The Evening Blues - 5-19-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features delta blues singer Son House. Enjoy!
Son House - Grinnin' In Your Face
"The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses."
-- Malcolm X
News and Opinion
Glenn Greenwald delivers a devastating critique of our mainstream media that has lost "its societal value" and "becomes just another instrument for societal manipulation, deceit, and coercion." It's long, but worth a click and a full read.
Ben Smith’s NYT Critique of Ronan Farrow Describes a Toxic, Corrosive, and Still-Vibrant Trump-Era Pathology: “Resistance Journalism”
The New York Times’ recently hired media columnist Ben Smith, who spent the previous nine years as editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed as it grew into a media behemoth, did something Sunday night that very few other U.S. journalists would be willing to do: He published an unflinching and sometimes scathing critique of former-MSNBC-daytime-host-turned-widely-beloved-New-Yorker-star-investigative-reporter Ronan Farrow. Farrow’s work in exposing Harvey Weinstein as a serial predator earned him celebrity, wealth, adoration in liberal circles, and — along with two New York Times reporters whose work on Weinstein was crucial — a Pulitzer Prize. ... Few journalists have the stature or courage to criticize his work, especially in the pages of the New York Times, but Smith did exactly that in paragraph after paragraph of a long critique that seriously called into question the reliability and even integrity of Farrow’s reportorial methods.
What is particularly valuable about Smith’s article is its perfect description of a media sickness borne of the Trump era that is rapidly corroding journalistic integrity and justifiably destroying trust in news outlets. Smith aptly dubs this pathology “resistance journalism,” by which he means that journalists are now not only free, but encouraged and incentivized, to say or publish anything they want, no matter how reckless and fact-free, provided their target is someone sufficiently disliked in mainstream liberal media venues and/or on social media:
[Farrow’s] work, though, reveals the weakness of a kind of resistance journalism that has thrived in the age of Donald Trump: That if reporters swim ably along with the tides of social media and produce damaging reporting about public figures most disliked by the loudest voices, the old rules of fairness and open-mindedness can seem more like impediments than essential journalistic imperatives.
That can be a dangerous approach, particularly in a moment when the idea of truth and a shared set of facts is under assault. ...
We are living in an era of conspiracies and dangerous untruths — many pushed by President Trump, but others hyped by his enemies — that have lured ordinary Americans into passionately believing wild and unfounded theories and fiercely rejecting evidence to the contrary. The best reporting tries to capture the most attainable version of the truth, with clarity and humility about what we don’t know. Instead, Mr. Farrow told us what we wanted to believe about the way power works, and now, it seems, he and his publicity team are not even pretending to know if it’s true.
Ever since Donald Trump was elected, and one could argue even in the months leading up to his election, journalistic standards have been consciously jettisoned when it comes to reporting on public figures who, in Smith’s words, are “most disliked by the loudest voices,” particularly when such reporting “swim[s] ably along with the tides of social media.” Put another way: As long the targets of one’s conspiracy theories and attacks are regarded as villains by the guardians of mainstream liberal social media circles, journalists reap endless career rewards for publishing unvetted and unproven — even false — attacks on such people, while never suffering any negative consequences when their stories are exposed as shabby frauds.
It is this “resistance journalism” sickness that caused U.S. politics to be drowned for three years in little other than salacious and fact-free conspiracy theories about Trump and his family members and closest associates: Putin had infiltrated and taken over the U.S. government through sexual and financial blackmail leverage over Trump and used it to dictate U.S. policy; Trump officials conspired with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 election; Russia was attacking the U.S. by hacking its electricity grid, recruiting journalists to serve as clandestine Kremlin messengers, and plotting to cut off heat to Americans in winter. Mainstream media debacles — all in service of promoting the same set of conspiracy theories against Trump — are literally too numerous to count, requiring one to select the worst offenses as illustrative.
