The Evening Blues - 6-14-19
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This evening's music features r&b and funk band Tower of Power. Enjoy!
Tower of Power: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
“The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”
-- Chris Hedges
News and Opinion
The US has blamed Iran for an early-morning assault on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, which ended a Japanese mediation effort and raised fears over the safety of vessels passing through the key oil artery to the west.
The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the US believed blasts on the two tankers were carried out by Iran “based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation”. He also claimed that the attacks , in the Strait of Hormuz had such a high degree of sophistication they could not be carried out by a proxy.
Pompeo offered no evidence for his claim and took no questions after making his allegations. He said that Iran had been responsible for a previous wave of attacks on tankers last month, but the official investigation into those attacks did not determine who had been responsible. He also claimed a 31 May car bomb in Afghanistan which killed Afghan civilians and wounded four US soldiers, had been carried out by Iran. The attack had been claimed by the Taliban.
Reuters news agency and Fox News reported on Thursday night that US officials claimed to have video footage of a small Iranian military vessel approaching one of the ships after the attack and removing what appeared a limpet mine which had not exploded.
Pompeo claimed Iran’s actions “present a clear threat to international peace and security”. He added: “Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted. No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail.” Tehran denied all responsibility and its foreign minister suggested others could be trying to provoke a conflict between Iran and the US.
Contradicting Trump Claim of Iranian Mine Attack, Owner of Japanese Oil Tanker Says 'Flying Object' Likely Caused Explosions
During a press conference just hours after the U.S. released video footage that purported to show an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from the side of an oil tanker, the Japanese owner of that vessel said Friday that the ship was likely damaged by a "flying object" and called claims of a mine attack "false."
"I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship," Yutaka Katada, president of the Japanese company that operates the Kokuka Courageous tanker, told reporters in Tokyo.
Katada's account of the attack appeared to contradict the Trump administration's suggestion that Iranian mines were responsible for the explosions that damaged the Kokuka Courageous and one other oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
In his first public comments on the oil tanker attacks, President Donald Trump said during a telephone interview on "Fox & Friends" Friday morning that "Iran did do it," pointing to the U.S. military's grainy video footage. "You know they did it because you saw the boat," Trump said. "You know they did it, because you saw the boat, I guess one of the mines didn't explode and it's probably got, essentially, Iran written all over it."
But Katada said the crew members who were aboard the Kokuka Courageous at the time of the attack believe the vessel was damaged by "something [that] flew towards them."
"That created the hole, is the report I've received," Katada said. "It seems there was a high chance they were attacked by a flying object. The impact was well above the water. I don't think it was a torpedo." Katada did not suggest a possible culprit, and the Japanese government is reportedly "gathering information" on the attacks before it reaches a conclusion.
'Deja Vu' of Iraq War Lies as Mike Pompeo Blames Iran for Tanker Attack Without Single Shred of Evidence
In a press conference that immediately evoked memories of the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday claimed Iran was behind alleged attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman without presenting one single shred of evidence. ...
After asserting Iran was also behind a litany of attacks prior to Thursday's tanker incident—once again without presenting any evidence—Pompeo said that,"Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security."
Pompeo—who has a long history of making false claims about Iran—did not take any questions from reporters following his remarks, which were aired live on America's major television networks.
"Mike Pompeo has zero credibility when it comes to Iran," Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, told Common Dreams. "He's long been actively campaigning for a confrontation with Iran. He has a track record of pushing bogus theories with no evidence such as the idea that Iran collaborates closely with al-Qaeda."
"Once again Pompeo is not waiting for the evidence to come in," Rainwater said, "he is picking facts to suit his campaign for confrontation with Iran."
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) June 13, 2019
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of anti-war group CodePink, characterized Pompeo's speech as a "deja vu" of former Secretary of State Colin Powell's infamous weapons of mass destruction speech before the U.N. in 2003, which made the case for the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. "Secretary Pompeo gives zero proof but insists that Iran is responsible for ship attacks in Gulf of Oman this morning," Benjamin tweeted. "Lies, lies, and more lies to make a case for war."
A serial liar is President.
A warmonger and a serial fabricator who helped get us into the disastrous Iraq war and who has sabotaged numerous attempts at diplomacy is the NatSec Advisor.
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) June 13, 2019
Think US Media Won't Help Lead Nation Into War With Iran Based on Flimsy or False Intelligence? Looks Like They Already Are
If there were any lingering hopes that the corporate media learned from its role in perpetuating the lies that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and would never again help start a Middle East war on the basis of false or flimsy evidence, the headlines that blared across the front pages of major U.S. news websites Thursday night indicated that such hopes were badly misplaced.
The U.S. military late Thursday released blurry, black-and-white video footage that it claimed—without any underlying analysis or further details—showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded limpet mine from the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, one of the oil tankers damaged in attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks, and Yutaka Katada—the owner of the Kokuka Courageous—contradicted the Trump administration's account during a press conference on Friday. "Our crew said that the ship was attacked by a flying object," Katada said. "I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship."
Independent critics were quick to call for extreme skepticism in the face of U.S. government claims, given the quality of the "evidence" and the warmongering track records of those presenting it. But the media displayed no such caution.
[See article for survey of MSM craven warmongering. -js]
The Pentagon announced Monday the single largest arms purchase in its history, agreeing to buy nearly 500 F-35 fighter aircraft at a total cost of $34 billion. This purchase is only a down payment on the Pentagon’s acquisition of the notoriously wasteful and failure-prone aircraft, whose design is based on two overarching priorities: fighting a war with a “great power” such as Russia and China and lining the pockets of Lockheed Martin and the horde of former congressmen and retired generals on its payroll.
The agreement covers the 12th, 13th and 14th batches of F-35s ordered by the Pentagon, which eventually plans to field thousands of the aircraft. Billed in 2001 as a program to save money, each plane eventually ended up costing four times the initial estimate. At a projected total program cost of $1.5 trillion, this one weapons system alone would finance the US Department of Education for a quarter-century. ...
At speeches before military audiences, Trump routinely brags about the massive military budgets he has pushed through Congress, touting in particular the Pentagon’s vast spending on the F-35. Speaking at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony last month, the American president responded to resounding applause from the graduating officers by declaring, “You just like all those brand new, beautiful airplanes that we’re buying.” Trump continued: “Last year… we secured $700 billion to support our war fighters, followed by another $716 billion—not million—billion. That’s with a ‘B.’”
Both of these Pentagon budgets, entailing the largest increases in defense spending since the end of the Cold War, were passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
This year the White House is aiming even higher. Next Monday, the administration plans to submit a $750 billion Defense Department budget proposal, a figure $18 billion higher than the amount requested by the Pentagon.
Israel used “bunker buster” bombs made by a US arms company in two attacks on Gaza in which civilians were killed last month. The deadly strikes occurred in intense violence between 4 and 6 May during which 25 Palestinians, half of them civilians, and four civilians in Israel were killed. Remnants of the GBU-39 series guided “small diameter” bomb manufactured by Boeing were found by Human Rights Watch at the site of the Zoroub building in Rafah, southern Gaza. Three civilians were killed in an Israeli attack on the six-story commercial building on 5 May.
Ahmad Zoroub, a relative of the building’s owner, was sitting in a basement cafe with two friends when the building was hit by three munitions. Ahmad survived but his companions, Mousa Muammar, 35, and Hani Abu Shaar, 37, did not. Also killed in the attack was Ali Abd al-Jawad, an English teacher who had been present at the tutoring center he operated on the ground floor of the building when it was hit.
Minutes after the attack on the Zoroub building, according to Human Rights Watch, “the Israeli military said on Twitter that it attacked ‘terrorist operatives’ in south Gaza, but did not say what or where the targets may have been.”
“Three local residents said that Islamic Jihad had a media office on the second floor, but one noted that the office had moved to a different location months before,” Human Rights Watch states. The owner of the building told the rights group that the Palestinian resistance group did not have an office there. “Human Rights Watch uncovered no evidence of a current military objective.”
