The Evening Blues - 2-6-19


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

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b and jump blues group The Treniers. Enjoy!

The Treniers - Go! Go! Go!

“Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. . . . Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

-- Robert H. Jackson

News and Opinion

Senate Accused of Endorsing 'McCarthy-Era Tactics' as 25 Democrats Join GOP to Pass Anti-Boycott Bill

After 25 Democratic senators joined the GOP on Tuesday to pass legislation that would empower states to punish companies and individuals who boycott Israel to protest its occupation of Palestinian territories, rights groups and civil libertarians condemned the Senate for voting to "trample on the First Amendment" and urged the House to block the bill.

[See how your Congressworm voted here. - js]

"The Senate just passed a bill that would encourage states to adopt unconstitutional laws aimed at suppressing boycotts of Israel. It's a sad day when the Senate chooses politics over the Constitution," the ACLU declared following the 77-23 vote. "Senators who voted for the bill: we encourage you to read the Constitution, which protects against the McCarthy-era tactics this bill endorses."

"The anti-boycott bill is an attack on Americans' First Amendment rights," added The Institute for Middle East Understanding. "Political boycotts have always played a pivotal role in US history: From the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the campaign to divest from apartheid South Africa."

Evenly Matched Pro- and Anti-Government Marches in Venezuela

In Venezuela, US Forgets What Century It Is

Little of what Washington has done in the weeks since it recognized an opposition legislator, Juan Guaidó, as Venezuela’s “interim president” has any basis in international law. But there is much worse to come and much more at risk if the U.S. follows through with its recently disclosed plans to reshape Latin American politics to its neoliberal liking. Administration officials now advertise the effort to depose the government of Nicolás Maduro as merely the first step in a plan to reassert American influence among our southerly neighbors. The next two targets, Cuba and Nicaragua, are what John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, calls the continent’s “troika of tyranny.” ...

In effect, Trump and his policy minders intend to revive the Monroe Doctrine, in which the fifth U.S. president effectively declared the Western Hemisphere America’s to manage however it wished. But it is 2019, not 1823, when James Monroe made his case in a State of the Union speech to Congress. It is frequently remarkable how blind Washington is to the limits the 21stcentury imposes on its power, and we are about to watch it crash into two of them. For one thing, the long era of U.S.-cultivated coups— “regime changes” for those who cannot quite face this aspect of America’s conduct abroad—is over. First in Ukraine and a year later in Syria, Moscow has put Washington on notice: Destabilizing other nations in gross violation of international law will no longer go unopposed. One way or another, this will again prove true in Venezuela. ...

It is stunning, in the context of these two events, that the U.S. now proposes to embark on a series of three coup operations in Latin America, the first of which unfolds as we speak. But learning from past errors has never been among Washington’s strong suits, to put the point too mildly. The Maduro government warns the U.S. of “another Vietnam” if it intervenes militarily in Venezuela. Moscow warns of “catastrophic consequences.” Let us not misread this last remark. It is highly unlikely, if not unimaginable, that Russia would counter direct U.S. intervention in Venezuela through military support. Moscow has all but said as much, indeed.

But we now come to the second limitation on American power in the 21stcentury. In an era of virtually unlimited economic interdependence, Russia and China have considerable interests in Venezuela, and you can bet your last ruble or renminbi that they will exert themselves to protect them. ... Logically enough, both Moscow and Beijing question whether a post–Maduro government would honor these obligations. ... Two days after Washington recognized Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim leader, reports surfaced that Moscow had dispatched a team of private contractors—read: mercenaries — to support the Maduro government. ... No, this is not likely to resemble the Cold War in its superficial aspects. While Washington appears likely to fight it with hunger-inducing sanctions, semi-covert subterfuge, and possibly armed interventions, Russia and China will rely on diplomatic and possibly military support, economic aid, and investment.

‘Is Venezuela your state?’ Erdogan slams US & EU over Guaido endorsement

Maduro issues threat to jail Venezuela’s opposition leader

Nicolás Maduro has issued a thinly veiled threat to the young opposition leader trying to force him from power, hinting that Juan Guaidó could soon be imprisoned as a result of his challenge. Addressing a meeting of supporters on Monday night, Maduro questioned how long Guaidó – who declared himself Venezuela’s rightful interim president on 23 January – would persist with his “virtual term”.

“Until 2025, too?” Maduro said, referring to the six-year term he recently assumed to a storm of international condemnation. “Or until he ends up in jail by order of the supreme court of justice.”

Western diplomats have expressed surprise that, nearly two weeks after he threw the gauntlet down to the incumbent leader, Guaidó remained a free man. Many attributed that fact to warnings from his key backer, the United States, that any move against him would have consequences. Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, has said that violence against or intimidation of Guaidó or other opposition leaders “would represent a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response”.

Venezuelan state media have intensified their campaign against Guaidó and his growing list of international backers in recent days, claiming that they risked plunging the country into war.

Venezuelan troops blockade bridge to stop aid from Colombia

Venezuelan troops have barricaded a bridge on the country’s western border with Colombia in an apparent attempt to prevent the entry of humanitarian aid sent by opposition leaders trying to force Nicolás Maduro from power. On Wednesday at lunchtime, a fuel tanker and two shipping containers blocked the Tienditas international bridge, which connects the two countries and has become a staging ground for the planned relief effort. Members of Venezuela’s Bolivarian national guard could also be seen at the bridge.

A convoy carrying the aid, which was donated by the US, left Bogotá at 11am on Wednesday and was making its way along winding mountain rounds to Cúcuta, a Colombian government official said. The earliest it will reach the border is Thursday morning.

The attempt by his political rival, Juan Guaidó, to push aid in through Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil represents the latest attempt to weaken Maduro’s embattled regime by forcing members of the military to disobey his orders and allow the aid to pass. “The main goal now is to look to break the military – and the humanitarian aid is basically the Trojan horse to try to do that,” said Maryhen Jiménez Morales, an Oxford University specialist in Venezuelan politics. ...

The United Nations warned against using aid as a political tool. “Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives,” said a spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric. “When we see the present standoff it becomes even more clear that serious political negotiations between the parties are necessary to find a solution leading to lasting peace for the people of Venezuela.”

France condemns Italy's meeting with gilets jaunes leader

France’s foreign ministry has accused the Italian deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, of undermining relations between the two countries after he met with leaders of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement. Di Maio, who also leads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), and Alessandro Di Battista, a prominent M5S member, met Christophe Chalençon, as well as candidates the protest movement has put forward for the European elections in May, on the outskirts of Paris on Tuesday.

“This new provocation is not acceptable between neighbouring countries and partners in the European Union,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a daily online briefing. “Mr Di Maio, who holds government responsibilities, must take care not to undermine, through his repeated interferences, our bilateral relations, in the interest of both France and Italy.” ...

Posting a photo of the group on Facebook, Di Maio described it as a “beautiful” meeting. “The wind of change has crossed the Alps. I repeat. The wind of change has crossed the Alps,” he wrote. ... Di Maio had previously expressed his admiration for the gilets jaunes, who have been holding at times violent anti-government protests each week across France for the past few months. He urged the movement not to “give up” and said the demonstrations reminded him of the spirit that gave birth to the M5S in 2009.

On Tuesday he said the two groups shared “many common positions and values that focus on the battles for citizens, social rights, direct democracy and the environment”. Chalençon said while both sides “practically agree on everything”, there was no talk yet about whether they would form an alliance for the elections to the European parliament. Italian media reported that Ingrid Levavasseur, who heads the gilets jaunes’ list of 10 candidates for the elections, would meet M5S officials again in Rome next week. ...

Opinion polls in France have suggested that the main impact of one or more gilets jaunes parties running in the European elections would be to reduce support for the far-right party of Marine Le Pen and the far left, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

The Davos set are cosying up to the far right – and scared of the left

Last week, the World Economic Forum (WEF) brought thousands of neoliberal elites – as well as an army of feted journalists and scholars – to the popular Swiss ski resort of Davos. There, the emerging relationship between the Davos set and far-right populists was plain to see. And it is far rosier than either party would like to admit. In the absence of Donald Trump, the spotlight was on Jair Bolsonaro, the newly minted president of Brazil, who was also the keynote speaker at the WEF. Attendees were initially somewhat uneasy with the far-right president, who openly praised military dictatorship, and therefore mostly held their applause before his speech. But after he had touted “a new Brazil … that’s open to business”, the room warmed up rapidly.

Francesco Starace, chief executive at the Italian electricity multinational Enel, probably spoke for most people in the room when he said: “If it is populist or not populist, we don’t care – it is a reform agenda that we think is good for the country” – and for WEF attendees, obviously. In addition, the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, one of the most vocal supporters of the normalization of the populist radical right in Europe, was given a full panel to lay out his vision of a “new global architecture”. ... In fact, the reception of the likes of Kurz – and especially Bolsonaro – at WEF is chillingly similar to the way that neoliberal elites have responded to Trump, who was initially received with hesitation, but was quickly normalized and is increasingly embraced. ...

Meanwhile, elites are railing against the kind of “populism” that actually threatens their interests: so-called “leftwing populism”, which in most cases is just old-school social democracy. Take, for example, former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz. Schulz likes to present himself as being against both the far right and the left, but most of his critique is directed at Democrats, not Trump. In particular, his ire is focused at new Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose proposal for a maximum tax bracket of 70% he described as “not American”. His main political enemy is clearly on the left, not the right. ...

In short, neoliberal elites from Davos to Seattle do not oppose the rightwing populist agenda. They are trying to shape the post-Trump world, in which big business can amass profits unopposed by largely privatized and underfunded states. Liberals should not be seduced by their money, or scared by their propaganda. To defend, or reinstate, liberal democracy, they have to not only fight rightwing populists, but also their neoliberal enablers. Social justice can only be achieved when the perverse privileges and wealth of the neoliberal elites are significantly limited. And the Davos class will be no ally in that fight. They have made it abundantly clear: they will take a rightwing populist over a leftwing one any day.

“Liar-in-Chief”: Rep. Ilhan Omar Slams Trump’s SOTU Remarks on Border, Venezuela, Israel & More

GOP Leadership Instructs Lawmakers to Play Up Gruesome Murders and Rapes by Immigrants

House Republican lawmakers are being encouraged by their party’s leadership to play up gruesome murders, rapes, and other crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in the United States. In a newsletter sent on Friday, House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., provided the caucus and staff with a messaging update that compiled immigrant crimes by date and congressional district. The newsletter is used by the GOP caucus to provide talking points and messaging guidance. ...

The congressional document mirrors recent tweets by President Donald Trump linking crimes committed by immigrants to the need to expand the wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. ... Studies have consistently shown that crime rates are actually lower among foreign immigrants than among native-born Americans. But the strategy does not appear to be a fair-minded discussion of immigration policy — or crime, for that matter.

Across the world, demagogues have deftly exploited bigotry to whip up anger using incidents of murder and rape. Increasingly, social media has become an effective way to weaponize tragic acts and use them for partisan political goals. In Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany party has singularly focused on several cases of murders committed by refugees to intensify hatred of Middle Eastern immigrants. In Myanmar, lurid stories posted on Facebook detailing purported acts of rape and murder by the Muslim Rohingya minority against the Buddhist majority were used to justify a brutal ethnic cleaning in the northwest Rakhine State. In some cases, the stories were false. Viral stories that focus on the identity of killers to stoke ethnic tension can also be found in India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and beyond.

In the U.S., there is a long history of racist violence following politicians’ focus on crimes — real or imagined — by particular minority groups. Across the ideological spectrum, many on social media continue to fixate on the racial or ethnic identity of criminals. Trump’s embrace of the strategy now appears to have reverberated across the Republican Party, with GOP lawmakers now openly encouraged to stoke fear over immigrant crime.

New Mexico pulls most national guard troops from border in rebuke to Trump

The governor of New Mexico ordered the withdrawal of the majority of the state’s national guard troops from the US border with Mexico on Tuesday, in a move that challenges Donald Trump’s description of a security crisis. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the partial withdrawal shortly before Trump’s State of the Union address. Her Republican predecessor deployed national guard troops to the border in April 2018 at Trump’s suggestion, and 118 remained there before Tuesday’s reversal.

“New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fearmongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

At the same time, the governor said a small contingent – about a dozen guardsmen – would remain in the south-western corner of the state to assist with humanitarian needs in a remote corridor for cross-border immigration. She also mobilized state police to assist local law enforcement. “I recognize and appreciate the legitimate concerns of residents and officials in south-western New Mexico, particularly Hidalgo county, who have asked for our assistance, as migrants and asylum-seekers continue to appear at their doorstep,” the governor said. ...

On Tuesday, she also directed 25 troops from other states – Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Wisconsin – to withdraw from the New Mexico border.

Alabama officer won't be charged for killing black man during mall shooting

An Alabama police officer will not face charges for killing a man he mistook for the gunman in a mall shooting, the state attorney general announced on Tuesday. The announcement drew outrage from the dead man’s family, who said the officer jumped to conclusions when he saw a young black man with a gun. The officer shot 21-year-old Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr while responding to an earlier shooting on Thanksgiving night at a mall in Hoover, Alabama.

The Alabama attorney general, Steve Marshall, said his investigation concluded “the officer did not commit a crime” and that he would not present the case to a grand jury. Marshall said he considered the matter closed. ... A 26-page report released by Marshall’s office said the officer mistakenly believed Bradford fired the earlier shots. But the report also said the Hoover officer, whose name has not been released, was justified in shooting him because of the threat he posed.

The report said the officer saw Bradford running toward the scene with a gun and believed he was trying to kill the wounded shooting victim or harm others. The victim was actually Bradford’s friend, with whom he had been at the mall. “A reasonable person could have assumed that the only person with a gun who was running toward the victim of a shooting that occurred just three seconds earlier fired the shots,” the report found. The report also stated that Bradford, who had a gun drawn, “posed an immediate deadly threat to persons in the area”. ...

Ben Crump, an attorney representing the family, said his clients “will have their day in court”.

“The police shot, we believe, because they feared a black man with a gun,” Crump said. ...

Dillon Nettles, a policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said in a statement Marshall’s “characterization of EJ Bradford as a ‘threat’ that needed ‘eliminating’ reveals how little regard [he] has for the life of this black man.

The Power Is Back on at Brooklyn Jail, but a Visiting Federal Judge Found Untreated Gunshot Wound, “Black Blotchy Mold,” and Ongoing Crisis

The power is back on and the heat has been turned up at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, where incarcerated people endured freezing temperatures, dark cells, and deprivation of access to legal counsel for the past week, prompting outcry and the intervention of federal legislators. While many celebrated the moment the lights came back on in the federal jail Sunday evening and looked forward to the hearings promised by concerned legislators, cases in federal court over the past two days have made it impossible to ignore the fact that the humanitarian crisis at the federal detention facility extend far beyond the electrical fire that shut down primary power to much of the facility on January 27.

Federal court hearings this week have revealed a staggering pattern of neglect — incarcerated people left on their own, in the dark and cold, to deal with medical crises and mental breakdowns. One incarcerated person had to physically stop their cellmate from hanging themselves. People housed at the federal jail reported that as many as nine incarcerated people were left without potentially lifesaving medical equipment because of the power shut down. Another incarcerated patient was left with an untreated gunshot wound.

The revelations have left federal judges in a slate of cases to hold the federal officials running the jail — as well as the U.S. Attorney’s offices stonewalling to defend the jail’s conduct — to account. Several of the judges have been openly incredulous as they dealt with the cases — evincing frustration with the federal lawyers as well as the Bureau of Prisons, or BOP, which runs the facility. ...

One of the first of those hearings took place Tuesday in Manhattan before Judge Analisa Torres. Across more than four hours of testimony by incarcerated people, employees, and observers, it became difficult to draw any conclusion other than that federal prison officials — including Metropolitan Detention Center Warden Herman Quay — had lied about conditions in the jail. ... Torres took the remarkable step of moving her hearing from the courtroom to the jail itself, touring the facility personally, and bringing along the lawyers arguing before her. She also brought along a court reporter to record what happened. The transcript of her narration of the conditions she observed, and of her conversations with incarcerated people, reveals a shocking level of negligence. ...

Torres’s visit, transcribed word-for-word and published on the record, peeled back the lid of secrecy on the prison even more vividly than the accounts powerful politicians gave to the media of their own inspections over the weekend.

Louisiana Tests the New Supreme Court on Abortion

The Supreme Court will decide this week whether to intervene in a case that could lead to the closure of all but one abortion clinic in Louisiana, potentially leaving tens of thousands of women without meaningful access to care. It is the first of more than a dozen abortion-related cases that are moving through the system and toward the high court. Unless the court takes action, two of Louisiana’s three remaining clinics would likely shutter operations.

At issue is a state law passed in 2014 that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinics where they practice. It is identical to a law passed a year earlier in Texas — a law that was stuck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

The admitting privileges law is what is known as a targeted restriction on abortion providers, or TRAP law. Theoretically, it is designed to ensure a continuum of care in the exceedingly rare event that serious complications arise from an abortion procedure. The problem, however, is that it can be nearly impossible for abortionists to obtain admitting privileges — for example, some hospitals require a certain number of admissions as a requisite for granting privileges, but because abortion is so safe, doctors are unable to meet that threshold. (Serious complications requiring hospitalization occur in just .05 percent of first-trimester abortions.) The requirements for obtaining admitting privileges vary from hospital to hospital and can be decided based on politics alone. In Louisiana, two doctors were denied privileges precisely because they provide abortion care, according to court documents filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is challenging the state law.

Take One Leave One – A New Way to Help the Homeless

This week, as Arctic winds bring snow and sub-zero temperatures to British shores, a new community-led initiative was launched in London to try and help rough sleepers.

On bitterly cold Tuesday morning, a clothes rail was set up outside the Holy Redeemer church on London’s bustling Exmouth Market beneath a sign that read: “If you are cold, take one. If you can help, leave one.” By the afternoon, the rail was filled with warm clothes – jackets, coats, hats, gloves, blankets and scarves – and homeless people were stopping by to take whatever they needed. “Actions like these make me feel hope” one woman tweeted alongside before and after photos of the rail.

As well as the clothes rail, a string of ‘pledge cards’ offer homeless people free food, drinks and other services. The pledge cards are either bought by locals from shops at a discounted price or donated by shopkeepers . More than a dozen businesses on the street have got involved and almost 100 meals and hot drinks were donated in the first day alone, in the form of pledges. “This is a brilliantly simple idea and one we are excited to be a part of,” said Ellie Pamphilon who runs a barbershop on the street and has donated several haircuts and beard trims. “After their cut and blow-dry, our customers can buy a discounted pledge card to give a homeless person a haircut that they hang by the Take One Leave One Rail.” ...

Whilst Take One, Leave One may offer some respite for rough sleepers in the coming weeks, initiatives such as this can only have a small, short-term impact. What is needed is government action. In Finland, homelessness was eliminated through its “housing first” policy which offers people who need them permanent places to call home.

the horse race

Ocasio-Cortez Says Trump Attack on Socialism Shows President 'Scared' of Popular Progressive Policies

While Republicans and many Democrats rose and enthusiastically applauded President Donald Trump's attack on socialism during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)—who, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), remained seated—said the president's remarks showed he's "scared" of the progressive policies that most Americans are embracing.

Speaking to reporters after Trump proclaimed that "America will never be a socialist country," Ocasio-Cortez said the president felt the need to lash out at socialism because bold progressives have gotten "under his skin."

"I think he's scared," said Ocasio-Cortez, a self-identified democratic socialist. "He sees that everything is closing in on him. And he knows he's losing the battle of public opinion when it comes to the actual substantive proposals that we're advancing."

In an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews late Tuesday following Trump's address, Ocasio-Cortez argued Trump's swipe at socialism demonstrates that he's "losing on the issues."

"Every single policy proposal that we have adopted and presented to the American public has been overwhelmingly popular, even some with the majority of Republican voters," said the New York congresswoman. "When we talk about a 70 percent marginal tax rate on incomes over $10 million, 60 percent of Americans approve it."

"Seventy percent of Americans believe in improved and expanded Medicare for All. A very large amount of Americans believe that we need to do something about climate change, and that it is an existential threat to ourselves and to our children," she continued. "What we really need to that this is an issue of [an] authoritarian regime versus democracy."

the evening greens

The killing of large species is pushing them towards extinction, study finds

The vast majority of the world’s largest species are being pushed towards extinction, with the killing of the heftiest animals for meat and body parts the leading cause of decline, according to a new study. While habitat loss, pollution and other threats pose a significant menace to large species, also known as megafauna, intentional and unintentional trapping, poaching and slaughter is the single biggest factor in their decline, researchers found.

An analysis of 362 megafauna species found that 70% of them are in decline, with 59% classed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Direct killing by humans is the leading cause across all classes of animals, the study states. A range of maladies including intensive agriculture, toxins and invasive competitors are also helping to trigger these declines.

This situation adds to the “mounting evidence that humans are poised to cause a sixth mass extinction event”, according to the research, published in Conservation Letters. It adds that “minimizing the direct killing of the world’s largest vertebrates is a priority conservation strategy that might save many of these iconic species and the functions and services they provide.” ...

The crisis in the natural world has been laid bare by recent research, which illustrated that only 4% of the world’s mammals, by weight, are wild, with the other 96% made up of humans and livestock. Since 1970, populations of wild mammals, birds fish and amphibians have, on average, slumped by 60%. Conservationists have called for a radical overhaul that would require an end to mass deforestation and the setting aside of a third, or maybe even half, of the world to nature. Looming challenges posed by climate change and a rapidly increasing human population will also have to be met if the losses are to be stemmed.

After losing their homes, Paradise residents are being pushed off their land

Survivors of a wildfire that obliterated an entire California town have been told they cannot continue to camp on their burnt-out lots and must leave. Officials in Paradise, which was swept by a blaze that killed at least 86 in November, passed an ordinance on Monday that will make it illegal for residents to live on property that hasn’t been cleared of burned debris. Crews began cleaning up the remnants of more than 14,000 destroyed homes last week, and the process could take at least a year. More than 100 residents who returned to the town in December and January will have to relocate. ...

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) recently warned the town that if it allowed people to live on properties that had not been cleared of debris and hazardous material it could lose the $1.7bn allocated toward cleanup costs. Fema said its decision to fund the cleanup was based on a warning from the Butte county health department over the potential for widespread toxic exposures and threats to public health.

“It was a terrible position to be put in,” said Jody Jones, the town’s mayor. “We can’t give up billions of dollars in cleanup money or our town will look like a war zone for 20 years.” ...

The mayor said the town was not trying to criminalize people for living on their own properties, and is working to find a place for residents to take their RVs and trailers. It hopes to prioritize cleaning their lots first so they can return as quickly as possible. The town’s police chief, Eric Reinbold, said his department has no plans to participate in enforcement related to the new ordinance. Paradise had no choice, said councilman Michael Zuccolillo. “I felt like we had a financial gun to our heads.”

Also of Interest

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

Trump’s State of the Union Address Reveals His Growing Anxiety Over Encroaching Left-Wing Populism

2 Reasons 2019 Could Be the Planet's Worst Year Yet

Trump State of the Union speech: what climate change experts say

May's pledge on Irish border threatens to reopen Tory rift

Tusk warns of 'special place in hell' for those who backed Brexit without a plan

Disaster Capitalism in Brazil: Mining Greed Produces a Horrific Death Toll

A Little Night Music

The Treniers in "Don't Knock The Rock"

The Treniers - Hadacole That's All

The Treniers - Old Women Blues

The Treniers - Cheatin' On Me

The Treniers - Everybody Get Together

The Treniers - Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie

The Treniers - Hey, Little Girl

The Treniers - Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)

The Treniers - Rock and Roll Call

The Treniers - Rocking is our business

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detroitmechworks's picture

as the boogey man of the right if they keep pulling this shit.

Hell, at this point I don't trust em. After what they've done in Louisiana, California, and numerous other states, it's starting to feel like they're looters with badges.

But I digress. I need metal. Got a TON of books, but both "Two years before the mast" and "Master and Commander" were out. On reserve. Read Moby Dick, btw, which I never have before. Just amazed at the humanity. Even in the worst scenes, there's an honest humanity to the story which is sorely lacking in modern fiction. Modern fiction seems to be all about the "THINGS" as exemplified by Harry Potter, where the most often referenced scene seems to be the shopping trip in the first story...


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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

joe shikspack's picture


it's starting to feel like they're looters with badges.

heh, it's worse. they're petty bureaucrats who, despite their individual intentions are doomed to create chaos wherever they go. the republicans have successfully undermined the agency in order to prove the point that the government is incapable of helping anybody (except for the very wealthy, which of course we don't talk about).

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The Aspie Corner's picture


Austin "Maoists" threaten Hands-off Venezuela protests.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

heh, "t" is for texas and trotsky, eh?

i guess the fibbers must be getting kinda worried if they are getting so public and obvious with their left-opposition efforts.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack @The Aspie Corner
I also don't believe that they ever ended cointelpro, but merely stopped calling it that. Their behavior has never changed, they are provocateurs at the very least, who also frame and murder people, sabotage organizations, movements, and the occasional car, etc.

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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 --

Lookout's picture

Thanks for the news and tunes Joe.

I wish we could institute a STFU instead of a SOTU. Could you even listen to the BS?

Climate is doing some weird things... it was nearly 70 degrees F here today. Goodbye ice caps, goodbye lifeforms.

I often think about my awakening during the Vietnam war. Is it groundhogs day...cause it seems like it is all over again... deja vu. Venezuela, Yemen and all the other countries under US sanctions and aggression bring me back to the very issues we protested way back when....over and over again my friend...


The eastern world; It is explodin'. Violence flarin'; Bullets loadin'.
You're old enough to kill, But not for votin'. You don't believe in war,
But what's that gun you're totin'? And even the Jordan River Has bodies floatin',
But ya tell me Over and over and over again, my friend,
Ah, you don't believe We're on the eve of destruction
And don't you understand What I'm tryin' to say
And can't you feel the fears That I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, There's no runnin' away.
There'll be no one to save With the world in a grave.
Take a look around you, boy. It's bound to scare you, boy
And ya tell me Over and over and over again, my friend,
Ah, you don't believe We're on the eve of destruction
But think of all the hate There is in red China.
Then take a look around To Selma, Alabama.
You may leave here For four days in space,
But when you return It's the same old place. The poundin' of the drums,
The pride and disgrace. You can bury it dead, But don't leave a trace.
Hate your next door neighbor,
But don't forget to say grace And tell me Over and over and over and over again, my friend,
You don't believe We're on the eve of destruction.
Ah, no, no, you don't believe We're on the eve of destruction.

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

joe shikspack's picture


I wish we could institute a STFU instead of a SOTU. Could you even listen to the BS?

nope, i couldn't bring myself to listen to trump or the "resistance" blabber on about inconsequential bullshit while the planet burns. there are times when i find the food fight entertaining and there are times when it is just too awful to watch. looking at the various headlines and clips that kind of can't be avoided if you read news sites, it's clear that i made the right choice.

it was 70 here yesterday, only hit about 50 today and will cool down further over the weekend. the longer term forecast says maybe we'll get some more snow monday. our weather is just all over the place here.

over and over, indeed. how much destruction can one world stand?

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enhydra lutris's picture

Thanks for both and have a great one. Didn't get too much sleep the last two days, so I'm getting wobbly, reminding me that what we need here and now is more Wobbly - vast masses of Wobblies.

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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

one big union. extra wobbly. Smile

have a good one!

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Azazello's picture

but fears the left ? Surprise, surprise, surprise.
Here's a border report: AZ Daily Star

Perhaps as troubling as anything, though, is the question of why. Trump insisted in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night that the “southern border” is “very dangerous,” but the simple fact is that in and around Nogales and other border towns, it isn’t particularly dangerous at all.

What the wire installation looks like is make-work. The president has ordered active-duty troops to the border and, by God, they’ve got to do something. So what they’re doing is putting up wire, bales and bales of wire. I went to the National Guard armory in Nogales on Tuesday and saw 31 more bales of concertina wire stored there. They were sitting behind a fence topped with barbed wire.

Speaking of the border, Wednesday night is border music night at KXCI.
Listen live here: KXCI

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

joe shikspack's picture


So the Davos crowd is OK with right-wing dictatorships, but fears the left?

same as it ever was. of course they fear the folks with the antidote to their propaganda.

dangerous. let's measure that:

Half of all global deaths from gun violence occur in six countries in the Western Hemisphere, according to a new study that exposes trends in fatal shootings, particularly in the cause of death.

Brazil had the most firearm-related deaths in 2016 with 43,200, followed by the United States with 37,200 and Mexico with 15,400, according to data compiled by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The study, entitled "Global Mortality From Firearms, 1990-2016," was published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association and offers a new glimpse into a highly charged issue that in many instances, including in the U.S., can suffer from incomplete information.

Rounding out the top five countries for gun violence is Venezuela with 12,800 deaths and Guatemala with 5,090.

these metrics suggest to me that the u.s. is more than twice as dangerous as mexico. oh, and it is not because mexicans come here and create that danger.

come to think of it, maybe mexico should pay for the wall to keep the dangerous gringos out. Smile

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Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
they want the gringo business.
The stupid border crackdown has made ordinary border traffic difficult.
We go there to shop, they come here.
Why can't it just be easy, like it used to be ?

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

joe shikspack's picture


heh, it should be easier. and it should be better than it used to be.

... and if i ever declare myself emperor of the united states (with military and economic support from much of the rest of the world) dammit things will be much better. Smile

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Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
I guess. Everything changes, I know.
I liked the old border culture.
And they're fucking it up.
With their walls and shit.

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

dystopian's picture

Finally Erdogan does ONE THING that is right... slamming the US and EU for their Venezuela policy. I knew he had it in him, he just had to get through the bad ideas first, took years. I wish Maduro would get the Russians and Chinese to land a joint 'excercise' force. Bolton and Pompeo spell doom in any other language.
In what kind of society is it that even in prison, it is profit over people. Heads need to fly in BOP at NYC. This is not how civilized society treats anybody, anytime. WTF is the matter with those involved?
The admitting privelege TRAP laws are another great example of our compassionate human values. It seemed like it was a good idea having the churches build and run hospitals, and generally it was fine when they were non-profits. Now they control dispensing medical treatment by having control over who to grant admitting privelage to, and do this based on religious beliefs. Just the way god intended medicine to be practiced. First make sure wot religion sez.
Like the Orange Julius in Chief said, every child is in the image of God. I just wish he'd have give a clue as to which one? Whose? Which?
I saw that Paradise situation news yesterday, it is unbelievable. Can we make it worse and harder for the victims? If they can do this in Paradise, how come they can't do it in Congress?

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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


heh, i think that erdogan stays up late at night looking for ways to stick the knife in the u.s. - just enough to piss uncle off, but not enough to cause a catastrophic reaction.

maduro should sell citgo to china and divert virtually all oil exports there that don't go to places like cuba and away from the u.s. china was going to build refinery capacity for venezuelan crude (which requires a particular kind of processing) until recently in anticipation of greater imports, so there are plans on the drawing board available. china could then use citgo to sell gas in the u.s.

that would probably work way better than sending russian and chinese military there and it would seriously upset the u.s. plans to steal venezuelan resources.

Like the Orange Julius in Chief said, every child is in the image of God. I just wish he'd have give a clue as to which one? Whose? Which?

you tell me what you do in the name of god, and i'll tell you what sort of god you've got.

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dystopian's picture

@joe shikspack Hey man, great idea... much better than mine. Quick sell CITGO to China. Excellent.

I hope the bank of England is it has a run on deposits after refusing to return Venezuela's gold. What do you bet Ecuador has the same problem with GoldmanSachs and their gold there.

I think Erdogan has a double edged sword with Saudi's name on one side and the USA on the other. And he is bastard enough to use it both ways all he can.

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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

snoopydawg's picture


Catholic nuns were in charge of it and it was a great place to work. Every department got along with the other ones and it seemed like a big happy family. Until it was sold to a corporation. The nuns tried staying involved with running it, but they were dying off and getting old. From then on you could see how the moral changed. No longer a big happy family.

Just like foundations are a way to not pay taxes, so are non profits. Hospitals and especially the NFL. How many congress members have season tickets to their home teams?

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