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.
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Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features soul and r&b singer Wilson Pickett. Enjoy!
Wilson Pickett - In The Midnight Hour
“That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of Nations is as shocking as it is true...”
-- Thomas Paine
“I am a war president.”
-- George W. Bush
News and Opinion
Dahr Jamail Returns to Iraq to Find Rampant Torture and a Failed State Living in "Utter Devastation"
news flash: Condi Rice gets 2.5 million to write book on "democracy." She would know something about that??? bit.ly/Zc2g35— David Graeber (@davidgraeber) March 19, 2013
Iraq War’s 10th Anniversary Is Barely Noted in Washington
WASHINGTON — A decade after the night that American bombs first rained down on Baghdad, the president joked about wearing a green tie for a belated St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Congress noisily focused on whether spending cuts would force the cancellation of the White House Easter egg roll. Cable news debated whether a show about young women has too much sex in it.
But on one topic, there was a conspiracy of silence: Republicans and Democrats agreed that they did not really want to talk about the Iraq war.
The 10-year anniversary of the American invasion came and went on Tuesday with barely passing notice in a town once consumed by it. Neither party had much interest in revisiting what succeeded and what failed, who was right and who was wrong. The bipartisan consensus underscored the broader national mood: after 10 years, America seems happy to wash its hands of Iraq.
Not a Failure: Iraq War Was a Premeditated Crime and Iraqis Still Deserve Truth and Justice
Fabricated information about Iraq and aluminum tubes appeared in the New York Times. Jonathan Landay of McClatchy said recently it was a “setup.” The story allowed Rice and Cheney to “talk about an issue that was top secret and highly classified” because the information had somehow appeared in the Times.
The Times published stories under headlines like, “An Iraqi Defector Tells of Work on at Least 20 Hidden Weapons Sites,” “US Says Hussein Intensified Quest for A-Bomb Parts,” “Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist is Said to Assert.” Top-level administration officials were feeding the press propaganda and the papers like the Times were, without asking any questions about their veracity, publishing. ...
United States citizens should vigilantly guard against those, who will rewrite history to excuse an extraordinary and premeditated criminal act that was carried out by high-ranking individuals in government still at large.
Iraqi-American blogger Raed Jarrar was on “Democracy Now!” this morning to briefly address the impact of what the Bush administration did to the country. When asked if Bush should apologize, he responded:I think there should be an independent investigation in the United States to hold those who took the U.S. to war accountable, including President Bush and other politicians in his administration. The crimes that were committed and the fraud and the money that was spent and the lives that were destroyed deserve an apology and a compensation, and they deserve everyone who was behind these attacks to be held accountable
'Sketchy' Reports from Syria and US War Hawks Mobilize"President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment. ... I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice.” -- President Ronald Reagan
'Absolutely, you've got to get on the ground. There is no substitute.'
Unsubstantiated rumors and accusations of chemical weapons coming out of Syria on Tuesday had U.S. lawmakers talking openly about military intervention in another Middle East country even as the world marked the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq which the Bush administration largely justified with falsified claims of similar weapons of mass destruction.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), for one, asked by Foreign Policy if US ground forces should be sent to Syria to secure stores of alleged chemical weapons, responded in the affirmative.
"Absolutely, you've got to get on the ground. There is no substitute for securing these weapons," he said. "I don't care what it takes. We need partners in the region. But I'm here to say, if the choice is to send in troops to secure the weapons sites versus allowing chemical weapons to get in the hands of some of the most violent people in the world, I vote to cut this off before it becomes a problem."
And as the Associated Press reports:Later in the evening, the heads of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), joined forces on CNN to say that they believed chemical weapons had likely been used, without offering evidence. They said the White House should consider military action.
Oh, that's where I've seen this movie before...
US-Backed, School of the Americas-Trained Former Guatemalan Dictator Facing Trial for Genocide
An historic trial begins in Guatemala on Tuesday for a former U.S.-backed, School of the Americas-trained dictator accused of acts genocide committed during his brutal regime.
86-year-old Efrain Rios Montt stands accused of killing over 1,700 Ixil Mayas during his 1982-1983 regime, which took place during Guatemala's 36-year civil war that left as many as 200,000 people, mostly indigenous, killed and tens of thousands "disappeared."
The trial, the first ever in which a former head of state faces genocide charges by a national tribunal, "marks a long-awaited opportunity for justice for the victims of crimes against humanity committed against Guatemala’s Mayan communities," Amnesty International said.
Obama and the Grand Bargain
President Obama’s recent closed-door sessions with Republican congressmen to reach a “grand bargain” has roused suspiciously little attention in the mainstream media. What scant reporting has occurred presents the following narrative: President Obama is a “middle ground” politician attempting to breach political divides with erstwhile Republican opponents. In reality these meetings are not between political opposites, but kindred spirits; perfectly matched ideologies that differ only in implementation, and only by degrees. ...
Does this make Obama a treacherous renegade of the Democratic Party? Not quite. ...
The corporate Democrats in the Senate have been so complicit in the Grand Bargaining that the pro-Democrat New York Times recently congratulated them for putting forth their own proposed budget, in an attempt to separate them from the political fallout that would come if a Grand Bargain actually came to fruition. ... This Grand Bargain conversation has been happening in the media since Obama was elected in 2008, and only now, when the chapter’s final paragraph is being written, do Senate Democrats put forward an alternative ending they know won’t pass. ...
But what about the progressive caucus Democrats in the House of Representatives? They too are complicit in the crimes of the corporate Blue Dog Democrats. For example, you would be hard pressed to find even the most progressive Democrat publicly denounce Obama’s scheming to cut Social Security and Medicare; instead, these progressive Democrats spend their time pointing out the obvious — that Republicans would like to cut these popular programs.
This type of distraction provides vital political cover for Obama to continue his right wing policies. The progressive caucus thus minimizes or ignores the sins of its leadership, guaranteeing that the rightward drift of the Democrats will continue.
Eric Holder Makes it Official: Crime Is The Economic Model
Here’s Holder’s justification: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” he said. “And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”
He went on, trying to shift some of the blame to Congress: sheer size of the big banks “has an inhibiting impact on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate. That is something you (members of Congress) all need to consider.”
He’s saying: You see, Congress, it is your fault that I will not prosecute crime because you have allowed these big banks to exist. However, it is largely due to the Administration’s efforts—led by Timmy Geithner—that the biggest banks not only survived the crisis, but grew bigger as they gobbled up the competition (often with help from the Treasury). Uncle Sam backstopped these control frauds—Bill Black’s term for corporations that are run by top management to enrich themselves.
While I would not want to relieve Congress of all responsibility for protecting the criminal class on Wall Street, the truth is that the Administration is far more culpable—so it is downright disingenuous for Holder to point his finger at Congress.
Is Cyprus in Our Future? - The Plague of Wall Street Banking
The economic news this week highlights what happens when governments are unable to confront the root cause of the financial collapse – the risky speculation and securities fraud of the big banks. What happens? They blame the people, cut their benefits, tax their savings and demand they work harder for less money.
In the United States there have been no criminal prosecutions for securities fraud in the big banks. Just as the Justice Department has made it clear that the big banks are too big to jail because doing so jeopardizes the stability of the banking system; financial fraud investigator Bill Black points out that the SEC cannot institute fines that are too big for the same reason. “The art is to make the number sound large to fool the rubes, but to insure that the fine poses only a modest inconvenience to our ‘most reputable’ fraudulent banks.” So, the SEC trumpets “more than 150 firms and individuals, with sanctions totaling $2.7 billion.” Black points out that this number sounds big, but it isn’t compared to the losses caused by the fraud epidemic in the US which are well in excess of $15 trillion. A trillion is a thousand billion. Are we, ‘the rubes’ or do we know that our government is in cahoots with big finance?
In fact, the big banks have been engaged in all sorts of nefarious activity for a long time, asWashington’s Blog points out with this jaw-dropping list of crimes, and are rife with fraud. And, this week the biggest of the too big to prosecute, JP Morgan, had its financial fraud and disrespect for government on display when the Senate Banking Committee issued a massive 300 page indictment, errr report, documenting the $6.2 billion “London Whale” scandal. The report traces the scandal right to the top, CEO Jamie Dimon, and shows how the bank lied to bank examiners and investors. Experts state the obvious from this evident fraud; investigations and fines, and possibly a large monetary settlement are possible but a prosecution by DOJ remains unlikely. Obvious because everyone knows the game in Washington is one of no criminal prosecutions.
Jamie Dimon Is A Tapeworm, J.P. Morgan Is Out Of Control
Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss Jamie Dimon punching above his weight as a tapeworm and bragging in court documents that he, essentially, had two former Treasury Secretaries on his payroll. They also discuss investors missing out on the 'rally' for fear of 'Too Big to Jail' tapeworm-banksters being bailed out at their expense. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to author, Josh Rosner, about his explosive new piece, "JP Morgan Chase: Out of Control." They discuss the London Whale as a systemic and sticking the taxpayer with JP Morgan's bad Washington Mutual debts.
Cyprus Rejects Bankster Theft; European Austerity Pimps In DisarrayI got a kick out of considering the dismay that some of the 1%er piggy banksters must feel when they hear this sort of talk coming from Cyprus' government figures; from The Guardian's indispensable Eurocrisis liveblog:
NICOSIA, March 19 (Reuters) - Cyprus's parliament overwhelmingly rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits as a condition for a European bailout on Tuesday, throwing euro zone efforts to rescue the latest casualty of the currency area's debt crisis into disarray.
The vote by the small state's legislature was a stunning setback for the 17-nation euro zone, after lawmakers in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy had repeatedly accepted unpopular austerity measures over the last three years to secure European aid. ...
But jubilant crowds outside parliament broke into applause, chanting: "Cyprus belongs to its people." ...
Stunned by the backlash, euro zone finance ministers urged Nicosia on Monday to avoid hitting accounts below 100,000 euros, and instead increase the levy on big accounts, which are unprotected by the state deposit guarantee.
Guardian Liveblog: Eurozone crisis live: Cyprus crisis deepens as MPs reject bailout terms
The possibility of the printing machines being dusted off for the (re-)introduction of the Cypriot pound has been mooted by Marios Mavrides, a Cypriot government MP who was talking to BBC 2's Newsnight in the last twenty minutes.
He said that the government are exploring various options to come up with a solution that would mitigate against a bank run when the banks open again.
Here's one of his last quotes:If we cannot come up the €5.8bn in a few days then I think we will go to the Cyprus pound. That will be the end of Cyprus in the Eurozone.
Detroit Citizens Prepare to Fight Their Corporate Master
Fresh from shoving his "Right to Work for Less" legislation down the throats of Michigan's workers, Governor Rick Snyder has grown bolder in pursuing a corporate agenda. He has now appointed Kevyn Orr of Jones Day Law firm to act as an Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) of Detroit.
As an EFM, Orr can dismiss elected officials, tear up union contracts, privatize public assets and impose new taxes without a vote. The trappings of democracy are swept away like so many cobwebs. Nearly half of all of Michigan's African-American citizens are now effectively left with no vote in local government; they are stuck with taxation without representation.
With the appointment of an EFM, Governor Snyder is transforming Detroit into an occupied colony within the State. Instead of guns, the armies sent into Detroit will carry briefcases filled with lucrative contracts to ensure complete corporate domination at the expense of the city's residents.
Their task will be to find ways to squeeze more labor out of Detroit's workers while paying them less, open up publicly owned services for private investment, and cut social programs that do not contribute to the enrichment of the 1% by enforcing an austerity program. And the results are predictable: austerity will cause even more unemployment and increase the deficit further just as it has done in Europe. ...
Detroit has a long militant Labor and Civil Rights history. It is a sleeping giant that Kevyn Orr's appointment may arouse. There have already been numerous protests before he has had a chance to get to work, as well as militant sounding statements from some of the city's elected council people.
Drilling Deeper: The Wealth of Business Connections for Obama’s Energy Pick
When President Obama nominated Ernest Moniz to be energy secretary earlier this month, he hailed the nuclear physicist as a "brilliant scientist" who, among his many talents, had effectively brought together "prominent thinkers and energy companies" in the continuing effort to figure out a safe and economically sound energy future for the country.
Indeed, Moniz's collaborative work 2013 best captured in the industry-backed research program he oversaw at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2013 is well known. So, too, is his support for Obama's "all of the above" energy strategy 2013 one that embraces, fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewable energy sources.
But beyond his job in academia, Moniz has also spent the last decade serving on a range of boards and advisory councils for energy industry heavyweights, including some that do business with the Department of Energy. That includes a six-year paid stint on BP's Technology Advisory Council as well as similar positions at a uranium enrichment company and a pair of energy investment firms.
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
Wilson Pickett - Mustang Sally
Wilson Pickett - 634-5789
Wilson Pickett- Everybody needs someone to Love
Wilson Pickett - Ninety Nine a Half
Wilson Pickett - I'm A Midnight Mover
Wilson Pickett - Bring It On Home To Me
Wilson Pickett - Fire and Water
Wilson Pickett - Night Owl
Wilson Pickett - Peace Breaker
Wilson Pickett - Something You Got
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!