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 the Doo-wop group The Olympics. Enjoy!
The Olympics - Good Lovin'
“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”
-- Smedley D. Butler
News and Opinion
This is a must read article. Thanks much to bobswern for putting up a diary about it!
Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements
A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. ... Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model "of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions." The project will determine "the critical mass (tipping point)" of social contagians by studying their "digital traces" in the cases of "the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey."
Twitter posts and conversations will be examined "to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised."
Another project awarded this year to the University of Washington "seeks to uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate," along with their "characteristics and consequences." The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on "large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity," and will cover 58 countries in total.
Last year, the DoD's Minerva Initiative funded a project to determine 'Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why?' which, however, conflates peaceful activists with "supporters of political violence" who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on "armed militancy" themselves. ... The project's 14 case studies each "involve extensive interviews with ten or more activists and militants in parties and NGOs who, though sympathetic to radical causes, have chosen a path of non-violence."
[The article further reveals that based upon this research, the military is war-gaming means to counteract grassroots movements and use information operations to move populations to desired sets of values and viewpoints. - js]
Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact – in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists.
Fusion Centers Approached 2011 Black Friday Consumer Boycott Like a Terrorist Threat
[D]ocuments reveal that Fusion Centers and their personnel even conflate their anti-terrorism mission with a need for intelligence gathering on a possible consumer boycott during the holiday season. There are multiple documents from across the country referencing concerns about negative impacts on retail sales.
The Executive Director of the Intelligence Fusion Division, also the Joint Terrorism Task Force Director, for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department circulated a 30-page report tracking the Occupy Movement in towns and cities across the country created by the trade association the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). ...
PCJF Executive Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard stated: "It is outrageous that counter-terrorism officials used their anti-terrorism authority and funding to "protect" corporate America from a consumer boycott. It is well past time that the vast flow of tax-payer money to the Fusion Centers be ended."
Pentagon and Dept. of Defense Worked Through Fusion Centers to Target Occupy Movement
Involved in the monitoring and reporting operation on Occupy Wall Street was the Pentagon’s agency that specializes in “countering weapons of mass destruction” worldwide. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), whose official mission is to “address the entire spectrum of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive threats,” regularly used the Fusion Centers as the vehicle to share information on the Occupy Movement.
This Pentagon agency that exists to counter threats from weapons of mass destruction circulated material on Occupy including, for example, one document with the subject line: “FW: Alert Update! Chicago … What Police Should Be Learning From The Occupy Protests.” This document shows in an email chain that this article was initially circulated through the subscription website activistmap.com, which is billed as the “Domestic Terrorism Tracking System.” The keywords associated with this Domestic Terrorism Tracking System include: anarchist(s), animal rights, environmentalist, protesters, socialist(s), communist(s), civil disobedience, social justice and global justice, among others.
Another example of information circulated from the Pentagon’s WMD agency was about plans for peaceful protests in Washington, D.C, in early December 2011 including “a national prayer vigil with unemployed folks and faith leaders” that was to be followed by “a mass march on Congressional leaders.”
[What I find both amusing and chilling about the last document is finding an intelligence analyst from a Florida sheriff's office that quotes Henry David Thoreau in her sig line. - js]
Obama 'urgently' considering air assault on targets in Syria and Iraq
The Obama administration is urgently considering an air assault on Islamic extremists that officials told the Guardian could be directed at targets in Syria as well as Iraq.
The White House was on Friday "urgently and expediently" considering military options to halt the rapid advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), according to an administration official, as the jihadist army's march from Syria through Sunni Iraq has upended President Obama's achievement of extricating the US military from the Iraq conflict.
Obama has ruled out sending US soldiers and marines back to the Iraqi streets they patrolled from 2003 to 2011, but signalled a new openness to returning the US to war in Iraq, saying Thursday that there are "some short-term, immediate things that need to be done militarily".
Officials stressed on Friday that no decision has been reached but pointed to a sense of urgency owing to the speed and potency of the Isis assault; the collapse of the Iraqi army in Mosul; and the corresponding threat to the viability of the Iraqi government.
Options under discussion include an air campaign, using either or both air force or navy warplanes, whose duration has yet to be determined. Drone strikes remain under consideration, but manned aircraft are said to the preferred option, owing to their superiority against moving and manoeuvrable targets.
Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric issues call to fight jihadist rebels
Iraq's most senior Shi'ite Muslim cleric urged followers to take up arms against a full-blown Sunni militant insurgency to topple Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, escalating a conflict that threatens civil war and a possible break-up of the country.
