The Evening Blues - 5-17-19
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Chicago blues harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold. Enjoy!
Billy Boy Arnold & The Aces - She Fooled Me
“When mores are sufficient, laws are unnecessary; when mores are insufficient, laws are unenforceable.”
-- Émile Durkheim
News and Opinion
“I Would Rather Starve to Death”: Chelsea Manning Heads Back to Jail after Refusing to Testify Again
Chelsea Manning is headed back to jail after being released just under a week ago. ...
Manning has once again refused to testify and will likely be in detention for the entirety of the grand jury’s term, which could be several months. This time, she will also reportedly face a $500 daily fine after 30 days of jail, which will increase to a $1,000 daily fine after 60 days.
Manning told the judge presiding over the case that she would rather starve to death than comply with the grand jury.
“I would rather starve to death than to change my opinion in this regard. And when I say that, I mean that quite literally," Manning said during the hearing.
Hey, remember that time when John Bolton admitted on live TV that lying was awesome and that he had no qualms about decieving the American public if he thought it was needed to protect "American national security"? https://t.co/4iyao2crTH
— Whitney Webb (@_whitneywebb) May 14, 2019
Journalist Whitney Webb recently tweeted a 2010 video clip I’d never seen before featuring US National Security Advisor John Bolton defending the use of deception in advancing military agendas, which highlights something we should all be paying attention to as Trump administration foreign policy becomes increasingly Boltonized. On a December 2010 episode of Fox News’ Freedom Watch, Bolton and the show’s host Andrew Napolitano were debating about recent WikiLeaks publications, and naturally the subject of government secrecy came up.
“Now I want to make the case for secrecy in government when it comes to the conduct of national security affairs, and possibly for deception where that’s appropriate,” Bolton said. “You know Winston Churchill said during World War Two that in wartime truth is so important it should be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.”
“Do you really believe that?” asked an incredulous Napolitano.
“Absolutely,” Bolton replied.
“You would lie in order to preserve the truth?”
“If I had to say something I knew was false to protect American national security, I would do it,” Bolton answered.
“I don’t think we’re often faced with that difficulty, but would I lie about where the D-Day invasion was going to take place to deceive the Germans, you’d better believe it,” Bolton continued.
“Why do people in the government think that the laws of society or the rules don’t apply to them?” Napolitano asked.
“Because they are not dealing in the civil society we live in under the Constitution,” Bolton replied. “They are dealing in the anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply.”
“But you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and the Constitution mandates certain openness and certain fairness,” Napolitano protested. “You’re willing to do away with that in order to attain a temporary military goal?”
“I think as Justice Jackson said in a famous decision, the Constitution is not a suicide pact,” Bolton said.
“And I think defending the United States from foreign threats does require actions that in a normal business environment in the United States we would find unprofessional. I don’t make any apology for it.”
So that’s a thing. And it’s important for us to know it’s a thing because of the way things are heating up in Iran right now, since Bolton’s fingerprints are all over it. Bolton has long been calling for war with Iran and in a paid speech in July 2017 told his pro-regime change MEK terror cult audience that they would be celebrating the successful overthrow of the Iranian government together before 2019. Now we’re seeing threat alarms being elevated and fearmongering about Iranian missiles being circulated, with reports being leaked to the press of possible plans to send 120,000 US troops to the region.
Bolton trussed up his 2010 confession using an example that most people would agree with: that it was reasonable for the Allied forces to deliberately deceive the Nazis about the nature of the D-Day invasion. But we know John Bolton better than that by now. This PNAC director and architect of the Iraq war once threatened to murder a foreign official’s children because his successful diplomatic efforts were putting a damper on the manufacturing of consent for the Iraq invasion. He wasn’t defending the use of deception in crucial military options used to halt tyrants trying to take over the world, he was defending the use of deception in the senseless wars of aggression that he has built his political career on advancing.
Well now, this seems like a convenient story:
Iran’s most prominent military leader has recently met Iraqi militias in Baghdad and told them to “prepare for proxy war”, the Guardian has learned.
Two senior intelligence sources said that Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s powerful Quds force, summoned the militias under Tehran’s influence three weeks ago, amid a heightened state of tension in the region. The move to mobilise Iran’s regional allies is understood to have triggered fears in the US that Washington’s interests in the Middle East are facing a pressing threat. The UK raised its threat levels for British troops in Iraq on Thursday.
