The Evening Blues - 3-21-19


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Buster Brown

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues singer and harmonica player Buster Brown. Enjoy!

Buster Brown - Fannie Mae

"The mythology of the Reagan presidency is that he induced the collapse of the Soviet Union by luring it into unsustainable military spending and wars: should there come a point when we think about applying that lesson to ourselves?"

-- Glenn Greenwald

News and Opinion

'Military Keynesianism is Back!': Democrats and Trump Agree on Pentagon Increase, Quibble on Details

"Killing people in the Global South is 'Good for the Economy'™"

President Donald Trump's requested military budget is another record breaker—and Democrats are countering with their own increase. The Trump administration unveiled the details of its proposal to the public on March 12. At $750 billion, the military seeks to receive $36 billion more than last year's record $714 billion budget—an increase that experts say is aimed at China and Russia. Democrats have signaled that the increase is a nonstarter, but their counter-offer of $733 billion isn't exactly a difference in more than degrees, Matt Taibbi wrote in Rolling Stone.

"The Democrats want to lower Trump's number," said Taibbi, "but still give the Pentagon a raise."

The budget increase marks a new direction on a number of levels. Trump is breaking with tradition on federal spending by increasing the military budget while slashing social services. That's deceptive, wrote Lindsay Koshgarian, program director at the budget research organization National Priorities Project. "If Trump pretends that the Pentagon is also subject to strict spending limits," Koshgarian said, "he can argue that his more than $50 billion in cuts to programs like the Environmental Protection Agency and Legal Aid are honest attempts to control federal spending." ...

The increase in spending appears set to pass Congress. That's "appalling" in a chamber now controlled by Democrats, journalist David Dayen wrote on Twitter.

The Democrats proposed $733 billion budget would give the military most of what it wants in 2020, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said in comments to the Federal News Network's Scott Maucione.

Iraqi Parliament Prepares to Evict US Troops

In the wake of the ISIS War in Iraq, Pentagon officials will tell you what they’ve been saying all along, that America’s intention is to stay in Iraq, and that there is no consideration being given to leaving. It’s not clear the US has spoken to the Iraqi government about this, however. While many Iraqis accepted the offer of help in the more desperate
moments of the ISIS War, the US military has quickly worn out its
welcome. Across a number of major political blocs in Iraq, there is growing consensus that the US, and indeed all foreign military forces, need to go.

This has been brewing for months. The Iraqis saw Trump’s visit to Iraq, during which he didn’t meet the Iraqi PM, as a sign of disrespect. That the Pentagon keeps insisting they’re staying in Iraq, without asking the Iraqis, only adds to the sense that the US isn’t really an invited guest in any real sense.

Hawks are already trying to spin this, as with everything else that doesn’t go America’s way in Iraq, as Iran’s fault. ... In reality, the US and Iran have been backing the same parties in Iraq since 2003, and US discomfort with that fact has been consistently undermining their goals.

The Hidden U.S. Air War in Somalia: Amnesty Accuses U.S. of Possible War Crimes for Civilian Deaths

Pfffttt! The Pentagon has "secret evidence" that it can't show anyone that they say exonerates them.

Pentagon denies report that U.S. airstrikes in Somalia killed 14 civilians

The Pentagon has denied the findings of a new Amnesty International report that alleges that the U.S. military air campaign in Somalia has killed numerous civilians in the last two years.

“Our assessments found that no AFRICOM airstrike resulted in any civilian casualty or injury,” U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said in a statement late Tuesday, referring to the strikes against the Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab.

“Our assessments are based on post-strike analysis using intelligence methods not available to nonmilitary organizations.”

Amnesty International, a human rights group, released a report earlier on Wednesday that claims that in investigating more than 100 strikes in Somalia in the past two years, it found “compelling evidence” that five strikes have killed 14 civilians, including children, and injured eight others.

Trump says US will recognize Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights

Donald Trump has announced that the US will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, in a dramatic move likely to bolster Benjamin Netanyahu’s hopes to win re-election, but which will also provoke international opposition. Previous US administrations have treated Golan Heights as occupied Syrian territory, in line with UN security council resolutions. Trump declared his break with that policy in a tweet. ...

