The Evening Blues - 12-8-20


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Blind Lemon Jefferson

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features the "Father of the Texas Blues," Blind Lemon Jefferson. Enjoy!

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Black Snake Moan

"The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist, but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight."

-- Michael Lind

News and Opinion

According to Commondreams, progressives, climate action campaigners, and rights advocates are "shocked" that Wall Street wants to control water as a market.

Apparently nobody hipped a nation of slaves to the fact that the oligarchs use the supply of human existential needs which they corner the market on and use the tight distribution of to control the populace.

Are people really going to keep falling for this con?

Oh, and while I'm on my soapbox, will breathable air be the next market?

Wall Street to Begin Betting on Water Scarcity

Though the international community recognizes water access as an essential human right, hedge fund managers and public water agencies are poised to begin profiting off water scarcity, which experts say will worsen in the coming years in the U.S. as well as other countries.

As Bloomberg reported late Sunday, water will be treated as a commodity and traded on Wall Street for the first time starting this week, with market participants able to bet on or against potential water scarcity.

The Chicago-based global markets company CME Group first announced in September—as wildfires linked to higher temperatures and drought raged across the West Coast—that it would soon offer contracts within California's $1.1 billion spot water market.

"Climate change, droughts, population growth, and pollution are likely to make water scarcity issues and pricing a hot topic for years to come," RBC Capital Markets managing director and analyst Deane Dray told Bloomberg Sunday.

Progressives, climate action campaigners, and rights advocates expressed shock Monday that traders are poised to treat water scarcity—which plagues two billion people around the world and is expected to affect two-thirds of the population in the next four years—as an opportunity to profit. ...

In the water market, based on the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index, market participants will be able to claim quarterly contracts through 2022, betting on the prices of 10 acre-feet of water, equal to about 3.26 million gallons.

CME Group told Bloomberg that agriculture producers, public water agencies and utilities, and Wall Street investors have discussed participating in the market.

Lots more at the link, here's a taste to whet your appetite:

Chris Hedges: The Collective Suicide of the Liberal Class

Liberals who express dismay, or more bizarrely a fevered hope, about the corporatists and imperialists selected to fill the positions in the Biden administration are the court jesters of our political burlesque. They long ago sold their soul and abandoned their most basic principles to line up behind a bankrupt Democratic Party. They chant, with every election cycle, the mantra of the least worst and sit placidly on the sidelines as a Bill Clinton or a Barack Obama and the Democratic Party leadership betray every issue they claim to support.

The only thing that mattered to liberals in the presidential race, once again, was removing a Republican, this time Donald Trump, from office. This, the liberals achieved. But their Faustian bargain, in election after election, has shredded their credibility. They are ridiculed, not only among right-wing Trump supporters but by the hierarchy of the Democratic Party that has been captured by corporate power. No one can, or should, take liberals seriously. They stand for nothing. They fight for nothing. The cost is too onerous. And so, the liberals do what they always do, chatter endlessly about political and moral positions they refuse to make any sacrifices to achieve.
Liberals, largely comprised of the professional managerial-class that dutifully recycles and shops for organic produce and is concentrated on the two coasts, have profited from the ravages of neoliberalism. They seek to endow it with a patina of civility. But their routine and public humiliation has ominous consequences. It not only exposes the liberal class as hollow and empty, it discredits the liberal democratic values they claim to uphold. Liberals should have abandoned the Democratic Party when Bill Clinton and political hacks such as Biden transformed the Democratic Party into the Republican Party and launched a war on traditional liberal values and left-wing populism. They should have defected by the millions to support Ralph Nader and other Green Party candidates. ...

The Democratic Party elites revel in taunting liberals as well as the left-wing populists who preach class warfare and supported Bernie Sanders. How are we supposed to interpret the appointment of Antony Blinken, one of the architects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and supporter of the apartheid state of Israel, as Secretary of State? Or John Kerry, who championed the massive expansion of domestic oil and gas production, largely through fracking, and, according to Barack Obama’s memoir, worked doggedly to convince those concerned about the climate crisis to “offer up concessions on subsidies for the nuclear power industry and the opening of additional U.S. coastlines to offshore oil drilling” as the new climate policy czar? Or Brian Deese, the executive who was in charge of the “climate portfolio” at BlackRock, which invests heavily in fossil fuels, including coal, and who served as a former Obama economic adviser who advocated austerity measures, to run the White House’s economic policy? Or Neera Tanden, for director of the Office of Management and Budget, who as president of the Center for American Progress raised millions in dark money from Silicon Valley and Wall Street while relentlessly ridiculing Bernie Sanders and his supporters on cable news and social media and who proposed a plank in the Democratic platform calling for bombing Iran?

The Biden administration resembles the ineffectual German government formed by Franz von Papen in 1932 that sought to recreate the ancien régime, a utopian conservatism that ensured Germany’s drift into fascism. Biden, bereft like von Papen of new ideas and programs, will eventually be forced to employ the brutal tools Biden as a senator was so prominent in creating to maintain social control – wholesale surveillance, a corrupt judicial system, the world’s largest prison system and police that have been transformed into lethal paramilitary units of internal occupation. Those that resist as social unrest mounts will be attacked as agents of a foreign power and censored, as many already are being censored, including through algorithms and deplatforming on social media. The most ardent and successful dissidents, such as Julian Assange, will be criminalized.

Meanwhile, in fascist-occupied Florida:

Yahoo News
Florida state police raid home of Rebekah Jones, data scientist who challenged Governor on coronavirus statistics

Law enforcement authorities in Tallahassee, Fla., on Monday raided the home of a data scientist who had been fired by Gov. Ron DeSantis after refusing to manipulate numbers.

In the months since her firing, Rebekah Jones has continued to publish coronavirus statistics independently, while also issuing warnings on Twitter and cable news. DeSantis, meanwhile, has continued to downplay the severity of the epidemic, which has killed nearly 20,000 Floridians.

Jones posted video of the raid, which was conducted by Florida state police Monday morning. She said the police “took all my hardware and tech,” for which they obtained a warrant following a Department of Health complaint. “They pointed a gun in my face,” Jones said in her message, which was shared by thousands of people. “They pointed guns at my kids.”

In a second message, Jones described how the state police “took my phone and the computer I use every day to post the case numbers in Florida, and school cases for the entire country.”

Jones put the blame for the raid squarely on the governor. “This was DeSantis,” she wrote. “He sent the gestapo.”

Biden's SHOCKINGLY GOOD Pick For HHS Plucked From 'Identity Politics Lottery'

Lloyd Austin: Biden to nominate retired army general to be defense secretary

Joe Biden will nominate Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star army general, to be secretary of defense, according to four people familiar with the decision. If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first Black leader of the Pentagon.

Biden selected Austin over the longtime frontrunner for the position, Michele Flournoy, a former senior Pentagon official and Biden supporter who would have been the first woman to serve as defense secretary. Biden also had considered Jeh Johnson, a former Pentagon general counsel and former secretary of homeland security.

The impending nomination of Austin was confirmed by four people with knowledge of the pick who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the selection hadn’t been formally announced.

As a career military officer who served 41 years in uniform, the 67-year-old Austin is likely to face opposition from some in Congress and in the defense establishment who believe in drawing a clear line between civilian and military leadership of the Pentagon. ... Austin retired from the army in 2016. Like Mattis, he would need to obtain a congressional waiver to serve as defense secretary, exempting him from the legal requirement that a former member of the military be out of uniform at least seven years before serving as secretary of defense. Such laws were meant to preserve the civilian nature of the Department of Defense. ...

Austin is also a member of the board of directors of Raytheon Technologies.

Caitlin Johnstone:

Biden Picks Raytheon Board Member To Lead The US War Machine

The mass media are reporting that the Biden camp has selected former general Lloyd J. Austin III to be the next secretary of defense, assuaging fears among antiwar activists that the position would go to bloodthirsty psychopath Michele Flournoy as commonly predicted.

As has become the standard ritual for Biden’s cabinet picks, the mass media are holding a parade to celebrate the fact that Austin would be the first Black chief of the US war machine while virtually ignoring the murderous agendas he has facilitated throughout his career. As head of Central Command Austin actively campaigned to resurrect the Pentagon’s spectacularly failed program of trying to arm “rebels” in Syria to fight ISIS, and in 2014 he backed immunity for US troops from war crimes prosecutions by the government of Afghanistan. He helped spearhead the Iraq invasion, and he is a member of the same private equity fund which invests in defense contractors as Flournoy and Biden’s warmongering pick for Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

Austin is also a member of the board of directors for the war profiteering corporation Raytheon, where he went immediately after his military career. Raytheon spends millions of dollars a year actively lobbying the US government to advance policies which are beneficial to the multibillion-dollar arms manufacturing giant, which of course means lobbying for military expansionism and interventionism. The previous Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also worked for Raytheon, working for years as one of the top corporate lobbyists in DC under the position “Vice President for Government Relations“.

And you know what? I say why not.

Seriously, why not? Why shouldn’t the head of the US murder machine come from a corporation which has made billions of dollars facilitating war crimes in Yemen? Why shouldn’t the most depraved and bloodthirsty regime on this planet have its depravity and bloodshed advanced by a professional war profiteer? The mass military slaughter of the US and its allies has only ever been about power and profit, so why not be honest about it?

Hell, why stop there? Why not make Raytheon itself the Secretary of Defense? Didn’t the Supreme Court rule that corporations are people anyway? Make Raytheon the Secretary of Defense, make Boeing Secretary of State, make Goldman Sachs the Secretary Treasurer, make ExxonMobil the head of the EPA, make Amazon the CIA Director and Google the Director of National Intelligence. Then you’d have a completely honest face on the head of the US empire.

It’s absolutely insane that our world is being dominated by war profiteers who actively push for more violence and bloodshed because they make money selling the weapons used to perpetrate it. It’s no less evil than if plutocrats were cruising the world murdering people and selling their skins for money; the same number of people would be killed for the same profit incentive, yet people who would recoil in horror at that idea pay no mind to the fact that functionally the same thing is happening with corporate powers like Raytheon.

The only difference between the US war machine and a band of armed crooks murdering people for money is that the US war machine does it at a far greater scale. As long as that’s going on there’s no reason to pretend otherwise. Hopefully people start looking past the smiley faced mask of the empire and begin opening their eyes to the blood-spattered face beneath it.

CNN Silences Criticisms Of Biden's Cabinet Choices

Congress to pass shutdown-averting bill to continue coronavirus stimulus talks

Congress is poised to pass a stopgap funding measure that will avert a government shutdown and provide lawmakers more time to negotiate an emergency coronavirus stimulus legislation amid deepening economic pain.

Negotiations over a $1.4tn catch-all spending package are playing out alongside bipartisan efforts to pass long-delayed Covid-19 economic relief.

Congressional leaders hope to attach the stimulus bill to the must-pass spending bill, though several key sticking points remain.

On Monday, the Democratic House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said that the House would vote on Wednesday on a one-week spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to avoid a government shutdown while lawmakers race to reach an agreement. Government funding for federal agencies is due to expire on Friday.

Hoyer had initially told lawmakers that the House would finalize its end-of-year business this week, allowing lawmakers to leave Washington for the year, but negotiations over the omnibus spending bill were proceeding more slowly than he had hoped.

RENTPOCALYPSE Is Here And It's WORSE Than We Thought

Millions of Tenants 'Headed for Absolute Disaster' After New Year, Owing Average of Nearly $6,000 in Rent and Utilities

Without a coronavirus relief package centered on helping working families who have lost jobs and watched their savings dwindle amid the pandemic, millions of people are "headed for absolute disaster," one observer said Monday as Moody's Analytics reported that 12 million renters are expected to owe an average of $5,850 in back rent and utilities after the new year.

The financial firm reported that $70 billion could be owed to landlords in January, after a federal moratorium on evictions—put in place in September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the absence of any action from the Republican-led Senate aimed at helping working people—expires on December 31.

According to the Washington Post, many landlords have begun filing paperwork to evict struggling tenants already and others have joined renters in appealing to Congress for significant unemployment benefits and another round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans

Separately from Moody's, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported in October that 1.3 million households that have faced unemployment during the pandemic owed an average of $5,400 in back payments to landlords and utilities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 29% of Black renters and 17% of Latino renters are behind in payments, and 21% of families with children have been pushed into debt.

Some families have been forced to begin selling their belongings since the Republican-led Senate allowed weekly unemployment benefits of $600 expire in July, according to the Post. Lawmakers on Monday were negotiating a new aid package after a bipartisan group of senators introduced a $908 billion bill last week.

According to Post reporter Jeff Stein, the package currently includes a $300 weekly payment which would be offered only from January to April, with no retroactive payments to help families who owe rent and other payments from recent months. The package includes $25 billion for rental housing assistance—far less than what's expected to be owed by families in January and only half of what the House Democrats' HEROES Act includes for low-income renters—and a proposal by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not include anything for struggling renters.

"This is like a Charles Dickens novel," Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association, told the Post. "It's an evolving story of how people at the bottom are suffering."

Did Hawley, Bernie Actually Score A WIN On Stimulus Checks?

Don't feel bad, Iran. The U.S. government is doing its best to kill off hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and deprive millions of food and housing.

Head of Iran's Central Bank Says US Blocking Covid-19 Vaccine Purchases

The head of Iran's central bank on Monday accused the U.S. government of actively blocking the country from purchasing stocks of coronavirus vaccine through the World Health Organization's COVAX program.

Al Jazeera reports Abdolnasser Hemmati said on Instagram that it should be "recorded in historical memory" that crippling U.S.-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic are preventing the country from buying vaccines against the potentially deadly virus through COVAX, the WHO-led global initiative to fast-track development, production, and equitable worldwide distribution of a coronavirus vaccine.

"So far, any methods to make payment and transfer the required currency have faced obstacles due to the inhumane sanctions of the U.S. government and the need to obtain permits from OFAC," Hemmati wrote, referring to the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

COVAX aims to deliver two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021. Over 170 nations including Iran have signed up for the program. Conspicuously missing from the list of participating countries is the United States, which under President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the WHO due to dubious claims that the agency is a puppet of the Chinese government.

Iran is suffering the worst Covid-19 outbreak in the Middle East. As of Monday, more than one million cases and over 50,000 deaths have been reported in the nation of 82 million people. Iranian health officials, however, said that the true number of cases is likely to be more than twice as high as the official figures.

Coronavirus pandemic: Do new vaccines mark end to the crisis?

Argentina Passes "Millionaire's Tax" to Fund Covid-19 Recovery

Lawmakers in Argentina on Friday approved a new one-time levy on the country's richest citizens to raise money to address the devastating health and economic consequences of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Senators passed the bill, which imposes a tax of at least 2% on individuals with assets worth more than $2.45 million, by a margin of 42 to 26, Reuters reported Saturday.

Government revenue has declined amid the Covid-19 outbreak and resulting lockdown measures, and proponents of the legislation—dubbed the "millionaire's tax"—hope it will generate $3.7 billion for the pandemic recovery process.

"This is a unique, one-time contribution," said Senator Carlos Caserio, a member of the committee responsible for the bill, according to a statement on the Senate's website, Bloomberg reported Saturday.

"We're coming out of this pandemic like countries come out of world wars, with thousands of dead and devastated economies," Cesario added.

According to the BBC, the funds will be used to pay for medical supplies, emergency aid for small and medium-sized businesses, financial support for students and social programs, and natural gas development.

"We must find points of connection between those who have the most to contribute and those who are in need," said Senator Anabel Fernandez Sagasti.

While Argentina is unique for having passed a coronavirus-specific wealth tax to confront the current crisis, people in other countries are clamoring for similar measures, although most politicians have so far opposed such efforts.

Slovakia's mass Covid testing cut infection rate by 60%, researchers say

Mass testing for Covid brought down the infection rate in Slovakia by about 60% in one week, say UK researchers – but in combination with tough quarantine rules and other measures that are not being implemented in Liverpool or elsewhere in the UK.

Slovakia guaranteed high take-up of the rapid tests by requiring employers not to allow people to work without a certificate to prove they had tested negative. Anybody who got a positive result had to go into quarantine with their family, but their full salary was paid for the 10 days of isolation.

A negative test result allowed people to work, but was not a criterion for visiting an elderly relative in a care home, or for a student of coming home for the holidays. The exercise in Slovakia was not carried out to lift restrictions, but to find Covid cases and isolate them.

It was successful in combination with the social restrictions imposed in the country, said the researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, whose work is published in a pre-print and has not yet been peer-reviewed.

“In Slovakia, there is relatively strong evidence that lockdown plus mass testing has led to a very large reduction in the burden of Covid-19 infections,” said associate professor Dr Stefan Flasche. He likened what was done in Slovakia to throwing a large bucket of water on a fire: it would reduce the size of the fire without putting it out. “At the very least, you buy some time so you don’t need to have a four- or five-week lockdown,” he said.

