The Evening Blues - 3-25-21


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Little Willie Littlefield

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Texas piano player Little Willie Littlefield. Enjoy!

Little Willie Littlefield - K.C. Loving

"Surveillance technologies now available - including the monitoring of virtually all digital information - have advanced to the point where much of the essential apparatus of a police state is already in place."

-- Al Gore

News and Opinion

Glenn Greenwald has an important article worth a full read:

The U.S. Intelligence Community, Flouting Laws, is Increasingly Involving Itself in Domestic Politics

A report declassified last Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security is raising serious concerns about the possibly illegal involvement by the intelligence community in U.S. domestic political affairs. Entitled “Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021,” the March 1 Report from the Director of National Intelligence states that it was prepared “in consultation with the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security—and was drafted by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”

Its primary point is this: “The IC [intelligence community] assesses that domestic violent extremists (DVEs) who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021.” While asserting that “the most lethal” of these threats is posed by “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and militia violent extremists (MVEs),” it makes clear that its target encompasses a wide range of groups from the left (Antifa, animal rights and environmental activists, pro-choice extremists and anarchists: “those who oppose capitalism and all forms of globalization”) to the right (sovereign citizen movements, anti-abortion activists and those deemed motivated by racial or ethnic hatreds).

The U.S. security state apparatus regards the agenda of “domestic violent extremists” as “derived from anti-government or anti-authority sentiment,” which includes “opposition to perceived economic, racial or social hierarchies.” In sum, to the Department of Homeland Security, an “extremist” is anyone who opposes the current prevailing ruling class and system for distributing power. Anyone they believe is prepared to use violence, intimidation or coercion in pursuit of these causes then becomes a “domestic violent extremist,” subject to a vast array of surveillance, monitoring and other forms of legal restrictions.

It goes without saying that violence of any kind — including that which is politically motivated — is a serious crime under U.S. law, and it is the proper role of the U.S. Government to investigate and prevent it. But there are real and important legal and institutional limits on the authority of the intelligence community to involve itself in domestic law enforcement, or other forms of domestic political activity, that seem threatened here, if not outright violated. In particular, the Report’s acknowledgement that it was compiled by institutions including “the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)” has alarmed numerous members of the House Intelligence Committee. On Thursday, all ten minority members of that Committee wrote a previously unreported letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines “to raise serious concerns about the production of this document by the Intelligence Community (IC) and to seek clarification of the facts related to its production.” ...

Involvement of the intelligence community in the domestic activities of U.S. citizens is one of the most dangerous breaches of civil liberties and democratic order the U.S. Government can perpetrate. It was after World War II when the CIA, the NSA and other security state agencies that wield immense and unlimited powers in the dark were created in the name of fighting the Cold War. Legal and institutional prohibitions on wielding that massive machinery against the American public were central to the always-dubious claim that this security behemoth that operates completely in the dark was compatible with democracy. As the ACLU noted, “in its 1947 charter, the CIA was prohibited from spying against Americans, in part because President Truman was afraid that the agency would engage in political abuse.” Since then, Truman’s fear has been realized over and over.

Top Dem: Biden plans to stay in Afghanistan past May 1 deadline

The Biden administration is planning to keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan past an agreed-upon May 1 deadline to withdraw, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Wednesday to a panel hosted by Foreign Policy.

“It’s a general feeling that May 1 is too soon, just logistically,” Rep. Adam Smith (D–Wash.) claimed, citing conversations with administration officials. “You cannot pull out ten thousand plus troops in any sort of reasonable way in just six weeks.”

Under the terms of the Doha Agreement signed with the Taliban in February 2020, the United States is obligated to pull its forces out of Afghanistan by May 1 this year. Smith said that the Biden administration wants to “negotiate past May 1” in order to explore its options.

“Job one is to try to get back in to talk to the Taliban about at least giving us more time,” he added.

“It is a purely logistical argument,” Smith clarified in response to an audience question, noting that he thinks “the Biden administration is skeptical” that the Taliban or a future Afghan unity government “could be comfortable with our presence” in the long run.

Yemen Enters 7th Year of US-Backed, Saudi-Led War That Caused the World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis

Over 30 million people 'one step away from starvation', UN warns

Acute hunger is likely to soar in more than 20 countries in the next few months, the UN has warned. Families in pockets of Yemen and South Sudan are already in the grip of starvation, according to a report on hunger hotspots published by the agency’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP).

An estimated 34 million people are struggling with emergency levels of acute hunger known as IPC (Integrated food security Phase Classification) 4, meaning they are ‘one step away from starvation’. Acute hunger is being driven by conflict, climate shocks and the Covid pandemic, and, in some places, compounded by storms of desert locusts.

“The magnitude of suffering is alarming,” said FAO director-general Qu Dongyu. “It is incumbent upon all of us to act now and to act fast to save lives, safeguard livelihoods and prevent the worst situation.” Northern Nigeria, Yemen and South Sudan top the list of places facing “catastrophic” levels of acute hunger, the agencies said.

Most of the hotspots identified in the report are in Africa, but some are in other regions, from Afghanistan in Asia, Syria and Lebanon in the Middle East and Haiti in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Quarter of Civilian Casualties From US-Backed, Saudi-Led War in Yemen Were Children

As the Saudi-led coalition intensified air raids in Yemen despite concerns about exacerbating what United Nations experts already call the world's worst humanitarian crisis, an international nonprofit revealed Wednesday that from 2018 to 2020, children made up nearly a quarter of the war's confirmed civilian casualties.

Warning that millions of children in Yemen remain "at risk of death, injury, starvation, or disease," Save the Children detailed how the war is growing deadlier for young Yemenis. According to the London-based group, over the three-year period, there were 2,341 confirmed child casualties—meaning both injures and deaths—"though the actual number is likely to be much higher." ...

"Yemeni children have been living through a horrific and endless nightmare for six years now," declared Xavier Joubert, Save the Children's Yemen country director. "Children continue to be killed and injured on a near-daily basis. They go to bed hungry, see people starving to death, and miss out on school."

Joubert explained that "every day children risk death or injury if they venture outside and get caught up in the frequent shelling and bombing of places where they should feel safe—homes, schools, hospitals, and marketplaces."

"All parties to the conflict must fully implement a ceasefire as soon as possible," he said. "The ceasefire should be used to work towards a sustainable peace and a political solution to this war—it's the only way to truly end this humanitarian catastrophe."

Save the Children's new figures came as Mwatana for Human Rights released a report on U.S. drone strikes and other attacks on Yemen between January 2017 and January 2019, which killed at least 38 Yemeni civilians, including 13 children.

Biden's 'Opposite Of Trump' Foreign Policy Is Making America LESS SAFE

Biden’s Inner Circle Maintains Close Ties to Vaccine Makers, Disclosures Reveal

n the coming months, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Joe Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations, will hear from a growing chorus of developing nations about the foundering efforts to distribute the coronavirus vaccine globally. The nations, many of which have not even begun vaccinating their populations, are demanding that the U.S. support proposals to temporarily waive certain patent and intellectual property rights so that generic coronavirus vaccines can be produced.

The proposals have been fiercely opposed by American drugmakers, including Pfizer, a pharmaceutical giant that Thomas-Greenfield’s former consulting firm has recently counted as a client. Thomas-Greenfield and her number two, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, previously worked for the Albright Stonebridge Group, or ASG, a consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The firm, which represents Pfizer, specializes in helping large corporations understand and influence international trade policy, including on intellectual property.

Many leading figures in Biden’s administration, including key White House advisers, State Department leaders, and health care officials have financial stake in or professional ties to  vaccine manufacturers, which are now lobbying to prevent policies that would cut into future profits over the vaccine. ASG in particular has unusual amounts of sway in the Biden administration. State Department officials Victoria Nuland, Wendy Sherman, Uzra Zeya, and Molly Montgomery previously worked at ASG, as did Philip Gordon, Vice President Kamala Harris’s national security adviser.

[Other conflicted Bidenites include adviser Anita Dunn, domestic policy adviser Susan Rice, science adviser Eric Lander, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and administrator of Medicare & Medicaid Services Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

See article for full details. -js]

Michigan Covid surge raises fears it’s an early sign of things to come across US

A recent jump in Michigan Covid cases and hospitalizations is alarming public health officials and raising fear that it could be an early sign of things to come across the rest of the country. Michigan recorded nearly 17,000 new cases last week, which represents a more than 300% increase from the same week last month. Its per-capita rate over the last week is the nation’s fourth highest, while its positivity rate recently hit 9% – the highest mark since mid-January.

The state’s numbers, especially hospitalizations, are a cautionary tale that underscores the need for a speedier vaccine rollout here and nationwide, said Dr Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. “We could very well see an increase of cases in a number of states, and we already are seeing that in Michigan, but if you address the vaccine supply bottleneck then it won’t translate into a huge surge,” she said. “At the end of the day, whether there’s a real surge will depend on vaccinations.”

The state’s latest jump is attributable to the confluence of several developments, experts say: the proliferation of more contagious variants, reopening of schools, Covid fatigue and a loosening of Covid restrictions, among other issues.

Though mortalities remain low, increases in deaths have followed similar jumps in cases and hospitalizations during the state’s previous surges. Hospitalizations surged by 20% between Friday and Monday, which Nuzzo called a “worrisome detail”. Though the number of cases is still important, hospitalization figures are “key” as the vaccination effort races against time.


Fending Off Antitrust Push, Tech Giants Now Biggest Spenders on DC Lobbying

With Facebook and Amazon leading the charge, Big Tech has surpassed Big Oil and Big Tobacco to become the largest lobbying spender in the U.S. as the increasingly powerful and consolidated industry attempts to use its wealth to fend off growing support for antitrust action among lawmakers and the American public.

