “struggled to justify his request, because he couldn’t point to fresh targets that needed striking.” And so Biden finally laid down the law. “Hey, man, we’re out of runway here,” he told Netanyahu. “It’s over.”
"Paradigm-Changing Moment": Public Opinion Shifts on Palestine. Will Gaza War Hurt Biden Reelection?
Gaza was rocked by a series of huge explosions on Sunday evening and communications with the coastal strip were cut, as violence also escalated on Israel’s northern boundary with Lebanon. The strikes on Gaza came as the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) indicated that Israeli troops were planning to enter Gaza City in force perhaps within the next 48 hours, according to reports in Israeli media.
Journalists inside Gaza and watching from the Israeli border described intense Israeli strikes on the coastal strip, and video showed towering explosions in the night sky. Reports from Gaza said the strikes were coming from the air, sea and land, including from the north of the strip where Israeli troops now have a presence.
In northern Israel, boundary communities, including the city of Kiryat Shmona, came under mortar and rocket fire from Hezbollah after an Israeli strike in southern Lebanon killed three girls aged eight to 14 and their grandmother. A Hezbollah MP called the attack a “dangerous development” for which Israel would pay a price, as Israelis were ordered to shelter in secure rooms and the main road north was closed to traffic.
Residents in the north described at least one direct strike on a building in Kiryat Shmona as Hezbollah fired rockets and mortars across the border. Officials said one Israeli was killed. The Lebanese militant faction said in a statement that its attack came in response to Israel’s “heinous and brutal crime”.
Earlier on Sunday, officials from Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry accused Israeli jets of striking al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, killing at least 47 people and wounding dozens.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has told the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian Authority should play a central role in what comes next in the Gaza Strip, according a senior state department official. ...
As Washington, the international community and Israel have struggled to articulate what would happen on the “day after” – should Israel succeed in topping Hamas – the comments, relayed by a senior State Department official on Sunday, were the clearest indication yet of US thinking.
A spokesperson for Abbas said after the meeting that the Palestinian president had called for an immediate ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza and that the Palestinian Authority would only assume power in Gaza as part of a “comprehensive political solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The state department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Blinken reaffirmed the US commitment to the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance and resumption of essential services in Gaza and made clear that Palestinians must not be forcibly displaced.
Blinken and Abbas discussed efforts to restore calm and stability in the West Bank, including the need to stop extremist violence against Palestinians and hold those accountable responsible, Miller said, in reference to violence being committed by Israeli settlers.
Despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations claimed in a televised interview Sunday that "there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza," and was swiftly rebuked by people around the world.
Challenged by CNN's Dana Bash, Ambassador Gilad Erdan doubled down on his position: "I'm not saying that the life in Gaza is great. And, obviously, Hamas is the only one that should be held accountable for any situation in Gaza. But there's a standard, due to international humanitarian law."
"What does it mean, a humanitarian crisis? And I'm saying, again, there is no humanitarian crisis, based on the international humanitarian law, right now in Gaza," added Erdan, who also cast doubt on the death toll being shared by local officials.
U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) called Erdan's comments "unbelievable," given the current conditions in Gaza a month into the war Israel launched after a Hamas-led attack on October 7, and urged the ambassador to resign from his position.
Also responding to Erdan's appearance on "State of the Union," Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink, said: "Does he think the world is not seeing the horrific reality in Gaza? Does he think we will believe his lies? No, we won't."
As of Sunday, Israel's air and ground assault of the besieged enclave—enabled by billions in U.S. military support—has killed at least 9,770 people, including over 4,000 children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. The ministry last month publicly identified thousands of the dead as Israeli officials and others, including U.S. President Joe Biden, questioned the figures.
Those who have so far survived the Israeli assault are facing limited power, water, and communication services as well as dwindling supplies of food and medicine. The United Nations World Food Program stressed Sunday that the aid entering Gaza "is nowhere near enough to meet the exponentially growing needs."
"Right now, parents in Gaza do not know whether they can feed their children today and whether they will even survive to see tomorrow," said Cindy McCain, the U.N. program's executive director, as she returned from the Rafah border crossing in Egypt. "The suffering just meters away is unfathomable standing on this side of the border."
Erdan's interview Sunday was not the first time during the war that the Israeli government has contested conditions in Gaza. During a Sky News appearance in Mid-October, Israeli diplomat Tzipi Hotovely also said that "there is no humanitarian crisis."