While Suleimani has met regularly with leaders of Iraq’s myriad Shia groups over the past five years, the nature and tone of this gathering was different. “It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off,” one source said.
The meeting has led to a frenzy of diplomatic activity between US, British and Iraqi officials who are trying to banish the spectre of clashes between Tehran and Washington and who now fear that Iraq could become an arena for conflict. ...
On Sunday, four ships – two of them Saudi oil tankers – were reportedly sabotaged off the UAE coast. The following day, drones launched by Iranian-allied rebels in Yemen attacked two Saudi pipelines. Saudi state media on Thursday called for “surgical strikes” against Iranian targets in response and its senior officials have told Washington that they expect it to act in its interests.
In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2011
'Unacceptable and Uncalled For': Iranian Foreign Minister Denounces Trump Administration's March to War
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Thursday that his country is acting with "maximum restraint" in the face of U.S. belligerence and denounced threats of force by White House officials.
"We believe that escalation by the United States is unacceptable and uncalled for," Zarif told reporters during a meeting with Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono in Tokyo.
Iran is exercising "maximum restraint in spite of the fact the United States withdrew from [the] JCPOA last May," said Zarif, referring to the Iran nuclear accord. ... "The path we have chosen today is not the path of war, it is the path of diplomacy," said Rouhani.
Iranian missiles could easily hit US ships in the Gulf, and any conflict would threaten global energy supplies, a senior Iranian military official has said.
As tensions simmered on Friday, Tehran blamed the US for an escalating regional crisis that western intelligence officials fear could lead to open conflict.
“If a war happens, the world’s energy supply will suffer,” Gen Saleh Jokar, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said on Friday. He added: “Iran’s short-range missiles can easily reach present [US] warships in the Persian Gulf.”
Iranian military leaders say the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” approach, which includes crippling sanctions on Tehran’s economy and a unilateral pullout from a nuclear deal, has forced an inevitable reaction.
On Thursday Maj Gen Hossein Salami, commander of the Revolutionary Guards and the country’s overall military leader, said the two countries were on the verge of a full-scale confrontation. “This is the most decisive moment for the Islamic revolution because the enemy has come to the battlefield with all of its capacities at its disposal,” he told a meeting of subordinates.
Keen to pander to hawkish public opinion in the run-up to last month’s election, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck a severe blow against Mahmoud Abbas and his government-in-permanent-waiting. He announced that Israel would withhold a portion of the taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, and which it is obligated under the Oslo accords to pass on to the PA, based in the West Bank. The money deducted is the sum the PA transfers as stipends to the families of political prisoners and those killed and maimed by the Israeli army.
This is an incendiary issue, as Netanyahu well knows, given that Palestinians view these families as having made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle to liberate their people from brutal Israeli occupation. Abbas cannot be seen to back down, and so has refused to accept any of the monthly tax transfers until the full sum is reinstated, amounting to nearly two-thirds of the PA’s revenues. Given how precarious Palestinian finances are, after decades of resource theft and restrictions on development imposed by Israel, the PA is already on the brink of bankruptcy.
The problem for Netanyahu and Washington is that the PA was established – under the 25-year-old Oslo accords – to take the pressure and costs off Israel of policing the Palestinian population under occupation. If the PA collapses, so do the Palestinian security forces that have been keeping order in the West Bank as Israel has continued to plunder Palestinian land and resources. ...
Netanyahu is in a serious bind. He cannot be seen by his even more rightwing coalition partners to be climbing down and restoring stipends to people Israelis view simply as “terrorists.” Equally, he dares not risk a Palestinian uprising in the West Bank. That would be a real possibility if the Palestinian economy implodes and there are no Palestinian security forces to suppress the resulting wave of popular anger. ...
The EU proposed this month that the PA accept the transfers on a “provisional basis,” until the crisis can be resolved. PA officials were dismissive. “Let the people take to the streets,” one said. “We have our backs to the wall.” The PA line is that in the current climate, if it backtracks, Israel will simply intensify unilateral measures harming the Palestinian cause.
Since the adoption of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the United States has committed multiple violations of its provisions. Normally such violations would lead to international adjudication and the obligation to make reparation to the injured state. The outrageous behavior of the United States with regard to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington violates the Vienna Convention, to which the United States is bound, and which has served U.S. interests in the past, when the premises of U.S. embassies and consulates have been targets of terrorism and/or illegal occupation. ...
