The Evening Blues - 3-14-19
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features blues singer and songwriter Percy Mayfield. Enjoy!
Percy Mayfield - The Big Question
"Frankly, our ancestors don't seem much to brag about. I mean, look at the state they left us in, with the wars, the broken planet. Clearly, they didn't care about what would happen to the people who came after them."
― Suzanne Collins
News and Opinion
A bipartisan group of senators joined their House colleagues in voting to cut off U.S. military support in Yemen’s civil war, a rebuke of President Donald Trump and a challenge to his authority to deploy U.S. forces without going to Congress.
The legislation, which passed by a vote of 54 to 46, is also viewed by many as a direct reprimand of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for what U.S. intelligence agencies have reported was his role in overseeing the brutal slaughter of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Some opponents argue the Yemen war has nothing to do with Khashoggi, but proponents disagree. “This is a direct response to the Khashoggi killing,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), an original sponsor of the resolution, told reporters in the Capitol. “The Yemen war is Mohammed bin Salman’s baby. It’s his top priority in the region. By ending our participation with this war, we are making a clear statement that we don’t trust this regime anymore.”
The House has already passed a similar measure but the Senate version is a little different, so it has to pass that chamber again before it will be sent to President Trump who has vowed to veto it.
We won! The Senate just voted to end U.S. support for the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen! We still have work to do, but this vote shows the power of the people to work for peace.#YemenCantWait #SJRes7 pic.twitter.com/gPFEW2DXP3
— Win Without War (@WinWithoutWar) March 13, 2019
Senate Votes to End U.S. Support for Yemen War, But Republican Tricks Send Resolution Back to the House Yet Again
The Republican-led Senate voted for the second time to end the American role in Yemen’s war on Wednesday – a sign of continuing concern over the impact of the Saudi-led intervention and persistent frustration with the Trump administration’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia. ...
Under House and Senate rules, the resolution has enjoyed “privileged” status, meaning it can bypass a committee vote on its way to the floor. The resolution has been passed in different forms, first by the Senate in the last Congress, and by the House earlier this year. But it continues to be held up largely by Congressional Republicans’ procedural tricks.
Last year, to stop it from passing the House, Republicans quietly slipped language “de-privileging” the resolution into a measure advancing a bill about wolves – and succeeded in stopping it for the time being. And just before it passed the House last month, Congressional Republicans succeeded in attaching language about anti-Semitism – widely seen as a subtle dig at Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Senate Republicans then used that language as an excuse to de-privilege that version before the Senate.
The version that passed the Senate Wednesday was an attempt to restart the process without tricks. The resolution must now be taken up again by House Democrats.
The admission caught the eyes of Amnesty International USA, which called it "astonishing to see this memorialized in black and white in the official human rights report issued by the U.S. government, a report that has long been viewed by world leaders as a weighty credible assessment on the records of countries around the world."
"This statement signals to world leaders including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Egypt's President Sisi that the U.S. doesn't care about human rights and will forgive or forget even the most atrocious human rights abuses," the organization said in a statement.
Hawaii Congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where instead of the light, jokey banter about politics and who she is as a person that Democratic presidential candidates normally encounter on late night comedy programs, the show’s host solemnly ran down a list of textbook beltway smears against Gabbard and made her defend them in front of his audience. Normally when a Democratic Party-aligned politician appears on such a show, you can expect jokes about how stupid Trump is and how badly they’re going to beat the Republicans, how they’re going to help ordinary Americans, and maybe some friendly back-and-forth about where they grew up or something. Colbert had no time to waste on such things, however, because this was not an interview with a normal Democratic Party-aligned politician: this was a politician who has been loudly and consistently criticizing US foreign policy.
After briefly asking his guest who she is and why she’s running for president, Colbert jumped right into it by immediately bringing up Syria and Assad, the primary line of attack employed against Gabbard by establishment propagandists in American mainstream media. ... How often do you see a guest appear on a network late night talk show and talk about the CIA arming terrorists in Syria and the fact that US military interventionism is completely disastrous? It just doesn’t happen. You can understand, then, why empire propagandist Stephen Colbert spent the rest of the interview informing his TV audience that Tulsi Gabbard is dangerous and poisonous. ...
