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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 St. Louis bluesman Clifford Gibson.  Enjoy!

Clifford Gibson - Sneaky Groundhog

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”

  -- Henry David Thoreau

News and Opinion

DOJ Targeting Of Fox News Reporter James Rosen Risks Criminalizing Journalism

The Obama administration’s Justice Department has moved beyond investigating and prosecuting leaks at an unprecedented level to claiming in court documents that committing a standard act of journalism may itself be criminal.

In 2010, FBI agent Reginald Reyes described a reporter, recently identified as Fox News' chief Washington correspondent James Rosen, as possibly being an “aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the leaking of classified information. Reyes made that argument in his request for a warrant for Rosen’s personal email account as part of a leak investigation.

The DOJ’s suggestion that Rosen may be guilty of criminal wrongdoing -- unlike the AP reporters and editors targeted over a May 2012 report about a CIA-thwarted terrorist plot -- is a key difference in the two simmering controversies. The DOJ’s broad use of subpoena power against the AP, revealed last week, has been widely condemned and seen by many as a threat to press freedom and a means to silence sources, including whistleblowers. The DOJ didn't contact the AP before secretly obtaining two months of journalists' phone records, nor did it contact Fox News before getting Rosen's records, a break with the way the government traditionally deals with media outlets.

But the DOJ is now raising further questions about how far the Obama administration will go in rooting out the sources of classified information.

Reporter Deemed “Co-Conspirator” in Leak Case

In a startling expansion of the Obama Administration’s war on leaks, a federal agent sought and received a warrant in 2010 to search the email account of Fox News correspondent James Rosen on grounds that there was probable cause the reporter had violated the Espionage Act by soliciting classified information from a State Department official. ...

The Reyes affidavit all but eliminates the traditional distinction in classified leak investigations between sources, who are bound by a non-disclosure agreement, and reporters, who are protected by the First Amendment as long as they do not commit a crime.  (There is no allegation that Mr. Rosen bribed, threatened or coerced anyone to gain the disclosure of restricted information.) ...

What makes this alarming is that “soliciting” and “encouraging” the disclosure of classified information are routine, daily activities in national security reporting.  The use of pseudonyms and discreet forms of communication are also commonplace.

But for today’s FBI, these everyday reporting techniques are taken as evidence of criminal activity and grounds for search and seizure of confidential email.

Uh-oh, Obama is losing Eugene Robinson:
Obama administration mistakes journalism for espionage

The Obama administration has no business rummaging through journalists’ phone records, perusing their e-mails and tracking their movements in an attempt to keep them from gathering news. This heavy-handed business isn’t chilling, it’s just plain cold.

It also may well be unconstitutional. In my reading, the First Amendment prohibition against “abridging the freedom . . . of the press” should rule out secretly obtaining two months’ worth of the personal and professional phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors, including calls to and from the main AP phone number at the House press gallery in the Capitol. Yet this is what the Justice Department did.

Obviously, the government has a duty to protect genuine secrets. But the problem is that every administration, without exception, tends to misuse the “top secret” stamp — sometimes from an overabundance of caution, sometimes to keep inconvenient or embarrassing information from coming to light.

That’s where journalists come in. Our job, simply, is to find out what the government doesn’t want you to know.

Ecuador's President Attacks US Over Press Freedom Critique

"Don't come lecturing us about liberty. You need a reality check. Don't act like a spoiled rude child. Here you will only find dignity and sovereignty. Here we haven't invaded anyone. Here we don't torture like in Guantanamo. Here we don't have drones killing alleged terrorist without any due trial, killing also the women and children of those supposed terrorists. So don't come lecturing us about life, law, dignity, or liberty. You don't have the moral right to do so."

  -- Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador

Think the IRS Was Bad? Try the Spying on Occupy Activists

With all the hullabaloo over the IRS’s special scrutiny of Tea Party groups, a far worse case of political meddling and governmental overreach has been going on: The spying on leftwing activists in the Occupy movement.

Thousands of documents obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy show how Homeland Security and local law enforcement were obsessed with the Occupy movement and other activists.

They treated Occupy activists as potential terrorists.

They infiltrated Occupy meetings.

They tracked Occupy activists online.

They kept an eye on the Rev. Jesse Jackson when he visited an Occupy protest in Phoenix.

They also monitored the protests against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

And they shared information and coordinated planning with some of the very financial institutions that Occupy was protesting.

Boston counterterror unit tracked Occupy protesters

In the fall of 2011, a key Boston police counterterror intelligence unit -- funded with millions of dollars in U.S. homeland security grants -- was closely monitoring anti-Wall Street demonstrations, including tracking the Facebook pages and websites of the protesters and writing reports on the potential impact on "commercial and financial sector assets" in downtown areas, according to internal police documents.

The police monitoring of the activities of Occupy Boston -- an off-shoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests that swept the country in 2011 -- came during a period after the U.S. government received the second of two warnings from the Russian government about the radical Islamic ties of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. ...

{I]nternal Boston police documents, recently obtained by a civil liberties group, could raise fresh questions about the role of Homeland Security-funded "fusion centers" like the Boston Regional Intelligence Center, or BRIC, which conducted the monitoring. The Boston unit  is one of 72 such units set up to collect, analyze and share intelligence about potential terror threats. While  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has called the units “one of the centerpieces” of the nation’s counterterrorism efforts, congressional critics have questioned their effectiveness and accused them in some cases of writing "useless" reports that infringed on civil liberties.

“They  were monitoring completely lawful activities,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice, a civil liberties group that recently obtained the documents on the BRIC’s monitoring of Occupy Boston under the Freedom of Information Act. She said the BRIC monitoring was an example of the “vast expenditure of government money” to collect intelligence on activities unrelated to terrorism, in violation of First Amendment rights.

This is an important new report on Obama's war on citizen dissent, check it out:
Dissent or Terror: New Report Details How Counter Terrorism Apparatus Was Used to Monitor Occupy Movement Nationwide

MADISON, WI -- DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy today released the results of a year-long investigation: "Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.”

The report, a distillation of thousands of pages of records obtained from counter terrorism/law enforcement agencies, details how state/regional "fusion center" personnel monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012. Personnel engaged in this activity at fusion centers include employees of municipal, county and federal counter terrorism/homeland security entities. Such entities include local police departments, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (including U.S. DHS components such as the Transportation Security Administration).

The report also examines how fusion centers and other counter terrorism entities that have emerged since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have worked to benefit numerous corporations engaged in public-private intelligence sharing partnerships.

While the report examines many instances of fusion center monitoring of Occupy Wall Street activists nationwide, the bulk of the report details how counter terrorism personnel engaged in the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC, commonly known as the "Arizona fusion center") monitored and otherwise surveilled citizens active in Occupy Phoenix, and how this surveillance benefited a number of corporations and banks that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest activity.

While small glimpses into the governmental monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street movement have emerged in the past, there has not been any reporting -- until now -- that details the breadth and depth of the degree to which the nation's post-September 11, 2001 counter terrorism apparatus has been applied to politically engaged citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights.

Obama Denies Role in Government

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—President Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to reassure the American people that he has “played no role whatsoever” in the U.S. government over the past four years.

“Right now, many of you are angry at the government, and no one is angrier than I am,” he said. “Quite frankly, I am glad that I have had no involvement in such an organization.”

The President’s outrage only increased, he said, when he “recently became aware of a part of that government called the Department of Justice.”

Why Austerity Kills: From Greece to U.S., Crippling Economic Policies Causing Global Health Crisis

Foreclosed Homeowners 'Move In' to the Dept. of Justice

Underwater homeowners and hundreds of allies barricaded the front door of the Department of Justice building Monday afternoon to protest the "too big to jail banks" who have shirked punishment despite having destroyed "homes, savings and livelihoods."

Organized by Occupy our Homes, Home Defenders League, Campaign for a Fair Settlement, along with a number of community and faith leaders, the group held a sit-in outside the government building.

"Today we have taken over Eric Holder's house. We're sick of the banks taking over our house."

As some protesters surrounded the building, others chanted: "Board up banks, not our homes!"

"Five years after Wall Street crashed the economy," said the coalition in a statement announcing the action, "not one banker has been prosecuted for the reckless and fraudulent practices that cost millions of Americans their jobs, threw our cities and schools into crisis, and left families and communities ravaged by a foreclosure crisis and epidemic of underwater mortgages."

Hat tip to Oaktown Girl:
Dispatch from Taser Nation: dealing humanely with peaceful protesters is just too much trouble

There is nothing new about protesters gathering at government buildings. And it has never been a problem for the police to arrest protesters in an orderly fashion, even when the protesters are not cooperating by sitting down and refusing to move. This is the way civil disobedience has worked for many a moon.

Shooting protesters full of electricity in order to get them to fall to the ground in excruciating pain, dazed and compliant, however, is new. And it's completely unnecessary, not to mention contrary to our long tradition of peaceful protest. I thought this sort of thing went out with the use of firehoses and police dogs.

Note the casual sadism. The young woman is surrounded by three men as she links arms with another protester. She does not appear to be in any way violent or threatening. The big man behind her holds her around the neck and whispers in her ear (who knows what he told her, but if it's the usual, he says "cooperate right now or you're going to be tased.") As a peaceful protester engaged in civil disobedience she naturally refuses. At this point, they would normally pick her up bodily and carry her to the paddy wagon. Instead, they hit her with 50,000 volts of electricity, she crumbles to the ground as her whole body is overwhelmed by pain.

JP Morgan/Chase Shareholders Meeting to Vote on Demoting Chairman Jamie Dimon

Foreign investors snap up cheap homes in deserted Sicily villages

Foreign buyers are swooping on deserted villages in Sicily to snap up homes for as little as 10,000 euros ($13,000), propping up a property market in freefall as Italy suffers its longest-ever recession.

“When you go to the pizzeria now, you often meet more foreigners than Sicilians,” said Salvatore Sansemi, mayor of Cianciana, near the southern city of Agrigento.

Half the population of the village — set against the stunning backdrop of the Sicani mountains and close to the sea — has emigrated to Canada, France or Germany in recent years, leaving only around 3,500 inhabitants.

Inescapable Cycle: Bubble after bubble after bubble

Guatemala ex-dictator's genocide conviction overturned

Guatemala's top court has thrown another curve into the genocide case of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, overturning his conviction and ordering that the trial be taken back to the middle of the proceedings. ...

The ruling came 10 days after a three-judge panel convicted the 86-year-old Rios Montt of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in massacres of Mayans during Guatemala's bloody, 36-year civil war. The panel found after two months of testimony that Rios Montt knew about the slaughter of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayans in the western highlands and didn't stop it. ...

Rios Montt's defense team walked out on April 18, arguing that they couldn't continue to be part of such a bad proceeding. When the three-judge tribunal resumed the trial, it ordered two public defenders to represent Rios Montt and his co-defendant, Jose Rodriguez Sanchez.

Rios Montt rejected his public defender and instead brought in Garcia, who was expelled earlier by the tribunal but reinstated by an appeals court.

Garcia had earlier been ordered off the case after he called for the three judges on the tribunal to be removed from the proceedings. He kept trying to have the judges dismissed. And the Constitutional Court ruled Monday that the trial should have been suspended while his appeal was heard.

Seattle Teachers, Students Win Historic Victory Over Standardized Testing

Marching in Chicago: Resisting Rahm Emanuel's Neoliberal Savagery

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s current attempt to close down 54 public schools largely inhabited by poor minorities is one more example of a savage, racist neoliberal system at work that uses the politics of austerity and consolidation to further disenfranchise the unskilled young of the inner city. The hidden curriculum in this instance is not so invisible. Closing schools will result in massive layoffs, weakening the teachers unions. It will free up land that can be gentrified to attract middle-class voters, and it will once again prove that poor minority students, regardless of the hardships, if not danger, they will face as a result of such closings, are viewed as disposable - human waste to be relegated to the zones of terminal exclusion.  Not only are many teachers and parents concerned about displacing thousands of students to schools that do not offer any hope of educational improvement, but they are also concerned about the safety of the displaced children, many of whom "will have to walk through violent neighborhoods and go to school with other students who are considered enemies."  This is not simply misguided policy, it is a racist script that makes clear that poor black youth are disposable and that their safety is irrelevant.  How else to explain the mayor's plan to produce a Safe Passage Plan in which firefighters would be asked to patrol the new routes, even though they have made it clear that they are not trained for this type of special duty. That many of these children are poor black children trapped in under-resourced schools appears irrelevant to a mayor who takes his lead from politicians such as Barack Obama and Arnie Duncan, two educators who have simply reproduced the Bush educational reform playbook, i.e., more testing, demonize teachers, weaken unions, advocate for choice and charter schools, and turn public schools over to corporate hedge-fund managers and billionaires such as Bill Gates. Emanuel’s passionate zeal to downsize schools in impoverished black neighborhoods is matched only by his misdirected enthusiasm to lay out $195 million "on a basketball arena for DePaul University, a private Chicago university."

Emanuel’s policies are symptomatic of a much larger war against teachers, public goods and the social contract.  We increasingly live in societies based on the vocabulary of  "choice" and a denial of reality - a denial of massive inequality, social disparities, the irresponsible concentration of power in relatively few hands and a growing machinery of social death and culture of cruelty. 4. As power becomes global and is removed from local and nation-based politics, more and more individuals and groups are being defined by a free-floating class of ultra-rich and corporate power brokers as disposable, redundant, and irrelevant.  Consequently, there are a growing number of people, especially young people, who increasingly inhabit zones of hardship, suffering and terminal exclusion.  Power has lost its moorings in democratic institutions and removes itself from any sense of social, civic and political responsibilities. Mayor Emanuel, along with his neoliberal political allies, occupies the dead zone of capitalism - a zone marked by a ruthless indifference to the suffering of others and self-righteous coldness that makes human beings superfluous and unwanted.

Chicago Teachers and Parents Launch Three Day March Against 54 School Closings

Do you love the smell of Astroturf in the morning?
Keystone XL Opponents Turn Up Heat on Obama's Faux "Grassroots"

Organizing For Action, say critics, cannot address climate change and remain silent on tar sands pipeline

Organizing for Action, the so-called 'grassroots arm' of the Obama administration, was designed to harness the youthful and hopeful energy of its members, and bring the political energy generated during the previous presidential campaigns to help support the current White House agenda.

In the last week, however, the group itself has become a target for progressive activists who are fed up with the president's refusal to take a firm position against tar sands development in Canada and the growing threat of climate change.

Specifically, OFA has drawn ire for refusing to take a stance against the Keystone XL pipeline which remains under review by Obama's State Department. Even as its members reportedly want Obama to reject the project, OFA has followed the White House's lead by refusing to discuss the matter until the State Dept. review is complete.

“If you’re going to be a grass roots, you have to actually listen to the grass roots,” said Daniel Kessler, spokesman for 350.org, in an interview with Politico on Monday.

Obama Group Braces For Progressive Backlash Over Keystone

Talking points released by the Obama grassroots arm caution members about demands from pipeline opponents.

President Obama’s organizing operation is warning its volunteers that they may be the target of progressive protests and urging its membership to stress their “mission of changing the conversation on climate!” in any confrontations with environmentalists. ...

OFA circulated a set of talking points to its members for use in dealing with unruly activists. The document, obtained by BuzzFeed, includes information on the science behind climate change and the president’s environmental positions, and ends with a section titled “Keystone Talking Points.”  ...

The talking points come with a warning: “Volunteers from Credo Action or other organizations may attend your planning session and want to demand that we work on the Keystone XL pipeline.” ...

“Organizing for Action’s mission is to support President Obama’s agenda. The Keystone XL pipeline is still under review, and OFA supports and respects the process as it is currently underway,” the talking points say.

With U.S. Awash in Oil, Nat'l Interest Argument for Keystone XL Weakens

U.S. oil production is suddenly growing so fast that some analysts are questioning how much the country really needs the Canadian tar sands oil that would move through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

This month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said it expects domestic crude oil production to surge 20 percent by the end of 2014 from its level at the start of this year. That means an additional 1.4 million barrels of U.S.-produced oil will be available each day—about twice as much as the Keystone would bring in from Canada.

Although the United States will still need foreign oil for years to come, declining demand and increasing supply are cutting into imports surprisingly fast. The Energy Information Administration, which is the Energy Department's data reporting and forecasting arm, expects the nation to import just 30 percent of its oil needs next year, the lowest since the mid-1980s. Under one particularly optimistic EIA scenario, the U.S. could even achieve the grail of zero net imports in the 2030s. ...

Given the American petroleum boom, it is now harder to make the case that the oil the line would carry is vitally needed to quench the nation's thirst for fuel.

Instead, analysts say that in this era of plenty the Keystone’s main function isn't meeting U.S. needs, but getting oil from the land-locked province of Alberta to overseas markets via U.S. refineries on the Texas coast. Two pipeline projects from Alberta to the Canadian coast face such stiff opposition that some analysts say they're unlikely to be built.

Frack Job

Two schools, one a vocational technical high school and the other an elementary school, sit on tracts of land a few blocks from the house in which I grew up, in Ford City (Armstrong County), Pennsylvania. The communities served by them are, for the most part, not particularly prosperous. Household incomes, wages, home prices, rents, and levels of education are below the state average; while poverty, unemployment, and air pollution are above it.

Many property owners in the area are elderly women, living on small pensions and social security. Their property taxes finance the schools, and as these rise, the tax burden can be considerable. This encumbrance is made subjectively worse by the fact that these older taxpayers no longer have children in school.

For the local school board, rising costs—including those for the ever growing number of administrators—and a limited and potentially rebellious tax base have created a budget crisis. The current budget shows a deficit of five million dollars. However, the board has come up with an ingenious way to deal with its revenue shortfall.

To help pay its bills, the school board is courting (or being courted by) two energy companies, with an eye toward leasing public property for natural gas hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.” ... Should the school board reach an agreement with the two energy companies, school kids and those living nearby will soon be hearing explosions, drinking contaminated water, suffering increased air pollution, and watching the woods turn into wastelands. Fires from the wells might light up the night sky. And it is not difficult to imagine that students will be fed large doses of propaganda extolling the virtues of gas drilling and all the jobs it generates. Perhaps, like McDonald’s, the energy corporations have prepared educational materials for the schools. The Vo-Tech already offers a program in “Natural Resources Technology”; among the “10 ‘Hot’ Career Opportunities” listed for this area of study is “Gas Exploration Manager.”

US Courts: Energy companies cannot be sued for climate change damage

Perched at the tip of an Arctic barrier reef in harsh northwestern Alaska, a tiny village took on big oil for causing the climate change that is eroding its shores, but lost its court fight Monday.

The US Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Kivalina vs. Exxon.

Therefore, a lower court’s decision stands, holding that energy companies cannot be sued collectively for harm done by climate change and leaving such issues to lawmakers and the executive branch of government.

The village of Kivalina is home to about 400 people, mostly Inupiat Native Alaskans, and is being forced to relocate because global warming has led to a reduction in sea ice that once protected its shores.

Blog Posts of Interest

Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.
What's Happenin'

First They Came for James Risen …

Our Govt. Is Turning into a Surveillance State That's Almost Impossible to Stop

Top 10 warning signs of 'liberal imperialism'

Oklahoma tornado: is climate change to blame?

Developing a voice

A Little Night Music

Clifford Gibson - Old Time Rider

Clifford Gibson - Don't Put That Thing On Me

Clifford Gibson - Drayman Blues

Roosevelt Sykes/Clifford Gibson - Tired of Being Mistreated

Paul Rishell - Tired of Being Mistreated

Clifford Gibson - Society Blues

Clifford Gibson - Ice And Snow Blues

Clifford Gibson- Jive Me Blues

Clifford Gibson - Keep Your Windows Pinned

Jimmie Ridgers with Clifford Gibson - Let Me Be Your Side Track

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!

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Tue May 21, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.


The press are beginning to notice that other people have been inappropriately spied on and suppressed, will they finally start investigating and reporting it?

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