Recognition of the Golan would also set a postwar precedent for endorsing the conquest of territory by force, and could pave the way for US recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Palestinian occupied territories. In a recent state department report on human rights, the administration changed their description of the West Bank and Gaza from “occupied territories” to “Israeli-controlled territories”.

Kushner, Inc: Vicky Ward on How Jared and Ivanka’s Greed & Ambition Compromise U.S. Foreign Policy

Theresa May: don't blame me for Brexit crisis, blame MPs

Theresa May is facing a furious backlash from her own backbenchers and calls for her resignation after she blamed squabbling MPs for delaying Brexit. In a defiant statement on Wednesday night she told the British public: “I am on your side,” and now hopes to force her deal through parliament next week at the third time of asking.

Less than an hour earlier, she had been warned in a private meeting with Conservative MPs that her bid to delay leaving could end up losing her even more votes from her own party. “She is going into an ever narrower cul-de-sac,” said one former minister. ...

The prime minister will now have to travel to Brussels on Thursday to make the case for a delay – and then intends to make another attempt to ram her twice-defeated deal through the House of Commons next week. Downing Street hopes the prospect of a no-deal Brexit will concentrate the minds of Labour MPs, particularly those in leave-voting seats who are opposed to a second referendum. ...

Corbyn accused May of having “no plan”, and embarking on a reckless course. “We are now in the midst of a full-scale national crisis,” the Labour leader said.

Donald Tusk said that the EU27’s heads of state or government would be likely to agree in principle at the summit on Thursday to an extension up to 23 May or 30 June – but only if May could find a majority in the Commons next week. That sets up a nail-biting next few days, with Downing Street racing to win approval for May’s deal, and then hold a vote in both houses of parliament to change the exit date set in the EU Withdrawal Act.

Brexit and the begging bowl

Pathetic, incoherent, chaotic: Europe's verdict on Brexit shambles

When he started out as a young civil servant, said Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a German MP from the liberal Free Democratic party, Britain was “always held up as a model of good diplomacy, of pragmatism and of self-restraint”. That was then. Now, with the UK’s scheduled exit barely a week away and still no clarity in sight, “No one would sign up to that view,” Lambsdorff said. “Now, the UK is seen as neither pragmatic, self-restrained, nor a model.”

For politicians, diplomats and officials across the continent, the past two-and-a-half years of Britain’s fraught, seemingly interminable and increasingly shambolic departure from the EU have proved an eye-opener. Some have responded with humour. Nathalie Loiseau, France’s Europe minister, said recently that if she had one, she would call her cat Brexit: “It wakes me up miaowing because it wants to go out. When I open the door, its sits there, undecided. Then it looks daggers at me when I put it out.”

Others have found it harder to laugh. To the shock of many, Brexit has revealed a country they long looked up to locked in a narrative of its own exceptionalism, talking mainly to itself, incoherent, entitled, incapable of compromise (with itself or its neighbours), wholly unrealistic, and startlingly ignorant of the workings of an organisation it has belonged to for nearly 50 years.

“Britain’s reputation is, there’s no denying it, much diminished,” judged Pascal Lamy, one of France’s most senior public officials, a former presidential adviser, European commissioner and World Trade Organization head. Some British politicians are “on another planet”, Lamy said, incapable of seeing that Brexit is the infinitely complex diplomatic and legal equivalent of “trying to take the eggs out of an omelette. Even today, they spout the most monstrous nonsense. Many have still not landed in a place one could call reality. The cognitive dissonance is … remarkable.”

André Gattolin, vice president of the French senate’s European affairs committee, concurred. “It’s actually pathetic, and distressing for someone like me who has liked and admired Britain all his life, to watch these debates in Westminster,” Gattolin said. “MPs are suggesting solutions, possibilities, that just do not exist in the real world.”

Widow of murdered Mexico journalist was surveillance target days after death

Even in a country long-used to violence, the cowardly 2017 murder of the Mexican journalist Javier Valdez prompted outrage: reporters held protests, news outlets stopped publishing for a day and the then president, Enrique Peña Nieto, promised that the crime would not go unpunished. But barely 10 days after Valdez was pulled from his car and shot dead, his widow Griselda Triana was targeted for surveillance with spyware which had been purchased by the Mexican government.

