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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.  

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This evening's music features one of the finest guitar sidemen working in the Chicago blues idiom, Luther Tucker. Enjoy

Luther Tucker - Mean Old World

"When we talk about justice in America we're really talking about justice brought about by the people, not by judges who are tools of the establishment or prosecutors who are are equally tools of the establishment or the wardens or the police officers."

  -- William Kunstler

News and Opinion

SEC’s new Wall Street enabler

Obama's nomination of Mary Jo White reveals the president still isn't serious about cracking down on big banks

If your first reaction to this morning’s news about President Obama nominating Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission is positive, that’s understandable. She’s a former prosecutor and, as such, much of the elite media has simply concluded that must mean the Obama administration is going to get tough on Wall Street crime.

Case in point is the framing from the New York Times’ Dealbook — a publication that has literally been financially sponsored by Goldman Sachs. Not surprisingly, the Wall Street stenographers at Dealbook insist that since White is a prosecutor, it means the White House is “send(ing) a signal about the importance of holding Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing.”

It is designed to sound reassuring: A day after the airing of PBS Frontline’s damning indictment of the Obama administration’s refusal to prosecute Wall Street crime, we are all expected to breathe a sigh of relief and believe that the Too Big to Jail paradigm is finally going to change because now a prosecutor is in charge.

However, Mary Jo White isn’t just any prosecutor. Her name should ring a bell, or really, sound a frightening alarm. I knew I had heard of her before, and not in a good way. So I fired up Google this morning and sure enough, I discovered why my superficially good feeling was quickly turning into a deeply ominous nausea. I suddenly remembered that this is the same Mary Jo White who has built the latter part of her career leveraging her position in governmental law enforcement positions to land lucrative private-sector jobs defending Wall Streeters. In moving through that revolving door, she has been a part of a corrupt culture that has weakened the power of the very law enforcement agency President Obama is now nominating her to run.

Mary Jo White, Former Prosecutor, To Be Nominated By Obama To Run SEC

President Obama's expected pick of former U.S. prosecutor Mary Jo White to be the nation's top securities watchdog is widely being taken as signaling a crackdown on Wall Street crime.

But there are red flags, in White's past statements and in her work for bankers as a lawyer in private practice, that raise some doubts about just how zealous an investor protector she will be. ...

White has for the past decade represented banks and bankers as head of litigation at the New York law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. In more than 10 years as one of New York's most sought-after white-collar defense attorneys, White represented a long list of corporate titans, including former Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis and, in 2005, Morgan Stanley, which hired her to vet John Mack, a prospective CEO.

In February 2012, White expressed doubts at a panel at New York University about whether banks had committed crimes ahead of the financial crisis. She warned against trying to prosecute "mistaken behavior, what is even reckless risk-taking."

Ian Fraser: Something Sinister About the Lack of Prosecutions at Lehman Brothers

This is the first interview that Chicago lawyer Anton Valukas has given since the publication of his 2,292 page report into the bankrutpcy of Lehman Brothers on March 11th, 2010. At that time, Valukas found strong evidence of financial and accounting fraud designed to deceive investors at the defunct New York-based investment bank. Valukas is surprised, especially given Lehman Brothers’ rampant abuse of Repo 105 to disguise its precarious financial position in the quarters ahead of its September 2008 collapse, that neither the former Lehman Brothers’ chief executive Dick Fuld nr any other Lehman Brothers’ director has been charged with fraud or related offences. ...

The whole thing is sinister and astonishing in equal measure. The reason that no director of Lehman Brothers has been brought to book would appear to be that US financial regulator the Securities & Exchange Commission, which had a dedicated team inside Lehmans’ headquarters at 745 Seventh Avenue prior to the uber-leveraged bank’s collapse, knew all this chicanery was going on, and must therefore have given it the nod at the time. The SEC may therefore be complicit in the alleged crime and no less guilty than Lehman.

The President of Perpetual War

Four years into his presidency, Barack Obama’s political formula should be obvious. He gives fabulous speeches teeming with popular liberal ideas, often refuses to take the actions necessary to realize those ideas and then banks on most voters, activists, reporters and pundits never bothering to notice - or care about - his sleight of hand.

Whether railing on financial crime and then refusing to prosecute Wall Street executives or berating health insurance companies and then passing a health care bill bailing out those same companies, Obama embodies a cynical ploy - one that relies on a celebrity-entranced electorate focusing more on TV-packaged rhetoric than on legislative reality.

Never was this formula more apparent than when the president discussed military conflicts during his second inaugural address. Declaring that “a decade of war is now ending,” he insisted that he “still believe(s) that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.”

The lines generated uncritical applause, much of it from anti-war liberals who protested against the Bush administration. Living up to Obama’s calculation, few seemed to notice that the words came from the same president who is manufacturing a state of “perpetual war.”

Obama, let’s remember, is the president who escalated the Afghanistan War and whose spokesman recently reiterated that U.S. troops are not necessarily leaving that country anytime soon. He is the president who has initiated undeclared wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. He is also the president who, according to data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, has launched more than 20,000 air strikes—and those assaults show no sign of stopping.

Maddow rips into Reid for caving to Republicans on filibuster reform

Davos Still Pushes Failed Global Vision

Spain's unemployment rate reaches record high

Egyptian protesters set fire to Muslim Brotherhood headquarters

Egyptian protesters on Friday set fire to the Muslim Brotherhood party headquarters in the canal city of Ismailiya, an AFP reporter said.

Black smoke could be seen coming out of the windows of the apartment housing the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) offices, as Egyptians staged nationwide rallies against President Mohamed Morsi on the second anniversary of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak and brought Islamists to power.

On Egyptian Revolution’s 2nd Anniversary, Protesters’ Demands Mostly the Same
"The Square": Jehane Noujaim’s New Film Captures Egypt’s Ongoing Revolution After Mubarak’s Fall
Tahrir Swells Once More As Egypt Marks Anniversary of Revolution

Clashes reported: 'The police are behaving the same as they did during the Mubarak years'

Major demonstrations across Egypt are taking place Friday against the ruling government, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, a full two years after secular and liberal activists forced the long-standing Mubarak regime from power.

Reports of clashes were coming from Tahrir Square as supporters of the 'pro-democracy revolution' continue their struggle for reform by turning their political and social critique against President Mohamed Morsi, the still dominant military class, and a newly approved constitution that they say does not embody the revolutionary values they fought for.

"We are here today to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution, and make it clear to the government that things are still as they were before the revolution," Ayman al-Diasty, spokesperson for the April 6 movement, one of the leading reform groups still active in its push for deeper change, told the Egypt Independent.

This report features Dailykos contributor Jesselyn Raddack discussing whistleblower prosecutions by the Obama administration:
To catch a leak

Blog Posts of Interest

Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.
What's Happenin'

Choice of Mary Jo White to Head SEC Puts Fox In Charge of Hen House

The Man-Woman Case: Convicted by the press

A Little Night Music

James Cotton w/ Luther Tucker - Eyesight to the Blind

Snooky Pryor w/Luther Tucker - Fire, Fire

Charlie Musselwhite, Luther Tucker, Bobby Murray - Roll Me Mama

Charlie Musselwhite, Luther Tucker, Bobby Murray

Louis Myers, Luther Tucker, Dave Myers, Al Duncan and Honey Piazza - Tribute Little Walter - Mean Black Spider

Louis Myers, Luther Tucker, Dave Myers, Al Duncan, Rod and Honey Piazza - Tribute Little Walter - Crazy 'Bout You Baby

Jimmy Rogers, Louis Myers, Luther Tucker, Dave Myers, Al Duncan, Rod Piazza and Honey Piazza - You So Sweet

Eddie Taylor w/ Luther Tucker - Bad Boy

Jimmy Rogers, Luther Tucker & James Cotton - Walking By Myself

Luther Tucker - Sweet Home Chicago

Little Walter- It Aint Right

Luther Tucker - War Boy

James Cotton w/ Luther Tucker - Blow wind

It's National Pie Day!

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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.

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Originally posted to DFH writers group on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Team DFH.


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