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 evenings music features singer, pianist and civil rights activist Nina Simone. Enjoy!
Nina Simone - I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
“We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program”
-- President Franklin Roosevelt recalling why social security was based on payroll contributions, 1941
News and Opinion
It would be nice one of these days to see some perjury charges against police who lie through their teeth under oath, and some, well, you know - justice?
Jury Finds Occupy Wall Street Protester Innocent After Video Contradicts Police TestimonyWow, the Secret Service is pursuing a case against a deceased person?
In the first jury trial stemming from an Occupy Wall Street protest, Michael Premo was found innocent of all charges yesterday after his lawyers presented video evidence directly contradicting the version of events offered by police and prosecutors. ...
Premo, facing felony charges of assaulting an officer, maintained his innocence. His lawyers, Meghan Maurus and Rebecca Heinegg, set out to find video evidence to contradict it. Prosecutors told them that police TARU units, who filmed virtually every moment of Occupy street protests, didn't have any footage of the entire incident. But Maurus knew from video evidence she had received while representing another defendant arrested that day that there was at least one TARU officer with relevant footage. Reviewing video shot by a citizen-journalist livestreamer during Premo's arrest, she learned that a Democracy Now cameraman was right in the middle of the fray, and when she tracked him down, he showed her a video that so perfectly suited her needs it brought a tear to her eye.
For one thing, the video prominently shows a TARU cop named Bosco, holding up his camera, which is on, and pointing at the action around the kettle. When Premo's lawyers subpoenaed Bosco, they were told he was on a secret mission at "an undisclosed location," and couldn't respond to the subpoena. Judge Robert Mandelbaum didn't accept that, and Bosco ultimately had to testify, though he claimed, straining credibility, that though the camera is clearly on and he can be seen in the video pointing it as though to frame a shot, he didn't actually shoot any video that evening.
Even more importantly, the Democracy Now video also flipped the police version of events on its head. Far from showing Premo tackling a police officer, it shows cops tackling him as he attempted to get back on his feet.
Secret Service Refuses Truthout's Request for Documents on Aaron Swartz
The US Secret Service has refused to release its records on Aaron Swartz to Truthout. The agency claimed in a letter, sent to Truthout and a researcher in response to two separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, that the release of any documents the agency has on the late Internet activist would interfere with its "enforcement proceedings." ...
A FOIA analyst at the Secret Service, which is under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security, told Truthout Tuesday that despite the Justice Department dropping its case against Swartz, "our investigation is still open and we cannot release any information on that subject."
The analyst would not disclose her name, saying she is not required to give it out. We were then transferred to Latita Payne, the Secret Service's FOIA disclosure officer, who explained to Truthout, "we did a search of our offices [for responsive records] and they responded that it's an open case."
Sacrifice of Bradley Manning's liberty will not have been made in vain
Although it is Julian Assange – hiding from sex allegations in London's Ecuadorian Embassy – who has dominated the WikiLeaks story, Manning is the real martyr of the story. One of the videos released gave an insight into the horror of the US-led war in Iraq: an Apache helicopter shooting dead 11 Iraqis in a Baghdad suburb, none of whom returned fire. Among the dead was a 22-year-old Reuters' photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen; two children were brutally wounded. The crew laughed as they massacred: the video was one striking example of how occupations corrupt the occupier.
"For me this seemed similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass," was how Manning put it. According to WikiLeaks, this exposure had a key role in forcing US withdrawal after the Iraqi government stripped US forces of legal immunity. ...
Manning faces spending the rest of his life in jail. It is not a sacrifice that should be made in vain. The fight for open, accountable international diplomacy must be stepped up in response. The US military may well succeed in locking away Manning, possibly for good. But whatever the verdict, for millions, he has already been vindicated.
The Video that Bradley Manning says Pushed Him to Upload to Wikileaks
Josh Stieber, a member of the army company that came upon the Iraqis murdered by the US helicopter crew, discusses the Wikileaks video and army training that makes killing civilians acceptable.
Bill Black: Support Representative Conyers’ Bill to Kill Sequestration’s Stealth Austerity
We have been strangling the economic recovery through economic incompetence – and worse is in store because President Obama continues to embrace (1) the self-inflicted wound of austerity, (2) austerity primarily through cuts in vital social programs that are already under-funded, and (3) attacking the safety net by reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits. The latest insanity is the Sequester – the fourth act of austerity in the last 20 months. The August 2011 budget deal caused large cuts to social spending. The January 2013 “fiscal cliff” deal increased taxes on the wealthy and ended the moratorium on collecting the full payroll tax. The Sequester will be the fourth assault on our already weak economic recovery.
We have a jobs crisis in America – not a government spending crisis and the cumulative effect of these four acts of austerity has caused a certainty of weak growth and a serious risk that we will throw our economy back into recession. The Eurozone’s recession – caused by austerity – greatly adds to the risk to our economy because Europe remains our leading trading partner.
President Obama and a host of administration spokespersons have condemned the Sequestration, explaining how it will cause catastrophic damage to hundreds of vital government services. Those of us who teach economics, however, always stress “revealed preferences” – it’s not what you say that matters, it’s what you do that matters. Obama has revealed his preference by refusing to sponsor, or even support, a clean bill that would kill the sequestration threat to our Nation. Instead, he has nominated Jacob Lew, the author of the Sequestration provision, as his principal economic advisor. Lew is one of the strongest proponents of austerity and what he and Obama call the “Grand Bargain” – which would inflict large cuts in social programs and the safety net and some increases in revenues. Obama has made clear that he hopes this Grand Betrayal (my phrase) will be his legacy. Obama and Lew do not want to remove the Sequester because they view it as creating the leverage – over progressives – essential to induce them to vote for the Grand Betrayal....
Obama can easily break with this strategy of choking our economic recovery by supporting a clean bill that would kill the Sequester instead of our economy.
The good news is that Representative John Conyers has made the Obama’s task simple by sponsoring exactly that clean bill in the one sentence form many of us have been urging: “Section 251A of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 is repealed.” Amen.
Rep. Conyers introduces bill to repeal the sequester
The bill is H.R. 900, introduced today (February 28) and it’s a Big Deal. Now the House has something to vote on, and the House Progressive Caucus has something to support. The bill — just cancel the sequester.
Here's the full bill text:
“Section 251A of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 is repealed.”
If the president hates the sequester as much as he claims to, this will be easy for him to support, won’t it?
The bill needs co-sponsors and a Senate version of the bill.
White House - Woodward Fight A Manufactured Distraction
The fight between the White House and journalistic legend Bob Woodward is a silly distraction to a major problem: The failure of President Obama and House Republicans to lead the country under a budget deadline.
Woodward-gate is a distraction the White House welcomed, even encouraged, as part of a public-relations strategy to emasculate the GOP and anybody else who challenges Obama. It is a distraction that briefly enveloped my reporting last weekend, when I essentially broke ties with a senior White House official.
Democratic Party Eager To Invite Wall Street To Bed
Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a former Wall Street executive, will serve as the national finance chairman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, replacing Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) as the Democratic Party readies itself for the 2014 midterm election.
Himes' appointment at once increases the Democrats' access to Wall Street's cash pipeline, thanks to his 12-year run at Goldman Sachs, and undercuts the party's effort to place itself rhetorically on the side of the middle class. ...
Himes, whose Goldman Sachs career culminated in his promotion to vice president, has proven himself a strong fundraiser, pulling in more than $3.6 million during his 2010 bid for reelection.
He's also shown that he can tap his Wall Street connections: During his race to unseat 10-term Republican incumbent Chris Shays in 2008, Himes raised more than $500,000 in campaign contributions from the securities and investment industries -- including nearly $150,000 from people at Goldman Sachs -- according to The New York Times.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon: My Bank Thrives On Your Pain
Like most soft-spined Americans, you probably have painful memories of the financial crisis and consequent recession. Perhaps you even think of those things as "bad." Fortunately, Jamie Dimon is not like the rest of you losers.
That is because, unlike you, Jamie Dimon is CEO of JPMorgan Friggin' Chase, America's greatest bank, which just so happens to snack on financial crises and recessions like so much KIND bar.
"This bank is anti-fragile, we actually benefit from downturns," Dimon bragged to his bank's investors at a conference on Tuesday.
And it is true! The bank definitely benefited from the last downturn. It got to buy Bear Stearns in a government-backed fire sale, getting itself a brokerage business on the cheap in exchange for shouldering only a few tiresome legal burdens. It also got billions of dollars in government handouts, from $25 billion in TARP funds to billions in savings from low-interest-rate borrowing programs to a permanent subsidy arising from the idea that the government will bail out the bank if it ever gets in trouble.
That permanent subsidy amounts to about $17 billion per year, according to a recent Bloomberg View study, representing nearly all of the bank's profits.
Egypt’s opposition leaders turn down invitation to meet with John Kerry
An Egyptian opposition head said he and colleague Mohamed ElBaradei have turned down invitations to meet Secretary of State John Kerry when he visits Cairo because of US pressure.
Hamdeen Sabahi, a leader of the National Salvation Front (NSF), said late Thursday that he and ElBaradei objected to Washington’s call for the opposition to reconsider its boycott of Egypt’s parliamentary election in April. ...
An aide of another NSF leader, former foreign minister Amr Mussa, said Mussa would also not attend a meeting with Kerry at which the opposition could be pressed to reconsider its boycott. ...
The opposition has sought to ratchet the pressure on Islamist President Mohamed Morsi with a combination of street protests and a boycott of the election, to be held over three months.
Unequal Internet Access "Widening the Gap" Between Rich and Poor Students
A new survey by the Pew Research Institute found that students from low income households are at a "disadvantage" when it comes to technology in the classroom
As many schools are racing to adopt the latest technologies—tablets, e-readers, cell phones—in their classrooms, low income students and poorly funded school districts are being left in the dust. A survey of middle and high school teachers released Thursday found that the growing gap in internet access between rich and poor students is leading to increasingly troubling disparities in education.
Published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the survey found that only 3 percent of students in low income families have access to the internet at home through a computer or mobile device; the number rises to 20 percent for middle income children and half for those in higher income families. ...
The respondents admitted that this growing disparity in access is leading to a gap in performance, with over half saying that "today's digital technologies are widening the gap between the most and least academically successful students."
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
Nina Simone - Feeling Good
Nina Simone - Love Me Or Leave Me
Nina Simone- I Put Spell On You
Nina Simone - Backlash blues
Nina Simone - My Baby Just Cares For Me
Nina Simone - My Baby Just Cares For Me
Nina Simone - Why (The King of Love Is Dead)
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!