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 a second night of blues and r&b singer Sugar Pie DeSanto. Enjoy!
Sugar Pie Desanto - Baby what you want me to do
“Most people gaze neither into the past nor the future; they explore neither truth nor lies. They gaze at the television.”
News and Opinion
American State of the Union: A Festival of LiesAnd now let's hear about the folks that Obama's policies benefit:
“Believe it,” said the current Prevaricator-in-Chief, in the conclusion to his annual litany lies. President Obama’s specialty, honed to theatrical near-perfection over five disastrous years, is in crafting the sympathetic lie, designed to suspend disbelief among those targeted for oblivion, through displays of empathy for the victims. In contrast to the aggressive insults and bluster employed by Republican political actors, whose goal is to incite racist passions against the Other, the sympathetic Democratic liar disarms those who are about to be sacrificed by pretending to feel their pain.
Barack Obama, who has presided over the sharpest increases in economic inequality in U.S. history, adopts the persona of public advocate, reciting wrongs inflicted by unseen and unknown forces that have “deepened” the gap between the rich and the rest of us and “stalled” upward mobility. Having spent half a decade stuffing tens of trillions of dollars into the accounts of an ever shrinking gaggle of financial capitalists, Obama declares this to be “a year of action” in the opposite direction. “Believe it.” And if you do believe it, then crown him the Most Effective Liar of the young century.
Lies of omission are even more despicable than the overt variety, because they hide. The potentially most devastating Obama contribution to economic inequality is being crafted in secret by hundreds of corporate lobbyists and lawyers and their revolving-door counterparts in government. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, described as “NAFTA on steroids,” would accelerate the global Race to the Bottom that has made a wasteland of American manufacturing, plunging the working class into levels of poverty and insecurity without parallel in most people’s lifetimes, and totally eviscerating the meager gains of three generations of African Americans. Yet, the closest Obama came to even an oblique allusion to his great crime-in-the-making, was to announce that “new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help [small businesses] create even more jobs. ... The president who promised in his 2008 campaign to support a hike in the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011, and then did nothing at all to make it happen, says this is the “year of action” when he’ll move heaven and earth to get a $10.10 minimum. ...
What is Obama’s jobs program? It is the same as laid out at last year’s State of the Union, and elaborated on last summer: lower business taxes and higher business subsidies. When you say “jobs,” he says tax cuts – just like the Republicans, only Obama first cites the pain of the unemployed, so that you know he cares. ... In the final analysis, the sympathetic corporate Democrat and the arrogant corporate Republican offer only small variations on the same menu: ever increasing austerity. Obama bragged about reducing the deficit, never acknowledging that this has been accomplished on the backs of the poor, contributing mightily to economic inequality and social insecurity.
Why the rich are freaking out
The co-founder of one the nation’s oldest venture capital firms fears a possible genocide against the wealthy. ... The nation’s wealthiest, denizens of the loftiest slice of the 1 percent, appear to be having a collective meltdown.
Economists, advisers to the wealthy and the wealthy themselves describe a deep-seated anxiety that the national — and even global — mood is turning against the super-rich in ways that ultimately could prove dangerous and hard to control. ...
“You have a bunch of people who see conspiracies everywhere and believe that this inequality issue will quickly turn into serious class warfare,” said this person, who asked not to be identified by name so as not to anger any wealthy friends. “They don’t believe inequality is bad and believe the only way to deal with it is to allow entrepreneurs to have even fewer shackles.”
And so the rich are lashing out.
In the latest example, Thomas Perkins, co-founder of legendary Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, wrote a letter to The Wall Street Journal over the weekend comparing Nazi Germany’s persecution and mass murder of Jews to “the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.’”
On a practical level, the wealthy are jumping at shadows.
“None of the issues currently on the table would have a large effect on the very rich,” said Justin Wolfers, economics professor at the University of Michigan. ... “I think that with Occupy Wall Street there was a sense of the heat getting turned up and a feeling of vilification and potential danger,” said Jamie Traeger-Muney, a psychologist whose Wealth Legacy Group focuses on counseling the affluent.
Republicans Just Won the Food Stamp War
Here's why the compromise level of cuts is a Republican win: In addition to the $9 billion in food stamp cuts in this five-year farm bill, another $11 billion will be slashed over three years as stimulus funding for the program expires. The first $5 billion of that stimulus money expired in October; the rest will disappear by 2016. In the months since the first $5 billion in stimulus funding was cut, food pantries have been struggling to provide enough food for the hungry. Poverty remains at record high levels, and three job applicants compete for every job opening.
And yet, despite the $5 billion in cuts that already happened and the guarantee of $6 billion more, Republicans succeeded in getting their Democratic peers to cut food stamps further. This is the first time in history that a Democratic Senate has even proposed cutting the program. Now the upper chamber is expected to pass cuts twice the level it approved last year.
When the final bill came up for a vote in the House, the Congressional Progressive Caucus advised its 76 members to vote against the bill. But not enough Dems voted to block the cuts. One hundred three Democrats voted against the farm bill, but 89 voted in favor. If 43 more Democrats had voted no, the farm bill would have failed. "Dems are…complicit in changing [the] law, when they could just [block the bill] and let that status quo continue," the Democratic aide says.
Democrats in the House and Senate agreed to cut nutrition aid for poor Americans because they "have shifted to the right on SNAP politically," the staffer adds. "If Dems were as absolutist as the tea party, this bill would be dead on arrival and SNAP would continue as is."
Walmart warns: Food stamp cuts hurt our profits
Walmart Friday said bad weather and cuts in food stamp support for the poor weighed on US sales and would hit earnings for its November-January fourth quarter.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer and the country’s largest single private sector employer, said it now expects sales at its namesake US stores and its Sam’s Club chain to be “slightly negative” for the quarter, which included the crucial holiday shopping period. ...
“Despite a holiday season that delivered positive comps, two factors contributed to lower comp sales performance,” said Walmart chief financial officer Charles Holley — referring to sales at comparable stores.
Holley cited deeper-than-expected cuts to benefits under the US Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — food support for the poor — and heavy weather in some areas that had forced some temporary store closings and kept consumers away.
Climate activists: U.S. and its partners must ‘publicly renounce’ spying tacticsGlenn can't see the play? Inconceivable!
The United States and other governments accused of spying on negotiators at crucial UN climate talks in 2009 should “publicly renounce” such tactics, environmental groups involved in the process said Friday.
Climate Action Network (CAN), a grouping of more than 850 environmental groups, reacted to media reports citing a leaked document from rogue US National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden claiming to show the NSA and allies had monitored the communications of other governments ahead of and during the 2009 round of talks in Copenhagen.
“CAN condemns such actions,” said the grouping, an active participant in the annual talks towards sealing a new, global pact to curb Earth-damaging climate change.
“The work currently underway… already suffers from a dearth of trust between nations. If we are to achieve this monumental deal for the planet, all countries must work on repairing these burnt bridges.”
Wallace Shawn on Artistic Solidarity: As Glenn Greenwald Can’t Return to U.S., I Took My Play to Him
Obama admits intelligence chief fault over false Senate testimony - still defends the lying !@$%@!
President Barack Obama has said his director of national intelligence, James Clapper, ought to have been “more careful” in Senate testimony about surveillance that Clapper later acknowledged was untruthful following disclosures by Edward Snowden.
But Obama signaled continued confidence in Clapper in the face of calls for the director to resign from members of Congress who warn of the dangerous precedent set by allowing an intelligence chief to lie to legislative bodies tasked with overseeing the powerful spy agencies.
“Jim Clapper himself would acknowledge, and has acknowledged, that he should have been more careful about how he responded,” Obama told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired on Friday.
Clapper has apologized to the Senate intelligence committee for testifying in March 2013 that the US government does “not wittingly” collect data on millions of Americans.
The answer was shown to have been untruthful when the Guardian published a top-secret court order from Snowden that showed the NSA was collecting the phone records of millions of US citizens.
O (No) Canada!: Free Airport Wi-Fi Hacked for Mass Surveillance
Canada's most secretive intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), used the free wi-fi networks provided at one of the nation's largest airports to obtain the metadata contained in the electronic devices of passengers passing through the terminals which then allowed the agency to "track" the devices going forward.
Those are the explosive revelations that Canadian citizens woke to on Friday, with a new report by CBC News—based on documents leaked to journalists by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—showing that the program by the CSEC, which is charged with foreign intelligence and barred from spying on Canadian citizens, was being used to bulk collect the personal digital information of all people using the open and public network.
Described as a "test run," the program was not known to airport officials questioned by the CBC, though the details of the technology were shared with other intelligence agencies from the so-called Five Eyes countries, which includes the U.S., New Zealand, the U.K., and Australia.
C.I.A. Drone Bases
To the Editor:
In “Afghanistan Exit Is Seen as Peril to Drone Mission” (front page, Jan. 27), you report the concern of intelligence agencies that they will lose the bases from which to launch drone rocket strikes.
The Central Intelligence Agency should not be launching deadly military strikes. We would be better off if the C.I.A. returned to being an agency that collected and analyzed intelligence and stopped being a secretive paramilitary organization.
With rare exceptions, if America cannot justify military action publicly, we should not be taking military action.
Pennington, N.J., Jan. 28, 2014
Ukrainian protester says he was kidnapped and tortured
Missing opposition activist Dmytro Bulatov found bruised and cut outside Kiev, reportedly with hands bearing crucifixion marks
For eight days, people feared Dmytro Bulatov was dead. One of the leaders of protests against President Viktor Yanukovych, the activist disappeared without trace on 22 January. Now he has resurfaced, alive, but says he was subjected to horrific torture, including a crucifixion, while he was held in captivity by unknown men.
Bulatov was discovered in a village near Kiev late on Thursday. He said his kidnappers beat him severely, nailed him to a cross, sliced off a piece of his ear and cut his face. Bulatov, 35, is part of a group of car owners who have taken part in the protests against Yanukovych, blocking police and troop movements with their vehicles in an attempt to stymie the government response.
"They crucified me, they nailed down my hands … There isn't a spot on my body that hasn't been beaten," he said on local television. Bulatov's face and clothes were covered in clotted blood, and his hands were swollen and bore the marks of nails.
Bulatov is now undergoing treatment for his injuries, and doctors were not letting journalists visit him in hospital on Friday. However, in a video address posted on his Facebook page by a friend, he told of what had happened to him: "I was brutally beaten, had a bag on my head, and was subjected to very severe tortures, but nevertheless they will not be able to intimidate us and we are not going to stop." ...
"What happened to Dmytro is an act of intimidation to all the protesters," said opposition leader Vitali Klitschko after visiting Bulatov in hospital.
Argentina powerless as economy plummetsThe culture wars are on in NCTim's backyard:
Argentina appears powerless in the face of the hemorrhage of the peso, as the central bank reported Thursday it had burned through $2.1 billion in reserves in January alone.
The government is struggling to beat back a mounting rush into dollars that has stoked 26 percent inflation despite price controls on many items and pressure on businesses to avoid price increases.
Foreign reserves, crucial to service foreign debts and pay for needed imports like fuels, have tumbled from $52 billion at the beginning of 2011 to $28.5 billion as of January 30, according to Central Bank data. ...
Underpinning [public uncertainty] is the trauma many Argentines still feel from the 2001 economic meltdown, when the peso crashed after it was de-pegged from the dollar, wiping out the savings of millions of middle class workers. ...
Since the early-2000s debacle, the Argentine economy has rebounded, helped by strong demand for its farm exports, most notably soybeans, which have brought in dollars.
Last year, the economy grew around five percent and it had a trade surplus of $9.0 billion, while the government’s fiscal shortfall was relatively modest.
In North Carolina’s pivotal Senate race, abortion could be a key issue
Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’ supporters hope to channel anger over North Carolina’s new anti-abortion restrictions into a get-out-the-vote effort in what’s expected to be a fiercely competitive re-election campaign this year.
Hagan’s looming race against one of six Republicans set to run in their party’s May Senate primary, including presumptive frontrunner, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, could be one of the marquee contests in this year’s midterm elections.
North Carolina will be one of several pivotal Senate battles that could decide whether Democrats keep control of the chamber or lose it to the Republicans.
It’s also among 22 states where lawmakers last year made it harder to obtain an abortion.
Democrats see that as an opportunity to continue to hammer Republicans with the “war on women” strategy that proved successful for them in the 2012 elections.
Obama Lies to Jake Tapper About His Ability to Reschedule Marijuana
The Controlled Substance Act explicitly gives the executive branch the responsibility to change the schedule of any drug without needing to go through Congress. President Obama is either ignorant about his duties or straight up lied to Jack Tapper when directly asked about this. From the CNN interview:[TAPPER] Or are you considering not making marijuana a Schedule One narcotic?This statement from Obama could not be more wrong. In fact the law requires the Attorney General to make the change without Congress based on new research. ... The Obama administration actually just spent several years fighting a lawsuit to force them to reschedule marijuana.
OBAMA: Well, first of all, what is and isn’t a Schedule One narcotic is a job for Congress. It’s not…
TAPPER: I think it’s the DEA that decides…
OBAMA: It’s – it’s not – it’s not something by ourselves that we start changing. No, there are laws under – undergirding those determinations…
TAPPER: Would you support that move?
OBAMA: But the broader point, I stand by my belief, based, I think, on the scientific evidence, that marijuana, for casual users, individual users, is subject to abuse, just like alcohol is and should be treated as a public health problem and challenge.
The Evening Greens
Keystone Report Said Likely to Disappoint Foes on ClimateWell, the report is out, it was just dumped and, as expected, is a disappointment. There hasn't been much time yet to go over the report carefully. If you follow the link, desmogblog will have updates over the weekend as people dig through the hoary carcass of this report.
The U.S. State Department is preparing a report that will probably disappoint environmental groups and opponents of the Keystone pipeline, according to people who have been briefed on the draft of the document.
While the report will deviate from a March draft in some ways to the liking of environmentalists, the changes won’t be as sweeping as they had sought, several people familiar with the government’s deliberations over the review told Bloomberg News. Changes could still be made to the report before its release, which may come tomorrow.
The March report concluded that the Canada-U.S. oil pipeline would have only a minimal impact on carbon emissions, because the oil sands in Alberta will be developed anyway. Several people briefed on the findings, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said they expect the final report will track that conclusion.
State Department Releases Flawed Keystone XL Final Environmental Review In Super Bowl Friday Trash Dump
The State Department has released the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed northern leg of the controversial and long-embattled TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
In a familiar "Friday trash dump" — a move many expected the Obama administration to shun — John Kerry's State Department chose to "carefully stage-manage the report's release" on Super Bowl Friday when most Americans are switching focus to football instead of political scandals. ...
[T]he new report reads: “Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands, or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States.”
This reiterates one of the earlier draft’s most heavily criticized conclusions that the pipeline is “unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands,” and thus avoids a comprehensive assessment of those climate impacts.
Kanawha County commissioner says Elk River chemical hazards should be cataloged
Kanawha County emergency staff should work with the state and officials from neighboring counties to catalog all chemical hazards to the Elk River, Commissioner Dave Hardy said Thursday. Hardy wants the officials to make a plan to deal with those hazards. ...
Even after being told they could flush their water pipes and start using the water again, many local residents still don't trust the water supply, and are relying on bottled water. County officials said four more tractor-trailer loads of water will be distributed today.
"This water crisis has turned into a crisis of confidence," said Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper. ...
"Where is the CDC?" Carper wanted to know.
Officials don't yet know if there are long-term health effects from exposure to the chemical. Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Executive Director Dr. Rahul Gupta thinks its necessary to track health data from the spill over the next decade, Hardy said.
Love in a Time Of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol
We are all implicated, no matter what wells we dig, or what cities we may call home. There are those who assign blame to a political party, but the power of extractive energy industries knows no ideology but profit. They have successfully sought and maintained control of land, and of decision-making in West Virginia, for generations. Those who have opposed them have been targets for terrorism at the hands of armed thugs, and the victims of industry operations have all but disappeared into underclass status. Our bodies share certain markers, even generations from now, not unlike the rings on a tree which differ in size and shape according to seasonal shifts. Those in power will point to “lifestyle” choices, ignoring the systemic pernicious influence of history, unwilling to accept that the shape of what is physiologically determines the shape of what will be.
The truth is, we shelter in place in Appalachia or Brooklyn and hope for the best, knowing this is no prince-on-a-white-horse dilemma for some charismatic politician. Today it is a chemical leak, yesterday it was Sandy, tomorrow will bring another crisis brought on by privileging the pursuit of profit above the rights of people. And while it is true there will be no single prince, that doesn’t make it any less a love story.
As we carry loss in our bones, in our blood, and in our breath, we are less individually unique than our stories and politics would have us believe. No matter where you are in America today, if you claim space for survival—land, water, air, food, or culture—and that space can be made into profits for a corporation, you will quickly find yourself immersed in conflict. And, where there is conflict there is trauma. Cornel West has said “Justice is what love looks like in public.” What justice can we claim together against these invisible systems? Can you love yourself enough to desire justice for others? It comes down to that, because the chief points of the stories told about us is that we deserve this. It takes a lot of love and compassion to think otherwise.
The greater need is the long-term, however, in creating a loving culture where the impact of crisis is visible and healed, rather than shamed and mocked, and where exchange is regulated to mitigate just this kind of psychic and physical harm. We must present those who would prefer to see us washed away as the terrorists and criminals they are, rather than as Chief Executive Officers worthy of taxpayer-subsidized bonuses. It was King who said the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice, and on this midwinter night I wonder, how can you bend towards that justice with me, and make your back part of that arc?
West Virginia Secretary of State Urges Residents To Sign Petition Asking CDC To Post Online Water Test Results
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is asking state residents to sign an online petition and join her in calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to post online results of testing done on the water supply.
‘Out-Of-Control’ Rig In The Gulf Gushing Methane Freely Into The Atmosphere
An “out-of-control” well that began blowing gas into the air on Thursday is still not under control as of Friday morning, according to a report from the Associated Press.
42-non essential workers from Rowan Companies PLC’s offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico, named “Louisiana,” were evacuated, while 37 stayed on the rig to try and stop the flow of gas. Rig operator EnVen Energy Ventures said that while workers attempt to kill the well, gas was being “vented” off of the rig. Although gas, water and sand are still flowing from the well, EnVen said no pollution has occurred in the Gulf. ...
Unlike a spill, an out-of-control well blowing gas does not pollute in a traditional, visible sense. Instead, it releases methane — the potent, second-most prevalent greenhouse gas — into the air, contributing to climate change. Pure natural gas is mostly methane, a fuel that burns cleaner than coal or oil. However, when methane is released directly into the air, it traps heat in the atmosphere.
New study: Babies near gas wells more likely to have birth defects
Women who live near natural gas wells in rural Colorado are more likely to have babies with neural tube and congenital heart defects, according to a new study.
As natural gas extraction soars in the United States, the findings add to a growing concern by many activists and residents about the potential for health effects from the air pollutants.
Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health analyzed birth defects among nearly 125,000 births in Colorado towns with fewer than 50,000 people between 1996 and 2009, examining how close the mothers lived to natural gas wells.
Babies born to mothers living in areas with the highest density of wells – more than 125 wells per mile – were more than twice as likely to have neural tube defects than those living with no wells within a 10-mile radius, according to the study published Tuesday. Children in those areas also had a 38 percent greater risk of congenital heart defects than those with no wells.
Blog Posts of Interest
Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.What's Happenin' Is On Hiatus
A Little Night Music
Sugar Pie de Santo w/Etta James - I don't feel sorry
Sugar Pie DeSanto - Can't Let You Go
Sugar Pie DeSanto - Go Go Power
Sugar Pie Desanto - A Little Taste Of Soul
Sugar Pie DeSanto - Witch For A Night
Sugar Pie DeSanto - Baby It Ain't Right
Sugar Pie DeSanto - She`s Got Everything
Sugar Pie DeSanto - The One That Loves You
Sugar Pie DeSanto - I Want to Know
Sugar Pie De Santo - Going Back Where I Belong
Sugar Pie Desanto - Mama Didn't Raise No Fool
Pee Wee Kingsly feat Sugar Pie De Santo - Nickel And A Dime
Sugar Pie Desanto - There's Gonna Be Trouble
Sugar Pie DeSanto & Etta James - Do I Make Myself Clear
Sugar Pie DeSanto on Johnny Otis
Sugar Pie DeSanto & Pee Wee Kingsley - One Two, Let's Rock
It's National Pie Day!
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