The Evening Blues - 9-20-19


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Anson Funderburgh

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues guitarist Anson Funderburgh. Enjoy!

Mark Hummel & Anson Funderburgh - Shake For Me

“I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”

-- Emma Goldman

News and Opinion

For the sake of life on Earth, we must put a limit on wealth

It is not quite true that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Musicians and novelists, for example, can become extremely rich by giving other people pleasure. But it does appear to be universally true that in front of every great fortune lies a great crime. Immense wealth translates automatically into immense environmental impacts, regardless of the intentions of those who possess it. The very wealthy, almost as a matter of definition, are committing ecocide.

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a worker at a British private airport. “I see things that really shouldn’t be happening in 2019,” he wrote. Every day he sees Global 7000 jets, Gulfstream G650s and even Boeing 737s take off from the airport carrying a single passenger, mostly flying to Russia and the US. The private Boeing 737s, built to take 174 passengers, are filled at the airport with around 25,000 litres of fuel. That’s as much fossil energy as a small African town might use in a year. Where are these single passengers going? Perhaps to visit one of their superhomes, constructed and run at vast environmental cost, or to take a trip on their superyacht, which might burn 500 litres of diesel an hour just ticking over, and which is built and furnished with rare materials extracted at the expense of beautiful places.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that when Google convened a meeting of the rich and famous at the Verdura resort in Sicily in July to discuss climate breakdown, its delegates arrived in 114 private jets and a fleet of megayachts, and drove around the island in supercars. Even when they mean well, the ultrarich cannot help trashing the living world. ...

A meaningful strike in defence of the living world is, in part, a strike against the desire to raise our incomes and accumulate wealth: a desire shaped, more than we are probably aware, by dominant social and economic narratives. ... There’s a name for this approach, coined by the Belgian philosopher Ingrid Robeyns: limitarianism. Robeyns argues that there should be an upper limit to the amount of income and wealth a person can amass. Just as we recognise a poverty line, below which no one should fall, we should recognise a riches line, above which no one should rise. This call for a levelling down is perhaps the most blasphemous idea in contemporary discourse.

But her arguments are sound. Surplus money allows some people to exercise inordinate power over others: in the workplace; in politics; and above all in the capture, use and destruction of the planet’s natural wealth. If everyone is to flourish, we cannot afford the rich. Nor can we afford our own aspirations, which the culture of wealth maximisation encourages. The grim truth is that the rich are able to live as they do only because others are poor: there is neither the physical nor ecological space for everyone to pursue private luxury. Instead we should strive for private sufficiency, public luxury. Life on Earth depends on moderation.

“Young People Have Had Enough”: Global Climate Strike Youth Activists on Why They Are Marching

Trump's promise to foreign leader prompts whistleblower complaint

Donald Trump’s promise to a foreign leader so troubled an official in the US intelligence community that it prompted the person to file a whistleblower complaint – a revelation late on Wednesday that is causing alarm among legal and political observers.

Two former officials familiar with the matter said it was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, Washington Post reported. The communication was a phone call, one former official said, according to the Post. The intelligence community inspector general, Michael Atkinson, determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern”, a legal threshold that requires notification of congressional oversight committees, the Post said.

But the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused to share details about the complaint with lawmakers, the paper reported. Maguire has defended his refusal by asserting that the subject of the complaint is beyond his jurisdiction, it said.

Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House intelligence committee, has sought to compel US intelligence officials to disclose the full details of the whistleblower complaint to Congress. Atkinson is scheduled to appear at a closed hearing of the committee on Thursday morning and Maguire has agreed to testify before the panel in open session a week later, Schiff said in a statement.

“The IC IG determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent, and that it should be transmitted to Congress under the clear letter of the law. The committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress,” the statement said.

US - President Donald Trump accused by whistleblower of asking for information on rival Joe Biden

Trump whistleblower complaint: focus shifts to Ukraine amid Giuliani claims

Speculation in Washington is at fever pitch over the reports that Donald Trump’s promise to a foreign leader so troubled a US intelligence official that it prompted a whistleblower complaint, with the focus now shifting to Ukraine.

