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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.  

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 evening's music features New Orleans musician, "The Human Jukebox," Snooks Eaglin.  Enjoy!

Snooks Eaglin with George Porter Jr. - I Just Cried Oh

“...when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.”

 -- Richard Dawkins

News and Opinion

Obama Admin. Fails to Prosecute Banking Fraud to 'Save the System'

U.S. watchdog agency blasts executive pay at bailed-out firms

A US government auditor has blasted the Treasury for approving high levels of executive pay at firms it bailed out in the financial crisis.

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said that in 2012 the Treasury ignored its warnings on the “excessive” compensation for the top 25 employees each at rescued insurer American International Group, auto maker General Motors, and Ally Financial, the former finance arm of GM.

SIGTARP, the watchdog for the massive rescue of banks and auto companies in the 2008 crisis, said that 69 of those 75 got pay packages worth more than $3 million annually, and 16 of the more than $5 million, all approved by the Treasury.

“Treasury seemingly set a floor, awarding 2012 total pay of at least $1 million for all but one person” out of the 75, SIGTARP said in a report.

Moreover, it said, Treasury ignored its own guidelines and gave raises to the top executives “as requested by the companies,” with more cash and less long-term incentive-based pay.

U.N. Drone Investigator: If Facts Lead to U.S. War Crimes, So Be It

Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.

Emmerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.

That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. ... Emmerson is still finalizing his list of sample cases to investigate, as well as figuring out a game plan for getting to the dangerous places they occur. He doesn’t anticipate producing “dossiers to satisfy a criminal legal standard” against drone operators. But Emmerson indicates that he’s interested in looking at the so-called “double tap strikes,” in which civilians are allegedly killed in drone strikes when they assist with clearing the wreckage of previous ones.

Seattle’s Teacher Uprising: High School Faculty Faces Censure for Boycotting Standardized MAP Tests

Carmen Ortiz, overweeningly ambitious prosecutor-on-the-make gets a smackdown for overreaching again.  How long will it take for President Obama to put this self-servant out of office?  Shouldn't we have heard something by now?
Aaron Swartz and Motel Caswell: Book ends to prosecutorial reform?

A judge this week struck down a US government scheme to seize a Tewksbury, Mass., motel because it had become a haven for drug dealers, bolstering concerns about whether US prosecutors in some cases have too much power.

The decision in the long-running forfeiture case comes as the US attorney in Boston, Carmen Ortiz, is already under fire for her role in the death of Internet hacker Aaron Swartz, who killed himself on Jan. 11 as he faced a potentially long prison term for what many in the technology field have noted was nothing more than a breach of a contract involving Internet documents.

In the Motel Caswell case, U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Gail Dein on Thursday dismissed the government’s forfeiture action against owner Russ Caswell, ruling that Mr. Caswell took reasonable steps to prevent crime while "trying to eke out an income from a business located in a drug-infested area that posed great risks to the safety of him and his family."

“The Government’s resolution of the crime problem should not be to simply take his Property,” Ms. Dein wrote.

Federal agents first tried to seize Caswell's property in 2009, citing drug seizure laws that were triggered after numerous drug busts at the motel. Caswell's lawyers said the motel owner couldn't be held responsible for the actions of his guests, and even conjectured in court that the government intended to grab the property more for the $1 million it could fetch on the open market.

“It’s bullying by the government," Mr. Caswell told the Boston Herald. "You work for all your life to pay for something and these people come along and think it’s theirs. It’s just wrong. The average person can’t afford to fight this.”

Action Center

Tell the White House: Stop stonewalling and fire Carmen Ortiz already!

Tens of thousands of people have used the White House's petition site to demand that President Obama fire Aaron Swartz's prosecutor Carmen Ortiz -- easily surpassing the 25,000 signature threshold that's supposed to guarantee a response. Aaron died more than two weeks ago, but the White House still hasn't even issued a statement.

We've been waiting far too long. Help us demand answers from the White House.  It's enough already: They need to respond to our calls and fire Ortiz.

Click here to go to the petition page

CIA behind bizarre censorship incident at alleged 9/11 plotters’ Gitmo trial

The Central Intelligence Agency was responsible for a bizarre episode of live censorship during Monday’s pretrial hearing for the five Guantanamo Bay prisoners accused of planning the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a Miami Herald reporter.

The incident occurred during a question about a motion to preserve whatever remains of the CIA black site prisons where the defendants say they were tortured. Observers watching the trial from behind a pane of glass had their audio feed cut for about three minutes, and others viewing the trial remotely also lost video.

Once the sound was restored, Judge James Pohl explained that it was not an officer of the court who was censoring the proceedings, as there had been in previous sessions during the discussion of classified materials.

“If some external body is turning things off, if someone is turning the commissions off under their own views of what things ought to be, with no reason or explanation, then we are going to have a little meeting about who turns that light on or off,” he said, according to reporter Carol Rosenberg, writing for The Miami Herald.

Palestinians Preparing to Take Israel to International Criminal Court

Gospel of Intolerance: American Evangelicals Finance Uganda's Antigay Movement

Coral reefs going through ‘extremely alarming’ decline in the Caribbean

Coral reefs in the Caribbean are producing less than half of the key ingredient that makes their calcium skeleton compared to pre-industrial times, scientists said on Tuesday, describing the findings as “extremely alarming.”

The amount of new calcium carbonate being added by coral reefs is at least half, and in some places 70 percent lower, than it was thousands of years ago.

Biologists have long sounded the alarm for reef-building corals, on which nearly half a billion people depend for their livelihood from fishing and tourism.

Previous research has estimated that coral cover is declining by as much as two percent per year in parts of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. In the Caribbean, cover has shrunk by around 80 percent on average since the mid-1970s.

Southern Mozambique crippled by floods

Why is it that communities have less ability to determine what sorts of uses that their land, air, water and other resources can be put to than corporations seem to?  Is that the sound of a stacked deck being dealt from that we hear in the distance? (Here's an interesting resource that I ran across the other day.)
David vs. Goliath: Keystone XL Multinational Bullies Pipeline Protestors into Settlement

Transcanada, the multinational giant behind the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, has followed a new corporate strategy by filing crushing lawsuits against individual activists and financially vulnerable organizations that have tried to halt to the construction of the controversial project.

Despite the repressive tactics designed to censor opposition and intimidate others from joining such activities, those targeted vow to continue the fight to protect "their homes and futures from toxic tar sands."

The suit's defendants, which included several environmental groups including anti-pipeline coalition Tar Sands Blockade and 19 individual protesters, "were threatened with losing their homes and life’s savings if the lawsuit went forward," Tar Sands Blockade said a press statement.

Kevin Gosztola of FireDogLake explains:

The suit brought was what is known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). Such lawsuits enable fascism by providing a mechanism for a corporation to go after individuals or groups engaged in protest or freedom of speech. They are often used against people who lack resources or cannot afford to pay the legal expenses necessary to stand up to a corporation in court.

Blog Posts of Interest

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

The Non Zero-Sum Society: How the Rich Are Destroying the US Economy

Lest we forget

A Little Night Music

Snooks Eaglin with George Porter Jr.- Lipstick Traces

Snooks Eaglin with George Porter Jr.- Baby Please

Snooks Eaglin - Johnny B. Goode

Snooks Eaglin - I Got A Woman

George Porter Jr. & Snooks Eaglin - Life In The Middle (That Lucky Old Sun)

Snooks Eaglin - Alberta

Blind Snooks Eaglin - That's Alright

Snooks Eaglin - Well, I Had My Fun

Snooks Eaglin - Travellin' Mood

Snooks Eaglin with George Porter Jr. - You Don't Have

Snooks Eaglin with George Porter Jr. - Young Girl

Snooks Eaglin - Nine Pound Steel

Snooks Eaglin - Kiss Of Fire

Snooks Eaglin - You Give Me Nothing But The Blues

It's National Pie Day!

The election is over, it's a new year and it's time to work on real change in new ways... and it's National Pie Day.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to tell you a little more about our new site and to start getting people signed up.  

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.

Why is National Pie Day the perfect opportunity to tell you more about us?  Well you'll see why very soon.  So what are you waiting for?!   Head on over now and be one of the first!

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Team DFH.


Is "saving the system" worth putting aside the rule of law?

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