Trying to make it look to the audience as though Gabbard is in some way loyal to Assad has been a high-priority agenda of the mainstream media ever since she announced her presidential candidacy. We saw it in her recent appearance on The View, where John McCain’s sociopathic daughter called her an “Assad apologist” and demanded that Gabbard call Assad an enemy of the United States. We saw it in her recent CNN town hall, where a consultant who worked on Obama’s 2008 campaign was presented as an ordinary audience member to help CNN’s Dana Bash paint Gabbard’s skepticism of intelligence reports about an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government as something that is weird and suspicious, instead of the only sane position in a post-Iraq invasion world. We saw it in her appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last month, where the entire panel piled on her in outrage that she wouldn’t call Assad an enemy of the United States. It’s such a common propaganda talking point that the New York Times‘ Bari Weiss famously made a laughingstock of herself by repeating it as self-evident truth on The Joe Rogan Experience without having the faintest clue what specific facts it was meant to refer to, just because she’d heard establishment pundits saying it so much. ...
This interview was easily Colbert’s most blatant establishment rim job I’ve ever seen, surpassing even the time he corrected his own audience when they cheered at James Comey’s firing to explain to them that Comey is a good guy now and they’re meant to like him. Colbert’s show is blatant propaganda for human livestock, and the fact that this is what American “comedy” shows look like now is nauseating.
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Tuesday he plans to try to block funding for President Trump’s low-yield nuclear weapon program as part of this year’s defense policy bill. “I would like to kill the low-yield nuclear weapon, I don’t think it’s a good idea, and we’re going to try to do that,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference. ...
Smith has opposed Trump’s efforts to build a so-called low yield nuclear warhead since it was first announced as part of the administration’s Nuclear Policy Review last year, but his comments Tuesday were his clearest yet about his plans now that he is chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
The administration started production on the first unit of the warheads, dubbed W76-2s, in January. Trump’s budget blueprint for fiscal 2020, released Monday, “completes development and production of the W76-2 warhead.” ...
Smith has also questioned the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. On Tuesday, he said he was not sure if the best way to reduce the number of U.S. nuclear weapons is the get rid of a leg of the triad or reduce the number of warheads in each leg. The triad refers to the three means of delivering nuclear weapons. Smith said his talk on the nuclear arsenal has “freaked out” some of his congressional colleagues and the Pentagon. That’s because of, he said, “the mere fact that I don’t want to spend as much money as is humanly possible on what they want.”
Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is facing growing calls to explain his family’s alleged links to the heavily armed and notoriously violent paramilitary gangs that control large swaths of Rio de Janeiro. Questions over possible connections between the Bolsonaros and Rio’s so-called “militias” were swirling even before the former army captain took office in January – so much so that revellers at this year’s carnival penned a song satirising the president’s supposed criminal ties.
But those concerns intensified this week when a photograph emerged in which a grinning Jair Bolsonaro appears with his arm around one of the two men arrested on Tuesday for the 2018 assassination of the Rio councillor Marielle Franco.
Police also confirmed that one of Bolsonaro’s sons had dated the daughter of the other murder suspect, Ronnie Lessa, and that Lessa lived in the same beachside compound where Brazil’s president lived until moving to the capital following his election last year. ...
Bolsonaro has played down the image’s significance, claiming he has taken thousands of such photographs with police officials. “I don’t remember this bloke,” Bolsonaro said on Wednesday when questioned about the alleged hitman who lived across the street. Brazil’s president also tried to justify previous statements of support he has made for such vigilante groups which emerged in the early 2000s and were seen by some as a lesser evil to Rio’s drug gangs. “Back then people applauded [them],” Bolsonaro told Brazilian reporters.
MPs have inflicted two more defeats on Theresa May, rejecting the idea of Britain leaving the EU without a deal and clearing the way for Brexit to be delayed. After the prime minister’s deal was heavily voted down for a second time on Tuesday, she announced a government motion ruling out a no-deal Brexit on 29 March – overturning her longstanding policy of refusing to rule it out.
May promised MPs a free vote, but the motion was carefully worded, with the final sentence stating that, “leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law unless this house and the EU ratify an agreement”. However, MPs voted by 312 to 308 to support a backbench amendment which struck out that last phrase so as to rule out a no-deal exit altogether.
In chaotic scenes, the government then rescinded its promise of a free vote; and whipped its MPs to vote against the amended motion. Several cabinet ministers who have warned about the risks of a no-deal Brexit, including Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd, appeared to abstain, but the government still lost the vote, by 321 votes to 278 – a majority of 43.
The prime minister responded with a defiant statement, insisting a no-deal Brexit could only be avoided by agreeing a deal, or cancelling Brexit. She said she would bring forward a motion on Thursday on delaying Brexit which would “set out the fundamental choice facing this house”.
If MPs agreed a deal, she said the government would request a “short, technical extension” to article 50. Without an agreed deal, she said there would be a “much longer extension” that would require the UK to take part in European parliament elections, adding: “I do not think that would be the right outcome.”
MPs have voted to extend Brexit beyond 29 March by backing a government motion forced on Theresa May by the Commons. The motion, which May was forced to agree to if her own Brexit plan was defeated again, as it was on Tuesday, decrees that the government will seek agreement with the EU for an extension to article 50 beyond that date. It was passed by 412 votes to 202.
The motion says that if a Brexit plan is agreed by 20 March then this would be a brief, technical extension until 30 June – if not, it says, it would probably involve a longer period, and the UK taking part in upcoming European elections.
Earlier, MPs narrowly passed up a chance to seize control of the Brexit process through a series of indicative votes in the Commons next week, also resoundingly rejecting the idea of a second referendum in the first time they have been asked to vote on the issue.
On a dramatic third consecutive day of Brexit votes, centred on a government motion on whether the departure deadline should be extended, MPs rejected a cross-party amendment seeking to make the Commons central to the process by 312 votes to 314.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party has come under fire for preventing the former attorney general from testifying again to parliament, further intensifying a political crisis that has engulfed the Canadian prime minister and his government.
The Liberal-dominated justice committee convened an emergency meeting on Wednesday to determine if they should hear further testimony from Jody Wilson-Raybould over allegations that senior officials tried to interfere with the prosecution of an engineering firm accused of bribery. Conservative and New Democratic members had called on Wilson-Raybould to return to the committee. But less than 30 minutes into the emergency meeting, a Liberal member called for a vote amid shouts of disapproval from opposition members. ...
Opposition members will try once more to recall Wilson-Raybould on 19 March, but that vote is also likely to fail, given Liberal control of the committee.
Facebook is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors examining its data-sharing deals with other major technology companies, according to the New York Times.
A New York grand jury has subpoenaed records from “at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices”, the Times reported, citing two unnamed sources. The two companies are among more than 150, including Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, that have entered into partnerships with Facebook for access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users, according to the report. ...
Facebook gave companies including Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft, Sony and Amazon the ability to access user data long after it had stopped sharing data with most third-parties, the Times revealed. At the time, the company strongly disputed that these data partnerships violated users’ privacy or the company’s 2012 settlement with the FTC.
More than 80 law enforcement agencies in the US have agreed to share with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) license plate information that supports its arrests and deportation efforts, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained a trove of internal agency records.
The documents acquired by the ACLU show that Ice obtained access to a database with license plate information collected in dozens of counties across the United States – data that helped the agency to track people’s locations in real time. Emails revealed that police have also informally given driver information to immigration officers requesting those details in communications that the ACLU said appeared to violate local laws and Ice’s own privacy rules.
The files, which the ACLU obtained through a records request, have raised fresh concerns about Ice’s monitoring of immigrants and the way local police aid the Trump administration’s deportation agenda.
“It’s a huge invasion of privacy,” Vasudha Talla, an ACLU staff attorney, told the Guardian. “Location surveillance and location data can really paint such an intimate portrait of someone’s life, down to what they do minute by minute.”
“There Are Innocent People on Death Row” — Citing Wrongful Convictions, California Governor Halts Executions
In a historic executive order signed Wednesday morning, California Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed a moratorium on executions and ordered the death chamber at San Quentin Prison — unused following a $853,000 renovation a decade ago — closed. “We are, as I speak — as I speak — shutting down, removing the equipment in the death chamber at San Quentin,” Newsom said at a press conference at the state capitol in Sacramento.
In remarks that emphasized racial disparities and the risk of executing innocent people, Newsom described his decision as the culmination of “a 40-year journey” that began when he was just a child. His grandfather introduced him to Pete Pianezzi, who came close to receiving the death penalty in 1940 after being set up by the mob. Pianezzi was eventually pardoned in 1981, at the age of 79. But wrongful convictions remain a profound danger. “You had someone just last year that was released from death row after serving 26 years in San Quentin,” he said, referring to the case of Vicente Benavides, exonerated in April 2018.
Newsom’s order leaves intact the sentences of all 737 condemned people in the state, the largest death row in the country. It also does nothing to stop prosecutors from seeking new death sentences, something California district attorneys have proven eager to do. In this sense, Newsom’s announcement merely formalizes the status quo in a state whose death penalty system has come to be defined by disarray — and where no executions have been carried out in more than 13 years.
Nevertheless, the governor’s language against the death penalty was passionate and unambiguous, suggesting that he could take more decisive action in the future. He explained that he felt no choice but to act now upon being confronted with the question of whether he would continue the efforts of the previous administration to adopt a viable lethal injection protocol. “I would be lying if I said I could support that,” he said. In addition, he said, there are 25 people on death row who have exhausted their appeals, raising the possibility that he would have to oversee their executions, something he would be unwilling to do.
Newsom’s move comes just a few years after California actually voted to hasten executions in the state.
Another pretty-faced pol with a gift for platitudes and a nebulous platform throws hat into ring...
The Democratic rising star Beto O’Rourke is jumping into the race for president, he told a Texas TV station in a text message Wednesday.
The Democrat, who has publicly mulled a run for months, confirmed his plans in a text to KTSM of El Paso, where he served as a US representative. ...
He plans to formally announce his campaign for the presidential nomination Thursday, according to KTSM.
Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman who came within three percentage points of beating Sen. Ted Cruz in a dramatically publicized midterm Senate race, is running for president. In announcing his candidacy, O’Rourke said he is going to run a “positive” campaign. “I just don’t get turned on by being against,” he told Vanity Fair in a profile that amounted to a campaign announcement. “I really get excited to be for. That’s what moves me.”
But what exactly is Beto O’Rourke for?
It’s a question that is not easy to answer from a three-term Democratic legislator, who ran a 2018 Senate campaign as ubiquitous as it was vague on the details. ... O’Rourke is known for his good looks, charisma, and record-breaking fundraising numbers, but it’s difficult to say where he stands on some of the key issues that matter to Democratic primary voters. “I don’t know. I’m just, as you may have seen and heard over the course of the campaign, I’m not big on labels,” O’Rourke said in December when asked if he identified as a progressive. “I don’t get all fired up about party or classifying or defining people based on a label or a group. I’m for everyone.” ...
O’Rourke has one of the more conservative voting records of any recent Democratic member of the House. He voted in line with Trump 30 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight, compared to 17 percent for the average Democrat. In all three terms he served in Congress, O’Rourke was more conservative than at least 76 percent of House Democrats.
Despite positioning himself as a progressive when it comes to immigration and climate change, O’Rourke has supported GOP bills that bolstered the fossil-fuel industry and watered down hiring requirements for border patrol agents. He also broke his 2018 campaign promise to not accept oil and gas money, and he voted to table articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. He also voted to make it easier to seek the death penalty against people who attempt murder on first responders.
O’Rourke never joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus during his three terms in Congress and instead was a member of the New Democratic Caucus, which is far more aligned with centrist Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
The US should launch a 21st-century Marshall plan in Central America to help stricken countries combat gangs and poverty to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants to America’s southern border, the Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro has proposed.
Castro, a former mayor of the Texas city of San Antonio and cabinet member under Barack Obama, is calling for the US to emulate Harry Truman’s 1948 aid program that helped western Europe recover from the ravages of the second world war. In a modern echo, the US would inject resources and knowhow into the struggling societies of Central America as a humane alternative to Donald Trump’s proposed wall.
In an interview with the Guardian, Castro said that his proposal for a new Marshall plan would stand in contrast to the cruelty of Trump’s immigration crackdown. “Extending a hand of friendship, of opportunity to countries in our hemisphere – this approach is much more in keeping with our values,” he said. “This is a mutually beneficial way to engage Central Americans, not a slap in the face like the wall.”
Speaking to the Guardian in Austin, Texas, Castro said that his investment program would be focused on the so-called northern triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that have provided the bulk of undocumented immigrants seeking to enter the US illegally in recent years. But he added there would also be attention given to Mexico and other emerging economies such as Brazil. ... Castro has yet to put flesh on the bones of his Marshall plan, which he said will be developed over the course of this year with the aim to produce a detailed blueprint before the first Democratic poll – the Iowa caucuses on 3 February 2020. Among the elements still to be worked out is the cost, though he said investment would be “bigger than we’ve ever done”.
obtained by the Guardian.
Joe Balash, the assistant secretary for land and minerals management, was speaking to companies in the oil exploration business at a meeting of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, or IAGC, last month.
“One of the things that I have found absolutely thrilling in working for this administration,” said Balash, “is the president has a knack for keeping the attention of the media and the public focused somewhere else while we do all the work that needs to be done on behalf of the American people.”
In its drive to boost domestic fossil fuel production, the Trump administration has spearheaded an effort in recent years to open undeveloped federal waters to oil and gas drilling, despite fierce opposition from coastal residents, politicians and environmental groups. In 2018 it issued a draft of its plan, and in the coming weeks, the interior department is planning to officially propose a five-year program for oil and gas leasing in federally controlled coastal waters, up to 200 nautical miles and more from the shoreline.
Already the Trump administration is moving to permit a handful of private companies to start using seismic surveys in the Atlantic, a controversial practice in which air guns shoot loud blasts into ocean waters to identify oil deposits. Some scientific studies suggest that seismic surveys can harm or potentially kill marine creatures, including dolphins, whales, fish and zooplankton. The seismic surveys could commence as early as this year, in coastal waters anywhere from Cape May, New Jersey, to Cape Canaveral, Florida, but first they require final approval from the interior department.
Leader McConnell has filed cloture on the motion to proceed to Cal. #27, S.J.Res.8, Green New Deal
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) March 14, 2019
Sharp and potentially devastating temperature rises of 3C to 5C in the Arctic are now inevitable even if the world succeeds in cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris agreement, research has found. Winter temperatures at the north pole are likely to rise by at least 3C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century, and there could be further rises to between 5C and 9C above the recent average for the region, according to the UN.
Such changes would result in rapidly melting ice and permafrost, leading to sea level rises and potentially to even more destructive levels of warming. Scientists fear Arctic heating could trigger a climate “tipping point” as melting permafrost releases the powerful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, which in turn could create a runaway warming effect.
“What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic,” said Joyce Msuya, the acting executive director of UN Environment. “We have the science. Now more urgent climate action is needed to steer away from tipping points that could be even worse for our planet than we first thought.” The findings, presented at the UN Environment assembly in Nairobi on Wednesday, give a stark picture of one of the planet’s most sensitive regions and one that is key to the fate of the world’s climate. ...
If melting permafrost triggers a tipping point, the likely results would be global temperature rises well in excess of the 2C set as the limit of safety under the Paris agreement. Nearly half of Arctic permafrost could be lost even if global carbon emissions are held within the Paris agreement limits, according to the UN study. Even if all carbon emissions were to be halted immediately, the Arctic region would still warm by more than 5C by the century’s end, compared with the baseline average from 1986 to 2005, according to the study from UN Environment.
A comprehensive United Nations report released on Wednesday found that while global human health is under dire threat from the climate crisis and industrial pollution, there is still a window for bold and urgent action if world leaders would but seize it.
The United Nations Environment Programme's Sixth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6), described as the most rigorous climate assessment released by the international body in the last five years, warned that continued inaction from policy-makers could result in millions of premature deaths from air pollution and other factors throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Africa by mid-century.
The report also highlighted rapidly increasing rates of species extinction. "At present," the authors note, "42 percent of terrestrial invertebrates, 34 percent of freshwater invertebrates, and 25 percent of marine invertebrates are considered at risk of extinction."
Without "urgent action at an unprecedented scale," the report said, the "ecological foundations of society" are at risk of collapse.
Joyeeta Gupta and Paul Ekins, co-chairs of the GEO-6 process, said in a statement that all the technology, policy ideas, and money needed to bring about ambitious global changes already exist. "What is currently lacking is the political will to implement policies and technologies at a sufficient speed and scale," they said.
After Last Version Blocked, Iowa's New Ag-Gag Bill 'Gives Middle Finger to Free Speech, Consumer Protection, Food Safety, and Animal Welfare'
Iowa's GOP-controlled legislature on Tuesday rushed through a new legally questionable bill that critics say "aims to criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms and other agricultural facilities"—just two months after a federal court struck down a similar 2012 law as unconstitutional. "Without undercover investigations, there are no effective watchdogs protecting animals from egregious cruelty," Mercy For Animals president Leah Garcés told Common Dreams. "Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced and how animals at factory farms are mistreated."
The legislation would create a new crime called "agricultural production facility trespass," enabling state law enforcement to charge someone with a misdemeanor if they use "deception" to gain access to a facility "with the intent to cause physical or economic harm or other injury to the agricultural production facility's operations, agricultural animals, crop, owner, personnel, equipment, building, premises, business interest, or customer."
While a spokesperson for Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds confirmed to the Des Moines Register that she intends to sign the measure into law, legal advocacy groups are already gearing up to challenge it in court. As the newspaper reported:
Daniel Zeno, policy director for the ACLU of Iowa, said the latest measure, like the last one, will not meet constitutional muster. He said Iowa law already prohibits illegal trespassing on private property including agriculture facilities. He also said people are already prohibited from causing physical harm to buildings and livestock. Zeno also pointed out that there are existing regulations on biosecurity measures.
"They're going after speech," he said of lawmakers who support the legislation.
The push to send the new bill to the governor came after Senior Judge James Gritzner of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa ruled in January that the state's lawyers had failed to prove that the initial ag-gag law's prohibitions on speech "are actually necessary to protect perceived harms to property and biosecurity."
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), which led the coalition challenging the previous law's constitutionality, noted in a blog post last week, "Iowa has appealed the district court's decision—though given the ample precedent finding ag-gag laws to be unconstitutional, their odds of success seem slim." An ALDF spokesperson told The Associated Press the group is prepared to file another lawsuit targeting the new bill.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Percy Mayfield - Jack You Ain't Nowhere
Percy Mayfield - Stranger In My Own Home Town
Percy Mayfield - River's Invitation
Percy Mayfield - I Reached For A Tear
Percy Mayfield - P. M. Blues
Percy Mayfield - Long As You're Mine
Percy Mayfield - The Hunt Is On
Percy Mayfield - My Love
Percy Mayfield - Louisiana
Percy Mayfield - Freeway
Percy Mayfield - Walking on a Tightrope