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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J.B. Lenoir with Freddy Below - The whale has swallowed me
"The 5th Amendment is an old friend and a good friend. one of the great landmarks in men's struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized."
-- William O Douglas
News and Opinion
Progressives: Paul's Filibuster Against 'Extrajudicial Killing' on Target
Jon Stewart praises Rand Paul for shining light on ‘the execution of executive executions’
Rand Paul Filibusters John Brennan Nomination
Ben Emmerson, a British human rights lawyer and the United Nations’ special rapporteur for counterterrorism and human rights, announced the start of a formal inquiry into civilian casualties resulting from UAV strikes. In an opening statement, Emmerson said the legal theory for targeted killings annunciated in the U.S., that Western democracies are engaged in a global conflict against a stateless enemy, “is heavily disputed by the majority of international lawyers outside the United States of America.”
Emmerson said his team of experts will focus on 25 case studies from Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Palestine to determine whether there is “plausible” evidence of unlawful killings. He has been quoted in press reports as saying that he will follow the evidence wherever it takes him, which raises the prospect that President Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, could also be accused of being a war criminal. Emmerson plans to submit his report to the UN General Assembly in October.
Doctor: Children 'Traumatized and Re-Traumatized by Drones' in Yemen
A report from a clinical and forensic psychologist just back from Yemen offers a disturbing picture of the horror drones have inflicted on children, who are "traumatized and re-traumatized" by the strikes whose use "amounts to a form of psychological torture and collective punishment."
The findings come from clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. Peter Schaapveld, just back from a week-long visit to Yemen, who presented at a press conference on Monday his evidence of a 'psychological emergency' in the country as a result of drone strikes, and of the particularly heavy toll they have on the mental health of children, plagued with PTSD as the mental anguish from the deadly strikes lasts long after the sound of the unmanned aircraft above.
London-based human rights charity Reprieve reports that Schaapveld said:What I saw in Yemen was deeply disturbing. Entire communities – including young children who are the next generation of Yemenis– are being traumatised and re-traumatised by drones. Not only is this having truly awful immediate effects but the psychological damage done will outlast any counter programme and surely outweigh any possible benefits.
U.N.’s Drone Inquisitor: CIA Torture Was an ‘International Conspiracy of Crime’Book 'em, Danno!
As his inquiry into U.S. drone strikes gets underway, the United Nations special rapporteur for counterterrorism and human rights has stepped up his rhetoric against the agency he’ll inevitably investigate. The CIA’s torture program was at the center of an “international conspiracy of crime,” he told a U.N. panel on Tuesday. ...
The extent of international cooperation with the CIA’s torture, detention and rendition regime during the past decade was the focus of a recent Open Society Institute report. The Open Society Institute found last month that over 50 nations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa aided the CIA in holding suspected al-Qaida members, including people ultimately found to be innocent, in brutal conditions. A former Bush administration State Department official, Philip Zelikow, told his then-colleagues in 2006 that the CIA torture amounted to a “felony war crime.”
Emmerson, speaking to the U.N. Human Rights Council, called on the Senate intelligence committee to promptly declassify an extensive inquiry of its own into CIA torture. He said he was “concerned” that the Obama administration has declined to prosecute anyone for authorizing or inflicting torture, warning that such “impunity” undermined Western calls for entrenching democratic norms in the Middle East and North Africa.
Revealed: Pentagon's link to Iraqi torture centres
General David Petraeus and 'dirty wars' veteran behind commando units implicated in detainee abuse
The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the "dirty wars" in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country's descent into full-scale civil war.
Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organize the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows. ...
A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H Coffman, worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of US funding.
Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq in June 2004 to organize and train the new Iraqi security forces. Steele, who was in Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and returned to the country in 2006, reported directly to Rumsfeld.
The allegations, made by US and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, implicate US advisers for the first time in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse.
Operation Condor Trial Tackles Coordinated Campaign By Latin American Dictatorships, CIA and Henry Kissinger To Kill Leftists
A historic trial underway in Argentina is set to reveal new details about how six Latin American countries coordinated with each other in the 1970s and ‘80s to eliminate political dissidents. The campaign known as "Operation Condor" involved military dictatorships in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. They worked together to track down, kidnap and kill people they labeled as terrorists: leftist activists, labor organizers, students, priests, journalists, guerrilla fighters and their families. The campaign was launched by the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and evidence shows the CIA and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were complicit from its outset.
Elizabeth Warren Takes On Eric Holder's 'Too Big To Jail' Statement
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took on Attorney General Eric Holder's admission that some banks are too big for the Justice Department to prosecute, asserting that Holder's statement illustrates why the financial institutions should be held accountable.
“It has been almost five years since the financial crisis, but the big banks are still too big to fail," Warren said in a Wednesday statement. "That means they are subsidized by about $83 billion a year by American taxpayers and are still not being held fully accountable for breaking the law. Attorney General Holder’s testimony that the biggest banks are too-big-to-jail shows once again that it is past time to end too-big-to-fail."
Grayson: Obama must not give in to GOP’s ‘unquenchable thirst to hurt the needy’
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and freshman Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) announced Wednesday that they are drawing a “line in the sand” with President Barack Obama on cuts to social programs and possible deals to end the sequester. Grayson said that certain cuts are unconscionable and that progressives must rally against the Republican Party’s “unquenchable thirst to hurt the needy” and urge the president not to make cuts to programs that will disproportionately hurt the poor, the sick and the elderly.
Grayson and Takano have written a letter to the president stating that they will staunchly oppose any cuts to benefits in Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security “including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.” The congressmen hope that other Democrats and members of the House Progressive caucus will sign the letter as well.
On a Wednesday afternoon conference call with Bold Progressives announcing the letter, Grayson and Takano were joined by the National Organization for Women’s President Terry O’Neill, who also called upon legislators to make it clear that they oppose cuts to the social safety net.
EPA Accused Of Violating Clean Water Act, Blocking Scientific Advancement of Corexit In BP Cleanup
Oil Spill Eater International (OSEI), through the Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference group, issued a press release this week saying that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) effectively blocked or otherwise delayed scientific advancement in the cleanup of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster by refusing to acknowledge the toxicity of the oil dispersant Corexit.
According to OSEI, the EPA is guilty of violations to the Clean Water Act because they knowingly used the toxic dispersant instead of opting for cleaner, less toxic methods of oil spill cleanup. ...
Given what we know about both the EPA’s actions and the scientific reports on Corexit’s toxicity, OSEI is not out of bounds saying that the regulatory agency violated the Clean Water Act.
Unfortunately, as [the EPA is] the group that enforces the Clean Water Act, the accusations are about as far as the case will go.
The Obama Pipeline News
Critical Part of State Department Keystone Report Done by Firms with Deep Oil Industry Ties
Two consulting firms provided State Department with key analysis of whether the pipeline would speed development of Canada's oil sands.
Parts of ‘State Dept.’ Keystone XL Report Actually Written by TransCanada Contractor
Exemplifying Direct Democracy, 28 Vermont Towns Vote Against Tar Sands
Red Lake Nation Tribal Members Blockade Enbridge Pipelines - Orders Enbridge Pipeline Off Their Land
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
J.B. Lenoir - I feel so good
J.B.Lenoir - Slow Down
J.B.Lenoir - Alabama Blues
J.B. Lenoir - Born Dead
J.B. Lenoir - Talk to Your Daughter
J.B. Lenoir - Vietnam Blues
J.B Lenoir - The Mojo Boogie
J.B. Lenoir - Feelin' Good
J.B. Lenoir - Man Watch Your Woman
JB Lenoir - Natural Man
J.B. Lenoir - I've been down so long
Tommy Tucker - Hi-Heel Sneakers
Tommy Tucker - Long Tall Shorty
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!