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 Chicago bluesman, cousin of Elmore James, Homesick James Williamson. Enjoy!
Homesick James Williamson - Dust My Broom
“It’s ridiculous to talk about freedom in a society dominated by huge corporations. What kind of freedom is there inside a corporation? They’re totalitarian institutions - you take orders from above and maybe give them to people below you. There’s about as much freedom as under Stalinism.”
-- Noam Chomsky
News and Opinion
Snowden: NSA snoops on U.S. phone calls without warrants
Edward Snowden, who became famous for leaking top-secret U.S. government documents, said today that the National Security Agency can get a look at information from Americans' domestic phone calls without a warrant.
In an online discussion organized by the Guardian newspaper this morning, the 29-year-old former intelligence analyst said, when it comes to the contents of e-mail and phone calls, "Americans' communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant."
Intelligence analysts at the NSA, CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and other similar arms of the government who have access to raw data can "enter and get results for anything they want," said Snowden.
Did NSA snooping stop 'dozens' of terrorist attacks?
Testifying before Congress on Wednesday, Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, asserted that his agency's massive acquisition of U.S. phone data and the contents of overseas Internet traffic that is provided by American tech companies has helped prevent "dozens of terrorist events."
On Thursday, Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, Democrats who both serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and have access to the nation's most sensitive secrets, released a statement contradicting this assertion. "Gen. Alexander's testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA's bulk phone records collection program helped thwart 'dozens' of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods," the two senators said.
Indeed, a survey of court documents and media accounts of all the jihadist terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11 by the New America Foundation shows that traditional law enforcement methods have overwhelmingly played the most significant role in foiling terrorist attacks.
This suggests that the NSA surveillance programs are wide-ranging fishing expeditions with little to show for them.
Glenn Greenwald: As Obama Makes "False" Surveillance Claims, Snowden Risks Life to Spark NSA Debate
AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s go to what President Obama said in the Charlie Rose interview, when he said he could say unequivocally that we’re not listening to your phone calls. The NSA—it says—"The NSA cannot listen to your phone calls," Obama said. The NSA cannot target your emails, and have not, unless they get a subpoena. Can you talk about that?
GLENN GREENWALD: I’m staggered by how deceitful and misleading that claim is from President Obama. It’s actually worse than just misleading and deceitful; it’s just outright false. And this is the story that we’re working on to publish next, which is an inside look at what the FISA court really does in terms of what it is called oversight, but is really an empty fig leaf, when it monitors the NSA.
Under the 2008 FISA law, which replaced the 30-year FISA law enacted in 1978, the principal change is that the United States no longer needs an individual warrant when it listens in on the telephone calls or reads the emails of American citizens when they communicate with people outside of the United States. It is true that when American citizens talk to other Americans on U.S. soil, exclusively domestic communications, the NSA legally is required to get an individualized warrant from the FISA court before they can listen to the content of those communications. But when an American citizen is talking to somebody outside of the United States who’s not a U.S. citizen, and the target of those communications is the person outside of the United States, that is now completely legal for the NSA to eavesdrop on that call or read the email without going and getting a warrant. That is the whole point of that 2008 law. Remember, the Bush administration in 2005 got caught eavesdropping on the conversations of American citizens, the international conversations of American citizens, without a warrant. And what that 2008 law did is legalize that Bush program by eliminating the warrant requirement.
And so, every six months, the NSA goes to the FISA court, and they say, "Here are the procedures that we use for determining who is and is not a U.S. citizen, who is and is not on U.S. soil." The FISA court stamps the—an approval stamp on those guidelines, and the NSA is then empowered to go around collecting whatever calls and whatever emails they want. They can force the telecoms and the Internet providers to give them whatever content they want, which often includes American citizens talking to these foreign targets, without any kind of a search warrant. So when President Obama says nobody is listening to your calls or reading your emails without first getting a search warrant, that is absolutely false. It is true that the NSA can’t deliberately target—deliberately target U.S. citizens for that kind of surveillance, but it is also the case that they are frequently engaging in surveillance of exactly that kind of invasive technique involving U.S. persons.
Let me just say one last thing. This is why—just go to Google and read about this—Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, two Democrats on the Intelligence Committee, have been repeatedly asking the NSA, "How many Americans’ telephone calls and emails are you intercepting without warrants under this program?" And the NSA continuously tells them, "I’m sorry, we can’t provide you with even a rough estimate. We don’t have the technical capabilities to do that. It would take too much time and distract away from our core mission for us to assemble those statistics." So this idea that President Obama is promoting, that the NSA never listens to Americans’ calls or reads their emails without warrants, is utterly false.
The New Generation of American Patriots Are the Whistlebowers Who Came of Age After 9/11
When Darrell Anderson, 22, joined the US military he knew there was going to be a war, and he wanted to fight it. "I thought I was going to free Iraqi people," he told me. "I thought I was going to do a good thing."
Until, that is, he realised precisely what he had to do. While on patrol in Baghdad, he thought: "What are we doing here? Are we looking for weapons of mass destruction? No. Are we helping the people? No, they hate us. What are we working towards, apart from just staying alive? If this was my neighbourhood and foreign soldiers were doing this then what would I be doing?" Within a few months, he says, "I was cocking my weapon at innocent civilians without any sympathy or humanity". While home on leave he realised he was not going to be able to lead a normal life if he went back. His mum drove him to Canada, where I met him in 2006 at a picnic for war resisters in Fort Erie.
Anderson's trajectory, from uncritical patriotism to conscious disaffection and finally to conscientious dissent, is a familiar one among a generation of Americans who came of political age after 9/11. Over time, efforts to balance the myth of American freedom on which they were raised, with the reality of American power that they have been called on to monitor or operate, causes a profound dislocation in their world view. Like a meat eater in an abattoir, they are forced to confront the brutality of the world they are implicated in and recoil at their role in it – occasionally in dramatic fashion. ...
Just as America's military record abroad, complete with torture and "collateral damage", has helped push a section of disaffected Muslim youth across the globe towards terrorism, so the violation of civil liberties and privatisation of information has driven a number of disillusioned Americans to law-breaking dissent at home.
An Inconvenient Truth: Members of Congress Go Silent Over Prior False Testimony On Surveillance
The Republican and Democratic parties have achieved a bipartisan purpose in uniting against the public’s need to know about massive surveillance programs and the need to redefine privacy in a more surveillance friendly image. They have also united in attacking Snowden as a traitor and seeking his prosecution for telling the public about the program. In the midst of this full-court press to lull the public back into sleep over civil liberties, the members will face a slightly inconvenient problem: possible perjury. These members have repeatedly called for perjury and contempt prosecutions of officials who have given false or misleading testimony like Eric Holder. However, they have a little problem with Obama officials who seem to have given false or intentionally misleading testimony over the surveillance of citizens. The problem is that these members want the scandal (and the public) to go away. Many of them knew at the time that the public was being told untrue things in these hearings. It will only be embarrassing to now address the falsehoods fed to the public in their presence and with their knowledge. In other words, they were all lying to the public and, under our new relativistic world, a lie told by everyone is treated as the truth.
‘Notion of what is an unreasonable level of paranoia has shifted’ says security consultant
News of a massive surveillance effort led by the secretive National Security Agency has sent Web users scrambling to find new ways to avoid tracking.
It might have seemed paranoid not long ago when netizens used tools to hide their tracks, “shred” data or send self-destructing messages.
Web anonymizers, encryption programs and similar tools have been available for years, but have been often associated with hackers, criminals and other “dark” elements on the Internet.
“I think the notion of what is an unreasonable level of paranoia has shifted in the past couple of weeks,” said Alex Stamos, an NCC Group security consultant and self-described “white hat” hacker.
Guantanamo manual supports controversial drugHat tip mimi:
A new policy for force feeding hunger strikers at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay includes the recommended use of a controversial drug that may cause serious neurological disorders, including one that mimics Parkinson's disease.
The UK-based human rights group, Reprieve, filed an incident report this week with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demanding an immediate investigation into the use of the brain-altering drug, and asking the agency "to take all possible measures to prevent further use of metoclopramide in force-feeding at Guantanamo". ...
More than 100 Gitmo detainees are refusing meals and military officials there have ordered dozens to be force-fed, a brutal procedure involving a mask, plastic tubing, powerful drugs and restraints, as detailed in last month's Al Jazeera report.
Metoclopramide, commonly known by its brand name Reglan, is supposed to speed up the digestive process and remove the urge to vomit during force feeding.
However, medical studies into the drug have determined that Reglan also is linked to a high rate of tardive dyskinesia (TD), a potentially irreversible and disfiguring disorder characterized by involuntary movements of the face, tongue, or extremities.
The studies prompted the FDA in February 2009 to slap Reglan with a black box label - the agency's strongest warning - to inform patients about the dangers associated with chronic use of the drug.
According to the FDA's own medication guide, additional side effects include depression, thoughts about depression and, in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts and suicide.
Reglan works by blocking the neurotransmitter dopamine and the black box warning cites one study that reported a TD prevalence of 20 percent among patients treated for at least 12 weeks.
FOIA suit reveals Guantánamo’s ‘indefinite detainees’
The Obama administration Monday lifted a veil of secrecy surrounding the status of the detainees at Guantánamo, for the first time publicly naming the four dozen captives it defined as indefinite detainees — men too dangerous to transfer but who cannot be tried in a court of law.
The names had been a closely held secret since a multi-agency task force sifted through the files of the Guantánamo detainees in 2009 trying to achieve President Barack Obama’s executive order to close the detention center. In January 2010, the task force revealed that it classified 48 Guantánamo captives as dangerous but ineligible for trial because of a lack of evidence, or because the evidence was too tainted. ...
The Defense Department released the list to The Miami Herald, which, with the assistance of Yale Law School students, had sued for it in federal court in Washington, D.C. The Pentagon also sent the list to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on Monday, a Defense Department official said.
According to the list, the men designated for indefinite detention are 26 Yemenis, 12 Afghans, 3 Saudis, 2 Kuwaitis, 2 Libyans, a Kenyan, a Moroccan and a Somali.
Human rights groups denounced the existence of such a list.
Supreme Court Rules That Pre-Miranda Silence Can Be Used Against Defendant To Prove Guilt
In a major loss for individual rights vis-a-vis the police, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that prosecutors could use a person’s silence against them in court if it comes before he’s told of his right to remain silent. The prosecutors used the silence of Genovevo Salinas to convict him of a 1992 murder. Because this was a non-custodial interview, the Court ruled that the prosecutors could use his silence even though citizens are allowed to refuse to speak with police. t is of little surprise that the pro-police powers decision was written by Samuel Alito who consistently rules in favor of expanding police powers.
The case began on the morning of December 18, 1992 when two brothers were shot and killed in their Houston home. A neighbor told police that someone fled in a dark-colored car. Police recovered six shotgun shell casings at the scene. Police inteviewed Salinas who was a guest at a party that the victims hosted the night before they were killed. He owned a dark blue car. While this was a noncustodial interview and Salinas answered questions by the police, he stopped answering when a police officer asked whether his shotgun “would match the shells recovered at the scene of the murder.” The record states that, rather than answering “petitioner ‘[l]ooked down at the floor, shuffled his feet, bit his bottom lip, cl[e]nched hishands in his lap, [and] began to tighten up.’” Notably, there was insufficient evidence to charge him with the crime. However, a statement later by another man (who said that Salinas admitted to the killings) led to the charge.
Salinas did not testify at trial, so prosecutors used his silence against him.
In 1976, in Doyle v. Ohio, the Court held that the prosecution may not comment on a suspect’s silence when he was under arrest and had been given Miranda warning. Here Salinas was using his right to remain silent that belongs to every citizen. However, because the police did not move to arrest him, the prosecutors are allowed to achieve the prejudicial impact addressed in Doyle.
Heavy Violence Rains Down on Turkish Protesters
The Turkish government launched violent raids, mass arrests, and torrents of tear gas and water cannon fire across the country Tuesday in an effort to quell the widespread uprisings against the ruling AKP party, now well into their third week.
Police are shooting water cannons filled with damaging chemicals, say Turkish protesters on a Wikileaks Forum showing photographs of demonstrators with burns across their legs and backs.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Tuesday that the crackdown will only grow from here, and his administration has declared the uprisings illegal.
The most recent violence follows raids over the weekend that led to 441 arrests.
CBS reports that police are specifically going after left-wing and radical groups in Ankara and Istanbul, according to Turkey's NTV television station.
Nearly 300 were arrested in in Taksim Square Monday night as they stood silently in a show of passive resistance, The Guardian reports.
Families occupy unfinished homes in Spain
The house is unfinished; no one was meant to be moving in — but Juana couldn’t wait.
Along with dozens of neighbours, desperate victims of Spain’s recession brought on by the collapse of the housing boom, she has moved into an abandoned building project on the outskirts of her town, Bollullos Par Del Condado, in sweltering southern Andalucia.
“I got to the point where I couldn’t pay the rent. It was impossible. This place was open, so we came in and here we are,” says Juana, 53, an unemployed care assistant, smoking wearily on her doorstep.
On the edge of a green field where horses graze, Juana and her neighbours found this mini estate of more than 70 elegantly painted three-bedroom houses, empty and partly plundered.
She says about 70 families have moved into the estate in the past three weeks, into houses that are all but finished but lack water and electricity.
"I Voted For Change": Over 20 Arrested as KXL Protests Target Obama
Demonstrators blockade Chicago State Department to launch new anti-Keystone civil disobedience campaign
Over 20 anti-Keystone protesters were arrested Monday morning for blockading the doors to a Chicago federal building as part of newly launched call to action that declares "if you don't act, I will."
The demonstration was the first action organized by the group No KXL who are launching a civil disobedience campaign aimed directly at President Obama and his pending decision to permit construction of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline—a deal that former NASA scientist James Hansen declared would spell 'game over' for the planet.
A total of 22 protesters were arrested Monday in front of Chicago's Metcalfe Federal Building including political director for political action group CREDO mobile, Becky Bond, as well as a number of former Obama For America campaign staff.
The demonstrators sat cross-legged in front of the building entrance holding signs that read, "President Obama, I oppose the KXL pipeline because Game Over is not the change I hoped for," and "President Obama, I oppose the KXL pipeline because I voted for change."
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
Hat tip to Johnny the Conqueroo for the feature video and a couple of the live videos of Homesick James here:
Homesick James Williamson - Shake Your Money Maker
Homesick James Williamson - Sweet Home Chicago
Homesick James - I Got To Move
Homesick James - Homesick's Blues
Homesick James Williamson - The Woman I Love
Homesick James - Set A Date
Homesick James - My Baby's Sweet
Homesick James & Snooky Pryor - After you there won't be nobody else
Homesick James - Careless Love
Homesick James - Lonesome Train
Homesick James - Crossroads
Homesick James - Homesick's original dust my broom
Homesick James - Workin' With Homesick
Homesick James - Can't Afford To Do It
Homesick James Williamson - Homesick's Shuffle
Homesick James & Snooky Pryor - Rock Me
Homesick James - Highway 51
Homesick Blues Again - Homesick James
Homesick James - So Mean To Me
It's National Pie Day!
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