The internet watchdog group Citizen Lab revealed on Wednesday that Tirana received two text messages with deceptive links to software which would have infected her smartphone if downloaded and installed. The day after the murder, similar links were sent to two of her late husband’s colleagues at the newspaper Riodoce, a weekly Valdez co-founded in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa – heartland of the eponymously named drug cartel. ...

Triana is the 25th person in Mexico found to have been targeted with Pegasus spy software, made by Israel-based NSO Group. Citizen Lab said that although it is not possible to determine the exact source of the attacks, its investigation points to a group linked to the Mexican government. “The cases make it clear that NSO’s technology is abuse-prone,” said John Scott-Railton, senior researcher at the Citizen Lab at the Munk School at the University of Toronto. “It should be deeply troubling to anyone who is concerned about unaccountable official behavior.”

68% Want to Hike Taxes on the Rich to Help the Poor, Survey of 21 OECD Nations Shows

A large majority of residents in the world's leading capitalist nations responded with a resounding "yes" to a survey asking whether they support hiking taxes on the rich to fund social programs for the poor. Most residents in all 21 countries included in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey published Tuesday said their governments should "tax the rich more than they currently do in order to support the poor."

In the United States, over 50 percent of those polled said they support hiking taxes on the wealthy to help the poor. Average support for the idea among all 22,000 people surveyed was at 68 percent.

The OECD also found that most residents of the nations surveyed "lack confidence in the government's ability to provide adequate income support in case of unemployment, illness or disability, becoming a parent, or old age." ...

The OECD survey comes as U.S. members of Congress and presidential candidates are advocating a variety of proposals to increase taxes on the rich—including a wealth tax and a 70 percent top marginal tax rate on Americans making over $10 million per year.

Worth a full read to see what the enemy of the people is up to ...

WaPo’s ‘Hard-Line’ Stance Against Medicare for All

The phrase “hard-line,” as commonly used in the Washington Post, is almost always a pejorative. Often it references official enemy states like Iran (5/4/18, 5/9/18) or North Korea (1/18/19). In a recent Post (3/11/19) article, however, reporter Paige W. Cunningham used the term to refer to a different kind of enemy: proponents of Medicare for All.

Among the “hard-line liberal groups and unions” the article refers to in its headline and lead is the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities, a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations. The “hard-line” groups include much of the grassroots movements for healthcare justice in the country: National Nurses United, Social Security Works and the Center for Popular Democracy. These orgs—described elsewhere in the piece as “advocates on the far left”—are devoted to such “hard-line” positions as universal healthcare, protecting senior citizens and empowering voters and activists. The Post is concerned that these groups provided input to Rep. Pramila Jayapal as she wrote the Medicare for All legislation (H.R. 1384) she introduced in February.

In fact, what the Post describes as “hard-line” and “far left” is actually a very popular position. Medicare for All has long polled well among the public at large, especially Democratic voters. A Reuters poll from 2018 (The Hill, 8/23/18) showed 70 percent of the public, 85 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans support Medicare for All. That poll is the high water mark, but the policy polls well in most other polls as well (Politico/Harvard, 1/7/19).

This popular support was not mentioned by the Post. In fact, the article asserted that the “bill would overhaul the US healthcare system so dramatically that summoning broad public support for it seems like a tall order.” Yet Medicare for All already has broad public support, despite its reputation on K Street and Capitol Hill—and, evidently, in the Washington Post’s newsroom.

With Help of Democrats, Regulators Move to Gut 'Last Line of Defense' Against Wall Street Gambling

In a move policy analysts and progressives warned could drastically increase the risk of another financial collapse, two Democratic regulators appointed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) joined their GOP colleagues in pushing the Federal Reserve to weaken safeguards that limit Wall Street's dangerous gambling.

"At issue is the supplementary leverage rule, which was adopted in the aftermath of the 2008 collapse as a last line of defense against financial excess," HuffPost's Zach Carter reported Tuesday. "Four out of five top officials at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission want the Fed to lower leverage requirements by changing the way the officials treat derivatives."

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee and a banking regulation expert, condemned the plan to gut post-crisis protections as "another example of Trump regulators listening to Wall Street's wish list."

"Between this, the banking deregulation bill passed last year, and other changes proposed by the Fed and [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency]," Porter added, "we can expect Too Big to Fail banks to get riskier and have less of a cushion to guard taxpayers from bailouts." ...

The latest bipartisan deregulatory push comes just months after Democrats in Congress helped Republicans ram through legislation that significantly weakened the Dodd-Frank Act on the anniversary of the 2008 Wall Street collapse.

LAPD officers get rare official rebuke for killing man in mall

The Los Angeles police commission ruled that officers violated policy when they fatally shot a 30-year-old man in the middle of a mall, a rare official rebuke of deadly force in a city with frequent killings by police.

Police did not follow protocol when they fired shots at Grechario Mack, a 30-year-old father of two, while he was on the ground inside the mall amid a mental health crisis. Mack, who was shot in multiple places including the back, had been holding a kitchen knife and appeared agitated when officers began firing on 10 April 2018.

The commission, a board that reviews police conduct, ruled that the initial shots were in line with policy, but that two officers violated protocol when they fired their final shots at Mack when he was already down. The Guardian chronicled Mack’s killing last year as part of an investigation into law enforcement in Los Angeles county, where hundreds have been killed by on-duty officers or died in custody since 2012, but none of the officers have faced charges.

Trump shut down programs that could help stop the next white nationalist attack

Last week, after the deadly mosque attacks in New Zealand, President Trump was asked whether he believed white nationalism was a growing threat. “I don’t, really,” he replied. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.” Terrorism experts firmly disagree, pointing to data that says far-right extremist violence in the U.S. and Europe is becoming more frequent and potentially more deadly.

But while other countries have taken significant steps to identify the threat and counter it through dedicated intelligence programs, the Trump administration has cut or cancelled initiatives that were designed to combat domestic extremism.

Shortly after taking office, the administration defunded the Obama-era Countering Violent Extremism Program, which launched in 2016 and had allocated $10 million toward organizations fighting domestic extremism. In addition, the administration froze funds that had already been allocated, including a $400,000 grant for Hope Not Hate, a Chicago-based organization that deradicalizes neo-Nazis.

“In the U.S., we lack any political will to deal with it appropriately. That’s due in part to the nationalist politics that define the right-wing extremist movement at home,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent who was involved in numerous high-profile counterterrorism operations, and is now executive director of the Soufan Center, an organization dedicated to researching global security issues. “We’re not doing much to counter it.”

It took New Zealand just 6 days to ban all military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles

New Zealand’s Prime Minister announced Thursday a ban on all military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles — just six days after a terrorist killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch. “On 15 March our history changed forever,” Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference in Auckland. “Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place.”

Ardern expects the new laws to be in place by April 11.

The government also moved to prevent stockpiling of weapons before the changes become law. From Thursday all firearms that are to be banned will now require purchasers to have an E-category gun license. A loophole in the law has allowed anyone with a basic A-category gun license to purchase a semiautomatic, such as an AR-15, before easily upgrading the firearm into a more dangerous military-style weapon. Of the 242,000 licensed firearms holders in New Zealand, only 7,500 currently hold E-category licenses, which are much harder to obtain. ...

New Zealand will also ban parts used to convert regular weapons into MSSAs as well as all high-capacity magazines.

Jena Friedman: Treat Nazis Like You Treat Women

Harvard profited from slave photos that belong to descendants, lawsuit says

Harvard University “shamelessly” turned a profit from photos of two 19th-century slaves while ignoring requests to turn the photos over to the slaves’ descendants, a lawsuit alleges. Tamara Lanier, of Norwich, Connecticut, is suing the Ivy League school for “wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation” of images she said depict two of her ancestors. Her suit, filed in Massachusetts state court, demands Harvard immediately turn over the photos, acknowledge her ancestry and pay an unspecified sum in damages.

“These photographs make it clear that Harvard benefited from slavery then and continues to benefit now,” said the civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, one of Lanier’s lawyers. “By my calculation, Renty is 169 years a slave. When will Harvard finally set him free?” ...

At the center of the case is a series of 1850 daguerreotypes, an early type of photo, taken of two South Carolina slaves identified as Renty and his daughter, Delia. Both were posed shirtless and photographed from several angles. In the image, Renty stares hauntingly into the camera, his hair graying and his gaunt frame exposed. The images are believed to be the earliest known photos of American slaves. ...