Top Democrats could go to court in an attempt to force details of the complaint to be revealed to Congress, after the acting director of intelligence refused to be forthcoming in a closed door hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday, apparently blocked from doing so by the White House and the Department of Justice.

The whistleblower’s claim centered on Russia’s neighbour, according to reports in the Washington Post and the New York Times, noting that the complaint was filed weeks before Trump spoke to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

In a testy interview on CNN on Thursday night, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, offered conflicting answers to questions on whether he had asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, the former vice-president and 2020 presidential hopeful. At one point he dismissed the claim as ridiculous before admitting it and saying he was proud of it. ...

Earlier this year Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, canceled a trip to Ukraine over a perceived conflict of interest between his ties to the White House and his apparent partisan political mission to dig for dirt against Biden, whose son once had a role in a Ukrainian gas company. After the news of a whistleblower alarmed at Trump’s “promise” emerged, Giuliani sent a cryptic tweet about defending “yourself from big fat bullies”.

NYT: whistleblower complaint involves 'multiple acts by Trump'

The whistleblower complaint at the heart of an extraordinary standoff between Congress and the intelligence community is said to involve “multiple acts” by the president, according to the New York Times.

Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community, revealed to lawmakers on Thursday that the complaint involved multiple acts, the Times reported, citing two officials familiar with the situation.

Lawmakers said Atkinson declined to discuss specifics during a briefing with the panel and would not say if the complaint involved the president.

Errant US drone strike kills dozens of farmers in Afghanistan

US drone strike intended for Isis hideout kills 30 farmers in Afghanistan

A US drone strike intended to hit an Islamic State hideout in Afghanistan has killed at least 30 civilians who were resting after harvesting pine nuts. Forty people were also injured in the attack on Wednesday night which struck farmers and labourers who had just finished their day’s work at the mountainous Wazir Tangi in eastern Nangarhar province, three Afghan officials told Reuters.

“The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them,” tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul told Reuters by telephone from Wazir Tangi.

Afghanistan’s defence ministry and a senior US official in Kabul confirmed the drone strike, but did not share details of civilian casualties.

“US forces conducted a drone strike against Da’esh [Isis] terrorists in Nangarhar,” said Col Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan. “We are aware of allegations of the death of non-combatants and are working with local officials to determine the facts.” ...

Haidar Khan, who owns the pine nut fields, said about 150 workers were there for harvesting, with some still missing as well as the confirmed dead and injured.

Instead of threats, Trump can easily defuse Iran crisis he created

Condemning Pompeo Warmongering, Sanders Says 'Attack on Saudi Oil Is Not an Attack on America'

In response to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's declaration Wednesday that the bombardment of Saudi oil facilities this past weekend—which the Trump administration has blamed on Iran—constituted an "act of war," Sen. Bernie Sanders said "an attack on Saudi oil is not an attack on America" and vowed Congress will not allow the White House to launch another devastating military conflict in the Middle East.

"If you want a war, come to Congress to make your case," tweeted Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "We will not let you drag the American people into another catastrophe in the Middle East."

"Your job is to use diplomacy to resolve conflict—not incite more war," the Vermont senator added.

Pompeo's comments came during a visit Wednesday with Saudi leaders, who have claimed—on the basis of scarce evidence—that the aerial strikes which temporarily paralyzed the kingdom's oil production originated in Iran.

US dials back Iran rhetoric and seeks 'peaceful resolution' over Saudi attack

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has said Washington and its allies were seeking a “peaceful resolution” with Iran in the wake of the attack on Saudi oil facilities, making clear that Washington would limit its initial response to further sanctions.

Pompeo’s remarks, made on his return trip to Washington after visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, mark a significant cooling of rhetoric after Donald Trump had warned the US was “locked and loaded” and Pompeo had said the attack, which he blamed on Iran, was “an act of war”.

The Pentagon said its goal was “to deter conflict and get back on the diplomatic path” and stopped short of definitively blaming Tehran for the air strikes which knocked out half Saudi Arabia’s oil production, deferring to Riyadh to make that assessment.

“As of this time all indications are that Iran is in some way responsible,” spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said, before adding: “We’re not going to get ahead of the Saudi investigation in their assessment of this.”

