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.
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Aron Burton + Yard Dog Jones - Key to the Highway
“I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.”
-- Eugene Victor Debs
News and Opinion
Let's Not Make a Deal - by Robert Kuttner
Obama, evidently, is willing to play hardball to compel the Republicans to allow tax rates on the top two percent to revert to something like the Clinton era top rate of 39.5 percent but spare the bottom 98 percent any tax increases. As Obama put it, "On Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach."
But that was about the only good thing in Obama's speech, or his posture towards the Republicans and the budget. Obama still believes that the economy needs budget cuts of $4 trillion over the next decade. ...
Recently, Bob Woodward was given a leaked copy of the Administration's offer in the proposed budget deal of 2011 that fell apart because House Speaker John Boehner was unable to deliver his Republican caucus to support any revenue increases.
In that aborted deal, Obama was prepared to cut Social Security and increase the Medicare eligibility age. White House leaks have suggested that both items will be on the table this time. That's bad policy, and worse politics. The clearest principled differences that distinguish Democrats from Republicans is that Democrats are staunch defenders of Social Security and Medicare, while Republicans are eager to cut, privatize, and voucherize.
Iran Warns US Against Airspace Violation
Iran warned the United States Sunday that it will take strong action against any further intrusion by the US into its airspace, Iranian media reported. ...
"Yes, we opened fire, and it was with warning shots. If they do it again they can expect an even stronger response," the Iranian Students News Agency quoted General Amir-Ali Hadjizadeh, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Air and Space Forces.
Hadjizadeh said Sunday: "This spy drone entered Iranian airspace and had to turn around because of the immediate reaction by fighters of the Revolutionary Guards".
"The drone was flying near Kharg Island and our understanding is that ... it was gathering economic information and intelligence on Kharg Island and oil tankers (in the area).
Google report reveals world government requests for private data rising sharply
Government surveillance of their citizens’ online lives is rising sharply around the world, according to Google’s latest report on requests to remove content and hand over user data to official agencies.
In the first six months of this year, authorities worldwide made 20,939 requests for access to personal data from Google users, including their search results, access to Gmail accounts and removal of YouTube videos. Requests have risen steeply from a low of 12,539 in the last six months of 2009, when Google first published its Transparency Report.
Authorities made 1,789 requests for Google to remove content from its services in the first half of 2012, almost twice as many as the 949 requests made in the same period last year and up from 1,048 requests made in the last six months of 2011.
“This is the sixth time we’ve released this data, and one trend has become clear: government surveillance is on the rise,” Google said in a blogpost. ...
The US accounted for the most requests, as it has consistently since the report was launched. US authorities asked for private details of Google users on 7,969 occasions, up from 6,321 in the last reporting period. The number is more than a third of the 20,938 requests for users’ details worldwide. Google fully or partially complied with 90% of those requests.
Woman sues park ranger for alleged transphobic tazing
A California woman filed a lawsuit against both the U.S. and a Bureau of Land Management ranger she said tazed her twice because she used to be a man.
According to KGTV-TV, Brooke Fantelli’s lawsuit (PDF) names both “the United States of America” and the ranger, identified only as “J. Peter” as defendants for their roles in an Oct. 27 2011 encounter where the ranger tazed her twice despite her not resisting arrest. ...
Fantelli was arrested and charged with public intoxication for the incident, and said the ranger, upon learning she was transgender by looking at her identification, switched from referring to her with female pronouns like “ma’am” and “miss” to calling her “dude” and “sir,” and tazed her a second time in the genitalia while restraining her on the ground.
Paula Broadwell claims about Benghazi attack dismissed as ‘baseless’ by CIA
The CIA has dismissed as “baseless” and “uninformed” claims made by the former lover of ex-agency chief David Petraeus that Libyan militants were held in secret US prisons prior to the deadly Benghazi consulate attack.
Paula Broadwell, the biographer whose affair with Petraeus led to his abrupt resignation Friday, alleged that the assault, in which US ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed, was an attempt to free men being detained in a covert CIA annex.
Speaking last month at the University of Denver, Broadwell further alleged that Petreaus knew about the secret holding cells. ...
In an answer to a question reading the CIA chief’s handling of the incident, the biographer said: “Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually, um, had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”
She added: “The challenging thing for General Petraeus is that in his new position, he’s not allowed to communicate with the press. So he’s known all of this – they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in, in Libya. Within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening.”
FBI's Abuse of the Surveillance State is the Real Scandal Needing Investigation
The Petraeus scandal is receiving intense media scrutiny obviously due to its salacious aspects, leaving one, as always, to fantasize about what a stellar press corps we would have if they devoted a tiny fraction of this energy to dissecting non-sex political scandals (this unintentionally amusing New York Times headline from this morning - "Concern Grows Over Top Military Officers' Ethics" - illustrates that point: with all the crimes committed by the US military over the last decade and long before, it's only adultery that causes "concern" over their "ethics"). Nonetheless, several of the emerging revelations are genuinely valuable, particularly those involving the conduct of the FBI and the reach of the US surveillance state.
As is now widely reported, the FBI investigation began when Jill Kelley - a Tampa socialite friendly with Petraeus (and apparently very friendly with Gen. John Allen, the four-star U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan) - received a half-dozen or so anonymous emails that she found vaguely threatening. She then informed a friend of hers who was an FBI agent, and a major FBI investigation was then launched that set out to determine the identity of the anonymous emailer.
That is the first disturbing fact: it appears that the FBI not only devoted substantial resources, but also engaged in highly invasive surveillance, for no reason other than to do a personal favor for a friend of one of its agents, to find out who was very mildly harassing her by email. The emails Kelley received were, as the Daily Beast reports, quite banal and clearly not an event that warranted an FBI investigation.
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
Aron Burton - Chicago Blues Festival
Aron Burton + Yard Dog Jones - Wayward Blues Boy
Aron Burton - Big Boss Man
Little Bobby Neely, Andrew Brown & Aron Burton
Aron Burton - Tin Pan Alley
Andrew Brown, Little Bobby Neely & Aron Burton - Crosscut Saw
Andrew Brown - It's my own fault
Andrew Brown - Mary Jane
Andrew Brown - If we try + You ought to be ashamed
Andrew Brown - I got a news for you
Andrew Brown - Two Years
Andrew Brown - Something Can Go Wrong
Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?
Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.
Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." ~ Noam Chomsky