The suit says Lanier has verified her genealogical ties to Renty, whom she calls “Papa Renty”. She says he is her great-great-great-grandfather. “For years, Papa Renty’s slave owners profited from his suffering – it’s time for Harvard to stop doing the same thing to our family,” Lanier said in a statement. The photographs were commissioned by Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz, whose theories on racial difference were used to support slavery in the US. The lawsuit says Agassiz came across Renty and Delia while touring plantations in search of racially “pure” slaves born in Africa. “To Agassiz, Renty and Delia were nothing more than research specimens,” the suit said. “The violence of compelling them to participate in a degrading exercise designed to prove their own subhuman status would not have occurred to him, let alone mattered.”

The suit attacks Harvard for “exploitation” of Renty’s image at a 2017 conference, among other uses. It said Harvard capitalized on the photos by demanding a “hefty” licensing fee to reproduce the images. It also draws attention to a book Harvard sells for $40 with Renty’s portrait on the cover.

the horse race

Heh, Gravel rocks on ...

88-Year-Old Mike Gravel launches 2020 Tweets and Website

Mike Gravel was a Democratic senator from Alaska from 1969-1981. He’s currently 88-years-old and, reportedly, thinking about running for president.

On Tuesday night, “#Gravel2020” popped up out of nowhere on the long-dormant @MikeGravel Twitter account. A few minutes later, a post laid out what it claimed were Gravel’s presidential intentions. “I am considering running in the 2020 Democratic primary,” it read. “The goal will not be to win, but to bring a critique of American imperialism to the Democratic debate stage. The website ( is under construction. Official announcement will be in the coming days.”

The homepage of Gravel’s bare-bones website includes a little more information: “Sen. Gravel is committed to ending America’s imperial policies (especially in Venezuela and Iran), rescheduling cannabis, fundamentally reforming our politics through direct democracy, abolishing mass surveillance on American citizens, prioritizing climate change, dismantling America’s carceral state, and building a foreign policy free of undue influence by Israel and Saudi Arabia.”

An exploratory committee has also been formed, with the group filing a statement of organization to the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday. ...

The account has also fired off several scathing attacks of Gravel’s prospective opponents, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who “kept innocent men on death row”; Joe Biden, who “voted for the Iraq War”; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who likes to “abuse American workers”; and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who “invented a drug dealer friend (and voted with Big Pharma).” The account also attacked Booker’s “melodramatic” performance during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing last year while touting Gravel reading the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record in 1971. Meanwhile, the account seems to favor Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), candidates it wants push “toward more sensible views on political reform and foreign policy through the debate.”

Howard Schultz Hired a Corporate Mouthpiece for His “Centrist” Presidential Campaign

If he were to become president, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has vowed to hire staff that “truly represents America in every way.” He got an early jump on that with a hire representing a particular corner of America: the corporate boardroom.

Tucker Warren, who has been running communications for Schultz’s independent, not-yet-presidential campaign since January, is also a partner with Hamilton Place Strategies, a public relations firm for numerous corporate clients, including several big banks. Founded by Tony Fratto, a former press aide to George W. Bush, Hamilton Place has for years cranked out arguments favoring financial deregulation and opposing the breakup of the nation’s largest financial firms.

Schultz has spent the early part of his presidential exploration avoiding specifics and defining himself as a “centrist independent,” midway between progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and reactionaries like Donald Trump. He has said that he would not sign any legislation unless it has bipartisan support, and that his cabinet would include Democrats and Republicans. He has highlighted the budget deficit and “limiting the power of lobbyists and special interests in Washington.”

That goal appears to be at odds with Schultz’s staffing decisions, given that Warren’s employer works for a multitude of special interest groups. Warren told The Intercept in an email that he is on leave from Hamilton Place and “focused full-time on Howard Schultz.” On Hamilton Place’s website, Warren is still listed as a partner, and his LinkedIn page states that both jobs are current.

Bernie’s New Press Secretary Voted Jill Stein

Beto O’Rourke Slams Benjamin Netanyahu, Saying Israeli Has “Openly Sided With Racists”

Beto O’Rourke denied on Tuesday that donations from supporters of Israel had influenced his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and denounced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in stark terms, saying that Israel’s leader had “openly sided with racists.”