The Crisis Over The Attack On Saudi Oil Infrastructure Is Over - We Now Wait For the Next One

The crisis about the Yemeni drone and cruise missile attack on two Saudi oil installations is for now over. The Saudis and the U.S. accuse Iran of being behind the "act of war" as Secretary of State Pompeo called it. The Saudis bomb Yemen with U.S. made bombs since 2015. One wonders how Pompeo is calling that.

The Yemeni forces aligned with the Houthi Ansarallah do not deny that their drones and cruise missiles are copies of Iranian designs. But they insist that they are built in Yemen and fired from there.

President Trump will not launch a military attack against Iran. Neither will the Saudis or anyone else. Iran has deterred them by explaining that any attack on Iran will be responded to by waging all out war against the U.S. and its 'allies' around the Persian Gulf. Trump sent Pompeo to Saudi Arabia to hold hands with the Saudi gangster family who call themselves royals. Pompeo of course tried to sell them more weapons. ...

The crisis is over and we are back to waiting for the next round. A few days or weeks from now we will see another attacks on oil assets on the western side of the Persian Gulf. Iran, with the help of its friends, can play this game again and again and it will do so until the U.S. gives up and lifts the sanctions against that country.

The Houthi will continue to attack the Saudis until they end their war on Yemen and pay reparations. As long as no U.S. forces get killed the U.S. will not hit back because Trump wants to be reelected. An all out war around the Persian Gulf would drive energy prices into the stratosphere and slump the global economy. His voters would not like that.

Talks ‘going backwards’ as UK asks EU to keep its proposals secret

Downing Street’s secrecy over its Brexit proposals has caused a fresh rupture in the negotiations in Brussels, a leaked email reveals, as EU officials warned that the talks are “going backwards”. The row was sparked by a British demand that the EU’s negotiating team treat a long-awaited cache of documents outlining the UK’s latest ideas as “Her Majesty’s government property”.

Whitehall told the European commission team that the three “confidential” papers should not be distributed to Brexit delegates representing the EU’s 27 other member states. Sources in Brussels said that in response the point was made forcefully to the British negotiating team that all proposals would need to be made available for the EU’s capitals to analyse for talks to progress.

With just six weeks to go until 31 October when the UK is due to leave the EU, there is despair in Brussels at the state of the talks, with the latest ideas seen as “more of the same” from Downing Street.

The Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, was unable to offer any positive comments about progress in the talks during a visit to Brussels, beyond noting that his one-hour meeting on Friday with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, had lasted 20 minutes longer than expected.

Judges urged to back MPs' recall if they rule against prorogation

Parliament should be allowed to reassemble next week, the supreme court has been urged, as the legal battle over Boris Johnson’s five-week suspension threatened to escalate into a constitutional crisis over who has authority to recall MPs and peers.

At the end of the third and final day of an emergency hearing over the lawfulness of the prime minister’s advice to the Queen to suspend debates, the 11 justices were asked to encourage the Speakers of the Commons and Lords to reconvene the parliamentary session.

In his closing submissions, Lord Pannick QC, representing the legal campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller, said that if the supreme court found that Johnson had acted unlawfully but he declined to end the suspension of parliament then “in those circumstances we believe it would be open to the Speaker and Lord Speaker to reassemble parliament … as soon as possible next week”.

But government lawyers delivered a defiant legal note to the court in which they asserted that the prime minister could legitimately suspend parliament again even if the supreme court ruled that the prorogation had been unlawful. It stated: “Depending on the court’s reasoning it would still either be open or not open to the prime minister to consider a further prorogation.”

Lord Keen QC, representing the government, cautioned the justices that the English and Scottish applicants in the appeal “were inviting the court into forbidden territory”. The decision to prorogue was political and not open to challenge in the courts, he declared.

Netanyahu struggles to hold on to power as Gantz claims victory

Benjamin Netanyahu is furiously manoeuvring to cling to office after his rival Benny Gantz refused to serve under him in a government of national unity following an inconclusive election. Gantz’s Blue and White alliance is two seats ahead of the Israeli prime minister’s Likud party, according to results published by Israeli media with 97% of the vote counted.

