The Evening Blues - 2-19-21



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: War

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features funk band War. Enjoy!

War - Cisco Kid

"We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the sermon on the mount."

-- Omar N. Bradley


News and Opinion

Iran nuclear deal: US agrees to join talks brokered by EU

The US has agreed to take part in multilateral talks with Iran hosted by the EU, with the aim of negotiating a return by both countries to the 2015 nuclear deal that is close to falling apart in the wake of the Trump administration.

The state department spokesman, Ned Price, said the US would accept the invitation of the EU high representative for discussions with Iran and the five other countries that agreed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), by which Iran accepted strict constraints on its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief.

There was no immediate word from Tehran on whether it was ready to join the talks, which so far have no agreed start time or location. The US has made clear its delegation will be led by its special envoy, Rob Malley, who helped negotiate the JCPOA six years ago.

“Until we sit down and talk, nothing’s going to happen, but that doesn’t mean that when we sit down and talk we’re going to succeed,” a senior state department official said. “We do know that if you don’t take that step, the situation is just going to go from bad to worse.” ...

Since Joe Biden’s inauguration both countries have signalled their readiness to re-enter the agreement, but have differed on who should make the first move. The leadership in Iran has indicated preparedness to negotiate a step-by-step approach of “compliance for compliance”.

Iran renews call to US to lift all sanctions imposed by Trump

Israel expands nuclear facility previously used for weapons material

Israel is carrying out a major expansion of its Dimona nuclear facility in the Negev desert, where it has historically made the fissile material for its nuclear arsenal.

Construction work is evident in new satellite images published on Thursday by the International Panel on Fissile Material (IPFM), an independent expert group. The area being worked on is a few hundred metres across to the south and west of the domed reactor and reprocessing point at the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center, near the desert town of Dimona.

Pavel Podvig, a researcher with the programme on science and global security at Princeton University, said: “It appears that the construction started quite early in 2019, or late 2018, so it’s been under way for about two years, but that’s all we can say at this point.”

The Israeli embassy in Washington had no comment on the new images. Israel has a policy of deliberate ambiguity on its nuclear arsenal, neither confirming nor denying its existence. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that Israel has about 90 warheads, made from plutonium produced in the Dimona heavy water reactor.

Is Biden Committing Diplomatic Suicide Over the Iran Nuclear Agreement?

“Instead of tackling the danger of Israel’s real nuclear weapons, successive U.S. administrations have chosen to cry ‘Wolf!’ over non-existent nuclear weapons in Iraq and Iran.”

As Congress still struggles to pass a COVID relief bill, the rest of the world is nervously reserving judgment on America’s new president and his foreign policy, after successive U.S. administrations have delivered unexpected and damaging shocks to the world and the international system. Cautious international optimism toward Biden is very much based on his commitment to Obama’s signature diplomatic achievement, the JCPOA or nuclear agreement with Iran. Biden and the Democrats excoriated Trump for withdrawing from it and promised to promptly rejoin the deal if elected. But Biden now appears to be hedging his position in a way that risks turning what should be an easy win for the new administration into an avoidable and tragic diplomatic failure.

While it was the United States under Trump that withdrew from the nuclear agreement, Biden is taking the position that the U.S. will not rejoin the agreement or drop its unilateral sanctions until Iran first comes back into compliance. After withdrawing from the agreement, the United States is in no position to make such demands, and Foreign Minister Zarif has clearly and eloquently rejected them, reiterating Iran’s firm commitment that it will return to full compliance as soon as the United States does so. Biden should have announced U.S. re-entry as one of his first executive orders. It did not require renegotiation or debate. ...

So why is Biden not eagerly pocketing this easy first win for his stated commitment to diplomacy? A December 2020 letter supporting the JCPOA, signed by 150 House Democrats, should have reassured Biden that he has overwhelming support to stand up to hawks in both parties. But instead Biden seems to be listening to opponents of the JCPOA telling him that Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement has given him “leverage” to negotiate new concessions from Iran before rejoining. Rather than giving Biden leverage over Iran, which has no reason to make further concessions, this has given opponents of the JCPOA leverage over Biden, turning him into the football, instead of the quarterback, in this diplomatic Super Bowl.

American neocons and hawks, including those inside his own administration, appear to be flexing their muscles to kill Biden’s commitment to diplomacy at birth, and his own hawkish foreign policy views make him dangerously susceptible to their arguments. This is also a test of his previously subservient relationship with Israel, whose government vehemently opposes the JCPOA and whose officials have even threatened to launch a military attack on Iran if the U.S. rejoins it, a flagrantly illegal threat that Biden has yet to publicly condemn.

In a more rational world, the call for nuclear disarmament in the Middle East would focus on Israel, not Iran. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in the Guardian on December 31, 2020, Israel’s own possession of dozens - or maybe hundreds - of nuclear weapons is the worst kept secret in the world. Tutu’s article was an open letter to Biden, asking him to publicly acknowledge what the whole world already knows and to respond as required under U.S. law to the actual proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Lynn Parramore: Pandemic and Deaths of Despair

US life expectancy dropped a year in first Covid wave, officials say

Life expectancy in the United States dropped a staggering one year during the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic caused its first wave of deaths, health officials are reporting. Minorities suffered the biggest impact, with Black Americans losing nearly three years and Hispanics nearly two years, according to preliminary estimates released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“This is a huge decline,” said Robert Anderson, who oversees the numbers for the CDC. “You have to go back to world war two, the 1940s, to find a decline like this.”

