Welcome! "The Evening Blues" is a casual community diary (published Monday - Friday, 7:00 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.
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Tonight's music features Chicago harp player Lester "Mad Dog" Davenport and the composer of the blues standard, "Goin Down Slow," and numerous songs for Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker, piano player St Louis Jimmy Oden.
Lester Davenport - What Are We Going To Do
"Credit is a system whereby a person who can not pay gets another person who can not pay to guarantee that he can pay."
-- Charles Dickens
A Debtcropper Society
A lot of people forget that having debt you can’t pay back really sucks. Debt is not just a credit instrument, it is an instrument of political and economic control.
It’s actually baked into our culture. The phrase ‘the man’, as in ‘fight the man’, referred originally to creditors. ‘The man’ in the 19th century stood for ‘furnishing man’, the merchant that sold 19th century sharecroppers and Southern farmers their supplies for the year, usually on credit. Farmers, often illiterate and certainly unable to understand the arrangements into which they were entering, were charged interest rates of 80-100 percent a year, with a lien places on their crops. When approaching a furnishing agent, who could grant them credit for seeds, equipment, even food itself, a farmer would meekly look down nervously as his debts were marked down in a notebook. At the end of a year, due to deflation and usury, farmers usually owed more than they started the year owing. Their land was often forfeit, and eventually most of them became tenant farmers.
They were in hock to the man, and eventually became slaves to him. This structure, of sharecropping and usury, held together by political violence, continued into the 1960s in some areas of the South. As late as the 1960s, Kennedy would see rural poverty in Arkansas and pronounce it ’shocking’. These were the fruits of usury, a society built on unsustainable debt peonage.
Today, we are in the midst of creating a second sharecropper society. I first heard the term “slaves to the bank” from a constituent fighting a fraudulent foreclosure. The details aren’t so important — this couple had been illegally placed in a predatory loan — but at one point, the wife explained that she and her husband were so scared they would have “given their first born to the bank to keep their home”. That was fear speaking, total unadulterated panic. And as we watch debt-holders use the ornaments of fear, such a loan sharking company that set up fake courts to convince debtors they were losing cases, we should recognize that what the creditor class wants is what they’ve always wanted: total dominance of our culture.
"Subversives": How the FBI Fought the 1960s Student Movement and Aided Reagan’s Rise to Power
Investigative journalist Seth Rosenfeld’s new book, "Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power," is based on more than 300,000 pages of records Rosenfeld received over three decades through five Freedom of Information lawsuits against the FBI. The book tracks how then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover ordered his agents to investigate and then disrupt the Free Speech Movement that began in 1964 on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. The protests prevailed and helped spawn a nationwide student movement. Rosenfeld outlines in great detail how FBI records show agents used "dirty tricks to stifle dissent on the campus." In the book’s more than 700 pages, he uses the documents to explore the interweaving stories of four main characters: the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover; actor and politician Ronald Reagan, who was running for governor of California at the time; Clark Kerr, then the University of California president and a target of scorn from both Reagan, Hoover and student activists; and legendary Free Speech Movement leader and orator, Mario Savio.
Assange lawyer has ‘surprising’ key info on rape claims: report
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s lawyer Thursday said he had key information relating to the rape claims his client was facing which would be surprising when revealed, a report said. ...
Garzon, best known for trying to extradite Chile’s Augusto Pinochet from London to Madrid in 1998, declined to go into specifics on the rape claims but said there was “fragmented knowledge” about the matter.
He reportedly said the defence was in possession of a number of fundamental elements about the allegations that when made public would be a “big surprise”.
“We cannot divulge them right now but we have requested that the prosecution take a statement from Mr. Assange,” he said on the sidelines of a conference in the Australian city of Brisbane.
European ministers worry about ‘new Berlin Wall’ in North-South debt crisis split
European ministers warned Thursday that the debt crisis risks splitting Europe between north and south in an echo of the east-west division of the Cold War, as pressure mounted on Greece.
“Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new split threatens to divide our continent, this time between north and south,” the foreign ministers of Germany and the three Baltic states said in joint statement released in Lithuania. ...
Greece’s call for more time to implement budget cuts and tax hikes required to continue receiving bailout support has set the stage for another bruising European debate and speculation that the country could be forced out of the euro.