, which refers disputes on its application to the world court. The U.S. also requested the indication of provisional measures of protection, which the court granted, holding that there was no more fundamental prerequisite for relations between states than the inviolability of diplomatic premises, and demanding the immediate restoration to the United States of the embassy premises. In its decision on the merits of the case, the court, in its judgment of May, 24, 1980, found that Iran had violated and was still violating obligations owed by it to the United States, that the violation of these obligations engaged Iranian responsibility, and that Iran was bound to make reparation for the injury caused to the United States.
The current situation concerning the Venezuelan embassy in Washington justifies adjudication by the world court, but in 1986 President Ronald Reagan withdrew U.S. recognition of the court’s automatic jurisdiction, and in 2018 President Donald Trump denounced the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention, precisely to be able to violate it with impunity, without fearing the inconvenience of having to appear in The Hague and defend the indefensible.
Venezuelan Government Denounces US Seizure of Embassy, Arrest of Peace Activists as Violation of Vienna Convention
Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Ron on Thursday urged the Trump administration not to hand over the country's embassy in Washington, D.C. to leaders of an attempted coup after U.S. law enforcement forcibly removed peace activists who have lived there for since last month as guests of President Nicolás Maduro's government. "We denounce these arrests, as the people inside were there with our permission, and we consider it a violation of the Vienna Conventions," Ron said in statement.
Mara Verheyden Hilliard, an attorney for the Embassy Protection Collective, said activists were charged with "interference with certain protective functions," which a State Department spokesperson confirmed to the Washington Post. "It is notable that they were not charged with trespassing," she added, "which makes it perfectly clear that the U.S. government does not want to be in the position of having to explain who is lawfully in charge of these premises."
#BREAKING | Lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard confirms that #UnitedStates police forces have illegally invaded the Venezuelan embassy in #WashingtonDC, arresting the 4 remaining activists of the #EmbassyProtectionCollective, "violating" the Vienna Convention. #HandsOffVenezuela pic.twitter.com/WXXdPVjJPd
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 16, 2019
"The fact that the State Department has broken into a protected diplomatic mission to arrest the peace activists inside is something that will have repercussions the world over," Hilliard warned.
Venezuela’s government and opposition have sent envoys to Norway to attend talks on ways of ending the South American country’s crisis, though their mutual mistrust and differences on key issues are likely to reduce chances of progress. The development reported by officials on Wednesday appeared to reflect a recognition that neither side had been able to prevail in the struggle for power, leaving Venezuela in a state of paralysis after years of hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.
It was also a policy reversal for the opposition, which has accused the president, Nicolás Maduro, of using previous negotiations to play for time.
Senior members of both sides will be involved in the exploratory discussions in Oslo, said members of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. Delegations from the two opposing camps had received separate invitations from a group of Norwegians, one official said.
The representatives include the information minister, Jorge Rodríguez, on the government side and Stalin González, a leading member of the national assembly, the officials said.
Theresa May has agreed to set a timetable for her departure as prime minister in the first week of June, leading MPs to believe she will trigger a leadership contest before the summer. Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers, said she would agree a timetable for the election of a new leader after her Brexit legislation returned to parliament for a final attempt in the week of 3 June.
Another member of the 1922 Committee told the Guardian that May understood she would have to name a quick date for her departure if the withdrawal bill is voted down, with a leadership contest before the summer. The MP said some Brexit supporters on the committee were disappointed that the prime minister was not forced to announce her departure immediately but this represented a “fair compromise”.
Brady’s announcement will intensify the leadership contest that has already been playing out among cabinet ministers and ambitious backbenchers for weeks. Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, was the latest to throw his hat into the ring on Thursday, saying he would “of course” go for it when there is a vacancy but there is a wide field of up to 20 candidates.
May still holds out a sliver of hope that her withdrawal bill legislation might not be voted down in its first week, enabling her to make the argument that she should not depart until she has seen the process of getting an agreement through. However, the heavy hint that she will resign if the legislation is rejected once again is likely to incentivise even more Eurosceptic Tories to vote against it.
Labour has said it will not support it either without a formal deal involving a customs union and assurances that it cannot be unpicked by a future Conservative leader, meaning it is highly likely to be rejected. The cross-party Brexit talks are still ongoing but both sides will have to decide within days whether to continue when they are still some way apart on fundamental issues.
The government and Labour have sought to blame each other after cross-party talks to find a compromise Brexit plan collapsed, leaving any remaining hopes of an imminent solution to the impasse in tatters.
While both sides insisted the discussions had taken place in good faith, Theresa May said a sticking point had been Labour splits over a second referendum.
Labour in turn said the government had been unwilling to compromise and that May’s imminent departure from Downing Street meant there was no guarantee any promises would be kept by a successor such as Boris Johnson.
Nick Boles, the former Conservative MP who helped spearhead efforts to prevent a no-deal Brexit in March, said he now feared such a departure was almost inevitable when the EU27’s latest deadline of 31 October is reached. “It’s game over,” he said. “We only won by one, and it’s very unclear that we would have the same level of Tory support, and for that matter Labour support. We are absolutely convinced that parliament will not find a way to stop no-deal Brexit.”
The conclusion to six weeks of intermittent talks, which had angered many Conservative and Labour MPs who feared the nature of the compromise that might result, came with the release of a letter from Jeremy Corbyn to May on Friday.
The lives of hundreds of migrants and refugees are under threat in Libya as the conflict there nears detention centers, according to a release yesterday from Amnesty International.
Two people were injured last week when an airstrike hit about 100 meters away from the Tajoura migrant detention center, where some 500 migrants and refugees are being held, said Amnesty. Three days later, another airstrike hit near the facility, which is east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Weapons are being stored in a warehouse in the same compound as the detention center, suggesting that some fighters are using the compound as a military complex, according to Amnesty’s sources.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Charlie Yaxley said Wednesday at a press briefing that the agency is very concerned for the approximately 3,300 refugees and migrants held in detention centers close to the fighting. “UNHCR is in a race against time to urgently move refugees and migrants out of detention centers to safety, and we urge the international community to come forward with offers of evacuation, humanitarian corridors, whatever it takes to get people out of harm’s way,” he said.
In the past week, he added, 944 people have left the Libyan coast in boats, and 65 have drowned. Of those who survived, the majority were returned to Libya, leaving hundreds of migrants wedged between life-threatening danger on both sides.
A Guatemalan toddler — just 2 1/2 years old — died Tuesday evening after spending weeks in the hospital after the boy’s family was apprehended at the border in April.
The boy, who has not been identified, is the fourth migrant minor to die after being apprehended at the border since December. It’s not clear when, exactly, the toddler got sick, and the death is still under investigation. He appeared to develop some kind of pneumonia, Guatemala’s Consul Tekandi Paniagua told the Washington Post, which first reported the news.
Agents first came into contact with the toddler’s family on April 3 at Paso Del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas, CBS News reported, citing an anonymous Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official. The mother was reportedly alerted on April 6 that the boy was sick and had been taken to a hospital. Two days later the family was released on their own recognizance and given a notice to appear in court. The boy died in the hospital after about a month. ...
Advocates have repeatedly questioned the government’s ability to care for the migrants it detains. An ICE detention center in Colorado, for instance, had just one in-house doctor to treat some 1,500 detainees during a chickenpox outbreak in February, a congressman who visited said. And a doctor who works with migrant families told Time in December that CBP facilities she toured were often cold, constantly lit and had poor food. Some processing centers have concrete floors, cages and mats to sleep on the floor.
Donald Trump has announced plans for “merit-based” legal immigration – but before the US president even stepped up to the lectern in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon, opponents declared the sweeping reforms “dead on arrival”.
Trump appeared to acknowledge as much when he warned that Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, might block the changes – a sign of his political impotence as the next presidential election draws ever closer. ...
Trump, who has a long history of using foreign and undocumented labour at his own hotels and resorts, called his plan “pro-American, pro-immigrant and pro-worker”. He declared his intent to transform the nation’s “green card” system so that it would favour people with high-level skills, degrees and job offers instead of relatives of those already in the country.
A senior New York city police officer involved in the arrest of Eric Garner, the African American man who died after being put in a chokehold by a police officer in 2014, told a subordinate that the incident was “not a big deal” immediately after being informed Garner had gone into cardiac arrest and was probably dead, it emerged on Thursday.
