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.
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This evening's music features New Orleans jazzman Sidney Bechet. Enjoy!
Sidney Bechet - St.Louis Blues
FRAGMENT FROM A SUPPRESSED BOOK CALLED “GLANCES AT HISTORY” OR “OUTLINES OF HISTORY”
… In a speech which he made more than five hundred years ago, and which has come down to us intact, he said:
We, free citizens of the Great Republic, feel an honest pride in her greatness, her strength, her just and gentle government, her wide liberties, her honored name, her stainless history, her unsmirched flag, her hands clean from oppression of the weak and from malicious conquest, her hospitable door that stands open to the hunted and the persecuted of all nations; we are proud of the judicious respect in which she is held by the monariches, which hem her in on every side, and proudest of all of that lofty patriotism which we inherited from our fathers, which we have kept pure, and which won our liberties in the beginning and has preserved them unto this day. While that patriotism endures the Republic is safe, her greatness is secure, and against them the powers of the earth cannot prevail.
I pray you to pause and consider. Against our traditions we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war, a war against a helpless people, and for a base object--robbery. At first our citizens spoke out against this thing, by an impulse natural to their training. Today they have turned, and their voice is the other way. What caused the change? Merely a politician's trick--a high-sounding phrase, a blood-stirring phrase which turned their uncritical heads: Our Country, right or wrong! An empty phrase, a silly phrase. It was shouted by every newspaper, it was thundered from the pulpit, the Superintendent of Public Instruction placarded it in every schoolhouse in the land, the War Department inscribed it upon the flag. And every man who failed to shout it or who was silent, was proclaimed a traitor--none but those others were patriots. To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, "Our Country, right or wrong," and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?
For in a republic, who is "the Country"? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant--merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is "the Country"? Is it the newspaper? is it the pulpit? is it the school superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in the thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn't.
Who are the thousand--that is to say, who are "the Country"? In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country; in a republic it is the common voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country--hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of.
Only when a republic's life is in danger should a man uphold his government when it is in the wrong. There is no other time.
This Republic's life is not in peril. The nation has sold its honor for a phrase. It has swung itself loose from its safe anchorage and is drifting, its helm is in pirate hands. The stupid phrase needed help, and it got another one: "Even if the war be wrong we are in it and must fight it out: we cannot retire from it without dishonor." Why, not even a burglar could have said it better. We cannot withdraw from this sordid raid because to grant peace to those little people on their terms--independence--would dishonor us. You have flung away Adam's phrase--you should take it up and examine it again. He said, "An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war."
You have planted a seed, and it will grow.
But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people's liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake in their own persons. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on, the suffrage was become a mere machine, which they used as they chose, There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.
News and Opinion
Weapons of Mass Distraction
We have had the unfortunate experience of being outraged, being Brazilians, trying to get something done, and watching as the dysfunctional system that we are forced to live under destroys momentum and creates stasis, or adds power to the already powerful, rather than enabling reform. We have, for example, on Capitol Hill, a system which is built on the need to create ads, narratives, phony reality about members who are running for office.
And they need to finance that because our television stations make a killing on that. Especially in the swing states. And so the only way they can finance it is by doing quid pro quo deals with special interests. So when the Newtown tragedy happened, my instinct was, yes, I know Obama's going to make a great speech and the polls are going to be 99 percent, but it's going to be business as usual. Our hearts will be broken, because the system is simply unresponsive and incapable of reform.
You watch that happen enough times, and you decide, why bother? You have to be someone who just fell off the turnip truck to think that popular outrage can make a difference. The truth is that we can make a difference. We can change the way campaigns are financed. We can change the electoral college. You name it, we can do things. But because we have been taught that we will be ineffective and fail, it seems like the gesture of a rube to be hopeful. ...
I have children. I have to be an optimist. The globe has children. We have to be optimists. There is no choice. What is the alternative? If you are a pessimist, well, the most you can do, I suppose, is medicate yourself with the latest blockbuster and some sugar, salt, and fat that's being marketed to you. The only responsible thing that you can do is say that individuals can make a difference and I will try, we will try, to make that.
Why Aren't Americans Fighting Back?
The answer is simple and plausible - but the explanation is a bit more complicated. The majority of Americans are suffering terribly from the current economic crisis, but they do not yet have a political self-identity that will allow for a successful fightback. They don't know who they are or what they're fighting for. Neither do they understand whom or what they are fighting against. ...
The majority of Americans, unknowingly, are members of the working class, AKA the proletariat, and will be fighting for the kind of socialism in which sharing, cooperation, volunteerism, and wellness replace the drive for individual profits, competition, ego, and the desire for power over others. Most Americans would like to see an end to global poverty, war, and injustice, and one day, we shall discover that the means to this end involves the social ownership and democratic control of the world's wealth. Only with this in place can the benefits of that wealth find their way back to the vast majority - the bottom two-thirds of the economic ladder.
That accomplishment will prepare us for the next stage, which will fulfill most of the needs that we "earthlings" currently have. These essentials include saving the environment, automating all boring and unhealthy jobs, developing the individual person, living wherever and however we wish, and benefiting from the astounding medical and other technological advances of the future.
The American majority will be fighting against the other pole of attraction - the ruling class, AKA the capitalist class, AKA the bourgeoisie, and their particular version of class society, which could be referred to as the Dictatorship of Capital. The rulers are fighting for the status quo - their supposed right to own, control, and accumulate wealth - and the power over the majority that that wealth provides.
The capitalist class already knows who they are and what they are fighting for, and they are well aware of who their enemy is. That's why they are presently winning the fights.
The crux of the NSA story in one phrase: 'collect it all
The Washington Post this morning has a long profile of Gen. Keith Alexander, director the NSA, and it highlights the crux - the heart and soul - of the NSA stories, the reason Edward Snowden sacrificed his liberty to come forward, and the obvious focal point for any responsible or half-way serious journalists covering this story. It helpfully includes that crux right in the headline, in a single phrase:
"For NSA chief terrorist threat drives passion to "collect it all," observers say
... Aside from how obviously menacing and even creepy it is to have a state collect all forms of human communication - to have the explicit policy that literally no electronic communication can ever be free of US collection and monitoring - there's no legal authority for the NSA to do this. Therefore:[E]ven his defenders say Alexander's aggressiveness has sometimes taken him to the outer edge of his legal authority."The outer edge of his legal authority": that's official-Washington-speak for "breaking the law", at least when it comes to talking about powerful DC officials (in Washington, only the powerless are said to have broken the law, which is why so many media figures so freely call Edward Snowden a criminal for having told his fellow citizens about all this, but would never dare use the same language for James Clapper for having lied to Congress about all of this, which is a felony).
In Belvedere, Democrats picket one of their own, Rep. Nancy Pelosi
It isn't every day that there's a placard-waving political demonstration on the quiet residential streets of wealthy Belvedere. And it's even rarer when the demonstration involves Democrats protesting against fellow Democrats.
But that was the highly unusual scene Saturday afternoon, when some 70 picketers, carrying signs that said things like "Big Brother is watching you" and "One nation under surveillance," gathered up the street from a Belvedere home where a big ticket Democratic Party fundraiser attended by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, was being hosted by first term congressman, Rep. Jared Huffman. ...
Earlier in the day, Pelosi's description of Snowden as a criminal prompted a chorus of boos from liberals gathered at a conference in San Jose. At the Belvedere protest, demonstrators didn't have the opportunity to confront her in person, but one woman held aloft a placard that said, "I stand with Ed Snowden." and another carried a sign with Snowden's photo alongside Pvt. Bradley Manning and Wikileaks' Julian Assange. ...
The issue of privacy rights has opened up a rift between progressive Democrats and establishment liberals like Pelosi and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Caroline Banuelos, Northern California vice chair of the California Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus, invited demonstrators to a progressive caucus panel discussion on privacy rights, the NSA and whistle-blowers on July 20 in Orange County during a meeting of the executive board of the state Democratic Party.
Panicked Obama Dials Putin After Snowden Appearance
The White House spiraled into panic mode late Friday after Edward Snowden's earlier appearance in Russia, with President Obama moving forward with plans to personally call Vladimir Putin to urge the Russian president to deny Snowden asylum.
... White House press secretary Jay Carney termed the meeting with renowned human rights groups a "propaganda platform" for Snowden and denounced the Russian government for allowing it to take place, declaring it a move against 'US interests.'
Furthermore, Matt Williams of the Guardian reports that the US ambassador to Russia even tried to use Human Rights Watch as a tool to send the threatening message to Snowden that, in the eyes of the US government, he is no whistleblower.
The threats and public statements coming from the White House insinuate that those who cross US power should not have access to human rights campaigners.
Putin: Snowden will leave Russia at earliest opportunity
NSA-leaker Edward Snowden will leave Russia as soon as he gets such opportunity, but for now the situation is unclear, says Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"He is familiar with the conditions of granting political asylum, and judging by the latest statements, is shifting his position. The situation is not clear now," Putin said.
The president stressed that the US basically trapped ex-CIA employee Snowden in Russia while he was in transit to other countries.
"He arrived on our territory without an invitation, he was not flying to us - he was flying in transit to other countries. But as soon as he got in the air it became known, and our American partners, in fact, blocked his further flight," Putin said, meaning that the US government revoked Snowden’s passport shortly after he arrived at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport.
"They scared other countries. No one wants to accept him,” he added.
When asked about what was next for Snowden, Putin replied: “How should I know? That’s his life, his fate.”
Snowden Nominated for Nobel Peace PrizeMembership has its privileges; US moves to protect "cooperating corporation," Google from taxation overseas:
A Swedish professor has nominated NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize for revealing the extent of the NSA's vast surveillance program "in a heroic effort at great personal cost."
In his letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Stefan Svallfors, a professor of sociology at Sweden's Umeå University, added that awarding the prize to Snowden would "also help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama 2009 award."
In revealing the extent of the NSA's extensive spying, "conducted in contravention of national laws and international agreements," Snowden "has helped to make the world a little better and safer," the professor writes. He "has also shown that individuals can stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms."
US blocks crackdown on tax avoidance by net firms like Google and Amazon
France has failed to secure backing for tough new international tax rules specifically targeting digital companies, such as Google and Amazon, after opposition from the US forced the watering down of proposals that will be presented at this week's G20 summit.
Senior officials in Washington have made it known they will not stand for rule changes that narrowly target the activities of some of the nation's fastest growing multinationals, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been told to draw up a much-anticipated action plan for tax reform at the gathering of G20 finance ministers this Friday, but the US and French governments have been at loggerheads over how far the proposals should go. ...
This has put the US at odds with several G20 nations, particularly France, which in January published radical proposals for new concepts in international tax treaties designed to counter some of the avoidance measures deployed by internet firms. Officials at the G20 governments have been working closely with the OECD, a club for the world's industrialised nations, over the proposals.
Cornel West: I love Obama and pray for his safety. But he is a war criminal.
Friday night on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” panel member Dr. Cornel West opened up about the difficulty of being an Obama supporter who opposes drone warfare, and in an at times heated discussion, revealed that you can in fact support a politician but not embrace all of their policies.
US Diplomat: Troops Not Leaving Afghanistan Anytime Soon
The US military is likely to stay in Afghanistan far beyond the 2014 alleged deadline for withdrawal, James Dobbins—the State Department's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan—told the Senate earlier this week.
The statement came after an article published Monday in the New York Times suggested that Obama plans to move more quickly on troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The US diplomat made it clear that, to the contrary, the US intends to continue its open-ended occupation. "The Afghans actually need us to stay," Dobbins alleged, according to Reuters. "Most Afghans want us to stay. And we have promised to stay."
"It is important to ask who wants the US to stay," Robert Naiman—policy director for Just Foreign Policy—told Common Dreams. "Is it Karzai, the parliament, a majority of the Afghan people? And what do they want troops to do? Detain Afghans? Carry out night raids? Conduct drone strikes?"
"As usual, helping Afghanistan is conflated with keeping thousands of troops there," Naiman added. "There's no reason those things should be conflated."
Soul singer Lester Chambers assaulted over song dedicated to Trayvon
The soul singer Lester Chambers was allegedly assaulted at a concert on Saturday night, after he dedicated a song to Trayvon Martin. Hours after George Zimmerman was acquitted for Martin’s murder, the leader of the Chambers Brothers was attacked by a woman shouting: “It’s all your fault.”
According to the Contra Costa Times, the incident occurred midway through Chambers’ performance at the Hayward-Russell City Blues festival, in California. Introducing a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready, Chambers said that if Mayfield were still alive, the lyric “there’s a train a-comin’” would be changed to “there’s a change a-comin’”, in response to Martin’s death.
Almost immediately Dinalynn Andrews Potter leapt on to the stage – “like an acrobat”, according to Chambers’ wife. “She had a crazed look in her eye,” a witness told the Times. “I saw the devil there.” She shoved the singer before anyone else could react; Chambers, 73, was eventually taken to hospital, receiving treatment for “bruised rib muscle and nerve damage”. Andrews Potter, 43, was arrested and charged with suspicion of battery, while Chambers “will be up and running soon”, according to his son.
[Here's a sample of Lester doing his thing with Steve Cropper:]
After Aiding Zimmerman’s Case, ALEC-Backed "Stand Your Ground" Could Threaten a Civil Lawsuit
"Even though it’s popular wisdom to say 'Stand Your Ground' was not an issue in this case, in fact it was," Graves says. "The exact instruction to the jury was that Zimmerman had no duty to retreat and had a right to stand his ground and meet force with force — including deadly force. Those jury instructions incorporate the stand your ground law." Graves adds that the "Stand Your Ground" law could now threaten efforts by Martin’s family to pursue a civil lawsuit against Zimmerman: "[The law] says the family of a shooting victim must pay the shooter’s legal fees and lost wages if the judge in a civil case grants that George Zimmerman had immunity because he had a right to stand his ground and that he was in essence justified in the killing. Basically the NRA and ALEC put their thumb on the scale of justice in favor of the shooter."
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
Sidney Bechet - Blue Horizon
Sidney Bechet + Louis Armstrong + Django Reinhardt 1952, La Route Du Bonheur
Sidney Bechet - Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me
Sidney Bechet - Egyptian Fantasy
Sidney Bechet - Bechet Creole Blues
Sidney Bechet - Tin Roof Blues
Sidney Bechet - Dans les rues d'Antibes
Sidney Bechet - Blues In Thirds
Sidney Bechet - Saturday Night Blues
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!