Other health experts say it shows the profound impact of Covid-19, not just on deaths directly due to infection but also from heart disease, cancer and other conditions.

“What is really quite striking in these numbers is that they only reflect the first half of the year … I would expect that these numbers would only get worse,” said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a health equity researcher and dean at the University of California, San Francisco. ...

Overall, the drop in life expectancy is more evidence of “our mishandling of the pandemic”, Otis Brawley a cancer specialist and public health professor at Johns Hopkins University said.

Corporate profit, electricity deregulation and the disaster in Texas

In a social disaster now entering its fourth day, as many as 4.5 million people have been hit by rolling blackouts or the complete shutoff of electricity in Texas. Millions have lost heat amidst winter storms that have sent temperatures plunging into single-digit Fahrenheit numbers (-13 C) as far south as Austin, the state capital. The blackout is the largest in US history caused by deliberate action of the power utilities. ... The cause of the disaster is not any actual shortage in the production of electricity in the United States. On the contrary, the power supply is adequate and prices are comparatively stable. This social tragedy is the product of a series of decisions made by private corporations and public officials, all driven by a common concern: the maximization of capitalist profit.

Ten years ago, a mid-February deep freeze caused a power crisis in Texas. This prompted studies and multiple warnings of what might occur in the event of a similar or more far-reaching occurrence. The current crisis, occurring in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is not a “natural” disaster, but the result of the deliberate and criminal refusal to heed those warnings. ... While Texas politicians have focused on the fall in wind and solar generation, down about four gigawatts (million kilowatts), by far the biggest drop came in conventional gas-driven generation, which lost more than 30 gigawatts because the temperatures made it more difficult to pump natural gas out of underground storage tanks. Cooling water at some nuclear power plants froze. Even antiquated coal-fired plants were forced to close, as coal supplies froze to the ground.

The deep freeze drove up energy demand to nearly 70 gigawatts, as Texans sought to heat their homes. But the supply problems cut available electricity to less than 45 gigawatts. Prices on the spot market, the only means through which Texas utilities could draw additional power, rocketed from $22 a megawatt hour to $9,000 on Monday. ERCOT instructed utilities not to pay the exorbitant short-term rate—which would drastically cut into their profits since many customers are paying longer-term fixed rates—and to impose rolling blackouts instead.

The shutdown of power plants that caused the power shortage was itself the result of the drive for profit. There is no technical obstacle to weatherizing power plants, whether gas-driven, nuclear or based on renewable resources like the sun, wind and water. Such plants operate even in Siberia, Canada and Alaska. But the deregulation of Texas utilities meant that it was entirely up to corporate executives to decide whether to make the investments required to protect their operations from cold snaps that have become increasingly common in the last two decades. They declined to make such deductions from profit.

Moreover, Texas officials decided in the mid-1990s that they would no longer require utilities to set aside a certain proportion of capacity as a reserve against surges in demand. Elsewhere in North America, such supply buffers are maintained at 15 percent or more. But Texas had no backup plants to activate when the crisis hit.

Republican leaders in Texas face growing backlash as power crisis deepens

Texas residents huddled at elementary schools in makeshift “warming centers”, moved in with any relatives and friends who have heat – despite the coronavirus risks – or simply held out inside their homes in deteriorating conditions. Some do not have enough water to drink, let alone wash. Others are dealing with flooding from burst pipes, unreliable gas and electricity service and “boil water” notices spreading to additional major cities.

And with at least two dozen confirmed deaths in the state since the weekend storm, the National Weather Service announced on Wednesday that a new storm front would likely bring another round of frigid temperatures to Texas and “significant ice accumulations”. ...

But the state’s Republican governor, nationally elected officials and Republican-led state legislature were dealing separately with a growing backlash at the inability to restore power for days as residents stood in long lines for paltry supplies of groceries and queued for miles for gasoline. A focus of particular wrath on Thursday was Senator Ted Cruz, who was spotted leaving frigid Houston Wednesday on a flight bound for Cancun, Mexico, the popular beach destination south of the border.

Cruz “is vacationing in Cancun right now when people are literally freezing to death in the state that he was elected to represent and serve”, the former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who made a strong run against Cruz for his Senate seat in 2018 and then ran for president in the 2020 election, said on MSNBC. O’Rourke blamed decades of Republican leadership in the state for failing to embrace alternative energy and maintain durable energy infrastructure. “There has been complete Republican control of the state of Texas for 20 years,” O’Rourke said. ...

In an effort to stay ahead of constituents’ wrath about the power crisis and lack of preparedness or information, the governor, Greg Abbott, announced a full-scale investigation into the state’s standalone energy utility – whose leadership Abbott himself appointed.

Ro Khanna Introduces Bill to End 'Runaway Tax Evasion' by US Millionaires and Billionaires

Congressman Ro Khanna on Thursday unveiled legislation to help the Internal Revenue Service "put an end to runaway tax evasion by the ultra-rich and largest corporations in the U.S."

The California Democrat introduced the Stop Corporations and Higher Earners from Avoiding Taxes and Enforce Rules Strictly (CHEATERS) Act, which would provide $100 billion in additional funding to the IRS over a decade—$70 billion for enforcement, $20 billion for taxpayer services, and $10 billion for IT and operations support.

Every $1 spent would generate over $11 in greater tax collection, totaling $1.2 trillion in revenue, according to Khanna, who serves as deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

"We know our tax system is broken, and it's long past time we start fixing it," Khanna said, emphasizing that "the ultra-wealthy play by different rules than the rest of us."

"Wall Street has been able to act like high rolling gamblers with almost zero consequences for far too long," he added. "Right now, the wealthiest 1% are responsible for roughly 70% of the 'tax gap'—the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid. It's time every American pay their fair share."

Khanna's bill would codify a proposal put forth in Tax Notes late last year by University of Pennsylvania law professor Natasha Sarin, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti.

The Stop CHEATERS Act (pdf) would upgrade the IRS' decades-old systems and require audits of 95% of corporations with over $20 billion in assets as well as half of individual tax return filers with income exeeeding $10 million per year. In a bid to stop the wealthy from hiding income, the law would also require additional reporting for "pass-through" businesses.

The IRS would be required to submit to Congress reports detailing revenue loss by income levels and from offshore tax evasion as well as the agency's efforts to recruit and retain auditors equipped to deal with cases involving wealthy people and businesses. The bill would also boost penalties for millionaires who are caught cheating on their taxes.

"IRS budget cuts have decimated the agency's ability to ensure that wealthy individuals and large corporations are paying the taxes they owe, stacking the deck even more in favor of the wealthy and powerful and draining hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue," said Seth Hanlon, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP).

"Rep. Khanna's Stop CHEATERS Act provides additional resources and tools to crack down on tax dodging by millionaires and large corporations and enable the agency to better serve ordinary, honest taxpayers," he added. "It is an important step toward economic, social, and racial justice, and an economy that works for all Americans."

The bill was also welcomed by Americans for Tax Fairness executive director Frank Clemente, who noted that "after years of Republican budget cuts and skewed priorities, the IRS now audits those who make $20,000 at about the same rate as the top 1%, even though the vast majority of unpaid taxes are attributable to wealthy tax cheats."

The IRS, declared Patriotic Millionaires chair Morris Pearl, is currently "no match for the amount of criminal tax evasion being committed by the top 1%."

"We've almost reached the point where the rich and powerful can simply decide not to pay their taxes and face no consequences for their misbehavior," Pearl said. "By giving the IRS the tools it needs to properly tackle wealthy criminal tax evasion, the Stop CHEATERS Act will finally hold millionaires and billionaires to the same standard as normal, hardworking taxpayers."

Krystal and Saagar: Did Facebook Just DEPLATFORM ALL OF AUSTRALIA?

Prime minister Scott Morrison attacks Facebook for 'arrogant' move to 'unfriend Australia'

The Australian government has been blindsided by Facebook suddenly blocking all news on the platform in Australia but says the “heavy-handed” move will not stop parliament from passing landmark laws to force tech giants to pay for journalism.

Australians woke up on Thursday to discover they couldn’t view or share news on the social network after Facebook blocked the content in an escalation of a row over whether it should have to pay media companies for displaying their content. Facebook is opposed to the federal government’s news media code which has already passed the lower house of parliament and is expected to soon pass the upper house.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, took to Facebook on Thursday to argue the platform’s show of strength would “confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them”.

“Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing,” Morrison wrote on Facebook. “They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it.”

GameStop hearing: Robinhood founder defends halt to trading

The chief executive of the Robinhood app has defended the decision to halt trading in GameStop shares at a congressional hearing on Thursday, calling allegations that the company acted to help hedge funds that were hemorrhaging money “absolutely false”. The comments triggered accusations the company was creating a “smokescreen” to deflect blame.

Vlad Tenev and other players in January’s GameStop saga appeared before the House financial services committee in the first public hearing in a wide-ranging investigation into trading in GameStop, AMC and other companies whose share values soared as small investors piled into the stocks. “The buying surge that occurred during the last week of January in stocks like GameStop was unprecedented, and it highlighted a number of issues that are worthy of deep analysis and discussion,” Tenev said. ...

Tenev once again apologized for the trading ban. “Despite the unprecedented market conditions in January, at the end of the day, what happened is unacceptable to us,” Tenev said.

The sometimes fractious hearing was largely divided along party lines, with Democrats calling for more oversight and Republicans arguing against more regulation. “Don’t you see something has gone terribly wrong here?” said the Democratic congressman David Scott. He called social media-led stock market bubbles “a threat to the future of our financial system”. Republican Bill Huizenga called the hearing “political theater”.

Krystal Ball: Amazon SUED By NY Attorney General For Firing Chris Smalls, Violating COVID Rules

Librarian fired after allegedly burning books by Trump and Ann Coulter

A Tennessee librarian has lost his job after allegedly burning copies of books by Donald Trump and rightwing commentator Ann Coulter. The Chattanooga public library dismissed Cameron Dequintez Williams after he allegedly posted videos of himself in his backyard in December pouring lighter fluid over Coulter’s How to Talk to Liberals (If You Must) and Trump’s Crippled America. ...

Williams, a Black Lives Matter protester, said he has been unfairly treated, and that he was simply following a library instruction to remove any “old, damaged or untruthful books”.

The library does have a “weeding” policy for the removal of certain books from circulation. But it says Trump and Coulter’s books do not meet that criteria.

“The items in question that were featured in the video were not flagged for removal. We have a very rigorous and thorough standard practice for collection management. And it’s part of the American Library Association, so it’s something all libraries follow,” a library spokesperson said in December when the allegations arose. ...

The library said last year that Williams’ alleged behavior constituted censorship and had no place in a library.

Generational Power Shift in Senate Inches Forward With New Caucus Rule

Senior Senate Democrats recently launched a rearguard attempt to regain power they’d lost in December but were repelled by new members of the Senate in an overlooked yet potentially consequential internal caucus battle. In December, Chris Murphy, the junior Democratic senator from Connecticut, pushed for and won a change to caucus rules that would strip power from the chairs of the most important committees. (Caucus rules can be amended by a majority vote of the caucus.) Then in January, senior Democrats attempted to delay the implementation of Murphy’s rules change and were unsuccessful. Multiple Senate sources, who spoke anonymously to be candid about internal politics, told The Intercept that the discussion was contentious.

Murphy’s success is part of a larger shift in power toward more recently elected Democrats in the caucus, reflecting the rise of members less yoked to the mythology of the Senate as a haven of deliberation and bipartisanship. New members of the party drove partial reform of the filibuster in 2013 and are now pushing to go further, arguing that Republicans are not and won’t ever be willing to be reasonable negotiating partners and that the filibuster should be completely eliminated.

Under the previous Democratic caucus rules, committee gavels were doled out by seniority, and those chairs then had first dibs on the most prized subcommittees as well — meaning that senior members could control the flow of legislation through the committee from beginning to end, or could chair a key policy committee, while also chairing the appropriations subcommittee that funded that policy area, giving them additional influence. In December, Murphy and his colleagues argued that the double-dip of power was too much and proposed a rule that committee chairs couldn’t have their pick of select subcommittees until everyone else in the caucus had a shot. ...

Despite the high-powered pushback, the caucus voted to approve Murphy’s change. ... The votes were cast by secret ballot, but senators were told by leadership that the tally was “decisively” in favor of moving forward immediately with Murphy’s reform — a Senate version of the Confucian proverb that no one deserves a second bowl of rice until everyone has had a first.



the horse race



John Nichols: Will DNC RIG New Primary System In Establishment's Favor?

Progressives Aim To Take Over Michigan’s Democratic Party

Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential bid may have come to an end, but the revolution continues in Michigan. There, a group of progressives has made significant strides in taking over their state’s Democratic Party. This group has forced a number of procedural and platform changes over the course of three years, resulting in a democratization of the party and the endorsement of agenda items like single-payer health care and universal basic income. Progressives can rely on the votes of roughly a third of the state party’s leadership committee.

Now, in the upcoming February 20 election, progressives have a slate of 123 candidates running and are hoping to capture a majority on the state party’s governing body.

The effort’s success could provide a roadmap to other progressive groups looking to establish lasting positions of power in their state Democratic parties. As Liano Sharon, one of the Michigan insurgents, told The Daily Poster, the secret is to take aim at the administrative structures that have long kept the old guard in place — and change the rules of the game. ...

Sharon, a long-time independent business consultant who specializes in cross-cultural training, joined the Michigan Democratic Party in 2016. On his website MichiganProgressive.com, he explains that he “wanted to move the Party left — universal single-payer, criminal justice reform, abolishing the electoral college, immigration reform, money out of politics, Green New Deal, and so on.” 

Over the last several years, he and a group of about 20 other progressives who took up the name Michigan for Revolution have done just that, forcing a package of procedural reforms that have democratized the state party. They have managed to secure changes to the state party platform including the inclusion of single-payer health care and universal basic income despite opposition from top-ranking state Democrats like Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

David Sirota: Will Cuomo Be FORCED Out From Nursing Home Scandal?



the evening greens


Very few of world’s rivers undamaged by humanity, study finds

Rivers in which fish populations have escaped serious damage from human activities make up just 14% of the world’s river basin area, according to the most comprehensive study to date. Scientists found that the biodiversity of more than half of rivers had been profoundly affected, with big fish such as sturgeon replaced by invasive species such as catfish and Asian carp. Pollution, dams, overfishing, farm irrigation and rising temperatures due to the climate crisis are also to blame.

The worst-hit regions are western Europe and North America, where large and affluent populations mean humans’ impact on rivers is highest, such as with the Thames in the UK and the Mississippi in the US. Rivers and lakes are vital ecosystems. They cover less than 1% of the planet’s surface, but their 17,000 fish species represent a quarter of all vertebrates, as well as providing food for many millions of people. Healthy rivers are also needed to supply clean water.

