The Evening Blues - 5-12-21


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

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b singer Nappy Brown. Enjoy!

Nappy Brown - Open That Door

"Surveillance of power is one of the most important ways to ensure that power does not abuse its status. But, of course, power does not like to be watched."

-- Bruce Schneier

News and Opinion

Matt Taibbi, worth a click and a full read:

Reporters Once Challenged the Spy State. Now, They're Agents of It

Just over ten years ago, on July 25, 2010, Wikileaks released 75,000 secret U.S. military reports involving the war in Afghanistan. The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel helped release the documents, which were devastating to America’s intelligence community and military, revealing systemic abuses that included civilian massacres and an assassination squad, TF 373, whose existence the United States kept “protected” even from its allies. The Afghan War logs came out at the beginning of a historic stretch of true oppositional journalism, when outlets like Le Monde, El Pais, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, The New York Times, and others partnered with sites like Wikileaks. Official secrets were exposed on a scale not seen since the Church Committee hearings of the seventies, as reporters pored through 250,000 American diplomatic cables, secret files about every detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and hundreds of thousands of additional documents about everything from the Iraq war to coverups of environmental catastrophes, among other things helping trigger the “Arab Spring.”

There was an attempt at a response — companies like Amazon, Master Card, Visa, and Paypal shut Wikileaks off, and the Pentagon flooded the site with a “denial of service” attack — but leaks continued. One person inspired by the revelations was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who came forward to unveil an illegal domestic surveillance program, a story that won an Oscar and a Pulitzer Prize for documentarian Laura Poitras and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. By 2014, members of Congress in both parties were calling for the resignations of CIA chief John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, both of whom had been caught lying to congress. The culmination of this period came when billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launched The Intercept in February 2014. The outlet was devoted to sifting through Snowden’s archive of leaked secrets, and its first story described how the NSA and CIA frequently made errors using geolocation to identify and assassinate drone targets. A few months later, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden admitted, “We kill people based on metadata.”

Fast forward seven years. Julian Assange is behind bars, and may die there. Snowden is in exile in Russia. Brennan, Clapper, and Hayden have been rehabilitated and are all paid contributors to either MSNBC or CNN, part of a wave of intelligence officers who’ve flooded the airwaves and op-ed pages in recent years, including the FBI’s Asha Rangappa, Clint Watts, Josh Campbell, former counterintelligence chief Frank Figliuzzi and former deputy director Andrew McCabe, the CIA’s John Sipher, Phil Mudd, Ned Price, and many others.

DISGUSTING: Biden Admin Neutral On Child Murder

Israel Condemned for 'Unambiguous War Crime' After Destroying Gaza Apartment Tower

Israel's military faced war crime accusations Tuesday after carrying out an airstrike that completely destroyed a high-rise apartment building in densely populated Gaza City, prompting a massive barrage of retaliatory rocket fire as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to further escalate violence that has already left over 30 people—almost all of them Palestinians—dead.

Israeli media and a United Nations official report residents of the 13-story apartment building in the Al-Rimal neighborhood of western Gaza City were repeatedly warned—including by telephone and a "roof-knocking" airstrike—of the impending attack, which occurred around 8:30 pm local time.

Video of the Israeli strike shows multiple explosions followed by the tower's collapse. International observers promptly noted that the deliberate destruction of homes when not "imperatively demanded by the necessities of war" is a war crime.

Dozens of Palestinian families were left without homes following the attack. It was not immediately clear if the building was completely evacuated, or if there were any casualties from the strike.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officials said the building—which contained 80 apartments—housed an office used by senior political officials of Hamas, the democratically elected leaders of Gaza.

"We expect that this powerful attack on the high-rise building, which shook all of Gaza, will lead to extensive shooting toward Israel," an IDF spokesperson correctly predicted.

Within 15 minutes of the tower's destruction, the armed resistance wing of Islamic Jihad announced it would retaliate with rockets aimed at Tel Aviv. Hamas said it fired more than 130 rockets into Israel in response to the Gaza tower attack. Indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian areas are also considered war crimes under international law.

Social media news feeds soon filled with videos of the U.S.-Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system intercepting a hail of incoming rockets. However, not all of the inbound projectiles were destroyed, with IDF officials blaming some of the rocket strikes in Ashkelon on a temporarily malfunctioning Iron Dome battery. ...

The IDF called up 5,000 reservists for active duty Tuesday as fears mounted globally of a full-blown Israeli assault on Gaza. The last such war—which Israel called "Operation Protective Edge"—left more than 2,100 Palestinians, including over 500 children, dead during seven weeks of mostly one-sided fighting in the summer of 2014. Israel lost 67 soldiers and six civilians in the war.

As Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayye urged the United Nations Security Council to intervene to stop "the Israeli aggression against our people" and leading international figures including a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights pleaded for an end to the violence, Israeli forces once again stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Israeli border police were deployed in the city of Lod on Tuesday following violence between Jews and Arabs that left at least one Palestinian man dead on Monday. In Ramla, right-wing Israelis set up checkpoints and attacked Palestinians as they drove past.

The current eruption of violence began last week amid the brutal Israeli repression of protests against the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israeli forces and settler colonists in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, and the wounding of hundreds of Palestinians during an Israeli assault on Al-Aqsa, the third-holiest site in Islam.

Arab countries uncomfortably witness new escalation of tensions between Israel and Palestinians

Israel-Gaza violence: death toll rises to 38 as UN envoy warns over escalation

Israeli jets and Palestinian militants traded fresh airstrikes and rocket fire early on Wednesday as the UN’s Middle East envoy called for a cessation of hostilities, warning: “We’re escalating towards a full-scale war.” The death toll since unrest broke out early on Tuesday rose to 38 – 35 in Gaza and three in Israel – as Israel carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza and Palestinian militant groups fired multiple rocket barrages at Tel Aviv, Beersheba, and other central Israeli cities.

UN envoy Tor Wennesland said leaders on all sides “have to take the responsibility of de-escalation” after a day of ferocious confrontations and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising to intensify attacks on Gaza.

“The cost of war in Gaza is devastating and is being paid by ordinary people,” said Wennesland, who is expected to brief the 15 members of the UN security council on the crisis on Wednesday, its second such meeting in three days. “Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full scale war,” he warned. ...

The White House has responded by saying its “primary focus” was de-escalation and that Joe Biden was being updated on the worsening situation. His spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said US officials were talking to their counterparts in the region. ...

Wednesday’s UN security council session is likely to be a test of the Biden administration’s position on an issue that it has sought to play down. On Tuesday it blocked a UN security council statement calling for a ceasefire.

Biden Budget Would Send $1.3 Billion More to Israeli Military Than to Global Climate Programs

As Israel continues its deadly assault on Palestinians throughout the occupied territories, a new analysis released Monday night shows that if congressional lawmakers in the U.S. approve the federal budget unveiled last month by President Joe Biden, the nation would give $1.3 billion more to the Israeli military than to the global climate response.

Although Biden has yet to release his official budget request for FY2022, he shared a preview, which was heavily criticized by progressives.

In his analysis, Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, cited two excerpts from the White House's spending proposal (pdf):

  • "The discretionary request meets the climate emergency head-on, providing $2.5 billion for international climate programs." (p. 25)
  • "The discretionary request fully funds U.S. commitments to key allies in the Middle East, including Israel." (p. 26)

As Semler explained: "'Fully funds U.S. commitments to... Israel' includes giving the apartheid state $3.8 billion in annual military aid—$3.3 billion in 'base' bilateral security assistance plus another $500 million for missile defense systems—as outlined [in] the 10-year MOU the Obama-Biden administration reached with Israel in 2016."

In response to the analysis, Left Flank Veterans, a group of anti-war veterans, said Biden's spending priorities indicate that the president thinks "preserving apartheid is more important than fighting climate change."

Two weeks ago, Human Rights Watch released a report, based on over two years of research and documentation, that says the Israeli government's systematic oppression of Palestinians across Israel and the occupied territories amounts to crimes of apartheid and persecution.

Progressives in recent days have denounced the Biden administration for refusing to condemn Israel's deadly airstrikes on Gaza and for failing to hold Israel accountable after its security forces invaded the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to attack peaceful worshipers, which was part of a broader assault on Palestinians who are protesting settlers' attempts to expel Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.

"That Biden is prepared to fail so spectacularly on both [mitigating the climate emergency and opposing potential war crimes] warrants a unified response from the Congressional Progressive Caucus about what they plan to do once Biden drops his official budget request," Semler added.

Lindsay Koshgarian, the program director of the National Priorities Project at IPS, told Common Dreams on Tuesday that "the sum of $2.5 billion in international climate aid, compared to more than $3 billion in military aid to a single country, would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous."

"These are the budget priorities of the past," Koshgarian added. "There's an opportunity right now for the U.S. to put its money where its mouth is. Can we invest more to save the world than we invest in arming it? Can we value human rights enough that we restrict our dollars from subsidizing human rights abuses like the system of apartheid and forced evictions happening today in Israel?"

Whistleblower Craig Murray Sentenced To 8 Months In Prison Over His Reporting On Former Scottish First Minister’s Trial

Former UK diplomat-turned whistleblower Craig Murray was sentenced to eight months in prison at the High Court in Edinburgh for contempt of court resulting from his coverage of the trial of former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

A three-judge panel determined on March 25, 2021—following a two-hour trial in January—that information published by Murray in a number of his blog posts was likely to lead indirectly to people being able to identify witnesses in Salmond’s sexual assault trial.

This process, known as “jigsaw identification,” refers to the possibility that a person may piece together information from various sources to arrive at the identification of a protected witness.

In doing so, the judge ruled that Murray violated a court order prohibiting the publication of information that could likely lead to the identification of the alleged victims in Salmond’s case.

Murray is a broadcaster, human rights advocate and journalist, who has extensively covered the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is known to support other whistleblowers. He also strongly supported Salmond and the Scottish campaign for independence.

He denied the charges, arguing he went to great pains to cover the prosecution without identifying the witnesses.

Biden picks ex-Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel as US ambassador to Japan

Joe Biden has picked the former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to be his ambassador to Japan.

The selection ends months of speculation over whether Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, a former congressman and longtime Democratic operative, would be nominated to an administration role.

In the first days of the Biden presidency Emanuel, 61, was mentioned as a possible secretary of transportation. Biden ended up picking Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who ran strongly in the Democratic presidential primary.

Some progressives view Emanuel as a major antagonist within the party. He is often criticized among liberals, for example, for his handling of a shooting of an African American teenager during his time in Chicago.

Emanuel served two terms as mayor but opted not to run a third time, in the face of a potentially brutal campaign.

Divide Over Controversial UPS Contract Defines Teamsters Presidential Election

The 1.2 million member International Brotherhood of Teamsters is one of the largest and most powerful unions in the U.S., with a vast marble headquarters and billions in pension fund assets. But there have been internal conflicts with the union, including over a controversial 2018 contract with UPS that was implemented despite the membership’s majority “no” vote. Now, in the lead-up to the November election to determine the next Teamsters president, that UPS contract is once again taking center stage.

While the two candidates vying for the presidency have pledged to remove a rule that allows union leadership to implement contracts in certain circumstances against the will of the membership, only one of the candidates, Boston Teamster leader Sean O’Brien, has the track record of opposing the 2018 UPS contract that is the case study for those seeking the rule change. The other candidate, Colorado Teamster leader Steve Vairma, is seen as more closely aligned with outgoing President James Hoffa and was notably silent as a majority of voting UPS members opposed the 2018 contract.

That UPS contract, which 54 percent of UPS Teamsters voted against, will loom large over the election. To successfully win union representation elections, unions need to show that they are able to provide more than the status quo. If the union’s largest contract in the country — in this case, UPS — has starting wages 13 percent below what its non-union rival Amazon offers, the union’s ability to convince Amazon workers that they need to unionize to improve their position diminishes. (Overall, though, UPS offers workers a much better deal.) And given that UPS Teamsters perform very similar work to many Amazon workers — sorting, tracking, and delivering packages — the union needs rank-and-file UPS Teamsters to get involved in the organizing campaign to have any possibility of success. If Teamster members at UPS are too angry at the union for implementing an agreement a majority didn’t want, they’re less likely to become involved in a new organizing campaign at Amazon.

“First and foremost, Amazon is our most formidable opponent, not just for the Teamsters but for organized labor in general,” said O’Brien, who, together with his running mate Fred Zuckerman, helped lead the opposition to the 2018 UPS contract that covered 250,000 Teamsters. “Amazon moving into this industry could destroy thousands and thousands of middle-class jobs and benefits. It’s unfortunate when a company like Amazon cares more about their balance sheets than their workers.”

Despite their gulf on the 2018 UPS contract, both Vairma and O’Brien have pledged to tackle both Amazon and FedEx, two huge nonunion employers, and both have pledged to get rid of the controversial rule, which allows the leadership of the Teamsters, under certain circumstances, to implement a contract that has been rejected by a majority of the membership, as was the case with UPS.

US millionaire CEOs saw 29% pay raise while workers’ pay fell, report finds

The millionaire chief executives of some of the American companies with the lowest-paid workers saw an average pay raise of 29% last year while their workers saw a 2% decrease, according to a report released Tuesday. The Institute for Policy Studies calculated that the average CEO compensation in 2020 was $15.3m, when looking at the 100 companies with the lowest median wage for workers in the S&P 500 index.

The median worker pay was $28,187. This means that chief executives saw a 29% pay raise compared to 2019, while workers saw a 2% decrease. For all 100 companies, median worker pay was below $50,000 for 2020.

The compensation hike came as companies gave their top leaders hefty bonuses and forgiving performance benchmarks during the pandemic, allowing the top executives to cash in while their low-wage employees were essential workers. ...

The authors of the report urge support for a bill introduced in March by Bernie Sanders, called the Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act, which would incentivize companies to narrow the pay gap between workers and top executives by imposing a tax rate on companies with high gaps. Publicly traded companies are required to report the ratio between their CEO and median worker pay to the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Revealed: Biden administration holding tens of thousands of migrant children

The Biden administration is holding tens of thousands of asylum-seeking children in an opaque network of some 200 facilities that the Associated Press has learned spans two dozen states and includes five shelters with more than 1,000 children packed inside. Confidential data obtained by the AP shows the number of migrant children in government custody more than doubled in the past two months, and this week the federal government was housing around 21,000 kids, from toddlers to teens.

A facility at Fort Bliss, a US army post in El Paso, Texas, had more than 4,500 children as of Monday. Attorneys, advocates and mental health experts say that while some shelters are safe and provide adequate care, others are endangering children’s health and safety. “It’s almost like ‘Groundhog Day’,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center attorney Luz Lopez, referring to the 1993 film in which events appear to be continually repeating.

A few of the current practices are the same as those that Joe Biden and others criticized under the Trump administration, including not vetting some caregivers with full FBI fingerprint background checks. At the same time, court records show the Biden administration is working to settle several multimillion-dollar lawsuits that claim migrant children were abused in shelters under Donald Trump’s presidency.

Part of the government’s plan to manage thousands of children crossing the US-Mexico border involves about a dozen unlicensed emergency facilities inside military installations, stadiums and convention centers that skirt state regulations and do not require traditional legal oversight. Inside the facilities, called emergency intake sites, children are not guaranteed access to education, recreational opportunities or legal counsel.

Russian-speaking cyber gang threatens release of Washington police data

A Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate that stole data from the Washington DC police department says negotiations over payment have broken down and it will release sensitive information that could put lives at risk if more money is not offered. ... The Babuk group said on its website late on Monday that it would release “all the data” it stole from the Washington police department if it did not “raise the price”.

“The negotiations reached a dead end, the amount we were offered does not suit us,” the group said. ...

The group posted screenshots of the data it held, including what look like disciplinary files of police officers.

Late last month, the group said it had hacked into the network of the city’s police department and threatened to leak the identities of confidential informants unless an unspecified ransom was paid. Experts said such a release could endanger the lives of the informants.

Philly DA Larry Krasner Fights for Reelection Amid Police Union Attacks on His Reform Agenda

LA protester accuses uncle, an LAPD officer, of ordering projectiles fired on him

A 23-year-old Los Angeles film-maker has sued the Los Angeles police department, alleging that his uncle, a Los Angeles police department officer, ordered him to be shot by projectiles during the George Floyd protests last summer. On the evening of 29 May 2020, Asim Jamal Shakir Jr had joined the demonstrations in downtown LA and was live-streaming when police formed a skirmish line, and he spotted his uncle, Eric Anderson, among the officers, according to a complaint filed on Monday. Anderson allegedly told his nephew to go home and then later motioned for an officer to shoot a “less-than-lethal” rifle at Shakir.

Footage from Shakir’s live-stream captured him screaming in pain and dropping his phone, and then showed that his hand was bloodied after he was hit. “My own uncle … told him to shoot me!” he said on the stream as he was running away. The complaint said a second projectile hit him in the buttocks as he was picking up his phone, and that he later went to the hospital. ...

Shakir’s live video captured his emotional pleas to his uncle, asking why he was on the wrong side of the protest: “Our ancestors are turning over in their grave right now, Eric!” he said, adding, “Look, look, he’s telling him who to shoot.” He continued shouting: “Look me in my eyes! You know how your daddy is feeling right now. That could’ve been you!” It is around that point that a different officer appeared to shoot Shakir with a projectile. ... “I asked Eric if he was serious and he just stared at me for a second and then told me to go home. With no facial expression, no nothing, he told me to go home,” Shakir said in a statement, adding that the two shots fired at him were “definitely targeted”.

“This young Black male activist called for his own blood, his own uncle, to think about the immorality of what he was doing, and the result was his uncle ordering the shooting of his nephew with rubber bullets,” said Dr Melina Abdullah, a BLM LA co-founder. “That just speaks volumes to the complete lack of any kind of moral character, and what happens when people become police … They are willing to even sacrifice their own family in order to advance the interests of a police state.”

the horse race

Briahna Joy Gray: Warren's SAD Journey To Irrelevance

Democrats propose quick reaction force in $2.1bn Capitol security bill

House Democrats plan on Wednesday to unveil a $2.1bn supplemental bill to enhance security at the Capitol that will propose creating a quick reaction force to guard against future threats in the wake of the Capitol attack, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The proposed bill will also include the construction of a retractable fencing system around the Capitol, the sources said.

Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House appropriations committee, is expected to unveil the proposal to House Democrats on a caucus call on Wednesday, amid growing calls urging the adoption of recommendations made by a taskforce in the wake of the 6 January insurrection in which a pro-Trump mob ransacked the Capitol.

The proposed bill largely tracks recommendations made by retired Army Lt Gen Russel Honoré, who was appointed by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to examine security shortcomings, as well as critical flaws identified by the US Capitol police inspector general, the sources said.

In the report released to House Democratic leaders last month, Honoré made a series of recommendations, including hiring more than 800 US Capitol police officers, the construction of mobile fencing around the Capitol, and an overhaul of the US Capitol police board.

Left Says Senate Democrats Face Existential Choice: Kill Filibuster or Watch Democracy Die

As the Senate Rules Committee convened Tuesday to mark up a sweeping legislative proposal aimed at protecting and expanding voting rights, progressive activists ramped up pressure on the chamber's Democrats to eliminate an archaic procedural rule that poses a critical threat to the bill's chances of becoming law.

The For the People Act (pdf), or S.1, would overhaul the U.S. election system by increasing ballot access through automatic voter registration and other measures, limiting the ability of states to purge voter rolls, restoring voting rights to people who have completed felony sentences, and establishing a publicly financed small-dollar donation matching system for candidates who reject high-dollar contributions.

Despite the bill's bipartisan popularity among the U.S. electorate, the legislation faces long odds in the Senate due to the opposition of every Republican in the chamber as well as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the only Democratic senator who has yet to co-sponsor the For the People Act.

Another major obstacle is the legislative filibuster, a Senate rule that effectively requires 60 votes for most legislation to pass. With the filibuster in place, Senate Democrats would have to convince Manchin and 10 Republicans to support S.1—a virtual impossibility given the GOP's vocal denunciations of the bill, which passed the House by a party-line vote in March.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made clear that one of his top priorities of the legislative session is defeating the voting rights measure—an objective he shares with Koch-funded dark money organizations whose secrecy would be jeopardized by passage of the For the People Act, which calls for stricter financial disclosure laws.

"Senate Republicans are hell-bent on blocking the For the People Act and plan to use the filibuster to prevent this popular bill from even getting an up-or-down-vote," Eli Zupnick, spokesperson for advocacy group Fix Our Senate, said in a statement Tuesday. "With Republican state legislatures across the country passing massive anti-voting bills there is no time to waste trying to bring ten Republicans on board a bill that Sen. McConnell will never allow his caucus to support."

"This is about to move from an abstract conversation about Senate rules to a very clear choice for Senate Democrats: Protect the 'Jim Crow' filibuster or protect American democracy—they won't be able to do both," Zupnick added.

Krystal Ball: Elitist NY Mayoral Candidates Have NO CLUE How Expensive Housing Is In Brooklyn

How much? Mayoral hopefuls red-faced after guessing New York housing costs

With less than six weeks to New York’s mayoral primaries, two candidates have left themselves electorally vulnerable for vastly underestimating the median cost of buying a home or apartment in Brooklyn.

“In Brooklyn, huh? I don’t know for sure. I would guess it is around $100,000,” Shaun Donovan, the housing and urban development secretary under Barack Obama and housing commissioner under the former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, told the New York Times.

Donovan’s press secretary said later in a statement to the Hill that Donovan “misinterpreted the question and made a mistake”.

In the same set of endorsement-seeking interviews, Ray McGuire, a wealthy former Citigroup executive, guessed that the median sales price was “somewhere in the $80,000 to $90,000 range, if not higher”. McGuire later said: “I messed up when accounting for the cost of housing in Brooklyn. I am human.”

The tech entrepreneur and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang guessed correctly, while two other candidates, Maya Wiley and the former NYC financial comptroller Scott Stringer, both guessed over $1m, with Wiley suggesting $1.8m.

Brooklyn’s median sales price is $900,000.

the evening greens

Biden administration approves first major US offshore windfarm

Joe Biden’s administration has approved the construction of the US’s first large-scale offshore windfarm, with 84 turbines to be erected off the coast of Massachusetts.

The approval of the project, which will generate about 800 megawatts of energy, enough to power around 400,000 homes and businesses, is a boost to Biden’s agenda of ramping up renewable energy production across the US in order to confront the climate crisis.

The US has lagged behind other countries in offshore wind, despite its lengthy coastlines, but the Biden administration said the new Vineyard Wind project will be the first of many as it aims to generate 30 gigawatts of energy from offshore wind by 2030. Two other offshore proposals, located in New York, are also now under review.

“A clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States,” said Deb Haaland, secretary of the interior. “The approval of this project is an important step toward advancing the administration’s goals to create good-paying union jobs while combatting climate change and powering our nation.”

The $2.8bn development, a joint venture between energy firms Iberdrola and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, will be located about 12 nautical miles from the shoreline of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The administration said the project will create 3,600 new jobs.

Michigan orders closure of pipeline in escalating dispute with Canada

The state of Michigan has told a Canadian energy company it must shut down a controversial oil and gas pipeline by Wednesday amid growing fears that a spill would be catastrophic to the region, in a feud which threatens to strain relations between Canada and the United States. The company’s refusal to comply with the order, and swift support from top Canadian officials, highlights the politicized nature of pipelines, which campaigners have used as a target in the fight against climate change.

For nearly 67 years, Enbridge has moved oil and natural gas from western Canada through Michigan and the Great Lakes to refineries in the province of Ontario. But Michigan says that one section to the pipeline – Line 5 – is too risky to continue operating.

In November, the Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, announced a plan to revoke the easement granted to Enbridge, which permits Line 5 to cross under the Straits of Mackinac. Whitmer set 12 May as the deadline for the Canadian energy giant to shut down the pipeline. “These oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac are a ticking timebomb, and their continued presence violates the public trust and poses a grave threat to Michigan’s environment and economy,” Whitmer’s office said in a statement.

The company says it has never experienced a leak in the underwater section of Line 5 and is currently working to tunnel beneath the lake bed to further improve the safety of the pipeline. But in the last two years, the pipeline has been struck by boat anchors and cables. And in 2010, a separate Enbridge pipeline spilled 3.2m litres of oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.

Whitmer, who campaigned on shutting down the pipeline, has received support from Democratic attorneys general as well environmental campaigners and Indigenous communities on both sides of the border. “Should anything that’s being transported in these 67-year-old pipelines get into the Great Lakes, it would have devastating effects and irreparable consequences,” said the Anishinabek Nation grand council chief, Glen Hare, who represents 39 First Nations across Ontario.

Krystal and Saagar: Gas CRISIS Expands As States Declare States Of Emergency

Forest the size of France regrown worldwide over 20 years, study finds

An area of forest the size of France has regrown around the world over the past 20 years, showing that regeneration in some places is paying off, a new analysis has found. Nearly 59m hectares of forests have regrown since 2000, the research found, providing the potential to soak up and store 5.9 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide – more than the annual emissions of the entire US.

The two-year study, conducted via satellite imaging data and on-ground surveys across dozens of countries, identified areas of regrowth in the Atlantic forest in Brazil, where an area the size of the Netherlands has rebounded since 2000 due to conservation efforts and altered industry practices.

Another regrowth area is found in the boreal forests of Mongolia, where 1.2m hectares of forest have regenerated in two decades due to the work of conservationists and the Mongolian government. Forests also made a comeback in parts of central Africa and Canada.

However, the world is still experiencing an overall loss of forests “at a terrifying rate”, the researchers warned, with deforestation occurring much faster than restoration schemes. Over a similar period outlined in the regrowth study, which was led by WWF as part of the Trillion Trees project, 386m hectares of tree cover were lost worldwide, around seven times the area of regenerated forest.

Also of Interest

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

‘What We’ve Seen in Sheikh Jarrah Is a Microcosm of What We’ve Experienced for the Last 70+ Years’

Why Video of an Ultranationalist Frenzy in Jerusalem Is So Unsettling

The Israel Narrative Is Crumbling Because Of Phone Cameras And The Internet

Report says killings during British army operations in Belfast in 1971 were unjustified

Iran Rejects Pentagon Claim of ‘Harassment’ in Strait of Hormuz

Ukrainian President Doesn’t Rule Out New World War in Conflict With Russia

Corporate Media Oppose Afghan Control of Afghanistan

More Hacks, More Baseless Accusations Against Russia

At $49.1 Trillion, the U.S. Stock Market Is Larger than the Combined GDP of the U.S., China, Japan and Germany

Homeless Oaklanders were tired of the housing crisis. So they built a ‘miracle’ village

Bayer-Monsanto Fails (At First Attempt) to Block Mexico’s Phaseout of Glyphosate and Ban on GMO Corn

Colombia's US-backed gov't declares war on its people

Saagar Enjeti: 2020 Data DESTROYED Identity Politics. Women, POC Were Majority Of Trump Voters

Krystal and Saagar: Colbert, Late Night Comedy's EXTREME CRINGE To Keep Boomer Trump Alive

A Little Night Music

Nappy Brown - Love Locks

Nappy Brown - Is It True Is It True

Nappy Brown - Bye Bye Baby

Nappy Brown - Little By Little

Nappy Brown - Coal Miner

Nappy Brown - Apple Of My Eye

Nappy Brown - Don't be Angry

Nappy Brown - Land I Love

Nappy Brown - Skidy Woe

Nappy Brown - Any Time Is The Right Time

16 users have voted.


QMS's picture

a rhetorical question ..
why pay Israel 3.8 billions ???
moneys could be better spent here
(US key commitments = MIC contracts)

thanks for the EB!

13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


why pay Israel 3.8 billions?

so the arms manufacturers will be happy? given the lobbies involved, we're lucky not to be spending more.

7 users have voted.

14 users have voted.

All that fellatio is togh. And they continually need new suits because the knees wear out.

10 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

joe shikspack's picture


heh, why everybody in deecee knows that wealthy people are motivated by incentives and the rabble are motivated by whippings.

10 users have voted.

@joe shikspack Good evening, Joe.

Please keep in mind Why this conflict is happening Now.

Last week Israel began removing Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. Israel invaded a sacred site which is variously referred to as the Temple Mount or Al Aksa Mosque. Said to be the third holiest site in the Muslim world. During Ramada.

This is a deliberately contrived escalation.

It had to happen because Israel is one week into and one week away from the formation of a new government that doesn't include Benjamin Netanyahu. The King of 12 years is about to be deposed. maybe

The Opposition still has 5 or so weeks to pull off his ouster.

Bibi will bomb everybody he has to and destroy as much of Israel as it takes, in order to hold on. Think Trump. Think Cuomo.

This is what the end of even the sham of democracy looks like.

Meanwhile, the public focuses on how many Israelis perish as opposed to how many non-Israelis die. Idiots apparently believe that if fewer Israelis die, it is somehow winning.

These fools do not understand that nobody matters to Netanyahu other than himself and his continued reign.

4 users have voted.


If I set march to "native" on the Ryzen it builds. If I set it to "amdfam20" it crashes during unpack.
If I sert it to "generic" it also crashes during unpack. I thought maybe it was too many downloads but it seems to be march

3 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

sounds like fun. i haven't built a machine in a long time so i've forgetten lots of stuff. is there an mtune option to set for your processor or processor family?

have a good evening!

5 users have voted.

@joe shikspack
Sorry, my browser screwed up.

4 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Dems are ignoring the fact that HRW labelled Israel as an Apartheid State.

11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


biden has declared himself a zionist, so i guess he isn't going to complain when the neighbors decide to mow the lawn again.

10 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

I'm smoking a beef rib tonight.
Over mesquite. With a dark chile rub.
I'll make some beans and slaw.
Y'all remember this one ?

10 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture


sounds like a good night to hang around at your house. Smile

yep, i remember that one. not his big hit (sunshine) but from the same album iirc. great tune!

8 users have voted.

@Azazello grilled over mesquite. No mesquite, no grilling at my hacienda.
Curious...what kind of beans? My favorite is pintos. I soak them, boil them, add sea salt, and just before serving, add a generous dollop of butter. I don't ruin or cover up that buttery flavor with ham hocks, and never did.

7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@on the cusp

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 --

@enhydra lutris Mesquite, or die of starvation!
And DO NOT ADULTERATE BEANS with totally unnecessary gunk!

4 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@on the cusp
I cheated on my beans.
Used canned beans, little red ones.
I chopped and fried a single slice of bacon
and sweated some onion and garlic in the fat.
Then I dumped in a can of beans and
some salt and pepper and stuff.
And some beer.
Pretty good.

9 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

@Azazello are white beans used in canned pork and beans, or beans with tomato sauce without pork. And, dear QMS, I have some cans in my pantry, since those white beans are a pain in the ass to cook, and further pain in the ass to cook with tomato sauce, and even more so with bacon. I have done that process a million times from scratch, prefer to just buy the can, call it good. Even if I do decide to adulterate pintos or white beans with something, it is bacon. I cook the bacon, add onions and caramelize them, pour that into the boiling pintos. I do not stop at one slice of bacon, either. Nor do I hesitate to pour in some of the bacon fat. I just make sure the bacon as meaty and lean, trim off obvious fat.
Gawd, I am so Old School Southern cooking, but I haven't killed anyone. Yet.

7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

Interesting that the natural tendency of capitalism, especially US style, is toward concentration, and at least oligopolies if not monopolies.
Thus, the natural tendency is to leave the country vulnerable to bottlenecks, such as in the delivery of petroleum products. One pipeline serves such a huge swath of the populace that taking it out, even temporarily, causes massive problems. If it wren't for the impact on everyday people it would be a cause for hilarity.

It seems the text in this box is minuscule. This is definitely unusual, it will be interesting to see how it posts.

be well and have a good one

9 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

i suppose that it is also a natural tendency of capitalism to operate with minimum costs, so capitalists don't adequately secure their computing infrastructure making them vulnerable to any bunch of pimply-faced teenage computer geeks from any country around the world.

thank goodness for that labor-saving technology!

have a great evening!

8 users have voted.

educational. Thanks for that, as well as all the other links and vids.
We will be opening up court next week. I listened in on a hearing when the judge denied some guy's request for a phone deposition due to COVID. Overruled because, after all, he, the judge, came to this town, and he wasn't sick, so it is safe.
Well, there are 3 offices and a courtroom on that floor of the courthouse where he was conducting zoom court. 2 employees from 2 of those offices just returned to work Monday after bouts with COVID. No fellow employees from those offices were quarantined or tested.
But it is safe as can be.
So, I booked a trip for July to Padre Island for a few days, a stay at a condo. I purchased travel protection insurance just in case I or TLOML get sick. We will need that money for medicines!
Stay well, joe.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

good luck with your court reopening. it sure sounds safe... i hope that those little spiky things stay away from you.

have a great evening!

4 users have voted.

10 users have voted.

Next will be Nero, Harris?

7 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Thanks joe. It's past evening but the blues live on. right on
"Don't wallow in your low", she said. "Because it's too shallow?", I asked.

Thus sayeth the latimes headline from Mrs. Obama this fine day regarding depression. I'm pretty sure she was referring to a state of mind but did not read the "article" or whatever that was, the link to the living stress disorder.

I mean that headline was deep enough for me. So, so very deep it sunk like a rock to the bottom of my reality pool. ker-plunk! Why not just go shopping you stinking rich asshole, I ask? Huh? (hands on hips) sheesh Or go "volunteer" move a few Obamaville homeless encampments, that should lift ur evil spirits. giddyup

quit every job
park every car
wedge every boat
burn every return
fuck those guys
fuck them all to hell
sand in the gears
la la la

Peace and Love

9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


gosh, it's so nice of michelle to offer advice to people whose lives and circumstances she is beyond even imagining.

5 users have voted.