The Evening Blues - 9-22-20
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features L.C. Good Rockin' Robinson. Enjoy!
L.C. Good Rockin' Robinson - I've Got To Go
“Two men at Google who do not enjoy the legitimacy of the vote, democratic oversight, or the demands of shareholder governance exercise control over the organization and presentation of the world’s information. One man at Facebook who does not enjoy the legitimacy of the vote, democratic oversight, or the demands of shareholder governance exercises control over an increasingly universal means of social connection along with the information concealed in its networks.”
-- Shoshana Zuboff
News and Opinion
As this summer of pandemic and racial justice protests draws to a close, Naomi Klein hosted a landmark conversation between Shoshana Zuboff, author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” and Simone Browne, author of “Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness.” The three authors discussed how both governments and tech giants are using our moment of overlapping crises to push through discredited surveillance technologies that threaten privacy, democracy, and any hope of equality.
The US Department of Justice on Monday designated three cities as “anarchist jurisdictions”, where it says elected officials have allowed property destruction and violence during protests over racism and police brutality. The move is an explicitly political gambit, part of the Trump administration’s “law and order” re-election push. In seeking to withdraw federal funding from the three cities, the DoJ is likely to be stymied in the courts.
Earlier in September, Donald Trump released a memo asking the DoJ to identify cities supposedly “permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction”, and to publish names on its website within two weeks. The DoJ duly did so, outlining its criteria: forbidding police from intervening “to restore order”; defunding police; and withdrawing “law enforcement protection” or refusing federal law enforcement intervention.
In a press release, the department said New York cut $1bn from its police budget, and Portland and Seattle allowed prolonged protests to occur. Officials in the cities have “permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities”, the DoJ said. ...
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, said Trump was “not a king. He cannot ‘defund’ NYC. It’s an illegal stunt.”
'Sledgehammer to Permanently Silence Opposing Voices': Outrage Over Florida Gov. DeSantis' Proposed Anti-Protest Bill
The American Civil Liberties Union joined Florida Democrats on Monday in condemning a proposed bill by Gov. Ron DeSantis that would newly classify certain forms of protest as felonies and impose harsh penalties on some protesters. Flanked by Republican lawmakers and law enforcement officials at an afternoon press conference in Winter Haven, DeSantis referred to Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon as he announced the proposed legislation.
"I look at what goes on in Portland. They'll have people, they'll arrest them," DeSantis said. "They're all scraggly-looking Antifa-types. They get their mugshot taken, then they get released. It's like a carousel; on and on it goes."
"That's not going to happen in here in Florida," the governor vowed.
The "Combatting Violence, Disorder, and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act" would make it a felony to "obstruct traffic during an unpermitted protest," while absolving motorists of liability for "injury or death caused if fleeing for safety from a mob." It would also make it a felony for anyone gathered in a group of seven or more people "to cause damage to property or injury to other persons," or to "destroy public property" or topple monuments. Jailed protesters will not be granted bail until at least their first court appearance.
Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 21, 2020
The proposed bill levies mandatory minimum prison sentences for striking law enforcement officers, including with projectiles, and contains an enhancement for throwing objects that strike officers or civilians, and for out-of-state protesters who even participate in a demonstration that turns violent.
Furthermore, the measure attaches Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) liability to "anyone who organizes or funds a violent or disorderly assembly." It also contains provisions barring state grants to municipalities that defund police, and terminates state benefits to anyone "convicted of participating in a violent or disorderly assembly."
State Democratic leaders decried the governor's proposed bill. "The governor is attaching himself to [President] Donald Trump's propaganda and manufacturing a non-existent law and order crisis in Florida," said state Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson. "It's political fear-mongering to bolster a president's re-election bid."
"Non-violent protest has been a critical and basic principle of this nation, and has repeatedly changed the course of history for the better," said state Sen. Bobby Powell. "The governor's proposal has nothing to do with safeguarding that right. This crackdown is just that—a government sledgehammer to permanently silence opposing voices."
"The governor could not name a single city, a single town, or a single community in Florida that was the victim of violent protests, because there has been none," said state Sen. Perry Thurston. "The governor is attempting to link calls for justice to calls for anarchy, without any evidence to support such a claim."
"This is using a problem from somewhere else to strip the liberty of people in this state to voice their constitutional right to peacefully dissent," added Thurston. "And it's the latest in a long line of efforts to quash the people's ability to demand change when the government refuses to listen."
The US has slapped a raft of new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear weapons programme, claiming it is enforcing a UN arms embargo – and demanded that the European Union follows suit. The Trump administration on Monday named 27 individuals and entities, including officials at the Iranian ministry of defence, nuclear scientists, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and anyone found trading in conventional weapons with Iran.
Announcing the sanctions, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the UK, France and Germany would be required not just to comply with the sanctions, but to enforce them. But the UN has asserted that the decision is not up to Washington, and the European powers have warned that the US does not have the legal power to do so.
The State Department declared: “The UN arms embargo on Iran is now re-imposed indefinitely, and we will ensure that it remains in place until Iran changes its behaviour. The new executive order gives us the tools to hold accountable actors who seek to evade the embargo”. ...
Iran, celebrating the US’s diplomatic isolation, believes Trump is trying to raise the profile of the Iranian crisis ahead of the 3 November elections, but is not clear if he is trying to provoke a military clash with Iran, or how far he is prepared to go to confront his European allies, including the UK.
US stock markets continued falling on Monday as investors worried Congress would not agree to more stimulus cash before the election and reacted to an uptick in coronavirus infections.
The Dow Jones closed down 510 points, or 1.9% after a late rally. The S&P 500 lost 1.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed just 0.1% lower after a late-day surge in tech stocks.
US stock markets are entering a fourth week of selloffs, ending a rally that had driven them to record highs over the summer. Monday was the first time since February that the S&P 500 has posted four straight daily losses.
“Today’s market action reflects investors’ frustration with Congress’s inability to pass additional stimulus,” Jack Ablin, the chief financial officer at Cresset Capital wrote in a note to investors. “Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell, in a speech last week, stressed ‘more fiscal support is likely to be needed’ to help struggling small businesses and the roughly 11 million out-of-work Americans.”
Having flu and Covid-19 together significantly increases your risk of death, say government scientists who are urging all those at risk of getting or transmitting flu to get the vaccine in the coming weeks and months.
The evidence for the double whammy is currently limited and comes mostly from a study with small numbers – 58 people – carried out in the UK during the early phase of the pandemic.
“As I understand it, it’s 43% of those with co-infection died compared with 26.9% of those who tested positive for Covid only,” said England’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam. These were people who had been hospitalised and had been tested for both viruses, he said, and so were very ill – but the rate of death from Covid alone in the study between January and April was similar to the known rate of Covid hospital mortality generally of around 25% or 26%.
Amy Coney Barrett was on Trump’s list of possible nominees in 2018, when he was considering who would replace Anthony Kennedy, a justice who retired. But the president had other plans for Barrett. “I’m saving her for Ginsburg,” Trump said, according to an Axios report last year.
In Barrett, 48, conservatives see a young, strict constructionist who interprets the constitution through what she thinks its writers intended – a jurist in the mold of Antonin Scalia, the conservative justice (and close friend of Ginsburg), who died in February 2016 and for whom Barrett clerked.
That the devout Catholic mother of seven – she and her husband, Jesse M Barrett, have five biological children and adopted two from Haiti – is seen as a potential successor to Ginsburg has raised concerns among progressives. Many fear that if confirmed on the bench, Barrett would vote to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling which safeguards the right to abortion. Barrett opposes abortion.
Barbara Lagoa, a 52-year-old Cuban American conservative federal judge from Florida, sits with Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana near the top of Donald Trump’s list of possible picks to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the supreme court.
Lagoa is quite new to her position on the Atlanta-based 11th US circuit court of appeals, one step below the supreme court. She was appointed by Trump in December 2019, having received overwhelming Senate approval. Lagoa was appointed to the Florida state supreme court the previous January, by Ron DeSantis, a close ally of Trump, as his first official act as governor. She was appointed to her previous state role by Governor Jeb Bush, in 2006. ...
Lagoa recently joined a major ruling that struck a blow to voting rights in Florida, reversing a decision that struck down a law requiring people with serious criminal convictions to pay all fines and legal debts before regaining the right to vote. Such laws disproportionately disadvantage Black voters.
Lagoa is a member of Florida’s large, influential and largely conservative Cuban American community, her parents having fled Cuba after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. She grew up near Miami, graduated from Florida International University and studied law at Columbia University, Ginsburg’s alma mater, in New York, NBC reported.
Immigrant rights groups are calling on New York senators to oppose the judicial nomination of a top Department of Justice official because of her role in the Trump administration’s child separation policy. A letter to the senators signed by Families Belong Together (FBT), a campaigning group that opposes the Trump administration’s separation policies, said Iris Lan’s “involvement in and facilitation of” the administration’s policy made her unfit to serve on a lifetime seat as a federal judge in the southern district of New York.
Senate rules require district court judges to be informally approved by the state’s two home senators in order to proceed with their confirmation, in a secretive process that is known as giving judicial nominees a “blue slip”. If Lan’s nomination were to be blocked by the two senators – Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand – it would mark the first time that a longtime career official who had knowledge of and involvement in the Trump administration’s separation policy would be blocked from career advancement.
The letter from Families Belong Together follows a report in the Guardian that described how Lan, who serves as an associate deputy attorney general, had played a role in the 2017 removal of a junior prosecutor in Texas after he had raised concerns with his superiors about migrant children who were going missing after their parents had been arrested for allegedly entering the US illegally. The Guardian also reported that Lan was present on a 2018 conference call in which her then boss, the now former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, instructed US attorneys in border states that there would be no exception to a “zero tolerance” policy to arrest all migrants who entered the US illegally, including families with children under the age of five.
In effect, the instruction meant that no child was too young to be separated from their parents.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) saw a severe decline in the rate of on-time delivery of first-class mail after Louis DeJoy took over as postmaster general, according to new data obtained by the Guardian that provides some of the most detailed insight yet into widespread mail delays this summer.
Shortly after taking the helm, DeJoy – a major Republican donor with no prior USPS experience – implemented operational changes he said were intended to make the financially beleaguered agency more efficient. Those changes included an effort to get USPS trucks to run on time and limiting extra trips to transport late mail, with the result that mail was often left behind. ...
Of note, some areas in key swing states saw significant declines in on-time delivery rates of first-class mail. In the postal district for northern Ohio, on-time delivery rates dropped as low as 63.60% in mid August. In the Detroit postal district, on-time delivery fell to 61.01% the same month. ...
Although DeJoy’s changes have been paused until after the election, the new data shows that first class mail continued to be delivered late across the country after his reversal. In the Baltimore postal district, for example, the on-time delivery rate remained at less than 60% at the end of August.
Many Americans were stunned when Donald Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin in 2016. Greg Lewis was not.
In the months leading up to the election, Lewis, an assistant pastor at St Gabriel’s Church of God in Christ in Milwaukee, the state’s largest city, would drive up and down highways crisscrossing Wisconsin and all he saw were Trump posters. But in the city, where Lewis runs Souls to the Polls, an interfaith effort to get parishioners to vote, no one gave the churches the resources to organize. On election day, turnout in Milwaukee, home to a majority of the state’s African American population, dropped by just over 41,000 votes. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the state by just under 23,000 votes. He was the first Republican presidential candidate to carry the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
There are few cities in the US more important to the 2020 election than Milwaukee, which could play a critical role in deciding who wins the key battleground state of Wisconsin and the presidency. Joe Biden will probably win the vote in the Democratic bastion, but the number of voters who turn out there could dramatically influence his chances of winning statewide.
Lewis, who has snow-white hair and a matching bushy beard, thinks there were enough untapped votes in Milwaukee’s churches alone to change the outcome of the election. “Most of these people don’t believe that the system works for them. They don’t trust the system, they don’t believe in the system. That’s what we have to fight internally,” he said. “Externally, we have to fight disenfranchisement and suppression of our vote.”
Wisconsin voters say their lack of enthusiasm for Democratic candidates stems from feeling forgotten by the party. Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in America, and some of the biggest drops in 2016 turnout were in Black neighborhoods of the city, including the 53206 zip code, one of the poorest areas. “Simply put, if Democratic institutions in Wisconsin would have paid attention to Black and brown communities in ways that weren’t superficial, Republicans, Trump in particular, wouldn’t have won,” said Jarette English, 37, a local activist in Milwaukee.
Despite the Dems war on Greens, apparently the Green presidential ticket is an option for 96% of voters still.
96% of voters will be able to cast a vote for #HawkinsWalker in 2020! A vote for real change!
— Howie Hawkins (@HowieHawkins) September 21, 2020
Rising temperatures in the Arctic shrank the ice covering the polar ocean this year to its second-lowest extent in four decades, scientists have announced, in yet another sign of how the climate crisis is rapidly transforming the region. Satellites recorded this year’s sea ice minimum at 3.74m sq km on 15 September, only the second time the ice has been measured below 4m sq km in 40 years of record keeping, said researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. ...
The record low of 3.41m sq km, reached in 2012 after a late-season cyclonic storm broke up the remaining ice, is not much below what researchers see today.
This year’s decline was especially fast between 31 August and 5 September, thanks to pulses of warm air coming off a heatwave in Siberia, according to the NSIDC. The rate of ice loss during those six days was faster than during any other year on record. Another team of scientists found in July that the Siberian heatwave would have been all but impossible without human-caused climate change.
As the Arctic sea ice vanishes, it leaves patches of dark water open. Those dark waters absorb solar radiation rather than reflecting it back out of the atmosphere, a process that amplifies warming and helps to explain why Arctic temperatures have risen more than twice as fast as the rest of the world over the last 30 years.
PA granted @Shell $1.65B in tax incentives for a $6B facility that will create 600 petrochemical jobs, but similar investment in wind & solar manufacturing could have created 16,500 JOBS.
We need to invest in clean energy, not more polluting fossil fuels. https://t.co/ATBmSlmmVi
— Food & Water Watch (@foodandwater) September 21, 2020
Hundreds of elephants died in Botswana earlier this year from ingesting toxins produced by cyanobacteria, according to government officials who say they will be testing waterholes for algal blooms next rainy season to reduce the risk of another mass die-off.
The mysterious death of 350 elephants in the Okavango delta between May and June baffled conservationists, with leading theories suggesting they were killed by a rodent virus known as EMC (encephalomyocarditis) or toxins from algal blooms.
“Our latest tests have detected cyanobacterial neurotoxins to be the cause of deaths. These are bacteria found in water,” Mmadi Reuben, principal veterinary officer at the Botswana department of wildlife and national parks, said in a news conference on Monday. “However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only. We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating.”
Local sources suggest 70% of elephants died near water holes containing algal blooms, which can produce toxic microscopic organisms called cyanobacteria. Toxins were initially ruled out because no other species died – except for one horse – but scientists now think elephants could be particularly susceptible because they spend a lot of time bathing and drinking large quantities of water.
The Bobcat fire has become one of the largest in Los Angeles county history, scorching structures, homes and a nature center in a famed southern California wildlife sanctuary in foothill desert communities. The wind-driven wildfire in the mountains north-east of Los Angeles approached 165 sq miles (404 sq km) Monday and is 15% contained.
But officials said calmer winds could help crews corral the flames. “It’s slightly cooler too, so hopefully that will be a help to firefighters,” said US Forest Service fire spokesman Larry Smith.
Thousands of residents in the foothill communities of the Antelope Valley were ordered to evacuate Saturday as winds pushed the flames into Juniper Hills, and additional evacuation warnings were issued Sunday afternoon. Firefighters were, however, able to defend Mount Wilson this weekend, which overlooks greater Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains and has a historic observatory founded more than a century ago and numerous broadcast antennas serving southern California.
The Bobcat fire started 6 September and has already doubled in size over the last week, becoming one of Los Angeles county’s largest wildfires in history, according to the Los Angeles Times. The cause of the fire is under investigation. ...
Across California, nearly 19,000 firefighters continue to fight more than two dozen major wildfires. More than 7,900 wildfires have burned more than 5,468 sq miles (14,164 sq km) in California this year, including many since a mid-August barrage of dry lightning ignited parched vegetation.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
L. C. Good Rockin' Robinson - Things' So Bad In California
L.C. 'Good Rockin' Robinson - Stop and Jump
L.C. 'Good Rockin' Robinson - Ups And Downs'
L. C. "Good Rockin'" Robinson - Separation blues
L.C. "Good Rockin'" Robinson - Bringin' My Baby Back Home
L.C. "Good Rockin'" Robinson - Dust My Broom
L.C. "Good Rockin'" Robinson - Train Time Blues
L.C. "Good Rockin'" Robinson - Pinetop's Boogie Woogie
L C Good Rockin' Robinson - House Cleanin' Blues