Sunday, February 28, 2021

Reliability: Whose, and How Long?

Greg Abbott, the Cancun misadventures of Ted Cruz, even Texas is a distraction. Ever since Katrina, Gulf Coast disasters have followed thick and fast one upon the other. After Katrina, which affected Louisiana and Mississippi most drastically, New Orleans was never given a change at recovery. Two years ago Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in two feet of water. The snow storm affecting the entire state last week was preceded last August by Hurricane Laura forcing half a million to evacuate, and affecting the Lake Charles area, located just 3 miles from Houston. A month after Laura, Delta again left Lake Charles reeling under mass devastation. Weeks later, Zeta knocked out New Orleans power for nearly a week. 


In case no one’s noticed, the Gulf Coast has become uninhabitable.  That’s the real news.  All else is distraction, the politicians quick to pin blame on the Green New Deal and on wind turbines (Texas’ are not hardened against the cold) and not the  utility managers who sit on ERCOT’s board (Electric Reliability Council of Texas). Not the failure of its coal and gas plants, and its reliance on fossil fuels generally. Texas insisted on having its own grid in order to avoid regulation. Ten years ago after a severe storm, ERCOT’s managers were advised to harden their infrastructure, but they chose to do absolutely nothing that would stand in the way of more and more profits at the expense of rate payers statewide who have been without power, most without water, without heat in freezing temperatures, so severe it has resulted in several deaths, and whose uninsulated water pipes are located on the exterior of their homes. Many days of snow, and freezing temperatures eluded the Texas imagination—as did so much else. Because like everything else, Texans are immune to the ravages of global warming. Until it strikes.


Austin: Texans carrying potable water

Throughout the state now, millions of houses have burst water pipes, with severe water damage making many homes uninhabitable. Texans have had to scramble to obtain water and food as super market shelves have emptied; some have had to burn furniture to try to stay warm, and most hospitals are without power or  potable water, unable to care for the severely ill who keep their emergency rooms overflowing.  Like Katrina, the snow storm has impacted millions of people, but unlike Katrina, this disaster has reached deep into the white middle class as well.  Whereas one Katrina survivor described caravans of escaping white folks speeding by on the state interconnector, waving at them with “So, long, niggers,” this time some of these white folks don’t even get to exercise any ready-to-hand racism. In a great evening of the playing field, this time all Texans have been “so longed,” and ERCOT is slapping them with utility bills somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,600 for just trying to keep warm over the cold snap. My, oh my. oh my, just think what that’s going to do to Texas real estate values.


Homes in darness while corporate Houston glows

But Texas is just one sacrifice zone, the Gulf Coast is just another sacrifice zone. What about Iowa which not too long experienced flooding on a scale never before imagined, destroying some 43% of its corn crop? What about California which experienced skies the color of dark chocolate with massive wild fires too hot to control, reportedly because of the geo-engineered aerial spraying over its forests coupled with the fecklessness of PGE, the Northern California utility which alone managed to cause over 400 fires, and nearly one hundred deaths? Is California too to become a sacrifice zone to the global warming caused by human activity? And what about the U.S. military which produces more greenhouse gases than several developed countries?


And is all the United States between California and Texas to become one gigantic sacrifice zone, and is continental U.S.A. to become one mega sacrifice zone? And is Central America with so many of its inhabitants feeling drought to become just part or a Northern Hemisphere sacrifice zone, and as the Andes glaciers continue melting depriving much of Peru and Bolivia of water is Latin America to join a hemispheric sacrifice zone? And while the Western Hemisphere parches, burns, freezes and floods, will the Eastern Hemisphere, home of a great part of the world’s population, remain immune?


In the absence of local, state or federal agencies,  a number of articles, point to the heroic efforts of mutual aid groups all over Texas and Mississippi assisting neighbors, despite their own homes being subject to flooding, fires, freezing cold water damage, and their own food lockers all but empty. Neighbors turned absent homeowners water mains off. But despite the deep humanity to which these gestures attest, global warming is of such a vast scale that only the essentially radical approaches of governments uniting in one-world government can possibly encounter it.


Last night I watched the miracle of moon rise.  The moon stares down on all of this with an indifferent eye—as indifferent as most of the Earth’s people who do nothing and could care less.  Until disaster visits them.





CUT the Pentagon budget.



NO MORE WAR in the Middle East.




