The Evening Blues - 7-7-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Texas blues singer Mance Lipscomb. Enjoy!
Mance Lipscomb - Rock Me Mama
“If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick.”
-- John Steinbeck
News and Opinion
The economy we knew before the pandemic has disappeared. Rather than simply returning to how things were before the coronavirus shock, we’re set to emerge into a shattered economic landscape. Huge numbers of jobs have been lost and countless small businesses are laden with debt, teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. In the absence of additional government assistance, many of these businesses may disappear forever, further gutting our high streets and hollowing out our local economies.
For better or worse, the pandemic will create a new version of normality, with new patterns of economic ownership. One of the clear dangers we face in the aftermath of Covid-19 is increased inequality: many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are likely to go bankrupt, allowing further consolidation by the largest firms. Private equity sharks waiting in the wings will snap up distressed business assets for pennies on the pound. ...
Our economy after Covid-19 could turn out to be merely an uglier, more distorted version of the lopsided system we have today. We may find that we’ve stumbled into an “Amazon recovery”, where big businesses and corporate behemoths hold an even greater share of the market, billionaires get richer (and more numerous) and inequality is supercharged. Like a handful of other corporate giants, Amazon has seen its business expand during this crisis. In the US, the company took on 100,000 new workers between mid-March and mid-April, before looking to create another 75,000 posts. Its stock price has soared by more than 50% since the beginning of April, and Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has seen his wealth increase by $30bn (£24bn) during the pandemic alone. The global billionaire class have never had it so good.
The government must ensure the recovery works for everyone, not just for the richest. A large part of the answer lies in a move to block corporate consolidation and predatory acquisition, preventing the leveraged buyout of the economy. ... A democratic society can’t flourish under conditions of unrestrained inequality, and will be even more imperilled in an economy where wealth and power are further concentrated. The only alternative to an unjust recovery is to use state power to protect smaller firms and create a more democratic economy where ownership and economic rewards are more widely shared.
There are no moderate, mainstream centrists in the US-centralized empire. They do not exist.
It’s not that moderate, mainstream centrism is an inherently impossible position. In a healthy world, that’s exactly what the predominant worldview would be. But we do not live in a healthy world.
There are no moderate, mainstream centrists anywhere in the tight alliance of nations which function as a single empire on foreign policy, because that functional empire is built upon murder, terrorism, exploitation, oppression, ecocide and the stockpiling of armageddon weapons.
People who support the status quo of this empire are called “moderates”, but, just like the so-called “moderate rebels” of Syria, they are in fact violent extremists.
This is the reality of living in a world that is profoundly psychologically unhealthy. If you make a career out of facilitating wars which cause explosives to be dropped from the sky on top of innocent human beings causing their bodies to be ripped to shreds and buried in rubble, then you are treated as an exemplar of ideal leadership and rewarded with prestigious positions in politics, punditry, book publishing and think tankery. If you oppose those same wars, you are marginalized and smeared as at best an extremist whack job and at worst a literal traitor conducting psyops for a foreign government.
Because the plutocratic class owns the political class which advances depraved plutocratic agendas and the media class which normalizes and justifies those agendas, a mainstream consensus has been forcibly manufactured that maintaining the oppressive, exploitative, omnicidal, ecocidal status quo is a good and sane thing to do. Voices which point out that this is bat shit crazy are marginalized and ignored when possible and smeared and demonized when necessary.
The ability of our plutocratic rulers and their lackeys to do this is the only reason why defenders of the status quo get to call themselves “centrists” and “moderates”. It’s not because their position is middle-of-the-road in any way whatsoever, it’s because they stand in alignment with the consensus that has been deliberately artificially manufactured and shoved into the mainstream by sheer force of narrative control.
This consensus manufacturing is then carried home by a glitch in human cognition known as status quo bias, which causes us to tend toward holding to the familiar as a default preference and perceive the risk of losing what we have as far less favorable than the reward gaining something better. ...
Status quo bias is further exacerbated in our current predicament by the fact that so many people are now so close to the brink of financial ruin and so terrified of what can happen to them if things change in a sudden and unpredictable way. The result of this is that now you’ve got the majority of people in the most dominant country on earth supporting the “slow incremental change” philosophy of so-called centrism, which in practice has always ended up meaning no change whatsoever. Meanwhile our ecosystem is dying and the US is escalating nuclear tensions with Russia and China and everyone’s getting more and more crazy and miserable under the oppressive and exploitative status quo.
Over 200 scientists in more than 30 countries say the coronavirus is airborne and that the World Health Organization is not doing nearly enough to address the issue. In a letter entitled “It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of Covid-19” the scientists lay out an argument many of them have been making for months: that coronavirus is not just spread through large droplets and direct contact with infected people, but also though microscopic particles that linger in the air indoors and infect those nearby when they inhale them into their lungs.
It means that crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings such as bars, restaurants, casinos, schools, and offices are especially dangerous and would account for a number of “super spreading” incidents.
The letter is due to be published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal and is authored by Lidia Morawska, an expert in aerosol transmission at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, and Donald Milton, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland. It has been endorsed by 239 scientists from 32 countries. Scientists across the globe have tried for months to raise the alarm about airborne transmission, but public health agencies like the WHO have failed to take notice, forcing scientists to take the highly unusual step of publishing this letter.
How do you spell delusional?
The White House claimed on Monday that the US has been “a leader” in the global fight against coronavirus, despite infections nationally now approaching 3m, with 130,000 deaths, and America recently witnessing the highest ever number of new daily cases reported in the world.
With the majority of US states reporting increases in new cases, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said at a briefing on Monday afternoon: “I think the world is looking at us as a leader in Covid-19.”
The US has not yet got new infections under control, according to the leading public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci’s recent alarmed comments to Congress. And the EU chose not to include the US as a country approved for non-essential travel as it starts to open its borders. ...
As of Monday, most states were seeing an increase in cases, according to a Covid-19 tracker developed by Johns Hopkins University. The previously hard-hit north-eastern US appeared to be one of the few regions uniformly recovering.
The Wood Springs 2 fire arrived at Michelle Johnson’s home a week ago. Ash from the 13,000-acre wildfire that burned five miles away rained on her land, with thick smoke billowing above the house she shares with her husband and children. “It would be like fog,” Johnson said. “You couldn’t open the doors and when I would come outside, I would start coughing.”
Johnson lives in Sawmill, Arizona, a small, rural community on the Navajo Nation in the north-eastern part of the state. The Wood Springs 2 fire is raging about five miles away, and in recent days it appeared to have calmed down, Johnson said. But as it bears down on Navajo communities in Arizona’s north-east, it is exacerbating the region’s already fierce challenges amid Covid-19.
In Arizona and New Mexico, indigenous people have been dying from coronavirus at disproportionate rates. The Navajo Nation has been ravaged by Covid-19 since the pandemic began.
Indigenous people make up 3.9% of the population in Arizona but account for nearly 20% of Covid-19 deaths, according to the APM Research Lab. Sawmill is located in Arizona’s Apache county, a rural corner of the state that, with just over 71,000 people and more than 2,400 Covid-19 infections, has seen more than three confirmed cases for every 100 people. “Covid-19 is hitting Sawmill pretty good,” said Wilson Stewart Jr, a Navajo Nation council delegate for Sawmill and other tribal communities in the area. “You have to really watch yourself when you go there.”
Smoke from wildfires could worsen those death rates. Research during the pandemic has linked short- and long-term air pollution exposure with increased chances of Covid-19 complications and death. Sawmill has not only seen smoke from the Wood Springs 2 fire, but also from a string of larger blazes in southern Arizona that have been burning for weeks. Their smoke blew north-west toward Sawmill and beyond – creating a giant plume that covered much of Colorado and the Four Corners region.
Sanders Calls on 'Do-Nothing' Senate to Approve $2,000 Monthly Checks, Cancel Rent, and Expand Medicare
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday slammed the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate for refusing to act to address the coronavirus-induced public health and economic crises that continue to intensify, throwing millions more out of work, overwhelming hospitals, and endangering countless lives.
"As you read this, the number of Covid-19 cases is skyrocketing in this country to levels far greater than at any point in this crisis," Sanders wrote in an email to supporters Sunday evening. "The United States—with just 4 percent of the world's population—accounts for 25% of the world's coronavirus cases and deaths. And the Republican Senate is doing nothing."
Last Thursday, the Senate departed the nation's capital for a two-week recess without taking any action on Covid-19 relief—even amid dire warnings that millions of additional workers could lose their jobs if Congress doesn't urgently approve aid to state and local governments.