Amid worries that contagion could trip up Spain and Italy, a number of economists have suggested splitting the eurozone into two — a stronger northern euro and a weaker one that would help southern countries adjust their economies.
But the German and Baltic ministers warned that the problem had spread beyond the economic arena.
Quebec students protest tuition hikes
Thousands of protesters marched against planned tuition hikes in Montreal, opposing the Liberal government of Premier Jean Charest, two weeks before parliamentary elections. ...
The presidents of two student unions, the Quebec Federation of College Students (FECQ) and the Quebec Federation of University Students (FEUQ), Eliane Laberge and Martine Desjardins, condemned the Charest administration’s plans.
“On September 4, citizens will remember how the Liberal Party has addressed the youth and people of Quebec,” said Laberge, while Desjardins reiterated her call against voting for parties failing to support students.
Attic surprise: Martin Luther King Jr. audio in a dusty old box
Stephon Tull said he found the tape among dusty old boxes in the attic of his father's Chattanooga home, according to the Associated Press. It was a reel-to-reel audio tape labeled: "Dr. King interview, Dec. 21, 1960." ...
Tull said his father had done the interview for a book project that he never completed. The interview includes rare audio of King talking of a recent trip to Africa and the thoughts among leaders there about the U.S. civil rights struggle. ...
In the newly unearthed audio, King is asked how he felt the sit-ins had affected "the progress of the Southern Negro and his struggle for equality."
King was prescient.
"I am convinced that when the history books are written in future years, historians will have to record this movement as one of the greatest epochs of our heritage," he says.
Company sees dollar signs in the misery of drought victims
The impact of the worst U.S. drought since the 1930s on grain markets is opening up opportunities for trade house Glencore, especially after its takeover of Canadian grain handler Viterra Inc, Glencore officials said.
"In terms of the outlook for the balance of the year, the environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities," Chris Mahoney, director of agricultural products, told a conference call on Tuesday.
"I think we will both be able to provide the world with solutions, getting stuff to where it's needed quickly and timely, and that should also be good for Glencore.
Wall Street Tightens Grip on Public Water as Local Residents Suffer
Investment bankers and other major financial players are increasingly swooping in on public water utilities and other municipal services in cash strapped towns to the detriment of local residents, according to a new report released today by advocacy group Food & Water Watch. Vulture capitalists are increasingly facilitating the privatization of public infrastructure, taking control of public utilities while skimping on services and causing steep price hikes -- all the while making massive profits.
According to the report, private equity firms show up to hurting municipalities as hired financial advisers and subsequently push through privatization deals. Massive profits are made in the process, as such advisers stand to make great financial gains through these deals. Following privatization, local residents are continually denied sufficient services and face steep consumer price hikes in the under-regulated process.
“Like Wall Street’s manipulation of the housing market in the previous decade, private equity firms and investment bankers are increasingly looking to cash in on one of our most essential resources—water,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “These deals are ultimately a bum deal for consumers, who will end up paying the price through increased water bills and degraded service.”
As the song goes, you don't miss your water until your well runs dry:
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
Lester Davenport - Chicago Blues Festival
Lester Davenport - So long
Lester Davenport - She's 41 Years Old
Lester Davenport - So Wurrid
Lester Davenport - Stop Beggin' Me
Lester Davenport - No Peace
Lester Davenport - I`m Tryin'
Lester Davenport - Lets go party
Saint Louis Jimmy Oden + Muddy Waters - Florida Hurricaine
St. Louis Jimmy Oden - Going Down Slow (1941)
St. Louis Jimmy Oden - Dog House Blues
Muddy Waters - Soon Forgotten (by J. Oden)
Saint Louis Jimmy Oden + Muddy Waters - So Nice And Kind
I couldn't find an embeddable version of one of Oden's more rousing tunes, "Murder in the First Degree," which was recorded by Muddy Waters and is misattributed to Waters by the guy in the video below:
Bluez Deluxe - Murder In The First Degree
Here's a link to an embedding disabled version of Murder in the First Degree by St Louis Jimmy:
We are ready for some serious change. We are ready to take up the tools of a free and analytic press to peacefully undermine the stranglehold of the kleptocrats on our battered democracy. We are ready to expose and publicize their greed, lies and illegal machinations and hold their enablers in government and the media to account. Are you in?
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead