The Evening Blues - 6-25-21


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Jimmy Dawkins

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues guitarist Jimmy Dawkins. Enjoy!

Jimmy Dawkins - Dawkins' Mood

US politicians always have Twitter bios like “Father of Kelly, husband of Leanne (she’s the real boss!), VERY amateur shower singer,” instead of like, “Rapist of Syria, murderer of Yemeni kids, destroyer of your children’s future.”

-- Caitlin Johnstone

News and Opinion

U.S. may rethink Iran approach if no deal in foreseeable future

Washington may need to rethink its approach to Iran if the serious differences between the two countries on resuming compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal cannot be resolved "in the foreseeable future", a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

"We still have serious differences ... over the host of issues, whether it's the nuclear steps that Iran needs to take to come back into compliance, the sanctions relief that the U.S. would be offering or the sequence of steps that both sides would be taking," the official told reporters on a conference call.

"This process is not going to be open forever," the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We do have differences and if we can't bridge them in the foreseeable future, I think we are going to have to regroup and figure out how we ... move ahead."

The sixth round of indirect talks adjourned on Sunday, two days after hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian judiciary chief who is subject to U.S. sanctions, was elected president of the Islamic Republic. Raisi is due to take office in August.

Iranian Facility Targeted in Attack Was on List of Targets Israel Gave to US

Iran is downplaying a Wednesday attack that targeted a centrifuge production building in a small city outside of Tehran. Iranian officials say the attack was thwarted, while Israeli media is reporting damage was done.

When it comes to covert attacks inside Iran, Israel is the obvious suspect, although Israeli officials rarely take credit. According to The New York Times, the centrifuge facility, which was reportedly targeted by a small quadcopter drone, was on a list of targets Israel presented to the US back in 2020.

An unnamed intelligence official told the Times that in early 2020, Israel proposed attacking the building to former President Trump, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Gina Haspel, who was CIA chief at the time. Killing Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and attacking the Natanz nuclear facility were also on the list of proposed Israeli attacks, which both happened later in the year.

Afghan President Ghani Visits White House as His Government Nears Collapse

Biden vows to evacuate thousands of interpreters before Afghanistan pullout

Joe Biden has vowed that Afghans who helped the US military “are not going to be left behind” as his administration stepped up planning to evacuate thousands of Afghan interpreters while their applications for US entry are processed.

Planning has accelerated in recent days to relocate the Afghans and their families to other countries before the US military completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to officials.

The evacuation of the at-risk Afghans will include their family members for a total of as many as 50,000 people, a senior Republican lawmaker said.

“They’re going to come,” Biden said in an exchange with reporters after an event to highlight a bipartisan agreement reached on infrastructure legislation. “We’ve already begun the process. Those who helped us are not going to be left behind.”

The decision by Biden’s administration risks inflaming a sense of crisis in Afghanistan, just a day before Biden meets President Ashraf Ghani for talks in Washington aimed at projecting a sense of partnership despite the US military exit.

Major Trump Donor Owned Security Firm That Trained Khashoggi Killers

The firm that trained Jamal Khashoggi’s killers in the U.S. under a State Department license is owned by a private equity executive who has pumped over $3.2 million into pro-Trump groups since 2016. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Tier 1, a subsidiary of Cerberus Capital Management, had trained some of Khashoggi’s killers, members of an elite Saudi squad tasked with defending Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The training had begun under the Obama administration, and in fact was approved by the State Department, and it continued at least into President Donald Trump’s first year.

The Intercept reported last year on the connections between Khashoggi’s killers, Tier 1, and Trump. With new documentation provided by Louis Bremer, a senior executive at Cerberus and a former Trump nominee for a Pentagon special operations post, the Times’ Tuesday story confirmed Tier 1’s role in the recent training of four of the kill team’s seven members. Cerberus Capital Management CEO Stephen Feinberg’s donations to Trump in 2020 have received scant attention thus far, and prior coverage of Trump’s response to the killing and approach to U.S.-Saudi relations have not connected the two.

Feinberg donated $1.475 million in 2016 to Rebuilding America Now, a pro-Trump super PAC headed by then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott. At the tail end of the 2020 election, on November 2, Feinberg donated $1 million to America First Action, the main pro-Trump super PAC, and an additional $725,000 to the Trump Victory Fund. President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign received a little over $150,000 in donations from Cerberus employees, but that includes small-dollar donations from lower-level employees, and no Cerberus executives donated to pro-Biden super PACs.

Two years earlier, in May 2018, Trump had appointed Feinberg to lead the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, an obscure 65-year-old body of appointees who are not federal employees but nonetheless have access to state secrets. The Times reported in 2020 that an unnamed intelligence official said questions from the board would sometimes be “related to their business dealings,” implying that members would intertwine their personal financial interests with the public’s business. While Feinberg chaired the board, he was also reportedly friendly with Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law known for his close relationship with Salman.

After Khashoggi’s murder, Trump repeatedly raised doubts about Salman’s role in the assassination. ... Yet privately, Trump appeared to boast that he was able to intervene on Salman’s behalf. According to journalist Bob Woodward’s 2020 book “Rage,” Trump said of the crown prince: “I saved his ass. … I was able to get Congress to leave him alone.”

Former Saudi officials to be questioned about alleged links to 9/11 attackers

Former Saudi officials will be questioned about their alleged links to the 9/11 attacks in court depositions this month by lawyers acting for families of the victims, who view it as a breakthrough in efforts to prove a link between Riyadh and the hijackers. The families are seeking to prove that Saudi nationals helped support two of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, in southern California in the months leading up to the attacks – and that support was coordinated by a diplomat in the Saudi embassy in Washington.

The contents of this month’s depositions are being kept secret, but as the 20th anniversary of the attacks approaches, the families are mounting a renewed push to to make the US government remove the gag on evidence in the court case against Riyadh and release the results of an investigation, codenamed Operation Encore, into Saudi complicity in the attacks. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. ...

Brett Eagleson, who was 15 when his father, Bruce, was killed in New York’s Twin Towers, said the depositions represent a crucial moment in the families’ long legal case against the Saudi government, as he believes it will expose the inconsistencies in official Saudi accounts. “These depositions are a major part of the lawsuit, and it’s questions that our government never answered and our government never addressed with these individuals,” Eagleson told the Guardian.

“I think what’s most significant here is that the 19 hijackers came to the United States, with no knowledge of our culture, with no knowledge of English, with no money and no idea how to fly a plane,” Eagleson said. “It’s been told to me by former intelligence officials that, were it not for the Saudi support network that was in place and established here prior to 9/11, these individuals wouldn’t even know how to find the way out of the airport.”

Amnesty: ‘catalogue of violations’ by Israeli police against Palestinians

The latest flare-up of violence in the Gaza Strip has been accompanied by a “catalogue of violations” committed by Israeli police against Palestinians in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem, according to research from Amnesty International.

Arab citizens of Israel have been subjected to unlawful force from officers during peaceful demonstrations, sweeping mass arrests, torture and other ill-treatment in detention, and police have failed to protect Palestinians from premeditated attacks by rightwing Jewish extremists, the human rights watchdog said on Thursday. ...

Palestinians face a culture of increasing repression and violence from the Israeli authorities and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, said Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and north Africa. On Thursday protesters took to the streets of Ramallah over the death in custody of an outspoken political figure arrested by Palestinian security forces.

“There are always periods where the institutionalised structural violence and discrimination against Palestinians becomes severe, but this is the worst it has been in a long time. There is a complete disregard for civilian life,” Hijazi said.

Crisis Escalates in Ethiopia Amid War, Famine & Elections

House investigates possible shadow operation in Trump justice department

Top Democrats in the House are investigating whether Trump justice department officials ran an unlawful shadow operation to target political enemies of the former president to hunt down leaks of classified information, according to a source familiar with the matter. The House judiciary committee chairman, Jerry Nadler, is centering his investigation on the apparent violation of internal policies by the justice department, when it issued subpoenas against Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell in 2018.

The use of subpoenas to secretly seize data from the two Democrats on the House intelligence committee – and fierce critics of Donald Trump – would ordinarily require authorization from the highest levels of the justice department and notably, the attorney general. But with the former Trump attorneys general Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions denying any knowledge of the subpoenas, Democrats are focused on whether rogue officials abused the vast power of the federal government to target Trump’s perceived political opponents, the source said.

That kind of shadow operation – reminiscent of the shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that led to Trump’s first impeachment – would be significant because it could render the subpoenas unlawful, the source said. And if the subpoenas were issued without proper authorization from the attorney general level, it could also leave the officials involved in the effort open to prosecution for falsely operating with the imprimatur of law enforcement.

Biden reaches bipartisan infrastructure deal after meeting with senators

Joe Biden announced on Thursday that “we have a deal”, signaling a bipartisan agreement on a $953bn infrastructure plan that would achieve his top legislative priority and validate his efforts to reach across the political aisle.

Biden made a surprise appearance in front of the cameras with members of the group of senators, Republicans and Democrats, after an agreement was reached on Thursday. Details of the deal were scarce to start, but the pared-down plan, with $559bn in new spending, has rare bipartisan backing and could open the door to the president’s more sweeping $4tn proposals later on.

The president said not everyone got what they wanted and that other White House priorities would be done separately in a congressional budget process known as reconciliation. ...

The agreement comes with a complex legislative push. Pelosi on Thursday welcomed the bipartisan package, but she warned that it must be paired with the president’s bigger goals now being prepared by Congress under a separate so-called the budget reconciliation process. “This is important,” Pelosi said. “There ain’t going to be a bipartisan bill without a reconciliation bill.” The Democratic leader vowed the House would not vote on it until the Senate had dealt with both packages.

Progressives Alarmed by Privatization Dub Infrastructure Deal a 'Disaster in the Making'

After President Joe Biden and U.S. lawmakers on Thursday announced a bipartisan deal on infrastructure that Democrats say they will only support alongside a reconciliation bill, progressives doubled down on concerns about the compromise proposal's financing plans.

Rather than pushing for taxes targeting rich individuals and corporations, a White House fact sheet on the bipartisan package outlines various other potential financing sources, from unused unemployment insurance relief funds to reinstating Superfund fees for chemicals.

The proposal that has progressives alarmed is relying on "public-private partnerships, private activity bonds, direct pay bonds, and asset recycling for infrastructure investment."

Asset recycling involves the sale or lease of public assets to the private sector so the government can put that money toward new investments. The policy was previously encouraged by former U.S. President Donald Trump, despite lessons from Australia about its pitfalls.

As negotiations over the infrastructure deal dragged on last week, Rianna Eckel, an organizer with Food & Water Watch, cautioned that it could "facilitate a Wall Street takeover of public services like water." Mary Grant, the advocacy group's Public Water for All director, echoed that warning Thursday.

"This White House-approved infrastructure deal is a disaster in the making," Grant said in a statement. "It promotes privatization and so-called 'public-private partnerships' instead of making public investments in publicly owned infrastructure."

Grant noted that "communities across the country have been ripped off by public-private schemes that enrich corporations and Wall Street investors and leave the rest of us to pick up the tab."

One infamous example, as Common Dreams recently reported, is the privatization of Chicago's parking meters. Illinois drivers filed a class-action lawsuit on Thursday alleging that Chicago granted a private company "monopoly control over the city's parking meter system for an astonishing 75-year-long period, without regard for the changes in technology and innovations in transportation taking place now and for the rest of the century."

Grant charged that "privatization is nothing more than an outrageously expensive way to borrow funds, with the ultimate bill paid back by households and local businesses in the form of higher rates." She called the White House's decision to support the proposal "disappointing and outrageous." ...

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) agreed with Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that the bipartisan deal can only advance if a reconciliation bill on "human infrastructure" investments the president promised also passes.

"But the devil will be in the details—and how we fund this investment," Bowman added. "It can't be through privatizing our existing roads and bridges." ...

In a pair of tweets Thursday, American Prospect staff writer Alex Sammon pointed out that "the bipartisan infrastructure bill is almost entirely investments in fossil fuel infrastructure—expanding airports, freeways, ports—along with some privatization. It goes backwards on climate. So a part 2 reconciliation bill would have to override bill 1."

"Except you don't get a redo once your public infrastructure is privatized," Sammon added. "Herein lies the absurdity of the arrangement: in order to get good climate stuff passed, first we're going to make more robust the stuff that will make the climate crisis worse."

David Sirota: Elite Media IGNORES Gov't PROFITING Off Americans’ $27B Court Debt

Billionaire Peter Thiel amasses $5bn tax-free nest egg in retirement account

Billionaire Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal, has used a retirement account designed to help ordinary Americans save for their golden years to amass a $5bn tax-free nest egg, according to records obtained by ProPublica.

Thiel, a vocal opponent of higher taxes, is one of a number of ultra-rich Americans to use a Roth individual retirement account (IRA) to amass a tax-free fortune.

Roth IRAs were established in 1997 to encourage middle-class Americans to save, tax-free, for retirement. In 2018 the average Roth IRA held $39,108. The proceeds of a Roth IRA are tax-free as long as they are not withdrawn before the account holder reaches 59.5 years old.

Records obtained by ProPublica show that Thiel, 53, placed 1.7m shares of then-private PayPal into a Roth IRA in 1999. At the time annual contributions to the plans were capped at $2,000. The shares were valued at just $0.001 per share. Within a year, the value of Thiel’s Roth increased from $1,664 to $3.8m. Thiel then used his Roth to make highly lucrative investments in Facebook and Palantir Technologies, according to tax records and other documents obtained by ProPublica. By 2019, Thiel’s Roth held $5bn “spread across 96 subaccounts”.

Worth a full read:

US billionaires don’t pay tax, and our politicians don’t seem bothered

American billionaires don’t pay taxes, and American politicians are all but ready to send Seal Team Six to assassinate the nameless bureaucrat who let ProPublica in on this fact. Welcome to our political hellscape. This month, ProPublica revealed that American billionaires essentially do not pay taxes, and within hours the White House had awkwardly promised no fewer than four federal investigations into the identity of the individual who had alerted the news organization to this fact.

By Thursday, a North Carolina congressman was demanding the FBI director explain why he hadn’t made any arrests or at the very least, “executed any search warrants or raided any offices” in the international manhunt for the leaker. By the weekend, demands for justice on behalf of America’s parasite oligarchs had unified the Republican party like nothing since perhaps the phrase “public option” was a thing you heard on cable television. Politicians from Susan Collins to the author of the infamous North Carolina “bathroom bill” both grilled law enforcement officials testifying in their committees about the website’s “illegal” violations of mega-billionaire privacy. ...

Meanwhile, the Democrats hardly had a better response. The billionaire tax avoidance story warranted nary a mention on the Twitter feeds of the four founders of “the Squad” aside from a retweet from AOC. And so the only elected officials who seem to have read the story ProPublica president Richard Tofel had framed as “the most important story we have ever published” were the ones who calling for the feds to ransack the ProPublica offices.

But the worst part of the whole saga was the realization that ProPublica’s bombshell revelations would probably have more attention during the presidency of Donald Trump. ProPublica carefully chose the six billionaires whose tax returns it chose to single out for specific scrutiny, and several of them – Jeff Bezos, George Soros and Mike Bloomberg – are so loathed by conservatives it would have been impossible for a Trump-era Republican party to respect their constitutional right to dodge taxes. The scarce press coverage of the fact that billionaires have not only paid virtually no taxes, but that they have also added to their net worths in recent years, makes the four-year media obsession with former president Donald Trump’s tax returns feel like a partisan crusade that was never about a genuine commitment to ending billionaire tax avoidance, but just scoring points against Trump alone.

Amazon crushed the Alabama union drive – can the Teamsters do better

The announcement that the Teamsters – one of America’s most powerful unions – is going to mount an ambitious campaign to unionize Amazon warehouses across the US presents the e-retailing colossus with a far bigger threat than the recent effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Alabama ever did. In Alabama, Amazon’s fierce anti-union press crushed the organizing drive by a small union, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). And besides, Amazon had a significant home-field advantage in bright red Alabama. For Amazon, the Alabama face-off felt like a one-and-done win.

But the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with 1.3 million members, is a far larger, richer, stronger union, and has a century of experience mobilizing and unionizing warehouse workers. Not only that, the Teamsters will mount drives in many places where unions are popular and powerful and arguably have a home-court advantage – think California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and Washington state. In confronting the Teamsters, Amazon will no doubt feel it’s being plunged into a never-ending, head-to-head competition against an Olympic-caliber opponent.

It’s one thing for Amazon to deploy its crack team of anti-union lawyers and consultants to stomp out a union drive at a single warehouse center in Alabama, but it will be quite another thing for Amazon and its anti-union Swat team if the Teamsters mount union drives in 20 or 30 warehouses at once.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Teamsters union is undertaking a national drive against Amazon, the nation’s second largest private-sector employer. Amazon, Teamster officials say, is undermining wages and working conditions in warehousing and trucking, the Teamsters’ two main industries. No surprise that the Teamsters president, James P Hoffa, told his union’s convention on Tuesday that Amazon was “an existential threat to every Teamster out there”. ...

Labor experts say it makes sense for the Teamsters to target Amazon. “It’s good that the Teamsters are doing this,” said Stewart Acuff, former organizing director for the AFL-CIO, the nation’s main labor federation. “They’re perfectly placed to do this. They’re large, they have major resources, they are committed to organizing and spending the money that’s necessary. Most important, this is their core industry. They have all the interest in the world in battling Amazon. “They need to do this for their members,” Acuff added. “They also need to do this for their employers so their employers know the Teamsters are willing to spend money to wage war to maintain standards and not let Amazon undercut unionized transportation companies.”

Canada discovers 751 unmarked graves at former residential school

A First Nation in Canada’s Saskatchewan province is treating a now-defunct residential school as a “crime scene” following the discovery of 751 unmarked graves just weeks after a similar discovery in British Columbia prompted a fresh reckoning over the country’s colonial past.

Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation said that the graves were found on the site of the Marieval Indian residential school, also known as Grayson, after a search with ground-penetrating radar was launched on 2 June.

“This is not a mass grave site. These are unmarked graves,” said Delorme at a press conference on Thursday morning, adding that the discovery has “reopened the pain” that many suffered at the school. “The grave site is there. It is real.”

From the 19th century, more than 150,000 First Nations children were forced to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society. The children were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and thousands died from disease, neglect and suicide. ...

“We are seeing the results of the genocide that Canada committed – genocide on our treaty land,” said chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nation. “Canada will be known as a nation that tried to exterminate the First Nations. Now we have evidence.”

the horse race

Rudy Giuliani barred from practicing law in New York over election lies

Rudy Giuliani is suspended from practicing law in New York state following disciplinary proceedings over his misleading statements to courts and the public following the 2020 US presidential election.

The New York supreme court issued its decision on Thursday, saying that it had found “uncontroverted evidence” that Giuliani made “demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large”, on behalf of his client, then-president Donald Trump, and created a “narrative that due to widespread voter fraud, victory in the 2020 United States presidential election was stolen from his client”. ...

The five-justice appellate division said Giuliani’s conduct threatened the public interest and warranted an interim suspension. The seriousness of the misconduct, the court said in a 33-page decision, “can not be overstated”.

the evening greens

'Horrible and Unconscionable Betrayal': Biden DOJ Backs Trump Line 3 Approval

Indigenous and environmental activists fighting against the Line 3 tar sands pipeline were outraged Thursday after the Biden administration filed a legal brief backing the federal government's 2020 approval of the project under former President Donald Trump.

Critics of the project—which Canadian energy giant Enbridge has undertaken to replace an aging oil pipeline—blasted the U.S. Department of Justice's late Wednesday filing (pdf) as a betrayal of President Joe Biden's pledges to address the climate emergency and respect tribal rights.

"A White House that is serious about protecting communities needs to start by listening to communities when they say they don't want an oil pipeline threatening their water and land," said Janet Redman, Greenpeace USA climate campaign director. "Backing Enbridge's Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline is a massive failure for a president that campaigned on tackling the climate crisis. And it's a betrayal of what he promised the American people."

Benjamin Goloff, a campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, accused Biden of "siding with a handful of corrupt corporate elites over honoring treaty rights, climate, water, and the future of life on Earth."

"This is a racist pipeline project forced down the throats of our people, an ecological time bomb and a giveaway to a Canadian multinational oil interest," said Winona LaDuke, executive director of the Indigenous environmental group Honor the Earth, in a statement Thursday.

"If the president is genuine in his pledge to take climate justice and tribal rights seriously, his administration must stop defending the Trump administration's decision and undertake a genuine analysis of Line 3's environmental and human impacts," she asserted.

The route of Enbridge's new, larger pipeline crosses Anishinaabe treaty lands. Native American and climate groups have challenged it with actions on the ground—which have sometimes halted construction—and lawsuits at the state and federal level.

The Biden DOJ's brief is for a case filed in the federal district court in Washington, D.C. by Earthjustice on behalf of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, Honor the Earth, and the Sierra Club.

Those groups challenged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' November 2020 decision to grant a key water permit and permission for specific work related to Line 3. They argue that the corps violated several federal laws—the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Water Act (CWA), the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA), and Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

The DOJ brief claims that the federal government met its legal obligations for the review and approval process through various actions, which included analyzing alternatives and preparing environmental assessments that considered "the impacts from the corps' authorizations, including to wetlands, the climate, low-income and minority populations, tribal rights to hunt, fish, and gather, and all of the issues to which plaintiffs draw special attention."

The brief notes that the corps considered a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement prepared by Minnesota state authorities, and incorporated "important protections for wetlands, wild rice, and cultural resources as enforceable conditions of the permit and permission."

Since even before taking office in January, Biden has faced pressure to reverse the polluter-friendly policies of his predecessor—including by directing the corps to reconsider its approval of Line 3, fully accounting for its impacts on the global climate and tribal resources.

"We are extremely disappointed that the Biden administration continues the Trump administration's policy of ignoring tribal, environmental justice, and climate concerns in favor of fossil fuel industry profits," Earthjustice attorney Moneen Nasmith said Thursday.

Mystery illness strikes down birds across US south and midwest

A mysterious illness is killing birds across several states in the south and midwestern US, and wildlife scientists are rushing to try to find the cause, with many victims suffering from crusty eyes, swollen faces and the inability to fly.

Wildlife managers in Washington, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia first began receiving reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs in late May, according to a statement from the US Geological Survey, which added: “No definitive cause of death is identified at this time.”

In Kentucky, the department of fish and wildlife resources is asking the public to report encounters with sick and dead birds through a new online reporting system. They say the species affected thus far have included blue jays, common grackles and European starlings, but other species may also be affected. More than 20 samples have been sent out for testing.

In Ohio, the Ohio Wildlife Center posted on Facebook that it has been admitting songbirds with eye issues and is working with authorities to help determine what might be causing local birds to become sick. Indiana wildlife officials said they tested the birds for avian influenza and west Nile virus, and the samples came back negative.

According to the USGS, birds congregating at feeders and baths can transmit disease to one another. They recommend that people cease feeding birds until this mortality event has concluded, clean feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution, and avoid handling birds.

‘The water is coming’: Florida Keys faces stark reality as seas rise

Long famed for its spectacular fishing, sprawling coral reefs and literary residents such as Ernest Hemingway, the Florida Keys is now acknowledging a previously unthinkable reality: it faces being overwhelmed by the rising seas and not every home can be saved.

Following a grueling seven-hour public meeting on Monday, held in the appropriately named city of Marathon, officials agreed to push ahead with a plan to elevate streets throughout the Keys to keep them from perpetual flooding, while admitting they do not have the money to do so.

The string of coral cay islands that unspool from the southern tip of Florida finds itself on the frontline of the climate crisis, forcing unenviable choices upon a place that styles itself as sunshine-drenched idyll. The lives of Keys residents – a mixture of wealthy, older white people, the one in four who are Hispanic or Latino, and those struggling in poverty – face being upended.

If the funding isn’t found, the Keys will become one of the first places in the US – and certainly not the last – to inform residents that certain areas will have to be surrendered to the oncoming tides.

“The water is coming and we can’t stop it,” said Michelle Coldiron, mayor of Monroe county, which encompasses the Keys. “Some homes will have to be elevated, some will have to be bought out. It’s very difficult to have these conversations with homeowners, because this is where they live. It can get very emotional.”

‘Less water means more gas’: how drought will test California’s stressed power grid

Earlier this month, the water level in Lake Oroville – California’s second-largest reservoir – was so low that dozens of houseboats were hauled out. There wasn’t enough water to hold them. In a few weeks, officials say, the lake’s water levels are likely to dip even lower – forcing them to shut down one of the state’s largest hydroelectric power plants for the first time since it was built in 1967.

Amid a historic megadrought, the climate crisis and energy crisis in California are about to collide, and set off a vicious cycle. The state’s diminishing water supply is cutting down hydropower, and California is relying more on fossil fuels as extreme summer heat drives up electricity use.

“This situation really highlights the ways in which climate and energy and water are all very tightly linked,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist at Stanford University. With meteorologists anticipating a hot, fiery summer, experts say that cuts to hydropower will increase pressure on the state’s already-stressed power grid, as residents across the region crank up their air conditioners. And as drought desiccates the west, the state’s increasing reliance on gas-fired plants could also compromise its goal of transitioning to carbon-free electricity. ...

“California isn’t completely dependent on hydropower,” explained Stephanie Pincetl, the founding director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA. “But less water and less hydropower does mean more natural gas or coal.” That’s because gas-fired power plants are still the easiest, most reliable way to add electricity to the grid. Although the state has been ramping up its renewable energy production, especially from solar and wind power, it lacks the infrastructure to store energy from these sources for long enough to reliably keep residents’ power running through the hottest months.

Also of Interest

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

The Thin Blue Lies Behind Crime Wave Hype

Ilhan Omar and “Moral Equivalence,” a Term of Propaganda Invented in the 1980s

Why Corporate Democrats Are Desperately Trying to Keep Nina Turner Out of Congress

The Right And Wrong Lessons From Afghanistan: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Russia Says British Destroyer’s Action a Provocation, Violation of International Law

Can The Fate Of Dolphins and Louisiana’s Fishing Industry Stop A $50 Billion Mississippi River Diversion Plan?

Yes, Virginia, Permafrost IS Going To Release Carbon and Methane

Dinosaurs lived in the Arctic, research suggests

Democracy Now: Meet the Father Who Tricked Ex-NRA Head into Addressing 3,044 Empty Chairs for Gun Violence Victims

France, Germany drop plans for Russia summit after EU outcry

Snowden: 'Assange could be next' after McAfee's death

Jimmy Dore: Cenk Uygur's Lies & Smears OBLITERATED by Aaron Maté On Rising!

Rising: Employees WALK OUT ON "Dead-End" Jobs As U.S. REEVALUATES Work-Life Balance

A Little Night Music

Jimmy Dawkins - Triple Trebles

Queen Sylvia & Jimmy Dawkins - Midnight Baby

Jimmy Dawkins - Cold As Hell

Jimmy Dawkins - It Serves Me Right To Suffer

Jimmy Dawkins - Hard Life Blues

Jimmy Dawkins - Dollar Head Woman

Jimmy Dawkins - Chitlins con Carne

Jimmy Dawkins - Woodland

Jimmy Dawkins & Hip Linkchain - Boogie Chillun

Jimmy Dawkins - You Don't Love Me

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joe shikspack's picture


wow, msdnc has gone full warmonger and proud of it. i suspect that the democrat party fully approves.

9 users have voted.

@joe shikspack is regressing (prior to 1966 is was the pro-war party), the Bull Moose Party is looking good.

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Afghan army collapsing

The Taliban are advancing at lightning speed across Afghanistan as U.S. troops withdraw. They now control a third of the country, are fighting for control of 42 percent more — and may even be slowing their advance on purpose.

A Taliban commander in Ghazni province told NBC News that he and fellow fighters were surprised at the speed of their advance and had avoided capturing some targets so as not to run afoul of the U.S.

According to Afghan media reports, eyewitness accounts and statements from local Afghan officials, the Taliban are advancing in rural areas and near Kabul. They now hold almost twice as much of Afghanistan as they did just two months ago, raising fresh doubts about whether the Afghan government can survive once U.S. forces depart by Sept. 11.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


caitlin had a good comment:

The correct lesson from Afghanistan instantly beginning to revert back to Taliban control the moment the western occupation ends is not that the occupation needs to continue, it’s that it should never have happened in the first place.

“Oh no, bad things are happening because we’re leaving!” No, bad things are happening because you went in. You spent two decades hammering that poor nation with bombs and war crimes, and now they’re just going right back to where they were before you inflicted that upon them. Everything that’s happening in Afghanistan today is the fault of the invaders.

The argument that the occupation has been a boon for human rights is just plain false, and is premised on the idea that the western empire should invade every nation with illiberal cultural values and force it to change at gunpoint. Even if that ridiculous premise were accepted, it has been clearly established that such a thing is impossible.

How fucking obnoxious is it that westerners are now wringing their hands over the fact that when they stop forcing Afghanistan to be a certain way at gunpoint, the fate of Afghanistan starts being determined by Afghans?

17 users have voted.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison on Friday afternoon for the murder of George Floyd last May.

Handed down by Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill, the sentence was greater than what legal experts predicted.

“Determining the appropriate sentence in any case and in this case is a legal analysis. It's applying the rule of law to the facts of an individual and specific case,” Cahill said from the Hennepin County courthouse just after 2:30 p.m. “This sentence is not based on emotion or sympathy. At the same time I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family.”
The increased sentence comes after the judge in May agreed with prosecutors that there were aggravating factors when Chauvin fatally knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes that warranted a departure from the presumptive sentence length.

Cahill, in his earlier ruling, concluded that Chauvin abused his “position of trust and authority” as a police officer and displayed “particular cruelty” when he knelt on Floyd’s neck during his arrest, an action that rendered Floyd unresponsive.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


not long enough. imagine how long the sentence would be if the situation were reversed and a black man had slowly tortured a cop to death.

9 users have voted.

@humphrey federal crimes. Chauvin was charged and convicted under MN statutes.

9 users have voted.


The pandemic has caused millions of Americans — including many younger Republicans — to re-evaluate their political and economic worldview. That's likely because of two factors: a renewed focus on deep societal inequalities and the tangible upsides of unprecedented levels of government intervention.

"The pandemic is sure to have lasting impact for decades to come," said Jon Cohen, the chief research officer for Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey).

The intrigue: Shifts are happening on the right as well as the left, at least among those under 35.

Just 66% of Republicans and GOP-leaners ages 18-34 have a positive view of capitalism, down from 81% in January 2019, when we first polled on these questions.
56% of younger Republicans say the government should pursue policies that reduce the wealth gap, up from just 40% two years ago.

By the numbers: In 2019, 58% of Americans ages 18-34 reacted positively to the word capitalism. That's plunged to 49% today.

Back then, 39% of all U.S. adults viewed socialism positively. That has since ticked up to 41%.
Socialism has positive connotations for 60% of Black Americans, 45% of American women and 33% of non-white Republicans. Those numbers have grown over the past two years from 53%, 41% and 27%, respectively.

Only 48% of American women view capitalism in a positive light, down from 51% two years ago.
Today, 18-34 year-olds are almost evenly split between those who view capitalism positively and those who view it negatively (49% vs. 46%). Two years ago, that margin was a gaping 20 points (58% vs. 38%).

12 users have voted.

It is hard to believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


3 million doses for a country whose population is more than 200 million. enough for a little over 1% of the population.

12 users have voted.

15 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

Sadly, the tax leaker, should they work for Treasury, or maybe even if they're just an outsider, violated a shitload of Privacy Act provisions enacted to keep all tax return information other than unidentifiable bulk raw data like average AGI and such serious crimes with both civil and criminal penalties which also expose the leaker to civil lawsuits by the "victims". It is very important to TPTB that all return innformation if very very top sekret. I wish the guy good luck.

EDIT: Also, possible jurisdiction issue, Treasury has its own "Inspection" service to pursue such matters, the Feebs might not be allowed to play. Tsk Tsk.

Have a great weekend.

be well and have a good one

12 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

yeah, i hope that whoever purloined the documents and passed them on has already found himself a hidey-hole in a state that has no extradition arrangements with the u.s. or interest in ingratiating themselves to the empire.

i would imagine that when they find the person who did it, they are going to make an example of them.

have a great weekend!

13 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@joe shikspack

10 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@joe shikspack enough not to leave any fingerprints. As far as can be known, the DNC file leaker was smart enough.

11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, it's friday. here's to a better class of leakers!

have a great weekend!

14 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

I got nothing to add tonight, just stopped in to say thanks again for doing the EB.
I read even when I don't comment. Thanks for keeping it going all these years and ...
[video: width:400 height:240]

12 users have voted.

We wanted decent healthcare, a living wage and free college.
The Democrats gave us Biden and war instead.

joe shikspack's picture


heh, thanks for reading all these years!

have a great weekend!

7 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Great Chicago blues Joe! Love that sound. This guy is a very good player, wish I could do that like that. Anyone that even thinks of Chitlins con Carne is alright by me! Wink

The great bi-partisan infra deal is an eighth of what is needed, maybe. How bold.

There has been a bipartisan deal reached on full spectrum domination, a .03 cent/ per hour increase in the minimum wage, Zuckerberg, Google, Dorsey, Bezos and Thiel deciding what you should see or know, and doing nothing about it being in the hundred and teens in Portland, OR, and Siberia, except OKing a new tar sands pipeline, more military gear for the cops, and keeping Assange and Donzinger under lock and key. Great bi-partisan work.

It is broiling here in So.Cent. TX, 94F daily, heat index a hun or more, skeeters, but no chiggers where I am this year. You can reach me in the river.

Have a good weekend Joe, and all!

Thanks for the news, I know you don't make it. Wink

12 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture


yep, dawkins is a real solid, meat and potatoes chicago blues guitarist. sadly, he never became a household name for whatever reason.

heh, and some fools think that bipartisan is a selling point.

stay as cool as you can, i hope that the weather breaks down there soon.

have a great weekend!

6 users have voted.

Great music, interesting and informative news round up, as is your way. You make it look easy, dude.
I am in an old, mom and pop motel in Hico Texas. The normally lovely and relaxing 4 hr drive was a 5 1/2 hour drive, due to a stalled 18-wheeler blocking a lane on the interstate, then 15 miles of stop and roll slowly on said interstate as a crew repaired a pothole on a bridge, then getting behind an oversized load on a 2 lane country road for 45 miles. No chance to pass it.
But, I am here, ready to shop at antique stores, and visit the Billy the Kid Museum tomorrow.
If it gets too hot or too crowded, we can take drives through the foothills of Texas Hill Country, call it all good.
Take care, stay cool!

11 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

heh, a few weeks ago i took a drive up through some back country roads in pennsylvania and got stuck behind a slow moving manure spreader for a few miles. he didn't have to worry about me tailgating him. Smile

have a great weekend!

9 users have voted.

What a fool I was.

13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


yeah, i once considered voting for that corrupt idiot. now i only vote for people unlikely to win. Smile

13 users have voted.
mimi's picture

for the mass child graves found in the First Nation in Canada’s Saskatchewan province.

It is treating a now-defunct residential school as a “crime scene” following the discovery of 751 unmarked graves just weeks after a similar discovery in British Columbia prompted a fresh reckoning over the country’s colonial past.

As for the pipelines. I still wear my T-shirt "Stop Keystone XL Pipeline, Tarsand Action, from August 2011". It's my daily working outfit in the garden Although I get confused now with all those pipelines in the world. So, why not stuff those pipelines with all those filthy rich folks, who profit from them? May they drown in their beloved oil and gas.

Have a good weekend and be well. My motto is that everything has an end. When I say that, my sister answers that only the sausages have two ends. So I ask, now do we have sausage life or not? Waiting for the other end (new times).

BTW our birds are also pretty sickly too often. We always wonder what that is. Hanging feathers and too weak. Even broken feet. But we have a real cuckoo and his calls are a real treat and pretty rare. One of our owls died. That's life. Too many dying around us in my neighborhood.

Stay alive !!!
Thanks for all you do.

6 users have voted.