In March of last year, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi — writing under the headline “It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD” — compared the prevailing media climate since 2016 to that which prevailed in 2002 and 2003 regarding the invasion of Iraq and the so-called war on terror: little to no dissent permitted, skeptics of media-endorsed orthodoxies shunned and excluded, and worst of all, the very journalists who were most wrong in peddling false conspiracy theories were exactly those who ended up most rewarded on the ground that even though they spread falsehoods, they did so for the right cause.
Under that warped rubric — in which spreading falsehoods is commendable as long as it was done to harm the evildoers — the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Goldberg, one of the most damaging endorsers of false conspiracy theories about Iraq, rose to become editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, while two of the most deceitful Bush-era neocons, Bush/Cheney speechwriter David Frum and supreme propagandist Bill Kristol, have reprised their role as leading propagandists and conspiracy theorists — only this time aimed against the GOP president instead of on his behalf — and thus have become beloved liberal media icons. The communications director for both the Bush/Cheney campaign and its White House, Nicole Wallace, is one of the most popular liberal cable hosts from her MSNBC perch.
Exactly the same journalism-destroying dynamic is driving the post-Russiagate media landscape. There is literally no accountability for the journalists and news outlets that spread falsehoods in their pages, on their airwaves, and through their viral social media postings.
Michael Flynn isn’t going free without a fight. The Justice Department’s attempt to drop the criminal case against Flynn has sparked so much outrage among former department officials and ex-prosecutors that a small army of DOJ alumni has hatched a plan to challenge the move in court.
A group representing almost a thousand former prosecutors and high-ranking officials has drafted a legal brief slamming the motion to dismiss the case against President Trump’s former national security adviser as sheer partisan politics, according to a copy obtained by VICE News on Monday.
The brief accuses Attorney General Bill Barr of having “weaponized” the Department of Justice “to punish the President’s opponents and reward his friends” — and asks Judge Emmet Sullivan to carefully scrutinize the attempt to dismiss the case, and reject it if he finds the move wasn’t in the public interest. ...
Their decision to intervene in the Flynn case marks a dramatic escalation in the long-running feud between Barr and DOJ alumni, who have released scathing public letters attacking Barr’s behavior.
Independent legal observers have accused Barr of attempting to undo the consequences of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, in which Flynn became an early target.
As Donald Trump continued to propagate his “Obamagate” pseudo-scandal on Monday, the US attorney general, William Barr, said he did not expect a justice department review of the FBI’s handling of 2016 election interference to lead to the criminal investigation of Barack Obama or Joe Biden.
“As to President Obama and vice-president Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr said.
He was referring to federal prosecutor John Durham, who is reviewing the origins of the investigation of Russia’s 2016 election interference which expanded to include links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. “Not every abuse of power, no matter how outrageous, is necessarily a federal crime,” Barr said.
With Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in November, and leading in most polls, Trump has repeatedly referred to a supposed scandal he calls “Obamagate”, saying without evidence that his predecessor and his vice-president were tied to what he claims was “the biggest political crime in American history, by far!”
Without identifying who he was talking about, Barr said on Monday: “Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others.”
With most of the United States on lockdown in late April, the State Department approved billions of dollars in possible weapons sales. Workers at the manufacturing plants that would supply those sales, deemed “essential workers” toward the end of March thanks to the defense industry’s sprawling lobbying apparatus, have been forced to show up to work — even as a number of workers at those factories have tested positive for coronavirus. The transactions approved by the State Department include $2.2 billion in possible weapons sales to India, Morocco, and the Philippines, and $150 million in blanket funds to the United Arab Emirates for order requisitions to repair and support aircraft fleets and do other related work.
The facilities in question belong to some of the world’s largest defense contractors, like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. At Lockheed Martin’s plant in Forth Worth, Texas, workers have protested the reopening of their facility, saying they were concerned about exposing family members to the virus, and that the company wasn’t properly cleaning facilities. Other workers have said that steps being taken to mitigate risk don’t go far enough. Asked about the spread or potential spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, at their plants, the contractors generally demurred and declined to answer questions, instead referring The Intercept to company websites, many of which have stopped publicly reporting Covid-19 cases. ...