As The New York Times reported Wednesday:
Israel's agency overseeing policy for the Palestinian territories, known as COGAT, maintained in a statement on Tuesday that there is "currently no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip" despite the mounting evidence to the contrary from aid agencies, journalists, and people living there.
The statement said the Israeli government was monitoring the supply of water, food, fuel, and energy in Gaza and asserted that "the situation is far from crisis."
The newspaper added that "asked on Tuesday why Israel had cut off water supplies, in particular, to Gaza, the agency said that 'according to international law, Israel has no obligation to provide goods and services to the terrorist organization Hamas—especially in cases where the enemy uses them for war purposes (for example, with respect to electricity and fuel).'"
Former U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield, recently appointed by Biden as the special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues, told reporters in Jordan on Saturday that "there is no evidence that Hamas is seizing or blocking aid entering the Gaza Strip."
Israel has quietly tried to build international support in recent weeks for the transfer of several hundred thousand civilians from Gaza to Egypt for the duration of its war in the territory, according to six senior foreign diplomats.
Israeli leaders and diplomats have privately proposed the idea to several foreign governments, framing it as a humanitarian initiative that would allow civilians to temporarily escape the perils of Gaza for refugee camps in the Sinai Desert, just across the border in neighboring Egypt.
The suggestion was dismissed by most of Israel’s interlocutors — who include the United States and Britain — because of the risk that such a mass displacement could become permanent. These countries fear that such a development might destabilize Egypt and lock significant numbers of Palestinians out of their homeland, according to the diplomats, who spoke anonymously in order to discuss a sensitive matter more freely.
The idea has also been firmly rejected by Palestinians, who fear that Israel is using the war — which began on Oct. 7 after terrorists from Gaza raided Israel and killed roughly 1,400 people — to permanently displace the more than two million people living in Gaza.
Israel’s Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu on Sunday said that dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip was an option for Israel and claimed there are no innocent civilians in the enclave.
According to The Times of Israel, Eliyahu said in a radio interview that dropping a nuke is “one of the possibilities” and said there is no “such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza.” He also called for the expulsion of Palestinians from the enclave.
“They can go to Ireland or deserts, the monsters in Gaza should find a solution by themselves,” he said. Eliyahu added that the Gaza Strip doesn’t have the right to exist and that anyone waving a Hamas or Palestinian flag “shouldn’t continue living on the face of the earth.” ... In response to Eliyahu’s comments, Netanyahu suspended him from cabinet meetings, resisting calls from opposition leader Yair Lapid to fire him.
Israelis Against Apartheid, a group representing more than 1,500 citizens, this week urged the International Criminal Court's prosecutor "to take accelerated action against the escalating Israeli war crimes and genocide of the Palestinian people" in Gaza.
"For the safety and future in the region, all elements of international law must be enforced and war crimes should be investigated," declares the letter to the ICC's Karim A. A. Khan, noting his ongoing Palestine investigation and recent remarks on the war.
The letter, dated Thursday, explains that "as Israeli anti-colonial activists, we have joined our voices to the voices of Palestinians for decades warning on the dangerous course of action pursued by the Israeli state and repeatedly called for international intervention."
"Persistent impunity has created the conditions for the consolidation of the Israeli apartheid regime, which is intent on committing ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Indigenous Palestinian population," the letter continues. "The acute deterioration in basic conditions of life that we are now witnessing could have been avoided if Israel had not been continuously granted impunity for its ongoing crimes."
Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marched through downtown Washington DC on Saturday in what organizers hoped was the largest US demonstration of its kind since Israel began its bombardment of Gaza after Hamas attacked the country last month.
The crowd waved Palestinian flags, carried posters and chanted slogans during the National March on Washington: Free Palestine, which took place alongside similar events across the US and elsewhere in the world. Organizers representing or endorsed by dozens of pro-Palestinian groups directed marchers to Freedom Plaza in the nation’s capital before looping past the White House. ...
Signs of a split between traditional, pro-Israel Democratic party supporters and younger voters, including Arab Americans, over the Israel-Gaza conflict were made apparent in a speech by Nihad Awad, the national director at the Council on American–Islamic Relations.
“The language that President Biden and his party understands is the language of votes in the 2023 elections, and our message is: No ceasefire, no votes,” Awad said, listing states that next year’s presidential election could turn on. “No votes in Michigan, no votes in Arizona, no votes in Georgia, no votes in Nevada, no votes in Wisconsin, no votes in Pennsylvania.”
