The Evening Blues - 4-27-16
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton. Enjoy!
Jelly Roll Morton - Dr. Jazz
“There is nothing more agreeable in life than to make peace with the Establishment - and nothing more corrupting.”
-- A.J.P. Taylor
News and Opinion
An interesting analysis by Gaius Publius, worth a full read. Here's a taste to get you started:
1. If Clinton is the nominee, she must win Sanders supporters or risk losing to the Republican, whoever that is.
1a. “Independents” aren’t “moderate Republicans.” Independents are pretty radical these days.
In my view and the view of many, Clinton’s success in the general election depends on appealing to the voters she’s currently disrespecting — Sanders supporters, first-time younger voters (those who only want “free this and free that” and don’t do their own research), and non-party-affiliated independents (the ones who can’t vote for Sanders because they are locked out of closed primaries like New York’s).
The corollary (point 1a) describes today’s independent voter, not as some imagined between-the-parties “Reagan Democrat,” but as modern radical independents, people in both parties who (1) reject the bipartisan money-washed system, and (2) are suffering personally because of it. Modern independents now comprise 42% of the country.
Frankly, the future of the country, at least until the climate overtakes us, hinges on the two points above. It seems clear that the national rebellion against big-money rule by both parties, which is well underway, will either find an electoral expression (Sanders or initially, Trump) or will fail in its attempt to find an electoral solution. (Trump will eventually fail to satisfy this revolt, as discussed briefly here and in this Michael Parenti comment: “Fascism is a false revolution. It makes a revolutionary appeal without making an actual revolution. It propagates the widely proclaimed New Order while serving the same old moneyed interests.” But that discussion is for later.)
As I see it, in all cases but a Sanders nomination, the next phase of the revolt will occur outside the electoral process and outside the rules of Establishment authority. This doesn’t necessarily mean pitchforks and torches. It can range from something as mild (but effective) as Occupy and Nuit Debout (“up all night” protests) in France, to angry, active Ferguson-style street events. ...
Clinton can certainly wrap up the nomination (or not), but if she does, she will have done it with a jiggered, Debbie Wasserman Schultzed process; by winning states no Democrat will win in November; by winning mainly in contests in which only Democrats could vote.
... This is not about the rightness or wrongness of what the Democrats do on arrival in Philadelphia. It’s about how what they do will look to people who will vote in November.
This could all be a problem — for Democrats, not for Sanders. What’s a “hardwired for Clinton” political party to do? Stay tuned. Philadelphia may be the site of the most important crossroad in post-FDR American history.
With US officials continuing to talk up “Russian aggression,” the Pentagon has sent a pair of F-22 Raptors to Romania, in what is being described as a “show of force” to prove US capabilities to deploy such planes anywhere in NATO territory.
The F-22s have been seldom-used by the Pentagon, annd repeatedly grounded by technical problems. Despite this, the program has cost an estimated $66 billion, well more than Russia spends on its entire military in a given year.
The war against the Islamic State has now cost American taxpayers more than $7 billion, a figure that could increase dramatically as the U.S. prepares to send 200 more troops to Iraq to help fight the extremist network. ...
Given the Obama administration’s airpower-first approach to battling ISIS it’s not surprising that daily flight operations accounted for 48 percent of the war’s cost, or about $3.2 billion.
Mission support – including personnel, logistics, surveillance and reconnaissance – accounted for 28 percent of the cost, or $1.8 billion, and munitions made up 24 percent, or just under $1.6 billion.
Broken down by military branch, the Air Force has spent the most by far on the anti-ISIS fight, roughly $4.6 billion. The Army has spent $918 million, the Navy $734 million and special operations forces account for $503 million, according to the Pentagon.
Syrian government airstrikes and shelling by armed groups have killed dozens of civilians in Aleppo over the past few days, rescue workers and monitoring groups say, as the city suffers a marked escalation in violence.
The increase in fighting has left a cessation of hostilities agreement in tatters and comes after the virtual collapse of United Nations-brokered peace talks in Geneva last week.
Aleppo's branch of the Syrian Civil Defense, a volunteer search and rescue group known as the White Helmets, said bombings had left at least 89 civilians dead and injured another 135 in the city since April 22, Human Rights Watch reported on Wednesday. ...
It is unclear whether the strikes are being carried out by government forces or allied Russian aircraft, which began an extensive bombing campaign on rebel-held areas in September. Rebel groups and Islamic factions are also shelling regime-held neighborhoods. ...
Armed opposition groups have killed at least 20 civilians since April 22, according to the government run SANA news agency, with 16 dead on Monday alone. Rebels have also bombarded Aleppo's Kurdish-controlled neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud, according to local activists and Kurdish forces.
The United States will deploy a rocket launcher system in Turkey near the border with a part of Syria held by Islamic State, Turkey's foreign minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted by the Haberturk newspaper as saying that the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) would arrive in May near a part of southeastern Turkey that has repeatedly been hit by rocket fire from Syria.
A senior U.S. military official confirmed the matter was under discussion but declined to comment further.
The deployment is part of a strategy to seal off an area around the Syrian town of Manbij, which could deprive Islamic State fighters of a logistical route they have used to bring in supplies and foreign recruits.
The UN Security Council has today issued a statement blasting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for recent comments on the Golan Heights, reiterating that “the status of the Golan remains unchanged,” and that it doesn’t belong to Israel despite being occupied by them since 1967, and being illegally annexed by Israel in the 1980s.
Officials noted UN Security Council resolution 497, way back in 1981, made it clear the UN considers Israel’s annexation to have no legal effect internationally. In today’s comments, officials also expressed concern about Israel’s establishment of cities and towns in what is effectively occupied territory.
Last week, Netanyahu declared that Golan was “forever” Israeli, and demanded the international community formally recognize the annexation, saying the Syrian Civil War proved the land could never be returned to the Syrians.
According to Maj. Gen. Peter Gersten, the US is said to have attmepted to copy Israel’s “roof-knocking” strategy, dropping smaller bombs on civilian homes first to chase them out before dropping the bigger bombs. Even though it clearly didn’t work well for Israel, US officials tried, and say it “failed” for them.
US officials are also said to be “copying Israel” by dropping leaflets into populated areas demanding the civilians flee, even though by and large they have nowhere to go, a tactic Israel similarly used to warn Gazans out of Gaza, despite all borders being closed.
Bombing civilian locations is flat out illegal under international law, though Israel has mostly gotten a pass for repeatedly doing so, because the US vetoes all the resolutions criticizing them for that.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the area outside Iraq’s parliament, demanding reform as the legislative body attempted, and failed, to have an orderly session regarding the proposed new technocrat cabinet.
Prime Minister Hayder Abadi’s arrival caused a considerable ruckus, as MPs opposed to his cabinet threw water bottles at him and hollered “treachery” for nearly two hours, until the early session was ended. This also saw the removal of all reporters, for “security,” amid reports that the protesters had entered the Green Zone. ...
Abadi is a member of the State of Law faction, the larger of two Shi’ite Arab blocs. Ironically, the opposition to his cabinet is overwhelmingly from his own bloc, along with the Kurds, while he is supported by the rival Shi’ite bloc, Moqtada al-Sadr’s, which dominates the public protests, along with the Sunni Arabs, including parliament’ss speaker.
Prosecutors have told an Iraqi refugee who is accused of traveling to Syria to help a terrorist organization that he faces evidence derived from the government’s warrantless surveillance program, a disclosure that elevates the significance of the case by making the constitutionality of that program a central dispute.
With the rare notice this month, the case joins a small number of others in which the constitutionality of the surveillance program and its legal basis — the FISA Amendments Act — are at issue. Among them is an Ohio case in which three defendants accused of giving money to Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch received similar notices in December.
Thomas A. Durkin, a defense lawyer who represents the Iraqi refugee, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, who was arrested after returning to the United States, and one of the Ohio men, Yahya Farooq Mohammad, said he would ask the judges in both cases to suppress the evidence. ...
At least 10 defendants in eight cases — all terrorism-related — have now received such a notice. They include three cases in Colorado, Oregon and Brooklyn in which defendants have challenged the surveillance and lost at the district court level; no appeals court has yet weighed in. (The defendants previously notified in three other cases did not contest the surveillance.)
Brazilian internet freedom activists are nervous. On Wednesday, a committee in the lower house of Congress, the Câmera dos Deputados, will vote on seven proposals ostensibly created to combat cybercrime. Critics argue the combined effect will be to substantially restrict open internet in the country by peeling back the right to anonymity, and providing law enforcement with draconian powers to censor online discourse and examine citizens’ personal data without judicial oversight.
The bills are ripped straight from what has become a standard international playbook: Propose legislation to combat cybercrime; invoke child pornography, hackers, organized crime, and even terrorism; then slip in measures that also make it easier to identify critical voices online (often without judicial oversight) and either mute them or throw them in jail for defamation — direct threats to free speech. ...
The Brazilian press has not dedicated much coverage to this story — reporters have their hands full with the monthslong political crisis currently enveloping the nation — but the Folha de São Paulo, a major national newspaper, published an editorial on Saturday arguing that the proposals use the “pretext of increasing security” online to “increase the power to censor the web and diminish users’ privacy.” According to Folha, the “provisions attack the pillars of the Marco Civil da Internet, a statute enacted in 2014 which put Brazil at the vanguard of the issue” of internet rights. The paper concluded that “this is the type of control used by countries such as China and Iran.”
One particularly controversial proposal would have required social networks to remove content deemed “offensive to the honor” of politicians within 48 hours of receiving official notification. After public outcry, that section was removed from the second version of the report, but other proposals remain that would force companies to take down prohibited user-generated content, including those deemed to be “crimes against honor and other injuries,” without a unique judicial order.
Means, motive and opportunity. Yep.
Having removed the reformist President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Washington is now disposing of the reformist President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff. ...
In Brazil, Washington has used corruption insinuations to get President Rousseff impeached by the lower house. Evidence is not necessary, just allegations. It is no different from “Iranian nukes,” Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” Assad’s “use of chemical weapons,” or in Rousseff’s case merely insinuations. The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, notes that Rousseff “hasn’t been accused of anything.” The American-backed elites are simply using impeachment to remove a president who they cannot defeat electorally.
In short, this is Washington’s move against the BRICS. Washington is moving to put into political power a rightwing party that Washington controls in order to terminate Brazil’s growing relationships with China and Russia. ...
Kirchner and Rousseff’s “crimes” are their efforts to have the governments of Argentina and Brazil represent the Argentine and Brazilian peoples rather than the elites and Wall Street. In Washington these are serious offenses as Washington uses the elites to control South American countries. Whenever Latin Americans elect a government that represents them, Washington overthrows the government or assassinates the president. ...
Washington has always blocked reform in Latin America. Latin American peoples will remain American serfs until they elect governments by such large majorities that the governments can exile the traitorous elites, close the US embassies, and expel all US corporations. Every Latin American country that has an American presence has no future other than serfdom.
The proportion of Americans who say a religious day of rest is personally important to them has dropped to 50%, reflecting growing secularism over recent decades, according to a new poll.
A similar question asked in a 1978 survey showed 74% of respondents saying the Sabbath had personal religious significance.
The new poll also showed a big fall in those saying they attended weekly religious services, from 55% in 1978 to 27% now. Jews were least likely to attend services and Mormons were most likely.
The survey was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Deseret News, a “family-oriented” news site based in Salt Lake City. It questioned 1,691 Americans across religious, racial, gender and age groups.
Venezuela’s public employees will work only on Monday and Tuesday as the country grapples with an electricity crisis.
President Nicolás Maduro announced on Tuesday that the government was slashing working hours for at least two weeks in an attempt to save energy.
He said the water level behind the nation’s largest dam had fallen to near its minimum operating level thanks to a severe drought. Experts say lack of planning and maintenance is also to blame.
The country’s socialist administration gave nearly 3 million public workers Fridays off earlier this month, and on Monday initiated daily four-hour blackouts around the country.
The government is now extending the Friday holidays to primary school teachers, though it appears employees of public hospitals and state-run supermarkets will still have to work.
The development came as the elections council agreed to give opposition leaders a document allowing them to begin the process of seeking a referendum to remove Maduro.
Many are quick to echo Steve Harvey and tell those that push President Obama to be more responsive to the needs of black folks that he is not just President of Black America, but, in fact, he is the President of the United States of America. The point they attempt to make is that the President cannot just cater to the needs of one constituency. He must, being president of all, cater to all perspectives. His recent comments should appease the All Lives Matter vote.
Recently, the Movement for Black Lives was discussed while President Barack Obama spoke at a London town hall. He praised Black Lives Matter for its ability to highlight issues, but criticized what he felt were lackluster efforts to create solutions. He said that “they yell too much” and that “yelling is not what will get the job done.” ...
The implication that Black Lives Matter is not doing its job correctly because they are not being polite in their dealings with lawmakers and politicians reeks of respectability politics. Somehow, the President has placed the responsibility of implementing socially just policy on private citizens, not the elected officials. He has shifted the burden onto BLM, but none of the support or benefits. ... Also, to refer to the movement’s actions strictly as “yelling” distracts from their accomplishments and is a thinly-veiled attempt to silence them, or at the very least, make dealing with them more convenient. ...
For the past seven years, many Black folks have been less critical of President Obama because we finally had someone who looked like us in the country’s highest office. As valuable that imagery is, we cannot forget that, as our grandmothers said, all your skinfolk ain’t your kinfolk—meaning, people that look like us are still capable of perpetuating anti-Blackness. President Obama has lectured us on respectability for the last time. We must hold Black leaders to the standards they inspire. Oppressed people need more than rhetoric. They need policy. He spent the first two years in office trying to build bridges with those who maintain white supremacy and now he wants to lecture those engaged in a movement to that was formed under his watch. What oppressed people need is neither always convenient nor expressed according to the expectations of those who need to hear them. If we were politely asking for our needs to be met, we would die before we attracted the attention of those in power. In fact, many already have.
Widening a scandal that has marred San Francisco’s reputation as one of America’s most liberal cities, the city’s public defender said Tuesday that a newly released series of text messages exchanged by three police officers in 2014 and 2015 will force city officials to take a second look at more than 200 criminal cases, including three murders.
In the more than 100 new text messages made public on Tuesday, one of the former officers, Jason Lai, repeatedly used racist, homophobic and transphobic slurs like “nigga”, “fag” and “tranny” to refer to San Francisco residents. He also makes offensive remarks about president Barack Obama and NBA player LeBron James. ...
In addition to Lai, two other officers, Curtis Liu and Keith Ybarreta, are also named in the scandal, which will now force officials to reevaluate the evidence presented in a total of 207 criminal cases, ranging from misdemeanor drug possession to murder.
The revelation of the contents of the text messages is just the latest blow for the embattled police department, which has faced ongoing protests since the fatal police shooting of Mario Woods last winter. ...
“It would be naive to believe these officers’ bigotry was reserved solely for text messages,” Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s public defender, said in a statement. “It is a window into the biases they harbored. It likely influenced who they stopped, who they searched, who they arrested, and how they testified in criminal trials.”
Laurence D. Fink, the head of the world’s largest asset manager, said governments need to embark on fiscal stimulus to boost the economy, joining a growing chorus of investors who say the world has relied on monetary policy for too long.
Monetary policy has “run out of runway,” with some central banks pushing interest rates into negative territory, Fink said Wednesday in an interview with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg Television. He called the Bank of Japan’s negative rate policy an “outright mistake” and warned that without fiscal measures, the outlook would be “grim.”
“If we continue to have a dependency on monetary policy worldwide, I think it’s very grim,” said Fink, whose firm BlackRock Inc. oversees $4.7 trillion for clients. “We’re harming savers worldwide with low and negative interest rates.”
Fink’s comments echo those of top investors including Ray Dalio, head of the world’s largest hedge fund, and Bill Gross, the co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Co. Dalio said in February that the next step in policy would have to target spenders, rather than investors and savers, through measures that may include sending money to people directly. Gross has said for some time that fiscal measures were needed to supplement monetary policy.
The New York Times actually mentioned the ongoing strike against Verizon on Tuesday.
David Wacker, a service technician with Verizon who is one of around 39,000 landline and cable employees participating in the largest U.S. strike action in four years, was quoted in an article about Bernie Sanders supporters, which noted, in a subordinate clause, that he was on strike.
That brief reference was the first mention of the Verizon labor action on the news pages of the New York Times in a week.
The most recent references before that also had to do with Sanders, when he visited a Verizon picket line in midtown Manhattan on April 18. Outside of those Sanders-focused stories, the New York Times hasn’t run a story on this major labor battle since its second day of action, nearly two weeks ago.
More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is "rigged" and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties – a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair. ...
Some 51 percent of likely voters who responded to the April 21-26 online survey said they believed the primary system was "rigged" against some candidates. Some 71 percent of respondents said they would prefer to pick their party’s nominee with a direct vote, cutting out the use of delegates as intermediaries.
Overall, nearly half said they would also prefer a single primary day in which all states held their nominating contests together - as opposed to the current system of spreading them out for months.
Less than two hours after the polls closed on Tuesday, major networks declared Hillary Clinton the winner in Maryland, Delaware, and delegate-rich Pennsylvania. ...
Speaking in Huntington, West Virginia shortly after polls closed, Sanders reminded the crowd how far the campaign had come and how, originally, the media dismissed him as a "fringe" candidate.
"And in the middle of all of that," Sanders continued, "we were taking on the most powerful political organization in America. An organization that elected a president, President [Bill] Clinton, on two occasions and an organization that ran a very strong campaign for Secretary Clinton in 2008."
Similarly, in an email to supporters Tuesday evening, the Senator expanded on this idea, writing:
Our path to the nomination was never narrower than the day I announced my candidacy. I will not stop fighting for an America where no one who works 40 hours a week lives in poverty, where health care is a right for all Americans, where kids of all backgrounds can go to college without crushing debt, where there is no bank too big to fail, no banker too powerful to jail, and we've reclaimed our democracy from the billionaire class.
He added that "any victories and any votes" are a repudiation of the status quo and are "a public declaration of support for the values we share."
"The political establishment wants us to go away so they can begin their march to the center," he continued, vowing to keep up the fight next week in Indiana, "and in each state moving forward."
Speaking from Philadelphia, Clinton made a direct appeal to Sanders supporters, pledging to "unify" the party and saying, "Whether you support Senator Sanders or you support me, there's much more that unites us than divides us."
— Arun Gupta (@arunindy) April 26, 2016
A disappointing election night for progressives ended Tuesday with two establishment Democrats, Katie McGinty and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, winning their respective U.S. Senate primary races in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Van Hollen won against Rep. Donna Edwards, both of whom were running to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski, in a contest that highlighted racial, gender, and class divides in the Maryland Democratic Party. ...
At a union hall in Prince George's County Tuesday night, Edwards gave a passionate concession speech that criticized the Democratic Party's faux-progressive mantle.
"To my Democratic Party, you cannot show up in churches before election day, you cannot sing the first and last verse of 'Lift Every Voice and Sing,' you cannot join hands and walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and call that post-racial and inclusion," she said to cheers and applause.
"To my Democratic Party, let me say that today Maryland is on the verge of having an all-male delegation in a so-called progressive state. So what I want to know from my Democratic Party, is when will the voices of people of color, when will the voices of women, when will the voices of labor, when will the voices of black women, when will our voices be effective, legitimate, equal leaders in a big-tent party?" she said.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, progressives saw McGinty's win over Joe Sestak as another example of establishment game-playing.
The Democratic Party's anointment of McGinty, a former chief of staff for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, came as an explicit response to Sestak's candidacy. The former congressman burned bridges with the party in 2010 after beating Sen. Arlen Specter for the Senate nomination, then losing to Republican Pat Toomey by two points, a race he says Democrat officials never forgave him for.
That sound you hear is the @DSCC breathing a huge sigh of relief that they won’t have to deal with Joe Sestak anymore.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) April 27, 2016
Hillary Clinton also won the presidential primaries in Maryland and Pennsylvania on Tuesday, rounding out both states' establishment lineups.
Bernie Sanders still has some work to do on his foreign policy positions.
People in the United States have "a lot of right to defend ourselves," presidential contender Bernie Sanders said at a town hall meeting Monday when asked if he too would have an extrajudicial "kill list" like President Barack Obama. The senator from Vermont also endorsed Obama's recent deployment of another 250 soldiers to Syria as part of the war against the Islamic State group.
"Look. Terrorism is a very serious issue," Sanders told MSNBC's Chris Hayes. "There are people out there who want to kill Americans, who want to attack this country, and I think we have a lot of right to defend ourselves." However, the senator added, "it has to be done in a constitutional, legal way."
The New York Times revealed in 2012 that President Obama hosts a meeting every Tuesday at the White House where he decides which suspected terrorists will be added to a so-called "kill list." Those on the list can then be targeted for killing, typically with an unmanned drone.
"Do you think what's being done now is constitutional and legal?" Hayes asked Sanders, noting the existence of "a list of people that the U.S. government wants to kill."
"In general I do, yes," Sanders replied.
On Monday night, six pro-Bernie Sanders groups were temporarily suspended by Facebook. ...
On social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, false reports for spam or abusive behaviour can sometimes be enough to trigger automatic bans, if submitted in large enough quantities. ... Sanders supporters [...] blamed astroturfing by pro-Clinton political action committees.
But Facebook told technology site Recode that the outages were actually due to a glitch in its systems. “A number of groups were inaccessible for a brief period after one of our automated policies was applied incorrectly. We corrected the problem within hours and are working to improve our tools.”
The campaign to allow money to be spent in the political system without a hint of its origin — the growing phenomenon known as dark money — racked up a major victory last week when a federal judge in Los Angeles issued a permanent injunction ending California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s attempt to obtain the donor list for Americans for Prosperity, the primary campaign and elections arm of the Koch brothers’ $889 million advocacy network.
The legal pushback against the attorney general’s inquiry was led by Americans for Prosperity and other advocates for undisclosed campaign cash. The Center for Competitive Politics, which litigates against restrictions on money in politics, joined the fray by filing a lawsuit against the attorney general’s request for donor information.
These days, those groups argue that guarding the identity of big political contributors is a First Amendment issue and a way to guard against “harassment” of donors — as Koch Industries’ general counsel claimed in a court filing.
But Americans for Prosperity and others now demanding campaign donor secrecy made the very opposite argument in the years before the Citizens United Supreme Court decision — supporting “full” campaign finance disclosure as a reasonable accompaniment to raising contribution limits. Now that contribution limits have been effectively eliminated, the calls for transparency have disappeared.
State environmental analyst in a 2008 email asked a technician collecting samples of a water system in Fenton to collect more to avert a ‘lead public notice’
A Michigan environmental official suggested a technician collecting samples for a suburban Detroit private water system “bump ... out” a test result that found very high levels of lead by testing more homes, according to a 2008 email reviewed by the Guardian. Doing so could avert a “lead public notice”, the email reasoned, which would alert residents of dangerously high levels in their water.
“Oh my gosh, I’ve never heard [it] more black and white,” said Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor and lead expert who helped uncover the Flint water crisis. “In the Flint emails, if you recall, it was a little bit implied … this is like telling the strategy, which is: ‘you failed, but if you go out and get a whole bunch more samples that are low, then you can game it lower.
“It just shows that this culture of corruption and unethical, uncaring behavior predated Flint by at least six years.”
Driving one more nail into the coal industry's coffin, a federal board on Tuesday officially rejected a proposal to build a coal-hauling railroad through farm and ranch land in southeastern Montana.
Ranchers and environmentalists, who aggressively opposed the project, celebrated the Surface Transportation Board ruling.
"It’s a historic day when a federal agency recognizes there’s no foreseeable future for coal," stated Ken Rumelt, an attorney at the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at the Vermont Law School, who represented the grassroots conservation group Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC) before the Board. ...
The railroad was intended to carry coal from Arch Coal's proposed Otter Creek mine, but that project was suspended last month after the fossil fuel giant declared bankruptcy in January. The Tongue River Railroad Company (TRRC)—which is jointly owned by Arch Coal, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, and confection king Forrest Mars Jr.—applied for the power to use federal eminent domain to construct the rail line on privately owned land.
No one in the slum of Murtinagar wants to play with Temri and Chinna. The brother and sister don’t speak the local Hindi or Marathi languages – they came here, to Mumbai, India’s financial capital, 10 days ago from their village, Andhra, and grew up speaking the regional language of Telegu. Jaya Kummari, their mother, brought Chinna and Temri to Mumbai because of a drought that has left Andhra without water. ...
The Kummaris are rice farmers. Rice is a water-intensive crop; it takes more than 2,500 litres of water to produce one kilo (pdf). Usually the Kummaris can harvest their crop twice a year but, since the drought, they’ve suffered enormous financial losses. “No one in the village had water,” Kummari says. “We had no choice but to come here.”
The drought has affected 330 million people in India this year, according to government figures. About 15% of India’s gross domestic product comes from agriculture and 68% of the 1.3 billion population are farmers. With no water for irrigation, the drought has been devastating for farmers. Like the Kummaris, hundreds of families have had to leave their lands in search of water. ...
In the western state of Maharashtra, one of the worst-hit regions, 9 million farmers have little or no access to water. This year, at least 216 farmers have committed suicide in the state.
The government’s response has been slow and inefficient. After weeks of waiting, trains carrying thousands of litres of water reached the region of Marathwada this week, where rivers have dried up and dams are holding about 3% of their capacity. Many other drought-hit regions are still waiting for deliveries. ...
The drought migrants have no homes in the city; some have made makeshift shelters on construction sites, footpaths and park benches. The villagers have no work and no cash, and many are forced to beg. The rural exodus is becoming a burden for authorities in Mumbai, who say they need help to provide food, shelter and jobs to the displaced people.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Jelly Roll Morton - Wolverine Blues
Jelly Roll Morton - Hesitation Blues
Jelly Roll Morton - The Crave
Jelly Roll Morton And His Red Hot Peppers - Black Bottom Stomp
Jelly Roll Morton & The Red Hot Peppers - Dead Man Blues
Jelly Roll Morton - Winin' Boy Blues
Jelly Roll Morton - Finger Breaker