The Evening Blues - 4-18-17


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Earl Bostic

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b and jazz saxophone player Earl Bostic. Enjoy!

Earl Bostic - Flamingo

“Terrorism” is a word that has become a plague on our vocabulary, the excuse and reason and moral permit for state-sponsored violence— our violence—which is now used on the innocent of the Middle East ever more outrageously and promiscuously. Terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. It has become a full stop, a punctuation mark, a phrase, a speech, a sermon, the be-all and end-all of everything that we must hate in order to ignore injustice and occupation and murder on a mass scale. Terror, terror, terror, terror. It is a sonata, a symphony, an orchestra tuned to every television and radio station and news agency report, the soap-opera of the Devil, served up on prime-time or distilled in wearyingly dull and mendacious form by the right-wing “commentators” of the American east coast or the Jerusalem Post or the intellectuals of Europe. Strike against Terror. Victory over Terror. War on Terror. Everlasting War on Terror. Rarely in history have soldiers and journalists and presidents and kings aligned themselves in such thoughtless, unquestioning ranks.”

-- Robert Fisk

News and Opinion

MIT Scientist: A Critique of ‘False and Misleading’ White House Claims About Syria’s Use of Lethal Gas

This report provides unambiguous evidence that the White House Intelligence Report (WHR) contains false and misleading claims that could not possibly have been accepted in any professional review by impartial intelligence experts. The WHR was produced by the National Security Council under the oversight of national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

The evidence presented herein is from two selected videos that are part of a larger cache of videos that are available on YouTube. [see link - js] These videos were uploaded to YouTube by the SMART News Agency between April 5 and April 7. Analysis of the videos shows that all the scenes taken at the site the WHR claims was the location of a sarin release indicate significant tampering with the site. Since these videos were available roughly one week before the WHR was issued April 11, this indicates that the office of the WHR made no attempt to utilize the professional intelligence community to obtain accurate data in support of the findings in the report.

The video evidence shows workers at the site roughly 30 hours after the alleged attack who were wearing clothing with the logo “Idlib Health Directorate.” These individuals were photographed putting dead birds from a birdcage into plastic bags. The implication of these actions was that the birds had died after being placed in the alleged sarin crater. However, the video also shows the same workers inside and around the same crater with no protection of any kind against sarin poisoning. These individuals were wearing honeycomb facemasks and medical exam gloves. They were otherwise dressed in normal streetwear and had no protective clothing of any kind.

The honeycomb facemasks would provide absolutely no protection against either sarin vapors or sarin aerosols. The masks are only designed to filter small particles from the air. If sarin vapor was present, it would be inhaled without attenuation by these individuals. If sarin was present in an aerosol form, the aerosol would have condensed into the pores in the masks and evaporated into a highly lethal gas as the individuals inhaled through the masks. It is difficult to believe that health workers, if they were health workers, would be so ignorant of these basic facts. In addition, other people dressed as health workers were standing around the crater without any protection at all.

As noted in my earlier reports, the assumption in the WHR that the site of the alleged sarin release had not been tampered with was totally unjustified, and no competent intelligence analyst would have agreed that this assumption was valid. The implication of this observation is clear — the WHR was not reviewed and released by any competent intelligence experts unless they were motivated by factors other than concerns about the accuracy of the report. ... The McMaster report is completely undermined by a significant body of video evidence taken after the alleged sarin attack and before the U.S. cruise missile attack, which unambiguously shows the claims in the WHR could not possibly be true. This cannot be explained as a simple error.

MIT Professor Debunks Media & White House & On S-Y-R-I-A G-A-S Attack

Trump’s Abrupt Regime-Change Pivot Raises Concerns About a “Mad Max Syria” Should Assad Fall

President Trump's cruise missile strike against Syria was celebrated by establishment politicians and media, their glee at striking a blow against Bashar al-Assad swamping any rational discussion of what happens next. Assad is undoubtedly the most despicable war criminal in power today. His forces have ruthlessly starved and bombed hundreds of thousands of his own people, and tortured and executed thousands more.

[Well, now that Bush and Obama are out of office, perhaps Assad is back in the running for the most despicable war criminal award. On the other hand, give Trump some time, I'm sure that he's going to perform and give Assad more than a run for the money. - js]

... [S]wiftly removing the Assad regime would have a dramatic and destabilizing effect on a country that is increasingly governed by local mafias and warlords, and where the largest opposition groups are ISIS and Al Qaeda-connected militias. “Once the policy people look at what the day after would be — they don’t see any options,” said Josh Landis, the director of the Center For Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “The two strongest militias in Syria are Al Qaeda and ISIS, which would undoubtedly profit and would move into Damascus, were the Assad regime to be destroyed.”

