There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'oppression!'
And the oaks, just shake their heads

Monday, November 18, 2019

Linkee-poo muddled Mondays

"'When you find out the Earth is flat ... then you become empowered,' Weiss says." The flat-earthers and their perspective.

"Four people were killed and six more wounded when 'unknown suspects' sneaked into a backyard filled with people at a party in central California and fired into the crowd." Obviously we need more guns.

"Sophie Vershbow has seen her share of 'OK, boomer' memes in recent weeks. The phrase that's suddenly everywhere is meant to convey a fundamental disconnect between younger generations and baby boomers who cling to outdated, off-base ideas."

"U.S. Steel has announced it aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2030. The plan relies in large part on upgrades at two large facilities near Pittsburgh… 'However, this sort of corporate announcement probably would have been notable a decade ago,' Mehalik said. 'Nowadays, a 20 percent efficiency improvement is really a run-of-the-mill improvement'"

"For many people, turning on the tap or flushing the toilet is something we take for granted. But a report released Monday, called 'Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States,' shows that more than 2 million Americans live without these conveniences and that Native Americans are more likely to have trouble accessing water than any other group."

"After California wine industry mogul Hugh Reimers illegally destroyed at least 140 acres of forest, meadow and stream in part to make way for new vineyards sometime last winter, according to a report from state investigators, state officials ordered the former executive of Jackson Family Wines to repair and mitigate the damage where possible. Sonoma County officials also suggested a $131,060 fine." Why our environment continues to degrade.

"Donald Trump reportedly stalled a planned ban on flavored e-cigarettes, intended to combat the rise of teenage vaping, after hearing it could alienate voters and hurt his chances of reelection next year." Screw your health, as long as you vote for Trump.

"The president of the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, Margie Christie, says this abortion bill has one goal. 'We’re tired of it being regulated. We want it ended.'… This new bill has a third of the House GOP caucus as co-sponsors. At 723 pages, it’s more than twice as long as a total ban introduced last year. It creates new criminal offenses of abortion murder and aggravated abortion murder, which could carry the death penalty. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. And if a woman’s life is in danger, doctors would likely have to wait much longer to do the procedure." This is the desire of the Right-to-Life movement, no abortion ever for any reason, no birth control, no sex education, no women's health initiatives.

"Over the past few years, abortion providers in Texas have struggled to reopen clinics that had closed because of restrictive state laws… Even though abortion providers fought those restrictions all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and managed to get the restrictions overturned in 2016, most of the affected clinics remain closed."

"Sanitation workers in lower income countries often endure grueling conditions to perform a service that's vital to keeping their communities healthy. Yet their suffering has largely gone ignored — even by advocates for the poor."

"So when Prince Andrew set out to explain his friendship with the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in a BBC interview broadcast Saturday night, it backfired predictably… Viewers were left shaking their heads at the wisdom of consenting to a polite-but-relentless grilling by the journalist Emily Maitlis in the first place. Many said they found his statements alternately defensive, unpersuasive or just plain strange." Prince Andrew may not be the first domino to fall, but he will be the one that starts the cascade.

How go the Trade Wars? "While you weren't looking — perhaps while you were watching impeachment hearings – the trade war with China went completely off the rails and lost its meaning."

"China on Monday called on the U.S. military to stop flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and to avoid adding “new uncertainties” over Taiwan, during high-level talks that underscored tension between the world’s two largest economies." And yes, this is tied into the trade war.

"A trove of leaked government documents reveals details of China's clampdown on Uighurs and other Muslims in the country's western Xinjiang region under President Xi Jinping, the New York Times reported."

"As night fell on Hong Kong, police tightened their siege of a university campus where hundreds of protesters were trapped in the latest dramatic episode in months of protests against growing Chinese control over the semi-autonomous city." Reportedly the Chinese military stationed in Hong Kong left their barracks in civilian clothes and "volunteered" to help clean up city streets. This will not end well.

"U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday the United States and South Korea have indefinitely postponed a joint military exercise in an 'act of goodwill' toward North Korea." Fuck that.

"That day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested approximately 680 people at seven plants across Mississippi. Just more than half the total — 342 people — were arrested in Morton alone." How ICE's and DoH's draconian policies and impact far beyond those who are directly involved. This is not unexpected or unplanned. Terror is a part of the operating procedures. "No charges have been brought against the companies involved in the raids, or their executives. But Miles says that it's 'an ongoing criminal investigation,' and that the goal in every probe is to 'see a conviction at the very highest level that we can get at.'" I'll note that no business owners have ever been convicted and jailed (at least that I have heard) for recruiting and hiring undocumented workers.

On the Media podcast with "Millions tuned into impeachment hearings this week — the first two of five already scheduled. On this week’s show, why shifts in public opinion may not necessarily sway the GOP. Plus, what we can learn from the predatory tactics that enriched Bill Gates." A little in-depth on how the Republicans, facing little blow back from past bad behavior, no long feel ties to popular opinion. Also how these impeachment proceedings aren't the same as Watergate. Those two pieces take up only the first half of the show. The second half about how the wealthy are shaping our society (and laws) is also highly recommended.

"The House impeachment inquiry begins its second week of public hearings with the Intelligence Committee scheduled to hear testimony from eight more witnesses over three days." Get yer programs here.

"The president confronted Pompeo, who has been his closest ally, during an Oct. 29 lunch at the White House, according to four current former senior administration officials who spoke to NBC News… '(Trump) just felt like, "rein your people in,"' said one senior administration official." It's from RawStory, but pointed out here for added spice. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"A Republican member of one of the House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump said Sunday that information provided about Trump during a closed-door deposition of a former National Security Council official 'is alarming' and 'not OK.'" But he still doesn't think it's impeachable, or that the president tried to intimidate Ambassador Yovanovitch.

"U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out on Sunday at another witness in Congress’ impeachment inquiry against him, saying the aide to Vice President Mike Pence was a 'Never Trumper' who should 'work out a better presidential attack.'"

"An overwhelming 70% of Americans think President Donald Trump’s request to a foreign leader to investigate his political rival, which sits at the heart of the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry, was wrong, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds… A slim majority of Americans, 51%, believe Trump’s actions were both wrong and he should be impeached and removed from office. But only 21% of Americans say they are following the hearings very closely." This numbers really haven't changed much, they're simply asking the question in different ways. The number that should worry the president is, "The survey also finds that 1 in 4 Americans, 25%, think that Trump did nothing wrong." That's down from 33% last month. Also, "Of those following the House impeachment hearings very closely, 67% think Trump’s actions were wrong and he should be impeached and removed from office." That should be very worrying, although there's no breakdown on the demographics of who is watching "very closely".

"Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited President Donald Trump to testify in front of investigators in the House impeachment inquiry ahead of a week that will see several key witnesses appear publicly." The queen is the most dangerous piece. Check.

nkee-poo muddled Monday

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