Academics at UK university reject IHRA anti-Semitism definition.


Iran and IAEA reach ‘temporary’ agreement to maintain nuclear surveillance.


China declares victory over poverty as World Bank estimates that in the past 40 years, this accounts for more than 70% of the world’s total.


India, China PMs to set up hot line as border crisis eases.


India and China complete pull-back of forces.


So Korea agrees to partial release of blocked Iranian money.


Israel lashes out as ICC okays war crimes probe.


Magpie River becomes first in Canada to be granted legal personhood.


Mexico to ban glyphosate and GM corn.


Victory for Uber drivers as UK decision clarifies drivers’ employment status and time for which they must be compensated.


U.S. says Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi’s murder, imposes visa restrictions on 76 Saudis.


SCOTUS denies Trump’s “shameful” effort to block tax returns release green lighting their release to NYC prosecutor.


Latest from SCOTUS conservatives compels Senate to ditch filibuster, restore voting rights.


Texas mutual aid groups meet people’s long-term needs.


Dozens of House Democrats call on Biden to give up sole nuclear launch authority.


Biden’s proposed Civilian Climate Corps is positive step.


Biden evokes #45 order designating Democratic cities ‘anarchist’ designation.


Biden team considering halting some arms sales for Saudis.


Citing concerns about corporate power, Sanders votes against Biden’s choice for USDA chief.


Sanders warms Biden about attack on Syria.


Neer Tanden’s bid to head OMB on verge of collapse.


Slavery is alive and well: Progressives reject Manchin plan to cut $15 MWP to $11.


With $15 wage included, House Dems fulfill election promises with passage of sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.


AOC spends weekend raising millions and delivering aid to Texans.


Jewish groups urge Biden to review and revoke Trump-era ‘made in Israel’ settlement good policy.


Ahead of hearing, calls grow for Postmaster General DeJoy’s removal.


California State legislature passes Golden State stimulus with governor signing it.


California appellate court holds that Wi-Fi sickness is a disability.


Newsom administration sued over thousands of unlawful oil and gas projects.


Judge upholds California’s gold standard net neutrality law.


Virginia to become first state in South to ban capital punishment.


California becomes first stats in country to repeal many onerous administrative fees in the criminal justice system.


Advocates applaud as Illinois approves elimination of cash bail.


Coastal Annapolis MD becomes 25th U.S. community to file climate suit that aims to #MakePollutersPay.


Under pressure from activists, fracking banned in Delaware River basin.


Coalition of activists tell Gov. Wolf, no sacrifice zones in Pennsylvania.


Environmentalists sound alarm over Texas refineries’ release of hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants during storm.


Investors managing $250 million in assets call on big banks to stop funding Mountain Valley Pipeline.


Fighting ‘disease of greed and destruction,’ water protectors blockade over a dozen Line 3 worksites.


Law students announce boycott of Chevron law firm, Seward & s.


Asian and Black progressives stress unity and understanding amid attacks on Asian Americans.


Minnesota returns land to lower Sioux Indian community.


New database aims to track police use of force, bypassing current government inaction.


Santa Barbara approves Medicare for All resolution.


Chicago City Council unanimously passes resolution to end blockade of Cuba.




Monday, February 15, 2021

Those Golden Arches


A nation that contents itself to eat McDonald’s has the government it deserves.  Our representatives in Congress with few exceptions are like Big Macs, bad for you, bad for the fear you eat with each bite of the butchered cow that was slaughtered to feed you, bad for the fear of all the trees in the Amazon which are felled to feed your habit, and bad for Earth which needs her lungs to breathe. We seem not to know how to stop.


Our insatiable habit is to keep electing the government we think we deserve, expecting better results, yet year after year we see the outcome.  Now our government has perpetrated the greatest crime of all.  I do not refer to the pitiable Kabuki of an “impeachment trial” meant to decapitate Grendell, and whimped out on by the ice cream empress Pelosi and all the whimpublicans in Congress. I refer to a Pentagon budget in the trillions while our people, if they are lucky enough still to have a job are paid starvation wages, while others die of starvation and disease, living in tents by the railroad tracks all over the United States because our government can’t be bothered to house them, or educate them out of their sad delusions, or help them learn how to think critically, or manage their finances to have a crack at basic survival.  That’s the crime behind our Golden Arch.


