Welcome! "The Evening Blues" is a casual community diary (published Monday - Friday, 8:00 PM Eastern) where we hang out, share and talk about news, music, photography and other things of interest to the community.
Just about anything goes, but attacks and pie fights are not welcome here. This is a community diary and a friendly, peaceful, supportive place for people to interact.
Everyone who wants to join in peaceful interaction is very welcome here.
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features Chicago piano player and blues survivor Henry Gray. Enjoy!
Henry Gray with Howlin' Wolf Band - Lil' Red Rooster
“The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything.”
― Charles Moore
News and Opinion
If you did not see last night's Frontline, "The Untouchables," do it soon. It is both revelatory and shocking. Our country cannot continue this way. Watch the show and act.
The Untouchables: How the Obama Administration Protected Wall Street from Prosecutions
A new PBS Frontline report examines a profound failure of justice that should be causing serious social unrest
PBS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.
What Obama justice officials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. Indeed, financial elites were not only vested with impunity for their fraud, but thrived as a result of it, even as ordinary Americans continue to suffer the effects of that crisis.
Worst of all, Obama justice officials both shielded and feted these Wall Street oligarchs (who, just by the way, overwhelmingly supported Obama's 2008 presidential campaign) as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig put it two weeks ago when expressing anger over the DOJ's persecution of Aaron Swartz: "we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House." (Indeed, as "The Untouchables" put it: while no senior Wall Street executives have been prosecuted, "many small mortgage brokers, loan appraisers and even home buyers" have been). ...
A New York Times editorial in August explained that the DOJ's excuse for failing to prosecute Wall Street executives - that it was too hard to obtain convictions - "has always defied common sense - and all the more so now that a fuller picture is emerging of the range of banks' reckless and lawless activities, including interest-rate rigging, money laundering, securities fraud and excessive speculation." The Frontline program interviewed former prosecutors, Senate staffers and regulators who unequivocally said the same: it is inconceivable that the DOJ could not have successfully prosecuted at least some high-level Wall Street executives - had they tried.
JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon Spurs Outrage in Davos
Amid calls for stricter regulations of the banking industry, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon came under fire Wednesday after telling corporate and political leaders at the World Economic Forum that banks had been wrongly "scapegoated" as the cause of the global economic crisis, and resisted calls for increased regulation of the financial industry.
Dimon's remarks on Wednesday—the first day of the WEF in Davos, Switzerland—came in response to comments by Min Zhu, deputy managing director of the IMF, who argued that the financial sector is too big and greater regulations—including of the "shadow banking" sector—are critical, The Guardian reports.
Sam Mamudi at Barrons writes, "This line of reasoning echoes that of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein when he told the Times of London newspaper in late 2009 that his bank was 'doing God’s work.' It’s also nonsense, and it shows just how deeply inside their own bubble many bankers live these days."
Billionaires Dumping Stocks
Despite the 6.5% stock market rally over the last three months, a handful of billionaires are quietly dumping their American stocks . . . and fast.
Warren Buffett, who has been a cheerleader for U.S. stocks for quite some time, is dumping shares at an alarming rate. He recently complained of “disappointing performance” in dyed-in-the-wool American companies like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Kraft Foods.
In the latest filing for Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has been drastically reducing his exposure to stocks that depend on consumer purchasing habits. ... Fellow billionaire John Paulson, who made a fortune betting on the subprime mortgage meltdown, is clearing out of U.S. stocks too. During the second quarter of the year, Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co., dumped 14 million shares of JPMorgan Chase. The fund also dumped its entire position in discount retailer Family Dollar and consumer-goods maker Sara Lee.
Finally, billionaire George Soros recently sold nearly all of his bank stocks, including shares of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. Between the three banks, Soros sold more than a million shares.
Drones Provoke Growing Controversy in US
As Barack Obama renews his lease on the White House for another four years, his administration is debating how best to respond to a growing internal and public controversy over his first term’s non-battlefield counter-terrorist weapon of choice: armed drones.
For months, senior administration officials have reportedly been haggling over the terms of a so-called “playbook” for the use of drones against suspected terrorists that will provide detailed rules for who will be included on so-called “kill lists”, under what circumstances drones can be used to kill them, and what agency can do the killing.
The debate has also included whether or not – and to what extent – the government should make those rules, and the legal justifications that purportedly underlie them, public. ...
According to a Washington Post account published Monday, the haggling is now coming to an end in a series of compromises that, among other things, will permit the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to continue its controversial Afghanistan-based drone program against targets in neighboring Pakistan for the next one to two years under the existing rules. ...
One prominent critic of drone warfare has already criticized the anticipated exclusion of Pakistan from the so-called playbook.