In a rare intervention at Friday prayers in the holy city of Kerbala, a message from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is the highest religious authority for Shi'ites in Iraq, said people should unite to fight back against a lightning advance by militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Fighters under the black flag of ISIL are sweeping south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to recreate a mediaeval caliphate carved out of fragmenting Iraq and Syria that has turned into a widespread rebellion against Maliki.
"People who are capable of carrying arms and fighting the terrorists in defense of their country ... should volunteer to join the security forces to achieve this sacred goal," said Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai, delivering Sistani's message.
Those killed fighting ISIL militants would be martyrs, he said as the faithful chanted in acknowledgement.
Shia volunteers confront Sunni insurgents in Samarra
Iraq was braced on Friday for a return to a level of sectarian war last seen almost a decade ago as Shia fighters rushed to Samarra to confront Sunni insurgents and the country's leading Shia cleric called on his followers to take up arms to defend "their country, their people and their holy places"
Convoys of fighters were seen early on Friday being escorted north by Iraqi police trucks from Baghdad to Samarra, the central city where insurgents – led by the Sunni militant group the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (Isis) – were in control after a lightning strike south.
The volunteer Shia fighters were quickly assembled after Iraqi forces abandoned their positions in most of the area, leaving only a small number of troops to guard the Imam al-Askari shrines – the two shrines blown up by insurgents eight years ago, triggering the sectarian war that almost destroyed the country. ...
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials who remained in the northern city of Kirkuk, which was seized by Kurdish peshmerga forces on Thursday, said the Kurds were consolidating their presence.
"They came to stay," said one police captain on Friday. "They're not going anywhere."
The Kurdish control of Kirkuk, a city coveted by them for centuries, is one of the biggest shifts in a week that has starkly exposed the impotence of the government and the frailty of Iraq's borders.
Officials in Baghdad have conceded that the country is at increasing risk of crumbling along ethnic sectarian lines.
The U.S. is sending more heavy-duty weapons to Iraq
Iraq’s ambassador to Washington attended a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday, marking the delivery of Iraq’s first F-16 fighter jet by defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. The arrival of the planes are heavily anticipated in Iraq, which remains locked in a fierce fight with extremist insurgents.
“This will provide us some capability to provide air support,” Amb. Lukman Faily said in an interview beforehand. “Iraq as a nation, as a state, we need these planes.”
If only it were that simple. While Iraq officially took possession of the first plane, it isn’t expected to arrive there until this fall as part of the first delivery. And it is expected to take even longer for Iraq to begin using them. Iraq is still preparing its airbase for operations in Balad, some 40 miles north of Baghdad, Faily said. It also has only a small number of pilots trained to fly the F-16s, although more are in training now. ...
The deals come as some critics question whether it is wise to continue outfitting the Iraqi military. Iraqi troops were said to have fled their posts in Mosul on Monday, and ISIS fighters were seen taking U.S.-made Humvees they commandeered back over the border into Syria.
US Quietly Ferrying Detainees Out of Secret Afghanistan Prison
US defense officials are confirming tonight that 12 “third-country” detainees were secretly moved out of the Parwan Detention Center in Afghanistan, sent to their countries of origin.
38 other detainees of this designation remain, many of them unlikely to ever be charged with a crime of any type, and some of whom have no ties to the Afghan War at all, including one Yemeni captured in Thailand.
That they’re in Afghanistan now isn’t an accident, but rather part of a policy to send detainees captured elsewhere to a US-run prison where they have no legal rights.
Ukrainian forces reclaim port city from rebels
The Ukrainian flag fluttered over the regional headquarters of Mariupol on Friday after government forces reclaimed the port city from pro-Russian separatists in heavy fighting and said they had regained control of a long stretch of the border with Russia.
The advances are significant victories for the pro-European leadership in a military operation to crush the armed rebellion, which began in east Ukraine in April, and hold the former Soviet republic of 45 million together. ...
A ministry aide said the government forces stormed the rebels after they were surrounded and given 10 minutes to surrender. At least five separatists and two servicemen were killed in the battle before many of the rebels fled.
A group of around 100 Mariupol citizens, who had gathered in the town centre to show their opposition to the government's actions, exchanged obscenities and crude gestures with Ukrainian soldiers, who were driving through town in a column of armoured trucks.
"The government brought everything here, including a cannon... people were not allowed to come and witness how the government was shooting its own citizens," 52-year-old Andrei Nikodimovich said.
