The Evening Blues - 9-29-20


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Butch Cage & Willie B. Thomas

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features country blues duo Butch Cage & Willie B. Thomas. Enjoy!

Butch Cage & Willie B. Thomas - Bugle Call Blues

"What is really amazing, and frustrating, is mankind's habit of refusing to see the obvious and inevitable until it is there, and then muttering about unforeseen catastrophes."

-- Isaac Asimov

News and Opinion

Global coronavirus deaths pass 1m with no sign rate is slowing

The number of people who have died from Covid-19 has exceeded 1 million, according to a tally of cases maintained by Johns Hopkins University, with no sign the global death rate is slowing and infections on the rise again in countries that were thought to be controlling their outbreaks months ago.

The milestone was reached early on Tuesday morning UK time, nine months since authorities in China first announced the detection of a cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The first recorded death, that of a 61-year-old man in a hospital in the city, came 12 days later.

So far there have been 1,000,555 deaths from Covid-19, according to the latest update to the database, which draws on information from the World Health Organization, the US and European centres for disease prevention and control and China’s national health authority, among other sources. ...

“If anything, the numbers currently reported probably represent an underestimate of those individuals who have either contracted Covid-19 or died as a cause of it,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, told a briefing in Geneva. ...

More than one-fifth of the tallied deaths have occurred in the US, the most of any country in the world, followed by more than 142,000 in Brazil and more than 95,000 in India, which is currently recording the most new cases per day.

White House coronavirus task force rift deepens

A rift is deepening between longtime US health officials coordinating the coronavirus response and Scott Atlas, a doctor and conservative commentator recently brought onto the team by Donald Trump. In an interview on Monday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious director, Anthony Fauci, said he is concerned the president’s new task force pick is spreading misinformation and implied he does not work with the other health officials.

The interview comes after Fauci was noticeably absent from the president’s Covid briefing, as was the response coordinator, Deborah Birx. Present instead was Atlas, a conservative commentator whose views are more aligned with Trump’s and who praised the president’s coronavirus response. ...

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, Robert Redfield, has also expressed concerns about Atlas, and was overheard on a phone call saying “everything he says is false” which he later confirmed was about Atlas.

Specifically he is concerned Atlas is feeding misinformation to Trump about the concept of herd immunity – that if enough people are infected with coronavirus the numbers will stabilize – and young people’s susceptibility to the virus. Atlas is also against severe lockdowns and mask usage. These views ware at odds with those backed by science and promoted by the likes of Fauci and Birx.

How Trump Is Shooting Himself In Foot On Coronavirus As Cases Spike In NY

Covid-19 tests that give results in minutes to be rolled out across world

Tests for Covid-19 that show on-the-spot results in 15 to 30 minutes are about to be rolled out across the world, potentially saving many thousands of lives and slowing the pandemic in both poor and rich countries.

In a triumph for a global initiative to get vital drugs and vaccines to fight the virus, 120m rapid antigen tests from two companies will be supplied to low- and middle-income countries for $5 (£3.90) each or even less.

The tests, which look like a pregnancy test, with two blue lines displayed for positive, are read by a health worker. One test has received emergency approval from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the other is expected to get it shortly.

The quick and easy but high-quality tests will allow mass screening of health workers, who are dying in disproportionate numbers in low income countries. ...

The companies claim their tests are about 97% accurate, but that is in optimal conditions. Find [Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics] puts their sensitivity between 80% and 90% in real-world conditions. That would pick up most infections.

Trump's Failure on Covid-19 Testing and Tracking Data Has Led to Deaths of 1,700 Healthcare Workers, Nurses Union Report Shows

The largest nurses' union in the U.S. revealed Monday that the federal government's failure to track and report data on Covid-19 deaths has led to the deaths of at least 1,700 healthcare workers while leaving medical facilities with little incentive "to avoid becoming zones of infection."

In its report, "Sins of Omission: How Government Failures to Track Covid-19 Data Have Led to More Than 1,700 Healthcare Worker Deaths and Jeopardize Public Health," National Nurses United lists the names of at least 213 registered nurses who have died of complications from Covid-19. 

The nurses are among 1,718 healthcare workers who have died, including 448 who worked in hospital settings.

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began requiring nursing homes to report Covid-19 fatality and infection rates in May, data collection for the hospital industry has been "woefully inadequate," NNU said. Only 15 states are currently reporting infection numbers for healthcare workers on a daily, semi-weekly, or weekly basis.

As NNU said in a press statement, the Trump administration has moved reporting on Covid-19 numbers from the purview of the CDC to the Health and Human Services Department, which "which has hired private companies under nondisclosure agreements, keeping the majority of the data collected hidden from public view."

