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 evenings music features R&B songwriter and musician Billy "The Kid" Emerson. Enjoy!
Billy Emerson - A Dancin' Whippersnapper
"There are some who become spies for money, or out of vanity and megalomania, or out of ambition, or out of a desire for thrills. But the malady of our time is of those who become spies out of idealism."
-- Max Lerner
News and Opinion
FBI Monitored “Anarchist protest” Occupy Wall Street
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund obtained records from the FBI via a Freedom of Information request; many of these records were highly redacted and you can see them here. The FBI gave notification to the heads of the New York Stock Exchange over a month in advance of the Occupy Wall Street protests in NYC; the FBI also started notifying businesses to prepare for a potential conflict. My major takeaway from all of this is that federal agencies infiltrated civil disobedience groups from the very early stages of #OWS, viewed them as potential “domestic terrorists” and alerted corporate institutions and more specifically large banks in advance of any potential protests.
The Digital Journal gives some insight into the documents:The documents also prove that the FBI worked in concert with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and private corporations to combat the perceived threat from the nascent Occupy movement. A report from the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), which describes itself as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, DHS and the private sector,” labeled last December’s West Coast port protests as “criminal activity.” The DSAC report also contains a “handling notice” that acknowledges the information contained in the report is “meant for use primarily within the corporate security community.”
The Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) also reported to the DSAC regarding cooperation between labor unions and the Occupy movement in staging the port protests.
Perhaps most alarmingly, numerous FBI divisions referred to Occupy protesters as “domestic terrorists.” Among these divisions were: Anchorage, Alaska; Jacksonville, Florida; Tampa, Florida; and Memphis, Tennessee. The Jackson, Mississippi Joint Terrorism Task Force issued a “Counterterrorism Preparedness” alert, in which the Occupy movement is named. The FBI’s Memphis Joint Terrorism Task Force includes Occupy along with the Aryan Nation and Anonymous as potential terrorist threats.
The government can currently read your email without a warrant. There was a fix for that and now, whoops, there isn't. Funny how these things change when Congress thinks that nobody is watching...
Congress, at Last Minute, Drops Requirement to Obtain Warrant to Monitor Email
Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved an amendment attached to the Video Privacy Protection Act Amendments Act (which deals with publishing users’ Netflix information on Facebook pages) that would have required federal law enforcement to obtain a warrant before monitoring email or other data stored remotely (i.e., the cloud). ...
The Senate was set to approve the video privacy bill along with the email amendment, which would have applied to a different law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act. But then senators decided for reasons unknown to drop the amendment.
Senators McCain, Graham and Ayotte want in on NDAA detention arguments
Three Republican senators are asking that their lawyer be allowed to make a presentation when a federal appeals court hears oral arguments on the scope of a provision regarding law-of-war detention that Congress passed last year.
Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire filed a formal motion Wednesday asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to allocate them argument time in the case of Hedges v. Obama.
In September, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Forrest granted a motion by several American journalists, scholars and human rights advocates to block the use of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act against them. They said they feared the provision opened the door to indefinite detention of Americans who have contact with groups or individuals considered to be terrorists by the U.S. Government. However, the 2nd Circuit blocked Forrest's order pending an appeal.
There Is No American Left
America - or at least American politics - has swung violently to the right. The more social class is involved, the further to the right America has swung. Poverty was once a social disease to be cured; it is now an individual crime to be punished. Put it down to individualism, conservatism, neoliberalism, or whatever -ism you want, America is now the world's greatest reactionary force.
Unfortunately, all the evidence is that the rest of the world is following America down the road to perdition. Nowhere are national health insurance schemes, access to free education, and old age pensions being expanded. Nowhere is the world moving forward. Everywhere the social gains of the twentieth century are either being eroded, or destroyed.
The mid-late twentieth century may or may not turn out to have been the highpoint of human civilization. Progress may yet return. But if it does, it will not be led by the United States. It will be resisted by the United States. It's up to the rest of the world to provide the hope for the future that once emanated from Washington, New York, and California.
Locke and unload: Why the NRA doesn't understand rights
According to NRA theology, guns are synonymous with freedom, the very basis of our democracy. But according to John Locke - whose Second Treatise lays out the philosophical foundations for government by consent of the governed - this gets things exactly backwards: It's the inability of guns - or any other private means - to secure our freedom that establishes the foundation for our civil government, and the freedoms it secures. The NRA is not alone in its misunderstanding, of course. But they are in the vanguard of getting the basis of American freedom utterly and totally wrong. ...
