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 guitarist and sideman to Howlin' Wolf in the early '50's, Willie Johnson. Johnson is variously credited as one of the pioneers of heavy metal rock guitar due to his use of distorted tones and as the originator of the power chord. The music in this diary is all from his work with Howlin' Wolf between 1951 and 1953. As a side note, Ike Turner plays the piano on many of these recordings.
Howlin Wolf - How Many More Years
"The left is back, and it's the only path we have to get out of the spot to which the right has sunken us. Socialism builds and capitalism destroys."
-- Hugo Chavez
News and Opinion
Holder Claims Obama Can Kill With Drones Within US
Attorney General Eric Holder: Drone strike on U.S. soil ‘hypothetically’ possible
The Obama Administration could use lethal force on Americans within the United States and without trial during “an extraordinary circumstance,” Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday.
In a letter to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Holder said the Administration favored the use of law enforcement over the military when it came to fighting terrorist threats within the country. However, Holder refused to rule out the possibility that the President of the United States could use a drone strike on U.S. soil in an extreme situation. ...
“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States."
'Mockery' of Transparency Continues as White House Releases Additional 'Kill List' Memos to Senate CommitteeSpeaking of Mockery... we live in a
Critics call for greater transparency and full disclosure of memos to Congress and American public
The White House has reportedly released additional top-secret legal memos claiming to justify the use of lethal drone strikes against US citizens to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a bid to appease lawmakers over the expected confirmation of 'kill list' architect John Brennan to CIA Chief.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Obama administration has provided "an additional but undisclosed number of Office of Legal Counsel memos justifying the [killing] program to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees," though it continues to withhold a number of the opinions from the Committees and have not yet provided any to greater Congress or the American public.
The legal justification for the targeted assassination of non-citizens remains undisclosed.
Calling the move an "important baby step," ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Christopher Anders said the release still wasn't enough.
Rather than keeping the memos holed up with just a few dozen committee members, he said, they "should be available to all members of Congress and minimally redacted copies should be made public. It makes a mockery of the rule of law when the government hides the rules, or makes them up as they go along," stated Anders.
The Catch-22 That Prevents Us From Truly Scrutinizing the Surveillance State
Last week the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Clapper v. Amnesty International, a challenge to the surveillance law that afflicts our crazy times. Section 1881a of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) as amended provides in relevant part that our government may monitor certain communications by non-Americans located abroad subject to review by (secretive) courts, but without establishing probable cause or furnishing much in the way of details. The government must still comply with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures and, generally speaking, requires probable cause and a detailed game plan (particularity) to eavesdrop on citizens. This is a small comfort to foreigners.
Of course, the Fourth Amendment does apply to the Americans that foreigners talk to on the phone or by email. A coalition of American journalists, attorneys, and nonprofits challenged FISA on the basis that the government is very likely monitoring their communications with non-Americans located abroad in violation, they claim, of statutory and constitutional law. The members of the coalition could not know for certain they were being monitored because under FISA, the government does not have to tell them. But given who they were talking to, and how often, the coalition assumed the government was listening is on at least some of their conversations.
In a five-four decision written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court dismissed the collation's challenge to FISA for lack of standing (pdf). The doctrine of standing says that the parties before the court must have been injured in fact, and not merely speculating as to some possible harm. ... The coalition could not challenge our secret surveillance laws because they are secret. There is no one who can complain of his or her rights having been violated, because anyone's whose rights have been violated doesn't know it. That's the catch when it comes to assessing the legality of the government's secret activities.
Hugo Chavez coverage
Hugo Chávez Kept His Promise to the People of Venezuela
Venezuela's Real Division Over Who Benefits from Oil Wealth
Chavez Democratized Venezuela Making it the Most Equal Country in Latin America
Jury acquits Occupy protesters
A Common Pleas Court jury today acquitted 12 Occupy Philadelphia demonstrators arrested in a 2011 sit-in in a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Center City.
The jury of 10 women and two men deliberated a total of about 13 hours since Friday before it returned, shortly before noon, to announce the verdicts: not guilty of conspiracy and defiant trespass against each of the 12 protesters.
The 12 - one woman and 11 men - were arrested Nov. 18, 2011 when they staged a sit-in inside the Wells Fargo branch at 17th and Market Streets. The protesters said they wanted to call attention to what they called Wells Fargo's "racist predatory lending" policies that caused a disproportionately large number of home foreclosures in African American neighborhoods.
"If this jury has found us innocent then it must mean that Wells Fargo is guilty," said an elated 71-year-old Willard R. Johnson, one of the 12 on trial.
Last July, Wells Fargo, the nation's largest mortgage lender, agreed to pay $175 million to settle allegations by the U.S. Justice Department that independent brokers originating its loans charged higher fees and rates to minority borrowers than they did to white borrowers with similar credit risks.
VP Biden Beats Drums of War Against Iran at AIPAC Conference
The annual AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference was the stage for U.S. and Israeli leaders to affirm their message that "all options are on the table" against Iran. ...
On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden affirmed the White House's openness to a military threat against Iran. He began his address at the conference saying that he "did more fundraisers for AIPAC in the ‘70s and early ‘80s than just about as many as anybody." He said that "President Barack Obama is not bluffing" in his commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and said that "all options, including military force, are on the table" to do that.It is not only in Israel's interest -- and everybody should understand -- I know you understand this, but the world should -- it's not only in Israel's interest that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, it's in the interest of the United States of America. It's simple. And, as a matter of fact, it's in the interest of the entire world.
Iraq's [sic] acquisition of a nuclear weapon not only would present an existential threat to Israel, it would present a threat to our allies and our partners -- and to the United States. And it would trigger an arms race -- a nuclear arms race in the region, and make the world a whole lot less stable.
So we have a shared strategic commitment. Let me make clear what that commitment is: It is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Period. End of discussion. Prevent -- not contain -- prevent.
Beppe Grillo’s Parliamentarians Threaten Nuremberg Trials for Corrupt Italian Politicians
Former Italian senator Sergio De Gregorio confirmed over the weekend that he’d been bribed by Silvio Berlusconi in 2006. “The Cavaliere paid me,” he told La Stampa nonchalantly about the €3 million he’d received. “Of course I took the money, as I clarified to the prosecutors,” he said.
Utterly frustrated with this sort of daily display of corruption in their country, 8.7 million angry Italians from all walks of life voted for Beppe Grillo’s 5-Star movement. While 25.5% of the popular vote isn’t nearly enough to govern without being part of a coalition, which he has so far rejected, it’s enough to give the political establishment conniptions—and show that anger and frustration finally count.
“The existing political class must be expelled immediately,” he told the New York Times. Hence his refusal to form a coalition. He wants the political system to collapse. From it, he’d construct “something new,” something truly democratic. “We can change everything in the hands of respectable people,” he explained.
But wasn’t it reckless to try to destroy the system? “How can we be accused of destroying something that’s already destroyed?” he asked. “They’ve devoured the country, and now they can’t govern.” ...
Gregorio told La Stampa that he’d decided to cooperate with prosecutors when it became clear to him that the new members of parliament, the Grillini, as the media dubbed them, were demanding a sort of “Nuremberg for Politicians,” reminiscent of the Nuremberg Trials for the Nazis. “I didn’t want to go down in history as the senator who leaves the Palazzo Madama”—the palace in Rome where the Senate meets—“in handcuffs.”
Corporate Profits Are Eating the Economy
Here are two things that are true about the economy today.
(1) The Dow Jones industrial average is poised to set a new record as corporate profits stretch to all-time highs.
(2) There are still fewer working Americans today than there were before the start of the Great Recession.
The fact that these two things can be true at the same time might outrage you. But it shouldn't surprise you. In the last 30 years, there has been a great divergence between growth and workers' incomes, as the New York Times reminds us today. Corporate profits have soared, in the last decade especially, particularly because of three things: Globalization has pushed down the cost of labor available to multinational corporations; technology has allowed companies to make more with fewer workers, in general; and Big Finance has gobbled up the economy, as the banks' share of total corporate profits has tripled to about one-third since the middle of the last century, according to Evan Soltas.
Billionaires' club has welcomed 210 new members, Forbes rich list reports
Many of the world's largest economies may be weathering the toughest recessionary storms in living memory, but for those at the top there has rarely been an easier time to join the billionaires' club.
Some 210 multi-millionaires were propelled into the premier league of extreme wealth in the last 12 months as they achieved 10-figure fortunes and the world now plays host to a record 1,426 dollar billionaires, according to Forbes magazine's study.
This super-rich set together sit on wealth estimated at $5.4tn (£3.6tn) – equal to more than a third of the annual output of the US, the world's largest economy. Last year the billionaires' club held a combined wealth of $4.6tn.
New data shows Eurozone sinking deeper into recession
The 17-nation eurozone sank further into recession in the last three months of 2012 as the debt crisis continued to exact a heavy price, official data showed Wednesday.
The eurozone economy shrank 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the third quarter when it contracted 0.1 percent, the Eurostat data agency said, confirming initial estimates given in February.
For the full 27-member European Union, the economy was 0.5 percent smaller in the fourth quarter after a marginal gain of 0.1 percent in the third, Eurostat said. ...
Eurostat said that for 2012 as a whole, the eurozone economy contracted 0.6 percent and the EU 0.3 percent.
More news about the continuing federal project to turn peace officers into militarized shock troops:
DHS Acquires Over 2,700 MRAP ‘Light Tanks’ For Use on US Soil
La seguridad interna de EE.UU. se 'blinda' y acumula municiones
ACLU Launches Investigation Into The Militarization of Policing in America
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
Moanin' at Midnight- Howlin' Wolf
Howlin' Wolf - Passing By Blues
Howlin' Wolf - The Wolf Is At Your Door
Howlin Wolf - Crying At Daybreak
Howlin' Wolf - My Baby Stole Off
Howlin' Wolf - I Want Your Picture
Howlin' Wolf - Howlin' Wolf Boogie
Howlin' Wolf - California Blues
Howlin' Wolf - Look-A-Here Baby
Howling Wolf - Smile At Me
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!