Of all industrialized nations, not only are we last in healthcare, we have the worst worker benefits. the worst income inequity, and we are by far the largest incarcerater in the world. We require forced  labor of prisoners at anywhere from 86 cents to $3.45 per day: in five states, prisoners are forced to work for free under the draconian provisions of the 13th amendment, many doing dangerous work, fighting California’s wildfires for example, work they are barred from doing on release.


And our life of crime is our chief export.  Making the rest of the world’s people miserable seems to be a specialty. Twenty years of misery exported to Afghanistan, more years in Iraq, bombing Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and those are just the wars for fun and profit. The economic wars spread their largesses to Venezuela, Haiti, Iran, 30 emiserated counties in all, not to mention Cuba. I leave Cuba with its now 60 year’s blockade for last because in my lifelong travels it is the only country I have visited that is a victim of U.S. economic sanction.  I can attest with my own eyes that the results look very much like a shooting war.  It just takes a little longer.


Like the Marshall Islands, whose people have been irradiated for all eternity, Haiti is another laboratory country, namely a country where we like to experiment with horror to see what effect it has on the people living there. Conveniently, laboratory countries are often populated by people of color. Thanks to the Clintons and many before and around them, Haiti now provides an excellent picture of what happens to a country when its president refuses to step down.  Jovenal Moise has been replaced one week ago; his people have taken to the streets. His police is arresting them as they demonstrate. Throughout his “presidency”, violence has been waged against opponents of his dictatorship. State sanctioned gangs have massacred people in opposition communities. Both police and military trained in repressive measures by (you guessed it) the United States, have attacked and arrested demonstrators and journalists, making use of live ammunition.


Thanks to the events of January 6 and February 13, Americans are now in a much better position to understand what that feels like. 





Using e-mail and tweets, express support for Haiti to your representatives and public officials.


Demand Biden end economic sanctions worldwide.


Push Congress (remember them?) and Biden to undo #45’s damage.


Oppose Feinstein for voting for changes to social security.




China and India announce joint troop withdrawal from Kashmir border.


Venezuela parliamentary commission charges Guidó.


Damning UN report urges UK to unfreeze Venezuelan gold.


UN Special Rapporteur urges U.S. to lift blockade against Venezuela.


Palestinian groups call on ICC to take swift action.


U.S. firms behind Agent Orange stand trial in France.


Claiming fight is not over, women’s rights activist  Loujain al-Hathloul released after 1000 days from Saudi prison.


With 10-point declaration, global coalition of top energy experts says 100% renewables is possible.


‘End this human atrocity’ says amnesty after Biden signals goal to close Gitmo.


Muslim Advocates files brief on #45’s anti-Muslim motives in detaining Gitmo prisoner.


GAO report shows Biden should scrap #45’s economic sanctions on Venezuela.


Under Biden, U.S. DOJ drops lawsuit filed under #45 challenging California’s net neutrality law, which could set the baseline for future federal rules.


Net neutrality to come back under Biden.


Applause as Biden plans ending Medicaid work requirements. targeting one of #45’s most cruel policies.


Thousands of advocates push Biden to end fossil fuel era.


Dems have massive COVID support so they can keep minimum wage hike.


New House bill reaffirms strong Congressional support for trillions in special drawing right as part of global COVID responses from Washington.


Mask wearing and lockdowns eliminate fluunivserities season this year.


Youth plaintiffs to take landmark case to Supreme court after Ninth Circuit denies en banc review to Juliana vs. U.S.


Ecologists and trade unionists demand just transition towards less air traffic.


Beyond Nuclear files federal lawsuit challenging high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at Texas-New Mexico Border.


Attorneys and anti-nuclear groups ask Biden administration to take fresh look at risky plans for plutonium pits.


In  what might be one of the largest  antimonopoly cases of this century, Justice Department files antitrust action against Google and its parent, Alphabet for controlling more than 878% of US search market.


BAP Solidarity Network demands Biden end war in Afghanistan.


Biden removes all 10 members of anti-worker Federal Services Impasses Panel.


Bden can be pushed for fundamental change at USDA and beyond.


The Black anti-war movement demands Biden take concrete steps to end the wars at home and abroad.


At confirmation hearing, Sanders call out Neera Tanden’s vicious attacks on progressives.


Progressives applaud FAIR Act reintroduction aimed at ending ant-worker, anti-consumer forced arbitration.


