The Evening Blues - 5-11-18



eb1pt12



The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Odds and ends



Hey! Good Evening!


This evening's music features odds and ends that I ran across while putting together other features. Enjoy!



Eddie Riff - My Baby's Gone Away

"I can tell you from firsthand experience, that I’ve seen this before. Our government is laying the groundwork for yet another war. Be on the lookout for several things. First, Trump is going to begin shouting about the “threat” from Iran. It will become a daily mantra. He’ll argue that Iran is actively hostile and poses an immediate danger to the United States. Next Pompeo will head back to the Middle East and Europe to garner support for military action. Then US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will scream in front of the UN Security Council that the US has no choice but to protect itself and its allies from Iran. The final shoe to drop – a clear indication of war – will be if naval carrier battle groups are deployed to the eastern Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea, or the Persian Gulf. Sure, there’s always one in the region anyway. But more than one is a provocation."

-- John Kiriakou

"Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."

-- Thucydides


News and Opinion


War Clouds Gather Around Iran

Here are four reasons that point towards a potential attack against Iran in the near future.

(1) President Trump is now openly committed to regime change. This, according to the President’s personal lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani. ...

(2) The United States does not care about its international law obligations. In any other nation, a political party that openly advocated for war and regime change in another country would be a scandal. But in the United States, it is common place, an every-day affair.

(3) There is already a brewing conflict in Syria between Iran and Israel. One of the biggest proponents of a U.S. walkaway from the Iran deal was Benyamin Netanyahu. ... And just an hour after Trump’s decision to tear up the deal, Israel was already bombing targets in Syria, trying it seems to provoke an Iranian response.

(4) Imperialism and militarism, now dominant as cultural values in the United States, will make another war seem attractive to many Americans. ... The U.S. is a country where nearly two-thirds of the population support torture against suspect terrorists, and where more than forty percent of Americans think it was the “right decision” to invade Iraq in 2003 - a war that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands, produced millions of refugees, led to the rise of ISIS, and was done in blatant violation of international law. ...

A lonely, alienated mass of consumers, too spiritless to question the dominant narrative, will simply look the other way as their government targets another society for annihilation.

Trump Wages Economic War on the Planet

Trump’s “highest level” sanctions -- the weaponization of the U.S. banking system in order to “break the regime” in Tehran, as a European official put it -- is itself an act of war. But who’s counting? Since 2011, the United States has been engaged in naked aggressive war -- the highest international crime -- against the sovereign state of Syria, arming, training and providing political cover for al Qaida and associated jihadist armies, a specific violation of U.S. law, and of international law in the form of specific UN Security Council resolutions, the Charter of the United Nations and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which outlaws: “The sending by or on behalf of a State of armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another State… .” Yet, the U.S. corporate media pretends not to have witnessed the massive crime, even as it unfolded, year after year, in plain sight.

In the process, the U.S. and its allies -- the Arab Gulf States, Israel, Turkey, Britain, France and other NATO countries -- have caused the deaths of half a million Syrians and displaced many millions. Were it not for the military assistance of Russia, in 2015 -- a totally legal intervention, at the request of the internationally recognized government in Damascus -- Syria might have been overrun by the West’s hordes of head-choppers. The Times and the Post and the rest of the imperial media are accomplices in this great crime -- just as they were criminally complicit in George Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq, which even the supine former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called “a violation of the UN Charter.” UN investigators found U.S. drone warfare -- the global assassinations begun by George Bush and then massively escalated by Barack Obama -- to be violations of international law. Noam Chomsky calls it “the most extensive global terrorism campaign the world has yet seen.”

U.S. foreign policy has been composed of little else but war crimes, without a pause since 2001. At every juncture of this global crime spree, the U.S. corporate media has rationalized and normalized Washington’s savagery. In such a maelstrom of U.S. state violence, drone strikes and weaponized economic sanctions -- which have also caused the death of multitudes, as intended -- are now viewed by the bourgeois media as relatively “soft” tools of imperial policy. With each passing year, the bar of civilization has been lowered, and international law has become irrelevant to the U.S. political conversation, as mediated by the corporate press. ...

Donald Trump was just a spectator -- a rich, racist political amateur, a fan of empire and its crimes -- when establishment Democrats and Republicans were constructing a “War on Terror” that has all but erased the rule of law. Trump is a man with no foreign policy of his own, but who is currently acting like a hand-puppet of -- not Russia, but Israel and its de facto ally, Saudi Arabia. He is unpredictable and stupid -- which is why the guardians of empire at the CIA, the Council on Foreign Relations and the rest of the permanent government, including the corporate media, flocked to Hillary Clinton, who could be trusted to maintain the full spectrum of proxy and direct confrontation with Russia and China. They have goaded and harassed Trump to prove that he is not a Russian agent in the White House, and made it impossible to conduct normal relations with the world’s other nuclear super-power.

Trump now thinks he has embarked on a “signature” policy of his own, with his break from Obama’s treaty on Iran. It’s really Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince’s gambit, but don’t tell Trump that. However, Israeli policy and U.S. policy have always been entwined, the push and pull between kindred rogue states. Their larger objectives are the same: preservation of the imperial Euro-American-dominated world order, of which the Israeli settler colony is the last, late-birthed child. Trump’s digression from the script is easily reintegrated into the imperial game plan, which has called for regime change in Tehran since 1979. In elevating Iran to U.S. Enemy Number One, Trump has provided the War Party with an “existential” justification for remaining in Syria (even though Trump told the Pentagon to make plans for leaving) and to bomb the country at whim, or to support Israel’s attacks on Syria, which are escalating. The corporate media can be counted on to support any and all such aggressions, despite their blood-feud with The Donald. They, too, are America First.

US Iran withdrawal: many unintended consequences says Chris Hedges

US: Iran Must Continue to Comply With Nuclear Inspections

On Tuesday, President Trump formally disavowed the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran. Officials have indicated the US intends to violate the deal with new sanctions against Iran. The White House, however, still insists that Iran fulfill all of its obligations under the treaty, even though the US isn’t a party to it, and isn’t fulfilling any of its own obligations. ...

The White House comments seem to be about trying to present the survival of the deal as a US achievement, despite the US openly trying to kill the deal. It also allows the US to threaten to “punish” Iran for disobeying, even though the US is already set to punish them despite complying with the deal.

'Are we America's vassals?’ European allies criticise US withdrawal from Iran deal

Europe punches back after Trump's Iran decision

European leaders on Wednesday began drawing up plans to preserve the Iran nuclear accord, in defiance of President Donald Trump's Tuesday decision to abandon what he called the "rotten" agreement. The possible action includes legislation that would block Washington from punishing European companies that continue to do business with Iran. It reflects Europe’s deep frustration with Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 deal despite the pleas of its top leaders.

Trump’s action has inflamed a transatlantic relationship already strained by his threat to impose tariffs on European products, along with his 2017 withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. ... European Union officials scrambled in Brussels Wednesday to pull together legislation aimed at defending European companies from Washington's new crackdown on Iran.

Such legislation would likely mirror EU action to deflect a 1996 U.S. embargo against Cuba as well as U.S. sanctions against Libya and Iran. That EU response, which included appeals to the World Trade Organization, ultimately yielded a political agreement with Washington that effectively shielded European companies from enforcement action by the U.S.

EU officials were also considering new incentives to persuade Tehran to stick with the deal despite the U.S. withdrawal, including through European Investment Bank financing. While such money might be limited, it would help blunt the impact of Trump’s efforts to block Iran’s access to Western capital markets.

Merkel: Europe can no longer rely on US protection

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Europe can no longer count on the United States to protect it, urging the continent to “take destiny into its own hands.”

“It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands. That's the task of the future," she said during a speech honoring French President Emmanuel Macron, according to Agence France-Presse.

Her sharp comments came days after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, angering European allies who are parties to the 2015 pact.

Macron echoed Merkel, saying European nations should not allow "other major powers, including allies" to "put themselves in a situation to decide our diplomacy [and] security for us."

Europe is refusing to pay the price for Trump screwing up the Iran deal

Europe tried to cajole Donald Trump to keep the U.S. in the Iran nuclear deal. That failed. Now the Old World is baring its teeth to save the accord. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian Thursday slammed the U.S.’s push to reimpose sanctions on companies trading with Iran, saying it was “unacceptable” that European businesses should pay the price for Washington reneging on an agreement.

“We feel that the extraterritoriality of their sanction measures are unacceptable,” he said. “Europeans should not have to pay for the withdrawal from an agreement by the United States, to which they had themselves contributed.” Le Drian said that Europeans would “do everything” to protect their interests and vowed to lead “tight negotiations” with the U.S. through the European Union.

The comments from France’s top diplomat, made in an interview with French daily Le Parisien, were the strongest condemnation yet from Europe against the U.S. withdrawal, which has left the landmark 2015 deal hanging by a thread and created a deep divide between Washington and many of its allies.

Calling the U.S. exit “a bad decision,” Le Drian said it undermined America’s word, indirectly incited nuclear proliferation and amounted to “an incitement to go to war on all sides.” He said the impacts of Tuesday’s decision were already registering, in the form of growing political uncertainty in the region and rising oil costs.

New Iran sanctions: Gas prices up, jobs lost, US firms likely to be replaced by Russian & Chinese

Trump did Russia’s troubled economy a huge favor by shredding the Iran deal

President Donald Trump pissed off America's closest European allies by exiting the Iran deal and reimposing economic sanctions on the Middle Eastern power. Germany media described it as “slap in the face,” France's foreign minister called the new sanctions “unacceptable,” and Europe's top leaders looked on with “regret and concern.”

Russian financial markets, on the other hand, had a different reaction: cha-ching!

Trump’s decision to exit America from the Iran deal, formally named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, pushed up the price of oil — Russia’s key export — to a three-year high. Russia’s ailing national currency, the ruble, jumped too, rallying more than any other national currency on Thursday just days after Trump made the much-anticipated decision official.


Russia depends greatly on the price of oil, thanks to its status as the world’s second-biggest crude exporter after Saudi Arabia. ... Iran is the third-biggest oil producer in the international crude-exporters’ cartel known as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, aka OPEC. So fresh U.S. sanctions could severely limit Iran’s ability to supply oil to global markets. If so, tighter supply would mean firmer prices — increasing Russia’s haul from its global oil sales.

This new dynamic couldn’t come at a better time for Putin, who on Monday vowed to make restoring Russia’s economy a top priority. In a speech launching his fourth term as president, Putin promised economic reforms and more spending on healthcare and infrastructure. Now, higher oil prices give Putin more financial firepower to realize those goals.

Cheney calls for US to restart interrogation programs

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the CIA should restart the controversial enhanced interrogation program used during the George W. Bush administration. “If it were my call, I would not discontinue those programs. I'd have them active and ready to go,” Cheney said during an interview with Fox Business. “And I'd go back and study them and learn."

Cheney, a former secretary of Defense, has long defended the interrogation program that was launched after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. While critics denounce the techniques that were used as torture, Cheney says the program was necessary to keep the nation safe. “I think the techniques we used were not torture. A lot of people try to call it that, but it wasn’t deemed torture at the time,” he told Maria Bartiromo. “People want to go back and try to rewrite history, but if it were my call, I’d do it again.” ...

The Senate outlawed the use of torture and other brutal interrogation techniques like waterboarding and “rectal feeding” in 2015. The move followed a scathing, 6,700-page report released by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee that detailed the brutal treatment of prisoners in the CIA’s former interrogation programs.

'Astonishing' CIA memo shows Brazil's ex-dictator authorized torture and executions

Brazil’s former dictator Ernesto Geisel personally approved the summary execution of his regime’s perceived enemies, according to a newly unearthed CIA memo that has reopened a bitter debate over one of the darkest chapters of contemporary Brazilian history. ... The memorandum, sent to then secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, by the CIA director, William Colby, on 11 April 1974, details a meeting it said had taken place a few days earlier between Geisel and three Brazilian generals. One tells Geisel, who ruled Brazil from 1974 until 1979, the regime “cannot ignore the subversive and terrorist threat” it faces. “Extra-legal methods should continue to be employed against dangerous subversives,” Gen Milton Tavares de Souza is quoted as saying.

De Souza informs Geisel that 104 such “subversives” were summarily executed by military intelligence in the previous year – a policy a second general insists should continue. According to the US account, Geisel notes that such killings could be “potentially prejudicial” and asks for a few days to consider whether such tactics are appropriate. The following week Brazil’s president concludes “the policy should continue but that great care should be taken to make certain that only dangerous subversives were executed”. The revelation sparked an immediate outcry in Brazil where Geisel, who died in 1996, is remembered as one of the more benign leaders of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, who oversaw a gradual relaxation after a brutal five-year period known as the anos de chumbo or years of lead. ...

In a front-page article, O Globo, one of Brazil’s leading newspapers, said the memo proved Geisel “gave the green light to savagery”. Ricardo Noblat, a political commentator, claimed it gave the lie to the idea that “crazed and out of control” junior officials alone were responsible for the killing and torture. “[The memo] makes it clear Geisel did far more than simply tolerate the crimes committed by his colleagues in uniform. He knew about and authorized many of them.”

The focus on the junta’s murderous tactics comes amid an upsurge in support for rightwing politicians, some of whom, like presidential frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro, openly praise the dictatorship’s iron rule. Bolsonaro shrugged off Geisel’s alleged sanctioning of summary executions on Friday. “Who’s never given their kid a spank on the bum and then regretted it? These things happen,” he was quoted as saying by the Estado de São Paulo.

Turkey sued over violence in protests in Washington in 2017

Twenty people beaten outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington in 2017 have filed lawsuits against the government of Turkey and five individuals after the bloody assault on demonstrators that drew international condemnation.

In a complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in the District, 15 mostly pro-Kurdish demonstrators, nearly all U.S. citizens and residents, sought unspecified damages for injuries sustained when they said guards for visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan charged their ranks. Five other victims filed suit May 3 seeking more than $100 million in damages from Turkey.

Video of the May 16 melee outside the Sheridan Circle residence showed men in suits and olive-green military-style jackets kicking and bludgeoning protesters, including women carrying young children and men in their 60s. Victims contend they suffered concussions, seizures, neurological damage, lost and broken teeth and post-traumatic stress. ...

U.S. law generally bars private lawsuits against foreign governments but carves out exceptions, including for cases involving terrorism or wrongful actions by governments, officials or employees in the line of duty that result in injury or death on U.S. soil.

Border patrol agent to face retrial over shooting of teenager in Mexico

Prosecutors have announced they will stage a retrial of a US border patrol agent who was cleared on a murder charge last month after shooting a teenager 10 times through the border fence into Mexico. Lonnie Swartz was found not guilty of second-degree murder, but jurors were deadlocked on whether he was guilty of manslaughter. José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, 16, died four blocks from his home in Nogales after Swartz fired 16 times through the border fence which separates Arizona from Mexico.

On Friday, prosecutors confirmed Swartz would be tried again, on lesser charges of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. A date was set for 23 October.

On the eve of the announcement, the teen’s mother, Araceli Rodríguez spoke to the Guardian through an interpreter during a break in the monthly vigil held at the site where her son died in October 2012. “The trial for me was a fraud. It was a disappointment. It was something that was not fair, that was an injustice,” she said, describing the verdict as “unreal”. The retrial represents a final chance at closure for the family, said Raúl Cuen, Elena Rodríguez’s uncle, whose two children grew up with the teen and his siblings. ...

Cuen echoed Elena Rodríguez’s mother, saying that the evidence, such as new video which showed Swartz reloading and firing from new positions after Elena Rodríguez was on the ground, felt undeniable. “We want a punishment,” Cuen said.

West Virginia Republican Said Teachers Won’t “Have Any Significant Effect” On Elections. Then They Voted Him Out.

Following th longest teacher strike in West Virginia’s history, the state’s educators won a 5 percent pay raise. The much-needed hike lifted spirits and helped spark walkouts around the country, but the larger political implications of the increase in teacher activism are still unclear. Are lawmakers who opposed the teacher movement going to pay a political price? Will politicians who stood with them be rewarded?

Republican state Sen. Robert Karnes thought he knew the answer to that. He’s a longtime political foe of the state’s unions —  he once referred to union members who were assembled in the legislative gallery as “free riders” as he advocated for right-to-work legislation. During the teacher strike, he had complained that they were holding kids “hostage.” In late March, he told a local newspaper that he couldn’t imagine there would be much political fallout from the strikes.

“I can’t say that it will have zero effect, but I don’t think it’ll have any significant effect because, more often than not, they probably weren’t voting on the Republican side of the aisle anyways,” he said of the state’s teachers. On Tuesday, they did just that. And Karnes lost re-election. Labor activists, it turns out, know how to get involved on the Republican side of the aisle, too. Karnes was facing a primary challenge from fellow Republican Delegate Bill Hamilton, who beat him, with all the votes counted, 5,787 to 3,749. It was a blowout.

Hamilton is a moderate Republican who opposes right-to-work and was sympathetic to the teacher strikes, breaking with those in his party who wanted to offer only a smaller raise. Unions responded by heavily investing in his campaign; he raised over $10,000 of his $53,850 haul from organized labor.

Louisiana to evict 30,000 elderly from nursing homes because Medicaid ran out

The Louisiana state House of Representatives just passed a new budget that will cause more than 30,000 elderly people to lose Medicaid and be evicted from their nursing homes. The eviction notices are scheduled to go out this week. ...

The problem stems from the newly passed budget which cuts healthcare by over $500 million dollars due to a loss of one-cent sales tax in June. The expiring tax added $880 million to the Louisiana budget.

The cuts to healthcare won’t just be felt by the elderly, either. Lafayette General hospital has already sent out word to its 800 employees that the medical center will have to close. Other hospitals are expected to be similarly affected and some 25,000 jobs in the assisted living industry will be cut as well.

Trump administration wants to roll back child labor laws

The Trump administration wants to roll back decades-old protections for America’s youngest workers by allowing teens to toil for longer hours under some of the nation’s most hazardous workplace conditions, a new report said Tuesday.

The Department of Labor will propose relaxing current rules—known as Hazardous Occupations Orders — that bar 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners from receiving extended, supervised training in certain dangerous jobs, sources told Bloomberg Law.

That includes roofing work, as well as operating chainsaws, and various other power-driven machines that federal law recognizes as too dangerous for youths younger than 18.

“The Department proposes to safely launch more family-sustaining careers by removing current regulatory restrictions on the amount of time that apprentices and student learners may perform HO-governed work,” the DOL stated in summary of its plan.



the horse race



Latest Sign of 'Broken' Democracy as Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Drops $30 Million on GOP Super PAC

With the midterm elections less than six months out, casino mogul and right-wing megadonor Sheldon Adelson has reportedly cut a $30 million check to the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF)—a super PAC that works to keep Republicans in control of the U.S. House—provoking renewed calls for stricter campaign finance rules nationwide. ...

This infusion of cash, Politico noted, "is three times as much as Adelson gave to CLF in 2016," and comes three months earlier—likely due to rising fears within the Republican Party about holding onto a majority in the House, as "dozens of incumbents [are] being outraised by emboldened Democratic challengers." ...

Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires Morris Pearl said Thursday that Adelson's contribution "is yet another sign of just how broken our political system is. Rather than try to write and pass policy that is actually good for their constituents, Congress follows the money and does whatever their billionaire donors tell them to do, consequences for the rest of the country be damned."

Ralph Nader to 'Decrepit' Democrats: Stop Scapegoating and Embrace a Bold Agenda

If Democrats are wondering why they lost to reality television star Donald Trump and the deeply unpopular GOP in the 2016 elections—and why their advantage in 2018 polling continues to slip—longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader argues the party must stop searching for scapegoats and start fighting for a bold and progressive agenda.

With a rare invitation to appear on cable news, Nader told MSNBC host Ari Melber, Nader said that instead of blaming third party candidates like himself and other external factors for losses that resulted from their own incompetence and inability to articulate an inspiring platform, Democrats must embrace widely popular ideas like Medicare for All and a living wage if they are to oust the "corporate indentured" Republican Party.