Volodymyr Zelenskiy has denied a suggestion from the Ukrainian military’s commander-in-chief that the war with Russia has reached a stalemate, and a senior spokesperson for his administration has rebuked the general in question and accused him of making “the aggressor’s job easier”.
Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi had offered his blunt assessment of the situation in an interview published last week. “Just like in the first world war, we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate,” he told the Economist, adding: “There will most likely be no deep and beautiful breakthrough.”
Zaluzhnyi said the war had entered a phase of attritional fighting in which neither side would make much progress unless there was a technological breakthrough. He also suggested that Russia was slowly getting the upper hand thanks to its superior numbers.
The general said he had underestimated Vladimir Putin’s willingness to sacrifice his own soldiers, saying at least 150,000 had been killed so far. “Let’s be honest, [Russia] is a feudal state where the cheapest resource is human life. And for us … the most expensive thing we have is our people,” Zaluzhnyi said. Prolonged fighting had put Ukraine at a disadvantage, he admitted. “This will benefit Russia, allowing it to rebuild its military power, eventually threatening Ukraine’s armed forces and the state itself.”
On Saturday, Zelenskiy denied the war was at a stalemate and said more work with allies was needed to strengthen air defences. “Today time has passed and people are tired, but this is not a stalemate,” he said during a news conference with the visiting European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. “Russia controls the skies. We care about our military.”
Members of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ party (PSOE) have backed plans to secure another term as prime minister for the party’s leader, Pedro Sánchez, in return for granting a hugely controversial amnesty to people involved in the illegal and unilateral bid for Catalan independence six years ago.
Spain has been in the hands of Sánchez’s caretaker government since July’s inconclusive snap general election, in which the PSOE was narrowly beaten by the conservative People’s party (PP). Although the PP won the most seats, it fell short of a parliamentary majority and has proved unable to form a government, even with the support of the far-right Vox party and other, smaller political groupings.
Sánchez and his allies in the leftwing Sumar alliance have the best chance of forming a government but can do so only with the support of the two main Catalan pro-independence parties, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and Junts (Together). Both Catalan parties have said their support for getting the PSOE back into office will be contingent on an amnesty for the hundreds of people who participated in the failed push to secede from Spain in October 2017.
While the ERC has signed off its deal with the PSOE, Junts, which is led by the former Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont – who is still wanted by Spanish courts for his role in the doomed lunge for Catalan independence – is still negotiating its support.
— Stonehenge U.K (@ST0NEHENGE) November 5, 2023
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said on Sunday that the party has “its work cut out for us” in response to new polling that shows President Joe Biden trailing Donald Trump in five of six swing states.
The survey by the New York Times and Siena College of voters in six battleground states, was released with 365 days to go until the 2024 presidential election.
Biden is ahead in Wisconsin, but Trump topped the survey in Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The margins ranged from three to 10 percentage points, and reflected an erosion of support among the fragile, multiracial coalition that elected Biden over Trump in 2020.
Dr Don Levy, director of Siena College Research Institute, said the states in the poll would be crucial in 2024: “While Biden has a narrow three-point lead in Wisconsin, Trump leads by 11 points in Nevada, seven points in Georgia, five points in Arizona and three points in both Michigan and Pennsylvania.
“If the 2024 matchup featured a Democrat other than Biden running against Trump, the ‘generic’ Democrat would be ahead by seven to 12 points in five of the states and ahead by three points in Nevada,” Levy said.
Ohio’s Republican secretary of state quietly canceled the voter registrations of more than 26,000 voters in late September, less than two weeks before the deadline to register to vote in next week’s hotly contested abortion referendum in the state.
Voting rights advocates say the process lacked transparency and departed from Frank LaRose’s usual practice of alerting groups before removing registrations from the rolls. And it comes as LaRose campaigns hard against the 7 November constitutional amendment vote – when Ohio voters will decide whether to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution – as well as a vote on a separate measure to legalize marijuana.
“We are disappointed in the secretary of state’s office’s authorization of the voter purge while voting for the November election was already (and still is) under way,” Kayla Griffin, of the voting rights group All Voting is Local, said.
Voter list maintenance is a standard, legally required part of the election process, and many if not most of these registrations are for people who have moved away, died or long since stopped voting. The state issues alerts by mail to voters whose registration is flagged for removal, leaving the chance to update or confirm their registration before being kicked off the rolls.
But it’s unusual to remove voter registrations this close to an election given the risk of disenfranchising people who intend to vote but simply missed the memo that they had been flagged for removal. In fact, if this was a national election rather than a state-level contest, what LaRose’s office has done would have been illegal. The National Voter Registration Act prohibits elections offices from systematically removing voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election.
