The Evening Blues - 5-15-17
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Chicago blues singer and guitarist Eddie C. Campbell. Enjoy!
Eddie Campbell - All your love
“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship…
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
-- Hermann Goering
News and Opinion
Ok guys, here's how you do it, you label any candidate who is a threat to the globalist, neoliberal, warmongering order a "Russian stooge," and then you goose your compliant media while suppressing all other media. As Goering pointed out, it works every time.
Security specialists from 27 countries including Britain and the US are meeting in Prague on Monday in what has been billed as the most concerted attempt yet to counter alleged Kremlin destabilisation measures aimed at undermining western elections.
The Czech interior ministry is hosting the five-day summit staged by Stratcom - Nato’s strategic communications arm – in an effort to persuade governments and the European Union to strengthen electoral processes amid rising concern over suspected interference by the Russian government under Vladimir Putin.
The event comes at a time of heightened sensitivity following Donald Trump’s sacking last week of the FBI director, James Comey, who had been overseeing an investigation into alleged links between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Elections are approaching in several European countries including Britain next month, Germany in September and the Czech Republic, which faces a parliamentary poll in October and a presidential election a few months later. Officials have voiced fears about the possibility of Russian-backed disruption.
“Western countries are taking this more seriously now because they can see it affects themselves and not just Ukraine and the Baltic states,” said Jakub Janda, of the Prague-based European Values thinktank, which is organising the conference along with other bodies including the British embassy.
On a recent TYT panel featuring four completely uncritical Russiagate conspiracy theorists furiously agreeing with each other that Donald Trump definitely colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election, Uygur went on a frantic, hyperventilating rant wherein he criticized those on the left who accuse Russiagate conspiracy theorists of participating in a frantic, hyperventilating fact-free McCarthyist feeding frenzy. Cenk then slammed the brakes on the discussion and went out of his way to communicate to his 3.3 million YouTube subscribers that one of his own journalists, TYT’s Michael Tracey, has “got blinders on” when it comes to Russia. Check it out in this quick clip here:
“The people saying — and I know them, they’re not stupid, they’re really really smart — but they’ve got blinders on,” Uygur said of critical thinkers who refuse to accept a complete lack of evidence as evidence. “Look I’ll tell you, one of them, you know him, Michael Tracey. I love the guy, and I hired him, right? Super smart guy, but he’s like this on Russia: I don’t see it! I don’t see it! I don’t see it!”
If you’ve got sixteen minutes to spare, check out what happened the last time Uygur tried to publicly challenge Tracey’s take on the Russiagate hysteria when he was actually in the room. Tracey dominated that panel like a silverback gorilla in mating season. Cenk kept having to stop the conversation and explain to the camera why his audience shouldn’t believe anything Tracey was saying, and then he’d get mauled some more. It was a four-person panel, but the entire thing was mostly Uygur getting spanked by Tracey while the other two watched and tried not to get any blood on them. Cenk was made a fool of in front of his audience, and he remembered it, and now he’s tagging Tracey back when he’s not there to smack him down.
And what can Tracey do? He’s very much in the down-power position here; he can’t go on a Twitter rant or make a TYT video explaining why his boss is an establishment tool and a moron. Whenever his truth telling is actively subverted by the man who hired him, he’s going to have to either suck it up or leave. Uygur abused a power imbalance, looked right at the camera, and told his massive audience that they shouldn’t trust Michael Tracey’s commentary on Russiagate when Tracey wasn’t there to defend himself. And it’s not okay. This is one of the many, many ways the establishment wedges honest journalists into the margins, which is why you now have to comb through the fringes of online alternative media in order to find any. It is a disgrace, and Uygur should be ashamed of himself.
Where is Stanley Kubrick when we need him? If he hadn’t died in 1999, he would be the perfect director to transform today’s hysteria over Russia into a theater-of-the-absurd movie reprising his Cold War classic, “Dr. Strangelove,” which savagely satirized the madness of nuclear brinksmanship and the crazed ideology behind it. ...
