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 Piedmont bluesman Amos Easton better known as Bumble Bee Slim. Enjoy!
Amos Easton (Bumble Bee Slim) - I Keep On Drinkin'
“Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy.”
News and Opinion
Barack Obama seeks to limit EU fallout over US spying claims
As Washington desperately sought to contain the diplomatic fallout from the bugging controversy, Obama acknowledged the damage done by the revelations and said the NSA would evaluate the claims and inform allies about the allegations. ...
While Obama sought to defuse the tension amid growing anger in Europe, he also said the US agencies were simply behaving in the same way as other intelligence organisations everywhere. "Not just ours, but every European intelligence service, every Asian intelligence service, wherever there's an intelligence service – here's one thing that they're going to be doing: they're going to be trying to understand the world better and what's going on in world capitals around the world," the US president said in Tanzania.
Obama sought to reassure fellow world leaders that the scale of US espionage against friendly nations did not signify a lack of trust. ...
"Washington is shooting itself in the foot," said Germany's conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.
"Declaring the EU offices to be a legitimate attack target is more than the unfriendly act of a machine that knows no bounds and may be out of the control of politics and the courts." ...
Germany's federal prosecutor's office has also opened inquiries into the NSA debacle, with a view to establishing whether German laws have been breached.
Edward Snowden withdraws Russian asylum request
Edward Snowden has withdrawn his request for political asylum from Russia, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, further adding to the uncertainty over the US whistleblower's future.
A spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said Snowden withdrew the request after Putin's statement making clear that he would be welcome only if he stopped "his work aimed at bringing harm" to the United States.
"Snowden really asked to remain in Russia," Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman, said. "Learning yesterday of Russia's position … he abandoned his intentions and his request to get the possibility to stay in Russia." ...
According to WikiLeaks, Snowden has requested asylum from Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela.
Edward Snowden: Obama Secretly Pressuring Countries to Refuse His Requests for Asylum
US president pledged to avoid 'wheeling and dealing' while bullying countries that might grant asylum, says whistleblower.
Edward Snowden has accused Barack Obama of deception for promising in public to avoid diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over his extradition, while privately pressuring countries to refuse his requests for asylum.
Snowden, the surveillance whistleblower who is thought to be trapped in the legal limbo of a transit zone at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, used his first public comments since fleeing Hong Kong to attack the US for revoking his passport. He also accused his country of bullying nations that might grant him asylum.
"On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic 'wheeling and dealing' over my case," Snowden said in a statement released by WikiLeaks.
"Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the president ordered his vice-president to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions. This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression."
How long can anyone remain in an airport?
Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, lived in the departure lounge of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris for 18 years. His story, Terminal Man, was later turned into a film, The Terminal. Another Iranian refugee, Zahra Kamalfar, spent 10 months at Sheremetyevo airport before flying on to Canada in 2007. Apart from Julian Assange, who is confined to Ecuador's embassy in London, others trapped in long-term legal limbo have included Archbishop József Mindszenty, the Catholic primate of Hungary, who spent 15 years in the US embassy in Budapest.
How Do the Laws of War Apply to Cyberspace?
Critics say the Obama administration's definition of what constitutes an 'imminent threat' raises questions
As the concept of online warfare advances, the international community is scrambling to lay out rules to regulate this potentially devastating new kind of conflict. Last week, the International Committee of the Red Cross released its first ever position paper on the subject, stating that "there is no question" that laws of war apply to cyberspace – but what that actually means remains unclear. The Red Cross paper comes on the heels of the first major international attempt to offer a solution: a nonbinding NATO-backed report called the Tallinn Manual. At the same time, a recently leaked U.S. policy directive suggests that our government is already writing its own rules for cyber-war – and some say the administration's reasoning raises many of the same concerns that surround other kinds of 21st-century American war.
The directive, which first appeared in The Guardian last month, states that the U.S. government retains the right to take "anticipatory action against imminent threats" in a cyber-conflict. For many administration critics, the use of the vaguely defined term "imminent" – which appears seven times in the 18-page document – is a major red flag. In a now-infamous Department of Justice white paper leaked earlier this year, the Obama administration laid out a partial legal rationale for when an American citizen can be killed without a trial, concluding that a person can be deemed an "imminent threat" even if there's no evidence of an attack happening in the immediate future. (The case in question was the 2011 killing of radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen living in Yemen, via drone strike.) The white paper's slippery language prompted ACLU deputy legal director Jamel Jaffer to write that the administration was seeking to "redefine the word imminence in a way that deprives the word of its ordinary meaning."
The possibility that the government's loose definition of imminence has migrated from the drone world to cyberspace is troubling to some. "The Obama administration has defined the word imminence very broadly," says NYU law professor Ryan Goodman. "If the White House imports into cyberspace the definition of imminence used in the counterterrorism context, it may wreak havoc in trying to generate a set of feasible and principled rules for all nations to follow."
To those who say ‘trust the government’ on NSA spying: Remember J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI?
It’s a fine thing to see mainstream American media outlets finally sparing some of their attention toward the cyber-industrial complex – that unprecedented conglomeration of state, military and corporate interests that together exercise growing power over the flow of information. It would be even more heartening if so many of the nation’s most influential voices, from senator to pundits, were not clearly intent on killing off even this belated scrutiny into the invisible empire that so thoroughly scrutinizes us – at our own expense and to unknown ends. ...
Besides, the government to which we’re ceding these broad new powers is a democracy, overseen by real, live Americans. And it’s hard to imagine American government officials abusing their powers – or at least, it would be, had such officials not already abused similar but more limited powers through repeated campaigns of disinformation, intimidation and airtight crimes directed at the American public over the last five decades. Cointelpro, Operation Mockingbird, Ultra and Chaos are among the now-acknowledged CIA, FBI and NSA programs by which those agencies managed to subvert American democracy with impunity. Supporters of mass surveillance conducted under the very same agencies have yet to address how such abuses can be insured against in the context of powers far greater than anything J Edgar Hoover could command.
Many have never heard of these programs; the sort of people who trust states with secret authority tend not to know what such things have led to in the recent past. Those who do know of such things may perhaps contend that these practices would never be repeated today. But it was just two years ago that the late Michael Hastings revealed that US army officials in Afghanistan were conducting psy-ops against visiting US senators in order to sway them towards continued funding for that unsuccessful war. If military and intelligence officials have so little respect for the civilian leadership, one can guess how they feel about mere civilians.
[Read the rest, it's worth your while.]
US drone strikes more deadly to Afghan civilians than manned aircraft – adviser
A study conducted by a US military adviser has found that drone strikes in Afghanistan during a year of the protracted conflict caused 10 times more civilian casualties than strikes by manned fighter aircraft.
The new study, referred to in an official US military journal, contradicts claims by US officials that the robotic planes are more precise than their manned counterparts.
It appears to undermine the claim made by President Obama in a May speech that "conventional airpower or missiles are far less precise than drones, and likely to cause more civilian casualties and local outrage". ...
Larry Lewis, a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, a research group with close ties to the US military, studied air strikes in Afghanistan from mid-2010 to mid-2011, using classified military data on the strikes and the civilian casualties they caused. Lewis told the Guardian he found that the missile strikes conducted by remotely piloted aircraft, commonly known as drones, were 10 times more deadly to Afghan civilians than those performed by fighter jets.
Boy’s Death in Drone Strike Tests Obama’s Transparency PledgeIt looks like the Europeans might step in and do what our regulators should have done if Obama wasn't a stooge of the banksters:
What does the Obama administration have to say in response to evidence that a child was killed? Nothing.
On June 9, a U.S. drone fired on a vehicle in a remote province of Yemen and killed several militants, according to media reports.
It soon emerged that among those who died was a boy – 10-year-old Abdulaziz, whose elder brother, Saleh Hassan Huraydan, was believed to be the target of the strike. A McClatchy reporter recently confirmed the child’s death with locals. (Update: The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism today reported that there was "strong evidence" it was a U.S. drone strike, but it could not confirm the fact.)
It’s the first prominent allegation of a civilian death since President Obama pledged in a major speech in May “to facilitate transparency and debate” about the U.S. war on al Qaida-linked militants beyond Afghanistan. He also said “there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured” in a strike.
So what does the administration have to say in response to evidence that a child was killed?
National security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden would not comment on the June 9 strike or more generally on the White House position on acknowledging civilian deaths. She referred further questions to the CIA, which also declined to comment.
EU Antitrust Authorities Sue 13 MegaBanks Over Credit Default Swaps Collusion to Stymie ExchangesBrazil has found its tipping point where the people finally stand up against the neoliberal power, i wonder what it will take in the US...
Ooh, here we thought bank reform was dead, and an unexpected front opens up.
From the Financial Times:Investment banks’ 20-year grip over credit insurance markets has come under regulatory assault as Brussels served charges against 13 banks for allegedly conspiring to block exchanges from challenging their business model.... The banks have wanted to keep derivatives over the counter, particularly CDS, since those prices can’t be derived readily from published indexes or actively traded markets (which is in contrast to a lot of interest rate and foreign exchange swaps). That allows the banks to mark up the price considerably over inter-dealer levels.
The formal European Commission charge-sheet, running to almost 400 pages, alleges collusion to ensure the insurance-like contracts remained an “over-the-counter” (OTC) product – preserving the banks’ lucrative role as middlemen.
Investigators claim the banks from 2006-2009 protected their indispensable position in the $25tn global market through “control” of a trade body and information provider, which vetted whether new exchanges should be licensed…
Brussels alleges that the harm from blocking exchanges, such as Deutsche Börse and CME Group of the US, went beyond trapping investors in the relatively more costly OTC market.
Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s competition chief, said keeping CDS in the opaque OTC market weakened the financial system, increasing counterparty risks that were brutally exposed after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
... As long as banks can keep writing them without having to put up adequate capital or margin, they have economic incentives to pile up more risky exposures than they can handle. The fear of setting off cascading failures was the big reason Bear, an otherwise not systemically important player, was rescued (Bear was one of the three biggest prime brokers and hence writing a lot of CDS to hedge funds). And remember CDS are almost certainly booked in depositaries (recall the controversy over Bank of America moving its Merrill Lynch exposures into the deposit book of the bank).
In Response to Protests, Brazil's Congress Votes to Invest 100% of Oil Revenue into Education and Healthcare
Morsi rejects army ultimatum but vows ‘path of democratic change’20 million Egyptians with nothing to lose are in the streets:
Egypt’s presidency on Tuesday rejected an army ultimatum threatening to intervene if Islamist President Mohamed Morsi did not meet the demands of the people, raising the stakes in the country’s political crisis.
The army statement, read out on television Monday, had given Morsi 48 hours to comply with its call.
“If the demands of the people are not met in this period… (the armed forces) will announce a future roadmap and measures to oversee its implementation,” it said.
But in a statement issued overnight, the presidency insisted it would continue on its own path towards national reconciliation.
The army declaration had not been cleared by the presidency and could cause confusion, it said.
The presidency also denounced any declaration that would “deepen division” and “threaten the social peace”.
Morsi was consulting “with all national forces to secure the path of democratic change and the protection of the popular will”, it added.
San Diego Jury Acquits on All Counts Occupy Chalk Protestor Targeted by Bank of America
Jeff Olson, the San Diego (SD) anti-big bank public sidewalk protestor, has been acquitted of all 13 counts by a jury of his peers. As detailed over the past four days on BuzzFlash at Truthout, Olson had used water soluble chalk to write messages that warned of the powers of big banks.
Bank of America pushed for the prosecution of Olson on vandalism charges for writing his First Amendment opinions on public sidewalks (and in one case on Bank of America pavement). In fact the elected conservative SD City Attorney, Jan Goldsmith, didn't even initiate charges against Olson until months after he wrote in chalk on sidewalks in front of three Bank of America branches in SD. It was only after the local security officer for Bank of America relentlessly prodded the City Attorney's office that Olson was charged with the 13 counts of vandalism
According to Dorian Hargrove of the San Diego Reader, in a phone call to BuzzFlash at Truthout, presiding Judge Howard Shore condemned the media after the acquittal for sensationalizing the case. Five city attorneys were present for the verdict, which was a rebuke of City Attorney's Jan Goldmith's pro-bank, anti-Occupy protestor prosecutorial bias.
US Corporations, GMOs Thrive Under Obama's African Partnership
As president pledges 'end to famine,' critics question push for Big Ag
Rounding out his multi-state African tour Monday, US President Barack Obama pledged a new era of "partnership" with the continent, promising "an end to famine and a thriving African agricultural industry." However, critics and food sovereignty advocates—wary of such remarks—want to know who gets to "thrive" and at what cost.
Speaking before a crowd Sunday at the University of Cape Town, President Obama touted a "new alliance of governments and the private sector" and the billions spent on agricultural research that "grows more crops"—words frequently used as doublespeak for Big Agriculture's genetically modified organism (GMO) technology.
He said:For one thing, we believe that countries have to have the power to feed themselves, so instead of shipping food to Africa, we're now helping millions of small farmers in Africa make use of new technologies and farm more land. And through a new alliance of governments and the private sector, we're investing billions of dollars in agriculture that grows more crops, brings more food to market, give farmers better prices and helps lift 50 million people out of poverty in a decade. An end to famine, a thriving African agricultural industry — that's what opportunity looks like. That's what we want to build with you."A lot of concerns are being raised in Africa around this question of food sovereignty," Emira Woods, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, told The Real News Network ahead of the speech. "It sounds great when we think about this new alliance for food. You know, increasing yields, increasing productivity all sound fantastic."
However, she added, "if you look beyond the mask, beyond the title," what you see is what many are calling a land grab by multinational corporations, or an appropriation of much of the "last remaining arable land on this planet."
Tar Sands Coal Export Boom: Petcoke Exports Second Highest Ever in April
With many eyes honed in on the Powder River Basin coal export battle in the Northwest, another coal export boom is unfolding on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Although no coal production is actually taking place here, a filthy fuel with even more severe climate impacts than coal is leaving port bound for foreign power plants.
Meet petroleum coke, or "petcoke," what Oil Change International described in a Jan. 2013 report as "The Coal Hiding in the Tar Sands." ...
Petcoke "is a byproduct of coking, a process that takes very heavy oil and produces gasoil (a precursor to diesel or vacuum gasoil) and naphtha," Platts explains. " ... "Petcoke is over 90 percent carbon and emits 5 to 10 percent more CO2 than coal on a per-unit of energy basis when it is burned," explains Oil Change International's report. "As petcoke has high energy content, every ton of petcoke emits between 30 and 80 percent more CO2 than coal, depending on the quality of the coal." ...
With the tar sands' expansion has come an accompanying petcoke export boom of historical proportion.
"The US exported a record 184.17 million barrels of petroleum coke in 2012, a record up over 20 million barrels compared to 2010," Platts explained.
According to the EIA report, China is the current top beneficiary of the U.S. petcoke export boom, importing 3.20 million barrels of petcoke in April, the third most it's ever imported from the U.S.
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
Bumble Bee Slim - Sloppy Drunk Blues
Bumble Bee Slim - No Woman No Nickel
Bumble Bee Slim - Ida Red
Bumble Bee Slim - Going Back To Florida
Bumble Bee Slim - Fattening Frogs For Snakes
Bumble Bee Slim - No More Biscuits Rolling Here
Bumble Bee Slim - Slave Man Blues
Bumble Bee Slim - When The Music Sounds Good
Bumble Bee Slim - When Somebody Loses (Then Somebody Wins)
Bumble Bee Slim - Any Time At Night
Bumble Bee Slim - I'se Gonna Break'Em Down
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.
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