Landis said that any gains made by rebel groups would inevitably lead to sectarian violence against minorities, and would have dire humanitarian consequences for the 15 million people who currently live in Assad-controlled territory. Although the Assad regime is responsible for the majority of the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the 6-year-old civil war, rebel groups — often U.S.-armed — have also been guilty of horrific human rights violations, from abductions and torture, to mass executions and child beheadings. ... And if emboldened rebel groups end up fighting over Damascus — Syria’s capital city — it could force millions of minorities and middle-class Sunnis to flee, exacerbating a refugee crisis that has already led 11.6 million people to flee their homes.

Massacre or 'hiccup'? MSM fails at covering rebel crimes in Syria

Mother of All Hypocrisies: Trump Cares for Some Syrian Babies Not Others

Do they feel no sense of shame? What callousness. What disgrace. How outrageous that our compassion should dry up the moment we realised that this latest massacre of the innocents wasn’t quite worth the same amount of tears and fury that the early massacre had produced. It fact it wasn’t worth a single tear. For the 126 Syrians – almost all of them civilians – who have just been killed outside Aleppo, were Shia Muslims being evacuated from two government-held (ie Bashar-held) villages in the north of Syria. And their killer was obviously from al-Nusra (al-Qaeda) or one of the Sunni “rebel” groups we in the West have armed – or quite possibly from Isis itself – and thus didn’t qualify for our sorrow. ...

And I recalled all those maudlin stories about how Ivanka Trump, as a mother, had been especially moved by the videotape from Khan Shaykoun, the site of the chemical attack on 4 April, and had urged her father to do something about it. And then it was Federica Mogherini, the EU’s ‘High Representative” for foreign affairs and security policy, who described the attack as “awful” – but insisted that she spoke “first of all as a mother”. Quite right, too. But what happened to all her maternal feelings – and those of Ivanka – when the pictures came in from northern Syria this weekend of exploded babies and children packaged up in black plastic bags? Silence.

There’s no doubting the flagrant, deliberate, vile cruelty of Saturday’s attack. The suicide bomber approached the refugee buses with a cartload of children’s cookies and potato chips – approaching, I might add, a population of fleeing Shia civilians who had been starving under siege by the anti-Assad rebels (some of whom, of course, were armed by us). Yet they didn’t count. Their “beautiful little babies” – I quote Trump on the earlier gas victims – didn’t stir us to anger. Because they were Shias? Because the culprits might have been too closely associated with us in the West? Or because – and here’s the point – they were the victims of the wrong kind of killer.

For what we want right now is to blame the “evil”, “animal”, “brutal”, etc, Bashar al-Assad who was first “suspected” to have carried out the 4 April gas attack (I quote The Wall Street Journal, no less) and then accused by the entire West of total and deliberate responsibility of the gas massacre.

Thomas Friedman’s Perverse Love Affair With ISIS

For the second time in as many years, Thomas Friedman has explicitly advocated that the United States use the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a proxy force against Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. The New York Times foreign affairs columnist made this suggestion in his Wednesday column, “Why Is Trump Fighting ISIS in Syria?” (4/12/17):

Why should our goal right now be to defeat the Islamic State in Syria? Of course, ISIS is detestable and needs to be eradicated. But is it really in our interest to be focusing solely on defeating ISIS in Syria right now?…

We could simply back off fighting territorial ISIS in Syria and make it entirely a problem for Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Assad. After all, they’re the ones overextended in Syria, not us. Make them fight a two-front war—the moderate rebels on one side and ISIS on the other. If we defeat territorial ISIS in Syria now, we will only reduce the pressure on Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah and enable them to devote all their resources to crushing the last moderate rebels in Idlib, not sharing power with them.

Friedman is not advocating the US stop bombing ISIS on anti-war grounds or because US bombing has led to thousands of civilian deaths—all perfectly correct and sensible reasons to oppose the US “War on Terror” in Syria—but because giving ISIS space to breathe will kill more Syrians, Iranians and Russians. He doesn’t advocate finding peaceful ways of lessening the power and appeal of groups like ISIS (like, say, sanctioning governments that support them or export their vulgar brand of Wahhabism), but rather using them, and in effect empowering them, to do the United States’ dirty work in Syria.

In a political climate where Americans are being arrested  for merely sending out pro-ISIS tweets, and dozens are swept up in dubious FBI entrapment plots, it’s notable that one of the most influential columnists in the United States can call for arming the designated terrorist organization so long as he frames it as “just asking questions” and does so to the end of killing Evil Iranians. (Friedman is not the only establishment figure to suggest that the US goal in Syria should be to prolong the bloodbath indefinitely — but usually this ghoulish argument isn’t offered so blatantly.)

Peace Activist Kathy Kelly: Yemenis Are Facing Twin Terrors of Aerial Bombings and Starvation

Ex-Afghan president: Trump committed 'atrocity' with massive bomb strike

Afghanistan's previous president said Monday that President Trump “committed an immense atrocity” in allowing the U.S. military to drop one of its most powerful non-nuclear bombs on ISIS tunnels in the country last week.

“My message to President Trump today is that he has committed an immense atrocity against the Afghan people, against fellow human beings," Hamid Karzai told The Associated Press.

“If the American government sees us as human beings, then they have committed a crime against fellow human beings, but if they treat us as less than human beings, well, of course they can do whatever they want,” Karzai added.

North Korea warns 'thermonuclear war may break out at any moment'

A senior North Korean official has accused the US of turning the Korean peninsula into “the world’s biggest hotspot” and creating “a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment”. North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador, Kim In-ryong, described US-South Korean military exercises as the largest ever “aggressive war drill” and said his country was “ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US”.

Kim’s warning came as the US vice-president, Mike Pence, assured Japan that Washington would work closely with its allies in the region to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis and denuclearise the Korean peninsula. “While all options are on the table,” Pence said, “President Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region, and with China.” He added: “We seek peace always as a country, as does Japan, but as you know and the United States knows, peace comes through strength and we will stand strongly with Japan and strongly with our allies for a peace and security in this region.” ...

North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, Han Song-Ryol, told the BBC that Pyongyang would continue to test missiles “on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis”. All-out war would ensue if the US took military action, he said.

The statements from the North Korean officials came as Trump told the government in Pyongyang that it has “gotta behave” and Pence said the “era of strategic patience is over”.

Russia and China Are ‘Tailing’ U.S. Warship En Route to North Korea Region

China and Russia have sent reconnaissance vessels to follow the U.S. aircraft carrier deployed to the Korean Peninsula, as fears of a military confrontation between Washington and Pyongyang rise.

The navies of both Beijing and Moscow want to gather intelligence on the USS Carl Vinson Strike Group—a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier—that has been rerouted to the region, multiple Japanese government sources told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Russian State TV Says Trump Is More Dangerous Than Kim Jong-Un

Russian state television has no doubt who is unpredictable enough to bring the world to war in the North Korean crisis, and it’s not the reclusive communist dictator Kim Jong-Un. ... In the latest sign of the Kremlin’s abrupt about-face on its erstwhile American hero, Dmitry Kiselyov pronounced Trump “more dangerous” than his North Korean counterpart. “Trump is more impulsive and unpredictable than Kim Jong Un,” he told viewers of his prime-time Sunday “Vesti Nedelyi” program, which earlier this year carried paeans to Trump for his pledge to warm up relations with Russia.

Russian officials aren’t so harsh in public. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Monday urged the U.S. to avoid any unilateral use of force against North Korea, warning this would be “a very risky course of action” and comparing it to the U.S. missile strike earlier this month on Syria, which Moscow denounced as aggression. Lavrov spoke after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said “the era of strategic patience is over,” while on a visit to the demilitarized zone between South and North Korea Monday.

While Russia condemns the “brinkmanship’’ of the ballistic missile tests by the isolated Communist state in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, this doesn’t justify breaking international law, Lavrov said. “So I really hope that the same unilateral actions we saw in Syria won’t happen.” Russia maintains close ties to North Korea, with which it shares a border, but isn’t an ally to the regime like China. ...

“The world is a hair’s breadth away from a real nuclear war with all its catastrophic consequences,” Kiselyov warned his viewers. Other state-TV presenters offered a ray of hope for Russians, pointing out that the radioactive fallout from a possible conflict on the Korean Peninsula likely would be carried eastward by prevailing winds, away from Russia.

Your tax dollars at work, helping the FBI to figure out whether is a threat to US democracy.

FBI Agrees to Give Records to Anti-War Reporters

In a win for government-transparency advocates, the FBI has agreed to turn over records it created when it spied on two anti-war journalists and pay $299,000 to settle their attorneys’ fees. ... With the ACLU’s help, journalists Eric Garris and Dennis Raimondo sued the FBI in 2013, after they learned the agency was monitoring their libertarian news website

According to Garris and Raimondo, they learned about the surveillance after their names appeared in another FOIA request posted online. Documents in that request included an FBI memo revealing that the agency had conducted a threat assessment of the two men and in 2004, and that an FBI analyst had suggested looking into whether their activity could “constitute a threat to national security on behalf of a foreign power.”

Once they learned that was under surveillance, Garris and Raimondo submitted their own FOIA requests for records on themselves and the site, the bulk of which the FBI refused to release. So they sued for the remaining records. ... Though Garris and Raimondo agreed to drop their FOIA claims, they stopped short of dropping two other claims under the Privacy Act, which are pending before a judge.

After Garris and Raimondo learned of the surveillance, they ran editorials detailing the surveillance on their site, which they say scared off three major donors for fear they would also be monitored. They say the site has lost $75,000 a year in donations since 2011, “chilling” their free speech.

Turkey: Referendum 'below international standards', says European observer mission

Erdogan celebrates new powers amid calls to nullify referendum results

Sunday’s landmark referendum vote in Turkey that will grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan enormous new powers remained clouded in controversy Monday, as the country’s main opposition party called for the extremely close vote to be nullified amid questions surrounding some 3 million unstamped ballots.

Speaking to a crowd of elated supporters Sunday night in Istanbul after the results were announced, Erdogan appeared unfazed by the controversy and asserted that the victory represents “the most important governmental reform of our history.” His critics agree that the vote is historic, but to them it represents yet another step toward authoritarianism.

The results were tight and turnout was high. According to Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu, over 80 percent  of Turks voted, with unofficial results showing 51.3 percent voting in favor of the reforms and 48.7 percent voting against. The three largest cities — Ankara, Izmir, and Istanbul — voted against the reforms.

Turkey’s electoral board ruled the election valid, even as the main opposition party in Turkey, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), contests the results and is calling for a recount of 60 percent of the votes, the BBC reports. Casting further doubt on Sunday’s vote, a report issued by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), an intergovernmental organization that oversees elections, said the election “took place on an unlevel playing field and the two sides of the campaign did not have equal opportunities.”

Just how 'dangerous' is Jean-Luc Mélenchon?

Theresa May shocks the UK by calling for early general election after saying she wouldn't

British Prime Minister Theresa May shocked the country Tuesday when she called for an early general election on June 8, citing the need to strengthen the government’s hand as it enters into critical Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

May said the country needed strong, stable leadership as it sought to strike the best possible deal for leaving the E.U. – and that the government’s position was currently being undermined by opposition MPs, who had threatened to vote against the final Brexit deal in Parliament. ...

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour party, said his party welcomed May’s call, indicating that the motion will pass when the issue is put to a vote in parliament Wednesday. “I welcome the prime minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first,” he said in a statement.

“Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and (National Health Service).”

Colombia's armed groups sow seeds of new conflict as war with Farc ends

Across Colombia, new armed groups – and some long-established ones – are violently occupying the regions left behind by the Farc, all hoping to wrest control of the cocaine trade, illegal gold mines and other criminal enterprises which once financed the rebels. The military promised to send out 65,000 of its soldiers to occupy and secure the regions and President Juan Manuel Santos announced last month that 960 new police agents would be assigned to rural areas.

But criminal groups have moved faster. Fighting between a smaller rebel faction, the National Liberation Army, ELN, and the military branch of a criminal group known as the Urabeños has led to the forced displacement of nearly 1,000 people since the start of the year in the western region of Chocó. On 25 March, five community members of one town in that area were gunned down, though it is unclear by which side. And even before the Farc began its retreat, dozens of social activists and leftist political leaders have been murdered across the country; hundreds have been threatened.

Opening of UN files on Holocaust will 'rewrite chapters of history'

War crimes files revealing early evidence of Holocaust death camps that was smuggled out of eastern Europe are among tens of thousands of files to be made public for the first time this week. The once-inaccessible archive of the UN war crimes commission, dating back to 1943, is being opened by the Wiener Library in London with a catalogue that can be searched online.

The files establish that some of the first demands for justice came from countries that had been invaded, such as Poland and China, rather than Britain, the US and Russia, which eventually coordinated the post-war Nuremberg trials. The archive, along with the UNWCC, was closed in the late 1940s as West Germany was transformed into a pivotal ally at the start of the cold war and use of the records was effectively suppressed. Around the same time, many convicted Nazis were granted early release after the anti-communist US senator Joseph McCarthy lobbied to end war crimes trials. ...

The documents record the gathering of evidence shortly after the UN was founded in January 1942. They demonstrate that rape and forced prostitution were being prosecuted as war crimes in tribunals as far apart as Greece, the Philippines and Poland in the late 1940s, despite more recent suggestions that this was a legal innovation following the 1990s Bosnian conflict. The Polish government in exile, the files also record, supplied extraordinarily detailed descriptions to the UNWCC of concentration camps such as Treblinka and Auschwitz, where millions of Jews were gassed.

Palestinian hunger strikers' leader moved to solitary confinement

Marwan Barghouti, the leader of a mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, has been moved to solitary confinement amid warnings by Israeli officials that they will not negotiate with the striking detainees. As the strike involving more than 1,100 prisoners in eight prisons entered its second day, the Israeli authorities moved swiftly to contain the protest, dispersing key figures to different prisons and ordering searches to prevent inmates sending messages.

Gilad Erdan, the country’s public security minister, vowed that the authorities would not negotiate with prisoners and said Barghouti had been moved from Hadarim jail, the initial centre of the hunger strike, to another prison – reportedly in Haifa – and placed in solitary confinement. ... While Palestinian prisoners have mounted hunger strikes before, it has rarely on such a large scale. The protest also comes before the 50th anniversary of the Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, giving added significance.

Jeff Sessions is quietly preparing to double down on mass incarceration

In the whirlwind first few months of the Trump administration, it’s been easy to lose track of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. But with the nation’s gaze fixed on the GOP’s effort to gut Obamacare, Russian intrigue in the White House, and Trump’s tweets du jour, the attorney general has laid out his vision for the future of federal law enforcement.

While still short on specific policy changes, Sessions has made it clear that he plans to crack down on drugs and immigration while resuscitating the harsh sentencing laws that have given the United States the world’s highest incarceration rate. ...

“Overall, crime rates in our country remain near historic lows,” Sessions said. “Murder rates are half of what they were in 1980. The rate of violent crime has fallen by almost half from its peak.” And yet, Sessions continued, “the latest FBI data tell us that from 2014 to 2015, the violent crime rate in the U.S. increased by more than 3 percent — the largest one-year increase since 1991.” ...

In one sense, Sessions is right: There has been a worrying rise in violent crime recently. But it’s mostly been limited to just a few cities, including Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Milwaukee, where segregation, poverty, drugs, and other factors have combined to push up the murder rate. Everywhere else has been mostly untouched. Crime in New York City last year was at its lowest level since the NYPD began keeping track of statistics. ...

“When you put criminals in jail, crime goes down,” Steve Cook, a federal prosecutor from Tennessee who Sessions picked to serve as his top lieutenant at the Justice Department, told the Knoxville News Sentinel last year. ... But a 2015 review of more than 40 years of data by New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice found the opposite. The falling crime rate during that period was the result of growing incomes, an aging population, and various other social and economic factors — not mass incarceration. The report concluded that for nearly two decades now, with crime down and the incarceration rate still high, the net positive impact of locking up millions of people “has been essentially zero.”

Trump White House Taking 'Marching Orders' from Hundreds of CEOs: Report

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has met with at least 190 corporate executives, not including phone calls with heads of banks or his numerous Wall Street appointees, the watchdog group Public Citizen reported Monday in a new analysis. And since the November election itself, he's met with at least 224. "One of every five of the corporate executives who met with the Trump administration within the first 100 days represented the banking or financial sector, a particular focus of Trump's criticism during the campaign," Public Citizen noted in a write-up of its findings.

The group's report comes just days after the Trump administration announced it would not disclose visitor logs from the White House, Trump Towers, or the president's Mar-a-Lago resort to the public. With those documents unavailable, Public Citizen developed its analysis via news reports and White House press releases.

The gatherings reflect the administration's interest in giving special treatment to corporate sectors, such as Big Pharma, banks, and the automotive industry, among others—and it's yet another example of Trump breaking his "drain the swamp" campaign promises, Public Citizen said.

"Donald Trump has asked America's CEOs for marching orders, and in meeting after meeting, they are happily issuing instructions," said the group's president Robert Weissman. "As best anyone can decipher what's going on at the White House, the CEOs are in charge now—and they are predictably advocating their narrow, short-term profitability interests, not what's in America's interest."

the evening greens

Receding glacier causes immense Canadian river to vanish in four days

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography. The abrupt and unexpected disappearance of the Slims river, which spanned up to 150 metres at its widest points, is the first observed case of “river piracy”, in which the flow of one river is suddenly diverted into another.

For hundreds of years, the Slims carried meltwater northwards from the vast Kaskawulsh glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory into the Kluane river, then into the Yukon river towards the Bering Sea. But in spring 2016, a period of intense melting of the glacier meant the drainage gradient was tipped in favour of a second river, redirecting the meltwater to the Gulf of Alaska, thousands of miles from its original destination.

The continental-scale rearrangement was documented by a team of scientists who had been monitoring the incremental retreat of the glacier for years. But on a 2016 fieldwork expedition they were confronted with a landscape that had been radically transformed. ... While the Slims had been reduced to a mere trickle, the reverse had happened to the south-flowing Alsek river, a popular whitewater rafting river that is a Unesco world heritage site. The previous year, the two rivers had been comparable in size, but the Alsek was now 60 to 70 times larger than the Slims, flow measurements revealed.

The data also showed how abrupt the change had been, with the Slims’ flow dropping precipitously from the 26 to 29 May 2016. ... Prof Lonnie Thompson, a paleoclimatologist at Ohio State University who was not involved in the work, said the observations highlight how incremental temperature increases can produce sudden and drastic environmental impacts. “There are definitely thresholds which, once passed in nature, everything abruptly changes,” he said.

Science strikes back: anti-Trump march set to draw thousands to Washington

On Saturday, thousands of scientists are set to abandon the cloistered neutrality of their laboratories to plunge into the the political fray against Donald Trump in what will likely be the largest ever protest by science advocates. The March for Science, a demonstration modeled in part on January’s huge Women’s March, will inundate Washington DC’s national mall with a jumble of marine biologists, birdwatchers, climate researchers and others enraged by what they see as an assault by Trump’s administration upon evidence-based thinking and scientists themselves

The march is a visceral response to a presidency that has set about the evisceration of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many of its science-based rules, the dismissal of basic climate change tenets by the president and his appointees and a proposed budget that would remove around $7bn from science programs, ranging from cancer research to oceanography to Nasa’s monitoring of the Earth. Many scientists at federal agencies, concerned their work may be sidelined or censored for political purposes, will take the unusual step of publicly damning the administration. ...

The march now has dozens of people grappling with the logistics of the DC march and more than 500 companion events around the world. More than 100 organizations have lent their support, including the institutional heft of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific organization, and the American Geophysical Union. In March, Bill Nye, the bow-tied embodiment of science for many Americans, and Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician who alerted the world to soaring levels of lead in the blood of children in Flint, Michigan, were named as honorary co-chairs.

Organizers won’t commit to an expected number of protestors but are downplaying expectations that it will be anywhere near the scale of the Women’s March. The tone is expected to waver between pro-science and anti-Trump. The march will dovetail with the People’s Climate March, which will take place a week later.

Also of Interest

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

The American Government’s Secret Plan for Surviving the End of the World

Toward a Politics of Ungovernability: Shutting Down American-Style Authoritarianism

Marwan Barghouti: Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons

Chris Hedges: The Price of Resistance

Happy Tax Day! Here’s How Corporations Plan to Screw You Over.

Microsoft mysteriously fixed security gaps allegedly used by US spies a month before they leaked

A Little Night Music

Earl Bostic - Cracked Ice

Earl Bostic - That's The Groovy Thing

Earl Bostic - Stompin At The Savoy

Earl Bostic & Bill Doggett - Bubbins Rock

Earl Bostic - Special Delivery Stomp

Earl Bostic - Rockin' and Reelin'

Earl Bostic - Up There in Orbit

Earl Bostic - Blue Skies

Earl Bostic - No Name Jive, Southern Fried

Earl Bostic - Bugle Call Rag

Earl Bostic - Pink Panther

19 users have voted.


Arrow's picture

Evening Joe.

America just doesn't give a rats ass.
'Let's make perpetual war.' 'It's just helping brown people kill each other.'
It's all the powers that be can do.
It's Vietnam all over again. 'We keep bombing so the war continues and peace doesn't break out.'

11 users have voted.

I want a Pony!

joe shikspack's picture


gotta keep those "american interests" (shorthand for oil, gas and israel) satisfied.

7 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

13 users have voted.

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy”

Chris Hedges

joe shikspack's picture


great meme! fsm help us if the chinese discover alabama. Smile

7 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

A Mad Max middle east sadly sounds right.

Heard a T. Franks interview on . Ends up he lives in Friedman's neighborhood.

I'm glad there is still the possibility of suing the FBI and winning. Especially considering it's the CEO's giving the orders...surprise!

Wild how the US is supporting dictators like Erdogan and Sisi, but not in North Korea...they are worse than Assad.

River capture is a natural is just that the system is on warming steroids.

Just a quick drive by take on tonight's news. Thanks for your always excellent round up!

11 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the thomas frank link!

heh, if the greedy corporate overlords aren't halted, the whole world is going to be a mad max world.

4 users have voted.
Steven D's picture

than certainly Tom Friedman needs to be locked up with those traitors to Liberty, Justice and the American Way.

9 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

joe shikspack's picture

@Steven D

i have to say that there is a not-too-subtle charm that attaches to the idea of tom friedman in an orange jumpsuit, sharing his many insights with his fellow prisoners. i suppose that it would be bad karma to wish that it would happen.

5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

but as you know and the United States knows, peace comes through strength

The counterpunch article about shutting down American style authoritarianism is a great read

It is impossible to imagine the damage Trump and his white nationalists, economic fundamentalists, and white supremacists friends will do to civil liberties, the social contract, the planet, and life itself in the next few years. Rather than address climate change, the threat of nuclear war, galloping inequality, the elimination of public goods, Trump and his vicious acolytes have accelerated the threats faced by these growing dangers. Moreover, the authoritarian steam roller just keeps bulldozing through every social protection and policy put in place, however insufficient, in the last few years in order to benefit the poor, vulnerable, and the environment.

A neo-fascist politics of emotional brutality, militant bigotry, and social abandonment has reached new heights in the United States. Think about the Republican Party call to eliminate essential health benefits such as mental health coverage, guaranteed health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, and the elimination of Meals on Wheels program that benefit the poor and elderly.

I like the suggestion of a country wide strike that could bring the corporations to heal, but this country is so divided, I don't see that happening any time soon.
Most of the Trump supporters think he's doing a great job because they believe that our military is defending civilians and they hate having to pay for poor people's food and homes.
How would things be different if Hillary was president? We'd still be at warring with Syria and probably Russia which could include the mini nukes that they think are survivable, but would our social programs be at the risk that they are with Trump? I think she would work with the republicans on privatizing social security and would do nothing to progress our health care.
And what if Bernie was president? How would he change our foreign policy or would he be able to stop the neocons from taking over? Would the democrats block him from going forward with his ideas on social programs?
Lots of what ifs.
I still think that Barack is responsible for Donald because of what he did and didn't do.
He owns the Syrian debacle that's for sure.

11 users have voted.

The western general public is so terminally zombified that false flag attacks can now be announced 4 weeks in advance

joe shikspack's picture


had hillary won, she would still be serving with a republican-dominated legislature and 32 or so states in republican hands. as with obama, the republicans would have obstructed her on everything but her warmaking, which she would be conducting with even greater abandon than trump.

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

and the glacier. Thanks for posting it. Pretty scary that a river that has been there forever goes away in just 4 days.

8 users have voted.

The western general public is so terminally zombified that false flag attacks can now be announced 4 weeks in advance

enhydra lutris's picture

rhetoric throughout history all use the word "criminals" as if they were an identifiable separate subspecies with an inherent tendency to indulge in criminal behavior. That is simply wrong and stupid and needs push-back whenever presented.

8 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

"criminals" is a code word for "minorities." sessions is playing to the racism inherent in the system.

6 users have voted.
dervish's picture

6 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

joe shikspack's picture


interesting stuff! if true, it certainly puts a different light on what happened.

5 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

Met some travelers from Alaska while whail watching last week, wondering if they had heard the stunning news about the river changing course.

4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

A lifetime passes. Where do we want to go is the better question. The When is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Next time you see a falling star may your life be blessed and your spirit be at equillibrium for the moment, as appropriate.

3 users have voted.

Fighting for democratic principles,... well, since forever