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 British blues performer John Mayall. Enjoy!
John Mayall + The Bluesbreakers - Room To Move
“If you think you are too small to make an impact, try sleeping in a room with a few mosquitoes.”
-- West African proverb
News and Opinion
Corporate Lobbyists Say, "Merry Fiscal Cliffsmas - Suckers!"
Corporate-Friendly Fiscal Deal Maintains Tens of Billions in Fossil Fuel Industry Giveaways - Deal manages to raise taxes on millions of working class taxpayers while preserving friendly subsidies to world's wealthiest oil, gas and coal companies
The 'ugly, ugly, ugly' fiscal agreement reached by Congress and signed by President Obama this week—which managed to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, raise taxes on the working class and set up a new scenario for a repeated protracted battle over budget issues in just two months—was a big mess for most, but a big win for the fossil fuel industry.
Although Obama's initial budget proposal called for ending 13 such tax breaks, to save $46 billion over 10 years, Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports that that these subsidies—"that pad the profit margins of companies such as ExxonMobile and BP"—were left intact by the final deal. ....
Lobbyists for big oil, mining companies, railroads and US multinationals were able to preserve their tax breaks, the Sunlight Foundation reports.
The bill also extends through 2013 tax breaks for coal companies that expired at the end of 2011.
According to the Sunlight Foundation: "The coal mining industry has increased its campaign contributions to federal candidates in recent years, more than tripling its giving in the past four years to more than $12 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."
Among other corporate handouts included in the bill were $9 billion for off-shore financing loopholes, $1.6 billion for Goldman Sachs, and tax breaks for Hollywood, computer and pharmaceutical companies.
Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR
Throughout the months of November and December, a steady stream of corporate CEOs flowed in and out of the White House to discuss the impending fiscal cliff. Many of them, such as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, would then publicly come out and talk about how modest increases of tax rates on the wealthy were reasonable in order to deal with the deficit problem. What wasn’t mentioned is what these leaders wanted, which is what’s known as “tax extenders”, or roughly $205B of tax breaks for corporations. With such a banal name, and boring and difficult to read line items in the bill, few political operatives have bothered to pay attention to this part of the bill. But it is critical to understanding what is going on.
The negotiations over the fiscal cliff involve more than the Democrats, Republicans, the middle class and the wealthy. The corporate sector is here in force as well. One of the core shifts in the Reagan era was the convergence of wealthy individuals who wanted to pay less in taxes – many from the growing South – with corporations that wanted tax breaks. Previously, these groups fought over the pie, because the idea of endless deficits did not make sense. Once Reagan figured out how to finance yawning deficits, the GOP was able to wield the corporate sector and the new sun state wealthy into one force, epitomized today by Grover Norquist. What Obama is (sort of) trying to do is split this coalition, and the extenders are the carrot he’s dangling in front of the corporate sector to do it.
Most tax credits drop straight to the bottom line – it’s why companies like Enron considered its tax compliance section a “profit center”. A few hundred billion dollars of tax expenditures is a major carrot to offer. Surely, a modest hike in income taxes for people who make more than $400k in income and stupid enough not to take that money in capital gain would be worth trading off for the few hundred billion dollars in corporate pork. This is what the fiscal cliff is about – who gets the money. And by leaving out the corporate sector, nearly anyone who talks about this debate is leaving out a key negotiating partner.
Follow the link above to see who it is that Obama and Congress teamed up to help rob you.
Here's a CBS Report on our Porkalicious politicians in Congress and the White House lining up to redistribute your wealth upwards:
Senators want details on CIA help for Bin Laden film
Three powerful US senators are demanding that the CIA provide details on the spy agency’s cooperation with the director of “Zero Dark Thirty,” Hollywood’s take on the hunt for Osama bin Laden. ...
In a letter dated December 19, the senators — Republican John McCain, Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, and Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee — ask Morell to supply them with all documents and information provided to the filmmakers.
“The CIA cannot be held accountable for how the agency and its activities are portrayed in film, but we are nonetheless concerned… that the filmmakers could have been misled by information they were provided by the CIA,” they wrote.
In the second letter, dated December 31, the lawmakers asked Morell to offer specifics about what information relevant to the bin Laden hunt was obtained from CIA detainees subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
“When was this information provided: prior to, during, or after the detainee was subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques? If after, how long after? Please note whether such information corroborated information previously known to the CIA,” the senators wrote.
According to the correspondence, the filmmakers met with Morell for 40 minutes.
Rachel Maddow discovers post-election that she has moral qualms about Obama's endless war on terror
“When does this thing we are in now end? And if it does not have an end — and I’m not speaking as a lawyer here, I am just speaking as a citizen who feels morally accountable for my country’s actions — if it does not have an end, then morally speaking it does not seem like it is a war,” Maddow added. “And then, our country is killing people and locking them up outside the traditional judicial system in a way I think we maybe cannot be forgiven for.”
Rescuers Reportedly Killed in US Drone Strike in Pakistan
At least fifteen people were killed in two drone strikes in Pakistan on January 2. While one strike killed a powerful Pakistan Taliban leader along with other known fighters, the other strike killed four people, whose names were not immediately known, and reportedly involved the targeting of rescuers—a war crime.
In the Associated Press‘ initial story, it reported a drone strike “took place near Mir Ali, the main town of the North Waziristan tribal region. One missile hit a vehicle near the town, followed by another missile when people rushed to the vehicle to help people in the car.”
CNN also reported, “A drone fired a missile that struck the vehicle. It then fired two more missiles as people rushed to try to rescue the occupants, the officials said.”
This practice of targeting a site has become known as a “double tap” strike. The killing of rescuers is murder.
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
John Mayall Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton - Hideaway
John Mayall - The Laws Must Change
John Mayall Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton - I'm Tore Down
John Mayall with Albert King - Stormy Monday
Junior Wells, Buddy Guy & John Mayall's Blues Breakers - Don't Start Me Talkin'
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers - Help me
Key To Love - John Mayall with Eric Clapton
John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers - Crocodile Walk
Peter Green and John Mayall - Someday You'll Be Sorry
John Mayall w/Otis Rush - So Many Roads
John Mayall-Nature's Disappearing
And on a personal note...
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