As Locke explains (in Chapter IX, Section 123), people will quit the state of nature, even though they are sovereigns beholden to no one, because their unlimited right is so fragile and insecure:though in the state of nature he hath such a right, yet the enjoyment of it is very uncertain, and constantly exposed to the invasion of others: for all being kings as much as he, every man his equal, and the greater part no strict observers of equity and justice, the enjoyment of the property he has in this state is very unsafe, very unsecure. This makes him willing to quit a condition, which, however free, is full of fears and continual dangers: and it is not without reason, that he seeks out, and is willing to join in society with others, who are already united, or have a mind to unite, for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estates, which I call by the general name, property. [emphasis added]It's worth pausing to take note of the bolded passage above. It is no accident that gun fanatics invoke the cry of freedom, but speak a language that "is full of fears and continual dangers". They are, in fact, psychologically living in the state of nature, strikingly oblivious to the fact that we, as a country, do not live in that state, but rather in a civil and political society established precisely to curb those fears and dangers, in order to secure the most precious and fundamental of our rights. ...
Indeed, the peaceful settlement of disputes, without resort to violence, is one of the principle reasons for forming the social contract. Thus, in Section 134 Locke identifies, "The great end of men's entering into society" as "being the enjoyment of their properties in peace and safety, and the great instrument and means of that being the laws established in that society".
Thus, it should be clear that not only are guns in general inadequate to secure our freedom, but also that, to the extent they pose a threat to peace and safety, they undermine, rather than furthering, the secure enjoyment of all the other rights people hold dear. That is precisely the threat that, according to Locke, government is created to curtail. This is, then, not a question of theology (what one believes are "God-given rights") or even of ideology (what one thinks specific rights should be), but of empirical science: What makes us more secure? Security - not gun ownership - is the root right at stake, and the answer to that question is precisely what one might expect in America today: More guns make us less safe.
Florida homeowners foreclose on deadbeat banks
Vigilante homeowners in Florida are turning the tables on banks by foreclosing on them over unpaid homeowner fees, which can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
Although banks are typically the ones foreclosing on homeowners who can’t pay their mortgages, those same banks sometimes fail to pay the homeowners fees that come with holding those properties after foreclosure, reported CNN.
And when banks fail to pony up, associations have hit back by imposing liens on those properties. If they still fail to pay, associations pursue foreclosures against the banks — a reversal of the process that banks typically pursue against homeowners.
Ben Solomon, an attorney in Miami, told CNN that of the 1,100 liens his firm has filed, 131 led to foreclosure threats, although 90 percent of those resulted in banks settling. In one such suit, JPMorgan Chase owed $20,000 in fees and bills that accumulated over two years.
EPA head Lisa Jackson resigningHat tip to Cassiodorus for catching this:
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson, who for four years had led the charge on a number of successful moves to increase and strengthen environmental regulations, has announced that she is stepping down from the agency, reported The Hill. ...
Jackson headed the agency as it imposed the first greenhouse gas standards for vehicles, created new limits on soot emissions, went to court for the Clean Air Act, and passed regulations on new power plants.
However, some who believed President Obama would aggressively pursue all-encompassing climate change legislation frame those successes as consolation prizes. As a result, Jackson faced opposition and setbacks not only from Republicans who generally oppose increased regulations, but from Obama himself, as well as environmental groups who grew frustrated when the agency compromised to move its agenda, reported the New York Times.
In 2011, Obama buckled to opposition groups and prevented the EPA from implemented more stringent air quality standards. Environmental groups also want the president to impose new regulations on power plants that already exist, reported the Washington Post.
RIP Ray Collins
Ray Collins, the singer and co-founder of the Mothers of Invention, died on Monday (Dec. 24) in Pomona, Calif. He had been hospitalized since Dec. 18 after suffering a massive heart attack, and was removed from life support on Saturday. He was 76 years old.
Collins grew up in Pomona and got his musical start singing falsetto in a succession of doo wop groups. Collins was fronting a group called the Soul Giants when he and the band’s guitarist got into an altercation, and when he was looking around for a replacement, he called upon a young musician named Frank Zappa, whom he had met when Zappa played a gig in Pomona.
Zappa’s presence in the band quickly turned them from an R&B and soul cover act into an original group with an emphasis on performing Zappa’s compositions, which were an amalgam of rock, soul, R&B, jazz, classical and virtually every other form of music, with lyrics that satirized modern culture. The group changed their name to the Mothers of Invention, with Collins continuing as their lead singer, and in the counterculture atmosphere of the mid-’60s they were able to land a recording contract.
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
Billy Emerson - Red Hot
Billy Emerson - I'll get you, too
Billy Emerson - No Teasin' Around, If Lovin' Is Believing
Billy Emerson - Every Woman I Know
Billy Emerson - Do The Chicken, Don't Be Careless
Billy Emerson - Holy Mackerel Baby
Billy Emerson - Little Fine Healthy Thing, Something for Nothin'
Billy Emerson - Woodchuck
Billy Emerson - When It Rain It Pours, Move Baby Move
Billy Emerson - Move, Baby Move
Billy Emerson - Hey Little Girl, When My Baby Quit Me, Shim Sham Shimmy
Billy Emerson - The Pleasure Is All Mine, Somebody Show Me
Billy Emerson - Do Yourself A Favor, You Never Miss Your Water
Billy "The Kid" Emmerson - Aunt Molly Pt. 1
Billy The Kid Emerson - Cherry Pie
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