Mariupol, which has changed hands several times in weeks of conflict, is strategically important because it lies on major roads from the southeastern border with Russia into the rest of Ukraine and steel is exported through the port.
Ukraine Claims Three Russian Tanks Moving in Separatist East
Ukrainian officials are claiming something of a Russian invasion against the eastern separatist-held region of the country today, releasing video of three aging T-72 main battle tanks rolling through the streets of Snizhne, in eastern Donetsk Oblast.
Ukraine claims the tanks, backed by armored personnel carriers, “snuck into” Donetsk across the border, at checkpoints held by the rebels. Russia denied the report and said they had no information about the tanks.
Gazprom: Ukraine Gas Supplies Will Halt Monday Without Payment
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller warned today that because of Ukraine’s sizable debt they are on a prepayment system, and if they don’t prepay for any gas, they won’t receive any.
“If Ukraine pays for no volume at all, it means that gas shipments to Ukraine will be zero,” Miller noted. Ukraine’s government has spurned the prepayment scheme, and complained about Gazprom’s plan to charge them the same rate as other European nations, $485 per 1,000 cubic meters.
The last round of talks centered on the price issue, with Russian officials offering $385 per, and Ukraine insisting they would pay no more than $268.50, the level the previous Ukrainian government was paying.
Ukraine suggests compromise gas price in row with Russia
Ukraine said on Friday it was ready to pay a compromise price for Russian natural gas for 18 months to avert the threat of Moscow cutting off supplies and allow time to reach a long-term pricing agreement.
Andriy Kobolev, chief executive of state gas company Naftogaz, said the price of $326 per 1,000 cubic metres - higher than what Kiev wants to pay and lower than what Russia demands - was proposed by the European Commission during talks. ...
The Russian Energy Ministry has ruled out holding any more talks with Kiev and the EU before the Monday deadline.
"In our opinion the European Commission has proposed a compromise that is not bad," Kobolev told reporters, suggesting that Kiev should pay this price for an 18-month interim period.
"Ukraine will be ready under such a compromise to pay its unpaid bills from the past," he said.
But adding that he had received offers from European companies to deliver gas at a lower price, he said: "Even so, we believe it is still rather high."
He gave no details of the offers he said he had on his desk.
Obama to unveil education proposals on American Indian trip
U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday will make his first visit to an American Indian reservation since entering the White House on a trip to unveil new measures aimed at boosting education and economic opportunities for indigenous people.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, will travel to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to show the administration's commitment to "upholding our strong and crucial nation-to-nation relationship," the White House said. ...
Similar to other domestic trips where he faces protests, Obama may encounter opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline from leaders at the reservation. His administration is weighing whether to approve the pipeline from Canada, which is opposed by environmentalists and supported by industry.
“President Obama must reject this pipeline and protect our sacred land and water. The United States needs to respect our treaty rights and say no to Keystone XL,” said Bryan Brewer of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, in a statement.
The initiatives Obama will announce include reforms for the Bureau of Indian Education, efforts to bring high-speed Internet to tribal schools, and training for teachers.
He will also propose ways to ease regulatory hurdles for infrastructure and energy development and initiatives to boost small businesses owned by Native Americans.
Can Progressives Learn from Eric Cantor’s Defeat?
The stunning upset defeat of House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) by Professor David Brat, an economist from Randolph-Macon College, in Tuesday’s Republican Primary has several takeaways for progressives besides envy and shame over why they do not directly take on the corporate Democrats.
First, among all the reasons for Cantor’s fall, there were the ones encapsulated in the Nation’s John Nichols’ description of Brat as an “anti-corporate conservative.” ... Brat supported “the end of bulk phone and email data collection by the NSA” and other government agencies on constitutional grounds.
Professor Brat attacked the Wall Street investment bankers who nearly “broke the financial system,” adding the applause line: “these guys should have gone to jail. Instead of going to jail, where did they go? They went to Eric Cantor’s Rolodex.” ...
Brat is a mixed bag for progressives. But in that mix is a clear populist challenge by Main Street against Wall Street and by ordinary people against the corporate government with subsidies and bailouts that the Left calls corporate welfare and the Right calls crony capitalism. ...
On election night, Brat made the point that progressives would do well to heed, as they obsess over big money in politics; “Dollars don’t vote,” he said, “people do.” .. Can’t progressives find that kind of energy with their many broader issues and larger support base? Can’t they find capable so-called “nobodies” with hidden talent to become publically heralded champions? There are fresh voices everywhere who can take on the corporate Democrats, like the Clintons, who work with Wall Streeters and espouse crony capitalism and with neocons to advance militarism abroad, along with corporate-managed, job destroying trade agreements and off-shore tax havens.
The Evening Greens
First Nations Vow: There Will Be No Tar Sands Pipeline
That is the message stressed by First Nations communities who say that even if Canada's Prime Minister Harper gives the federal OK to Enbridge's Northern Gateway project, First Nations law and their "responsibilities to future generations" will stop the project dead in its tracks.
A federal decision on the project, which includes a 1,200-kilometer pipeline that would carry half a million barrels per day of crude from the Alberta tar sands to coastal Kitimat, British Columbia, is expected in the coming days.
Chief Fred Sam of the Nak’azdli First Nation, one of the Yinka Dene First Nations communities who have joined in opposition to the Northern Gateway, stated, "Our decision to refuse consent for the Enbridge pipeline is a decision according to our own laws. It is binding and clearly set out in the Save the Fraser Declaration."
That declaration, the Yinka Dene Alliance explained, bans Enbridge's pipelines and tankers from First Nations territories.
"This project is doomed," added Jasmine Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation in a statement issued Wednesday, referring to Enbridge's proposed pipeline.
Earth may have underground 'ocean' three times that on surface
After decades of searching scientists have discovered that a vast reservoir of water, enough to fill the Earth’s oceans three times over, may be trapped hundreds of miles beneath the surface, potentially transforming our understanding of how the planet was formed.
The water is locked up in a mineral called ringwoodite about 660km (400 miles) beneath the crust of the Earth, researchers say. Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University in the US co-authored the study published in the journal Science and said the discovery suggested Earth’s water may have come from within, driven to the surface by geological activity, rather than being deposited by icy comets hitting the forming planet as held by the prevailing theories. ...
Jacobsen and his colleagues are the first to provide direct evidence that there may be water in an area of the Earth’s mantle known as the transition zone. They based their findings on a study of a vast underground region extending across most of the interior of the US. Ringwoodite acts like a sponge due to a crystal structure that makes it attract hydrogen and trap water.
Food Lobby Colossus Sues Vermont over GMO 'Right to Know'
Powerful lobbyist groups claim 'free speech' as they file suit against law that says consumers should know what's in their food
Vermont's Attorney General William Sorrellon has said his office is ready for a "heck of a fight" after some of the most powerful members of the nation's food industry filed suit on Thursday challenging the state's new law that requires the labeling of packaged food containing genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. ...
Though not unexpected, the official filing of the federal lawsuit (pdf) against Vermont—brought by Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Snack Food Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers—marks the beginning of a legal battle that could have far-reaching implications in the national fight over GMO food. ...
Despite the public's widespread support for the law, the food industry lobbyists are challenging the labeling requirement on free speech grounds.
"Act 120 imposes burdensome new speech requirements — and restrictions — that will affect, by Vermont's count, eight out of every ten foods at the grocery store," said the GMA in a statement on Thursday.
Chile Scraps Dam Project in 'Greatest Triumph of the Nation's Environmental Movement'
In a decision hailed as "the greatest triumph of the environmental movement" in the country, Chile on Tuesday rejected a controversial dam project.
The HidroAysén project in the seismically active area would have included five dams on two rivers in Patagonia—the Baker and Pascua—and, according to International Rivers, would have resulted in the flooding of "nearly 15,000 acres of globally rare forest ecosystems and some of the most productive agricultural land in the area," impacting wildlife and forcing the displacement of people.
The nation's top administrative authority, the Council of Ministers, unanimously overturned the environmental permits issued in 2011 for the dams.
"A decision was taken to accept the community appeals and void the Environmental Qualification Resolution that approved HidroAysén; so the project is declared rejected by this administrative act," the Wall Street Journal quoted Environment Minister Paul Badenier as saying.
The rejection of the project follows an 8-year campaign led by the Patagonia Defense Council (PDC) coalition, which includes International Rivers, the Natural Resources Defense Council and local citizens and community groups and had highlighted the risks of the project and need for Chile to choose a truly sustainable energy future.
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
The Olympics - Baby It's Hot
The Olympics - Big Boy Pete
The Grateful Dead - Big Boy Pete
The Olympics - The Hully Gully
Olympics - Mash Them 'Taters
The Olympics - Shimmy Like Kate
The Olympics - The Bounce
The Olympics - I'll Do A Little Bit More
The Olympics - Lookin' For A Love
The Olympics - Dooley
The Olympics - The Duck
The Olympics - Private Eye
The Olympics - Western Movies
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!