The Senate is not expected to return to session until July 20, just 11 days before the $600 weekly boost in unemployment benefits is set to expire.
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has focused on other issues in recent weeks, such as an annual defense policy bill and confirming President Trump's nominees," the Washington Post reported Monday. "When the Senate comes back into session July 20, McConnell plans to turn his attention back to the coronavirus, giving lawmakers just three weeks to negotiate and pass a big rescue bill before they adjourn again through Labor Day."
McConnell said last week that he has no intention of delaying the August 10 recess.
Sanders condemned the Senate for dragging its feet "in the midst of these unprecedented crises" and noted that the pandemic has been made worse by "a president who thinks the coronavirus will just 'disappear' and that he has a 'natural ability' to understand this deadly virus."
"It will not, and he does not," the Vermont senator said. "People are dying every day because of his lies and incompetence."
Upon its return, Sanders wrote, the Senate must approve sweeping Covid-19 stimulus legislation that:
- Uses federal funds to cover workers' paychecks and prevent more layoffs;
- Extends the $600-per-week boost in unemployment benefits;
- Expands Medicare to cover the uninsured;
- Provides emergency funding to prevent the collapse of the U.S. Postal Service;
- Sends a $2,000 monthly check to every working-class person in the U.S. until the end of the pandemic;
- Cancels rent and mortgage payments until the end of the pandemic;
- Increases federal nutrition benefits; and
- Requires the federal government to manufacture and distribute free face masks to everyone in the U.S.
The Vermont senator urged his supporters to sign a petition pressuring the Senate to "act and pass legislation to protect the health and economic well-being of the American people."
"These are ideas that the American people support, and it is time that the do-nothing Senate implement them," Sanders wrote. "But this I know: nothing will happen unless the American people stand up, fight back, and demand, in overwhelming numbers, that the Senate act."
When Congress gets back from its extended Fourth of July break, it will be careening towards an economic cliff — and Republicans don’t seem eager to hit the brakes. Senate Republicans have refused to work seriously on the next round of legislation to deal with the ongoing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, insisting on waiting until they return on July 20 before negotiating the next COVID spending package.
That leaves Congress just days to negotiate another potentially massive spending package before some major programs run out. That includes the $600 per week in additional unemployment insurance that has helped keep millions of unemployed people out of poverty during the pandemic. It also leaves in limbo bailouts to state and local governments who have had gaping holes ripped in their budgets by the ongoing recession.
Many Republicans oppose the package in its current form because it pays out more money to some people than they were making in their jobs. But some have signaled they’re onboard with a few aspects of Democrats’ HEROES Act, a massive $3 trillion proposal for the next round of coronavirus response that the House passed weeks ago. Republicans agree the federal government should boost funds for medical research, are open to some form of support for struggling state and local governments, and some have floated more direct payments to Americans to weather the economic crisis. But they also want liability protection to make it harder for people to sue businesses and individuals if they contract coronavirus. ...
Lawmakers in both parties are operating on the assumption that they’ll pass something — it’d be a political and economic disaster for all involved if they don’t. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week that he planned to wrap up the legislation before Congress heads out again on its annual August recess. But what Republicans are willing to actually pass remains a mystery.
More at the link.
So, in June 30 percent of Americans couldn’t make their rent. July 25th, federal eviction protection ends. There may be another check, but another $1,200 (or even $2k) isn’t going to cut it, just as people couldn’t pay rent event with the $600 unemployment benefit top-up. ...
Even if there is an extension of eviction protection and some new checks, that will only push the problem back. People can’t make rent, and aren’t going to be able to. Because there are so many people competing for jobs (which are bouncing back somewhat), they have no wage leverage. So, expect a huge wave of evictions, homelessness, and hunger. Food banks will be overwhelmed, people will go hungry.
Your lords and masters have decided that if you aren’t useful to them (aren’t employed, can’t make rent) that you don’t deserve anything, including life. This has been the case for a long time, it’s just that, in the middle of a pandemic, they see a lot of you as useless eaters towards whom they have no responsibility. Besides, why should they care? Billionaires have actually gained wealth during the pandemic. Covid isn’t much of a problem for the rich, it’s mostly an opportunity. ...
I really hope I’m wrong about this, but the numbers on this are staggering. Assume that even five percent of Americans lost their housing over two months, that would be almost 17 million people. Each doubling is another 17 million. A ten percent loss is 34 million.
If anything like that happens, I cannot see how it does not turn into mass hunger and civil disorder.
Facing a president who continues to deny that the coronavirus pandemic is a major public health emergency and a federal government which has been reticent to offer robust economic relief to families, tens of thousands of Americans are looking to New Zealand as a potential escape plan as the small island country boasts one of the world's Covid-19 success stories.
According to Immigration New Zealand, visits by Americans to the country's immigration website were 37% higher in April than they were last year at the same time, and skyrocketed by 65% from last year in May. About 80,000 Americans researched the possibility of moving to New Zealand over the two months.
Americans' apparent interest in moving to New Zealand more than 6,000 miles from the U.S. mainland first spiked as New York City became a global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for 5% of the world's cases in late March.
The number of inquiries nearly doubled again in May, just after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Covid-19 had been "effectively eliminated" in the country on April 27.
New cases of the disease had been in the single digits for several days when Ardern made the announcement. The government maintained caution even after sharing the good news, requiring physical distancing at businesses that reopened, encouraging people to continue working from home if they were able, and limiting attendance at events like weddings and funerals to 10 people.
The country has reported fewer than 1,500 cases of Covid-19 and 22 people have died. Two women tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-June after arriving in the country from the U.K. and being given permission to leave their 14-day mandatory quarantine early, ending a 24-day streak with no new cases.
Meanwhile, the U.S. leads the world in coronavirus cases, with more than 2.9 million people infected and more than 129,000 deaths.
As the infection rate continues to climb in the U.S.—with surging cases in states including Texas, Florida, and Arizona—President Donald Trump claimed over the weekend that 99% of cases are "totally harmless." According to the Washington Post, the White House's current hope is that "Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day" as Trump attempts to win reelection in November. ...
Unfortunately for Americans hoping to move to New Zealand, the country's borders are currently closed to foreign nationals. Ardern criticized calls from the opposition party last week to reopen the borders, saying to do so would be "dangerous" considering that there are dozens of countries around the world, including the U.S., where the pandemic continues to worsen.
"These are hard-won gains, and we have as a government no intention of squandering them," Ardern said. "The idea that we should open our border in this environment has a price, and that price could be a second wave of Covd-19 in our country at worst—at best, added restrictions for the rest of us."
Karen segment is about 13 minutes into the program.
A white woman who called police and falsely accused an African American man of threatening her life after he asked her to leash her dog in New York city’s Central Park is being criminally charged over the incident. Amy Cooper, 41, whose actions on 25 May were recorded in a video that went viral and were widely criticized as an example of everyday racism, is being charged with filing a false report, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
“Today our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree,” the Manhattan district attorney, Cy Vance, said in a statement. “We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable.”
A lawyer for Cooper could not immediately be identified. She is expected to be arraigned on 14 October.
Armed rightwing militia groups descended on Gettysburg, Pennsylvania over the weekend, in a bid to protect the historic town from a flag-burning protest that never occurred and was in all likelihood a fake event advertised on social media. Dozens of militia members, some from as far away as Delaware, came to the site of a pivotal civil war battle in 1863, after posts on Facebook claimed anti-fascist groups planned to protest there over the Fourth of July national holiday.
The online rumours appeared to originate from posts written by a group named “Left Behind USA”, which promised an event where attendees would “burn flags in protest of thugs and animals in blue”, according to now deleted messages reviewed by the Washington Post. The posts also said organisers would “be giving away free small flags to children to safely throw into the fire”.
A statue of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass was torn from its base in Rochester, New York on Sunday, 168 years to the day since the city was the setting for one of his greatest speeches, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
The statue stood in Maplewood Park, a site on the Underground Railroad, the network through which Douglass and Harriet Tubman, both escaped slaves themselves, and others helped ferry people enslaved in southern states to freedom in the north.
One of 13 statues which were placed around Rochester in 2018, the 200th anniversary of Douglass’s birth, the monument was found next to a river gorge, about 50ft from its pedestal, police said. The base and a finger were damaged.
Carvin Eison, who worked on the project which brought the statues to the city, told the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper: “It’s particularly painful that it happened at this time … It’s really sad because here in Rochester the statue of Frederick Douglass has always been a face of good.”
The statue would be replaced, he said.