As the Texas Tribune correspondent Patrick Svitek reported, the comments came during an event at Keene State College in New Hampshire, after O’Rourke was asked about rumors that he had taken “pro-Israel lobbyist money” during his failed Senate run in 2018. O’Rourke explained that, in fact, he had taken no money from political action committees in that race — although J Street, a pro-Israel lobbying group that aids candidates who favor a two-state solution and oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, helped solicit $170,000 in individuals donations to his campaign.

“If you’re asking if the contributions I accept connect to the policies I support, the answer is no,” the former Texas Congressman replied, according to Paul Steinhauser of Fox News.

“I believe in peace and dignity and full human rights for the Palestinian people and the Israeli people,” the former Texas Congressman said. “The only way to achieve that,” he added, “is a two-state solution.” The difficulty, O’Rourke continued, is that “right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side: we have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists — who, in a previous election, warned that the Arabs were coming to the polls — and on the Palestinian side, you have an ineffectual leader, in Mahmoud Abbas, who has not been very effective in bringing his side to the table either.”

‘Sanders smashes the Israel status quo,’ his new ad boasts

Bernie Sanders is officially running against Israeli apartheid! Yesterday Sanders posted an ad on his Facebook page featuring excerpts from activist Shaun King’s introduction of the Vermont senator at his Brooklyn College campaign launch March 2. King embraced the label that Donald Trump has given Sanders, of being crazy.

Listen, he has always rejected the status quo. He spoke out against apartheid in South Africa when crazily that was an unpopular thing to do. And even today he speaks out against apartheid-like conditions in Palestine even though it’s not popular. Listen, I don’t care if 45 calls him Crazy Bernie because he is a little crazy.

The ad uses the apartheid reference with the graphics above and below, including the statement, “Bernie smashes the Israel status quo.” ...

The ad is surely a tactical shift by Sanders from 2016, when the senator, who is Jewish, largely avoided foreign policy, couched his criticisms of Israel in praise and bashed Netanyahu by saying, “There comes a time when if we pursue justice and peace we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.”

'Momentum Is Shifting': MoveOn Calls for Democratic Presidential Candidates to Boycott AIPAC Conference

MoveOn, a progressive advocacy group with millions of members, is calling on Democratic presidential candidates to boycott AIPAC's annual conference.

"It's no secret that that AIPAC has worked to hinder diplomatic efforts like the Iran deal, is undermining Palestinian self-determination, and inviting figures actively involved in human rights violations to its stage," Iram Ali, campaign director at MoveOn Political Action, said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are among the confirmed speakers for the event, which begins Sunday.

None of the Democratic presidential candidates are listed as speakers at the conference, and there is no indication that any of them plan to attend. But MoveOn's demand for a boycott will nevertheless "give a clear insight to 2020 candidates on where their base stands instead of prioritizing lobbying groups and policy people who rarely step outside of D.C.," said Ali.

the evening greens

US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change ruling

In the first significant check on the Trump administration’s “energy-first” agenda, a US judge has temporarily halted hundreds of drilling projects for failing to take climate change into account. Drilling had been stalled on more than 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming after it was ruled the Trump administration violated environmental laws by failing to consider greenhouse gas emissions. The federal judge has ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages US public lands and issues leases to the energy industry, to redo its analysis.

The decision stems from an environmental lawsuit. WildEarth Guardians, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Western Environmental Law Center sued the BLM in 2016 for failing to calculate and limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from future oil and gas projects. The agency “did not adequately quantify the climate change impacts of oil and gas leasing”, said Rudolph Contreras, a US district judge in Washington DC, in a ruling late on Tuesday. He added that the agency “must consider the cumulative impact of GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions” generated by past, present and future BLM leases across the country.

Under Trump, the pace of leasing public lands for oil and gas development has surged. A recent study found the administration has made more than 13m onshore acres available for leasing, far more than any similar period under Obama. The vast majority are located in the western states of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. The administration also plans to make large portions of the Atlantic available for oil and gas development, and the interior department has been criticized for favoring the energy industry.

Green Groups Call Out Big Banks for Pouring Billions Into Fossil Fuel Industry

A coalition of environmental groups called out 33 global banks for collectively giving at least $1.9 trillion to fossil fuel companies since world leaders adopted the Paris climate agreement in December of 2015.

The call-out came in Banking on Climate Change (pdf), published Wednesday as the tenth annual fossil fuel report card from the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Sierra Club, and Honor the Earth. "This report is a red alert," declared RAN climate and energy researcher Alison Kirsch. "The massive scale at which global banks continue to pump billions of dollars into fossil fuels is flatly incompatible with a livable future."

"If banks don't rapidly phase out their support for dirty energy, planetary collapse from man-made climate change is not just probable," Kirsch warned. "It is imminent."

According to the report, the top four funders of coal, oil, and gas companies from 2016 to 2018 were all U.S. banks: JPMorgan Chase ($195.66 billion), Wells Fargo ($151.6 billion), Citi ($129.49 billion), and Bank of America ($106.69 billion). Other major offenders included RBC ($100.54 billion), TD ($74.15 billion), and Scotiabank ($69.57 billion) of Canada; Barclays ($85.18 billion) of the United Kingdom; and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group ($80.04 billion) and Mizuho ($67.71 billion) of Japan.

Also of Interest

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

Intercepted podcast: Radical White Terrorism

WaPo Gives Campaign Space To Main Sponsor Of ISIS Who Also Jails More Journalists Than Anyone Else

On The Anniversary Of The Iraq Invasion, Bush Press Secretary Claims Bush Didn’t Lie

Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

When They Don’t Ignore, US Media Often Disparage Palestinians’ Right of Return

Inside the Video Surveillance Program IBM Built for Philippine Strongman Rodrigo Duterte

Factchecking WaPo’s Factchecker on Sanders and the Trillion-Dollar Bailout

Yellow Vest Movement Not Yet Changing Its Color to Green

Boston City Council Passes Groundbreaking Food Justice Ordinance

City Lights founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti 100th Birthday: 'The US isn't ready for a revolution'

Rare super worm moon will loom large as it coincides with equinox

Mdou Moctar, the Hendrix of the Sahara

A Little Night Music

Buster Brown - Slow Drag Pt. 1

Buster Brown - Blues When It Rains

Buster Brown - Two Women

Buster Brown - I`m Gonna Make You Happy

Buster Brown - Sincerely

Buster Brown - Broadway On Fire

Buster Brown - Don't Dog Your Woman

Buster Brown - Lost In A Dream

Buster Brown - Crawling King Snake

Buster Brown - Gonna Love My Baby, Raise a Ruckus Tonight

17 users have voted.


enhydra lutris's picture

the goal posts in this country, so too we move the starting line. I reference this fun passage:

The latest bipartisan deregulatory push comes just months after Democrats in Congress helped Republicans ram through legislation that significantly weakened the Dodd-Frank Act on the anniversary of the 2008 Wall Street collapse.


seemingly oblivious to the fact that it is decades after the infamous New Democrat William Jefferson Ronald Reagan Clinton gratuitously gutted the Glass-Steagall act, setting in motion the forces and actions that led to the above mentioned 2008 meltdown. pfah!

13 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

infamous New Democrat William Jefferson Ronald Reagan Clinton gratuitously gutted the Glass-Steagall act, setting in motion the forces and actions that led to the above mentioned 2008 meltdown

not to mention wjrr clinton's perfidious act of supporting and signing the commodity futures modernization act which will similarly set the aforementioned forces in motion and enhanced the danger of the 2008 meltdown greatly.

that clinton guy was a real winner weiner.

6 users have voted.
JekyllnHyde's picture

Rarely are public opinion polls this accurate. No one can dispute the findings of this poll.

13 users have voted.

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

enhydra lutris's picture


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 --

joe shikspack's picture


yep, if it's biden vs. trump in 2020, the cartoon and comedy industries are golden, they can't lose.

5 users have voted.
QMS's picture

The deer are cavorting in the back yard. The political allies are suggesting the goat runs for our district house seat. Oh dear.
Hope y'alls making good headway.

9 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

joe shikspack's picture


i like it. vote goat 2020. it's got a certain ring to it.

3 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

Trump shut down programs that could help stop the next white nationalist attack

I'm having day-jah-view ( Mosking ). If only I could remember what other administration shutdown a program to help stop the next white nationalist attack. Hmm. That's a thinker. DuckDuck, please help!

Terrorism By Any Other Name: The Lone Wolf
The good people at the Southern Poverty Law Center reveal why disbanding a Homeland Security unit that tracked this phenomenon was a really bad idea.

and this is funny

8 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

joe shikspack's picture


it's pretty sad how many of trump's awful policies are carry-overs from the obama administration. i guess it's hard to be a genuinely original "president evil" when there have been so many malevolent presences in the job prior.

heh, that peter douche's liason puts out some good stuff. Smile

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Nearly 100 Dead After Overloaded Ferry Sinks In Iraq's Tigris River

Horrifying scenes have come out of Iraq as what was supposed to be a festive event became marred by shock and tragedy, as at least 83 people drowned in the Tigris river near Mosul when an overloaded ferry capsized. An AFP report put the death toll at "almost 100 people" as the rescue operation continued into the night.

Families and revelers were celebrating the Kurdish new year on Thursday, known as Nowruz, as well as Mother's Day (marked as March 21 in the Middle East), when the ferry began sinking down on one side before turning completely over, trapping men, women and children under the boat and in an unusually strong current.

Have you heard about the refinery fire in Texas that is putting toxic fumes into the air and just a few days ago the authorities told people that it the air was ok? Oops. Turns out they were wrong about that and have now called in the national guard to keep people in their homes and out of the area. Wonder if the person who said that got advice from Christine Whitman? Remember when she said that the air at ground zero was safe to breathe? Then it took congress almost a decade to set up the fund for people who were dying horribly from breathing that air.

I'm seeing lots of people saying that they are happy that Trump is rolling back regulations. Why? Because they place unnecessary monetary burdens on corporations. No I don't think that they are industry bots, just the regular airheads on my local news website.

11 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture


yep, i just put a story into tomorrow night's evening greens about the houston (deer park) refinery.

now that the fire's out, it's no longer burning off the toxic chemical stew at the plant which includes lots of (cancer-causing) benzene. the benzene fumes are now spreading around at ground level in far more concentrated form - seriously endangering locals. nasty stuff.

4 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Man Buster could blow that harp... great stuff JS!

So Trump just gets to decide it was OK for Israel to steal Syria's Golan Heights?

Bezos and WaPo are truly the enemy of the people. Good call.

Great to see Gravel out there pissed about the right things.

Also great to see Bernie and Move on pass on AIPAC grovelling.

11 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

snoopydawg's picture


after more than 80% of the people living there voted to go with Russia. And since Don is in Vlad's pocket I'm expecting him to say that Russia can have it any day now. Any day..

Saw one person saying that he would be upset about Israel taking the GH, but he's not because of Assad and Vlad. Great reasoning don't you think? Propaganda. It's what's for dinner.

8 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

snoopydawg's picture


Great minds...

7 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture


brown's harmonica style reminds me a lot of sonny terry (particularly the whooping that punctuates a some of his lines) and j.c. burris. great stuff!

So Trump just gets to decide it was OK for Israel to steal Syria's Golan Heights?

do you really think that there are enough congressworms that are willing to stand up and oppose him on this?

Great to see Gravel out there pissed about the right things.

he could really bring something to the debates. and it might keep the chattering classes clutching their pearls for ages. Smile

4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

The Trump Administration Wants to Snoop on Disabled Americans

The Trump White House and the Social Security Administration (SSA) have a new scheme to expand the federal government’s ability to snoop on the social media accounts of disabled Americans. The plan, which appears in this year’s SSA budget proposal (and was first reported on by the New York Times), hinges on the government’s ability to scoop up pictures and posts that might reveal whether someone is faking a disability. The budget also calls for cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) — not the first such proposal under the Trump administration. The new program is designed to solve a problem — widespread disability fraud — that experts say does not exist. In fact, there is no evidence of such large-scale malfeasance. Trying to adjudicate disability by monitoring social media will be, at best, an exercise in bias confirmation and, at worst, will represent a major expansion of the surveillance state, focused on some of America’s most vulnerable citizens.

Getting qualified for SSDI can take years even though people present with obvious qualifying disabilities on day one. Fraud does happen, but it usually comes from doctors who order unnecessary tests and procedures. Bill for higher than allowed and other things.

Worker's compensation fraud is less than.02% by people who say they were injured, but that percentage goes way up when it comes to the insurance companies. Way up!

7 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture


just the sort of thing that repugs like to do. it's good propaganda for them even though they will spend far more money chasing the fraud that is purely a figment of their fevered imaginations than they will save when they catch a couple of people at it.

5 users have voted.