The weapons industry has so far spent millions of dollars on lobbying Congress and the Department of Defense in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, on issues like getting exemptions from stay-at-home orders and relief under the CARES Act. The push to get 2.5 million defense workers classified as essential came as the United States’s undeclared wars continue, with airstrikes reaching an all-time high in Somalia as the coronavirus spread, and the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition continuing to drop bombs on Yemen.
“As states across the country issued orders requiring businesses to close in a drastic attempt to prevent the spread of the virus, the federal government issued instructions to defense contractors that directly contradicted those local efforts,” the Washington Post wrote in late March, just two weeks after the coronavirus outbreak was deemed a pandemic.
The decision by Wall Street and the Trump administration to restart production has produced an unprecedented health crisis in northern Mexico, where workers at maquiladora sweatshops that produce parts for export to the US are contracting coronavirus by the tens of thousands and dying at alarming rates.
On Saturday, the health secretary of Northern Baja California announced that 432 of the 519 people who have officially died from the virus in the state were maquiladora workers. In Baja cities like Tijuana and Mexicali, as well as other border cities like Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, doctors report that their hospitals are overflowing with sick maquiladora workers, some of whom are dying in their work uniforms. Mexican maquiladora workers make between US$8 to $10 per day. Hospital officials say the government’s official death toll and total number of positive cases nationwide — 5,177 and 49,219 respectively, as of yesterday afternoon—vastly understate the real impact. They claim that hundreds or thousands more maquiladora workers are dying than is officially acknowledged, and that the Mexican government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador is obscuring the real toll in an effort to force workers back to work.
An investigation published yesterday by the San Diego Union-Tribune shows the death toll may be ten times higher than the official count:
“A review of 120 death certificates provided by a worker at a crematorium in the northern border city of Ciudad Juárez showed a total of 63 listed ‘probably COVID-19’ as the cause of death. Another 30 named pneumonia or other respiratory ailments often associated with coronavirus. Only 12 listed COVID-19 as the confirmed cause, meaning that only those cases would become part of the official count.”
The end of the last work week saw a spike in new positive cases nationwide, with 2,400 testing positive on May 14 and 15. But testing is almost nonexistent in Mexico, which has a rate of 0.5 tests per 1,000 people, compared with 27 per 1,000 people in the United States, where the need still far exists current testing levels. ...
The spike is the direct product of López Obrador’s “back to work” initiative, ordered from Washington and Wall Street. In Tijuana, the Mexican government opened 100 maquiladoras at the beginning of May, despite protests from workers. Yesterday, a Tijuana business association said the city’s maquiladoras were functioning at 60 percent capacity. ... Reopening Mexican production is imperative for American industry. Yesterday, the Detroit News explained, “nearly 40 percent of all part imports into the US come from Mexico, meaning the success of any domestic industry restart will rest heavily on a successful simultaneous rev-up south of the border.”
Volunteers from the Iranian Red Crescent Society crisscross Tehran’s streets, distributing care packages of masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to residents to prevent the spread of COVID-19. ...
The organization is focused on a unique group in Iran: The more than 70,000 people injured by chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war. It’s been over thirty years since that war ended, but many survivors of chemical attacks still struggle with long-term damage to their skin, eyes, and lungs — conditions that can manifest years after exposure and worsen with age.
Iranian officials say that efforts to combat the virus are hampered by U.S. sanctions after its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.
The government watchdog who was fired last week had been investigating the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for sidestepping Congress to approve arms sales to the Gulf and using staffers for personal errands, according to congressional sources.
Donald Trump declared his intention to fire the state department inspector general, Steve Linick, in a letter sent to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, late on Friday night. The White House said the decision was taken at Pompeo’s advice.
Congress has 30 days to investigate the decision, but the Senate has so far declined to intervene in a string of dismissals of officials in watchdog roles, as Trump has steadily dismantled the machinery of government oversight.
According to Democratic congressional aides, Linick had nearly completed an investigation into a highly controversial decision by Trump and Pompeo last May to approve $8bn in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without consulting Congress, on the grounds that the regional threat posed by Iran constituted a national emergency. ...
“[Linick’s] office was investigating – at my request – Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia,” Eliot Engel, the Democratic chair of the House foreign affairs committee said in a written statement.
“We don’t have the full picture yet, but it’s troubling that Secretary Pompeo wanted Mr Linick pushed out before this work could be completed.”
I wonder why these "activists" aren't protesting at Nancy Pelosi's or Chuck Schumer's house? Couldn't find the address?
'National Day of Mourning' Protests This Week to Condemn GOP Failures Amid Mass Suffering Caused by Covid-19
With Republicans in Congress stonewalling the possibility of any additional coronavirus relief even as tens of millions of people across the U.S are newly out of work, uninsured, hungry, and unable to afford rent, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups is planning nationwide protests this week to condemn GOP obstruction and demand the urgent passage of desperately needed aid for people and families.
On Wednesday, funeral-style actions in more than 20 states across the country will mourn the nearly 90,000 people who have died of Covid-19 and denounce President Donald Trump and the GOP for failing to take sufficiently urgent and bold action against the pandemic. The "National Day of Mourning" was organized by MoveOn, Indivisible, the Center for Popular Democracy, and other groups.
In Washington, D.C., protestors are expected to drive a 200-car funeral procession from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) residence to the White House, passing the Trump International Hotel along the way. Participants are planning to lay down body bags in front of the White House and eulogize loved ones lost to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A similar action is set to take place in South Carolina, where a funeral procession will begin at a local chapel and end at Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) office. Demonstrators plan to leave mock caskets and photos of deceased loved ones in front of the building.
McConnell said last week that Republicans have not yet felt the "urgency" to act quickly on another relief package, and that attitude does not seem to have changed even after House Democrats on Friday passed the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion bill that would extend beefed-up unemployment benefits, provide another round of one-time $1,200 direct stimulus payments, and authorize $1 trillion in funding for state and local governments.
Progressives criticized the bill as deeply flawed and inadequate to the scale of the crisis, but Republicans in Congress and the president have indicated that they are in no hurry to approve any additional aid.
"I'd put the chance of another bill right now at way less than 50 percent for the foreseeable future," Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said Sunday. Earlier this month, Trump said he is in "no rush" to negotiate with Congress on another relief package.
Anonymous congressional sources told Politico that the "most likely" target date for passing additional Covid-19 legislation is July 4.
— jordan (@JordanUhl) May 18, 2020
Rights Groups Demand House Democrats Fix Bill That Gives FBI Power to Search Browser Histories Without Warrant
Over 50 anti-surveillance groups put pressure on the Democrat-controlled House "to seize this moment in defense of Americans' civil liberties" in a new letter urging the chamber to pass the Senate-cleared USA Freedom Reauthorization Act only if it includes a key privacy protecting amendment.
The letter (pdf), sent to House leadership Monday, calls the amendment put forth by Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mt.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)—which would bar spy agencies from warrantless surveiling of Americans' web browsing and internet search histories—"sorely needed." ...
The letter comes just days after the Senate's Thursday vote to reauthorize sweeping government surveillance powers until December 2023 and after the upper chamber's Wednesday vote in which the Wyden-Daines amendment failed by just one vote. While 10 members of the Democratic caucus voted with Republicans against the amendment, two others—Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—did not attend the vote.
Wyden, speaking on the Senate floor last week ahead of the vote, outlined why he believed the provision was crucial.
"Every thought that can come into people's heads can be revealed in an internet search or a visit to a website," said Wyden. "Their health history and medical concerns. Their political views. Their romantic lives and friendships. Their religious beliefs."
"Collecting this information is as close to reading minds as surveillance can get. It is digital mining of the personal lives of Americans," he said.
An international coalition of labor unions has filed a complaint against McDonald’s, alleging systemic sexual harassment of its employees around the world.
The complaint, filed at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s offices in the Netherlands, lists numerous incidents of harassment, including attempted rape and indecent exposure in the United States, a promotion in exchange for sexual acts in Brazil, and a hidden cellphone camera installed in the women’s changing room in France.
“There’s a rotten culture from the top,” said Sue Longley, the general secretary for the International Union of Foodworkers, at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, adding that the fast food giant has “failed dismally to take meaningful action about the problem”. ...
The complaint, alleges that McDonald’s has failed to comply with the organization’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and is the first-ever case filed related to sexual harassment at a multinational. Organizers said they filed the complaint with regulators in the Netherlands because McDonald’s’ Dutch offices were the company’s “nerve center” in Europe.
The unions claimed any actions filed in the US, where McDonald’s is headquartered, would be met with “unclean hands,” on McDonald’s’ part because sexual harassment “permeates the top ranks of corporate management” there.
The first results from human trials of a vaccine against Covid-19 have given a glimmer of hope after a US firm’s study produced positive results in a group of eight volunteers.
These results – which come a day after the UK government revealed a deal to secure 30m doses of a rival Oxford University vaccine, should it be successful – showed that each of the participants produced an antibody response on a par with that seen in people who have had the disease. And they suggest that the vaccine is safe for use in humans.
Part of a first-stage trial of 45 people run by the US company Moderna, the results are from a preliminary safety study and do not demonstrate that the treatment will work. But they will be a sign of encouragement for experts and governments desperate for a breakthrough in the battle to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic – widely believed to be impossible without a vaccine.
Although both programmes are in the early stages, the findings also appear to put the US research ahead of the UK’s. While the Oxford vaccine was shown in a safety study to protect macaque monkeys against pneumonia, it did not stop infection – which could leave people liable to spread the virus, even if they do not get sick themselves.
President Trump has been dosing himself with the controversial, unproven treatment for COVID-19 known as hydroxychloroquine.
Trump has been taking the drug in pill form for “about a week and a half now,” he told reporters Monday, adding that he’s using the medication as a prophylactic because, he says, front-line workers are doing it too.
"I’m taking it," Trump told reporters. “Right now, yeah.”
Trump’s stunning announcement suggests an unprecedented willingness to conduct a pharmaceutical experiment on himself while running the country as commander in chief. While the drug, made by several companies, has been used to fight malaria for years, recent tests have undercut Trump’s earlier optimism that it could become a miracle drug against COVID-19, the deadly disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Doctors have further cautioned it could be harmful to people with heart conditions.
Donald Trump’s campaign and national Republicans are pumping millions of dollars into efforts to restrict voting and aggressively fight Democratic efforts to make it easier to cast a ballot during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Republican National Committee has allocated $20m so far to oppose Democratic lawsuits across the country seeking to expand voting. Republicans are also seeking to recruit up to 50,000 people in 15 key states to serve as poll watchers and challenge the registration of voters they believe are ineligible, according to the New York Times.
The 2020 election will be the first time in nearly three decades that national Republicans will be involved in such a program. After the RNC was sued over intimidating minority voters in New Jersey in the early 1980s, they agreed to a federal court order not to engage in “ballot security” efforts. The order expired in 2018.
The second most disgustingly awful party is feeling lucky.
Just three months ago, centrist Democrats were panicking. After strong performances in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders appeared poised to sail away with the nomination for president. Some in the party feared the self-identified democratic socialist would wreak havoc down the ballot.
“If Bernie Sanders was at the top of the ticket, we would be in jeopardy of losing the House,” the Louisiana congressman Cedric Richmond, a co-chair of Joe Biden’s campaign, said on a February conference call. “We would not get the Senate back.”
The world looks different now – and so does the Senate map. With Biden the presumptive nominee and Donald Trump facing widespread criticism for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, election experts say the upper chamber is up for grabs.
“Over the course of the last several months the playing field has gotten a little bit bigger, and I’d say Democratic prospects in some of these individual races have also seemed to get a little bit better,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “The overall race for the Senate is more of a coin flip than maybe you would have described it at the start of the cycle.”
A new study published Monday showed a strong correlation between last month's in-person primary election in Wisconsin and an increase in coronavirus infections in the state, bolstering calls for a robust national vote-by-mail system for November.
Researchers at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Ball State University found clear spikes in cases in counties that had the most in-person voting locations on April 7, and found that far fewer new cases were confirmed in counties with widespread absentee ballot voting.
Though public health experts had urged against holding the election due to the risks, the in-person voting was pushed forward by state Republicans, former Vice President Joe Biden, and a last-minute ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The research proves, wrote journalist David Sirota, that the decision to move ahead with in-person voting "ended up spreading a deadly pandemic."
NEWS: New data prove that the refusal to postpone the Wisconsin election ended up spreading a deadly pandemic https://t.co/QutK79cMqj
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) May 18, 2020
The economists examined the number of new cases in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties, and found that more cases were reported in the two to three weeks after the election—the incubation period for Covid-19—in counties with the highest numbers of in-person polling locations.
"When the average number of votes per voting location increases by 100 (a 0.10 unit change), the rate of positive tests in a county rises by roughly 0.034 to 0.035 (3.4 to 3.5 percentage points) two to three weeks after the election," the researchers wrote.
Meanwhile, the opposite effect was shown in counties that utilized absentee balloting.
"The estimates from absentee ballot voting suggest that every unit increase in absentee ballots (an additional 10,000 absentee ballots), lead to decreases in the positive rate of between 0.07 and 0.08 percentage points two to three weeks after the election," the study reads.
The research was released two days after a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health Services said that the agency's official count of Covid-19 cases linked to the election stood at 71.
Campaigners called it the kind of climate leadership they hope to see more of from Joe Biden after the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's campaign on Monday said he would withdraw the federal permit for the Keystone XL pipeline if elected in November.
"Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as President and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit," Biden campaign policy director Stef Feldman said in a statement to Politico.
While the Obama administration reluctantly rejected the KXL project in 2015 after years of grassroots pressure—including mass arrests outside Obama'a White House—from Native American tribal leaders and a climate coalition spearheaded by 350.org, the Trump administration made approving the project one of its first orders of business when it took over in 2017.
Biden's pitiful climate platform received among the worst grades during the Democratic primary from environmental groups who warned that only the kind of ambition being voice by candidates like Gov. Jay Islee of Washington, Sens . Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren, or billionaire investor Tom Steyer were adequate to the threat posed by the planetary crisis.
Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, North America director for 350 Action—which last year denounced Biden's climate policies as "uniquely bad" — welcomed his new vow to tear up the presidential pipeline order signed by Trump.
While Pushing Big Oil Bailouts, Trump Slaps Wind and Solar Industry With $50 Million in Old Rent Bills
While giving fossil fuel companies access to relief funds ostensibly meant for small businesses struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration on Monday slapped solar and wind power firms with retroactive rent bills dating back two years.
The Interior Department is demanding rent payments from renewable energy companies operating on federal lands, two years after it suspended rent for the operators as it investigated whether the Obama administration had charged too much.
The administration plans to collect $50 million in rent this year from 96 companies operating on federal property—the same amount of money that a recent report showed is going to fossil fuel companies in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the oil and gas companies may not have to pay those loans back.
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette also admitted last week that the White House pushed the Federal Reserve to open its Main Street Lending Program to the oil and gas industries.
Susan Hassol of the climate research firm Climate Communication wrote that the Trump administration's charging of "huge retroactive rents" for wind and solar operations while simultaneously pushing for tax giveaways and bailouts for the oil and gas companies is robbing from a clean energy future to prop up a dirty past."
The retroactive rent bills come as the solar, wind, and geothermal industries have seen many projects delayed due to the pandemic. The crisis has left many companies unable to access federal subsidies and has cut the industries' projected growth for this year by as much as 10%.
On Twitter, Doug Parr of Greenpeace UK called the administration's treatment of renewable energy companies versus its insistence on aiding fossil fuels "not just bad" but "pathological."
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Son House w/Buddy Guy - How to Treat a Man
Son House - Pearline
Son House - Clarksdale Moan
Son House - Low Down Dirty Dog Blues
Son House - The Jinx Blues (part 1 and 2)
Son House - Death Letter
Son House - Levee Camp Blues
Son House - John The Revelator
Son House - Sun Going Down