The revelation was contained in a series of text messages between Lt Christopher Bannon of the NYPD, who had dispatched officers to Garner’s location, and a sergeant, Dhanan Saminath, who had been present at the scene. They were disclosed as part of a disciplinary trial for officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is accused of placing Garner in a banned chokehold during the arrest, which led to his death almost five years ago.
Lt Bannon appeared before the court in New York and was asked by prosecutors to read the exchange of July 2014 text messages between the two officers, as many members of the public in the room gasped with anger.
The texts showed that Saminath told his superior: “Danny [Pantaleo] and Justin [D’Amico, another officer involved] went to collar Eric Garner and he resisted. When they took him down Eric went into cardiac arrest. He’s unconscious. Might [be] DOA.” After another short exchange, Bannon replied: “Not a big deal. We were effecting a lawful arrest.” ...
The hearing is set to continue into next week. The harshest punishment Pantaleo faces is being sacked, as the proceedings are not criminal.
During a House hearing on Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked the CEO of one of America's largest pharmaceutical companies a simple but crucial question: Why does a life-saving HIV drug that costs $8 a month in Australia have a $2,000 price tag in the U.S.? Gilead chief executive Daniel O'Day declined to comment on the low price of Truvada for PrEP in Australia, but said the reason the cost is close to $2,000—"the current list price is $1,780," he said—in the United States is because the drug has "patent protection."
As the Washington Post reported in March, the development of Truvada as a treatment for HIV was "almost fully funded by U.S. taxpayers."
The U.S. government patented the treatment in 2015, according to the Post, but has "opted not to file an infringement suit to enforce" the patent even as Gilead—which argues the government patent is invalid—rakes in billions of dollars in profits from Truvada.
.@RepAOC @AOC: "I blame us. I blame this body because every single developed country in the world guarantees health care as a right except us, except the United States, because we can't get it together." pic.twitter.com/9adUIKQlIb
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 16, 2019
Hours after Alabama’s governor signed a bill to ban almost all abortions, Missouri leapt into the abortions arms race: Early Thursday morning, the state Senate passed a bill to ban abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, according to the Associated Press.
The bill includes exceptions for a medical emergency, but not for rape or incest. It will now return to the state House of Representatives, which already approved an earlier version of the bill, and then to Republican Gov. Mike Parson for his signature.
Parson has made no secret of his support for the bill.
Five states are pushing back against the latest Republican-led assault to weaken unions across the country, which targets in-home caregivers who work with Medicaid beneficiaries. On Monday, attorneys general representing California, Connecticut, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Washington filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration challenging a new rule, announced earlier this month, that impedes home care workers from paying union dues through their Medicaid-funded paychecks. The rule, which goes into effect in July, will impact more than half a million workers in California alone, and several hundred thousand more in 10 other states.
The case was brought against the Department of Health and Human Services and its secretary, Alex Azar, and filed in San Francisco federal court. The plaintiffs argue that the defendants have illegally reinterpreted federal law “in service of anti-union objectives.” The new rule, they say, disrupts long-settled arrangements that allow seniors and individuals with disabilities — who work with state governments to set wages, benefits, and terms of service for their providers — to direct their own health care. More than 700,000 individuals across the five plaintiff states currently use consumer-directed Medicaid programs.
The lawsuit against the Trump administration rule, which was finalized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, comes the same week as two major developments for home care workers in the United States. In Washington state, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law the nation’s first publicly funded long-term care benefit, a hard-fought victory by advocates including SEIU 775, which represents 45,000 home care workers in Washington and Montana. National advocates say they will use Washington’s policy as a model to push for in other states.
Also this week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to review a case led by a group of Minnesota home care workers who argued that a state law that made Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, their bargaining agent violated their First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs pointed to Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; the 2018 case struck down public sector unions charging fees to non-dues paying workers. The same conservative legal groups that supported Janus also helped the Minnesota home care providers, though this time their efforts failed. While the high court’s ruling marks a setback to conservatives seeking to leverage free speech laws against union power, there are still dozens of other Janus-inspired lawsuits winding their way through federal courts, with two more lawsuits filed in the last month.
President Trump earned over $400 million in 2018 while serving as President of the United States, according to a financial disclosure form revealed Thursday. The money poured in from a wide range of real estate and golf properties scattered around the world. Here are some of Trump’s sources of income in 2018:
- $76 million from his Trump National Doral golf resort in Florida
- $41 million from his Trump International Hotel in Washington DC, right down the road from the White House.
- $23 million from his Trump Turnberry golf course in Scotland
- $11 million from Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles
- $13 million from his Trump National Golf Club in Virginia near Washington DC
- At least $4 million in restaurant income in New York
The lengthy form published Thursday also includes such miscellaneous entries as $8.5 million from operating ice skating rinks in New York City, and at least $5,000 in royalties for his “Select by Trump” coffee brand. Trump reported earning between zero and $201 in royalties last year on his 2007 book, “Think Big and Kick Ass.” ...
Richer than any American president before him, Trump has stirred controversy for continuing to earn vast sums while running the country. Trump’s hotel in D.C. has been an especially contentious issue because of its popularity among foreign diplomats and lobbyists.
House Democrats have filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump’s private business activities run afoul of the Constitution’s ban on receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments, a term referred to as the “emoluments clause.”
Amid GOP Assault on Abortion Rights, DCCC-Backed Fundraiser for Anti-Choice Democrat Blasted as 'Demeaning to Women'
A prominent House Democrat plans to host a fundraiser for one of her party's most strident anti-abortion voices at a time when a woman's right to choose is under attack, as his primary opponent nets grassroots endorsements from progressive groups.
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) is hosting a fundraiser for Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) Thursday, June 6, at the Chicago Cut Steakhouse in Chicago.
The event has three tiers of support—plates go for $1,000, $2,800, and $5,600—and the presence of Bustos, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is sure to send a message that the party is behind Lipinski. ...
Lipinski's anti-choice record came in for withering criticism from the Justice Democrats. In an email sent Thursday, the progressive group ripped Lipinski for his record and attacked Bustos and the DCCC for their support of the right-wing Democrat.
Dan Lipinski has single-handedly given bipartisan clout to the insanely hateful anti-choice movement. He's co-sponsored bills in Congress to rip government benefits away from women who seek to terminate their pregnancy, and has fought to instill fetal personhood — the same insanity that is now subjecting women who miscarry to potential manslaughter investigations in Georgia and Alabama.
"How could the DCCC raise money to defend an anti-choice Democrat just days after Alabama passed the most restrictive abortion ban in modern history, and Missouri is just a few steps away from following their lead?" the letter asked.
Ice losses are rapidly spreading deep into the interior of the Antarctic, new analysis of satellite data shows. The warming of the Southern Ocean is resulting in glaciers sliding into the sea increasingly rapidly, with ice now being lost five times faster than in the 1990s. The West Antarctic ice sheet was stable in 1992 but up to a quarter of its expanse is now thinning. More than 100 metres of ice thickness has been lost in the worst-hit places.
A complete loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet would drive global sea levels up by about five metres, drowning coastal cities around the world. The current losses are doubling every decade, the scientists said, and sea level rise are now running at the extreme end of projections made just a few years ago. ...
“From a standing start in the 1990s, thinning has spread inland progressively over the past 25 years – that is rapid in glaciological terms,” said Prof Andy Shepherd, of Leeds University in the UK, who led the study. “The speed of drawing down ice from an ice sheet used to be spoken of in geological timescales, but that has now been replaced by people’s lifetimes.” ...
In the recent past, snow falling on to Antarctica’s glaciers balanced the ice lost as icebergs calved off into the ocean. But now the glaciers are flowing faster than snow can replenish them.
Grassroots climate campaigners in New York celebrated a major victory late Wednesday as Gov. Andrew Cuomo blocked the construction of a $1 billion pipeline which would have carried fracked gas from New Jersey to Long Island.
The 24-mile Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project, proposed by the Oklahoma-based Williams Company, has been the subject of protests by groups including 350.org and Food and Water Watch.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) supported concerns brought up by opponents of the project when it ruled that construction of the pipeline would endanger marine life and release mercury and copper from sediment in the New York Bay and Raritan Bay.
"Construction of the NESE pipeline project is projected to result in water quality violations and fails to meet New York State's rigorous water quality standards," the agency said in a statement. ...
The DEC specified that the decision was made "without prejudice," meaning the Williams Company would be able to reapply—but the corporation would have to prove it would take steps to prevent the disruption of shellfish beds and the release of hazardous metals.
