The Evening Blues - 7-6-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features delta blues singer Tommy McClennan. Enjoy!
Tommy McClennan - Baby, Don't You Want To Go
"While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover."
-- Herbert Hoover
News and Opinion
This is an interesting article. I'm posting some excerpts to get you started, but the meat of the article is at the link:
An election looms. An unpopular president wrestles with historic unemployment rates. Demonstrations erupt in hundreds of locations. The president deploys Army units to suppress peaceful protests in the nation’s capital. And most of all he worries about an affable Democratic candidate who is running against him without saying much about a platform or plans.
Welcome to 1932. ...
The parallels between the summer of 1932 and what is happening in the U.S. currently are striking. While the pandemic and much else is different, the political dynamics are similar enough that they are useful for anyone trying to understand where the U.S. is and where it is going.
In 1932, as in 2020, the nation experienced an explosion of civil unrest on the eve of a presidential election.
The Great Depression had deepened through three years by 1932. With 24% of the work force unemployed and the federal government refusing to provide funds to support the jobless and homeless as local governments ran out of money, men and women across the country joined demonstrations demanding relief. ...
African Americans participated in these movements, and many of the protests attracted police violence. Indeed, the unemployed people’s movement of the early 1930s was the first important multiracial street protest movement of the 20th century, and police violence was especially vicious against black activists. ...
But race was not the key issue of the 1932 protest wave. It was government’s failure to rescue the millions in economic distress.
Donald Trump celebrated America’s Independence Day weekend by stoking divisions over a perceived culture war and dismissing the two most immediate threats to his presidency: a massive resurgence of coronavirus cases and a growing racial justice movement seeking an end to police violence across the nation.
In speeches at historically symbolic venues to mark the 244th birthday of the United States, the president condemned the “Marxists, anarchists, agitators and looters” he insists want to “tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children [and] trample on our freedoms”.
“Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America,” Trump told supporters at Mount Rushmore, the national monument in South Dakota where the giant faces of four revered presidents are carved into the rock.
He repeated the claim at a Fourth of July appearance at the White House, adding that he believed the Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected 2.8 million Americans and killed almost 130,000, is “99% harmless”.
On Sunday, Trump spent what was by one count the 366th day of his presidency at one of his own private properties, and the 274th playing golf. But away from the greens his messaging echoed the discordant rhetoric of his 2017 inaugural address, in which he spoke of “American carnage” and a nation riven by destruction and decay.
With the US setting daily records for new COVID-19 infections, President Donald Trump held a mass pre-Fourth of July event at Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota Friday night. Trump spoke to a crowd of thousands, who were encouraged not to wear masks or socially distance. In his speech, Trump sought to take advantage of attacks on monuments to leaders of the American Revolution and Civil War spearheaded by promoters of racial politics linked to the Democratic Party. He sought to wrap his fascistic and racist politics in the mantle of the Declaration of Independence and the Second American Revolution led by Lincoln, as well as the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
The president who has ripped up the Bill of Rights, trampled on the right to asylum, jailed thousands of immigrants, including children, in concentration camps, and praised neo-Nazi terrorists as “very fine people” presented himself as the defender of the principle proclaimed in the Declaration that “All men are created equal.” He branded the protest movement against police killings as a “far-left fascist” campaign “to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.” To shouts from the audience of “USA! USA!” he continued: “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violence crime in our cities… This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.”
He then praised “our courageous men and women of law enforcement,” hailed his border wall with Mexico, touted “our great Second Amendment which gives us the right to keep and bear arms,” and boasted of his executive order to “protect our monuments, arrest the rioters and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent to the law.”
In advance of the event, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem appeared on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” and said: “We’re asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country. But we won’t be social distancing.” This criminally reckless action—virtually certain to result in a new eruption of infections and deaths—was carried out in defiance of members of Trump’s coronavirus task force, who had warned three days earlier against congregating in large groups and stressed the critical importance of wearing a mask in public. ... The Mount Rushmore event, replete with fireworks, was the prelude to a far bigger White House-sponsored Fourth of July celebration set for today in the nation’s capital.
With these actions, Trump is signaling the determination of the government and the ruling class to press ahead with their back-to-work drive, however many thousands, and perhaps millions, of lives of working people are lost due to infection in factories, warehouses, transit centers and other workplaces where employees have no real protection from the deadly virus.
A Chinese state-controlled newspaper has blamed the Trump administration's mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic to cause the spread of the virus to go "completely out of control." ...
In a Friday, July 3, 2020, editorial titled, "Rampant US epidemic to hurt the world" China's Global Times wrote:
The US set another record for novel coronavirus cases on Thursday. Reuters reported that the country confirmed more than 55,000 new COVID-19 cases that day, which is "a new daily global record" for the pandemic.
Earlier this week, US epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the US may soon see as many as 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day if the current trajectory of the outbreak is not changed.
Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner for the US Food and Drug Administration, even suggested the true number of US daily infections is between 400,000 and 500,000, though there is not enough testing to find them all.
The current epidemic in the US is completely out of control. However, the US federal government still insists that the rapid increase in infection figures is due to more testing. Data released by the US Labor Department on Thursday showed the country added 4.8 million jobs in June. The White House soon boasted about its economic achievements. But people doubt whether the US government is making utmost efforts to rein in the virus and save more American lives.
Lies are dominating US society's recognition of the epidemic. Political parties have put their interests in campaigning in the first place, which has distorted the society's attention and allocation of resources. The US fight against the virus is paralyzed. There is no national strategy to alleviate the epidemic. Political calculations have stunted the battle against COVID-19.
Americans are not willing to temporarily sacrifice their freedom for the fight against the virus. The federal government has not corrected the attitude. Worse, it used the sentiment to promote the resumption of economic activities in a risky manner. It is making ordinary people responsible for the out-of-control epidemic.
With a population of 21 million, Florida announced 10,109 new covid cases today.
With a combined population of 2.6 billion, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, and the European Union are averaging 6,760 new cases. pic.twitter.com/B5zHka3oNn
— Matt O'Brien (@ObsoleteDogma) July 2, 2020
The race to develop the first widely distributed coronavirus vaccine might be the most hotly pursued scientific frontier since the space race. At least 147 potential COVID-19 vaccines are currently in development, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The people and entities looking to fund a vaccine include world governments, such as the United States and its Operation Warp Speed plan; pharmaceutical firms, big and small; and even wealthy philanthropists like Bill Gates and Dolly Parton. So far, at least 17 have created potential vaccines that have reached human trials.
President Donald Trump and his new vaccine czar, Moncef Slaoui, have said that a vaccine could be ready for widespread distribution by the end of the year. But most public health experts have predicted a less optimistic timeline. Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, the director of research at the French National Institute of Health and Research (INSERM) and a former top WHO official, told VICE News that mid-2021 is more realistic to expect the hundreds of millions of doses that would need to be available for herd protection.
The WHO has even warned that the virus may never go away entirely.
“Although it is absolutely possible that a vaccine against COVID-19 can be developed, it is not impossible that the virus will continue to circulate and that we might need to be regularly immunized, like against flu,” Kieny said. “For the moment, all of this is hypothetical.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir for patients in hospital with Covid-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.
The setback came as WHO also reported more than 200,000 new cases globally of the disease for the first time in a single day. The US accounted for 53,213 of the total 212,326 new cases recorded on Friday, the WHO said.
“These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised Covid-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect,” the WHO said in a statement, referring to large multicountry trials that the agency is leading.
The UN agency said the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee, does not affect other studies where those drugs are used for patients not in hospital or as a prophylaxis.
Another branch of the WHO-led trial is looking at the potential effect of Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir on Covid-19. The European Commission on Friday gave remdesivir conditional approval for use after it was shown to shorten hospital recovery times.
— Jeff Pierce (@JPierceMpls) July 2, 2020
Katie Porter Demands Resignation of Trump Small Business Chief for Enabling 'Abuse' of Covid-19 Relief Funds
California Congresswoman Katie Porter is demanding the resignation of the Trump administration's small business chief for enabling "abuse" and "waste" of coronavirus relief funds and refusing to comply with basic government oversight efforts.
Porter's call came after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report last week that it "encountered the most difficulty trying to obtain information from the Small Business Administration (SBA)" during the process of examining the Trump administration's handling of the $650 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The GAO also said SBA's attempts to speed up the loan application process left the sprawling small business relief program "more susceptible to fraudulent applications."
"Because of the number of loans approved, the speed with which they were processed, and the limited safeguards, there is a significant risk that some fraudulent or inflated applications were approved," the GAO said. "In addition, the lack of clear guidance has increased the likelihood that borrowers may misuse loan proceeds or be surprised they do not qualify for full loan forgiveness."
In an interview on MSNBC Thursday, Porter argued the GAO's findings demonstrate that SBA administrator Jovita Carranza is "unfit to continue in that role."
"The PPP program, that $650 billion, this is one of the biggest government programs in our country's history, and she is fighting with the nonpartisan GAO on basic data that lets them do their job of transparency and accountability," said the California Democrat. "That is the wrong mindset for somebody whose title is administrator."
In a series of tweets last week, Porter warned that the SBA "has essentially no plans to review 99% of PPP loans."
"According to the [GAO] report, small businesses that didn't need the money returned at least 3,800 loans," Porter wrote. "How are you going to know if the other 4,576,388 loans are legitimate? Any answers, [Treasury Secretary] Steve Mnuchin or Jovita Carranza?"
"Carranza has mismanaged this program from start to end, refused to comply with lawful oversight, and enabled waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars," said Porter. "She should take responsibility and resign."
RussiaGate stories follow a predictable pattern:
1. Explosive allegation
2. Media goes nuts
3. Evidence disproves or at best weakly supports allegation which is much less damning than sold
4. Media moves on to next explosive allegation without apology https://t.co/zqnBQUVHwf
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) July 3, 2020
Opposing the current president is a worthy goal for anyone who wants a better world. But if that opposition is based on TV ratings and ad sales, then it is just as morally bankrupt as the president himself.
John Bolton’s new book, The Room Where It Happened, has earned him enormous amounts of free publicity for antagonizing the president. In their zeal to once again expose Trump as an all-around bad man, corporate media have elevated someone who should be condemned by a civilized society. ...
Last week Bolton had some of his highest visibility ever, with interviews all across the media. ABC News (6/21/20) had a much-hyped special, while USA Today (6/26/20) offered a similar interview. Several political cartoons have depicted Bolton as a significant challenge to Trump’s administration.
Late-night television personalities touted Bolton’s book. Bolton even appeared on CBS’s Late Show (6/23/20) with Stephen Colbert; the two ended up sharing laughs, much like Colbert had earlier rehabilitated Trump press secretary Sean Spicer (FAIR.org, 9/19/17). Mother Jones (6/24/20) called this interview “The Interview John Bolton Really Deserves,” because Colbert took the bold step of calling him “naive” for believing that Trump would follow the rules.
Bolton’s main contribution to the national discourse is exemplified by what he said to George Stephanopolos on ABC‘s Good Morning America (6/22/20):
[Trump’s] policymaking is so incoherent, so unfocused, so unstructured, so wrapped around his own personal political fortunes, that mistakes are being made that will have grave consequences for the national security of the United States.
Giving Bolton a platform to express his disdain for Trump also allows him to turn a realistic critique of Trump foreign policy on its head: Rather than being too violent and militaristic, the problem is that Trump is “incoherent” and “unfocused” in his violence and militarism.
Bolton also made appearances on the two main Sunday talk shows. Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press (6/28/20) asked Bolton whether or not Trump “is afraid to make Putin mad, because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn’t want to make him mad for 2020?”
Bolton’s name is reaching peak levels of interest, according to Google Trends, and his book even made it to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list. The book follows in a long line of anti-Trump insider White House accounts; Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, Bod Woodward’s Fear and Omarosa Manigault Newman’s Unhinged each hit the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list.
In our pop culture world, Bolton, like many prominent public policymakers, is most importantly a celebrity. Sure, he may have had a troubled past, but that is a distant backstory to this current season. Regardless of his past disregard for human life, he is a new man, and has ridden the media wave into the halls of the anti-Trump #resistance.
Bolton’s ideas are dangerous to America and the rest of the world. Was rehabilitating the public image of a warmonger and elevating his voice really worth telling us, for the thousandth time, that Donald Trump runs the White House like a selfish child?
FAIR discovers fnords at the U.S. News and World Report:
In order to eliminate the nuclear threats from the US, the DPRK government has made all possible efforts, either through dialogue or in resort to the international law, but all ended in a vain effort…. The only option left was to counter nuke with nuke.
Does this statement made by the North Korean government sound like a threat to launch a nuclear strike on the US?
When one reads this brief snippet taken from a 5,500 word report carefully, it’s obvious that this is not a threat to launch a nuclear strike, but an explanation of the rationale behind North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
It’s hard to interpret “counter[ing] nuke with nuke” as a declaration of an intent to launch a nuclear strike, considering that the US hasn’t nuked North Korea yet—and because the country would not be around to launch such a response if the US had followed through on previous threats to nuke North Korea. The use of the past tense informs us that this is not an announcement of a future action, but of an action already taken by North Korea. Since we’re all still here, this means that North Korea has not decided to nuke us.
Yet, US News & World Report (6/26/20) presents this statement as a threat to launch an imminent nuclear strike on the US, running an alarmist report under the headline:
North Korea Threatens US: Nuclear Attack ‘the Only Option Left’
In case it isn’t clear that US News & World Report is misinforming readers with a ridiculous interpretation, the very next sentences in North Korea’s report should clarify that countering “nuke with nuke” means obtaining a nuclear deterrent:
In the long run, the US compelled us to possess nuke[s].
This brought to an end the nuclear imbalance in Northeast Asia, where only the DPRK has been left without nukes while all other countries have been equipped with nuclear weapons or nuclear umbrella.
Unlike the US, North Korea committed to a no-first-use pledge on May 7, 2016 (CounterPunch, 5/16/20). Had US News & World Report‘s Paul Shinkman included this crucial tidbit of North Korea promising to use nuclear weapons only for defensive purposes in its article, the added context would have made it especially clear that North Korea was not threatening a nuclear attack, and would have done a great deal to calm unnecessary fears and avoid unnecessary tensions.
"Are they supposed to stab protesters?"
That was Rep. Ted Lieu's (D-Calif.) response Thursday to a letter by the highest-ranking military officer in the United States confirming that bayonets were issued to some of the troops deployed to the nation's capital last month as part of the Trump administration's effort to crack down on demonstrators protesting the police killing of George Floyd.
Faced with questions from Lieu and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley admitted that members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment were given bayonets for their June 2 deployment to Washington, D.C.
The solidiers were told that the weapons could not enter the capital "without clear orders and only after nonlethal options were first reviewed," according to the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of Milley's letter.
Krishnamoorthi and Lieu thanked Milley for his response but voiced concern over the general's refusal to commit to banning the potentially deadly practice in the future.
"It is difficult for us to imagine a circumstance which could necessitate or justify the deployment of bayonets against American civilians," the Democratic lawmakers said in a statement.
One person died and one remained in serious condition after a car drove into protesters on a freeway in Seattle. Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle, died on Saturday evening at Harborview Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. Taylor and Diaz Love, 32, of Portland, Oregon, were hit by the car that barreled through a panicked crowd of protesters on Interstate 5 at around 1.40am on Saturday, officials said. Love was in serious condition in the intensive care unit, Harborview, Gregg said.
Dawit Kelete of Seattle drove the car around vehicles that were blocking I-5 and sped into the crowd about 1.40am, according to a police report. Video taken at the scene by protesters showed people shouting “Car! Car!” before fleeing the roadway. Love was filming the protest in a nearly two-hour-long Facebook livestream captioned “Black Femme March takes I-5” when the video ended abruptly. With about 15 seconds left, shouts of “Car!” can be heard as the camera starts to shake before screeching tires and the sound of impact are heard. ...
The driver, who was alone, fled the scene, Trooper Chase Van Cleave said. One of the other protesters got in a car and chased the driver for about a mile. He was able to stop him by pulling his car in front of the Jaguar, Van Cleave said. Troopers arrived, and the driver was put in custody.
The winning sand sculpture of the Texas Sand Sculpture Festival.
— Rose Ficke (@roseficke) July 3, 2020
California Rep. Josh Harder needed a way to convince the U.S. House of Representatives to pay attention to his speech about invasive species during a meeting in February. So he brought in a hefty rat carcass and laid it on the table next to him.
The taxidermied rat, which Harder called "Nellie," convinced the House to unanimously pass a bill that supports eradication efforts in states infested with nutria, large rodents also known as swamp rats that are native to South America.
"I think it was the first time in congressional history that a taxidermied swamp rat made an appearance on the House floor," Harder, a Democrat, said. The bill, which will now go to the Senate, authorized the funding for efforts to fight the nutria.
The legislation would revise the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003, which initially provided grants to Maryland and Louisiana, to expand nutria eradication efforts to about a dozen states, including California. The nutria has been established in 17 states.
A spokesperson for Harder said it was unclear when the bill would be introduced in the Senate. He said the pandemic has slowed down the momentum behind the bill.
Black people have largely been expelled from the U.S. agricultural landscape. In 1920, nearly a million Black farmers worked on 41.4 million acres of land, making up a seventh of farm owners. Today, only about 49,000 of them remain, making up just 1.4 percent of the nation’s farm owners, and tending a scant 4.7 million acres — a nearly 90 percent loss.
This didn’t happen by accident. Since Emancipation, Black farmers have had to fight for a share of this country’s fertile ground, due to a history of racist policies and land theft. But modern sustainable agriculture owes much to Black agriculturalists, explained Leah Penniman, codirector of Soul Fire Farm in upstate New York and author of Farming While Black, on a recent episode of the Mother Jones podcast Bite. ...
Black farm ownership peaked in 1920. Around that time, the Ku Klux Klan and other groups led a “swift and severe backlash” to terrorize independent Black farmers, she added. These vigilante efforts went along with a set of U.S. government policies — detailed in this great 2019 Atlantic article by Vann R. Newkirk II—that effectively expropriated Black-owned farmland, pushing it into the hands of white people. During the 20th century, the price of farmland rose by a factor of 52 — making it yet another vehicle for wealth-building that African-Americans were systemically denied access to. The steady rise in land values, which has continued into the 21st century, makes it prohibitively expensive for new farmers to break into agriculture, meaning that white dominance of farmland maintains plenty of momentum.
Penniman is part of a growing movement to reclaim Black farmers’ hard-won place in our country’s agriculture. Soul Fire Farm, the project she co-directs in Petersburg, New York, “focuses on training the next generation of Black and brown farmers, as well as providing food and medicine for our community,” she said. The farm is part of a coalition of groups “claiming sovereignty and calling for reparations of land and resources so that we can grow nourishing food and distribute it in our communities.”
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Tommy McClennan - Whiskey Head Woman
Tommy McClennan Bottle It Up And Go
Tommy McClennan - New Highway No 51
Tommy McClennan - Cross Cut Saw
Tommy McClennan - My Baby's Gone
Tommy McClennan - Cotton Patch Blues
Tommy Mcclennan - Mozelle Blues
Tommy Mcclennan - I'm Goin', Don't You Know
Tommy Mcclennan - Roll Me Baby