New York’s new law covering 67,000 fast food workers is a leap forward for just cause for all.


N.Y.C. taxi drivers shut down Brooklyn Bridge in demand for debt forgiveness.


Calls continue to drop charges against the 646 mass-arrested on interstate 94 in Minneapolis.


Press freedom groups call on DOJ to drop Assange charges.


Free Assange demands grow as Biden DOJ says it will continue to seek extradition.


Amnesty International joins civil liberties groups to ask Biden to drop case against Assange.


Local Georgia prosecutor launches criminal probe into #45’s request to ‘find the votes.”


Study finds increase in anti-Zionism at U.S. universities.


Court rules Arkansas’ Israel boycott pledge law is unconstitutional.


Philadelphia educators defy district.


After threatening strike, Chicago teachers set ‘n standard’ with safer school reopening plan.


St. Louis inmates take over units after weeks of complaints.


Wrongly jailed Queens youth organizes own defense from prison.


In study detailing #45-inflicted death and misery Lancet panel declares Medicare for all only way forward.


B of A announces net-zero emissions target financing goal.


Climate activist target major banks in fight to defund toxic Line 3 Pipeline


Tribes reclaim control of national bison range at long last.

Newly elected Orleans Parish DA cleans house of predecessor’s filth.


Baltimore democratizes economy one ice cream pint at a time at Taharka Bros. worker-owned co-op.


Fences and protesters return to Berkeley’s People’s Park as UC tries bid to expand yet again.


Sunday, February 7, 2021


It’s not quite been a fortnight since Dana Milbank published her article in the Wapo about “the soul of the GOP,” surely an oxymoron for oxy-morons if there ever was. But just in case you missed it, I’m revisiting it this week.


In probably the best post mortem we will ever see following the events of January 6th when a bunch of jail-happy insurrectionists, aided and abetted by their fearless leader who cowered in his fortified quarters while they rampaged, Milbank provides the roster of GOP miscreants in the House and Senate who may have talked a good game in the rampage’s aftermath, but who made sure to switch their stories once the excitement died down:


McCarthy heads the House list.  Following recantation of his promise to introduce the censure resolution he described as ‘prudent,” he made news appointing QAnon anti Semite sweetie, Marjorie Taylor Greene of GA to sit on the House Education Committee,  and in search of a photo op, traveled to Mar-a-Lago headquarters to kiss the pontiff’s ….well you get the idea.


The  Senate’s chinless, spineless scourge, McConnell, although he may have initially  criticized #45’s role in the uprising, promptly blocked the impeachment trial from happening before #45 finally called the moving van, and by Jan. 26, along with 44 other GOP miscreants, in a handy 180 degree switcheroo, he voted to dismiss the trial altogether as “unconstitutional” on the grounds that #45 was already out of office! And he failed to purge #45 and his violent devotees from the party, exposing the five braver GOPers who voted to proceed with the trial to the death threats awaiting them.   


Follows a list of lesser miscreants, including Gaetz (R-Fla) Nikki Haley, Lindsey Graham (S.C.), the AZ, HI and OR, GOP parties, the latter claiming that the events of Jan 6. were a mere “false flag” op.


Thirty-one members of Congress (one of them a Republican) have called on House leaders for more personal security for themselves and their families. The Dept of Homeland Security issued a warning that advocates of violet overthrow may target elected officials, and the FBI disclosed one such extremist, possibly targetting CA Governor Newsome, stockpiled pipe bombs, firearms, 15K rounds as well as bomb-making materials. Others threatened Fauci and his family, another expressed desire to assassinate AOC, and one arrestee threatened to put a bullet thru Pelosi’s head. By Jan. 29, federal authorities had already developed cases against 164 people.


Wrote Milbank, “Yet just three weeks after feebly trying to quit Trump, [Republican leaders] have relapsed. It’s as though Abraham Lincoln had offered the Union’s unconditional surrender after the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter.”


We may be shut of the day-to-day twitterings of a White-House-embedded fearless leader, but in retirement he becomes far more dangerous because his maneuvers and those of his devotees can’t easily be tracked.


Meantime today’s headlines read: GOP lawmakers call for Pelosi to be fined for not going through the metal detectors; Eleven Republicans vote to remove Greene from House Committees over incendiary social media posts; According to new poll, two-third Republicans say ‘Biden not legitimately elected’; and 64% GOP voters say they would join a Trump-led new party.