Politicians who delay climate action should be prepared to live with the human fallout of their choices, the World Health Organization’s top environment expert has warned. “Anytime you postpone, OK, are you ready to cope with that?” said Maria Neira, the doctor in charge of environmental health at the WHO. “You have to live with that weight on your shoulders of the fact that you are at least not saving those lives – I don’t want to say killing – but at least not protecting the lives of those people.”
On Thursday, the World Meteorological Organization and dozens of research partners including the WHO issued a stark warning that climate change threatens to roll back decades of progress in human health.
Speaking to the Guardian on the sidelines of the world health summit in Berlin last month, Neira said doctors would make policymakers understand the damage done by burning fossil fuels at the upcoming Cop28 climate conference, which will devote a day to health for the first time in its history.
“Nobody will be able to say ‘I didn’t know’,” said Neira. “No one will leave Cop this year saying ‘Oh, I didn’t know health was affected’. We will make sure that this will not be the case. Everyone needs to know this is not just about climate, polar bears and glaciers. This is about my lungs and your lungs.” Coal, oil and gas release toxic particles when burned that kill millions of people each year. Some of the emissions also heat the planet, making extreme weather more violent and increasing the chances of harvests failing and some diseases spreading.
“Whether they like it or not – whether they know it or not – the negotiators at Cop are negotiating with our health,” said Neira.
Images of severely diseased, dead and dying salmon at an Icelandic fish farm, obtained by the Guardian, have been described by one veterinary expert as an “animal welfare disaster” on a scale never previously seen.
The drone footage, shot last week over an open-pen sea cage in the country’s remote Westfjords region, shows salmon suffering from such a severe infestation of sea lice that huge numbers of the fish are having to be prematurely slaughtered.
Up to 12 pens are believed to be affected by the parasites, which contained about a million fish last month, although the exact numbers have not been confirmed. ... The parasite, a crustacean known as salmon lice – Lepeophtheirus salmonis – feeds on the salmon’s skin, causing open sores that stress and weaken the salmon’s immune system. In extreme cases, it can cause mass deaths.
Berglind Helga Bergsdóttir, a specialist in fish diseases at MAST, the Icelandic food and veterinary authority, said that such a high infestation of lice had never been seen before in Iceland. ...
The incident comes at a difficult time for the open-pen salmon-farming industry in Iceland. In August, the escape of 3,500 salmon from a farm owned by Arctic Fish, one of two companies with pens in Tálknafjörður, the site of the current lice outbreak, caused outrage among environmentalists and led to an investigation by Icelandic police. Arctic Fish is one of the country’s largest salmon-farming companies, owned by Norwegian-based Mowi, the world’s largest salmon producer.
The Biden administration is proposing a ban on TCE, a highly toxic chemical commonly used in stain removers, adhesives and degreasers, and which had been found to be contaminating drinking water on a wide scale across the US. The move comes after years of mounting scientific evidence showing TCE is “extremely toxic” at low levels of exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote in a statement. ...
TCE, or trichloroethylene, is a volatile organic compound that humans are frequently exposed to in a variety of settings, though those who use products with the chemical in an occupational setting are most at risk. It’s also commonly used in carpet cleaning treatments, hoof polishes, brake cleaners, pepper spray and lubricants.
Among other health issues, the chemical is thought to be a carcinogen and a liver toxin, harm male reproduction, cause neurological damage, damage kidneys and cause Parkinson’s disease.
Officials suspect TCE water contamination is behind multiple cancer clusters, and the compound is one a range of chemicals polluting military base drinking water that is suspected of sickening and killing service members at bases across the US. Areas in the US with the highest TCE contamination levels have been designated Superfund sites, which is reserved for the nation’s most polluted locations.
Recent EPA research found that as much as 250m pounds of TCE are still produced in the US annually, and much of that ends up in the water.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Jimmy Witherspoon With Jay McShann – Jumpin' The Blues
Jay McShann – Dexter Blues
Arnett Cobb; Jay McShann; Al Casey - Smooth Sailing
Jay McShann – Blue Devil Jump
Jimmy Witherspoon With Jay McShann – Piney Brown Blues
Jay McShann with Charlie Parker - Swingmatism
Big Joe Turner & Jay McShann - Honey Hush
Jay McShann featuring Charlie Parker - Cherokee
Jay McShann – Hot Biscuits