Neither bloc has an obvious path to form a majority coalition, and Netanyahu called for them to join together in a unity government, hinting that he might be willing to accept a power-sharing arrangement with Gantz, a precedent found in the rotation of the prime minister’s office between Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres in the mid-1980s.

Gantz, a former military chief, said he should lead the next government because his alliance won the most seats. ...

This week’s vote was largely seen as a referendum on Netanyahu, who this summer surpassed Israel’s founding prime minister to become the country’s longest-serving leader. During the campaign, Netanyahu cast himself as a seasoned statesman who was the only candidate able to steer Israel through a sea of challenges. Gantz, a former army chief, tried to paint Netanyahu as divisive and scandal-plagued, offering himself as a calming influence and honest alternative.

Trump sues Manhattan DA to block tax return subpoena

Donald Trump is asking a federal judge to prevent New York prosecutors from obtaining eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns.

Trump’s attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday in US District Court in New York.

According to the Associated Press, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow says the lawsuit is intended “to address the significant constitutional issues at stake in this case.”

UK worsens Julian Assange's persecution as US seeks extradition

At Press Conference, Fed Chair Powell Refuses to Answer Whether Wall Street Banks Are Too Big to Manage

Following a lack of liquidity on Wall Street, which necessitated the Federal Reserve having to provide $53 billion on Tuesday and another $75 billion on Wednesday to normalize overnight lending in the repo market, the Chairman of the Fed, Jerome (Jay) Powell held his press conference at 2:30 p.m. yesterday. The press gathering followed both a one-quarter point cut in the Fed Funds rate by the Fed yesterday as well as the first intervention by the Fed in the overnight lending market since the financial crash. (The Fed had to intervene again this morning, making another $75 billion in repo loans available.) ...

Hannah Lang, a reporter with American Banker, asked Powell about reports out yesterday that Bank of America was being investigated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for opening unauthorized accounts. She asked if the Fed was also investigating this and said that given the pending order against Wells Fargo for the same kind of behavior, if Powell was concerned that these banks are too big to manage.

Powell said he saw the news about Bank of America but he had no further information to share. He said that the Wells Fargo situation was quite harmful to the customers and damaged the firm’s reputation. As for whether these mega banks are too big to manage, Powell simply ignored that portion of the question entirely.

If Lang had wanted to add critical ammunition to her question, she might have posed it this way: “Chairman Powell, for the first time in U.S. history, two of the largest banks on Wall Street are admitted felons. Citigroup admitted to one criminal felony count in 2015 for its role in rigging foreign currency markets. JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S. and on Wall Street, has admitted to three criminal felony counts in the last five years: two counts for its role in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and one count for its involvement in rigging foreign currency markets. On Monday, JPMorgan Chase was back in the news again with the Department of Justice charging three of its gold and silver traders with racketeering – a criminal charge typically used against organized crime. And, today, Bank of America is under investigation for opening the same kind of unauthorized customer accounts that happened at Wells Fargo. Mr. Chairman, are these banks too big to manage and too corrupt to be allowed to exist?”

'Secretary of Corporate Interests' More Like It, Say Critics of Trump's Anti-Worker Labor Nominee

Progressive groups and Democratic lawmakers expressed serious concerns Thursday about corporate attorney Eugene Scalia—President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Labor Department—as the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee met to consider his nomination.

"Instead of nominating a Secretary of Labor, President Trump has nominated a Secretary of Corporate Interests," declared Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the committee's ranking member. "If there's one consistent pattern in Mr. Scalia's long career, it's hostility to the very workers he would be charged with protecting, and the very laws he would be charged with enforcing if he were confirmed."

The committee is expected to decide next week whether to advance Scalia, the son of late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to a full Senate vote. Given the Republican majority in the Senate, he is expected to be appointed to the post in Trump's cabinet. However, that has not stopped lawmakers and others from sounding the alarm on Scalia's record as an attorney representing corporate giants like Walmart and the Labor Department's chief legal officer during President George W. Bush's administration.

Trump Is Going to War with California Because He Thinks Homeless People Are Polluting the Ocean

President Donald Trump — in his recent frenzy to push homeless people off the streets of California — just turned up the pressure on San Francisco and other liberal California cities he sees as “going to hell.”

Hours after Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson denied California’s plea for more federal aid Wednesday, Trump floated the idea of instead punishing San Francisco with an environmental violation — because the runoff of human waste and hypodermic needles pose a threat to the Pacific Ocean. (Experts told the San Francisco Chronicle the city hasn’t had any issues with needles in the water.)

“They have to clean it up,” Trump said of San Francisco as he left California aboard Air Force One Wednesday, according to the New York Times. “We can’t have our cities going to hell.” (San Francisco also falls within Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district.) It’s unclear what specific Environmental Protection Agency fine or regulation the administration would use against San Francisco. But Trump said his administration would file some sort of complaint soon. ...

In a letter to California officials Wednesday, Carson — who also traveled to San Francisco this week — said the Trump administration had already done enough. He denied their requests for more federal rent vouchers and other housing aid. (The Trump administration has twice attempted to severely slash the nation’s affordable housing budget.)

US gunmaker Colt to stop making rifles – including AR-15 – for civilians

Gunmaker Colt says it is suspending its production of rifles for the civilian market, including the popular AR-15.

Colt’s chief executive officer, Dennis Veilleux, says it is not permanently ending production but believes there is already an adequate supply of sporting rifles on the market. He said in a statement on Thursday the company will concentrate on fulfilling military and law enforcement contracts with its rifle manufacturing.

the horse race

Krystal Ball on Why Centrism Sucks | Useful Idiots

Teachers and Walmart Workers Top List as Sanders Campaign Hits 1 Million Individual Donors

The presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders said it made political history on Thursday by receiving campaign donations from 1 million individuals in the shortest amount of time.

"With 1 million contributors, this is the only Democratic campaign that has more supporters than Donald Trump," said campaign manager Faiz Shakir in a statement.

"Our strength is in numbers," continued Shakir, "and that is why Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who is able to say his campaign will rely only on grassroots funding in both the primary and against Donald Trump. Like all campaigns we are beholden to our donors, and we're proud to stand with one million working people."

Out of the more than 1 million individual who have now given, according to the campaign, only .05 percent have given the maximum amount this election cycle, meaning that the other 99.95 percent are able to give again or multiple times. The campaign also announced that is has more than 125,000 people signed up for recurring contributions each month—money, it said, that provides "a consistent stream of reliable investment that will last throughout the campaign and build the organization required to win the nomination and defeat Donald Trump."

In its statement, the campaign touted that the occupation topping the list of donors is teachers and that the most common employer of those donating to Sanders' presidential bid remains Walmart, Starbucks, and Amazon.

To Avoid Repeat of 2016 Disenfranchisement, Sanders Urges Gov. Cuomo to Sign Bill That Would Extend NY Voter Registration Deadline

Sen. Bernie Sanders's 2020 Democratic presidential campaign on Thursday urged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation that would extend the state's party registration deadline and avoid a repeat of 2016, when many would-be primary voters belatedly discovered they failed to comply with the state's onerous process.

Under the current rules, New Yorkers only have until Oct. 11 to register as Democrats to vote in the state's 2020 primary, which is not until April 28—more than six months apart. New York is a closed primary state, meaning only registered Democrats can vote in the presidential primary election.

In a letter to Jim Roosevelt and Lorraine Miller, co-chairs of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said the DNC should pressure Cuomo to "expeditiously" sign legislation that would extend the state's party registration deadline to Feb. 14.

The New York legislature passed the bill in June.

Progressive Laughs In Bill Maher’s Face

Mayor Bill de Blasio is out of the presidential pageant.

the evening greens

US and Canada have lost more than one in four birds since 1970

The US and Canada have lost more than one in four birds – a total of three billion – since 1970, culminating in what scientists who published a new study are calling a “widespread ecological crisis”.

Researchers observed a 29% decline in bird populations across diverse groups and habitats – from songbirds such as meadowlarks to long-distance migratory birds such as swallows and backyard birds like sparrows.

“Multiple, independent lines of evidence show a massive reduction in the abundance of birds,” said Ken Rosenberg, the study’s lead author and a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy.

Co-author Adam Smith from Environment and Climate Change Canada called the findings a “wake-up call”.

The population losses are consistent with what scientists have counted among insects and amphibians.

The study, published today in the journal Science, did not analyze the reason for the drop. But around the world, birds are thought to be dying more and having less success breeding largely because their habitats are being damaged and destroyed by agriculture and urbanization.

‘Our house is burning’ but EU businesses benefit from Amazon wildfires

Climate crisis leaving 2 million people a week needing aid – Red Cross

Two million people a week need humanitarian aid today because of the climate emergency, the Red Cross has warned, as extreme weather takes an “intolerable” toll in human suffering.

The number of people in need of interventions will double in the next three decades – from 108 million a year today to 200 million – if governments fail to act, stretching international humanitarian relief efforts to breaking point and beyond, the global charity said.

Costs would rise too: by the end of the next decade, the current contribution of between $3.5bn and $12bn (£2.8bn to £9.6bn) a year from funders would need to rise to at least $20bn a year, to keep pace with a predicted surge in the number of people afflicted by disasters such as storms, floods, droughts and other extreme weather events. The estimates were made in a report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), entitled The Cost of Doing Nothing, presented to the UN on Thursday evening.

Francesco Rocca, president of the IFRC, said: “This confirms the impact that climate change is having, and will continue to have, on some of the world’s most vulnerable people. The cost of doing nothing is high, and it’s the most vulnerable who will have to pay if we don’t act. This is intolerable.”

Slimy lakes and dead dogs: climate crisis has brought the season of toxic algae

From New York City to coastal California, a poison-producing living slime is overtaking waterways and shorelines, killing pets, ravaging tourism markets and making its way into local drinking water. So far this year, algae has been implicated in dog deaths and illness in California, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. In August, toxic algae overtook Lake Erie, growing to 620 sq miles.

These biotoxic blooms can last anywhere from a few weeks to over a year.

This nationwide algae epidemic points to a sustained shift in the aquatic environment – one that experts say is being driven by pollution and the climate crisis.

“We believe climate change is really having a huge impact on the occurrence and growth of these blooms,” said Anne Schechinger, a senior analyst for the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “We know the incidence of blooms is just going to keep going up and up.”

A report by the EWG found toxic algae blooms have apparently grown in size and frequency multifold since 2010. Reports of algae outbreaks are up 22% compared to this same time last year.

With no government agency comprehensively tracking the total incidents of algae blooms nationwide, the EWG uses news items as a proxy. Without other available data it’s a decent measure, but only so long as algae blooms remain fresh. The more normal and less newsworthy recurring algae blooms become, the more difficult it may be to track them. And there’s every reason to believe this is the slimy, water-tainting, beach-ruining, dog-killing new normal.

Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot make short film on the climate crisis

Thunberg is right. Congress is ignoring science – and that includes Democrats

On Wednesday in a committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Greta Thunberg delivered some very brief remarks. Presenting the Congress members gathered with a special report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released nearly a year ago, the Swedish climate activist said succinctly: “I don’t want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists. I want you to unite behind science. And then I want you to take real action.”

Republicans who have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel companies and electric utilities spouted their usual talking points (“We’re already doing enough!”; “What about China?”), cooked up by lobbyists in K Street boardrooms. Garret Graves – who has taken more than half a million dollars from Pacs linked to dirty energy interests during his short stint in Congress – said we need “more science, not less” and seemed to take some pleasure in lobbing similar red herrings at the youth assembled in front of him, who asked mainly that he and his colleagues begin taking the potential end of human civilization seriously. The Georgia congressman Buddy Carter went a step farther and peddled a standard denialist line: “I believe in climate change. The climate has been changing since day one … Does man have an impact? Yes, that impact might be debatable.”

But many Democrats aren’t taking the science much more seriously. ... Most every elected Democrat has called for the US to recommit to the Paris agreement, but staying below the “well below 2 degrees” warming limit that document sets as its goal would require a rapid decline in the business model of the fossil fuel industry; added together, the national pledges it outlines as of now would shoot the world beyond 3 degrees of warming. Pushed by calls for a Green New Deal, those vying for the party’s nomination have by and large adopted ambitious pledges on climate – some more than others. Yet establishment Democrats in Congress are still attempting to pursue a middle ground on climate that simply doesn’t exist.

On Wednesday, the 103-member New Democrat Coalition –whose Pac BP, ExxonMobil and the Edison Electric Institute have all maxed out on donations to this year – outlined a series of incremental and “pro-market” steps to curb emissions. A suite of legislation unveiled on Wednesday would do many great things, like investing in clean energy research and development via ARPA-E and limiting emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. It is not, however, a plan for fulfilling the challenge laid out by the IPCC, leaving the door open to define coal as a potential source of “clean energy” in pursuit of a “technology-neutral, market-oriented standard for electric energy generation” and providing a financial incentive for fossil fuel companies to capture carbon dioxide and funnel it back into pumping out more fossil fuels.

Federal Court Blocks 'Unconstitutional' South Dakota Law That Would Hit Pipeline Protesters With Up to 25 Years in Prison

Environmentalists celebrated Wednesday after a federal court temporarily blocked enforcement of a recently enacted South Dakota law that aims to hit pipeline protesters with fines and up to 25 years in prison. Legal experts and green groups have decried the law, officially titled the Riot Boosting Act, as a flagrant violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution that was obviously targeted at Keystone XL opponents.

"The so-called 'Riot Boosting' Act was clearly intended to suppress constitutionally-protected, peaceful protests of the Keystone XL pipeline," said Stephen Pevar, senior staff attorney with the ACLU, which filed suit to stop the law from taking effect. "We're glad the court recognized that these vague and overbroad laws threaten the First Amendment rights of South Dakotans on every side of the issue."

South Dakota is one of several Republican-controlled states to pass legislation in recent months to criminalize pipeline protests. In June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed in to law a measure that would hit pipeline protesters with up to a decade in prison. As Common Dreams reported in June, the Trump administration is also looking to punish anti-pipeline demonstrations at the federal level.

In his ruling on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol wrote: "Imagine that if these riot boosting statutes were applied to the protests that took place in Birmingham, Alabama, what might be the result? Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference could have been liable under an identical riot boosting law."

Mulling Run Against Green New Deal Sponsor Ed Markey, Joe Kennedy is Heavily Invested in Fossil Fuels

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), the grandson of former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, has filed paperwork to challenge Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the Senate’s most progressive members and the chief sponsor of the Senate version of the Green New Deal resolution. ...

If Kennedy were to officially enter the race he would instantly be the favorite, with polls showing Kennedy with a massive lead over Markey in a hypothetical run. 

As he considers whether to enter the race, Kennedy owns as much as $1.75 million worth of stock in the fossil fuel industry, including oil and gas companies that see Markey’s Green New Deal as an existential threat, according to a Sludge review of financial disclosure documents. Kennedy’s holdings, which are contained in inherited family trusts, include Chevron stock worth between $100,001 and $250,000, ExxonMobil stock worth between $500,002 and $1,000,000, and $15,001 to $50,000 worth of stock in Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services provider. Kennedy also owns $180,004 to $450,000 worth of stock in NextEra Energy, a utility company that owns a coal- and natural gas-burning Florida power company.

Chevron and ExxonMobil have been linked to efforts to fight the Green New Deal. Chevron donated $1.75 million during the 2018 election cycle to a super PAC that ran attack ads against Democrats for their support of the Green New Deal. ExxonMobil is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council, a think tank that is promoting a carbon tax policy that its leadership says is a more efficient and less expensive alternative to the Green New Deal. Climate scientists have called the carbon tax proposal an insufficient response to the climate crisis.

Also of Interest

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

How U.S. Senators Invest in the Firms They’re Supposed to Regulate

How Chicago Police Created a False Narrative After Officers Killed Harith Augustus

'Out of control police department': Vallejo faces new claims of racial profiling and brutality

The Tories are learning that Boris Johnson is electoral Marmite

Hospital Plans to “Use the Transferring of Critically-Ill Premature Infants” to Paint Nurses Union as “Shameless,” Secret Strategy Memo Reveals

25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections

The Financial Times’ Martin Wolf Discovers that Rentier Capitalism and Financialization Increase Inequality and Hurt Growth

WaPo No Longer Discloses Its Owner’s Uber Investment

And They Made A Desert: 80 to 90% Drop In Nutrients In Food

Campaigners urge UN to endorse global fracking ban

'What Corporate Impunity Looks Like': Court Acquits Tepco Executives for Role in Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Sanders Vows, If Elected, to Pursue Criminal Charges Against Fossil Fuel CEOs for Knowingly 'Destroying the Planet'

The Climate Crisis Means the Wrong People Are Running the World

The sinking class: the New Yorkers left to fight the climate crisis alone

‘Trump’s Deregulatory Agenda Has Been Driven by Corporations’

EPA Allowed Companies to Make 40 New PFAS Chemicals Despite Serious Risks

A Little Night Music

Sam Myers & Anson Funderburgh - Happy Man

Sam Myers & Anson Funderburgh - Are You Out There?

Anson Funderburgh & Sam Myers - Blue Shadows

Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets - Rambling Woman

Lee Roy Parnell and Anson Funderburgh - T Bone Shuffle

Little Charlie Baty & Anson Funderburgh - Frosty

Boz Scaggs & Anson Funderburgh - Running Blue

Anson Funderburgh & Sam Myers - Let the good times roll

Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets - Sidetracked

Big Joe Maher, Anson Funderburgh, Mookie Brill - Okeshemokeshepop

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Really enjoyed the short video by Greta Thurberg and George Monbiot. Was a little breathe of fresh air and hope amidst all the news you shared and we read everyday.
Went and participated in the Climate March at the Capitol in Santa Fe and it was a impressive and inspiring turnout. It appeared there were several schools that had brought students to the March. There was a large number of "older people" that were participating as well.
Hope all have a wonderful weekend. Plan to head to the Farmers Market in the morning to pick up some wonderful veggies.

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Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

joe shikspack's picture


good to hear from you!

i enjoyed that video, too. i'm glad to see that there are people who are willing to get out on the streets and make some noise. i sure hope that it makes an impression and i hope that the numbers of engaged people keeps growing.

have a great weekend and enjoy your veggies!

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NCTim's picture

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

joe shikspack's picture


how's it going?

cool album!

big joe maher is a local here. he gigs around the d.c./annapolis area a lot. i just saw him a couple of saturdays ago at danny gatton's birtday celebration (along with scads of other area players who played with gatton). joe's a really good singer, i can't imagine how he manages to play drums and sing like that, but i'm glad he does.

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dystopian's picture

Great guitar player... another Texan! Great tunes. Amazing that bass player he had for a couple years (Mike Judge) went on to create Bevis and Butthead and King of the Hill!!!

Too bad no one in power sees the declining bird populations as something like, oh, I don't know, maybe something like say a canary in the coal mine. For us that have spent literally a lifetime counting birds what we have been seeing for some time is frightening. The clear beginnings of collapse of the ecosystems we grew up with, before our eyes, in our lives.

Glad to see the "Riot Boosting Act" - which sounds like a call for more violence, deemed obviously unconstitutional vis a vis that wee thingie, what it is it, oh yeah, the first amendment.

JFK and RFK will are rolling over in their graves for neolib Joe (the asshole) Kennedy.

Thanks for the blues and news... that Hubert Sumlin was good...

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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

snoopydawg's picture


should have to stand trial for it. That they are allowing untold numbers of plants, animals and bugs to go extinct is a heinous crime! The climate change protests everywhere were amazing and it was great to see how many people attended them, but what happens tomorrow? What did they accomplish? Especially when Trump is deregulating every damn thing he can with no one in congress giving a damn. Bernie says that when he is president he will put corporations on trial and hopefully that includes Trump and every damn person in his administration and congress for letting him do it.

Well maybe if Trump decides to start the war with Iran it will be the end of the reign of humans on the earth and it can start over again without us.

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"I will be the best, the best, you know, you know the thing!”
- Joe Biden

Grope and Hope