The Evening Blues - 5-12-22


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Son House

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features delta blues originator Eddie "Son" House. Enjoy!

Son House - Forever On My Mind

"Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice."

-- John Adams

News and Opinion

Surprise! The culture wars are on an escalatory path.

Democrats lose Senate vote to codify abortion rights into federal law

The US Senate on Wednesday failed to advance legislation that would codify the right to an abortion into federal law, after it was blocked. ... The Senate roll call was a stark reflection of the partisan divide over abortion rights, with all Republicans and one conservative Democrat, Joe Manchin of Virginia, voting against the measure. The final tally was 49-51, well short of the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. ...

Democrats, under intensifying pressure to act, saw a political opportunity in forcing Republicans to vote against a bill protecting abortion at a moment when the threat to access is urgent and polls show a majority of Americans want the procedure to remain legal in all or some cases.

They hope to use the Republican blockade as a data point in their midterm message to voters: that the GOP has become a party of “ultra-Maga” extremists, on the cusp of fulfilling a decades-long goal to strip women of their reproductive rights.

It is an issue Democrats hope will energize young voters disenchanted by the Biden administration and persuade Republican-leaning suburban women to back them again this cycle.

Mitch McConnell says Senate Republicans couldn’t pass abortion ban

A day before Democrats staged a vote in the Senate to codify into law the right to abortion, a right under threat from the supreme court, the Republican leader in the chamber said his party would not be able to pass an abortion ban should it take control in midterm elections in November.

“Historically, there have been abortion votes on the floor of the Senate. None of them have achieved 60 votes,” Mitch McConnell told reporters.

“I think it’s safe to say there aren’t 60 votes there at the federal level, no matter who happens to be in the majority, no matter who happens to be in the White House.”

The chamber is split 50-50 and therefore controlled by the tie-breaking vote of the vice-president, Kamala Harris. Democrats and progressives have urged the party to seek to scrap the filibuster, the Senate rule that requires 60 votes for most legislation.

Such reform seems unlikely. With key Democrats opposed, Punchbowl News, a Washington outlet, reported on Wednesday that the issue was not even discussed at a party Senate lunch the day before.

Obama and Liberals Killed Abortion Rights

On May 2, 2022, a memo written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to Alito made clear that the court with a 6 to 3 conservative majority intends to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the United States. Reaction to the news was swift and predictable. Liberals expressed outrage and marched on federal courthouses and even to the homes of Supreme Court justices. Barack Obama released a long winded 700 word statement declaring himself, and his wife, strongly opposed to the court’s imminent decision. The statement is amusing because it gives the impression that Obama had nothing to do with the current state of affairs.

As a presidential candidate in 2008 Obama promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have codified abortion rights into federal law. But once in office he never pushed congress to pass it. In typical Obamaesque fashion he would claim to believe that women had the right to choose abortion, but that he didn’t want to demonize the opposition, and he wanted to find consensus on the issue. After his usual routine “on the one hand this, but on the other hand that” on April 29, 2009 he finally said out loud what was clear. “The Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority.” It wasn’t even his lowest legislative priority. Obama never lifted a finger to get it passed, even in his two years in office when he had majorities in the House and the Senate.

Knowing full well that Roe v. Wade hinged on having a supportive Supreme Court in place, he dithered on doing what he had the power to do. In 2013 he knew that the democrats might lose control of the senate in the 2014 election. He asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, already 80-years old and a cancer patient, to step down. She declined and he didn’t press the issue. In 2016 conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died and senate republicans refused to even hold hearings to confirm Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland. Obama had the option of making a recess appointment that would have put Garland on the court but he didn’t do that either. Such a move would have been controversial, and perhaps Garland’s presence would have been short, but it would have made clear that democrats were as committed as they claimed to be on the issue of abortion rights.

Instead they play games with democratic voters. Any unhappiness with the democrats is met with the plea to protect the federal judiciary from conservatives. This ploy is nothing but a cynical effort to keep left leaning democrats in the fold and to discredit anyone who questions the party’s continued failures to do what the people want them to do. Now the liars and hypocrites like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who once claimed abortion was a “fading” issue are sending fundraising appeals to brain washed liberals who will again write checks and declare their devotion like Stockholm Syndrome hostages. Hillary Clinton’s foolish appeals to conservatives included choosing anti-choice senator Tim Kaine as a running mate and at times saying she was “ambivalent” about abortion are now forgotten as the supposed left of the party remain lost.

They are lost because they don’t know the most basic rules of political mobilizations. Instead of harassing SCOTUS justices at home, they should be harassing their democratic representatives. Why march to a courthouse instead of to the office of democratic member of congress and demand that they make abortion legal? In particular, senators have the ability to end the filibuster which would give the senate the ability to pass a Freedom of Choice Act with their small majority margin. Every democratic senator should be quaking in his or her boots for fear that they’ll be turned out of office if they do not act to protect abortion rights.

Of course they know they have nothing to fear.

Rashid Khalidi: Israel Systematically Targets Palestinian Journalists to Hide Reality of Occupation

Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh Killed By Israeli Forces. MSM, Gov’t WHITEWASHES Shooting: Katie Halper

Al Jazeera accuses Israeli forces of killing journalist in West Bank

Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, a Palestinian American and one of the Arab world’s best-known journalists, who had covered the conflict for decades, was shot in the head on Wednesday morning and taken to hospital in a critical condition. She had been covering a military raid in the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of the Palestinian Fatah movement and historical flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Abu Akleh was wearing a helmet and body armour clearly marked “press”. The Qatar-based television network said her colleagues at the scene said the veteran reporter was shot by Israeli forces.

Al Jazeera called on the international community to hold Israeli forces accountable for their “intentional targeting and killing” of Abu Akleh. “In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine,” it said.

Shatha Hanaysha, a journalist for Quds News Network who witnessed the incident, said: “Even after she fell to the ground the fire did not stop and none of us were able to reach her. A guy was finally able to reach us; he helped me and started pulling her.

“We were a group wearing press gear, and Shireen was even wearing the helmet. So it is obvious that the one who shot her meant to hit an exposed part of her body. This is an assassination.”

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed Abu Akleh’s death and said a second Al Jazeera employee, Ali Samodi, a producer, was wounded. Samodi told the New Palestinian from hospital: “We were there to cover the events in Jenin camp. All of a sudden [the Israelis] opened fire at us, they didn’t ask us to leave or stop. The first bullet hit me, the second one hit Shireen … There were no resistance fighters around us. If there were, we wouldn’t have been in that area.”

Squad FALLS IN LINE For BILLIONS More In Weapons To Ukraine

U.S. priorities: killing people and making billionaires richer.

As Covid Aid Languishes, Congress Moves Ahead With Massive Corporate Subsidies

On a bipartisan basis, Congress is moving ahead with legislation packed with tens of billions of dollars in subsidies for profitable U.S. tech corporations while a smaller but desperately needed coronavirus aid measure languishes, potentially compromising the Biden administration's ability to purchase next-generation vaccines and hampering the global pandemic fight.

Last week, the Senate voted on a range of nonbinding motions related to the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which has been billed as an effort to boost U.S. manufacturing and technological development to compete with China.

Different versions of the bill have passed the House and Senate, and the two chambers are currently working to reconcile the bills and iron out specific policy disputes in a conference committee.

Where most congressional lawmakers appear to have found common ground, though, is in the realm of corporate subsidies. In its current form, the USICA contains roughly $52 billion in subsidies for the nation's microchip industry—money that would flow to companies such as Intel.

As Common Dreams reported last week, senators from both parties overwhelmingly voted down Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) motion aiming to ensure that the subsidies come with conditions, including one preventing the federal funds from benefiting union-busting companies.

Senators also tanked a Sanders motion recommending that lawmakers remove from the USICA a $10 billion provision that's likely to benefit billionaire Jeff Bezos' space flight company.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that nearly every Senate Democrat voted with Republicans to "restore a tax cut that benefits corporate America" as part of the USICA. Sanders was one of five senators who voted against the motion, which was sponsored by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

If included in the final legislation, the tax cut—ostensibly designed to incentivize research and development—would cost the federal government nearly $130 billion over a four-year period. Intel, Amazon, and other large corporations and business groups lobbied hard for the tax break, The Lever reported earlier this month.

"At the risk of stating the obvious: Congress should not be cutting corporate taxes," Amy Hanauer, director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), said in response to last week's vote. "Corporate tax collections are much too low."

Meanwhile, despite increasingly dire warnings from public health experts, Congress has failed to approve additional coronavirus relief as Republicans obstruct and President Joe Biden and his Democratic colleagues in Congress prioritize military aid to Ukraine.

The Biden administration has requested $22 billion in coronavirus funding to protect the U.S. against a potentially massive fall and winter surge and to aid the global pandemic response, which rich nations have undermined by hoarding vaccine doses and technology.

The $5 billion in global coronavirus aid that Biden has pushed for represents a fraction of the subsidies that would flow to U.S. corporations under the USICA.

Last month, Republican and Democratic senators reached a tentative deal on a $10 billion coronavirus aid package that would completely exclude global coronavirus aid, sparking outrage among public health campaigners.

That deal has failed to advance, however, as Republicans demand a vote to preserve Title 42, a Trump-era migrant expulsion order that rights groups have denounced as both immoral and unlawful.

The failure to swiftly approve new coronavirus aid could have massive consequences for the U.S. response to Covid-19 as well as the global pandemic fight.

Citing an unnamed senior Biden administration official, CNBC reported Monday that "the U.S. will have to limit the next generation of Covid vaccines this fall to individuals at the highest risk of getting seriously sick from the virus if Congress fails to approve funding to purchase the new shots."

On Tuesday, more than a dozen Nobel laureates and former heads of state wrote in a letter to Biden that global Covid-19 funding is "mission-critical" in the fight against the pandemic, which has killed an estimated 15 million people worldwide.

"The lack of funding endangers the lives of people in the U.S. and around the world," the letter warned, "and risks the emergence of new and more deadly virus variants that will prolong the pandemic."

How Wall Street Is Taking Over Medicare

The Biden administration’s recent entrenchment and expansion of the Trump administration’s efforts to privatize Medicare is helping a shadowy set of big-business beneficiaries: private equity firms and major health care companies, including one that previously employed the government official overseeing the privatization plan, a Lever analysis shows.

In April last year, the Biden administration contracted with 53 third-party companies to mandate privatized health care plans through Medicare. The resulting health care options are effectively Medicare Advantage plans, or private coverage offered through the national health insurance program for seniors and people with disabilities — but with one wrinkle: Patients are being assigned to these new plans without their consent.

The 53 participating companies — called “direct contracting entities,” or DCEs — are allowed to offer benefits beyond traditional Medicare, like gym membership coverage. But as for-profit businesses that receive a set payment from Medicare no matter how much care they approve, these DCEs are incentivized to limit the care that patients receive, especially when they are very sick. The first DCEs were launched by President Donald Trump in 2019, and so far, at least 350,000 seniors have already been moved onto these privatized Medicare plans.

Now, a new Lever analysis of the 53 DCEs found additional cause for concern: 15 of these entities, or slightly more than a quarter, are backed by private equity firms, which are known for extracting profits at the expense of workers, the environment, and even their own pension fund investors. The firms include big-name firms like the Carlyle Group, General Atlantic, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Benchmark Capital, and Warburg Pincus. What’s more, another 15 DCEs are linked to big health care companies — including one with a direct connection to the Biden appointee in charge of the new privatized Medicare scheme.

Wall Street’s encroachment into Medicare is the latest example of private equity’s aggressive expansion into health care, which has ranged from hospitals to ER doctor groups. In 2021, private equity managers deployed $172 billion in capital in the health care sector — nearly four times the total budget of the National Institutes of Health. Biden himself has lambasted the for-profit industry’s takeover of elder care services, noting during his State of the Union address in March: “As Wall Street firms take over more nursing homes, quality in those homes has gone down and costs have gone up. That ends on my watch.”

Biden apparently doesn’t have the same concerns about Wall Street’s growing role in Medicare — a development that could lead to higher medical bills for patients.

Biden BLAMES Historic Inflation On 'Putin Price Hike'

US inflation rate slows but remains close to 40-year high

Price rises slowed in the US in April but the annual inflation rate remained close to a 40-year high, leaving many Americans struggling to afford necessities including food, shelter and fuel.

The latest consumer price index (CPI) figures – which measure a broad range of goods and services – showed prices rising by a monthly rate of 0.3% in April, down from 1.2% in March, the first fall since August 2021.

But it is still too early to say whether inflation has peaked. At 8.3% the annual rate of inflation in April was down from 8.5% in March but remains at a level unseen since the 1980s. Over the year the CPI’s food index increased 9.4%, the largest 12-month increase since April 1981. The so-called core-price index – which excludes the volatile categories of food and energy – increased 0.6% on the month, up from March’s 0.3% gain.

Wealthy Democrats DUMBFOUNDED As Katie Porter Warns Of Inflation PANIC: Report

Market DIVES With No End In Sight For Inflation

Record High Diesel Prices Will Ripple Across The Economy

The highest inflation in the U.S. in four decades is set to persist and even increase in the coming months as the price of diesel is at record highs amid very tight domestic inventories and a global shortage of supply. Diesel is used in every part of the industrial activity and supply chain, from goods transportation to manufacturing and agriculture; it fuels America’s economy. Diesel prices have soared to record highs in recent months, adding further upward pressure on U.S. inflation figures. The exceptionally tight diesel market at home and abroad is unlikely to ease any time soon, considering the post-COVID demand from industry and for leisure and travel, as well as the reduced supply of diesel, other fuels, and crude oil from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine and the bans on Russian imports or self-sanctioning of buyers in the West to buy Russian energy goods. ...

As diesel prices impact every part of the economy, the fight against inflation becomes more complicated for monetary policymakers, as steeper interest rate hikes could lead to the deterioration of economic activity and household spending and, ultimately, recession.

However, there is no short-term cure to the record diesel prices in the United States. Demand is going up, while inventories are at multi-year lows and at a record low on the U.S. East Coast. ...

The global diesel crunch is expected to worsen if the EU reaches some kind of a compromise on banning Russian crude and oil product imports. This will keep diesel prices elevated, impacting every economic activity in the U.S. and elsewhere, and ultimately hitting consumers.

Currently, diesel at New York harbor is trading at around $5 per gallon, which is well above $200 per barrel, Tom Kloza, head of global energy research at OPIS, told CNBC’s Pippa Stevens.

“These are numbers that are not just off the charts. They’re off the walls, out of the building, and maybe out of the solar system,” Kloza told CNBC.

Amid Record Pump Prices, Oil Giants Enjoy 'Sky-High' $41 Billion Q1 Profits: Report

Amid record gas prices and fossil fuel industry profits, Big Oil is "trying to squeeze even more cash out of American consumers," according to a report published Wednesday by the watchdog group Accountable.US.

The report—entitled High Prices Make Big Oil Profits Soar—details how "in the first three months of the year, 21 oil and gas companies made over $41 billion in profits, more than doubling profits from just a year ago. This is, on average, $1.2 billion more per company than the same time last year thanks to—as the companies themselves say—high oil prices and the crisis in Ukraine."

Accountable.US energy and environment director Jordan Schreiber said in a statement that "this year is shaping up to be even better than the last for the oil and gas industry. Unfortunately for consumers, good news for Big Oil's bottom line never seems to be good news for them."

"Make no mistake," she added, "these oil and gas companies would rather take their billions in profits and pass them on to wealthy industry executives than do anything to stabilize gas prices for consumers."

According to Accountable.US, Shell led all fossil fuel companies with more than $7.1 billion in first quarter profits, followed by Chevron with $6.3 billion, and ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil, which each earned over $5.7 billion.

The report notes that Jeff Miller, CEO of the oil services giant Halliburton—which is responsible for most of the world's fracking operations—boasted during a quarterly earnings call that a "perpetual threat of undersupply that is supportive to commodity prices" is "great" for business.

Another CEO, Hess Corporation's John Hess, said the company is "positioned to fully benefit" from a "significant increase in volatility and liquidity risk in the oil markets following Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

The report also details how, despite "raking in sky-high profits," fossil fuel corporations are "giving all their 'excess' cash to investors with plans to give even more as the year goes on."

"Big Oil is using its windfall profits from high prices to shower $11.8 billion in dividends and $14 billion in stock buybacks onto shareholders," it states, noting that ExxonMobil raised its share buyback program by $20 billion to $30 billion through 2023, and Chevron repurchased a record $10 billion in stock in one quarter.

"And who benefits from massive shareholder payouts? Wealthy oil and gas CEOs," the report continues. "Stocks heavily pad the paychecks of top oil and gas CEOs with the heads of companies like Exxon and Chevron receiving more than 50% of their over-$22 million compensations from stock."

A separate Accountable.US analysis published last month revealed that CEOs from 28 leading fossil fuel companies enjoyed a combined $394 million in total compensation in 2021.

Even with such record-breaking profits, shareholder rewards, and executive pay and bonuses, oil and gas companies including Chevron still attempted to exploit the war in Ukraine to secure long-term commitments from the Biden administration to support the domestic fossil fuel industry.

According to a 2021 analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental and Energy Study Institute, "U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry are estimated at roughly $20.5 billion per year, including $14.7 billion from federal subsidies and $5.8 billion from state subsidies."

US identifies more than 50 Native American boarding school burial sites

A first-of-its-kind federal study of Native American boarding schools that for more than a century sought to assimilate indigenous children into white society has identified more than 400 such schools that were supported by the US government and more than 50 associated burial sites, a figure that could grow substantially.

The report released on Wednesday by the US interior department expands the number of schools that were known to have operated for 150 years, starting in the early 19th century and coinciding with the removal of tribes from ancestral lands.

The dark history of the boarding schools – children were taken from their families, prohibited from speaking their Native American languages and often abused – has been felt deeply through generations of families.

Many children never returned home. The department’s work focused on burial sites and trying to identify the children and their tribal affiliations is far from complete. ... The interior department acknowledged the number of schools identified could change. The pandemic and budget restrictions hindered some research, said Bryan Newland, the assistant secretary for Indian affairs.

The US government directly ran some of the boarding schools. Catholic, Protestant and other churches operated others with federal funding, backed by US laws and policies to “civilize” Native Americans.

The report was prompted by the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in Canada.

the horse race

Judge strikes down Florida governor’s ‘unconstitutional’ election map

A state judge struck down new congressional districts in north Florida on Wednesday, saying that Governor Ron DeSantis, who drew the lines, had made it harder for Black voters to elect the candidate of their choice.

“I am finding the enacted map is unconstitutional because it diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect candidates of their choice,” circuit judge Layne Smith said on Wednesday, according to the Tributary. Lawyers for the state of Florida are expected to immediately appeal the ruling, and the Florida supreme court will probably ultimately decide the case.

The decision dealt specifically with DeSantis’s decision to dismantle Florida’s fifth congressional district. It stretched from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, was 46% Black, and is currently represented by Al Lawson, a Black Democrat. DeSantis’s new district chopped the district up into four districts where Republican candidates would be favored to win.

Texas court ordered to reconsider decision to uphold prison sentence for woman who voted

A Texas appeals court must reconsider its decision to uphold a five-year conviction for Crystal Mason, the Texas woman sentenced to prison for casting a provisional ballot in the 2016 election, the state’s highest criminal court ruled on Wednesday.

Mason showed up to the polls to vote in 2016, while on supervised release – which is similar to probation – for a federal tax felony. She cast a provisional ballot at the urging of election workers, which was ultimately rejected because people with felony convictions in Texas cannot vote while they are serving any part of a federal sentence.

Mason said she had no idea she was ineligible to vote, and an official from the federal probation office testified at her trial that they never informed her she was ineligible. “That’s just not something we do. In my opinion, that’s common knowledge, but that’s not something we do,” the official said during her trial.

A local judge in Tarrant county, where Mason lives, convicted her of illegally voting in 2018 and sentenced her to five years in prison. An appeals court upheld that ruling in 2020. The Texas court of criminal appeals said the an appellate court had “erred by failing to require proof that the appellant had actual knowledge that it was a crime for her to vote while on supervised release”.

Ryan Grim: Left EATS ITS OWN In Warning To Progressives

the evening greens

US fracking boom could tip world to edge of climate disaster

The fate of the vast quantities of oil and gas lodged under the shale, mud and sandstone of American drilling fields will in large part determine whether the world retains a liveable climate. And the US, the world’s largest extractor of oil, is poised to unleash these fossil fuels in spectacular volumes. Planned drilling projects across US land and waters will release 140bn metric tons of planet-heating gases if fully realised, an analysis shared with the Guardian has found.

The study, to be published in the Energy Policy journal this month, found emissions from these oil and gas “carbon bomb” projects were four times larger than all of the planet-heating gases expelled globally each year, placing the world on track for disastrous climate change.

The plans include conventional drilling and fracking spanning the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the foothills of the Front Range in Colorado and the mountainous Appalachian region. But the heart is the Permian basin, a geological formation 250 miles wide that sits under the mostly flat terrain of west Texas and New Mexico. One lobe of this formation, known as the Delaware basin, is predicted to emit 27.8bn metric tons of carbon during the lifetime of planned drilling, while another, known as the Midland basin, will potentially unleash 16.6bn tons of emissions.

It means the US, the centre of the world’s addiction to oil and gas, will play an outsized role in the heatwaves, droughts and floods that will impact people around the planet.

Exxon doubles down on ‘advanced recycling’ claims that yield few results

Accused of misleading the public for decades on the promise of plastic recycling, oil and chemical companies are pushing a new idea: “advanced recycling”. Environmental advocates, however, say it’s more of the same old greenwash and litigators hope holding companies accountable for past lies might prevent the spread of a new one.

In late April, California attorney general Rob Bonta launched an investigation into ExxonMobil for its role in exacerbating the global plastic pollution crisis. Bonta says he was partly inspired by a 2020 investigation from NPR and Frontline that showed how companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Dow and Dupont were aware of the inefficacy of plastic recycling, yet they still strategized marketing campaigns that told a different story to the public.

For oil companies, those campaigns often included removing themselves from the story altogether. Even some climate advocates forget that plastic, which is made from either petroleum or ethane (a byproduct of fracking), is very much part of the climate crisis. Bonta says his investigation started with ExxonMobil because they’ve been a leader, in the plastics industry and in the messaging around recycling. A report out last year from the Mindaroo Foundation found that just 100 companies produce 90% of the world’s plastic pollution. It pinpointed ExxonMobil as the top producer in the world of single-use plastic.

In a statement responding to the investigation, ExxonMobil said it is “focused on solutions” like building the first “commercial-scale advanced recycling technology” and that “meritless allegations like these distract from the important collaborative work that is under way”.

But like regular old recycling, “advanced recycling” has so far shown little to no results. ... The technology is still in its infancy, but early studies have found that like earlier versions of plastic recycling, the “advanced” method is expensive, and that it’s difficult to collect and effectively recycle a wide variety of plastics. It also delivers few environmental benefits, not just because it’s used to create either fuel or more plastic, but also because the process itself is emissions intensive. One study commissioned by plastic manufacturers themselves found that advanced recycling generated more greenhouse gases than either landfilling plastic or burning it.

California to decide fate of controversial desalination plant amid brutal drought

California officials are poised to decide the fate of a controversial desalination plant planned along its southern coast, in a vote that comes as the American west battles an increasingly perilous drought. California water use leapt 19% in March, amid one of the driest months on record. After more than a decade of debate, the California coastal commission on Thursday will finally vote on a proposal for a $1.4bn desalination plant in Huntington Beach, south of Los Angeles.

As the west grows hotter and drier, the state and others in its neighborhood are seeing water supplies grow scarce. California is now facing its third consecutive year of crippling drought, with shortages spurring strict restrictions. Rising heat also means more water is needed to sustain people, ecosystems and the state’s thirsty agricultural sector.

Desalination plants, which convert seawater into potable water, have long been considered a possible solution, as residents, developers and policymakers look to capture the water crashing against the California shores. The Huntington Beach plant has prominent backers, including the state’s governor, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Chamber of Commerce and a slew of other state and local officials. But experts say siphoning water from the sea isn’t a simple answer to a complex and burgeoning crisis.

Desalination plants require large amounts of energy to turn salt water into fresh water and have a significant impact on marine life. Critics of the Huntington Beach project have also argued that for all its costs, the plant wouldn’t actually make water more accessible or affordable to the Californians who need it most.

Dr Gregory Pierce, director of the human right to water solutions lab at University of California, Los Angeles, and a team of researchers studied the proposal in 2019. They concluded that the plant is located in an area of the state that’s not hurting for high-quality, reliable water, but the project would make drinking water less affordable for disadvantaged households in Orange county. “Proponents have vaguely asserted that there will be equity benefits from this plant but haven’t provided any evidence of what that means,” he added. Instead, according to his team’s research, the large cost of the project would raise overall water prices in the region, hurting those who already struggle the most to pay their water bill.

Also of Interest

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

John Kiriakou: Biden’s Orwellian ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ and Other Assaults on Free Press

Ukraine - Congress Passes The Bucks, Realism Sneaks In, Poland Plans For More War

Russia Advances on Ukraine Troops Trapped in Severodonetsk, Finland Rushes to Join NATO

Leader of Ukraine’s Kherson to Ask Putin to Join Russia

Senator Tells Treasury Secretary Yellen that Crypto Market Is Now Larger than Subprime Market that Triggered Global Financial Crisis

UKRAINE: US Gas & Europe’s Decarbonization Hit

The Democratic Bargain, Abortion and Responsibility

Delaware governor denounces police search of HBCU lacrosse bus in Georgia

‘Fascism works like that’: homeless New Yorkers struggle amid police sweeps

Saagar Enjeti: Media BLAMES AMERICANS For Historic Gas Inflation

Ukraine, Russia and Poland w/Gonzalo Lira

Joe Manchin BUCKS Dems, Votes ‘NO’ To Codify Roe. Kamala Harris Suggests REPLACING HIM

Potential OCTOGENARIAN Presidency Raises Necessary Questions About Age & Politics: Briahna & Robby

A Little Night Music

Son House - My Black Mama, Pt. 1

Son House - John The Revelator

Son House - Low Down Dirty Dog Blues

Son House - Death Letter Blues

Son House - Preachin' Blues

Son House - The Pony Blues

Son House - Louise McGhee

Son House - Walkin' Blues (1930)

Son House - Mississippi County Farm Blues

Son House - Grinnin' In Your Face

20 users have voted.


snoopydawg's picture

But when legitimacy is broken: when civilization or democracy or liberalism doesn’t provide what it’s supposed to do, people stop caring so much about what is legal.

Nobody on the supreme court is going to be affected negatively by the loss of Roe. They and their friends and families, all of whom are rich, powerful or both, will still be able to get abortion when needed or when they want them. They, their daughters, wives and sisters will not die of untreated ectopic pregnancies or bleed out from back alley abortions.

And, as a commenter pointed out, the supreme court did rule that protests outside the houses of abortion doctors were constitutionally protected free speech, but protests outside their houses aren’t.

The evil of aristocracy is that aristocrats inflict what they never suffer.

If you are a member of the American elite life has never been better. You are the richest rich the world has ever known, even richer than in the Gilded Age. For over 40 years salaries, stock options, stocks and other assets like real-estate have just gone up and up and up, and when they haven’t the government, often in the form of the Fed, has stepped into to make sure they do.

Meanwhile ordinary people increasingly can’t afford houses, rent or medical care and where one salary could support a 4 person family, now 2 often can’t. (Ignore the official inflation and wage adjusted stats, and focus on reality, the stats don’t tell the picture and everyone knows it.)

Life gets better and better for the elite; the aristocrats and some of their retainer class, and shittier for almost everyone else.

There isn’t really a social contract, but there is legitimacy, and our elites have broken it. Since they have broken it, I will gently suggest that expecting those will die or suffer in large numbers due to their decisions to respect them or their laws is unreasonable.

Ian mentions the Princeton study.

We ain’t going to vote our way out of this corrupt country because the only people who are allowed to run have been the ones who have made this corruption legal. The ones with the most power have been in congress up to 5 decades and they have rigged it so that they will get re-elected every time.

Plus there’s the silent power behind them that never gets voted on. Congress doesn’t debate any bills anymore. After the lobbyists write them and deliver them to congress the members have a few hours to read before they vote on the bills. This is what just happened with the $40 billion Ukraine bill according to Thomas Massive. He says that Pelosi hasn’t allowed debate for over 5 years. This is not a representative government. Rich people have rigged it so they get representation without taxation and we get taxation without representation.

Funny timing to insist that every woman carries her pregnancy to term while the country cannot provide babies with formula and congress doesn’t give a rat’s ass that over 20 million children go to bed hungry. And yet as the midterms approach we will be bombarded with promises that no one will deliver if they get re-elected. And too many people will fall for it. Again. The very definition of insanity.

14 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

joe shikspack's picture


clearly the project for the working class is finding a way to present their demands for change and accommodation in a way that the ruling class cannot refuse, as the methods of the past have failed.

6 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

of the criminality of the empire + 5eyes + Israel + WS + MIC/CIA
etc.etc.etc. Why do I say this, comments worldwide about the Israeli
assassination of Shireen Akleh. Also with the Ukraine biolabs coming
into being called out, the world is noticing and that's a great thing.

Now for the bad shit and bad it's going to get if Lew is correct.

Stay safe everyone and thanks for the EB's Joe.

Today another record high but without the humidity, what a difference that makes.
Maybe next week we get some Snow like snoopydawg endured just a few days ago.
That's springtime in Chicago for you!!

12 users have voted.

Yes the DHS’s Ministry of Truth is headed by a weird ridiculous person. Please don’t let that distract from the vastly more significant fact that the DHS has a Ministry of Truth.


joe shikspack's picture


i suspect that much of the world is aware of the sins of the empire. what is new is that as lew rockwell points out, they may now see that there's something that they can do about it.

sadly, this is likely to be bad for us "little people," much like the empire's actions largely affect the non-elites of other nations.

glad to hear that the humidity lifted. here in baltimore we are familiar with how nasty it can be.

have a great evening!

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Just for a box of food! People are hurting in the gawd damn United States of America! The idea!

But don’t worry, Pelosi is going to quote the Bible at us.


Anyone want some ice cream? Good grief…how long till she retires?

8 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

joe shikspack's picture


i was hungry and you gave me guns, ammo and stinger missiles.

thank you, lord.

6 users have voted.
CB's picture

has recently published a fact sheet on the NED. The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, certainly has the US 'pegged'. This is the most concise and accurate paper on the NED that I have ever seen.

Fact Sheet on the National Endowment for Democracy


The United States has long used democracy as a tool and a weapon to undermine democracy in the name of democracy, to incite division and confrontation, and to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs, causing catastrophic consequences. 

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), as one of the US government’s main “foot soldiers”, “white gloves” and “democracy crusaders”, has subverted lawful governments and cultivated pro-US puppet forces around the world under the pretext of promoting democracy. Its disgraceful record has aroused strong discontent in the international community. 

In today’s world, peace and development is the theme of the times, and the trend towards greater democracy in international relations is unstoppable. Any attempt to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy is unpopular and is doomed to failure.

I. NED organizational structure

After World War II, the United States opened a covert front against the Soviet Union through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence apparatus. By the 1960s, the United States had realized gradually that it was far from enough to “promote democracy” through secret means only. There was an urgent need to establish a “public-private mechanism” to openly provide funding. In 1983 and with the efforts of the then US President and some other people, NED was founded as a bipartisan, non-profit institution. 

NED is nominally an NGO that provides support for democracy abroad, but in fact, it relies on continuous financial support from the White House and the US Congress, and takes orders from the US government. Through the provision of funding, it has manipulated and directed NGOs around the world to export American values, conduct subversion, infiltration and sabotage, and incite so-called “democratic movements” in target countries and regions. It is essentially the US government’s “white glove” that serves US strategic interests. 

As early as in 1991, the founder of NED Alan Weinstein put it bluntly in an interview with the Washington Post that a lot of what they were doing was what the CIA had done 25 years ago. NED was therefore known globally as the “second CIA”.

NED has four core institutes: the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, mainly responsible for supporting local political groups; the American Center for International Labor Solidarity responsible for promoting trade unions and labor movements; and the Center for International Private Enterprise for co-opting private enterprises. Through these four institutes, NED has become the mastermind behind separatist riots, color revolutions, political crises, lies and rumors, and infiltration around the world, with an ever-growing list of evils.

II. Instigating color revolutions to subvert state power

NED was seen behind color revolutions instigated and orchestrated by the United States, including the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Arab Spring. 

1. NED instigated color revolutions against “hostile” countries. Early NED documents revealed activities by NED mainly in Eastern Europe to subvert state power in as early as the late 1980s. 

III. Colluding with local political groups to meddle in other countries’ political agenda

By infiltrating target countries, cultivating local anti-government forces and stoking social tensions, NED has been reaching its hands into the internal affairs of other countries.

IV. Funding separatist forces to undermine target countries’ stability 

China has long been a key target of NED’s infiltration and subversion activities. NED invests heavily in anti-China programs every year and attempts to incite “Xinjiang independence”, “Hong Kong independence”, and “Tibet independence” . According to data released on its website in 2020, NED provided over 10 million US dollars of grants for 69 China-related programs within one year which were aimed to deliver various activities endangering China’s political and social stability.

V. Producing disinformation and playing up anti-government narratives

1. Circulating provocative rhetoric to arouse anti-government sentiments among the public. In 2021, Cuba experienced its worst economic crisis in 30 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and tightened sanctions by the United States. Inflation intensified, and food, medicine and power shortages spread across the country....

VI. Funding Activities and Academic Programs for the Purpose of Ideological Infiltration

1. NED has created various “democracy awards” to encourage dissidents in other countries to help the US “export” democracy. Since 1991, NED has been granting the Democracy Award annually to political activists and dissidents in countries including Russia, China, DPRK, Myanmar, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and Ukraine in recognition of “defending human rights and democracy”....

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


yep, you've got to wonder why some countries allow ned to organize on their soil.

thanks for the post.

6 users have voted.
Creosote.'s picture


Your reach is extensive and enormously valuable.

1 user has voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

The upside of everything is that the empire is failing and the world will be much better off for it. Sadly, the downside is also that the empire is failing, and its non-oligarch citizens and residents are in for terrible times.

Nothing much is looking good right now. You know it's bad when the great hope is that the Dems pull off a miracle and retain enough power to continue to do zip shit except fund wars and corporate welfare.

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

yep, it's a time when every hope has its consequences, which will like everything else in this society be distributed inequitably.

interesting times, indeed.

have a great night.

6 users have voted.
CB's picture

1. Taiwan is to China as Ukraine is to Russia, in other words the US seeks to wage a proxy conflict through the breakaway island province in the same way the US is waging war with Russia through Ukrainian forces;

2. Just as US training and arms sales to Ukraine has done absolutely nothing to “repel” Russia, US training and arms to Taiwan will not only not “repel” any military operation to reintegrate Taiwan fully, it will most likely only accelerate provocations toward such a military operation;
Washington’s goal in both Ukraine and Taiwan is not to preserve the regimes administering either territory, but to create and use conflicts involving both territories as justification for isolating Russia and China;

3. The Western arms industry obviously is benefiting to the tune of billions regarding arms sales to not only to Ukraine and Taiwan, but also to nations as part of “preparing” for wider conflict between Europe and Russia as well as Indo-Pacific nations and China;

4. In both cases it is clear that the US is not underwriting security for either Ukraine or Taiwan as well as the regions both territories reside in, and instead, is the greatest threat to both regions and wider global peace, stability, and prosperity.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


one good war deserves another?

if the u.s. elites had a shred of decency, they would just offer the taiwanese an opportunity to emigrate to the us and recreate their society on some chunk of our land. it would be a bargain for whatever state got "taiwan" as it would in short order have a productive economy.

6 users have voted.