Anti-war critics are responding to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's new climate "resiliency and readiness" proposal to reform the U.S. military with warnings that trying to "green" the Pentagon without addressing the destructive impacts of its bloated budget and American imperialism is a misguided way to combat the emergency of global warming. Warren is an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution that was introduced in February, just two days before the Massachusetts Democrat officially kicked off her 2020 presidential campaign.
Like several other proposals since then, Warren unveiled the Defense Climate Resiliency and Readiness Act in a Medium post Wednesday. But unlike many of her other proposals—from breaking up big tech and wiping out student debt to establishing universal childcare—this latest one was met with deep concern, not praise, from progressives.
.@ewarren is running a great campaign but when it comes to climate breakdown, this is *not* a plan for that. The most powerful war machine on the planet is never going to be "green." The outrageous military budget needs to be slashed to help pay for a Global Green New Deal. https://t.co/LWQO74g2pP
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) May 15, 2019
Klein's comments were echoed by other critics of Warren's proposal, who instead called for curbing the Pentagon's massive carbon footprint "through shrinking the military and ending empire." Some pointed out that, by contrast, another 2020 candidate and backer of the Green New Deal, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), aims to "meaningfully [confront] imperialism." While Sanders said in April that "climate change is a threat to our national security," he also has vowed to slash military spending, telling Vox earlier this month that he "will present a thoughtful budget that meets the defense needs of this country without just simply supplying billions of dollars of unnecessary money to the military industrial complex."
Demanding "a more internationalist Green New Deal," Arturo Desimone recently made the case in a piece published by DiEM25 that "our very ability to implement these ambitious climate-saving programs requires the basis of peace."
"We should be wary, then, of rhetoric that 'green-washes' war, as when [former President Barack] Obama insisted that drone aircraft proved 'more ecological' than earlier bombers," he warned. ... "To successfully realize global Green reconstruction, and the employment it could generate, we must also pressure states to preserve peace," added Desimone. "Conflict zone[s] with harsh sunlight may be perfect for the installation of solar panels, but their inhabitants are far too busy fighting for their survival."
A Major Coal Company Went Bust. Its Bankruptcy Filing Shows That It Was Funding Climate Change Denialism.
The bankruptcy of one of the largest domestic coal producers in the country has revealed that the company maintains financial ties to many of the leading groups that have sowed doubt over the human causes of global warming. The disclosures are from Cloud Peak Energy, a Wyoming-based coal mining corporation that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 10. The company had been battered by low coal prices, including in international markets cultivated by the firm.
The documents in the court docket show that the coal giant gave contributions to leading think tanks that have attacked the link between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change, as well as to several conservative advocacy groups that have attempted to undermine policies intended to shift the economy toward renewable energy. The documents do not include information on the size of the contributions, yet, taken as a whole, the list of groups Cloud Peak Energy helped fund are indicative of how the company prioritized pushing climate denialism. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
The contributions are revealed in a filing that lists recipients of grants, creditors, and contractors. The document shows that Cloud Peak Energy helped fund the Institute of Energy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based group that has dismissed the “so-called scientific consensus” on climate change and regularly criticizes investments in renewable energy as a “waste” of resources. Several of the groups that receive funding from Cloud Peak Energy have used aggressive tactics to attempt to discredit environmentalists. The Center for Consumer Freedom, one of the groups listed in the coal company’s filing, is part of a sprawling network of front groups set up by a lobbyist named Rick Berman geared toward attacking green groups such as the Sierra Club and Food & Water Watch as dangerous radicals.
Other organizations quietly bankrolled by Cloud Peak Energy have directly shaped state policy. The company provided funding to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that provides template legislation to state lawmakers. The model bills promote the fossil fuel agenda. One model bill declares that there is a “great deal of scientific uncertainty” around climate change; others are designed to repeal environmental regulations on coal-burning power plants.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Billy Boy Arnold - I Wish You Would
Billy Boy Arnold - Prisoner's Plea
Billy Boy Arnold - You've Got Me Wrong
Billy Boy Arnold - Billy Boy's Jump
Billy Boy Arnold - I Ain't Got You
Billy Boy Arnold - You're My Girl
Billy Boy Arnold - Every Day, Every Night
Billy Boy Arnold - My Little Machine
Billy Boy Arnold - Move On Down The Road
Billy Boy Arnold - Rockin'Itis