Why In The World Did Trump Admin PASS On MILLIONS Of Vaccine Doses?

Covid blood test can predict patient survival chances

A blood test has been developed that can predict whether Covid patients will need intensive care – or are even likely to survive – shortly after they develop symptoms.

If validated in real-life hospital settings, the test could enable doctors to direct life-saving treatment to the most needy patients sooner, boosting their chances of survival. It could also bolster doctors’ confidence in the face of difficult decisions, such as whether to offer palliative care or an ICU bed when hospitals are close to capacity.

Earlier this year, Markus Ralser and colleagues identified 27 proteins in the blood of Covid-19 patients that were present at different levels depending on the severity of their symptoms. Since then, they have followed 160 Covid patients whose blood was tested when they were admitted to hospital to explore whether its protein signature could predict the progression of their illness.

The idea is to provide doctors with a “digital picture” of how sick a patient is – something you cannot necessarily tell just by looking at them – which could help inform their treatment.

Farmers protest across India against Modi's liberalisation

Family of Black Ohio man shot dead by white officer accuses police of lying about killing

The family of a 23-year-old Black man shot dead by a white police officer in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday have accused police of lying about the circumstances of the killing and demanded accountability for his death. Casey Goodson Jr was shot as he entered his home carrying sandwiches from Subway, according to multiple accounts by family members. His mother said he was shot three times in the back, according to a Facebook post attributed to her. He died on his stoop with his keys in the door, a lawyer for the Goodson family said.

Police on Sunday identified the shooter as a Franklin county sheriff’s deputy, Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran of the force. As a member of the US marshals service fugitive taskforce, Meade was in the area participating in an unrelated search for a suspect before he shot Goodson, police said. ...

But activists and family members called for an expanded investigation and expressed outrage that Peter Tobin, US marshal for the southern district of Ohio, said at a press conference Friday night that the killing was justified. “He was seen driving down the street waving a gun, and that’s when the deputy, at some point after that, he confronted him and it went badly,” Tobin said.

“That narrative leaves out key details that raise cause for extreme concern,” a lawyer for the family, Sean Walton, said on Sunday. “Casey was coming home from a dentist appointment that day,” he said. ... Family members do not believe that Goodson was “waving a gun” around police officers, Walton told the Columbus Dispatch.

Black Mom Swarmed & Beaten by Philly Riot Police with Toddler in Car Demands Officers Be Fired

Moderate Democrat morons on a whining bender:

Democratic Backlash to “Defund the Police” Jeopardizes Popular Reforms

During a now-infamous House Democrats call about the November election results, New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell said he had been forced to “walk the plank” on the issue of qualified immunity, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation. Pascrell had voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which was passed by the House in June and included a provision to limit the use of qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that effectively shields law enforcement from liability in civil cases where individuals allege violation of their constitutional rights. Pascrell’s comment, which has not previously been reported, was part of a wider discussion in which several members complained that bending to calls for police reform had hurt them. ...

One result of conflating “defund the police” with modest police reforms that have broad bipartisan support, like ending or limiting qualified immunity, is that those modest reforms are now in jeopardy, several Democratic aides told The Intercept, requesting anonymity to speak freely. “Even without the defund debate, I know there are some moderate members who think that the George Floyd Act was a political liability and who may be loath to vote on it again next year if it’s DOA” — dead on arrival — “in the Senate,” one Democratic aide told The Intercept. “In the infamous Dem Caucus call, Bill Pascrell said that he was forced to ‘walk the plank’ on qualified immunity and that it pissed off the police unions in his district. So, there surely is some segment of the Dem Caucus that feels that way.” ...

House Democrats, who will have a slimmer majority next session, plan to reintroduce the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would bar local police and federal officers from using qualified immunity as a defense. It was passed by the House in late June, with support from moderate Democrats like Reps. Abigail Spanberger, Conor Lamb, Max Rose, and Anthony Brindisi, who are now vocally arguing against calls to radically reform the police — making it politically difficult to vote again for reforms they supported earlier this session. ...

“You keep bringing up ‘defund.’ You keep whining and saying that that’s the reason you lost. Maybe you lost because we haven’t passed anything since the CARES package,” one of the Democratic aides said. Beyond that, police budgets are administered at the local, not congressional level, they added.

the horse race

US Presidential election: Certification law locks Congress into accepting Biden win

Georgia recertifies election results, confirming Biden's victory

Georgia has re-certified the state’s results in the 3 November presidential election after two recounts, confirming again that the Democratic president-elect, Joe Biden, won the state.

“It’s been a long 34 days since the election on November 3,” Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said in a press release on Monday. “We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged.” He added: “Continuing to make debunked claims about a stolen election is hurting our state.

Georgia conducted a full hand recount shortly after the election, which showed Biden still leading by about 13,000 votes. Despite that hand recount, Donald Trump’s campaign requested another recount because of the narrow margin of Biden’s victory.

That recount has now confirmed Biden’s victory in Georgia, making the president-elect the first Democrat since Bill Clinton to carry the state.

Armed pro-Trump protesters gather outside Michigan elections chief's home

Michigan’s secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, said dozens of armed protesters gathered in a threatening manner outside her home on Saturday evening chanting “bogus” claims about electoral fraud.

Michigan officials last month certified the state’s election results showing President-elect Joe Biden had won Michigan, one of a handful of key battleground states, in the course of his 3 November election victory.

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed, contrary to evidence, that the outcome was marred by widespread fraud in multiple states. State and federal officials have repeatedly stated that there is no evidence of fraud on any significant scale, and Biden is to be sworn in on 20 January.

The protesters who rallied outside Benson’s home held up placards saying “Stop the Steal” and chanted the same message, according to various clips uploaded on social media. In a Twitter statement on Sunday, Benson said the protesters were trying to spread false information about the security and accuracy of the US election system. “The demands made outside my home were unambiguous, loud and threatening.”

Krystal Ball: How DOOMED Is MSNBC In The Biden Era?

This was just too good not to post:

the evening greens

PFAS Chemical Associated With Severe Covid-19

Elevated levels of a PFAS compound were associated with more severe forms of Covid-19, according to a Danish study now undergoing peer review. The research, which involved 323 patients infected with the coronavirus, found that those who had elevated levels of a chemical called PFBA were more than twice as likely to have a severe form of the disease.

PFBA is one of a class of industrial compounds, often called “forever chemicals,” that has come to contaminate soil, water, and food around the world. It has been presented as relatively safe because it stays in human blood for much less time than some of the other compounds in the class and is a shorter molecule. Both traits are thought to be indications of its innocuousness. PFBA, which was created by 3M, is based on a four-carbon chain and is gone from human blood in a matter of days. It is still in use, while PFOA, which is based on eight carbons and stays in the human blood for years, has been phased out since 2015.

Though PFBA exits the bloodstream relatively rapidly, it accumulates in the lungs, which likely explains the finding of the Danish study. “It’s probably what’s in the lungs that counts because that’s where the big Covid battle is fought,” said Philippe Grandjean, the principal author of the study. Grandjean’s study involved 323 patients with Covid-19, 215 of whom were hospitalized. The researchers analyzed the blood of these patients for the presence of five PFAS compounds and found that only perfluorobutanoic acid, or PFBA, was associated with the severity of the disease. More than half of those seriously ill with Covid-19 had elevated PFBA levels in their plasma, while less than 20 percent of those with mild illness had elevated levels of the chemical. ...

PFBA is used in electronics; clothing, including water-resistent outerwear; protective gear for medical staff and firefighters, such as surgical gowns; firefighting foam; carpets; floor polish; laboratory equipment; leather treatment; food packaging; cosmetics, including body lotion and foundation, concealer, eye shadow, powder; and bike lubricants, according to a recently published paper on the previously unknown uses of the chemicals.

Court Rejects Trump Approval of Offshore Drilling Project in Arctic

Climate action advocates and wildlife defenders celebrated Monday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the Trump administration's approval of Liberty, a proposed offshore oil-drilling project in federal Arctic waters that opponents warned would endanger local communities, animals, and the environment.

"This is a huge victory for polar bears and our climate," declared Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. "This project was a disaster waiting to happen that should never have been approved. I'm thrilled the court saw through the Trump administration's attempt to push this project through without carefully studying its risks."

In addition to the climate finding, the court also determined that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to sufficiently analyze Liberty's impact on polar bears, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. ...

Despite the win for the region's polar bears in terms of offshore drilling, the animals are still threatened by the Trump administration's ongoing effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas extraction—despite opposition from local Indigenous people as well as environmentalists.

The administration on Monday proposed an "incidental harassment authorization" that would allow energy companies to disrupt polar bears while looking for oil and gas deposits. According to Reuters:

The Fish and Wildlife Service said that no polar bears are expected to be injured or killed during seismic operations, some of which are scheduled to take place next month, and expects disturbances to impact only a few bears.

But several veteran Arctic scientists and environmentalists in Alaska have warned against seismic operations—which can involve blasting to produce sonic images of underground formations. They argue the testing will upset wildlife and that the heavy machinery and activity involved in the work will damage tundra and speed up the thaw of permafrost.

As Monsell concluded: "The Trump administration seems determined to push polar bears further down the path to extinction before leaving office."

Also of Interest

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

Barack Obama & the Death of Idealism

Trump Launches 'Despicable' Last-Minute Attack on Social Security With Rule Aiming to Restrict Disability Benefits

Joe Biden's JCPOA ‘Plus + Plus’ Deal With Iran Is Not A Realistic Option

OPCW executives praised whistleblower and criticized Syria cover-up, leaks reveal

Demand for COVID Vaccines Expected to Get Heated — And Fast

Google workers reject company's account of AI researcher's exit as anger grows

Citing 'Historic Abuse' of Judicial Process, Over 1,500 Attorneys Call for Sanction of Trump Campaign's Legal Team

Factory-farmed salmon: does it make sense to grow fish in indoor tanks?

Bob Dylan sells entire publishing catalogue to Universal Music

Democracy Now: After Prop 22 Win for Uber & Lyft, Advocates Fear New Wave of Anti-Worker Laws Pushed by Big Tech

Democracy Now: In Blow to Drug War, House Backs Decriminalizing Pot as Voters OK Legalization Ballot Initiatives

Keiser Report | Need for Dollar Less Relevant

Saagar Enjeti: CCP Member CAUGHT REVEALING How China Will Use Wall Street To Control Joe Biden

Dan Crenshaw Ridicules AOC For Being A Bartender

Rising: Potential Biden USDA Pick Would Be A DISASTER For Food Stamps, Rural America

Rising: Sidney Powell's 'Kraken' Lawsuits FALL APART In Same Day

A Little Night Music

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Match Box Blues

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Hangman's Blues

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Wartime Blues

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Hot Dogs

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Easy Rider Blues

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Chock House Blues

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Rabbit Foot Blues

Blind Lemmon Jefferson - Penitentiary Blues

Blind Lemmon Jefferson - Bad Luck Blues

20 users have voted.


some good..

"We must find points of connection between those who have the most to contribute and those who are in need,"


U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the Trump administration's approval of Liberty, a proposed offshore oil-drilling project in federal Arctic waters


"We are developing a collective consensus that we need not throw people behind bars for use of marijuana, and we should be happy about that progress,"

14 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


yep, there have been a few bright spots lately, i'll take 'em where i can get 'em these days.

have a great evening!

6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

Thanks for the EB.

To all, have a good evening, if you can.

13 users have voted.

@mimi But some of the most expensive new condos in Manhattan do offer air-filtration systems.

And water-filtration systems.

What the near future looks like to me:

The wealthy can go from their condos into their on premises garages into their luxury vehicles. And then to restricted filtered air shopping malls and office buildings.

The richest residents will be living in gated communities within Manhattan.

Outside those gates will be despair.

11 users have voted.


TheOtherMaven's picture


7 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

4 users have voted.


joe shikspack's picture


not yet. they will once we all have to live underground to stay cool because the oligarch-induced climate disaster has destroyed the possibility to live above ground.

the mole people will be able to rent a solarium from the very wealthy by the fraction of an hour.

4 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

The Titanic took 160 minutes – to sink after hitting the iceberg

there is not a Hans Brinker in ameriKKKa

9 users have voted.

I never knew that the term "Never Again" only pertained to
those born Jewish

"Antisemite used to be someone who didn't like Jews
now it's someone who Jews don't like"

Heard from Margaret Kimberley

joe shikspack's picture


i reckon we have already run into our iceberg.

have a great evening!

6 users have voted.
usefewersyllables's picture

@joe shikspack

but it continues to grind alongside the hull of our ship as we pass, breaching watertight compartment after watertight compartment...

It makes me think of the Hemingway quote from "The Sun Also Rises":

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, and then suddenly.”

5 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Lookout's picture

A cool but lovely day here in the SE. Warming as we move forward this week. Who could ask for more?

Just cause the political, economic, social...and health system have gone off the rails is no reason to panic? Or is it? After all the market is setting record highs and that is what is really important...right? As a pandemic rages and evictions loom. Whatta recipe.

Well take care everyone. Enjoy the things you can. Hang on!

Thanks for the news and blues!

11 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


it looks like your weather trend and mine are about the same. today's high was in the low 40's and it's supposed to be in the low 60's over the weekend. yay!

heh, panic is probably a useless response. on the other hand, if it feels good, do it. Smile

here, have a song about tragedy narrowly averted:

5 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack

3 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 --

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


kyle seems to be right on in his analysis.

in a true democracy, or even in a free market of ideas, another party would rise up and kick the asses of both corporate parties.

10 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Not as bad as your Newt tweet,’s lame.

Another ha

And now a heh...

13 users have voted.

Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

joe shikspack's picture


that last one is a good 'un.

i guess we've got to keep the aging hulks that run the world going. what would we do without them?

4 users have voted.
Raggedy Ann's picture

thinks that's weird, @snoopydawg
It seems absolutely normal to me. Pleasantry

5 users have voted.

"The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all face only one choice and that is how we will die, not how we will live." Chris Hedges on 9/11

snoopydawg's picture

isn’t just to make it hard for people to stay on it, but it’s going to affect who qualifies for it. Just in time for all the new COVID disability claims.

In the works for months, the Trump administration's proposed rule would significantly revise the criteria by which SSA determines who does and doesn't qualify for disability benefits.

Boy they really want a dystopian country don’t they? Homeless and starving people while the world watches. The richest country in the world won’t take care of its citizens. At long last have you no shame?

11 users have voted.

Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

joe shikspack's picture


well, they call it an insurance program. i guess the problem with that is that the insurance industry thrives by figuring out ways to avoid giving people what they paid for and government wants to run itself like a business ever since reagan.

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

I’m working on an essay and it says that banks profit off their dead workers because they took out life insurance policies on them plus their tax benefits which congress made possible.

I don’t think human minds can wrap themselves around just how MUCH corruption there is with the elite.

10 users have voted.

Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

Voting is like driving with a toy steering wheel.

joe shikspack's picture


i remember reading stories about that. my memory is a little foggy on the details at this point but i think that it's more than just banks that have been doing that insurance scam, though they figured prominently in the stories that i read.

4 users have voted.

@snoopydawg detailed dead workers insurance.

I watched the film in my local theater the day it came out and wept into a tissue through this part.

5 users have voted.


Azazello's picture

Good stuff in the EB tonight.
I've got a couple more recommendations.
Another one about water, this one from the Phoenix paper, longish and without happy ending: 'Everything is drying up': As springs on Hopi land decline, a sacred connection is threatened
A good one from Danny Sjursen: Biden’s Young Hawk: The Case Against Jake Sullivan
Dore is going LIVE in a few.
[video: width:500 height:300]

12 users have voted.

We wanted decent healthcare, a living wage and free college.
The Democrats gave us Biden and war instead.

joe shikspack's picture


that story about the hopi is pretty terrible, though not unlike what has been done to many, maybe most other native nations. the u.s. will extract everything until it is all used up, there is no stopping the greedy oligarchs.

thanks for the links, have a great evening!

7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

The Chinese understand the system better than we (most of us anyway) do. Uh huh, and water is now being traded openly as a commodity instead of indirectly as stock in Pepsi, Coke, Nestle, etc.

be well and have a good one

8 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

the chinese certainly have our number.

7 users have voted.
Raggedy Ann's picture

I just sold a house with it's own water well that would last 30 years or so. Now I'm dependent like everyone else. Will need to rub it in my ex's face when the shit hits the fan and he drones on about it.

Enjoy the evening! Pleasantry

9 users have voted.

"The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all face only one choice and that is how we will die, not how we will live." Chris Hedges on 9/11

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

any chance that you could set up water collection tanks in your new place?

sorry to hear that you lost some of your independence in the sale.

take care and have a great evening!

6 users have voted.