“…(I)f the United States decides not to apply the, quote, playbook to Pakistan, it’s essentially meaningless, because 85 percent of all the targeted killings that the U.S. has conducted in non-battlefield settings since 9/11 have occurred in Pakistan,” said Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) whose recently published report, “Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies”, is shaping much of the current debate.
Mali: The Fastest Blowback Yet in This Disastrous War on Terror
To listen to David Cameron's rhetoric this week, it could be 2001 all over again. Eleven years into the war on terror, it might have been Tony Blair speaking after 9/11. As the bloody siege of the part BP-operated In Amenas gas plant in Algeria came to an end, the British prime minister claimed, like George Bush and Blair before him, that the country faced an "existential" and "global threat" to "our interests and way of life". ...
So in austerity-blighted Britain, just as thousands of soldiers are being made redundant, while Barack Obama has declared that "a decade of war is now ending", armed intervention is being ratcheted up in yet another part of the Muslim world. Of course, it's French troops in action this time. But even in Britain the talk is of escalating drone attacks and special forces, and Cameron has refused to rule out troops on the ground.
You'd think the war on terror had been a huge success, the way the western powers keep at it, Groundhog Day-style. In reality, it has been a disastrous failure, even in its own terms – which is why the Obama administration felt it had to change its name to "overseas contingency operations", until US defence secretary Leon Panetta revived the old title this week. ...
The idea that jihadists in Mali, or Somalia for that matter, pose an existential threat to Britain, France, the US or the wider world is utter nonsense. But the opening of a new front in the war on terror in north Africa and the Sahel, accompanied by another murderous drone campaign, is a potential disaster for the region and risks a new blowback beyond it.
Google reports ‘steady increase’ in gov’t requests for user data
Google on Wednesday reported a “steady increase” in government requests to hand over data from Internet users in the second half of 2012.
The Web giant’s semiannual “transparency report” showed the most requests came from the the United States, with 8,438 requests for information about 14,868 users.
India was second with 2,431 requests for data about 4,106 users, followed by France, where Google received 1,693 requests for information about 2,063 users. Germany, Britain and Brazil rounded out the top six, Google said. ...
Google said it supplied at least some of the requested data in 68 percent of cases, down from 76 percent in late 2010.
Israel's Far-Right Scrambles to Maintain Power After Rebuke at Polls
Results in Tuesday's national elections dashed expectations for Israel's most ardent rightwing parties in what was largely seen as a rebuke to the rhetoric and policies of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Tight poll results became clear Wednesday revealing a surprise split between Netanyahu's traditional far-right Likud bloc allies and an emerging force of more centrist parties within the Knesset's 120-seat legislature—an unexpected blow to Likud's leaders, who were strongly favored heading into the elections.
With 99.8 percent of votes counted on Wednesday morning, each bloc had captured 60 of the legislature's 120 seats.
As a result, Netanyahu will have to struggle to pull together a majority coalition within six weeks in order to maintain his seat—a coalition that will now likely have to include centrist party Yesh Atid and their leader Yair Lapid who has said he will only join a coalition committed to leftist economic reform and a push to resume peace talks with Palestinians.
Oakland spends $250K to hire ex-LAPD chief Bratton
The Oakland City Council voted 7-1 on Tuesday night to hire former Los Angeles and New York Police Chief Bill Bratton as part of a team of consultants tasked with stopping the city’s increasing crime rate. ...
But the debate over hiring Bratton drew public comments from hundreds of residents on both sides of the issue, causing the meeting to last until 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. KNTV-TV reported that the council’s decision was greeted with screams of “Shame!” and “Let the war begin.”
During the meeting, critics of Bratton accused him of using policies like “stop and frisk” to encourage racial profiling by officers.
“Bratton is the father of suppression policing,” said one resident, Jay Donahue. “He destroys black and brown communities.”
Forward on Climate Rally- Feb. 17th JOIN US!
On Sunday, February 17, thousands of Americans will head to Washington, D.C. to make Forward on Climate the largest climate rally in history. Join this historic event to make your voice heard and help the president start his second term with strong climate action.
Blog Posts of Interest
Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.What's Happenin'
A Little Night Music
San Diego Blues Festival - 2012 - Henry Gray
Henry Gray - That Ain't Right
Henry Gray - It Hurts Me Too
Henry Gray - Blues Won't Let Me Rest
Henry Gray @ Louisiana Music Factory
Henry Gray and Rudi Richard - Cold Chills
Henry Gray - Henry's Houserocker
Henry Gray - Talking About You
Henry Gray - Everybody's Fishin'
It's National Pie Day!
The election is over, it's a new year and it's time to work on real change in new ways... and it's National Pie Day. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to tell you a little more about our new site and to start getting people signed up.
Come on over and sign up so that we can send you announcements about the site, the launch, and information about participating in our public beta testing.
Why is National Pie Day the perfect opportunity to tell you more about us? Well you'll see why very soon. So what are you waiting for?! Head on over now and be one of the first!