"The politicizing of government agencies, such as the CDC, must stop," said NNU.

Jean Ross, a president of the organization and a registered nurse, said keeping track of healthcare workers' infections and deaths from Covid-19 at hospitals where patients are being treated "is crucial for the nation to effectively respond to this pandemic."

"Nurses know that we need detailed, consistent data to understand how and where the virus is spreading, who is most vulnerable to infection, and whether interventions are effective," said Ross. "We can use this information to learn how to prevent the spread of future pandemics. Unfortunately, instead of tracking and reporting Covid-19 data, federal and state governments have ignored, hidden, and manipulated Covid-19 data."

Part of the hospital industry's reluctance to acknowledge the extent to which Covid-19 has spread through its facilities is likely financial, NNU said. Hospitals have an "interest in putting up barriers to Covid-19-related workers' compensation for registered nurses and other health care workers in many states."

"To add insult to injury, a number of states, including California, have laws that grant presumptive eligibility for workers' compensation to some publics afety employees," the report reads. "These occupations, such as police officers and firefighters, have predominately male workforces. However, nurses and other health care workers in the predominately female healthcare workforce have not been granted such protections, even though, by the nature of their work, they suffer some of the highest risks of injury and illness of any profession."

Tens of Millions More Expected to Lose Employer-Based Insurance by 2021

While for-profit health insurers have reported record-high earnings this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, small companies across the U.S. are reporting difficulty paying premiums for their employees—and tens of millions of workers are expected to lose their employer-based health insurance by the end of the year, even if they keep their jobs.

The New York Times reported on Monday that although some small businesses were able to use funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to cover their employees' health benefits, nearly a third of employers reported to Harvard Business School researchers In August that they didn't think they'd be able to pay for premiums this month and going forward.

Under the current for-profit healthcare model, small businesses are reluctant to cut back on paying for their workers' health coverage, according to Daniel Barlow, executive director of Business Leaders for Health Care Transformation (BLHCT).

"A lot of these businesses were out of their own pockets were paying their employees' health insurance because they realized just how unfair and devastating it would be for a person to lose both their insurance and their income during a deadly pandemic," Barlow told Common Dreams on Monday. "So a lot of these business owners are personally floating their employees to keep them on health insurance and that just shows how ridiculous it is to have a system where a person's health insurance is tied to their job."

The Harvard Business School study also showed last month that business owners are attempting to keep employees covered for as long as possible, even as they face sharply reduced profits and yearly healthcare costs that average, according to Barlow, $7,000 per year for an individual and upwards of $20,000 per year for a family.

"Small businesses forecasted a 50% decline in demand during the pandemic, placing them under extreme pressure to cut costs," wrote the researchers. "In the month of April, 30% reported they did not make rent or mortgage payments. In spite of cost cutting across the board, small businesses have prioritized health insurance premiums: Our survey shows only 5% have resorted to cutting the health insurance benefit for their employees." ...

Estimates vary for how many Americans are likely to lose their employer-sponsored health coverage by the end of 2020; a recent study by Avalere Health estimated 12 million while the Economic Policy Institute said last month that about 12 million have already lost their insurance since February.

Amid the crisis, while for-profit insurers are raking in huge profits, the Times reported last month that they are spending a smaller portion of premium payments than usual on healthcare costs, with more earnings going to administrative and marketing costs.

"We're looking at the fact that healthcare can't be regulated by the marketplace," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), told the Times last month.

Californians of color most affected by growing backlog of jobless aid

Nearly one-third of all Californian workers have filed for unemployment benefits since the start of the crisis in mid-March – 6.23 million workers, according to the California Policy Lab. A recent report from a strike team found that the Employment Development Department (EDD), the office in charge of issuing unemployment benefits, had a backlog of claims so large that the department had to stop accepting new claims for two weeks in order to get a handle on it. The department believes its employees won’t be able to eliminate the backlog of 1.6m before January 2021. The backlog grows by 10,000 cases a day. ...

Ten years ago, California’s state legislature held hearings on how the state’s archaic technical system caused a backlog of unemployment claims during the Great Recession. “The legislative descriptions of what happened a decade ago could have been dated for 2020 and been applicable today,” said David Chiu, state assemblymember. Since the start of the pandemic Chiu’s office – and pretty much every other legislative office throughout California – has become, by extension, an EDD crisis helpline for their constituents. “We hear on an hourly basis from desperate constituents who have gone into extremes, depleted their life savings, are struggling to put food on the table and pay their rent,” he said.