End Citizens United.


No on Vilsack for Secy Agriculture.


End all economic sanctions in face of global pandemic.


Urge Biden to commute all federal death penalty sentences.


Fire DeJoy.


Demand Congress pass HR 1 expanding voting rights, and getting money out of politics.



UN court rules UK has no sovereignty over Chagos Islands (Diego Garcia).


ICC clears way for war crimes probe of Israeli actions.


U.S. call for halting Israel settlement, demolition of Palestinian homes.


After Biden move, anti-war groups call on Boris Johnson to end UK support for Saudi assault on Yemen.


U.S., Russia extend last major arms control treaty.


EU warns Kosovo against opening Jerusalem embassy.


Italy blocks arm sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE over Yemen crimes.


Haiti begins general strike and intensifies struggle against President Jovenel Moise who refuses to step down.


Ecuador’s Left is back.


Court orders Quebec Government to exempt homeless people from curfew.


Canadian Govt. designates Proud Boys terrorist group.


Microsoft backs Australia’s proposed media laws targeting Facebook, Google.


Federal charges upgraded to conspiracy for Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.


SCOTUS grants Biden admin request to remove border wall, anti-asylum cases from calendar.


U.S. releasing hundreds of Central American families from increasingly busy custody.


US. to end deals sending asylum seekers back to Central America.


Biden wants better nuclear deal with Iran.


Majority of U.S. voters don’t want billons spent on Americas “Nuclear Sponge.”


Biden reverses Houthis terrorist designation.


Biden rolls back some of #45’s sanctions on Venezuela.


Biden to end U.S. support for Saudi-led war on Yemen which has caused vast humanitarian suffering.


Biden set to boost U.S. refugee admissions to 125,000 after #45 cut.


Biden’s order terminates private prison contracts.


Biden gives back of his hand to deficit trolls including Larry Summers, on covid relief.


110+ groups demand Buiden close Gitmo without delay.


Biden’s child tax credit plan could right historic wrong.


Senior Dems to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam.


After 14+  hours of votes, Senate approves covid relief resolution with zero GOP support.


After Senate all-nighter, Harris breaks tie to move forward on covid relief.


Federal mask cops to start targeting travelers Feb. 3.


New bill aims to scrap mandate forcing postal service to prefund retirement benefits years in advance.


Senators introduce bipartisan DREAM act putting DACA recipients on citizenship path.


100 lawmakers urge House leaders to include legalization for essential workers.


Congressional staffers implore Senators to convict #45 for sake of country.


DHS nominee to lead task force reunited separated families.


ICE cancels deportation flight to Africa after  claims of brutality.


Lawsuit filed over migrant deaths at U.S.-Mexico border.


Joining powerful finance committee, Warren vows to introduce wealth tax as first order of business.


Senators Whitehouse and Warren push Treasury Secy Yellen to rein in dark money groups.


120 Dems demand repeal of millionaire taxa cut buried in GOP former covid relief bill.


NLRB’s new top lawyer dumps #45-era changes to agency’s law enforcement, including several intensifying union policing.


Federal judge scraps #45 polluter-friendly ‘Censored Science’ rule.


Northrup to walk away from cluster bomb contract.


Black Alliance for Peace demands Biden administration abolish 1033 program.


Stacey Abrams nominated for Nobel Peace Prize.


Standing Rock Lakota youth call for Biden to shut down Dakota Access Pipeline.


Protesters call on Hopkins to drop nuclear research.


Students pressure Northwestern to abolish police.


UC Berkeley acquires FBI records of surveillance of Black leaders.


Oregon decriminalizes low-level possession of all drugs.


Virginia Senate votes to abolish death penalty, 23rd state to do so.


Austin uses police budget cuts for supportive housing.


Bronx produce workers 6-day strike inspires N.Y.


Oakland passes emergency ‘hazard pay’ ordinance mandating grocers to pay workers an extra $5.00 an hour.


Alabama workers fight to form first U.S. Amazon union.


Workers given go-ahead for union vote fingering Amazon in the eye.


Groups in South work to fix broken farm labor system


Amazon to pay $61.7 million to delivery drivers after withholding tips.


Marjorie Greene stripped of all committee assignments.



Pompeo pushes Nobel for #45.