According to a new report released Wednesday by consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, Facebook and Amazon spent more money on federal lobbying than any other U.S. corporations during the 2020 election cycle, with Comcast not far behind in third place.

Using campaign finance data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the report shows that Big Tech companies have donated to 94% of members of Congress who serve on House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the industry.

"Notably, contributions are not skewed too heavily to one side of the aisle," Public Citizen notes. "Democrats, in sum, received $1.7 million in 2020, while Republicans received $1.4 million."

Overall, the group found, tech giants spent $124 million on lobbying and campaign contributions during the 2020 cycle, shattering its previous spending records. "Amazon and Facebook drove most of this growth," Public Citizen points out, with Amazon ramping up spending by 30% and Facebook by 56%. The two companies spent nearly twice as much as Exxon and Philip Morris on lobbying during the 2020 campaign, the analysis finds.

"In this moment of enhanced scrutiny, tech companies are going to spend millions and dial through their Rolodexes looking for officials to stop regulation and legislation needed to protect consumers," said Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen's executive vice president. "That is simply unacceptable."

In addition to significantly increasing their spending, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple also added dozens of lobbyists to their teams of influence-peddlers in Washington, D.C., according to Public Citizen.

"The four Big Tech companies recruited more lobbyists into their army, increasing its ranks by 40 new lobbyists, from 293 in 2018 to 333 in 2020," the new report notes. "Big Tech's lobbyists are not just numerous, they are also among the most influential in Washington. Among the 10 lobbyists who were the biggest contributors to the 2020 election cycle, half lobby on behalf of at least one of the four Big Tech companies."

Big Tech's growing lobbying operation in the nation's capital is reaching its zenith as industry titans Facebook and Google are attempting to quash antitrust lawsuits led by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and state attorneys general.

On top of the ongoing legal challenges to tech giants' market dominance, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers expressed support last month for legislative action—including potentially breaking up huge companies—to curtail the power of corporations like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, leaving antitrust advocates hopeful that meaningful change could be on the horizon.

Pandemic Profiteers: How U.S. Billionaires Like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Saw Wealth Grow by $1.3 Trillion

Amazon to Delivery Drivers: Agree to Be Spied On Biometrically or You're Fired

Amazon delivery drivers across the U.S. who refuse to sign a so-called "consent" form enabling the powerful corporation's artificial intelligence-equipped cameras to monitor their every move and collect their biometric data will lose their jobs at week's end, according to new reporting by labor journalist Lauren Kaori Gurley.

"Amazon may… use certain Technology that processes Biometric Information, including on-board safety camera technology which collects your photograph for the purposes of confirming your identity and connecting you to your driver account," the form reads. "Using your photograph, this Technology, may create Biometric Information, and collect, store, and use Biometric Information from such photographs."

"This Technology tracks vehicle location and movement, including miles driven, speed, acceleration, braking, turns, and following distance... as a condition of delivery packages for Amazon, you consent to the use of Technology," the form adds.

In the U.S. alone, there are roughly 75,000 drivers who work for Amazon, although they aren't officially employed by the tech behemoth but rather by "roughly 800 companies, known as delivery service partners that operate out of Amazon delivery stations," Gurley wrote Tuesday in Motherboard.

And if those workers don't sign the form requiring them to agree to constant tracking by the end of this week, Gurley reported, "they lose their jobs."

"This is not consent," tweeted the Electric Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group defending civil liberties in the digital world. "Amazon drivers should not be forced to submit to biometric surveillance as a condition of keeping their jobs."

Calling the Amazon policy "corporate coercion," the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, a project led by the Communication Workers of America (CWA), pointed out that "the only choice workers have is to comply with this gross violation of privacy or be unable to pay rent."

In a move that was described by a leading digital rights advocate as "the largest expansion of corporate surveillance in human history," Amazon began last month to install AI-powered, four-lens cameras in its delivery vans, as Common Dreams reported. Progressive critics warned that in addition to violating workers' rights, the intrusive technology would allow Amazon to put "roaming eyes in every neighborhood, shopping center, and intersection in our communities."

While Amazon claims that the cameras will "improve the safety and quality of the delivery experience," some drivers have already been compelled to quit due to a lack of privacy, as Avi Asher-Schapiro reported last week.

According to Gurley, the cameras "are able to sense when a driver yawns, appears distracted, or isn't wearing a seatbelt... and monitor drivers' body and facial movements."

MANCHIN Opens Door To Massive Infrastructure Bill

US saw estimated 4,000 extra murders in 2020 amid surge in daily gun violence

For exactly a year during the pandemic, the United States did not see a single high-profile public mass shooting. But a surge in daily gun violence contributed to an estimated 4,000 additional murders throughout 2020, in what experts warn will probably be the worst single-year increase in murders on record.

There were only two public shootings in 2020 that primarily targeted strangers, were not related to other crimes and killed at least four victims – one standard definition researchers use to classify “mass shootings” – according to two databases that track this kind of gun violence. That’s the lowest annual count of high-profile mass shootings in America in nearly a quarter-century, according to Jillian Peterson, the founder of the Violence Project, which tracks these mass shootings going back to 1966.

At the same time, the number of people murdered in everyday violence last year surged in cities large and small. Early estimates suggest the US may have seen at least 4,000 more murders last year than in 2019, and potentially as many as 5,000 more, according to projections based on FBI data, though complete official statistics will not be available until the fall. The Gun Violence Archive, which tracks shootings in real time using media reports, recorded nearly 4,000 more gun homicides in 2020 compared with 2019, according to founder Mark Bryant.

Many of the homicides are concentrated in communities of color that have historically seen the worst burden of daily gun violence, including in Philadelphia, St Louis, Chicago and Oakland.

Biden charges Harris with stemming migrant numbers at US-Mexico border

Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he is charging Kamala Harris with diplomatic efforts to stem migration at the US-Mexico border, amid a deepening humanitarian challenge there.

The vice-president will collaborate with officials from Mexico and Central America, according to Reuters, taking on similar responsibilities to Biden’s when he responded to an influx of children and families as vice-president under the Obama administration.

“Needless to say, the work will not be easy,” Harris said. “But it is important work.”

Both Biden and Harris were meeting with department heads and immigration advisers, after alarming images circulated earlier this week showing packed border holding cells, where young migrants rested on side-by-side floor mats and turned to mylar blankets for warmth.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered nearly 9,500 children who came to the country unaccompanied by a parent or guardian at the south-western border last month, and more than 15,000 are currently in federal custody – nearly doubling the previous record, according to the Washington Post.

the horse race

Cuomo CAUGHT Using State $$$ For Famous Brother During COVID

Nina Turner’s Campaign Gets a Boost From Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC

The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC has endorsed Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator and co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign, for Congress. Turner’s campaign to replace former Rep. Marcia Fudge, who was recently confirmed as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has so far gained the most traction among the Democratic candidates in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District. In addition to a number of high-profile endorsements, she raised more than $1 million during the first few months of her campaign.

The endorsement from the CPC PAC comes the year after the group launched its first independent expenditure to support progressive candidates in contested primaries. Before then, the CPC had endorsed in some races but otherwise stayed largely on the sidelines as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee went all-in for centrist candidates running against progressives. The CPC PAC was the first and biggest group to spend for New York freshman Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones last cycle and helped push his campaign to victory in a crowded field of better-funded candidates. They also backed Kara Eastman in Nebraska, Beth Doglio in Washington, and Dana Balter in New York, all of whom lost their races. The PAC declined to comment on whether it would launch an independent expenditure for Turner this cycle. ...

Turner is running on a platform that includes a federal $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, and free college. The support from the CPC PAC comes on the heels of several other high-profile endorsements, including from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is helping workers at Amazon in their push to unionize and is part of the larger United Food and Commercial Workers union.

Turner has worked closely with members of the CPC and, specifically, members of the Squad. In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, Reps. Ilhan Omar, CPC whip, Rashida Tlaib, CPC vice chair, and Cori Bush, CPC deputy whip, have all endorsed her. Turner is also close to Rep. Ro Khanna, another CPC deputy whip and former vice chair, who endorsed her in December and with whom she co-chaired Sanders’s 2020 campaign.

Looks like crazed weasel Adam Schiff won't get his wish to be the next California AG.

Progressive Rob Bonta picked as California's first Filipino attorney general

California’s governor has nominated Rob Bonta, a progressive state assemblyman known for pushing criminal justice reform, to be the state’s next attorney general.

Bonta, a Democrat, would replace Xavier Becerra, who was confirmed last week as Joe Biden’s health and human services secretary. Pending likely confirmation by the state’s Democratic legislature, Bonta would hold the job through 2022, when he would have to run for election.

Bonta, 48, would be the state’s first Filipino attorney general and has the backing of a several Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) groups, as well as progressive groups and leaders on criminal and environmental justice.

Top AAPI elected officials had called on Newsom to name Bonta to the job amid reports of rising violence against Asian Americans and last week’s deadly mass shooting in Georgia. California is home to more than 6 million people of Asian descent.

1 in 5 Capitol Insurrectionists Tied to U.S. Military; Soldiers “Targets” for Extremist Recruitment

US sinks to new low in rankings of world's democracies

The US has fallen to a new low in a global ranking of political rights and civil liberties, a drop fueled by unequal treatment of minority groups, damaging influence of money in politics, and increased polarization, according to a new report by Freedom House, a democracy watchdog group.

The US earned 83 out of 100 possible points this year in Freedom House’s annual rankings of freedoms around the world, an 11-point drop from its ranking of 94 a decade ago. The US’s new ranking places it on par with countries like Panama, Romania and Croatia and behind countries such as Argentina and Mongolia. It lagged far behind countries like the United Kingdom (93), Chile (93), Costa Rica (91) and Slovakia (90).

“Dropping 11 points is unusual, especially for an established democracy, because they tend to be more stable in our scores,” Sarah Repucci, Freedom House’s vice-president for research and analysis, told the Guardian. “It’s significant for Americans and it’s significant for the world, because the United States is such a prominent, visible democracy, one that is looked to for so many reasons.” ...

The report details the inequities that minority groups, especially Black people and Native Americans face when it comes to the criminal justice system and voting. It also illustrates that public trust in government has been damaged by the way rich Americans can use their money to exert outsize influence on American politics.

And it points out that extreme partisan gerrymandering – the manipulation of electoral district lines to boost one party over the other – has contributed to dramatic polarization in the US, threatening its democratic foundations. Gerrymandering, the report says, “has the most corrosive and radicalizing effect on US politics”.

the evening greens

Big banks’ trillion-dollar finance for fossil fuels ‘shocking’, says report

The world’s biggest 60 banks have provided $3.8tn of financing for fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal in 2015, according to a report by a coalition of NGOs.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic cutting energy use, overall funding remains on an upward trend and the finance provided in 2020 was higher than in 2016 or 2017, a fact the report’s authors and others described as “shocking”

Oil, gas and coal will need to be burned for some years to come. But it has been known since at least 2015 that a significant proportion of existing reserves must remain in the ground if global heating is to remain below 2C, the main Paris target. Financing for new reserves is therefore the “exact opposite” of what is required to tackle the climate crisis, the report’s authors said.

US and Canadian banks make up 13 of the 60 banks analysed, but account for almost half of global fossil fuel financing over the last five years, the report found. JPMorgan Chase provided more finance than any other bank. UK bank Barclays provided the most fossil fuel financing among all European banks and French bank BNP Paribas was the biggest in the EU.

Overall financing dipped by 9% in pandemic-hit 2020, but funding for the 100 fossil fuel companies with the biggest expansion plans actually rose by 10%. Citi was the biggest financier of these 100 companies in 2020.

A commitment to be net zero by 2050 has been made by 17 of the 60 banks, but the report describes the pledges as “dangerously weak, half-baked, or vague”, arguing that action is needed today. Some banks have policies that block finance for coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, but almost two-thirds of funding is for oil and gas companies.

One of Earth’s giant carbon sinks may have been overestimated

The storage potential of one of the Earth’s biggest carbon sinks – soils – may have been overestimated, research shows. This could mean ecosystems on land soaking up less of humanity’s emissions than expected, and more rapid global heating. Soils and the plants that grow in them absorb about a third of the carbon emissions that drive the climate crisis, partly limiting the impact of fossil-fuel burning. Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere can increase plant growth and, until now, it was assumed carbon storage in soils would increase too.

But the study, based on over 100 experiments, found the opposite. When plant growth increases, soil carbon does not. The finding is significant because the amount of organic carbon stored in soils is about three times that in living plants and double that in the atmosphere. Soils can also store carbon for centuries, whereas plants and trees rot quickly after they die.

It is not yet known how big the effect of lower carbon storage in soils might be on the speed of climate change, and experts cautioned that other impacts of the climate emergency such as drought would also affect how well plants and soils store carbon.

“We found that when rising CO2 increases plant growth, there is a decrease in soil carbon storage. That’s a very important conclusion,” said César Terrer, who led the research while at Stanford University in the US. He said that if soils do absorb less in future, “the speed of global warming could be higher”. ...

The study, published in the journal Nature, analysed more than 100 experiments from across the world in which soils, plants and trees were exposed to higher CO2 levels than in today’s atmosphere. The biomass growing in forests rose by 23% in experiments where the CO2 level used was double pre-industrial atmospheric levels. It is 50% higher today. But the forest soils did not store any more organic carbon at all.

The idiot politician that previously got into hot water for body-slamming a newspaper reporter while on the campaign trail has found a new way to get into trouble with the law.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte kills black wolf in violation of Montana regulations

The Republican governor of Montana has been slapped with a written warning and directed to take an online education course after trapping and killing a black wolf in violation of state regulations. The governor, Greg Gianforte, was elected in November and was formerly a member of US Congress representing the state. The news was first reported by Nate Hegyi in the Mountain West News Bureau of Boise State public radio in Idaho.

Gianforte reportedly trapped the animal on a ranch just outside Yellowstone national park, on property owned by Robert E Smith, a Republican donor and director of Sinclair Broadcasting, the biggest owner of local television stations in the US.

Gianforte had failed to take a required wolf trapping certification course before killing the animal, state wildlife officials said. He has promised to take the course, the public radio report said. ...

John Sullivan, Montana chapter chair for the sportsmen’s group Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, told the Boise state public radio Mountain West News Bureau that Gianforte should have known better. “He has been hunting and trapping for a long time and I would be surprised to learn that he didn’t know better than to complete that education,” Sullivan said. “We hope that he apologizes to the citizens of the state for circumventing the process that we all have to go through.”

Also of Interest

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

US Army Revamping How it Positions Forces to Face China and Russia

This is what happens when ICE asks Google for your user information

A Biden Appointee's Troubling Views On The First Amendment

Postal Service Saboteur Louis DeJoy Is Making Biden And Congress Look Impotent – Or Worse

Tlaib Unveils Bill to Provide Monthly Payments to Everyone in US—Funded by Minting Trillion-Dollar Coins

How Small A Minority Should Be Allowed To Rule?

Chuck Schumer Tells Labor Leaders PRO Act Gets a Floor Vote With 50 Co-Sponsors

'Strom Thurmond Disagrees': Historians Refute McConnell Claim That Filibuster Has 'No Racial History'

Warren Grills Yellen Over Why $9 Trillion BlackRock Not Treated as Risk to Economy

Biden Administration Urges Supreme Court To Let Cops Enter Homes And Seize Guns Without A Warrant

Scientists discover why the human brain is so big

Keiser Report | The Death of Price Signals

Rising: Union President HITS BACK At Amazon For Anti-Union Lies

Krystal Ball: Cinnamon Toast Shrimp Tails Are The Story Of America

Rising: Biden FUELED By Narrative He's Better Than Obama, Obama World Strikes Back

A Little Night Music

Little Willie Littlefield - Rockin´ Chair Mama

Little Willie Littlefield - It's Midnight

Little Willie Littlefield - Hit The Road

Little Willie Littlefield - Drinkin' Hadacol

Little Willie Littlefield - Oh Happy Payday

Little Willie Littlefield - Ruby, Ruby

Little Willie Littlefield - Striking On You Baby

Little Willie Littlefield - Miss K.C.'s Fine

Little Willie Littlefield - Goofy Dust Blues

Little Willie Littlefield - Jim Wilson Boogie

Little Willie Littlefield - Houston

18 users have voted.


ggersh's picture


sounds pretty much like our ameriKKKan values.

Stay safe all, Joe thanks for the Blues.......errrr and news ;-(

I hope the video plays


7 users have voted.

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Søren Kierkegaard


joe shikspack's picture


heh, well, i have little use for globalization.

i think that you might have linked to the wrong page, though. it's a page full of locked patreon content.

3 users have voted.

I’ve been reading a lot of commentary today with people feeling Biden just handed Harris a poisoned chalice as this is an essentially unsolvable issue. I can say for sure it’s not the kind of thing I’d pass off to someone needing resume builders to take over my job, if I was down with that idea to begin with. I think Joe is nasty enough to throw her an anchor if he felt she was getting a little too close to the throne, which her solo calls to heads of state makes me wonder if she did.

I guess we will never know the whole story, but it’s starting to feel like maybe there’s three parties at play in the Biden WH. One being the Obama side, who he’s surrounded himself with and still is walking in the shadow of. Then there’s Clinton, who Harris is owned by and obviously they have some pull or else we’d have VP Pete or Amy.

But...between this and the “better than Obama” stories, I gotta wonder if old Joe doesn’t have a little fight left in him. Obviously, he’s not above using Obama to get things, but I always felt he was a bit contemptuous of President My-Boss. It would come out in little “gaffes” here and there. As for the Clintons, I really don’t know where he stands with them, but he has to know they’ve saddled him with a slightly more refined blue Palin for a VP who is actively waiting for him to stand down. For someone who feels entitled to his spot, that’s gotta smart.

Anyway, don’t know if this means anything or nothing. Just spitballing. I saw a clip from Joe’s speech this afternoon where he was talking about bringing the filibuster back to where it was when “I joined the senate 120 years ago.” So, things aren’t really changing that much anyway.

13 users have voted.

Just another Bozo on the bus.

joe shikspack's picture

@Dr. John Carpenter

interesting speculations. it sounds like (from the article upstairs) that biden is passing on to kopmala the same shit job that he was handed by obama. i guess he knows her chances of success.

i don't know how biden's relationship to my boss is these days. i suppose that if biden goes too far left and actually helps working people, it will piss off obama if biden starts outshining my boss. the clintons are probably not driven by the same need for ego gratification, i'm sure that they only care about being able to successfully continue their grifting. on the other hand, perhaps obama's concerns about his legacy being eclipsed have a lot to do with his success as a post-presidential grifter.

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

Why else is Bill going on tour with Kamala if Her isn’t involved? Can’t have a just as popular Black man going with her for some reason. Doh! He might remind people of Willie Brown. J/K

I agree with mr.Webster and Biden is thinking he will make it through this term and run again. It might have been the meds that gave him clarity today tho and it boosted his confidence.

9 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture


i don't disagree that the clintons are behind kopmala and have devious plans to use her to extend their power and grifting. i just don't think that the clintons give two hoots about obama's legacy.

8 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

They try to look at one variable at a time, but it is a system. Use your own lying eyes to see the "carbon locked in" on Savory's regeneratively grazed lands vs standard grazed land on the right.
savory land_0.jpg

Here's a forest ecosystem restoration we could be doing
To both tie up carbon and perhaps more importantly, water.

These narrow studies aggravate me, but it is the nature of the research funding process. It is what made me drop out of the research game and become an 8th grade earth science teacher. And I look back fondly (for the most part) on that career.

Thanks as always for the news and music. I enjoyed reading the bbk edition from yesterday this AM which was also excellent.

Chris has a new piece
up which you may have featured earlier.

This externalization of evil, however, is not limited to the Christian Right. It lies at the core of American imperialism, American exceptionalism and American racism. White supremacy, which dehumanizes the other at home and abroad, is also fueled by the fantasy that there are superior human beings who are white and lesser human beings who are not. Long did not need the Christian fascism of his church to justify to himself the killings; the racial hierarchies within American society had already dehumanized his victims. His church simply cloaked it in religious language. The jargon varies. The dark sentiments are the same.

All the best. We're riding out wild weather tonight, but settling down next week.

13 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


heh, whether or not there's anything to that particular study, it seems pretty clear that there are a lot of things that the people who organize our society could be doing to work out a better outcome than what seems likely at the moment. it's certainly true that we don't manage our soil resources very well.

i linked that hedges piece earlier this week, but didn't excerpt it.

i hope that the weather treats you well. we had a good bit of rain here the last couple of days, but it has passed on for the moment.

3 users have voted.

@Lookout @Lookout @Lookout @Lookout
I agree, a narrow study which somewhat confirms what we already know with respect to seasonal changes, CO2, and root systems. It does not appear to be accurately reported either.

"We found that, overall, SOC stocks increase with eCO2 in grasslands (8 ± 2 per cent) but not in forests (0 ± 2 per cent), even though plant biomass in grasslands increase less (9 ± 3 per cent) than in forests (23 ± 2 per cent). "

I can't read the details (paywall) but according to the study summary, Grassland type conditions increase soil carbon while Forest type conditions decrease soil carbon.

  • Grasslands are the final step before desertification (alpine->forest->savannah->grassland->desert).
  • Savannahs are the in between of forest and grasslands (much of the US midwest/ukraine bread basket)
  • Soil buildup in the US midwest was likely the result of savannah conditions plus regular mass herbivore migration activity (buffaloes)

What does that mean in relation to the study? It's complicated and the study is simple.

Much of the earth was in stasis with savannahs and mass herbivore migrations. The forests supported adjacent savannahs with moisture and seasonal modulation.

We have turned the savannahs into monocrop (grasses) relying on additional fertilization/H2O inputs to boost outputs. We have reduced the modulating effects of forests by increasing the amount of reliant agriculture while decreasing forest coverage.

Yet we are losing top soil/carbon through our corporate farming practices.

I think the study is good because it asks for a better understanding of the ecosystem. I really don't think we are in danger of growing our forest too much at the expense of savannah/grasses but it's unfortunate the study views that way in the media.

3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

People are still wondering if the Iraq war criminals that were in collateral murder will ever face justice. What are the odds they were the pilots?

Yeah it’s looking like Biden is on the post office plan if he can fire the board but hasn’t done it. So democrats are going to usher in censorship and be responsible for the murder of the post office? Well they still I’m wondering if democrats will roll back the Hyde amendment now that they have the chance again to do it.

Luv it.

8 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture


heh, i wonder if those cops will get fired. no, actually, i don't wonder.

i hope that they are identified so that all decent human beings can avoid them.

4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

They also don’t take prisoners.

More on the LA cops response to homeless people and some others that were there to support them.

Over $400 million was spent on it as well as a huge number of cops with swat standing by. For homeless people. Imagine how far that $400 million would have gone for helping them instead. Pack up your belongings and come with us to this hotel. If we can hold immigrants in hotels then we damn well can afford to put Americans in them.

Found an article on it. But look at how many cops were there. Gawd I can’t wait until robots take cops jobs since they have been on the wrong side of the class war and are getting worse. But don’t worry, democrats passed the bill that rescinds immunity for them.

There’s a war going on — and it’s incredible that people think they’re entitled to stroll comfortably around well-manicured public green spaces, with their views uncluttered by the reality of the poverty and squalor of the society they inhabit.

Speaking of immunity, we have to wait to see if Cuomo will sign the bill that takes away his immunity deal. Will he? Place your bets.


8 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

joe shikspack's picture


yep, i admire the gumption of french farmers.

Gawd I can’t wait until robots take cops jobs since they have been on the wrong side of the class war and are getting worse.

i dunno, the people operating the robots will be the same soulless bastards that operate the police.

7 users have voted.

@snoopydawg They are embedded in the military and law enforcement.

Now we get this.

A Southwest Airlines pilot’s recorded rant about Bay Area residents quickly went viral online this week, with the pilot at one point calling those who live in San Francisco “goddamn liberal f--ks.”

A Southwest spokesman confirmed to local San Francisco news outlet SFGATE Thursday that the pilot worked for the airline company, and that it was "fully addressing the situation internally."

The remarks, which were picked up over the Mineta San Jose International Airport’s air traffic control scanner, occurred on a March 12 flight and were posted on Live ATC, which livestreams air traffic control audio transmissions.

The pilot, which Southwest has not publicly identified by name, can be heard in the recording beginning to complain about San Francisco residents amid directions from air traffic controllers on weather and runway conditions.

“F--k this place, goddamn liberal f--ks,” he said, before he was interrupted by an air traffic professional.

He later continues his rant, saying, “F--king weirdos, probably driving around in f--king Hyundais, f--king roads and s--t that go slow as f--k.”

“You don’t have balls unless you’re f--king rolling coal, man, goddamn it.”

Southwest said in a statement shared with multiple news outlets that the outburst was an “isolated incident involving a single employee and not representative of the nearly 60,000 hardworking, respectful people of Southwest Airlines.”

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


Maybe Trump got to play president just so he could do what he did with the media riding his ass daily just for that purpose. Someone suggested that he did the election fraud and capital riots so Biden could do the 2nd patriot act. Damn now that’s cynical, but I don’t trust my government. The only reason the government can’t make everyone get vaccinated for Covid now is because the vaccines are still experimental but once they get fda approval they will be mandatory. And it’s why Pfizer said that they are going to raise prices in the future, looking to make lots of money.

6 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

One of the largest container ships in the world blocking the Suez Canal like a “beached whale” may take weeks to free, a salvage company has said, as officials stopped all ships entering the channel on Thursday in a new setback for global trade.

The 400 metres (430 yards) long Ever Given – almost equal to the height of the New York City’s Empire State Building – is blocking transit in both directions through one of the world’s busiest shipping channels for oil and grain and other trade linking Asia and Europe.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said eight tugs were working to move the vessel, which got stuck diagonally across the single-lane southern stretch of the canal on Tuesday morning amid strong winds and a dust storm.

“We can’t exclude it might take weeks, depending on the situation,” Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch company Boskalis which is trying to free the ship, told the Dutch television programme Nieuwsuur.

A total of 206 large container ships, tankers carrying oil and gas, and bulk vessels hauling grain have backed up at either end of the canal, according to tracking data, creating one of the worst shipping jams seen for years.

Osama Rabie, chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, monitors the situation near stranded container ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, after it ran aground, in Suez Canal, Egypt, March 25, 2021

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


that's a pretty amazing clusterfuck.

makes you wonder if nasser's ghost isn't rambling about.

4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


It was completed or started in 1869. Completed I think is correct.


That seems remarkable to me that they did it without modern tools. Same with the Golden Gate Bridge and lots of tall/big buildings and homes. Mansions built last century are still standing. I can’t see how the wind could have blown a ship that big and heavy. Well look what it did to Biden on the stairs. Snicker.

6 users have voted.

The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

snoopydawg's picture

Cops turn her around and make her walk backwards like she is dangerous or crazy. If she was a rich white woman that would never happen. This looks like what happens in the Russia we pretend they are.

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The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

snoopydawg's picture


She knocked on the door after being told not to. Placed in handcuffs for knocking on a door while the people who went to the capital were allowed to leave the building calmly like the school field trip was over.

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The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

CB's picture

to make a scene of her arrest. They had signs and wore sets of prepared "chains". I would say that she was told if she disrupted the signing of the bill she would be arrested and she still went ahead in order to publicize it.

What's your take?
"Slave chains" shown at about 3:40

1 user has voted.
snoopydawg's picture


but they were there protesting a Jim Crow law and an article I read this morning on Georgia and blacks were in the 1890's they passed voter laws making it harder for them to vote as well as many other things that basically put them back in slavery. I would have brought slave chains to the event too if I were black. We have never really faced what slavery has done to their decedents. We keep them in slums which are under funded and over policed. The violence poor people have to live with in Chicago is unreal and whomever is senator for that area has bailed on them big time. John Lewis became the type of person MLK warned about as has Clyburn and ever member of the black caucus.

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The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

The Ostrich should be the national bird not the Eagle

CB's picture

right into their hands. They would have got little publicity otherwise. She should have sat down on the floor and forced them to drag her out.

2 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

This is interesting, on Nordstream 2:

Biden's policy is no different from Trump's on Nordstream 2 because it's what Wall Street wants. The banks are still carrying a bunch of fracking debt and they're hoping to force the Germans to buy fracked LNG from the US in order to make some of that debt good.

11 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

@Azazello Ukraine is a tinder box, North Koreans are firing missiles again, Afghanistan withdrawal isn't going to happen, Yemen war is ongoing.


9 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

I just hope they don't kill too many people in their futile attempt to keep the Empire going and the contracts flowing.

9 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the video.

i guess the u.s./wall street don't seem to get it that they are overplaying their hand.

for institutions that are supposed to attract "the smartest guys in the room," they sure seem to do a lot of stupid stuff.

8 users have voted.
mimi's picture

deal ever.

2 users have voted.

found this live performance from 2008 in K.C.

4 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the tune! glad you liked little willie.

4 users have voted.

Not sure is the questions were handed in advance.

10 users have voted.