I realize that many Democrats, liberals and progressives hate Donald Trump so much that they believe that any pretext is justified in taking him down, even if that plays into the hands of the neoconservatives and other warmongers. Many people who detest Trump view Russia-gate as the most likely path to achieve Trump’s impeachment, so this desirable end justifies whatever means. Some people have told me that they even believe that it is the responsibility of the major news media, the law enforcement and intelligence communities, and members of Congress to engage in a “soft coup” against Trump – also known as a “constitutional coup” or “deep state coup” – for the “good of the country.” ...
There are obvious counter-arguments to this view, particularly that it makes something of a sham of American democracy. It also imposes on journalists a need to violate the ethical responsibility to provide objective reporting, not taking sides in political disputes. But The New York Times and The Washington Post, in particular, have made it clear that they view Trump as a clear and present danger to the American system and thus have cast aside any pretense of neutrality. The Times justifies its open hostility to the President as part of its duty to protect “the truth”; the Post has adopted a slogan aimed at Trump, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” In other words, America’s two most influential political newspapers are effectively pushing for a “soft coup” under the guise of defending “democracy” and “truth.” ...
However, besides the risks to U.S. stability that would come from an Establishment-driven “soft coup,” there is the additional danger of ratcheting up tensions so high with nuclear-armed Russia that this extreme Russia-bashing takes on a life – or arguably many, many deaths – of its own. Which is why America now might need a piercing satire of today’s Russia-phobia or at least a revival of the Cold War classic, “Dr. Strangelove,” subtitled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”
North Korea claims the US mainland is now within range of its missiles after it successfully test-fired a new rocket it says is capable of carrying a “large-scale, heavy nuclear warhead”.
Sunday morning’s launch of a mid- to long-range ballistic missile was overseen by the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, who accused the US of “browbeating” countries that “have no nukes”. He warned Washington not to misjudge the reality that the US mainland is in Pyongyang’s “sighting range for [a] strike”, the KCNA state news agency reported.
KCNA said the missile was a new ground-to-ground Hwasong-12 capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead. Kim reportedly “hugged officials in the field of rocket research, saying that they worked hard to achieve a great thing”, it added. The missile was launched on an unusually high trajectory to avoid threatening the security of nearby countries. KCNA said it flew to an altitude of 1,312 miles (2,111 km) and travelled 490 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan, near Russia.
Most experts are sceptical of North Korean claims that it has missiles that can reach the US mainland, but analysts said the flight data suggested the rocket launched on Sunday could fly at least 2,800 miles if launched at a standard trajectory – putting the Pacific territory of Guam within range. “This is the longest-range missile North Korea has ever tested,” Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in the US, told Agence France-Presse.
A prominent Turkish newspaper has demanded the eviction of U.S. troops and warplanes from Incirlik Air Base as fallout there worsens from the Trump administration's controversial move to arm a Kurdish militia fighting the Islamic State in neighboring Syria.
In a front-page editorial published Friday, the newspaper Sozcu called for Incirlik's complete closure. It's an unlikely outcome, military officials and observers say, but a clear sign of how dramatically relations have deteriorated between the NATO allies. ...
The editorial is noteworthy, too, because Sozcu's coverage has been deeply critical of the Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who expressed similar outrage when Washington's new arms deal with the YPG was announced last week and warned that supporting the Kurds would elicit blow-back. Erdogan is likely to vent his frustration to President Donald Trump when the two leaders meet this week at the White House.
As if things couldn't get worse for those living in the besieged nation of Yemen, a cholera outbreak has reportedly killed more than 50 people and spread to thousands more since late April, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Thursday.
The outbreak was first announced in October 2016 but the recent surge creates a dangerous trifecta of crises. Already facing widespread threats of famine and an ongoing war that has claimed the lives of 4,000 civilians, the Middle Eastern nation has very little infrastructure or capacity to deal with the highly-contagious disease.
As WHO noted in its press statement, "The uptick in cholera cases comes as Yemen's already weakened health system struggles under the weight of two years of conflict. Key infrastructure, including water and sanitation facilities, are collapsing, contributing to the spread of diarrhoeal disease."
According to the United Nation's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), less than half of Yemen's medical facilities are currently functional.
An excellent article worth a full read. Here's some of the intro:
The two top national security officials in the Trump administration – Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster – are trying to secure long-term U.S. ground and air combat roles in the three long-running wars in the greater Middle East – Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. ... But if this power play succeeds in one or more of the three, it could guarantee the extension of permanent U.S. ground combat in the greater Middle East for many years to come – and would represent a culmination of the “generational war” first announced by the George W. Bush administration. ...
It remains to be seen whether President Trump will approve the proposals that Mattis and McMaster have pushed in recent weeks. Judging from his position during the campaign and his recent remarks, Trump may well balk at the plans now being pushed by his advisers.
The plans for the three countries now being developed within the Trump administration encompass long-term stationing of troops, access to bases and the authority to wage war in these three countries. These are the primordial interests of the Pentagon and the U.S. military leadership, and they have pursued those interests more successfully in the Middle East (bureaucratically at least) than anywhere else on the globe. U.S. military officials aren’t talking about “permanent” stationing of troops and bases in these countries, referring instead to the “open-ended commitment” of troops. But they clearly want precisely that in all three.
Back to all Trump, all the time...
Donald Trump is embarking on a week of diplomacy and preparation for his first foreign trip as president, aimed at demonstrating that his personal charisma can override longstanding global divisions and conflicts of interest with old allies. ...
Starting on Friday, the president’s world tour is seeking to recast Trump as a world statesman at a time when the legitimacy of his election victory is under greater attack than ever following his dismissal of the FBI director, James Comey, who was overseeing an investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia. ...
In describing Trump’s first foreign excursion – which takes in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily – national security adviser, HR McMaster outlined the ethos of the president’s approach to foreign affairs, modelled on the visit last month by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, to the president’s private club at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
“The president prioritizes building strong relationships, as you see here, every day with world leaders as a way to strengthen our alliances. And he’s been successful,” McMaster said. He laid out the agenda for Trump’s trip, which starts with visits to the ancient capitals of Islam, Judaism and Christianity and culminates in Nato and G7 summits at the end of the following week, describing it in almost messianic terms.
[Heh, then the General does his Trump impression, or is it a parody? - js]
“This trip is truly historic. No president has ever visited the homelands and holy sites of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths all on one trip,” McMaster said. “And what President Trump is seeking is to unite peoples of all faiths around a common vision of peace, progress, and prosperity.
Well, there is the fact that there was clear evidence of a crime (a burglary) in the Watergate episode, but there is no evidence available of crime(s) committed by Trump - but other than that, it's just like Watergate. It's a shame that Democracy Now is participating in this McCarthyite brewhaha.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn’t hold back his criticism of President Donald Trump Sunday, saying U.S. institutions are “under assault internally.” When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked, “Internally, from the president?” Clapper responded, “Exactly.” Clapper said that he believes that the system of checks and balances “is under assault and eroding.” ...
Clapper told CNN that he and Comey spoke about the one-on-one dinner in which Trump reportedly demanded Comey’s loyalty.
“He was — my characterization — uneasy with it,” Clapper told Tapper, “both from the standpoint of the optic of compromising his independence and the independence of the FBI.”
[A] dramatic change in leadership could affect the bureau’s public image, influence its budget priorities, and slow or hamstring certain investigations at the 35,000-strong agency, former FBI and Department of Justice officials told VICE News. Many said Comey had overstepped his authority while handling the Hillary Clinton email scandal and behaved insubordinately to the attorney general, whom the director of the FBI reports to. Others saw Comey’s firing as the result of Trump’s anger over the Russia probe and think his departure could damage morale within the bureau.
“Trump’s priority is to shut down the investigation,” said William Yeomans, who spent 26 years at the DOJ, in positions including deputy assistant attorney general, chief of staff, and acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “Whoever comes in will have the authority to re-adjust resources and to make decisions that can undermine the investigation. The FBI director has some authority to do that.” ...
Trump will get to nominate the next FBI director, and former Justice Department and law enforcement officials expect him to pick someone supportive of the White House agenda and the sweeping changes taking place at the DOJ under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. ...
For example, “you can backburn these things and not authorize pursuing what could turn out to be controversial leads,” Yeomans explained. “Normally, the director wouldn’t be too hands on in an investigation, except in ones like [the Russia investigation] that has such enormous political and constitutional ramifications,” he added.
President Trump attempted to put to rest concerns over his business ties to Russia with a letter released by his own lawyers Friday. The letter, signed by lawyers Sheri Dillon and William Nelson, said according to their analysis of Trump’s tax returns, Trump has no meaningful ties with Russia or Russian entities — “with a few exceptions.” Namely, those exceptions are a piece of property in Florida that Trump sold for $95 million to a Russian billionaire, and $12.2 million he made from a Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.
The Russian billionaire who bought Trump’s Florida property is Dmitry Rybolovlev, the AP reports, who made his fortune in potash, a mined mineral that is primarily used as fertilizer. Trump bought the 62,000 square foot property, the “Maison de L’Amitie,” for $41 million in 2005 and sold it to Rybolovelev in July 2008 for more than double what he paid. The sale was widely reported at the time, and Trump mentioned it on the campaign trail last summer.
The letter, which is dated March 8, emphasizes that Russians neither hold equity or debt investments in any entities held by Trump or The Trump Organization, but also acknowledged that it was likely that Russians “engaged in ordinary course sales of goods or services,” paying for things like “hotel rooms, rounds of golf, books or Trump-licensed products (e.g. ties, mattresses, wine, etc.).” The total sales of those products, the letter states, represent “immaterial” income for Trump and the entities he owns.
In mid-April, an arsenal of powerful software tools apparently designed by the NSA to infect and control Windows computers was leaked by an entity known only as the “Shadow Brokers.” Not even a whole month later, the hypothetical threat that criminals would use the tools against the general public has become real, and tens of thousands of computers worldwide are now crippled by an unknown party demanding ransom. ...
According to experts tracking and analyzing the worm and its spread, this could be one of the worst-ever recorded attacks of its kind. The security researcher who tweets and blogs as MalwareTech told The Intercept, “I’ve never seen anything like this with ransomware,” and “the last worm of this degree I can remember is Conficker.” Conficker was a notorious Windows worm first spotted in 2008; it went on to infect over 9 million computers in nearly 200 countries.
Most importantly, unlike previous massively replicating computer worms and ransomware infections, today’s ongoing WannaCry attack appears to be based on an attack developed by the NSA, code-named ETERNALBLUE. The U.S. software weapon would have allowed the spy agency’s hackers to break into potentially millions of Windows computers by exploiting a flaw in how certain versions of Windows implemented a network protocol commonly used to share files and to print. Even though Microsoft fixed the ETERNALBLUE vulnerability in a March software update, the safety provided there relied on computer users keeping their systems current with the most recent updates. Clearly, as has always been the case, many people (including in government) are not installing updates. Before, there would have been some solace in knowing that only enemies of the NSA would have to fear having ETERNALBLUE used against them — but from the moment the agency lost control of its own exploit last summer, there’s been no such assurance. Today shows exactly what’s at stake when government hackers can’t keep their virtual weapons locked up. As security researcher Matthew Hickey, who tracked the leaked NSA tools last month, put it, “I am actually surprised that a weaponized malware of this nature didn’t spread sooner.”
Edward Snowden and Noam Chomsky are among those calling on Donald Trump to drop the US government’s investigation into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
The pair – along with more than 100 other activists, journalists and government workers – have signed an open letter to the president that calls prosecuting WikiLeaks “a threat to all free journalism”. The letter asks the Department of Justice to drop plans to charge Assange and other WikiLeaks staff members.
“If the DoJ is able to convict a publisher for its journalistic work, all free journalism can be criminalised,” says the open letter, released on Monday by the Courage Foundation, a trust that raises funds for the legal defenses of whistleblowers, including Snowden. The group launched a campaign in support of WikiLeaks last month. ...
In April, [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions was asked at a press conference in Texas whether it was a priority for the DoJ to arrest Assange “once and for all”. He said: “We are going to step up our effort, and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks. This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks, and some of them are quite serious.”
He added: “So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”
Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier and convicted national security secret leaker, will remain an active-duty, unpaid soldier, eligible for health care and other benefits, following her scheduled release May 17 from military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, according to the Army. ...
While Manning’s court-martial conviction remains under appeal, she will remain a private in the Army, said Dave Foster, an Army spokesman. As an active duty soldier, Manning will continue to receive health care and have access to commissaries and military exchanges, but she will not be paid.
“Pvt. Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review,” Foster said.
The Army refused to disclose the other terms of Manning’s release, six years before her eligibility for parole, citing privacy concerns. She had been sentenced to 35 years for releasing hundreds of thousands of secret documents to WikiLeaks. Manning appeared at court martial in the uniform of an enlisted man.
Like all soldiers, Manning will be assigned to an Army post but it is unclear where and to whom she will report.
Angela Merkel’s conservatives have won a state election in their centre-left rival’s heartland, in a stinging blow to the challenger in September’s national vote. The western state of North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany’s most populous and has been led by the Social Democrats (SPD) for all but five years since 1966.
It is also the home state of Martin Schulz, the Social Democrat seeking to deny Merkel, the German chancellor, a fourth term in the election on 24 September. Schulz had been hoping for a boost after two previous state election defeats sapped his party’s momentum. Instead, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won 33% of the vote in the election for the state legislature, with the Social Democrats on 31.2%. SPD governor Hannelore Kraft’s coalition lost its majority as her junior partners, the Greens, won only 6.4%. The conservative challenger Armin Laschet, a deputy leader of Merkel’s party, was poised to replace Kraft.
A runoff election Tuesday in Los Angeles, California will determine the fate of public education in one of the nation's largest school districts, in a first major test of the influence of the Trump-era charter school industry.
Voters will head to the polls on May 16 to choose between charter school ally Nick Melvoin and current L.A. school board president Steve Zimmer in a race for District 4, and between charter school teacher Kelly Fitzpatrick-Gonez against public school advocate Imelda Padilla for a seat in District 6.
If the industry-supported candidates win, they will be able to "squash democratic control of public schools," wrote education historian Diane Ravitch on Sunday. That includes diverting public funds to corporate charter chains and entrepreneurs, widening the reach and power of an industry that has no system of public accountability and has been plagued by theft and fraud scandals.
The election will also serve as a microcosm of the Trump administration's vision for public schools nationwide, with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos having expressed her support for privatization throughout her confirmation hearings and previously compared the controversial issue of school choice to ride-sharing apps. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also referred to public schools as a "product."
"Unregulated charter schools and vouchers allow private groups to control taxpayer dollars and—in the worst cases—profit from them," Donald Cohen of the watchdog group In the Public Interest wrote at the Huffington Post last week. "But they also help fulfill a vision of society in which government is run like a business and people—and corporations—are customers."
Last month, Donald Trump’s two key economic allies, treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, unveiled the outline of Donald Trump’s much-trailed tax plan. The biggest tax cuts “in history” would slash taxes for business, simplify taxes for everyone else, and “pay for themselves” by stimulating economic growth, Trump’s fiscal duo claimed.
The plan’s similarity to the one that has left Kansas in crisis is “unbelievable”, according to Duane Goossen, the former Kansas secretary of administration. The economic spirit behind Trump’s plan is Arthur Laffer – the go-to guru of “supply-side economics” since the Reagan era, and one of the architects of Kansas governor Sam Brownback’s original tax plan. ...
When Brownback outlined his plan in 2012, he, too, said the tax cuts would pay for themselves. “He too said the tax cuts would benefit everybody, [that] they would be be ‘a shot of adrenaline to the heart’ of the Kansan economy,” said Goossen. Instead, Goossen claims, the money has gone to a small group of wealthy Kansans while the state’s budget has been left with a roughly $1bn shortfall. Its school system, once its crown jewel, has suffered year after year of cuts, and its savings are gone. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center calculates Trump’s tax plan would cost $6.2tn over the first decade. ...
The prop of the Brownback plan, as with Trump’s, was a huge cut to taxes paid by limited liability companies (LLCs) – and so-called “pass-through” businesses – which meant independent business owners would pay no state tax on the bulk, if not all, of their income. Those businesses would then go out and invest and create new jobs, or so the argument went. At the time, Kansas had around 190,000 LLCs. Now it has around 300,000, but so far they have not spurred a new hiring drive in the state. “There is no evidence whatsoever that suggests this plan worked,” said Goossen.
Kris Kobach claimed to be the man behind President Donald Trump’s fixation on voter fraud, so it makes sense that Trump has appointed him vice chair of the new voter fraud commission established by executive order on Thursday. As part of Kobach’s role, the Kansas Secretary of State and immigration hard-liner will be investigating the president’s claim — widely disputed — that “millions of illegals” voted in the 2016 election.
The Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, to be led by Vice President Mike Pence, has a mission to “review policies and practices that enhance or undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of federal elections,” said Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the Thursday press briefing.
Some consider the stated mission suspect. “President Trump is attempting to spread his own fake news about election integrity,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, in a statement. “It is telling that the president’s choice to co-lead the commission is none other than Kris Kobach, one of the worst offenders of voter suppression in the nation today.”
The Environmental Protection Agency, under the direction of its climate-denying head, Scott Pruitt, has taken a first step toward opening up a region in Alaska to copper and gold mining that Obama-era regulators had sought to keep from being developed.
In 2014, the EPA increased environmental standards in southwestern Alaska’s Bristol Bay region under the Clean Water Act, invoking a seldom-used clause that prevented Pebble Limited Partnership, the mine’s developer, from applying for a permit to develop a mine there. The mine, in the headwaters of Bristol Bay — home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world — could decimate the fishing industry that thrives there, as well as the subsistence fishing of Native Alaskan tribes.
“Indigenous people have have been fighting this fight for over a decade,” Alannah Hurley of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, a coalition tribes in southwest Alaska, told VICE News. “Our people have been here for thousands of years. We continue to live off the land, the way our ancestors lived.”
“We’re not willing to risk our way of life, our fishery for this mine,” Hurley continued. “It’s scientific fact that this mine could decimate our way of life.” ...
Though the EPA is now open to considering an application from Pebble Partnership, the mine is still a ways from approval. In a statement on the EPA’s website, Pruitt said that the agency “will not guarantee or prejudge a particular outcome, but will provide Pebble a fair process for their permit application and help steer EPA away from costly and time-consuming litigation.”
During inauguration day on 20 January, as Donald Trump was adding “American carnage” to the presidential lexicon, the new administration also took a hammer to official recognition that climate change exists and poses a threat to the US. One of the starkest alterations to the White House’s website following Trump’s assumption of office was the scrapping of an entire section on climate change, stuffed with graphs on renewable energy growth and pictures of Barack Obama gazing at shriveling glaciers, to be replaced by a perfunctory page entitled “An America first energy plan”.
In the more than 100 days since, the administration has largely opted for a chisel and scalpel approach to refashioning its online content, but the end result is much the same – mentions of climate change have been excised, buried or stripped of any importance. Federal government websites are being combed through to apply new verbiage. The state department’s office of global change, for example, has removed links to the Obama administration’s 2013 climate action report and mention of the latest UN meeting on climate change. Text relating to climate change and greenhouse gases has also been purged.
Immediately, the EPA’s climate change section disappeared, to be replaced by a static holding page. This page linked to a “snapshot” from 19 January that includes copious information on the basics of climate change, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the US, temperature data and how the EPA is helping tamp down emissions.
These changes have caused deep alarm among environmental groups and some scientists, who fear that tweaked online language may soon morph into reams of climate data being deleted. While the record-keeping rules of the EPA and other agencies demand that data is retained, there is little to stop the administration hiding it from public view, only to be obtained via freedom of information laws.
As a nearly ten-days-long global mobilization calling for divestment from fossil fuels comes to an end, climate campaigners are celebrating a major victory stateside: U.S. Bank has announced that it will no longer finance fossil fuel pipeline construction.
The announcement came during the company's April shareholder meeting, reported MN350, a state arm of international climate justice group 350.org, on Monday.
As a result of the new policy, MN350 observes that the bank will no longer provide "project financing for the construction of oil or natural gas pipelines," and will also apply "enhanced due diligence processes" to oil and gas industry clients.
"U.S. Bank's new policy is an important step in protecting the environment and moving towards a fossil free future," said Wichahpi Otto, a MN350 volunteer, who attended the shareholder meeting in Nashville. "We applaud them for responding to the community and contributing to worldwide efforts to address climate change."
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Eddie C. Campbell & Tip On In - Dream
Eddie C. Campbell - King of the Jungle
Eddie C. Campbell - Same Thing
Eddie C. Campbell - Early In The Morning
Eddie C. Campbell - Things That I Used To Do
Eddie C. Campbell - Cool Cool Mama
Eddie C. Campbell - Sister Taught Me Guitar
Eddie C. Campbell - Boomerang
Eddie C. Campbell and his All-stars - Tornado Alley Wheaton, MD. 1996