Other recent research has shown that global populations of migratory river fish have plunged by a “catastrophic” 76% since 1970, with a 93% fall in Europe. Large river animals have fared worst, with some like the Mekong giant catfish on the verge of extinction. A 2019 analysis found only a third of the world’s great rivers remained free flowing, due to the impact of dams. ...

The research, published in the journal Science, examined almost 2,500 rivers in all parts of the world, except the polar regions and deserts. Previous work focused simply on species numbers, but this study included the ecological roles of the species, as well as how closely related the different species were. The researchers also took into account changes to biodiversity over the last 200 years.

UN Head Decries 'Senseless and Suicidal' Destruction of Nature as New Report Urges Systemic Solutions

As the United Nations on Thursday released a report on the triple emergency of the climate crisis, the destruction of wildlife and habitats, and deadly pollution, the head of the world body sounded the alarm on what he called humanity's "senseless and suicidal war on nature."

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report, entitled Making Peace With Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity, and pollution emergencies (pdf), was introduced by Secretary-General António Guterres at U.N. headquarters in New York.

"I want to be clear. Without nature's help, we will not thrive or even survive," said Guterres. "For too long, we have been waging a senseless and suicidal war on nature. The result is three interlinked environmental crises—climate disruption, biodiversity loss, and pollution—that threaten our viability as a species."

"They are caused by unsustainable production and consumption," he added. "Human well-being lies in protecting the health of the planet. It's time to reevaluate and reset our relationship with nature. This report can help us do so."

Among the report's recommendations are carbon taxes; a redirection in the nearly $5 trillion in annual worldwide subsidies to sectors including fossil fuels, mining, industrial agriculture, and fishing "toward alternative livelihoods and new business models;" and reenvisioning indicators of economic performance so that the value of mitigating the climate emergency, preserving ecosystems, and reducing pollution count—not just GDP. 

Additionally, the report asserts that "changes in patterns of consumption are critical to transforming food, water, and energy systems and can be achieved through altered norms in business and cultural practices."

"Changing the dietary habits of consumers, particularly in developed countries, where consumption of energy- and water-intensive meat and dairy products is high, would reduce pressure on biodiversity and the climate system," the report states. "These habits are a function of individual choices but are also influenced by advertising, food and agricultural subsidies, and excess availability of cheap food that provides poor nutrition." 

Robert Watson, the report's lead author, told Al Jazeera that "vested interests" were thwarting many of the policies and actions needed to make peace with nature.

"We have subsidies for agriculture, for energy, for fossil fuels that are perverse," said Watson. "They encourage the use of fossil fuels. They encourage the use of bad agricultural practices."

"If we can get the business community to work with governments around the world, I'm optimistic we can start to move in the right direction," he added. 


Also of Interest

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

Why Is Biden Creating Himself An Iran Quagmire?

China lashes out at Canada for signing declaration against arbitrary detention

In its bid for TikTok, Oracle was supposed to prevent data from being passed to Chinese police. Instead, it’s been marketing its own software for their surveillance work.

GameStop Hearing: Citadel’s Ken Griffin Doesn’t Let the Brutal Facts Get in the Way of His Testimony

'That's Classic Andrew Cuomo,' Says de Blasio After NY Gov Accused of Bullying Fellow Democrat Over Nursing Home Disaster

Texas Lessons For Preparing For The Ongoing Collapse

'I can't keep doing this': gig workers say pay has fallen after California's Prop 22

To Pave Way for DeJoy's Ouster, 80 House Democrats Urge Biden to Quickly Fill Postal Board Vacancies

CBO Reveals High Drug Prices for Medicare Part D

Poll: Likely Voters Support ‘Wall Street Tax Act’

The Columbia University student strike is about far more than tuition

End of Neanderthals linked to flip of Earth's magnetic poles, study suggests

Viking age artefacts discovered on Isle of Man declared treasure

Krystal and Saagar: Support For Third Party Hits RECORD Highs

Rising: Millions Are Jobless But Jim Jordan Says Cancel Culture Is Number One Issue For Americans

Rising: Media, Nikki Haley DESPERATELY Tries To Make Nikki Haley 2024 Happen

WATCH LIVE: Robinhood CEO Tenev testifies at House Financial services GameStop hearing


A Little Night Music

Eric Burdon & War - Tobacco Road

War - The World Is A Ghetto

Eric Burdon & War - Spill The Wine

War - Beetles In The Bog

War - Low Rider

War - Slippin' Into Darkness

Eric Burdon & War - Spirit/Love Is All Around/Train Train

Eric Burdon & War - Mother Earth

War - Freight Train Jam

Eric Burdon & War - Magic Mountain

Eric Burdon & War - Bare Back Ride


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Comments

QMS's picture

In a didactic sense.
Thanks for this.
Whorled as a ghetto.

go

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9 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@QMS

first spilled wine in the dark
then caught myself on fire
burned up a new shirt
some days are like that

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9 users have voted.
Granma's picture

@QMS

up
5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

heh, but the birth of the cool started in 1949. Smile

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5 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack

be well and have a good one

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5 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 --

ggersh's picture

having Neera anywhere near the government. Here's a man w/principle s/

https://www.reddit.com/r/WayOfTheBern/comments/lnr532/breaking_manchin_s...

Manchin says he'll vote against Biden OMB nominee Neera Tanden

Stay safe everyone, and Joe once again thanks for the news n Blues!

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16 users have voted.

Irony at it's finest, buying stocks breaks WS!

NO MORE WAR

Shahryar's picture

@ggersh @ggersh

She deserves to get voted down

[edit] I would so love it if Bernie went to Manchin and asked for a favor.

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11 users have voted.

@ggersh @ggersh There was some speculation---includng by me----that the Neera nomination was a nod (grudging) to Hilaryland, and that it was meant to be a sacrificial lamb.

Nominated to be the "failure" for a Biden nomination. Possibly saving some others.

It was hard to believe this theory entirely. After all, who knows about the motives of any of the Neos?

But now......Now---It just may be true.Cheers! Bottoms Up.

Sneera rejected would make my heart sing.

Yes. I can be pwtty and vindictive and I'm too old to apologize or change.

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12 users have voted.

NYCVG

Benny's picture

@NYCVG

This is CNN.

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7 users have voted.

One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.--Tennyson

CS in AZ's picture

@Benny

Wolf: Are you going to vote to confirm Neera Tanden?

Bernie: I'm going to talk to her next week. I'm more interested in... (pivots to issues)

Wolf: So are you saying you won't vote for her?

Bernie: I'm going to talk to her next week. (Pivots to issues.)

Wolf: Those are all very important, but are you going to vote for her?

Bernie:

---
OK, I don't know what he said next because this is where I had to stop watching. Oy, Wolf Blitzer. So annoying.

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@ggersh

heh, i heard that tonight as i was on my way to the rib shack. i could hardly believe that manchin might actually do something useful, but, i guess nasty neera has made a lot of enemies.

what really surprised me is that biden is not going to withdraw her nomination and is saying that he will find the votes (presumably from republicans) to get her confirmed.

when i go to the store tomorrow, i am going to pick up some more popcorn.

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8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Good grief what a preview of what climate change is going to do to the US. Question is if this is a wake up call to leaders that their state is unprepared for climate change events or are they watching the results of their deregulation and privatization schemes?

Umm yay?

Another

guess
@SenSanders
is going to throw his supporters under the bus. Again. It's just plain wrong. She smeared us for five years. If Bernie wants to forgive her for what she said about him, fine. But giving her a pass on what she said about US is not.

Lots of tweets about Neera. Lots!

Aaron

BernieSanders offered critical help to Biden: by going soft on him in the primaries, immediately endorsing, & tirelessly campaigning/vouching for him. The nomination of a toxic anti-Bernie troll was a slap in the face, and this is all the more reason for Bernie to rebuke it:

Sirota

It's hilarious that Corporate Democrats' very own bullshit Civility Culture may end the nomination of a Corporate Democrat. I mean, you gotta admit that's pretty hilarious.

Dilan Cook

lmao imagine being so bad not even Manchin can vote for you

Ha...

Manchin voted in stead of a republican who’s wife was having surgery and he didn’t want to come in just to vote for Kavanaugh. Nice guy huh? The video kept playing whilst I was writing this and I thought boy he goes on and on doesn’t he?

Tons more...so how will the vote go? Will she make it or not?

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10 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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Shahryar's picture

@snoopydawg

the temperature has been up in the 40s, most of the snow and ice is gone, but a lot of people, including friends of mine, still have no power on this, the 5th day. I think at the peak of the outages we had a quarter of a million people affected. Somehow our house got through it. Our neighbor's evergreen lost a very large branch which is still lying across her yard. It missed the power lines by about a foot and would have knocked us out.

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14 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Shahryar

No power is just horrible at any time, but with everything else going on it makes things more insane.

More news

Lights come back on in Texas as water woes rise in the South

Many of the millions of Texans who lost power for days after a deadly winter blast overwhelmed the electric grid now have it back, but the crisis was far from over in parts of the South, with many people lacking safe drinking water.

More than 190,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Texas according to poweroutage.us Friday morning, down from about 3 million two days earlier, though utility officials said limited rolling blackouts were still possible.

The storms also left more than 330,000 from Virginia to Louisiana without power and about 71,000 in Oregon were still enduring a weeklong outage following a massive ice and snow storm. .....

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1,000 Texas public water systems and 177 of the state's 254 counties had reported weather-related operational disruptions, affecting more than 14 million people, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Interesting comment. Thoughts?

This shouldn't happen! If there's enough power to have air conditioning in the summer there should be enough to handle heat. Seriously, this is a first would country. These are very populous places!

Yes I’m aware that many pipes froze, but I’m seeing tweets about people selling electricity in Texas and they are very happy with how high the rates have gone. Lots of problems and lots of greed.

UDOT employees survive avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon

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8 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

If there's enough power to have air conditioning in the summer there should be enough to handle heat.

there probably is enough theoretical capacity in their system to handle the spike in demand for heating.

unfortunately, the regulators are captured by the industry that didn't feel like spending the money to cold-proof their generation facilities and a lot of capacity went offline.

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Apparently there was enough electricity to keep the power on, but they didn’t want to pay $9,000 for it so they went with rolling blackouts instead. Nice. How many people died because of it? Will anyone be held accountable for the screw up. Civil lawsuits? Damage to people’s property? That’s on top of all the other debt people have accrued since Covid hit them like a bat out of hell and they are going to be buried underneath it for decades if not generations unless they get help. Congress wouldn’t let companies go through that crisis that’s for sure.

Life with Sam.

I told Janis about Sam’s milk-bone scam last night where she gets one after she goes outside to potty. Does one job then the other one and comes in between each trip out. I slept later than usual so she had already gone out before I got up. We got the cream out then she went out and right back in and looked at the spot I put them on. I laughed and said that she had to potty. As she was going out she paused at the top of the stairs and sorrowfully looked back at the spot. Then she looked at me and I cracked up and gave her one. The look was priceless.

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8 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

so sam has developed the doleful look. you're sunk now. Smile

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

You reminded me of the power of milkbones remember? Everything fell into place after I brought out the big guns and started rewarding her with them.

One little problem I don’t know how to fix. I have a sucker at night and she gets a milk bone at the same time so it’s not like I’m leaving her out. Heh..I thought her how to lick it. But then she barks at me and jumps in place wanting to have some.. I tell her to sit, but she talks back louder and keeps jumping. Nothing I say will get her to stop so she gets timed out till she calms down. Thoughts?

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3 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

i trained our dogs to wait until our meals were done before any treats were dispensed. they had to wait quietly in order to get a treat. if they bothered me or made noise, i would put the treat on top of something that they couldn't reach and turn my back on them and tell them to lie down.

i found that refusing to make eye contact with them when they desperately wanted something was a very effective way to get them to follow voice commands for a few minutes while they had other things on their minds.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

No luck. I usually have her wait in the kitchen till I’m done with dinner,but treats I broke that rule. I’m trying a new tactic and will let you know how it went Monday. Have a great weekend. Thanks for another collection of nightmare inducing news all week.

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2 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

have a great weekend, snoopy!

Thanks for another collection of nightmare inducing news all week.

wow, i've become the alice cooper of the evening news - welcome to my nightmare!

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

But I think we give as good as you give. Here’s one. I thought fema was on the ground? Dammit I feel so bad for way too many people. Where do you put the pain when your heart is full?

I think it’s a toddler tantrum. I’m going to bed. We didn’t walk today so I’ll take some of the blame for her actions tonight. Tomorrow’s a new day for her to explore.

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4 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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snoopydawg's picture

@snoopydawg

She’s in time out again because she won’t stop jumping at me and barking. What was I just saying elsewhere here?...

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2 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

you might try making the time outs short (dog attention spans are short) and as soon as you let sam out, repeat the behavior that was responded to with jumping and barking and if it happens again right back to a short time out. the idea is to in a short time span make to reinforce in sam's mind what behavior will get sam into the pokey.

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@snoopydawg

Out of control. Back in the kitchen for a few moments. Now what?

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2 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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@snoopydawg
You just get offered another bowlful.

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9 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

heh, i think that these events are just the tip of the iceberg. for example, i live in a deep blue state where everything is regulated to within an inch of its life. we have a public service commission that "regulates" the gas and electric utilities, but mostly serves as a rubber stamp for its demands.

even in my state, the g & e company has gotten away with a great deal of deferred maintenance meaning that the system is susceptible to failure if there is a big enough event.

as climate change gets worse, we are likely to see much more challenging weather events and lots more failures across the country.

heh, sounds like there will be a lot of blue check angst, maybe even sturm and drang if nasty neera doesn't get the job.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Maybe nuclear war would be kinder for most of us instead of dying by the dystopian world that our lords have created for us. I’ve seen videos of what life has in store for most people who are not rich and it doesn’t look fun at all. There will be a dividing line between those who have and those who have not and it’s not pretty. The left over middle class is being hollowed out as we speak and they will join the rest of us serfs to do the grunt work. Sounds fun. Hope I’m dead first. Covid is doing survival of the fittest on the lower and minority class.

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5 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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lotlizard's picture

@snoopydawg  
The media in Germany is on this “more sustainable protein” trip where the answer now being touted as solving certain problems involves getting the masses to stop eating meat and start eating mealworms and other insects instead. (The rich, of course, will just carry on with their sous vide steaks, Kobe beef, etc.)

The EU just officially approved mealworms for human consumption.

Bleaugh. Not. Gonna. Do. It.

(Is it that I’m just too old and set in my ways now?)

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@lotlizard

Ha, your choice of words always leaves me chuckling.

"The rich, of course,...."

Of course,....

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3 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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snoopydawg's picture

It boils down to it being misogynistic not to vote for Neera after voting for Kavanaugh.

Yeah if anyone is confused about their plan for pushing progressives this should end it.

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11 users have voted.

Sam killed Mr. Hanky Santa Poo

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joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

justice dems have been defrosted, justice dems. with the ice removed, they're just dems.

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8 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

A couple more about Neoliberal Texas:
James Galbraith: Cold Truth: The Texas Freeze is a Catastrophe of the Free Market
From Defector: It’s Always The Same Lie
More low rider music:

Have a Happy Friday.

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12 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

enhydra lutris's picture

@Azazello be well and have a good one

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4 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

that galbraith article was good, but the defector article was just excellent, especially these parts:

It’s Always The Same Lie

Texas isn’t the only state that’s been forced to bear these failures of government. In January 2016, the Michigan governor promised to look into how American citizens in Flint had ended up with tap water that ran brown and was poisoning people. The scandal got so large that Presidential candidates went to the tiny town to say their piece. And what happened? Basically nothing. No one went to jail. In 2019, they said they would keep investigating, but nothing has happened. People are going to be sick for the rest of their lives and the people responsible will pay no price.

There’s New York, too, and Iowa and California and Florida and so many other states where thousands upon thousands of people have needlessly died due to state and local governments botching their pandemic response. Americans are being failed in every state. They are dying and suffering while our representatives are arguing over whether to give us 1,400 more dollars in the 11th month of a pandemic. Every level of the United States government is lying to you right now. They are looking you dead in the eye as your family members freeze and cough and drown in debt and telling you that, actually, you’re fine. ...

Current Texas Governor Greg Abbott went on Fox News to place the blame for Texas’s blackouts on green energy sources, and to wield the grid’s failure as a dire warning against the Green New Deal. He was lying, the same way Andrew Cuomo lied when he wrote an entire book about his masterful leadership through the coronavirus pandemic while 15,000 New Yorkers died in nursing homes as a direct result of his policies. He was lying the same way Barack Obama lied when he went to Flint in 2018 and pretended to take a sip of water in front of an outraged community.

It’s not about governing. It’s about lying frequently and passionately enough to bend the narrative to your will. It’s about being right. It’s about making your point. It’s about telling the right story on TV so that you can get re-elected and use taxpayer dollars to get your friends richer while telling a little lie whenever you need to, and then throwing your hands up when people die because of it. They do this because they know how to get away with it. They know that the very worst thing that can happen to them is losing some public support and having a hard time getting re-elected, and that even those shallow pitfalls can be avoided through more committed mendacity.

We know they will always get away with it. We know they aren’t going to help us. Tweets and graphics with information about mutual aid groups to donate to are going viral on every platform. We know better after this year, after this summer, than to trust that the government will do anything at all. This has been a year of sending donations via cash-sharing apps to bail funds, to mutual aid groups, and to individuals because we know that there isn’t help coming from anywhere else.

thanks for the links and the tune, have a great weekend!

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12 users have voted.

@Azazello
is far from "nothing to add." Thanks.

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7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

on Tejas from WSW. I've decided that we need an abbreviation for Not Really News, perhaps "NRN", and a variant like "NFS" (No Fucking Surprise) to cover reporting like.

'I can't keep doing this': gig workers say pay has fallen after California's Prop 22

Well duh, Queue Andy Devine saying "Well tarnation Wild Bill, can you believe that?"

or maybe just abbreviate the classic "No shti, Sherlock" to NSS, as in

CBO Reveals High Drug Prices for Medicare Part D

Yeah, NSS

be well and have a good one.

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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

heh, sometimes i feel like i am documenting the obvious and foreseeable, but i feel like it should be written somewhere. even if it's only in 1's and 0's in a place where the vast majority of mankind doesn't know or feel like looking.

have a great weekend!

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7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack

file is really a needed thing, just think of all the times somebody has challenged a person for a link or proof of something that millions watched on TV or was in all the papers and is buried in the Congressional sub-committee hearings somewhere. The problem is guessing in advance what those items might be.

Thanks for doing it, I just sometimes feel the need to be snarky.

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7 users have voted.

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

dystopian's picture

Hey Joe, and all,

Just got intertubes back here in the banana Republic of Texastan. We were off a few days. Had a couple days with minimal power and heat, a couple with no running water, but snow. A couple pix on the Friday Night Photo thread. For a couple days we were melting snow to flush. Had 4" or so on Monday, and 4" more Thursday, had lows at 5F, 10F, and 14F this morning. No mail has arrived in town this week, it has been out of gasoline this week, though at noonish they were hoping for both later today. The general store is out of bread, milk, eggs, vegetables, potatoes, hamburger, and tortillas! Don't know if I want to go to the melee tomorrow morning in 20F when they open after a supply truck gets there. We have a couple weeks of stuff always anyway, but could use some things.

At least it is a deregulated free-market for electricity here, and unlike the California brownouts, this one has nothing to do with the political leadership. /s

Hope all are doing well!

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13 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture

@dystopian

glad to hear from you, i was wondering if you were doing ok down there in the soviet republic of tejas. i probably shouldn't call it that, the soviets were more competent.

i hope that you continue to stay warm, dry, well-fed and healthy. take care and have a great weekend!

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8 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

@joe shikspack Well the difference is ... the commies kept the lights and heat on.

the soviet republic of tejas.

up
8 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein