The Evening Blues - 5-13-19


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Little Willie Littlefield

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features boogie-woogie and r&b piano player and singer Little Willie Littlefield. Enjoy!

Little Willie Littlefield - Long About Midnight

“Right now I've got just two rules to live by.

Rule one: don't taunt elephants.
Rule two: don't stand next to anybody who taunts elephants.”

-- Howard Tayler

News and Opinion

US war against Iran is impossible, claims Iranian general

The deployment of a US aircraft carrier to Iran’s regional waters is nothing but psychological warfare and part of a plan to intimidate Tehran, the head of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, Gen Hossein Salami, has told parliamentarians in a closed-door session.

The IRGC commander said a US war against Iran was impossible, claiming Washington lacked the necessary military strength. Another senior commander claimed Iran had the firepower to “hit the US in the head” during the session in Tehran on Sunday.

The combined remarks represent another ratcheting up of the bellicose rhetoric between Washington and Tehran, since Iran began a partial withdrawal last week from 2015 the nuclear deal.

The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, carrying up to 40 strike aircraft, has been deployed to the Gulf. The head of the IRGC aerospace division, Amirali Hajizadeh, said: “An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6,000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past, but now … the threats have switched to opportunities. If [the Americans] make a move, we will hit them in the head.”

The Media's Shameful Handling of Bolton's Iran Threat Claims Recalls the Run-Up to the Iraq War

In one now infamous incident during the months leading up to the start of the Iraq war, then-Vice President Dick Cheney went on NBC’s Meet the Press and issued a dire warning. Saddam Hussein was trying “through his illicit procurement network, to acquire the equipment he needs to be able to enrich uranium to make the bombs. … specifically aluminum tubes.” But Cheney made sure to point out that he wasn’t just making this assertion out of thin air (or passing on classified material), but that, in fact, the claim came from the paper of record, The New York Times.

We have since learned, of course, that Bush administration officials deliberately leaked the story to Times reporter Judith Miller — who co-wrote the big front page scoop with her colleague Michael Gordon — to build the case that that Saddam was building nuclear bombs. The Times later walked back the reporting, saying there was some internal disagreement about what the tubes were actually for (and in truth, it turned out, the tubes were actually not made for nuclear weapons). ...

We saw a similar dynamic play out this week, albeit on a smaller scale, after Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton issued an unusual statement on Sunday evening announcing that the U.S. was sending a carrier and bomber group to the Middle East to counter unspecified Iranian threats. Instead of expressing skepticism about such a statement from someone who’s been gunning for war with Iran for nearly two decades, and from an administration that has been doing the same for the past two and a half years, reports from U.S. mainstream media outlets basically served as a public relations service, simply repeating Bolton’s statement with little scrutiny across multiple mediums. For example, this was a headline from CNN the next day: “US deploying carrier and bomber task force in response to ‘troubling’ Iran actions.”

Much of the piece then repeated almost verbatim administration claims about the supposed Iranian threat. And it wasn’t until the 24th paragraph that the story noted that such deployments are “routine” and that the carrier group in question, the Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, had already been deployed to “the Central Command region,” as Bolton put it in his statement. If the Lincoln group had already been deployed, was Bolton — again, who has made it no secret that he’s wanted war with Iran for some time — simply using this routine matter to goad Iran into some kind of conflict? CNN asked no such questions.

Then there was the question of the intelligence itself. Was it accurate? Was John Bolton — who also has a well-documented history of manipulating intelligence for his own policy preferences — playing fast and loose with the facts? ... Subsequent news stories reported that the intelligence Bolton was working from was “unclear.” Other reports referred to unnamed U.S. officials citing “potential preparations,” intel that “may indicate possible attacks,” and that the U.S. “was not expecting any imminent Iranian attack.” So in other words, nothing concrete, specific, or severe enough to merit an entire carrier group and B-52 bombers being sent to the Middle East.

Progressives Rip Olberman’s Unhinged Red-Baiting

'Victory': Saudi Ship Leaves Port Without French Weapons

A human rights organization called it a "victory for mobilized civil society" when a Saudi cargo ship left France on Friday without a planned batch of weapons. France, along with other Western countries including the U.S. and U.K., has been supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, which is leading the coaltion bombing Yemen. In so doing, say human rights campaigners, they "risk complicity in committing grave violations of the laws of war."

Leaked classified French military documents published last month showed that French weapons are being widely used in the coalition's bombing campaign "including in civilian zones." The conflict has already killed thousands of civilians. Fearing that the new shipment of weapons could be used against the Yemeni civilian population, French rights group Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT-France) filed a legal challenge Thursday to block a new batch of French weapons from being loaded onto the Saudi vessel the Bahri Yanbu at the French port city of Le Havre. The ship had been anchored 15 miles offshore since late Wednesday.

The weapons, said ACAT, would violate one article of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. "The article says that one country cannot authorize the transfer of weapons, if at the time of the authorization, the country knew that weapons could be used to commit war crimes," said lawyer Joseph Brehem, speaking on behalf of ACAT. While ACAT didn't win their case, the ship nonetheless did not dock to pick up the shipment, but instead moved on to Spain.

From Reuters:

A French judge threw out that legal challenge but the Bahri-Yanbu set course for Santander shortly after minus the weapons, officials said and ship-tracking data showed.

The saga is an embarrassment for [French] President Emmanuel Macron, who on Thursday defended arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

ACAT-France praised the development, saying that it happened not as a result from a judge but because of an activated citizenry who sounded alarm about the weapons.

Venezuela’s Maduro Government Not Near Collapse

As the United States backs Juan Guaidó's opposition party in Venezuela, intensifying the standoff between Guaidó and the government of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, there are efforts underway to find a solution through mediation. German Bundestag member Andrej Hunko of left-wing party Die Linke recently returned from a 10-day factfinding trip to Venezuela. He spoke withThe Real News Network's Greg Wilpert about what he learned about Maduro’s support within Venezuela, the possibility for negotiation, and lifting sanctions.

“For Mr. Guaidó, at the moment, negotiations are seen as a strategy of the government to gain time. He's seeing that negotiations only would help stabilize the government. So at the moment, he's not so much interested in negotiations,” Hunko said. “He didn't refuse in general, but it seems that the current strategy is to have a very short-term overthrow of Maduro.”

Hunko explained Maduro is more open to negotiations than Guaidó but fears that U.S. intervention poses challenges to negotiations because “most of the negotiation partners are dependent on US politics.” Moreover, Maduro's government is stronger now than it was two months ago. Fears of a successful coup have diminished.

“I don't have the impression that the Maduro government is near a collapse. It's not only the military backing the government. It is at least a significant part of the Venezuelan population, especially in the favelas and the poorer areas of Venezuela. And it seems that in late January, it was maybe closer to tumble the government to be thrown over—than now,” Hunko said. “After the threats of the U.S. and economic sanctions, I heard a lot of voices critical to Maduro, but saying they are opposed to these military threats and would support the government against these threats and against economic sanctions.”

Juan Guaidó Makes Open Plea for US Military 'Coordination' in Venezuela After Failed Coup Attempt

After his latest coup attempt against the elected government of President Nicolás Maduro quickly fell flat, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó on Saturday said he has moved to open "direct communications" with Pentagon officials with the goal of establishing greater military "coordination" with the United States.

According to the Associated Press, Guaidó announced during a rally Saturday that he has "instructed his political envoy in Washington to immediately open relations with the U.S. military in a bid to bring more pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to resign."

"The leader said he's asked Carlos Vecchio, who the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela's ambassador, to open 'direct communications' toward possible military 'coordination,'" AP reported. "The remarks... mark one of his strongest public pleas yet for greater U.S. involvement in the country's fast-escalating crisis."

Worth a full read:

Distorting ‘Democracy’ in Venezuela Coverage

Writing of the failed US-sponsored coup attempt in Venezuela on April 30, Uri Friedman of The Atlantic (5/1/19) referred to the Venezuelan branch of the coup as Juan “Guaidó’s pro-democracy movement.” The logical contradiction could scarcely be more pronounced: A wave of Friedman’s wand transforms a political force seeking the military overthrow of Venezuela’s elected government into a “pro-democracy movement.”

The Venezuelan government’s current mandate comes from winning an election on May 20, 2018 that was observed by more than 150 members of theInternational Electoral Accompaniment Mission. In a joint report, the observers said of the agency that organizes the country’s electoral process, “The technical and professional trustworthiness and independence of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela are uncontestable.” The Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America, one of the groups that participated in the observer mission, reported that the “results communicated by the National Electoral Council reflect the will of the voters who decided to participate in the electoral process.”

The Wall Street Journal (5/1/19) performed the same trick, writing that “Venezuela’s democratic leaders launched a revolt against Cuban-backed dictator Nicolas Maduro.” In the Journal’s universe, Maduro is a “dictator” despite heading a country with a legislative branch controlled by the opposition, where in October 2017 the opposition won five governorships, and which has thus far declined to arrest a politician agitating for a military putsch in open collaboration with hostile foreign powers, to the extent of entertaining the possibility of supporting a US invasion and supporting US-led sanctions that are devastating  the country’s economy.

Imagine what the US would do with, say, someone acting in concert with a similarly energetic Iranian or Chinese effort to oust the US government. It’s not an exact analogy, since Iran and China have no history of ruthlessly dominating the region in which the US is located, but the point should be clear.