"I think the Democratic Party should take the third party agenda away from it. They should have a living wage, crack down on corporate crime, full Medicare for All," Nader toldMelber. "Democratic Party: stop scapegoating, look in the mirror, and ask yourself why you cannot landslide the worst, the most ignorant, the most corporate indentured, the cruelest Republican Party in history. Look in the mirror."

This blunt advice from the veteran progressive champion and politician comes as a new CNN poll finds that the Democratic Party's "2018 advantage is nearly gone," bolstering Nader's recent argument on the "Intercepted" podcast that the Democrats' efforts to both blame others for their losses and stamp out "any kind of insurgent effort like Bernie Sanders" has rendered their party "sick," "decrepit," and unable to effectively "defend the United States of America against the worst Republican Party in history."





the evening greens


The White House doesn’t want anyone to know how much carbon is in the atmosphere

While the world was distracted with the Iran deal, the large payments made to Michael Cohen’s shell company and a potential war in the Middle East, the White House quietly killed the funding for a key system to monitor greenhouse gas emissions around the globe.

First reported by Science on Thursday, "budget constraints" have forced NASA to end its $10 million-a-year Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a vital resource for the agency to understand global carbon flows.

The tool is critical to monitoring countries’ greenhouse gas emission levels and to track whether they're meeting targets set out in the 2015 Paris climate accord. ...

Trump has repeatedly threatened NASA's earth science budget and other climate missions, in favor of boosting the fossil fuel industry. The budget passed in March by Congress omitted any mention of CMS, effectively ruling out the use of carbon monitoring projects in the future. NASA attempted to defend the decision Friday, saying it won’t have a major impact on its climate monitoring work.



Scott Pruitt Plans to Radically Alter How Clean Air Standards Are Set

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Thursday he wants to radically revise how basic, health-based national air quality standards are set, giving more weight to the economic costs of achieving them and taking into account their impacts on energy development.

Under the law, the standards, setting uniform goals for breathable air, are supposed to be reviewed periodically asking only one question: whether they are protective enough to ensure the health of even the most vulnerable people, based on the best available science.

A foundational feature of the landmark Clean Air Act, the setting of these standards based on health, and not cost or feasibility, was defended adamantly on the Senate floor in 1970 by the bill's main author, Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, who declared: "That concept and that philosophy are behind every page of the proposed legislation."

It has withstood legal and political tests for a generation. Pruitt's proposal would jettison it. His approach, laid out in an agency memorandum, would fundamentally alter the process for how the government sets what are called the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which govern six especially widespread and noxious pollutants. The law requires the EPA to review these standards periodically. Pruitt's memo says it will complete two reviews of levels set under President Barack Obama—for smog-forming ozone and sooty particulate matter — before President Donald Trump's first term ends. With other pollutants, including carbon dioxide that causes global warming and toxins such as mercury, the government may weigh costs and benefits from the outset. For these six, however, public health rises above all other considerations, which are relegated to a secondary role when the states make implementation plans.

Clean air advocates say Pruitt's policy is a brazen attempt to weaken the standards and contains several changes that have long been sought by major polluters—foremost the coal, oil and gas industry—to allow more flexibility in deciding what levels of pollutants are safe to breathe. ... Pruitt's memo comes after several other attempts to change the role that scientific evidence plays in the EPA's decision-making.

Hurricane season may be even worse in 2018 after a harrowing 2017

The US may have to brace itself for another harrowing spate of hurricanes this year, with forecasts of an active 2018 season coming amid new research that shows powerful Atlantic storms are intensifying far more rapidly than they did 30 years ago. The peak season for Atlantic storms, which officially starts on 1 June, is set to spur as many as 18 named storms, with up to five of them developing into major hurricanes, according to separate forecasts from North Carolina State University and Colorado State University. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will soon provide its own 2018 hurricane predictions.

The initial forecasts of an above-average season for hurricanes follow a punishing 2017, most notable for Hurricane Harvey, which drenched large areas of Texas, Hurricane Irma’s sweep over Florida and the devastation that stubbornly lingers in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. These huge hurricanes brought winds of up to 185mph and lashing rains, causing hundreds of deaths, flattening homes, felling power lines and ruining roads. Combined, the three storms caused around $265bn in damage, and all ranked in the five most destructive hurricanes ever recorded. ...

Atlantic hurricanes are intensifying far more rapidly than they did 30 years ago, according to a new study that analyzed the acceleration in wind speed of previous storms. Major hurricanes are defined by a sharp increase in speed, of at least 28mph in a 24-hour period. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that these big hurricanes are, on average, speeding up 13mph faster in this 24-hour period than they did 30 years ago. Much of this has to do with shifts in a natural climate cycle called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

Separate research from the National Center for Atmospheric Research suggests this natural variation will combine with escalating warming in the oceans and atmosphere, caused by the burning of fossil fuels by humans, to produce stronger hurricanes in the future. A warm ocean surface, combined with consistent wind patterns, contribute to the formation of fiercer, if not more numerous, hurricanes.



Also of Interest

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

Making a killing: How war abroad steals from the poor at home.

Syria Sets New Rules For Israeli Strikes

The Coming War Against Iran

Make No Mistake: Trump Is Paving the Way for War with Iran

Who’s Reacting to Iran Deal Pull-Out? Why, It’s Women in Chadors, Walking Past Anti-US Mural

Business Is Booming for the U.K.’s Spy Tech Industry

Lula's 'heir' sets his sights on becoming Brazil's youngest president

Canada sued over years of alleged experimentation on indigenous people

Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance

Chris Hedges: The Danger of Leadership Cults


A Little Night Music


Little Ike - She Can Rock

The Egyptians - The Party Stomp

Bobo Jenkins - Tell Me Who

Sultans - You Got Me Goin

Schoolboy Cleve - She's Gone

Little Margie - Yes It's You

Frankie Lee Sims - She Likes To Boogie Real Low

James Ray - I've got my mind set on you

Teddy (Mr.Bear) McRae - Hi' Fi' Baby

Piney Brown - Ooh You Bring Out The Wolf In Me

John Fred & the Playboys - Boogie Children

Bill Johnson - You Better Dig It

Allen Page - She's the One That's Got It

Al Downing - Down on the Farm

Bob Gaddy - Slow Down Baby

Jesse James - Red hot rockin blues



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JekyllnHyde's picture

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16 users have voted.

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

@JekyllnHyde kudos, J&H.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@JekyllnHyde

good one!

have a great evening.

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7 users have voted.
QMS's picture

who run the government (according to some constitutional agreement) need to speak up against our government's decision to start WWIII, in spite of the polls and propaganda. Who gave them the power?

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14 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

heh, nobody gave them that power, they just took it. their predecessor aristocrat wannabes gave them a helping hand when they wrote the constitution, and their class has failed to live up to the ideals of the founding generation's aristocrat wannabes. like alan greenspan, they should have known better.

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

IMG_1861.JPG

Gee, what a surprise ... people are saying that Trump pulled out of the Iran deal because Putin told him to.

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12 users have voted.

@snoopydawg minute I saw oil prices were up. So predictable. No mention though of how our own frackers are happy as well though.

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9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

Gee, what a surprise ... people are saying that Trump pulled out of the Iran deal because Putin told him to.

as einstein said, "only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and i'm not sure about the former."

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Might as well use it

IMG_1869.JPG

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12 users have voted.
Meteor Man's picture

. . . the Democrats' efforts to both blame others for their losses and stamp out "any kind of insurgent effort like Bernie Sanders" has rendered their party "sick," "decrepit," and unable to effectively "defend the United States of America against the worst Republican Party in history."

We can only hope and pray that both parties continue to self destruct this year.

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14 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

QMS's picture

@Meteor Man fu*! the r&d's. go social.

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12 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

joe shikspack's picture

@Meteor Man

i will enjoy the spectacle of the parties destruction, but i have some foreboding about what will come afterwards. it seems likely that those who created the illusion of democracy will not give up control simply because their shadow puppet theatre closes for the season.

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Azazello's picture

Today is graduation day at the University of Arizona. The Zello family is pleased to announce the addition of another college graduate to their number. There is some student debt involved but the new degree is in Electrical and Computer Engineering and work appears to be available. Virtual drinks all around!

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QMS's picture

@Azazello You must be happy. Congrats Smile

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Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

snoopydawg's picture

@Azazello

Virtual Cheers

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@snoopydawg

Mollie


"In a world where you can be anything--be kind."~~Author Unknown

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

@Azazello Great news! Toasts!

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@Azazello

Best wishes to your family.

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joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

that's excellent news! congratulations to the young zello!

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enhydra lutris's picture

@Azazello

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7 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 --

snoopydawg's picture

could get more eyes on it. This statement is a doozy

“Next year, in February, we’re going to invade Iraq, overthrow Saddam Hussein, and open the world’s largest air force base in southern Iraq.” He went on, “We’re going to go to the United Nations and pretend that we want a Security Council Resolution. But the truth is that the decision has already been made."

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of sparkling apple juice to praise each and every humane and insightful writer at caucus99percent and especially to thank,

joe shikspack, for this awesome, The Evening Blues - 5-11-18,

EdMass, for his research and reporting asking the question, Who is the mysterious originator of the Brennan EC?, and

gjohnsit, for letting us read how U.S. sanctions of Russia/Iran are leaking like a sieve.

It's SO REFRESHING to read real journalism!

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12 users have voted.

@Linda Wood I know! Great stuff here nowhere else to be found one a single site.

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joe shikspack's picture

@Linda Wood

thanks! have a great weekend!

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

today with the roll out of American Patients First--DT's so-called drug 'reform' plan. Having some problems with 'buffering/grinding' this evening, but, if I have more info later this evening, I'll drop back by with a link or two. (Mr M's beginning another regimen of medical treatment next week, so we'll be out-of-pocket, periodically, since cell phones aren't allowed in some locations.)

Anyhoo, from what I've made out, this proposal involves transferring many, or all--not sure--of the drugs covered under Part B of 'Traditional Medicare' to the sorry, and more costly (some with high deductibles and copays) Part D plans.

IOW, cost shifting to seniors/Medicare beneficiaries from the heavily subsidized Medicare Part B to the 'privatized' Part D program.

I've found a link that I'll provide later with a list of some of the types of drugs. They include drugs administered by infusion/nebulizer, and one of the most expensive types of drug--those given to transplant patients, called immunosuppressive drugs. Also, may include test strips and lancets (diabetic) which are currently not covered by Part D plans, since they're testing paraphernalia (not drugs).

At any rate, anyone who has Traditional Medicare and a Medigap Plan F will come out considerably worse, since coverage under those plans are at 100%, including the annual Part B deductible.

When things settle down, I hope to raise Cain about this proposal. Frankly, we're getting sick and tired of watching successive Administrations dismantle our social safety net!

BTW, hope you're enjoying being a 'Gramps!-- Wink --and that daughter and Grandbaby are both doing well. Also, congrats to Mrs Shikskpack and the rest of your family.

Thanks for tonight's compilation of News & Blues, Joe. Hey, Everyone have a nice and safe weekend, and, of course--have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Bye

[Apologize in advance for typos!]

Mollie


"In a world where you can be anything--be kind."~~Author Unknown

"Every time I lose a dog, he takes a piece of my heart. Every new dog gifts me with a piece of his. Someday, my heart will be total dog, and maybe then I will be just as generous, loving, and forgiving."
~~Author Unknown

[Edit: Corrected typo.]

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5 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

frankly, i'm a little surprised that the current powers-that-be haven't just decided to scrap the whole social safety net.

i don't expect much of either of the neoliberal-corporate parties at this point, so if there is a swing back to democrat control, well, i have memories of what dear mr. obama said to the hamilton foundation:

"For liberals, and I include myself in that category, too many of us have been interested in defending programs the way they were written in 1938... "

heh, on a better note, being a "gramps" is awesome so far and everybody is healthy and happy. thanks!

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enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack
1838 to those from 1938. Yet they call themselves liberals.

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5 users have voted.

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