The report, Chiu said, told legislators a lot of what they already knew: EDD needed a massive overhaul of its technology systems and was chronically understaffed. There were confusing processes, long waits, repeated forms, unanswered phone calls that, when answered, often can’t be resolved. Between new unemployment insurance programs such as pandemic unemployment assistance and a surge in claims unlike anything seen before, the department was completely overwhelmed in a time of crisis.

But the report also noted that “individuals who are not fluent in English face insurmountable barriers to receiving assistance”. It found that the claims website did not work on mobile phone, meaning users had to have access to desktop computers in order to file a claim – something that was not available to many low-income communities when public libraries were closed during the pandemic. The report stated that 39% of users in June used mobile devices to file a claim, and 70% of those who accessed the EDD website had used a mobile device.

“In a state as diverse as California, it’s yet another example of how we’re seeing racial inequities play out,” Chiu said. “Those individuals who may lack computer or Internet access or have limited English proficiency tend to be people of color, and that means they’re being severely hamstrung by this broken bureaucracy.”

Aaron Maté testifies at UN on OPCW Syria cover-up

At an Arria-Formula Meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Aaron Maté of The Grayzone delivers remarks on the OPCW's ongoing Syria scandal.

Veteran OPCW inspectors who investigated an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018 say that their probe was censored and manipulated. Under direct US government pressure, the OPCW concealed evidence that pointed to the incident being staged on the ground, and instead released a report that suggested Syrian government culpability. The allegation against Syria led to the bombing of Syria by the US, France, and UK just days after the alleged Douma incident.

In his remarks, Aaron calls this "one of the most important, and overlooked, global stories in recent memory" and urges the UN and OPCW to let the OPCW inspectors air their concerns, and present the evidence that was suppressed.

Dozens killed as Armenian and Azerbaijani forces clash for second day

Dozens of soldiers have been killed in the second day of clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces over a disputed south Caucasus region, with international calls mounting for an immediate ceasefire. Civilians have also been killed and are said to be among the hundreds wounded in the fiercest clashes since 2016 in an area that provides crucial transit routes for gas and oil to the international market.

Tensions between the countries have been growing for months over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, an enclave legally considered to be part of Azerbaijan but which has been run by ethnic Armenians since it declared independence in 1991. Fighting was reported overnight on Sunday and throughout Monday, with both sides accusing each other of using heavy artillery, targeting civilians and deploying foreign mercenaries.

Analysts have said the conflict at the crossroads of Europe and Asia risks drawing in larger regional powers including Russia, Iran and Turkey. The latter has strongly sided with its Azerbaijani allies and called on Monday for Armenia’s “occupation” of the disputed region to be ended. ...

Both sides have sought to cast each other as the aggressor in this week’s clashes, with Armenia’s parliament on Monday condemning what it called a “full-scale military attack” by Azerbaijan on the disputed area. Armenian officials have accused Turkey of providing intelligence and military assistance to Azerbaijan as well as of funnelling about 4,000 Syrian militia forces into the region – a claim Baku described as “absolute nonsense”.

Fears Nagorno-Karabakh conflict a threat to regional stability

Syrian rebel fighters prepare to deploy to Azerbaijan in sign of Turkey’s ambition

Syrian rebel fighters have signed up to work for a private Turkish security company as border guards in Azerbaijan, several volunteers in Syria’s last rebel stronghold have said, at a time when the long-running conflict between Baku and neighbouring Armenia is showing dangerous signs of escalation.

The potential deployment is a sign of Turkey’s growing appetite for projecting power abroad, and opens a third theatre in its regional rivalry with Moscow. Ankara is already engaged in a volatile power struggle with Russia in the conflicts in Syria and Libya, and tensions could now spill over into Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Guardian spoke to three men living in the last rebel-controlled corner of Syria, who said that almost a decade of war and grinding poverty had made them keen to register with militia leaders and brokers who promised work with a private Turkish security company overseas. They expect to travel over the border to Turkey before being flown to Azerbaijan.

The arrival of foreign fighters would inject a new layer of complexity into the battle between Yerevan and Baku over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, an enclave legally considered to be part of Azerbaijan but which has been run by ethnic Armenians since it declared independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The area attracts western concern because it is a major oil and gas pipeline corridor.

Clashes in July that killed 17 people in a different border region, as well as fresh hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh in the last two days, which have left 15 dead so far, have led to concerns that the dormant conflict could once again be lurching into full-blown war.

Philly Activists Reclaim 50 Vacant Houses, Creating a Model for Organizing as Mass Evictions Loom

Analysis Shows Nearly 80% of US Household Wealth Owned by Millionaires and Billionaires

In an analysis of 2019 government data released Monday, policy analyst and blogger Matt Bruenig found that last year, millionaires and billionaires owned 79.2% of all household wealth in the United States despite constituting just under 12% of the population.

Bruenig examined triennial data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, which was released Monday by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

While the share of wealth owned by households with net worths of $1 million or more decreased slightly between 2016 and 2019, it was still much higher than it was in 1989, the year the modern version of the survey began.

Thirty years ago, millionaires and billionaires owned 60.4% of all household wealth in the U.S.

"If we really want to tackle wealth inequality in this country," Bruenig wrote, "it is this wealth that we need to spread around."

Krystal and Saagar: NEW Data Shows Millionaires, Billionaires Own 79% Of America’s Wealth

We Still Don’t Know Who Is Paying For Trump’s SCOTUS Seats

Having already spent tens of millions of dollars to install two of President Donald Trump’s justices on the Supreme Court, a conservative dark money group now says it plans to spend millions more to confirm Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who has issued rulings favorable to corporate interests. The money raised by the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) comes from untraceable sources — and Barrett previously rebuffed a Democratic senator’s request that she ask outside groups to refrain from spending big money to try to influence a congressional review of her appellate court nomination.

JCN previously spent as much as $27 million to block President Barack Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court pick and place conservative jurists Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the high court. As The Daily Poster previously reported, JCN received $15.9 million from a single anonymous donor between July 2018 and June 2019, the tax period covering the Kavanaugh fight.

Now, JCN says it will spend at least $10 million supporting Barrett’s confirmation. That’s in addition to astroturf lobbying campaigns by the Koch Network’s Americans for Prosperity and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber plans to encourage its members to “elevate Barrett's platform and explain why her confirmation is aligned with the business community’s priorities,” according to Axios.

JCN is the darkest of dark money groups. While nonprofits aren’t required to publicly reveal their donors, some contributor names generally drip out over time — usually in tax returns filed by other nonprofits, or in voluntary political contribution disclosures by big corporations. That hasn’t happened with JCN. Despite its massive spending, the group’s funding sources remain a total mystery. JCN’s doesn’t show up in the corporate contribution database compiled by the Center for Political Accountability. A thorough review of Internal Revenue Service nonprofit data by The Daily Poster did not turn up any donations to JCN, either.

JCN is closely tied to Trump’s top judicial adviser Leonard Leo, a longtime executive at the Federalist Society, the conservative lawyers network based in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Breonna Taylor protests: anonymous juror sues to release transcripts from officers' trial

An anonymous juror has sued to release transcripts from the trial of three police officers accused of shooting and killing Breonna Taylor, saying that court documents from the closed proceedings should be published and that jurors should be able speak publicly about the case.

“The full story and absolute truth of how this matter was handled from beginning to end is now an issue of great public interest and has become a large part of the discussion of public trust throughout the country,” the attorney for the juror wrote in the court filing. ...

The filing on Monday specifically cites the Kentucky attorney general, Daniel Cameron, accusing him of using the grand jury “as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for those decisions”, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: Breonna Taylor's Rigged Case Further Erodes Legitimacy of U.S. Institutions

Proud Boys Rally Fizzled but Portland’s Cops Went on the Attack

The Proud Boys claimed that they would bring legions of dedicated patriots to the city of Portland, Oregon, in a powerful show of strength against their anti-fascist foes, but when the moment of truth came on Saturday, the right-wing gang failed to deliver. Despite weeks of hype and deep concerns over the possibility of severe and deadly violence, the organization, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a hate group, drew a modest crowd of angry men and women, whose brief gathering mostly consisted of swilling cheap beer and hard seltzers and assaulting journalists in a park on the edge of town. The absence of large-scale violence, which has so often defined the group’s forays into Portland over the past few years, came as a relief to a city that has been blanketed in wildfire smoke in recent weeks and targeted by the Trump administration as an “anarchist jurisdiction” for its nightly protests against police brutality. ...

“The events over the weekend show that law enforcement knew how to keep the far-right groups from unleashing violence in Portland all along, they simply chose not to in previous instances,” Michael German, a former FBI agent, now at the Brennan Center, said in an email to The Intercept. ... German, who has closely tracked law enforcement response to far-right violence in Portland under the Trump administration said the means for protecting the public have been long clear. “It’s not as if it required aggressive police action, just proper planning, a presence, and a few token citations and weapons seizures made a huge difference,” he said. “Yet, law enforcement still left room for criticism. Allowing the militants to man armed checkpoints and harass and beat journalists and others without interference reinforces the idea that the police condone these armed out-of-state groups coming into Portland and intimidating, threatening, and assaulting residents.” ...

The demonstration wrapped up ahead of schedule and many of the Proud Boys drove across state lines to celebrate their demonstration in Washington state. Two separate anti-facist and anti-racist demonstrations a short drive from the scene drew considerably larger crowds. ...

In the end, it was the local police who were responsible for violence in the streets, as dozens of riot cops chased protesters and the press from Multnomah County Justice Center downtown and pummeled them with fists and clubs following an order to a disperse. Ahead of Saturday’s rally, roughly 50 police officers assigned to the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response were deputized as federal marshals, allowing members the local police to bring federal charges against individuals accused of assaulting an officer. The move is seen as an end-run around District Attorney Mike Schmidt, who in August established a policy in which his office would decline to prosecute certain protest related offenses.

“The perception that the police favor the far-right agitators was further informed by the sharp contrast with how the police treated those protesting police violence and racism later that day,” German, the former FBI agent, said. “That they would modify the law enforcement command structure specifically to avoid restraints on police violence ordered by courts and local political leaders demonstrates complete disregard for the law, democratic restraints on police power, and the security of Portland residents from unaccountable law enforcement actions.”

the horse race

David Cay Johnston: Trump Deserves to Be Jailed, But System Is Set Up to Let Rich Avoid Paying Taxes

Trump reels from taxes bombshell as he gets set for crunch debate with Biden

Donald Trump heads into the first US presidential debate against Joe Biden on Tuesday night trailing in opinion polls and now reeling from dramatic newspaper revelations detailing his chronic financial losses and years of tax avoidance. ...

Evidence that Trump is paying much less than many of his working-class supporters is likely to be weaponized by Biden, his Democratic rival, when the two men go head to head for the first debate in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Biden campaign was quick to seize on the report, releasing an attack ad contrasting Trump’s $750 payment with elementary school teachers (who typically pay $7,239), firefighters ($5,283), construction managers ($16,447) and registered nurses ($10,216).

Biden is hoping to persuade voters who had voted for Barack Obama but switched to Trump in 2016 that the president is a conman whose connection with working people is illusory. As the county barrels toward the election on 3 November, Biden has portrayed the contest as “Scranton v Park Avenue”, pitting his home town in Pennsylvania against wealthy Manhattan, where Trump built his branding empire and reality television career.

Krystal Ball: WaPo SNOBS Say Vote Joe Because He WON'T Give You Health Care, Job

the evening greens

Investigation Reveals BP and Shell Still Back Anti-Climate Lobby Groups, Despite Pledges

Fossil fuel giants Royal Dutch Shell and BP remain active members of numerous Big Oil lobby groups fighting against climate legislation and regulation—without disclosing this in their transparency reports—an Unearthed and HuffPost investigation revealed Monday.

According to the report, Shell and BP—the world's second- and fourth-largest oil companies by revenue last year—are members of at least eight industry trade organizations lobbying against climate measures in the United States and Australia.

Both companies support the "astroturf" group Alliance of Western Energy Consumers, which boasted that it had "defeated carbon pricing bills" in Oregon, and the Texas Oil & Gas Association, which is fighting regulation of the super-heating greenhouse gas methane in the nation's largest oil-producing state.

Shell and BP also both back the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, both of which are working to undercut the country's compliance with the Paris climate agreement. Shell also remains a member of the Queensland Resources Council, which is backing construction of the world's largest coal mine in the northeastern state.

The companies, which are quoted in the report, say they are trying to reform the lobby groups from the inside, and that they would review their membership in the future.

"If we reach an impasse, we will be transparent in publicly stating our differences," BP said. "And on major issues, if our views and those of an association cannot be reconciled then we will be prepared to leave."

Earlier this year, both Shell and BP announced in almost identical language their "ambition" to be net-zero emissions businesses by 2050. In recent years they have also very publicly quit numerous industry trade groups that fund denial of anthropogenic climate change or that fight legislation or regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, while pledging to be more transparent about their associations with lobby groups.

While some observers have praised Shell and BP for finally taking some meaningful action to combat climate change caused by carbon emissions—which Shell's own scientists warned about nearly 40 years ago—many climate activists say the companies' efforts are misleading, and aren't nearly enough to avert the worst effects of catastrophic global heating.

Scientists Behind New Study Warn Warming Oceans 'Contributing to Climate Breakdown'

In a rare calm moment during a historically active Atlantic hurricane season, an international team of climate scientists on Monday published a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change showing that human-caused global heating is making the world's oceans more "stable"—which, as co-author Michael Mann explained, is "very bad news."

Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, detailed researchers' findings about ocean stratification in a piece for Newsweek. Using "more comprehensive data and a more sophisticated method for estimating stratification changes" than past studies, the scientists found that "oceans are not only becoming more stable, but are doing so faster than was previously thought."

The team—led by Guancheng Li of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in China—specifically found that stratification globally increased by a "substantial" 5.3% from 1960 to 2018, mostly in the upper 650 feet or so of the world oceans. "This seemingly technical finding has profound and troubling implications," Mann noted.

"The more stable the upper ocean, the less vertical mixing that takes place. This mixing is a primary means by which the ocean buries warming surface waters. So the surface warms up even faster. It's what we call a 'positive feedback'—a vicious cycle," he wrote. "That's bad for a number of reasons."

Noting the ongoing storm season and previous warnings from scientists—including him—that the increasingly devastating recent hurricanes "have fed off warmer surface waters," Mann explained that "a more stably stratified ocean potentially favors more intense, destructive hurricanes." Warmer waters also "absorb less atmospheric carbon dioxide" and "hold less dissolved oxygen."

In other words, the new study indicates that "humans have made the oceans more stable, and the result will be more extreme weather and the acceleration of climate change," as study co-author John Abraham wrote Monday for The Guardian. Like Mann, he detailed the research team's findings about the stratification of the oceans, and the implications. Then, he added:

It is not all doom and gloom. The good news is we know why the climate is changing and we know how the oceans are responding. We can do something about this problem—we have the ability to slow down climate change. We just lack the will and leadership.

But if 2020 has shown us anything, it has revealed that humans can change and adapt quickly to situations. There is hope that we can navigate the challenges resulting from a more stable ocean—but we must start immediately.

California fires: three killed as new blazes force widespread evacuation orders

Destructive new wildfires in northern California have killed three people, officials said on Monday, as strong winds fanned flames in the already badly scorched state. The three were killed by a fast-moving blaze west of Redding, where more than 1,200 people have been evacuated, but more details were not given.

The Zogg fire is one of nearly 30 major wildfires burning in California. In Sonoma and Napa counties, where the rapidly expanding Glass fire broke out over the weekend, more than 53,000 people were under orders to evacuate. ... The wine country fire had burned 11,000 acres as of Monday afternoon, according to the California department of forestry and fire protection, or Cal Fire. ...

Numerous studies have linked more frequent and extreme wildfires in recent years to the climate crisis, with drier and hotter conditions leaving leaving a landscape that’s tinder-dry and more prone to fire. California wildfires have scorched more than 3.7m acres in the first nine months of 2020, far exceeding any single year in state history, killing 26 people and destroying more than 7,000 structures.

Also of Interest

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

On Vote Shaming: 21 Ways Supporting The US Establishment Is Worse Than Voting Third Party

Trump’s Taxes: A Thousand Scandals in One

Trump's Tax Filings Do Not Reveal What Democrats Had Hoped For

Trump 2016 campaign 'targeted 3.5m black Americans to deter them from voting'

Progressives Warn Barrett's Right-Wing Ideology and Past Rulings Signal She Could Intentionally 'Make the Country a More Unjust Place'

Daniel Ellsberg on Julian ASSANGE: "The Press is in DENIAL!"

ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Craig Murray: Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing—Day 14

FINAL REPORT: ASSANGE HEARING DAY FIFTEEN—Alexandria Jail and SAMs Isolation Conditions Described in Detail as Place Where Assange Would Be Detained; Gov’t Tries to Paint Rosy Picture of US Prisons

As Major Outlets Ignore Assange Extradition Hearing, Ai Weiwei Demands Freedom for WikiLeaks Founder

The Guardian's Deceit-Riddled New Statement Betrays Both Julian Assange and Journalism

WikiLeaks Has Always Been Open To Publishing Leaks On Trump

Prisoners Describe Official Missteps at the Center of Michigan’s Worst Coronavirus Outbreak

US Launches Airstrikes in Iraq from Carrier For First Time in Two Years

Global Microsoft outage brings down Office 365, Outlook and Teams

Glenn Greenwald tells Megyn Kelly he has been 'formally banned' from MSNBC

Drone Awards 2020: the world seen from above

Keiser Report | Yikes! European Bank Shares Tumble

Saagar Enjeti: Dems, Never Trumpers Forget They ARCHITECTED Corrupt Tax Code Gamed By Trump

A Little Night Music

Willie B Thomas & Butch Cage - Jelly Roll

Butch Cage & Willie Thomas - Forty-Four Blues

Butch Cage & Willie Thomas - Me & My Chauffeur

Butch Cage and Willie B. Thomas - You've Gotta Move

Robert Pete Williams & Butch Cage - Black Cat

Butch Cage, Cornelius & Clarence Edwards - You Don't Love Me, Baby

Butch Cage, Cornelius & Clarence Edwards - Mean Old Frisco

Butch Cage & Willie Thomas - Baby Please Don't Go

Butch Cage, Cornelius & Clarence Edwards - Goin' Back to New Orleans

20 users have voted.


enhydra lutris's picture

a wonderful C-19 testing and response program. Global deaths finally hit a million, and our share is only a measly 20.5%. (205000 ÷ 1000555 = 0.2049) Since we've got nowhere near 20% of the global population, oh, wait ... .

One would expect the incidence to be centered around and spreading out from ports of entry, but that map from the NYT does not seem to fit that pattern all that closely.

And Lo, Messy$oft has bombed again; looks like I got it off of my new machine just in time. My office is a shambles and it will take me days to get it put back together, but I'm sitting here happy as a clam running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on my brand new machine with no weird glitches and hardware malfunctions. W00t!

The articles, or at least the clippings, on the Azeri-Armenian dust up, Turkey's involvement, and the use of mercenaries from Syria's so called rebels don't sufficiently emphasize that this is a major chunk of Pipelineistan, specifically, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline which was built by a coalition determined to find a way to get Caspian oil to Europe, or a least the Med that did not go through Russia (pre-existing transport infrastructure was Russia, Russia, Russian. Kazakhstan could readily switch back to the old northen route to avoid risks associated with going through Baku.

be well and have a good one

12 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

yep, we're #1! usa! usa! usa! we're cornering the global market on coronavirus deaths.

glad to hear that your new machine is up and running happily. if i didn't have so much software that can't run on linux i'd be really glad to dump the microsloth os.

it's pretty amazing that huge, politically well-connected corporations - supposedly run by smart, competent people keep dumping vast quantities of blood and treasure into fossil fuels. i guess it's clear proof that they mean to kill us all.

have a great evening!

7 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

Here's some more stuff that might be of interest.
Looks like the Obamagate report will not be released until after the election:
Real Clear Politics
From The Saker: The world has gone absolutely insane!
An interesting piece of sociology: The Rump Professional Class and Its Fallen Counterpart

Because the fallen professionals want to feel superior to the ordinary workers, the rump professionals have a financial incentive to sell ideas which flatter this superiority complex. This has led, in recent years, to the development of a woke industry which invents new terms and grounds for taking offence. By using these terms and taking offence in these ways, the fallen professionals feel they are participating in the culture of the rump professionals and they can distinguish themselves from the ordinary workers, who fail to use the language or to recognise the offensiveness.

My latest earworm. This one bubbled up about 10 last night, took me 'til noon today to remember the title. Kind of a Hot Tuna song, I guess, with Grace Slick adding harmony.

12 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture


thanks for the links and the tune. i wonder what is taking durham so long. i hope it's worth the wait.

benjamin studebaker appears to be on to something.

have a great evening!

6 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
fallen brethren, the Professional Managerial Class, they're the Democratic Party rank-and-file. Buncha' Boomer Television-Heads, NPR listeners, they just don't get it.

8 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

thanatokephaloides's picture


By using these terms and taking offence in these ways, the fallen professionals feel they are participating in the culture of the rump professionals and they can distinguish themselves from the ordinary workers, who

..... REFUSE .....

fail to use the language or to recognize the offensiveness.

spelling corrected to appease autocorrect

Not "fail", REFUSE. As they say in Greece, Αρνιέμαι!


5 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

joe shikspack's picture

wow. a clown show within a clusterfuck.

i've never seen anything like it in decades of watching american politics.

i didn't make enough popcorn.

10 users have voted.

@joe shikspack cleaning chores. (Floor mopping, commode and sink cleaning). The cleaning gave me instant reward, the debate infuriated me.
I chose beer, TLOML ate popcorn, sort of choked on it once due to laughter, not shock and awe.
Where did Joe's dementia go? He was full of shit, but lucid shit. Has he been baiting us with some dementia distraction to see if we truly have TDS? Or, are thre magic drugs out there for Special People for Special Occasions?
Merkel, Macron, AMLO, Trudeau, et al, must be scratching their heads. I am embarrassed by it all.
Hope you and yours are well.

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

heh, watching that "debate" was like an unpleasant task for me, though i couldn't help but laugh as trump took over the proceedings shit all over the moderator and walked all over biden.

biden's dementia seems to come and go. i presume that there are preparations for big events like this one and perhaps there are drugs that can assist him in temporarily improving his lucidity. i don't know - that's just a guess. my mom had alzheimers and there were a couple of drugs that helped her for a while to stay with us, but i have no idea if they would work for biden.

9 users have voted.

@joe shikspack I escaped that with my parents, although Mom left us mentally years before her death due to damn drug overdoses. (Back in the day when pain killers were dispensed like aspirin.)
I was appalled at the debaters and moderator talking over each other. Trump came off as the Biggest Dickhead, while Biden came off as the Lucid Liar.
We are a shitty country.

8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

this about sums up the "rules" of the debate:

8 users have voted.

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack Lack of social graces, two men you would not invite into your home for a dinner, or to watch a football game on tv, or be your pal. I want to live elsewhere. Guatemala is perhaps better than here.

5 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@on the cusp

which is given for ADHD and/or some other amphetamines can be helpful alleviating memory loss, short term. (of course, there may be other RX's for Alzheimers's that are helpful, too) But, I have no direct knowledge as to whether or not this is accurate.

Have a good one!


8 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

@joe shikspack but it was also a unique situation; two candidates with horrible public office records that they tried to defend in between attacking the other candidate's record. Both mixed in truths and blatant lies. Denials ("that was discredited") spewed fast and furiously.

Biden held up much better than I expected, and through about halfway or so was slightly besting Trump. Then he made, imo, two big errors. These were planned and not gaffes. 1) "My son served in Iraq." 2) Russiagate.

On the first one, Joe was using his dead son, again, and attempting to contrast his son's military service against Trump's disdain for the military and that no Trump has served in the US military. Joe flubbed in not saying, "my son Beau." I knew who he was referring to, but much of the audience wouldn't have. It allowed Trump an opening to pounce on Hunter. A smarter opponent would have taken the opportunity to congratulate Joe on having a son willing to serve in four trillion dollar disastrous war that he, Joe, had fully supported and voted for. Joe was lucky -- his son got out of Iraq alive and uninjured -- the can't be said for thousands of others or the hundreds of thousands in Iraq that had their lives destroyed forever.

On 'Russiagate' -- DC/DP Democrats still don't get it that potential voters and swing voters either don't believe Russiagate or don't care about it. This could heat up in the next three debates if more government records get released.

The winner: Nobody
The loser: America

13 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


about 5 minutes into it, the words "fake debate" popped into my head. i would guess that there were more lies, half-truths, intentional misstatements, etc. uttered than facts. most of the verbiage in responses seemed to have little to do with the questions asked by the moderator.

i am guessing that each of the wrestlers contestants will be judged the winner by their respective bases.

i can't see how anything that happened there would sway the opinion of an undecided voter.

in fact, i would judge trump the winner on the basis that any undecided voter seeing the performance would be deterred from voting for either of the clowns.

12 users have voted.
Pricknick's picture

@joe shikspack
to the voters ears...

undecided voter seeing the performance would be deterred from voting for either of the clowns

We really need the "None of the Above" choice.
What's the worse that can happen?

9 users have voted.

Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

joe shikspack's picture


i am wholeheartedly in support of a none of the above option, even though it might be years until somebody won an election after that. Smile

5 users have voted.

@Pricknick an option in Nevada. While I could be wrong, I seem to recall that if "None" received the most votes (so far hasn't gotten out of low single digits), the second place finisher would be declared the winner.

6 users have voted.

We get an empty suit for a President. Oh, wait!

3 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

TheOtherMaven's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

2 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Unabashed Liberal's picture


The winner: Nobody

The loser: America

Have a good one!


10 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
Didn't hear it all, but I liked the part where talked about Hunter.

9 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

joe shikspack's picture


trump did attempt to stick the knife in over the 3.5 million from the moscow mayor's wife and biden deflected by saying it was another false charge.

frankly, if trump were a more disciplined debater, he could have made some hay with the allegations. my guess is that they will be lost in the tidal wave of bullshit that trump spouted.

8 users have voted.

@joe shikspack but $3.5 million from a Russian oligarch sounds worse than from the wife of the Mayor of Moscow. It's also more factually accurate. She is a Russian oligarch and reportedly currently living in London. Her husband was only the mayor of Moscow until 2010 and died last year. Joe said it's not true and the Senate report on this matter claims to have documentation for that transaction but no information as to the reason for the payment. Perhaps someone will investigate and clarify this.

7 users have voted.

@Azazello my new debate wrestling term, was perhaps the pin for 3 seconds.

8 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

that I posted in another thread.

debate comment

Will catch up with you Guys Thursday-ish.

Gonna go watch ol' Columbo, now--and try to chill out. Phew!!!!! Biggrin

Have a good rest of your evening.


6 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

good catch on biden's public option response.

i am guessing that fact-checkers will be sorting this stuff out for days.

have a great evening!

8 users have voted.