For the Journal, “Venezuela’s democratic leaders” are those who sat out the country’s election, claimed it was unfair and then declined to file an appeal with the country’s National Electoral Council (CNE). One is hard-pressed to imagine a more soundly democratic practice than Guaidó not running for president and then declaring himself president even as 80 percent of Venezuelans had never heard of him at the time. ...

At every turn, Guaidó and his backers have taken steps that have nothing to do with democracy, and everything to do with what Oscar Guardiola-Rivera (Independent, 5/1/19), who teaches human rights and philosophy at the University of London, aptly labeled “a white supremacist foreign intervention.” That corporate media manage to portray this as a “pro-democracy movement” is both a tragedy and a farce.

Brexit deal unlikely to pass without confirmatory poll

Keir Starmer has expressed doubts that any cross-party Brexit deal lacking a confirmatory referendum could pass parliament, warning up to 150 Labour MPs would reject an agreement that did not include one.

The shadow Brexit secretary said he feared the party risked losing its remain voters after worse than expected losses in the local elections, but he warned Labour remainers tempted to vote for the Liberal Democrats or Change UK that only Jeremy Corbyn’s party could deliver a fresh referendum. ...

He said he feared the lesson of Labour’s net loss of more than 84 seats in the local elections was that it could shed remain voters as well as leavers. ...

An Opinium/Observer survey of voting intentions in the European elections released at the weekend gave Nigel Farage’s Brexit party 34% of the vote, 13 points ahead of Labour on 21%. The Lib Dems were on 12% and the Conservatives in fourth on 11%. Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, told Sky News that the surge in support for Farage was from voters “angry that the referendum result has not been delivered on by a incompetent government”.

'Tables are turned': Democrats furious over Trump's call to investigate Biden's Ukraine links

Trump wants Barr to consider investigating Biden – Giuliani

Donald Trump wants his attorney general to consider investigating Joe Biden, a potential opponent in next year’s presidential election, over Biden’s ties to Ukraine, Trump’s personal lawyer said on Sunday.

The former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani made the remark as fears grew among Democrats that the president will use the US justice department – and even help from foreign officials – to go after his political rivals.

Giuliani told the Guardian he and Trump agreed that Attorney General William Barr should decide whether US investigators ought to look into a lucrative business deal in Ukraine obtained by Biden’s son while Biden was vice-president. ...

Giuliani has been working to resurface allegations that Biden improperly used his position as Barack Obama’s “point man” on Ukraine to help the business career of his younger son, Hunter, a corporate lawyer and former reservist in the US navy.

Biden has publicly boasted that in 2015 he threatened to withhold US aid to Ukraine, as a way to help oust the country’s top prosecutor. Giuliani claims Biden did so because the prosecutor had been investigating a gas company that was paying Hunter Biden as a director. The investigation was dropped.

Latest whistleblower arrest signals ongoing attempts to "silence the press"

Chelsea Manning will risk return to jail over new subpoena

Chelsea Manning will risk being returned to jail this week by refusing to comply with a new demand from the US government to testify before a grand jury, she said on Sunday. In an interview with CNN’s Reliable Sources, Manning said she would not comply with a subpoena from federal prosecutors in Virginia to testify on Thursday about her interactions with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. ...

Even before leaving jail, Manning was issued with a fresh subpoena ordering her to appear before the grand jury, according to her lawyers. The grand jury is due to meet on 16 May in Alexandria.

Asked on Sunday if she would be back in jail next weekend, Manning said that depended on whether a motion to quash the subpoena, filed by her attorneys, was successful. “We’re certainly going to raise every single legal challenge,” she said. “We have a very strong case.”

San Francisco police raid journalist over report on death of public defender

A freelance journalist is vowing to protect his source after San Francisco police raided his home and office while keeping him handcuffed for several hours as part of a criminal investigation. Bryan Carmody told the Los Angeles Times officers banged on his door on Friday and confiscated dozens of personal items including notebooks and his cellphone, computer, hard drives and cameras. A judge signed off on search warrants which stated officers were investigating “stolen or embezzled” property, the newspaper reported.

Authorities said the raid came during an ongoing investigation into who leaked a confidential police report about the death on 22 February of San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi. Carmody said investigators had asked him a few weeks earlier to identify the source that gave him the report. The reporter said he politely declined.

While he was shackled, officers got a second warrant to search his newsroom, where they seized a thumb drive, CDs and, inside a safe, the leaked police report, the Times said.

“It’s designed to intimidate,” said Carmody's lawyer, Thomas Burke. “It’s essentially the confiscation of a newsroom.” ...

The affidavits used to search Carmody’s home were filed under seal, so it is unclear what investigators told the judge to secure the warrants.

Arundhati Roy on Why She Admires WikiLeaks & Opposes Assange’s Extradition to the U.S.

Sweden prosecutors reopen Julian Assange rape probe, seek extradition

Prosecutors in Sweden reopened a rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a month after he was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and after a U.S. extradition request over computer hacking charges.

The decision complicates U.S. efforts to try Assange for leaking classified documents.

A sexual assault investigation into Assange was dropped two years ago because prosecutors were not able to continue their case while he was holed up in the embassy. It was reopened Monday at the request of one of the alleged victims. ...

As part of the probe, prosecutors renewed an extradition request for Assange, raising a competing claim that could frustrate attempts to see him stand trial in the U.S. It is not clear which extradition request will take priority, said Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, during a news conference in Stockholm. ...

Anand Doobay, a London-based lawyer who specializes in extradition law, said the decision over what happens to Assange will be decided in court and it could take months if not years and may ultimately reside with Britain's secretary of state. The statute of limitations on the rape investigation in Sweden runs out in August 2020.

More 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bans Advancing in South, Midwest

If a new Mississippi law survives a court challenge, it will be nearly impossible for most pregnant women to get an abortion there.

Or, potentially, in neighboring Louisiana. Or Alabama. Or Georgia.

The Louisiana legislature is halfway toward passing a law—like the ones enacted in Mississippi and Georgia—that will ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant. Alabama is on the cusp of approving an even more restrictive bill.

State governments are on a course to virtually eliminate abortion access in large chunks of the Deep South and Midwest. Ohio and Kentucky also have passed heartbeat laws; Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature is considering one.

Alyssa Milano calls for sex strike as protest over Republican abortion laws

The actor Alyssa Milano ignited a social media storm with a call for women to join her in a sex strike, to protest against strict abortion laws passed by Republican-controlled state legislatures. The star of Charmed and Melrose Place urged women in her tweet to stop having sex “until we get bodily autonomy back”.

Her tweet came days after Georgia became the fourth state in the US this year to ban abortions after cardiac activity is detected – about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant. ...

She noted that women have historically withheld sex to protest or advocate for political reform. She cited how Iroquois women refused to have sex in the 1600s as a way to stop unregulated warfare. Most recently, she noted that Liberian women used a sex strike in 2003 to demand an end to a long-running civil war.

Milano received support from fans and her fellow actor Bette Midler joined her in calling for a sex strike. But both liberals and conservatives also lampooned the idea, conservatives praising her for promoting abstinence and liberals saying she was pushing a false narrative that women only have sex as a favor to men. Milano said the criticism didn’t bother her and that her tweet was having her desired effect, “which is getting people to talk about the war on women”.

Lawsuit by 44 States Accuses Pharma Giants of 'Multi-Year Conspiracy' to Hike Drug Prices by Over 1,000%

A far-reaching lawsuit filed Friday by the attorneys general of more than 40 states accused some of the nation's largest generic drug manufacturers of conspiring to inflate prices, in some cases by over 1,000 percent. "We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, whose state led the probe into the companies' practices, said in a statement.

"We have emails, text messages, telephone records, and former company insiders that we believe will prove a multi-year conspiracy to fix prices and divide market share for huge numbers of generic drugs," said Tong.

The suit names 20 major drug manufacturers—including Pfizer, Teva, Novartis, and Mylan—as well as more than a dozen senior executives, who the complaint accuses of deleting evidence after the states began their investigation in 2014. "The industrywide scheme affected the prices of more than 100 generic drugs," the New York Times reported Saturday, "including lamivudine-zidovudine, which treats H.I.V.; budesonide, an asthma medication; fenofibrate, which treats high cholesterol; amphetamine-dextroamphetamine for ADHD.; oral antibiotics; blood thinners; cancer drugs; contraceptives; and antidepressants."

Americans pay far more for prescription drugs than the people of any other industrialized nation. Alluding to this fact, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser—who joined the multi-state lawsuit—tweeted on Saturday: "If you are angry about rising drug prices, you should be. Particularly because a major cause of price increases is illegal collusion by generic drug companies."

Lobbyists Working to Undermine Medicare For All Host Congressional Staff at Luxury Resort

At a luxury resort just outside of the nation’s capital last month, around four dozen senior congressional staffers decamped for a weekend of relaxation and discussion at Salamander Resort & Spa. ... The event was hosted by a group called Center Forward and featured a lecture from industry lobbyists leading the charge on undermining progressive health care proposals. Center Forward was originally known as the Blue Dog Research Forum, a think tank affiliated with the conservative Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats; the coalition has pressed the caucus to oppose social welfare spending, taxes on the wealthy, and regulations on business.

The organization’s website is filled with bromides about giving “centrist allies the information they need to craft common sense solutions” that paper over an agenda designed to enrich powerful corporations. Center Forward’s big idea on Medicare Part D, for instance, is to maintain lobbyist-authored provisions of the law that bar the government from bargaining for lower prices for medicine. Such restrictions cost taxpayers and patients as much as $73 billion a year while boosting the profits of drugmakers. ...

The schedule shows that the health care discussion was led by Center Forward board member Liz Greer, a lobbyist at Forbes Tate; the firm manages the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future coalition designed to undermine Medicare-for-All. Paul Kidwell, a lobbyist from the Federation of American Hospitals, and Larry Levitt, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, also spoke. No proponents of Medicare-for-All were included. ...

The ethics disclosure shows a large number of senior aides attended the event. Several aides to Democratic leadership filed disclosures showing that they received paid travel to attend the Center Forward retreat, including chiefs of staff to Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. The retreat included chiefs of staff to leading centrist Democrats, including Reps. Kurt Schrader D-Ore.; David Trone, D-Md.; Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.; and Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M. Officials from the Blue Dogs, Problem Solvers Caucus, and the New Democrats were also in attendance.

the horse race

Newest Beto O’Rourke Hire Lobbied for Keystone XL, Seaworld, and Private Prisons

Beto O’Rourke’s Thursday hiring of Jeff Berman, a Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton veteran, is the latest step his presidential campaign has taken away from the insurgent energy of his Senate run and toward a more centrist and corporate strategic direction. Berman, who is joining O’Rourke’s campaign as senior adviser for delegate strategy, is perhaps most well known for his expertise in the arcane system of delegate selection, which he used to help Barack Obama win the Democratic nomination in 2008. An often overlooked part of his record, though, is his stint at law and lobbying firm Bryan Cave, a position for which he was hired immediately after Obama’s presidential campaign. (As reporter Ken Silverstein remarked in Harpers at the time: “That was fast.”) According to the federal lobbying registry, between 2009 and 2011 Berman’s clients on behalf of Bryan Cave included the private prison company GEO Group; TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline; and SeaWorld, which was then owned by massive private equity firm Blackstone. ...

O’Rourke has also been trying to shore up his climate change bonafides in response to the young activist base of the Democratic Party. After being heavily criticized for breaking his pledge to not take money from fossil fuel executives during his Senate campaign, O’Rourke made the first major policy proposal of his presidential run a $5 trillion plan to combat climate change. And, after much pressure, O’Rourke again pledged to take in no fossil fuel money, promising to return donations already made to his campaign by fossil fuel executives. Yet Berman’s past work on behalf of TransCanada between 2009 and 2011 puts O’Rourke’s newest staffer squarely on the opposite side of one of the most contentious climate issues during Obama’s tenure. As HuffPost reported when the Clinton campaign hired Berman, he and other officials from Bryan Cave made the firm $980,000 for their lobbying work for TransCanada.

According to the filings, Berman and others lobbied to help obtain “approval for Keystone Pipeline path through Missouri tracts” and later to “monitor climate change legislation and [push for a] presidential permit process for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline.” (Other lobbying objectives were listed, but they largely mirrored these two.)

Berman’s hire follows O’Rourke bringing on Jen O’Malley Dillon, another Obama veteran and former executive director of the Democratic National Committee, as his chief of staff in March. Just a month after O’Malley Dillon’s appointment, the Bernie Sanders alumni who helped build O’Rourke’s Senate field operation, Becky Bond and Zack Malitz, split from the campaign, signaling a move away from the progressive, grassroots organizing strategy of his Senate run. In her statement on Berman’s hiring, O’Malley Dillon said that he was “one of the first people I reached out to when I came on board because delegate strategy is so critical to our overall strategy.” O’Malley Dillon co-founded the consulting firm Precision Strategies, which has taken on corporate clients like Pfizer, Bank of America, and Facebook, as well as Democratic political clients like the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Joe Biden’s Union Schtick Is All Performance. His Pollster Just Signed Up to Lobby Against Labor for Trump’s NAFTA 2.0.

John Anzalone, an adviser and pollster for Joe Biden, is working for an industry-funded lobbying group formed to help pass President Donald Trump’s NAFTA 2.0, which unions have thus far opposed. The announcement was first made in Politico Playbook.

Anzalone is the president of Anzalone Liszt, a prominent Democratic polling firm. He is joining Trade Works for America, an organization co-founded by Marc Short, who is now Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff. Funding for the group, which expects to spend $15 million to $20 million, comes from “the pharmaceutical industry, oil and gas, the automotive and agricultural sectors, and traditional GOP donors.” ...

Biden has sought to position himself as a union stalwart, kicking off his campaign at a Teamsters local and winning the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters. But he also had his first fundraiser hosted by a union-busting lawyer, and this week he held another fundraiser in Los Angeles at the home of a board member of Kaiser Permanente, the hospital chain currently mired in a labor dispute with the National Union of Healthcare Workers. Health care workers picketed the Biden fundraiser on Wednesday. Now, his pollster has joined an organization dedicated to passing a trade agreement labor unions are against.

the evening greens

We Finally Know When Humans Started Changing the Climate

Our influence on the Earth’s environment has lasted for a century: the human impact on droughts and moisture patterns began at least 100 years ago, researchers now say.

US scientists used new analytic techniques and almost a thousand years of tree-ring data to build up a picture of drought and rainfall worldwide for the last century. And they report in the journal Nature that they have identified the human fingerprint upon climate variation as far back as the first days of the motor car and the infant aircraft industry.

The pattern of change, in which regions prone to drought such as the western US became more arid, grew visible between 1900 and 1949. The researchers saw the same pattern of drying in those decades in Australia, Europe, the Mediterranean, western Russia and southeast Asia. At the same time more rain and snow fell in western China, much of central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia and central Canada.

Kate Marvel of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who led the research, said: “It’s mind-boggling. There really is a clear signal of the effects of greenhouse gases on the hydroclimate.” And Benjamin Cook of both the Nasa Institute and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, said: “We asked, does the real world look like what the models tell us to expect? The answer is yes. The big thing we learned is that climate change started affecting global patterns of drought in the early 20th century. We expect this pattern to keep emerging as climate change continues.”

Sanders Says Biden's "Middle Ground" Approach to Climate Crisis Would "Doom Future Generations"

Without mentioning Joe Biden by name, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday slammed the centrist climate policy reportedly being crafted by the former vice president's 2020 campaign as a dangerously inadequate approach that would "doom future generations."

"There is no 'middle ground' when it comes to climate policy," the Vermont senator tweeted, quoting from a Reuters report on Biden's efforts to develop a climate plan that would leave the door open to so-called "fossil fuel options."

"If we don't commit to fully transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels, we will doom future generations," wrote Sanders, who is also a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "Fighting climate change must be our priority, whether fossil fuel billionaires like it or not."

As Common Dreams reported in April, Sanders won praise from environmental groups after he unveiled a sweeping climate agenda calling for a Green New Deal, an end to oil exports, a complete ban on fracking, and a moratorium on all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

Environmentalists were not pleased with reports of Biden's middle-of-the-road approach to confronting the climate crisis, which has pushed a million species to the brink of extinction and threatens the future of human civilization.

Arundhati Roy: Capitalism Is “A Form of Religion” Stopping Solutions to Climate Change & Inequality

Protect solar system from mining 'gold rush', say scientists

Great swathes of the solar system should be preserved as official “space wilderness” to protect planets, moons and other heavenly bodies from rampant mining and other forms of industrial exploitation, scientists say.

The proposal calls for more than 85% of the solar system to be placed off-limits to human development, leaving little more than an eighth for space firms to mine for precious metals, minerals and other valuable materials.

While the limit would protect pristine worlds from the worst excesses of human activity, its primary goal is to ensure that humanity avoids a catastrophic future in which all of the resources within its reach are permanently used up.

“If we don’t think about this now, we will go ahead as we always have, and in a few hundred years we will face an extreme crisis, much worse than we have on Earth now,” said Martin Elvis, a senior astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Once you’ve exploited the solar system, there’s nowhere left to go.”

Fledgling space mining companies have set their sights on trillions of pounds worth of iron and precious metals locked up in asteroids, along with valuable minerals and trillions of tonnes of water on the moon. In Britain, the Asteroid Mining Corporation hopes to send a satellite into orbit in the coming years to prospect for nearby asteroids.

Also of Interest

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

The Military-Industrial Virus

Media Amplify Iran War Propaganda - Play Up Intelligence Lies

Swarms of Drones, Piloted by Artificial Intelligence, May Soon Patrol Europe’s Borders

As Houthis Quit Ports, Yemen Seeks Timetable for Next UN Peace Steps

'Stop Arming Israel, Stop Bombing Gaza': Thousands March in London Demanding Justice for Palestinians

Is Leaked Document Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century?’

After Assange, Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno escalates persecution of critics and perceived foes

Silicon Valley Giants Collaborate With The US Government On Venezuela

With San Diego synagogue shooter, media once again normalize white male violence

Mother’s Day: The Obscured Roots of a Global Peace Movement

These Two Charts Show the Shocking Truth Behind the Sanders/AOC Plan to Cap Credit Card Interest Rates

US Hits Milestone of 2 Million Home Solar Installations, To Double by 2023

After the floods: the struggle for survival in a tiny Mississippi town

The Forgotten People Living in Tents 7 Months After Hurricane Michael

A Little Night Music

Little Willie Littlefield - K.C. Loving

Little Willie Littlefield - Rockin´ Chair Mama

Little Willie Littlefield - Hit The Road

Little Willie Littlefield - I've Been Lost

Little Willie Littlefield - Little Willie's Boogie

Little Willie Littlefield - Baby Shame

Little Willie Littlefield - Looking Just Like You

Little Willie Littlefield - Farewell

Little Willie Littlefield - Drinkin' Hadacol

Little Willie Littlefield - Outskirts of Paris Boogie

22 users have voted.


re: the Ukraine.

The good news is the lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies.

When a lawsuit is the good news.....

Just have a good evening anyway, Joe and everyone!

13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


absolutely biden should be investigated, as should his son - and not (only) by the local ukrainian authorities. a decent respect for government transparency and proper anti-corruption vigilance certainly requires that when the families of powerful americans wind up in positions where influence can be improperly exerted, monitoring before during and afterwards seems prudent.

yeah, sadly, it seems to be quite often that the launching of lawsuits is what amounts to hopeful news. as in, we hope that there might possibly be a hope that the "justice system" will work this time.

8 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture


then someone replied

LolI-m so happyLol

12 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

joe shikspack's picture


only 2 grand? does that count the pac donations? Smile

4 users have voted.
GreatLakeSailor's picture

@joe shikspack

delightfully sarcastic none the less.

4 users have voted.

Compensated Spokes Model for Big Poor & Big Peace.

Pluto's Republic's picture

The new headline typography throughout is very inviting. It makes it possible to scan the whole report quickly to see the route you took through the news.

Not going to comment on the particulars of the smoldering hot spots in the line up, but overall it brings clarity to the hallucinogen-overdosing of the American people for two-and-a-half years, where their minds have bad-tripped pointlessly over Russian hackers and their own faux democracy — as if Americans had a Party that truly represented their key interests, or a government that would permit such issues or votes.

While the people were stupidly obsessing over the Russians, whom they were now convinced were ruling over America from the Kremlin, the sick Nazi-Neocons slipped into their seats of Authority to whip the American people into carrying them on their backs into their battle for Empire. Our investigative journalists lost their minds after imbibing the hallucinogen — if they weren't spooks already — so there was nobody to track the Neocon takeover. The Demagogue Party had essentially flat-lined on the brew and could provide only yelps of hysteria but no loyal opposition to the reality unfolding before us. The media spokes-models had fully prostituted themselves years earlier, so it made no difference if their minds were delusional, they could no longer be of service to the nation. Same thing with the military.

Now look at where we are today! Iran is sitting on top massive oil fields that frightfully belong to Greater Israel. Meanwhile, a US battle fleet bearing down on Iran, missiles and planes ready to fly on "our" command. Meanwhile, over the past year, US sanctions managed to kill 40,000 Venezuelans by blockading shipments and withholding food and vital medicines to that nation. American people were too hysterical with Mueller Madness to notice or protest. Of course, Venezuela is sitting on top of oil fields that the Neocons insist rightfully belong to US oil companies. By seizing control of all the world's major oil fields, the US Empire will rule over the fate of all nations. The Neocons can weed out all the "bad" and "extra" people on the planet. Victory is very, very close. It's do or die now, literally, and the Neocons are fine with that.

All because all the nation's Democrats and most of the dumber Republicans hallucinated that they were outing Russian stooges and fighting back an onslaught of Russian trolls on the Internet.

Other than that, we're lookin' good. Thanks, Joe.

16 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
joe shikspack's picture

@Pluto's Republic

new headlines? hmmm. must depend on your browser. everything looks the same on my version of firefox. if there's something different, i reckon it's due to the happy tinkering of jtc. yay!

heh, good observations! politics today more and more reminds me of the old political talk shout shows where hysterical chattering class talking heads walk all over each other and produce a meaningless babble and the world moves along.

5 users have voted.

Attacking Iran would be the worse decision since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. But then again, Hitler did invade them.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


given that grenada is about the biggest "win" that the u.s. military has been able to produce in the last 50 years or so, engaging an adversary as militarily competent as iran is a daunting prospect. unfortunately, whoever is keeping score seems to have forgotten how to tell when an engagement is lost. one suspects, though, that this fight could be uglier than most other recent ones.

5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

of Keith Olbermanm and Rachel Maddow. The two suffer under the same condition. Isn't it somewhat amazing that so many people, who work in one way or the other for the msm TV media, flip out that way?

Isn't it a mental manipulation imposed by some bastardly evil doers, who are experts in brainwashing methods with follow-up character assassination and capabilities crushing down spirits and decent career opportunities to make a living with integrity on top of it impossible? What kind of mental torture do they use?

I wonder if Rachel and Keith are victims or perpertrators, or both.

Being both would explain a lot, even superman/woman would falter into whimsical garden gnomes, that you just would want to save and hug and pamper for them 'being whole again'.

Sigh, life has become so cruel these days. Gotta go, have to make sure no Russian is under my bed or in my bed. I have banned them for good. See, I am learning...

Good evening, good people.