Weapon remnants found at a destroyed residential building in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, were also determined by Human Rights Watch to be from a GBU-39 bomb. The three-unit residential building was, like the Zoroub building, attacked by Israel on 5 May. Abdallah al-Madhoun, a member of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, was killed in the strike, as well as his father, Abd al-Rahim, 60; his 36-year-old sister-in-law, Amani al-Madhoun, who was nine months pregnant; and his brother-in-law Fadi Badran, 33. Human Rights Watch contends that because he was an operative with Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, Abdallah al-Madhoun was a “a valid military target,” though its report states he was praying at his father’s home when he was killed. “However, the nature of the attack, on a home containing many civilians, raises concerns that it was disproportionate,” according to Human Rights Watch.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that U.S.-Russia relations are “getting worse and worse," criticizing U.S. sanctions and praising his country's trade relationship with China. “Unfortunately, we cannot say anything of the kind about our relations with the U.S.,” he told state media outlet Mir TV. “They are in fact deteriorating, getting worse by the hour.” ...
His comments contradict President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on Russia, which the U.S. leader has called an ally.
Trump pledged to Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday that he would deploy 1000 U.S. troops to the European country, a step sought by Warsaw to deter potential aggression from Russia.
Sergei Ryabkov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, was quoted by RIA news agency as saying that the move may reflect Washington's "aggressive intentions".
Members of Russia's parliament were quick to react to the plan, which also envisages the US deploying military drones. "In the event of any conflict, God forbid, the territory of Poland would become a clear target for a retaliatory strike, if there was suddenly an attack on us," Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy head of the upper house of parliament's international affairs committee, told the Interfax news agency.
Another lawmaker, ex-commander of Russia's special forces Vladimir Shamanov, who now runs the lower house of parliament's defence committee, said he was concerned about the US drones because of their potential to carry nuclear weapons. "The world is gradually slipping towards a dangerous moment comparable to the Caribbean crisis," Shamanov said, using the Russian expression for the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
The New York Times Thursday morning has bad news for one of its favorite anonymous sources, former CIA Director John Brennan. The Times reports that the Justice Department plans to interview senior CIA officers to focus on the allegation that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian intelligence to intervene in the 2016 election to help Donald J. Trump. DOJ investigators will be looking for evidence to support that remarkable claim that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report failed to establish. ...
No one batted an eye when Brennan told a House committee in May 2017, “I don’t do evidence.”
As we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity have warned numerous times over the past two plus years, there is no reliable forensic evidence to support the story that Russia hacked into the DNC. Moreover, in a piece I wrote in May, “Orwellian Cloud Hovers Over Russia-gate,” I again noted that accumulating forensic evidence from metadata clearly points to an inside DNC job — a leak, not a hack, by Russia or anyone else. So Brennan and his partners, FBI Director James Comey and National Intelligence Director James Clapper were making stuff up and feeding thin but explosive gruel to the hungry stenographers that pass today for Russiagate obsessed journalists.
With Justice Department investigators’ noses to the ground, it should be just a matter of time before they identify Brennan conclusively as fabricator-in-chief of the Russiagate story. Evidence, real evidence in this case, abounds, since the Brennan-Comey-Clapper gang of three were sure Hillary Clinton would become president. Consequently, they did not perform due diligence to hide their tracks. Worse still, intelligence analysts tend to hang onto instructions and terms of reference handed down to them by people like Brennan and his top lieutenants. It will not be difficult for CIA analysts to come up with documents to support the excuse: “Brennan made me do it.” ...
Happily, at least for those interested in the truth, some of the authors of the rump, misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” commissioned by Obama, orchestrated by Brennan-Clapper-Comey, and published on January 6, 2017 will now be interviewed. The ICA is the document still widely cited as showing that the “entire intelligence community agreed” on the Russia-gate story, but this is far from the case. As Clapper has admitted, that “assessment” was drafted by “handpicked analysts” from just three of the 17 intelligence agencies — CIA, FBI, and NSA. U.S. Attorney Durham would do well to also check with analysts in agencies — like the Defense Intelligence Agency and State Department Intelligence, as to why they believe they were excluded.
House Democrats just subpoenaed two men at the heart of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation: former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates and Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
The House Intelligence Committee is seeking testimony and documents from the one-time members of Trump’s inner circle who each became key cooperators in the Mueller probe after pleading guilty to charges of lying to investigators. The new subpoenas signal Democrats want to bring a sense of urgency to their hearings by calling in direct witnesses, rather than rely on outside legal experts as they have in televised hearings this week.
“Michael Flynn and Rick Gates were critical witnesses for Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, but so far have refused to cooperate fully with Congress,” House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff said in an emailed statement Thursday. “That’s simply unacceptable.” ...
The move comes as Democrats struggle to keep the public’s attention focused on Mueller’s findings following the release of his final report, which presented links between the Trump campaign and Russians and episodes of potential obstruction of justice without accusing Trump of committing a crime.
Julian Assange will face a five-day US extradition hearing in February next year, a judge has ruled.
The WikiLeaks founder faces an 18-count indictment, issued by the US Department of Justice, that includes charges under the Espionage Act. At Westminster magistrates court on Friday, the chief magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, ordered that a full extradition hearing should begin on 25 February.
Ben Brandon, representing the US, formally opened the case, a day after an extradition request was signed off by the home secretary, Sajid Javid.
As Brandon ran through a summary of the accusations against Assange, including that he had cracked a US defence network password, Assange, appearing by video link, protested: “I didn’t break any password whatsoever.”
Assange, 47, who was dressed in a grey T-shirt, had a white beard and was wearing black-framed glasses, said 175 years of his life was at stake and defended his website against hacking claims, saying: “WikiLeaks is nothing but a publisher.”
A UK government led by Boris Johnson could not be dragged through the courts if it refused to pay the country’s multibillion-pound Brexit bill, the EU’s German budget chief has admitted, but Britain’s economy, security and universities would be made to suffer.
Günther Oettinger, European commissioner for the EU’s finances, linked the settling of Britain’s debts as agreed by Theresa May to Brussels’ approach to the prospects of the country retaining any kind of beneficial relationship with the bloc.
Johnson, who remains the clear frontrunner in the race to be the next prime minister, has threatened to hold back on payment of the UK’s financial settlement with the EU, estimated to be around £39bn, claiming the sum could be used as “lubricant” to improve Britain’s bargaining position in trade talks.
The EU’s position is that the British government has already agreed to the settlement and that even in a no-deal scenario, Britain would need to pay both liabilities relating to the existing EU budget, which runs until the end of 2020, and unspent commitments that Britain signed off on as a member state.
In any circumstance, should the UK wish to open talks with the EU over a future relationship, Brussels insists that it would be conditional on full payment.
Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has sacked one of the most prominent moderates in his administration for reportedly failing to ideologically align himself with his commander-in-chief’s radical creed. Gen Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, Bolsonaro’s secretary of government, had repeatedly locked horns with the president’s crotchety US-based guru, Olavo de Carvalho, and was reportedly relieved of his duties on Thursday afternoon.
The move, which sent shockwaves through Brazilian politics, came as Bolsonaro finally broke an almost four-day silence over a still unfolding scandal involving his justice minister Sérgio Moro. ...
The Rio broadsheet O Globo said the sacking was the result of “a lack of political and ideological alignment”. Santos Cruz became embroiled in a public feud with Olavo de Carvalho in March, with the latter launching a succession of foul-mouthed and often infantile Twitter attacks. ...
Santos Cruz’s dismissal came shortly after Bolsonaro offered his backing to another key minister, Sérgio Moro, who has come under fire this week following the Intercept’s revelations. “What he did is priceless. He is part of Brazilian history,” Bolsonaro said in reference to the sprawling Car Wash anti-corruption investigation for which Moro became famous.
However, the Intercept’s editors have vowed to release more compromising material from what they call a “vast trove” of secret documents, leaving Brazil’s political class bracing for further turbulence.
After Exposing 'Corrupted' Brazilian Government, Journalist Glenn Greenwald Faces Deportation Warning and Death Threats
Journalist Glenn Greenwald and his family are receiving death threats over reporting from The Intercept on Brazilian corruption. The "grotesque" threats came days after Greenwald and his colleagues published leaked chats from government officials that appear to show justice minister Sérgio Moro was involved in a plot to keep former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, from entering the country's 2018 presidential race. The reporting has already caused controversy in Brazil and forced Moro to answer difficult questions from the public.
In addition to physical harm, Greenwald, who is American but lived in Brazil for many years, says powerful members of the Brazilian government are also threatening to have him deported because of his journalism. Greenwald's husband, David Miranda, is a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party, and was elected to Brazil's National Congress last year.
In comments to AFP, Greenwald said his family would not be intimidated by the threats and would not leave Brazil. "We have taken all the measures that we feel like we should take for our legal and physical security," said Greenwald. "After that you have to go about and do your work."
It’s been 94 days — barring a phony press conference for literal children — since Sarah Huckabee Sanders has held a White House press briefing. And we may never see one again.
Trump announced that Sanders will leave the White House at the end of the month in two Thursday afternoon tweets, which called on her to run for governor of Arkansas, her home state.
“She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job!” Trump tweeted. “I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas - she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!” But he also got the math wrong, saying she'd been on the job for 3 1/2 years.
Sanders took over as Trump’s second press secretary after Sean Spicer resigned in 2017. During her tenure, she lied or misrepresented facts several times, including one instance, she admitted — her claim that “countless” FBI agents applauded Trump’s decision to fire James Comey.
On Thursday, the Office of the Special Counsel publicly called for Donald Trump’s favorite spin woman to be fired, charging that Conway has repeatedly violated the Hatch Act by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates and others in her official capacity as an employee of the executive branch. The Hatch Act forbids White House employees — except the president and vice president — from engaging in campaign politics.
“If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in removal from her federal position by the Merit Systems Protections Board,” the Office of the Special Counsel (Henry Kerner, not Robert Mueller, who stepped down last month) wrote to President Trump. “Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions,” the letter continues. “Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law.”
Conway apparently responded to the special counsel’s accusations in May by dismissing them. “Blah, blah, blah,” Conway reportedly told the OSC. “If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work. Let me know when the jail sentence starts.”
President Donald Trump's administration continues to detain migrants at the southern border in conditions that one expert believes approximate concentration camps, but those that profit off of migrant detentions may find the spigot of government cash isn't a renewable resource.
A bill proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Thursday would strip private prisons of the ability to be considered real estate investment trusts (REITs). REITs allow for a special tax exemption that sees companies taxed at the individual rather than corporate level—or at the point of dividend payments for shareholders, but not at the point of profits for the companies.
In a statement, Wyden explained why he believed the move was necessary, citing the moral imperative of the moment.
"The private prison industry is booming, particularly with the Trump administration holding more immigrants in detention than any time over nearly the past 20 years," said Wyden. "Companies that profit off of putting children in cages shouldn't get tax breaks."
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Campaign Organizers Are Training Working-Class Progressives to Take on the Consultant Class
Lead organizers from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 campaign are taking on the consultant class with a new initiative to train the next generation of progressive organizers and staffers. Movement School, a 10-week professional development program launched by Organize for Justice, the sister organization of Justice Democrats, is teaching fellows how to work as campaign managers, communications directors, and field directors. The Campaign Fellows program is meant to create a pathway for young activists from working-class backgrounds to enter official campaign roles and to preserve the lessons grassroots campaigns have learned throughout the years by passing them down to future staffers — all while setting up an alternative political infrastructure that operates outside of the Democratic Party.
Ironically, the progressive movement’s work to build its own political infrastructure may have been inadvertently accelerated by a policy designed to suppress the party’s insurgent wing. In March, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced a new policy to blacklist any firms working for primary challengers, effectively protecting the party’s white, male incumbents in safe blue seats.
As a result of the DCCC blacklist, several consultants dropped the primary campaign of Marie Newman, the pro-abortion rights progressive who has launched a second challenge to Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the few anti-abortion Democrats in the House. Despite the blacklist, organizations like EMILY’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, have still rallied behind Newman’s challenge. A Movement School participant even went on to work for Newman after the trainings.
The defendants include Michigan’s former health director, Nick Lyon, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was accused of failing to alert the public in a timely manner about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that occurred in 2014 to 2015 when Flint was drawing improperly treated water from the Flint River. That led to residents’ water being tainted with lead.
The Michigan solicitor general, Fadwa Hammoud, who took control of the investigation in January after the election of a new attorney general, said “all available evidence was not pursued” by the previous team of prosecutors. “This week, we completed the transfer into our possession millions of documents and hundreds of new electronic devices, significantly expanding the scope of our investigation,” Hammoud and the Wayne county prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement. “Our team’s efforts have produced the most comprehensive body of evidence to date related to the Flint water crisis. We are now in the best possible position to find the answers the citizens of Flint deserve and hold all responsible parties accountable,” they said.
They said it’s possible that Lyon and others could be charged again. ...
Three years after the investigation began, no one is behind bars. Seven of 15 defendants have pleaded no contest to misdemeanors. Their records will eventually be scrubbed clean. Charges were pending against eight people, including the former Michigan chief medical executive Eden Wells and two men who were state-appointed emergency managers in Flint.
Imagine thinking that the health of our planet, the infrastructure for all of life, is a "special issue" that unfairly benefits one candidate over another. This exchange cuts to the heart of our crisis: humans *can* change human-made rules, we can't change the laws of nature. https://t.co/RzOyamehpA
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) June 13, 2019
New York Supreme Court Judge Barry Ostrager yesterday blocked three of Exxon’s four possible affirmative defenses against New York state’s lawsuit for alleged climate fraud. Then-New York state attorney general Barbara Underwood filed the suit under the state’s Martin Act last year (see complaint here), following a three-year investigation by her predecessor, Eric Schneiderman (who was forced to resign his office after several women accused him of physical abuse). Judge Ostrager’s ruling clears the way for current New York attorney general, Letitia James to take the company to trial in October. ...
As Bloomberg reports in Exxon’s Defense Against Climate Change Suit Narrowed by Judge:
Justice Barry Ostrager in Manhattan on Wednesday dismissed three lines of attack by Exxon, including its claim that former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman engaged in “official misconduct” when he started the investigation three years ago as part of an “activist agenda.”
Exxon’s only remaining so-called “affirmative defense” is that the attorney general’s office engaged in selective enforcement when it sued because the probe was brought in bad faith. Such defenses are used to undercut legal claims without addressing the merits of the case.
Judge Ostrager’s rejection of Exxon’s affirmative defenses allows the case to proceed, meaning Exxon now must produce documents in response to New York’s discovery requests, according to this Climate Liability News account, Judge Rejects Exxon Challenges to New York’s Climate Fraud Suit.
Many relevant documents may already have been disclosed, as the commonwealth of Massachusetts is separately pursuing its own climate change litigation. As Vox reported in January in The Supreme Court just declined to hear Exxon Mobil’s appeal in a climate change lawsuit:
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided last April that Exxon would have to start turning over internal documents about its knowledge about the impacts of fossil fuel combustion on the global climate. Exxon appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Massachusetts attorney general doesn’t have jurisdiction to compel the company to release documents.
By refusing to hear Exxon Mobil’s appeal, the United States Supreme Court left the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision standing, requiring the company to begin handing over documents.
A two-hour “dose” of nature a week significantly boosts health and wellbeing, research suggests, even if you simply sit and enjoy the peace.
The physical and mental health benefits of time spent in parks, woods or the beach are well known, but the new research is the first major study into how long is needed to produce the effect. If confirmed by future research, two hours in nature could join five a day of fruit and veg and 150 minutes of exercise a week as official health advice. ...
“What really amazed us was this was true for just about every group we could think of,” said Dr Mathew White, at the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the study. The benefits of a two-hour dose were the same for both young and old, wealthy and poor, and urban and rural people, he said. It also applied to those with long-term illnesses and disabilities, White said. “So getting out in nature seemed to be good for just about everybody. It doesn’t have to be physical exercise – it could be just sitting on a bench.”
The researchers were also surprised that it did not matter whether the two hours in nature were taken in one go or in a series of shorter visits, or whether people went to an urban park, woodlands or the beach.
The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, used data from a Natural England survey, the world’s largest study collecting data on people’s weekly contact with the natural world. It did not include time people spent in their gardens, as this was not measured. But White said half of people saw their gardens as representing more of a chore than a pleasure in any case. The data showed that two hours was the threshold for positive impacts: spending much more than that in natural environments did not appear to have any additional benefits.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Tower of Power - Credit
Tower Of Power - So Very Hard To Go
Tower of Power Horn section on David Letterman - Squib Cakes
Tower Of Power - Soul Vaccination
Tower Of Power - This Time It's Real
Santana w/ Tower Of Power - Knock Yourself Out
Tower of Power - Only So Much Oil In The Ground
Tower Of Power - East Bay Grease
Tower of Power - We came to play / Souled out
Tower Of Power - I Still Be Diggin' on James Brown
Tower Of Power - You Got To Funkifize
Tower Of Power - 1973