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 Atlanta bluesman Blind Willie McTell. Enjoy!
Blind Willie McTell - Statesboro Blues
“There hasn't been a scandal this big at the C.I.A. since (CLASSIFIED) committed (CENSORED) to (REDACTED).”
-- Stephen Colbert
News and Opinion
Snowden Coverage: If US Mass Media Were State-Controlled, Would They Look Any Different?
The Edward Snowden leaks have revealed a U.S. corporate media system at war with independent journalism. Many of the same outlets—especially TV news—that missed the Wall Street meltdown and cheer-led the Iraq invasion have come to resemble state-controlled media outlets in their near-total identification with the government as it pursues the now 30-year-old whistleblower.
While an independent journalism system would be dissecting the impacts of NSA surveillance on privacy rights, and separating fact from fiction, U.S. news networks have obsessed on questions like: How much damage has Snowden caused? How can he be brought to justice?
Unfazed by polls showing that half of the American rabble—I mean, public—believe Snowden did a good thing by leaking documentation of NSA spying, TV news panels have usually excluded anyone who speaks for these millions of Americans. Although TV hosts and most panelists are not government officials, some have a penchant for speaking of the government with the pronoun “We.”
After Snowden made it out of Hong Kong to Russia, New York Times journalist and CNBC talking head Andrew Ross Sorkin expressed his frustration: “We’ve screwed this up, to even let him get to Russia.” By “we,” he meant the U.S. government.
Last time I checked, Sorkin was working for the Times and CNBC, not the CIA or FBI.
Snowden Still In Russian Airport Awaiting Asylum Response
Snowden has not been seen in public but Russian officials say he is at the airport, awaiting a response to an appeal for asylum in Ecuador. The logical route to be taken - and one for which he at one point had a reservation - would be an Aeroflot flight via Havana.
The choice of alternative flights, while the United States presses other countries not to take him in or to arrest him on arrival, would be limited.
Putin denied Snowden was being interviewed by Russian intelligence and said any U.S. accusations that Moscow was aiding him as "ravings and rubbish".
That prompted a new extradition demand by Washington, which said there was a "clear legal basis" to do so.
Snowden pardon petition reaches critical mass
An online petition asking the White House to pardon National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has reached 100,000 signatures, passing a threshold that now requires an official response from the Obama administration. ...
"Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs," the petition reads.
It is unclear whether the Obama administration will respond, however, considering the sensitive subject matter.
The Terminal: Snowden stuck in Moscow airport, 'can't buy ticket with invalid passport'
Edward Snowden is not booked to fly out of Moscow over the next three days, and with no valid passport, the NSA whistleblower might be stuck in airport limbo indefinitely. ...
Snowden’s stopover in the transit zone at Sheremetyevo could be prolonged indefinitely, as his passport, which was annulled by the US on Saturday, leaves him without the necessary documentation with which to travel, a source reportedly connected with Snowden told Interfax.
“Snowden’s American passport is void and he is not in possession of any other document with which he can prove his identity. For this reason, he has to stay in Sheremetyevo’s transit zone and cannot leave Russia nor buy a ticket,” the source said.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told RT that Snowden had been given special refugee documents by the Ecuadorian government which facilitated his travel to Russia. It is unclear whether he can continue traveling on that document.
Snowden hid copies of secret NSA documents in case something happens to him
A trove of classified documents supplied to The Guardian newspaper by NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been copied and shared with several people around the globe, journalist Glenn Greenwald told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.
Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who first began publishing National Security Agency documents earlier this month after meeting with the former intelligence contractor, told journalist Eli Lake that Snowden made arrangements to ensure others around the world have encrypted copies of that information should any circumstances allow the data or its source to be compromised.
Snowden “has taken extreme precautions to make sure many different people around the world have these archives to insure the stories will inevitably be published,” Greenwald said. He added that the files are “highly encrypted” and corresponding passwords to render them readable have not yet been distributed. ...
[Note to Glenn Greenwald: I suggest that you start tweeting that you are emailing encrypted files to the assorted "journalists" that want you arrested. Let's see how much they enjoy being part of a surveillance state.]
Elsewhere in his interview with Lake, Greenwald explained that one potential lapse almost led to the loss of the intelligence.
“When I was in Hong Kong, I spoke to my partner in Rio via Skype and told him I would send an electronic encrypted copy of the documents,” Greenwald said. “I did not end up doing it. Two days later his laptop was stolen from our house and nothing else was taken. Nothing like that has happened before. I am not saying it’s connected to this, but obviously the possibility exists.”
Syria: Where the Obama Doctrine of Covert War Spectacularly Backfired
Though all the "Friends of Syria" understood from the outset that regime change in Syria would be more complicated and far bloodier than in Libya, Syria was a prize than none of them could resist, a critical strategic country in the heart of the Middle East. Whoever could claim the loyalty of Syria's new leaders would be in a much stronger position in the region. Would France regain the position of influence it lost after its mandate over Syria and Lebanon ended in 1943? Would the U.K. find the foothold it failed to regain in Iraq? Would Turkey recover its lost destiny as the dominant regional power? Could the Emir of Qatar further expand the disproportionate power of his tiny political, military and media kingdom? Or would fundamentalist Saudi Arabia be confirmed as the divinely appointed leader of the Muslim world? And what of the outside power that has dominated the region for decades - the United States? The conflicting interests of Syria's "friends" may explain why their "humanitarian intervention" looks more like a competitive bloodbath.
But as the Syrian government has regained ground against the rebels, the fabricated narrative of its imminent demise has started to crumble. Western reliance on "information warfare" to trigger the government's collapse has run its course and must now face the reality that the government still controls 13 of 14 provincial capitals and the main roads between them. As veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn recently reported, "… I was able to travel the ninety miles between Damascus and Homs, Syria's third largest city, without any guards and with ordinary heavy traffic on the road. Friends back in Beirut would shake their heads in disbelief when I spoke about this and politely suggest that I'd been hoodwinked by the regime."
But of course it was Cockburn's friends in Beirut and Western TV audiences who were hoodwinked, and not by the Syrian regime but by the CIA and the Pentagon's "information warfare" operations and the complicity of the Western media. This should be a dreadful reminder to us all that these propaganda operations are far from victimless crimes. By torpedoing Kofi Annan's peace efforts in 2012 and counting instead on violence and propaganda to bring down the government, the U.S. fueled a war that has killed nearly 100,000 people and shattered Syrian society.
J.P. Morgan Issues Bankster Political Plan For Eurozone
In late May J P Morgan issued a chilling review of what they saw as the state of progress on tackling the Eurozone crisis:At the start of the crisis, it was generally assumed that the national legacy problems were economic in nature. But, as the crisis has evolved, it has become apparent that there are deep seated political problems in the periphery, which, in our view, need to change if EMU is going to function properly in the long run. The political systems in the periphery were established in the aftermath of dictatorship, and were defined by that experience. Constitutions tend to show a strong socialist influence, reflecting the political strength that left wing parties gained after the defeat of fascism. Political systems around the periphery typically display several of the following features: weak executives; weak central states relative to regions; constitutional protection of labor rights; consensus building systems which foster political clientalism; and the right to protest if unwelcome changes are made to the political status quo. The shortcomings of this political legacy have been revealed by the crisis. Countries around the periphery have only been partially successful in producing fiscal and economic reform agendas, with governments constrained by constitutions (Portugal), powerful regions (Spain), and the rise of populist parties (Italy and Greece).What J P Morgan is making clear is that ‘socialist’ inclinations must be removed from political structures; localism must be replaced with strong, central, authority; labour rights must be removed, consensus (call it democracy if you will) must cease to be of concern and the right to protest must be curtailed. This is an agenda for hard right, corporatist, centrist government. There’s another word for that, and it’s what the bankers seem to want.
There is a growing recognition of the extent of this problem, both in the core and in the periphery. Change is beginning to take place. Spain took steps to address some of the contradictions of the post-Franco settlement with last year’s legislation enabling closer fiscal oversight of the regions. But, outside Spain little has happened thus far. The key test in the coming year will be in Italy, where the new government clearly has an opportunity to engage in meaningful political reform. But, in terms of the idea of a journey, the process of political reform has barely begun.
'Get them to write a big check:' Irish banker pulls bailout figure from 'arse' in leaked tapes
Executives at the Anglo Irish Bank were recorded joking about how they lied to Dublin about the bank’s financial future in 2008, convincing lawmakers to invest in the failing bank with figures “picked out of my arse” - with no plans to pay them back.
John Bowe, the head of capital markets for Anglo Irish, was recorded laughing as he explained to Peter Fitzgerald, the former head of banking, how Anglo Irish had fleeced the Irish government into providing billions of euro to keep the bank solvent.
The 2008 conversation was captured by the bank’s internal recording system and published by the Irish Independent. Ireland still has yet to fully recover from the financial crisis, despite attempts to bring the country back to normalcy by way of a drastic austerity program set in motion in the four years since.
Obama Backs First-Strike Nuclear War as U.S. Policy
I have now had the chance to read Obama’s Report on Nuclear Employment Strategy of the United States, that just came out on Friday, June 21, 2013. The critical passage can be found on page 5:
“The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review established the Administration’s goal to set conditions that would allow the United States to safely adopt a policy of making deterrence of nuclear attack the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons. Although we cannot adopt such a policy today, the new guidance re-iterates the intention to work towards that goal over time.”
In other words, “nuclear deterrence” is not now and has not been the policy of the Obama administration going back to and including their 2010 Nuclear Posture Review as well. Since “nuclear deterrence” is not now and has never been the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons policy from the get-go, then by default this means that offensive first-strike strategic nuclear war fighting is now and has always been the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons policy. This policy will also be pursued and augmented by means of “integrated non-nuclear strike options.” Id.
Therefore the entire 2013 NPR and Obama’s recent nuclear arms “reduction” proposals must be understood within this context of the United States pursuing an offensive, strategic first-strike nuclear war-fighting capability as augmented by non-nuclear strike forces:
'The Fight is Just Beginning': Group Shuts Down Enbridge Line 9 Construction
For the sixth day, protesters have barricaded an Enbridge tar sands pump station in an effort to halt the "endless resource extraction" and stop construction meant to reverse the flow of Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline, which soon will carry toxic diluted bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands through communities and watersheds to eventual export on the East Coast of the United States.
Police from the rural town of Hamilton, Ontario have reportedly delivered an injunction Tuesday morning by the oil company to the protesters, who have been occupying the site since June 20. At the time of this reporting, despite the injunction, four of the protesters have formed a blockade inside the gates of the North Westover pump station located in the Beverly swamp. ...
In what the group is calling a "rigged game," Canada's National Energy Board has already approved the first leg of the project without the "usual environmental oversights."
"The Line 9 reversal is, from the perspective of the powerful, a foregone conclusion and they have insultingly offered only the most meaningless opportunities for public engagement," the group continues, referring to the public hearings for the project's second leg, which are scheduled for the fall. Anticipating a 'green light,' Enbridge has already begun construction on the route.
"First Enbridge tried getting the Line 9 reversal done by stealth, then by trickery, and now, finally, they will do it by force," added protester Trish Mills.
Obama's fracked-up climate strategy will guarantee global warming disaster
President Obama's much-anticipated speech at Georgetown University unveiling America's new climate change strategy offers welcome re-affirmation of the US government's recognition of global warming dangers. Plans to regulate coal plants, beef up defences against flooding and sea level rise, increase energy efficiency for homes and businesses, and fast track permits for renewable energy on public lands, are critical steps forward.
But the new climate strategy remains fatally compromised by Obama's unflinching commitment to the maximum possible exploitation of fossil fuels - a contradiction that has set the world on course to trigger unmitigated catastrophe in coming decades.
Central to the plan is Obama's reiteration of his commitment to cutting US greenhouse gas emissions 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. But this target is too little, too late - amounting to only a 4% cut in emissions compared with 1990 levels.
Even before this target was enshrined into US law, scientists warned that the pledge "will not be enough to head off dangerous climate change" as global temperatures would still breach the 2C target accepted by governments as the safe limit for global warming.
Obama Climate Plan Touts Gas Fracking As "Transition Fuel," Doubling Down on Methane Risk
Today, President Barack Obama announced his administration's "Climate Action Plan" for cutting carbon pollution in his second term in the Oval Office at Georgetown University and unfortunately, it's a full-throttle endorsement of every aspect of fracking and the global shale gas market. ...
Here is what President Obama said today at Georgetown about natural gas and fracking:Now even as we're producing more domestic oil, we're also burning more clean-burning natural gas than any country on earth. And again, sometimes there are disputes about natural gas, but we should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because in the medium-term at least, it can provide not only safe cheap power, but it can only help reduce our carbon emissions."Without reducing total production, which would require him to really take on the fossil fuel industries and have a real fight with them, this plan is not going to do anything to solve the problem," [Gasland Producer and Director Josh] Fox told DeSmogBlog. "Cutting the overall emissions from power plants, but not cutting overall production of coal and gas, makes the problem worse. It's like switching from Marlboro to Camel cigarettes, instead of just quitting."
Federally-supported technology has helped our businesses drill more effectively and extract more gas. And now we'll keep working with the industry to keep making drilling cleaner and safer, make sure that we're not seeing methane emissions, and to put people to work, modernizing our modern infrastructure so that we can power more homes and businesses with cleaner energy. The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs, it's lowering many familes' heat and power bills and it's the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution, even as our businesses work to develop and then deploy more of the even cleaner technology for the energy economy of the future.
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
Blind Willie McTell - Dying Crapshooters Blues
David Bromberg - Dying Crapshooters Blues
Blind Willie McTell - Broke Down Engine
Blind Willie McTell - Delia
Blind Willie Mctell - Blues Around Midnight
Blind Willie Mctell - Travelin' Blues
Blind Willie Mctell - Wabash Cannonball
Blind Willie Mctell - Atlanta Strut
Blind Willie Mctell - Kill It Kid
Blind Willie McTell - Dirty Mistreater
Blind Willie McTell - Bell Street Lightnin'
Blind Willie McTell - Georgia Rag
Blind Willie McTell - Come On Around To My House Mama
Blind Willie McTell - King Edward Blues
Blind Willie McTell - Lord Send Me An Angel
The White Stripes - Lord, Send Me An Angel
Chris Smither - Statesboro Blues
Taj Mahal - Statesboro Blues
Allman Brothers Band - Statesboro Blues
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!