Police in Phoenix, Arizona, fatally shot a man sitting inside his parked car, reigniting protests and outrage against a department known as one of the deadliest in the country. The shooting took place in West Phoenix on Saturday afternoon. Witness footage published by local councilman, Carlos Garcia, showed a group of at least four officers surrounding a vehicle and quickly firing a round of bullets into the car. Onlookers could be heard pleading with the officers to put their guns down. The video captures one officer screaming, “Stop fucking moving, I will fucking shoot you!” as witnesses nearby shout, “Don’t shoot!”
The victim, identified as James Garcia, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police officials said the officers were responding after a 911 caller had said a man who had threatened to kill him earlier had returned with a knife. When the officers arrived, officials said, they “noticed an adult man sitting in a car parked in the driveway”. Officers instructed him to get out of the vehicle and he refused and showed a gun, according to the department’s account. One officer broke the passenger window while two officers fired a rapid round of bullets directly into the vehicle, the department said, alleging that he refused to drop the gun.
Police have declined to say if the man they killed had any connection to the original call. Asked whether James Garcia was the suspect with a knife referenced in the 911 call, a spokeswoman, Mercedes Fortune, told the Guardian: “We do not know that yet.”
Here's the article that Enjeti is discussing: How Biden’s Foreign-Policy Team Got Rich
As Democrats campaign against “tough on crime” policies and for criminal justice reform, the party may end up with a congressional nominee who confined former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to an 8-by-6-foot cell at least 23 hours a day. James Averhart, who is competing in a July 14 run-off election for an Alabama congressional seat, also oversaw a Bush-era military push to track down and punish veterans who deserted the Vietnam War -- an initiative seen as an attempt to discourage soldiers from deserting during the Iraq War.
Averhart, who served as Chief Warrant Officer Five in the U.S. Marine corps, has a solid chance of being the Democratic nominee in the open-seat election in Alabama’s Republican-leaning first congressional district. Professor Kiani Gardner won 44 percent of votes in the March 3 primary contest, while Averhart received 40 percent.
In the Alabama race, Averhart became a candidate after overseeing the brig at Quantico, Va., where Manning was held between July 2010 and April 2011. Manning was arrested in May 2010 and charged by the government with 22 counts for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. ... The terms of Manning’s pre-trial imprisonment at Quantico were extremely harsh. She was characterized as a maximum security prisoner and a Prevention of Injury (POI) assignment, both of which carried heavy restrictions. ...
“Averhart and his successor rejected psychiatrists' nearly weekly recommendations to ease the restrictions that kept Manning in an 8-by-6-foot cell at least 23 hours a day,” the Associated Press wrote in 2012.
US district judge James Boasberg had previously said the pipeline, which has been in operation three years, remained “highly controversial” under federal environmental law, and a more extensive review was necessary after an environmental assessment by the US army corps of engineers.
In a 24-page order Monday, Boasberg wrote that he was “mindful of the disruption such a shutdown will cause” but said he had concluded that the pipeline must be shut down for an environmental impact assessment. “Clear precedent favoring vacatur during such a remand coupled with the seriousness of the Corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the 13 months that the Corps believes the creation of an EIS will take,” Boasberg wrote. ...
The pipeline was the subject of months of protests, sometimes violent, during its construction near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border. The $3.8bn, 1,172-mile underground pipeline carries oil from North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa and to a shipping point in Illinois. Just north of the Standing Rock reservation, it crosses beneath the Missouri River. The tribe draws its water from the river and fears pollution. Texas-based Energy Transfer insists the pipeline is safe. ...
The court ordered Energy Transfer to shut and empty the 570,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) line within 30 days, closing off the biggest artery transporting crude oil out of North Dakota’s Bakken shale basin to midwest and Gulf coast regions. Energy Transfer said it was looking at legal and administrative measures to avoid a shutdown and was considering an appeal if those efforts failed.
'The Future Does Not Belong to You,' Climate Campaigners Say to Big Oil After Cancellation of 600-Mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline
Following years of widespread grassroots opposition led by vulnerable local communities and national environmental organizations, two U.S. energy behemoths on Sunday abruptly cancelled the planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a sprawling project that would have transported dirty fracked gas along a 600-mile route through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
"Today is a historic victory for clean water, the climate, public health, and our communities," said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. "Duke and Dominion did not decide to cancel the Atlantic Coast Pipeline—the people and frontline organizations that led this fight for years forced them into walking away. Today's victory reinforces that united communities are more powerful than the polluting corporations that put profits over our health and future."
Duke and Dominion's statement announcing their decision to pull the plug—citing "ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty"—came even after the Supreme Court delivered the companies a major victory last month by removing a regulatory hurdle in the way of the $8 billion pipeline, which would have cut through two national forests, tunneled under the Appalachian Trail, and crossed Indigenous lands.
"Lumbee leaders have scored a tremendous victory in stopping this fossil fuel pipeline," tweeted the Indigenous Environmental Network, referring to the North Carolina tribe that helped lead opposition to the pipeline.
— Indigenous Environmental Network (@IENearth) July 6, 2020
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Dan Brouillette, a former corporate lobbyist, issued a statement late Sunday blaming what he called the "well-funded, obstructionist environmental lobby" for killing the fossil fuel project as the Trump administration works to accelerate pipeline approvals and construction under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"In reality," said Gillian Giannetti of the Natural Resources Defense Council in response to Brouillette, "many of those who led the #NoACP movement were ordinary landowners of all political stripes who were tired of being ignored by Dominion."
In a statement, Greenpeace USA climate director Janet Redman noted that "people living along the proposed path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have said from the beginning that it would be a disaster, and now Dominion and Duke have had to admit their opponents were right."
"Luckily, today's news is only a disaster for those fossil fuel executives hoping to squeeze their last millions out of catastrophic climate change, not for people invested in a livable future," said Redman. "Duke and Dominion had hoped to carve up beautiful mountains, ignore catastrophic climate change, and delay a just transition to renewable energy to build this pipeline."
"Thanks to the courageous activists who stood up to them, they have failed," Redman added. "Their epic failure should be a warning to other fossil fuel companies hoping to double down on dirty pipelines—the future does not belong to you."
On 26 June, Donald Trump announced that he plans to nominate William Perry Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management. That may not sound like big news, but it is. First of all, the office manages one-tenth of the United States’ land mass and, therefore, massive amounts of fossil fuels. Second, Pendley is linked to two little-known but very dangerous political movements: the so-called Wise Use movement and the anti-government extremists sometimes called constitutionalists or sovereign citizens.
The appointment should not come as a total surprise. Wise Use advocates, who are fiercely opposed to almost any environmental protection laws, have long had exceptional access to the Trump administration. In 2017, Lars Larson, a “journalist” from the alternative rightwing media sphere, crystallized the attitude of the Wise Use movement with a comment he made to then press secretary Sean Spicer:
The federal government is the biggest landlord in America. It owns two-thirds of a billion acres of America. I don’t think the Founders ever envisioned it that way. Does President Trump want to start returning the people’s land to the people? And in the meantime … can he tell the forest service to start logging our forests aggressively again to provide jobs for Americans, wealth for the treasury, and not spend $3.5bn a year fighting forest fires?
Larson was expressing a key demand of the Wise Use movement. The movement wants to privatize basically all public land, so that it can be used “wisely” by big business – especially the agricultural, fossil fuel and logging industries, which are also the movement’s biggest donors. The movement has been responsible for significant harassment and threats of political violence, particularly against environmentalists and employees of government agencies in the Pacific north-west. Between 2013 and 2018 alone, federal employees overseeing public lands were assaulted or threatened at least 360 times. In roughly the same period, the FBI initiated under 100 related domestic terrorism investigations, most concerning individuals motivated by anti-government ideologies. ...
Although Pendley has been acting director of the Bureau of Land Management since last July, his official nomination will give him troubling new authority and political clout. In addition to undermining his own agency, he will also probably push to privatize more public land and provide even more access to exploitation by agricultural, fossil fuel and logging companies. Just last week, the Bureau of Land Management proposed opening millions of acres in rural Alaska for oil and gas leasing. Just as troubling: Pendley’s new role will probably further embolden far-right anti-environment and anti-government forces, some of which already consider themselves above the law.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Mance Lipscomb - Ain't It Hard
Mance Lipscomb - I Want To Do Something For You
Mance Lipscomb - Jack O Diamonds
Mance Lipscomb - When Death comes Creeping In Your Room
Mance Lipscomb - Blues in the Bottle
Mance Lipscomb - Charlie James
Mance Lipscomb - Silver City
Mance Lipscomb - One Thin Dime
Mance Lipscomb - Mojo Hand