12 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


i have trouble seeing rachel and keith as victims, mostly because i have trouble believing that they could be stupid enough to believe the stuff that comes out of their mouths.

it appears to me that they belong to the predator class rather than the prey class.

9 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
and not to be taken seriously. Kind of desperate effort to see something fair in things that are not.

Gallows humor is all I have left. How else would I be able to survive? I need to go silent.

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


no need for apology. gallows humor works for me.

5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Cops and secret service have a duty to protect Americans not people from an unelected foreign government. One of the Guaido goons tried pulling the supplies out of the guy's hands while the cops just watched. He screamed at them for help and they did nothing. That people who live by the embassy are having to put up with them just shows how much contempt the PTB have for us citizens. I'm sure you can imagine what would happen if this was happening at the Israeli embassy or any other country's. I haven't heard Bernie, ByeDone or any other congress members speaking out against this.

17 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture


it's a pretty amazing situation. it looks like the police have threatened to arrest the embassy protectors.

‘Illegal seizure’: US police raid Venezuelan embassy in DC to evict pro-Maduro activists

Pro-Maduro activists occupying the Venezuelan embassy in Washington are refusing to vacate the premises in defiance of a notice threatening them with arrest for refusing to turn over the building to representatives of Juan Guaido.

“We are expecting the police to come in and violate the Vienna convention with their fictional government, nongovernment claiming that we should leave,” the so-called Embassy Civilian Protection Collective said in a video message shortly before the police arrived at the doors of the premises to the cheers of pro-Guaido camp outside.

Despite their resolve to stay and protect the diplomatic mission from the “illegal seizure” by Guaido-appointed US representative Carlos Vecchio, pro-Maduro activists have been urged to “depart immediately” from the building in which they have lived for the last 34 days by a notice which has not been signed by any US government agency.

“The United States does not recognize the authority of the former Maduro regime or any of its former representatives to allow any individuals to lawfully enter, remain on this property, or take any action with respect to this property,” a notice taped to the door of the building read.

5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

How many junkets have they taken since people's lives were turned upside down because of the storms and the fires? How much longer will it take for people to see that congress doesn't give two shits about us? That no matter who is elected we are still forced to fend for ourselves? Did anyone from congress even address the UN report on poverty in America? Bueller?


This is no way for Americans kids to live and yet they might be the lucky ones because at least they have some type of roof over their heads.

11 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture


perhaps these folks ought to send a delegation to the address the un and beg for international aid.

5 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

5 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

wow. it's been a long time since i have heard somebody use the term revolutionary optimism.

it seems to me that if the marxist types want to build revolutionary optimism, they ought to take notes on how religious movements build themselves. the core of revolutionary optimism is that through cooperation, groups of people can improve their lot. by working to help people achieve their existential needs through cooperation, revolutionary optimism is built, as is revolutionary competence. it is not that complicated.

9 users have voted.

According to El Pais newspaper, the Saudi ship left Santander after facing protest.

7 users have voted.

It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. Carl Sagan

joe shikspack's picture


excellent news! thanks!

2 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

It's a done deal according to the Twitter. This is in violation of international law because host countries cannot step foot in any country's embassy. Oh well. The Ecuadorian dude let the U.K. in to theirs to bring Assange out and then we invaded the North Korean embassy in Spain. The rule of law does not mean that the USA has to follow it.

Update. The protectors are still inside, but more government officials just arrived. This is horrible news.

7 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

TheOtherMaven's picture


are quaint and useless anachronisms in the New Totalitarianism. Diablo

10 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

snoopydawg's picture


Embassies are open for business for anyone who is running a coup. But I can't tell if people are still inside or not. Some say yes others have left.

3 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture


last i heard, there were four people who had decided to stay and face arrest, while the others decided to split.

i guess there will be more news in the morning. if it's being handled by the cops, they usually like to do their dirty business in the wee hours of the morning when people have dropped off to sleep.

3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack

Everyone left the building peacefully and no one was arrested. But just that it happened... when will the world finally tell us that we have gone too far? Bunch of weak puppets. Or is that poodles? Yapping little dawgs, but run at the first sign.

Here's one woman who left. I think they are all out now.

4 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Anja Geitz's picture

maybe women in the states that are legislating the heartbeat bill could start their own voluntary diaspora campaign, beginning with a Go-Fund Me page to help young women get the fuck out of dodge.

Less tax revenue. Less young people. Let the religious politicians pray about that.

6 users have voted.

If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

TheOtherMaven's picture

@Anja Geitz

because the way events are trending, there very soon will be nowhere in the U$A to relocate to.

Canada had better brace itself....

5 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

k9disc's picture

Nestle are invested in fracking?

Just caught the plight of 19M Americans with polluted water. Fracking seems like a good investment for a private, bottled water company.

Any thoughts?

5 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu