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 singer, "Mr. Personality" Lloyd Price. Enjoy!
Lloyd Price - Stagger Lee
:"The big news for the day is that Brennan was confirmed by a vote of 63 to 34, getting almost every Democratic vote but two, not getting Bernie Sanders' vote. And you first have to say it's just a complete outrage. And if it illustrates anything, it's that the two parties are essentially on the same page when it comes to national security issues, drones, Guantanamo, etc. ... And what's shocking about it, of course, is that Brennan could not have been CIA director when Obama took office four years ago. Four years ago he was considered to have his hand too deeply in the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques—torture—and he couldn't get the job. Then he took over the drone policy. And now that he's running the drone policy, apparently that's just hunky dory with everybody. Let him shoot drones all over the world and kill people. And now he gets to be confirmed at CIA."
-- Michael Ratner
News and Opinion
Happy International Women's Day!
Vandana Shiva on Int’l Women’s Day: "Capitalist Patriarchy Has Aggravated Violence Against Women"
Dr. Shiva discusses the impact on women by what she calls the world’s "violent economic order," and the women-led uproar over sexual violence in India triggered by last year’s brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi. A world-renowned physicist, Dr. Shiva also addresses the recent U.S. Supreme Court case pitting an Indiana farmer against the agri-giant Monsanto. "The multiple wars against the earth — through the economy, through greed, through capitalist patriarchal domination — must end, and we have to recognize we are part of the earth," Dr. Shiva says. "The liberation of earth, the liberation of women, the liberation of all of humanity is the next step of freedom we need to work for, and it’s the next step of peace that we need to create."
Warren: Drug possession warrants jail time but laundering cartel money doesn’t?
Appearing at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) grilled officials from the Treasury Department over why criminal charges were not filed against officials at HSBC who helped launder hundreds of millions of dollars for drug cartels.
The HSBC scandal resulted in the Department of Justice and Treasury announcing a record $1.92 billion fine after finding that the international bank repeatedly helped the world’s most violent drug gangs move at least $881 million in ill-gotten gains through numerous countries the U.S. has economic sanctions against.
“HSBC paid a fine, but no one individual went to trial, no individual was banned from banking, and there was no hearing to consider shutting down HSBC’s activities here in the United States,” Warren said. “So, what I’d like is, you’re the experts on money laundering. I’d like an opinion: What does it take — how many billions do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate — before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?” ...
“You know, if you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to go to jail,” Warren said. “If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night, every single individual associated with this. I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”
The Middle Class: Death By a Thousand Cuts - Is Nothing Sacred?This is a great article, well worth clicking to check out the whole thing; Richard Eskow exposes the useful idiot footsoldiers of the 1%.
Politicians from both sides of the aisle will swear pious oaths to protect and foster the well being of the middle class. They will say that their policies and proposals are all designed for its betterment. And yet the state of the middle class continues to dwindle into despair and disrepair. Why is this?
It is not because of the predominance of a right or left ideology, of taxation and deficits and austerity. It is not because of the re-emergence of a perversion of the gospel, in the predestination of prosperity. We have seen all this before. It is not because in our comfort we have lost the sense of the imperative of common cause.
It is because of the overwhelming corruption of power, and of the cynical amorality of thoroughly modern political managers who worship power and personal wealth as ends unto themselves. They distract the people with artificially divisive social issues and crises, while robbing them blind.
A President Who’ll Cut Social Security – And Liberals Who Love Him Too Much
The spectacle of a supposedly liberal President repeatedly and needlessly trying to cut Social Security is enough to bring a reasonable, economically literate person to the point of existential despair. To see leading liberal lights like Rachel Maddow and Ezra Klein chuckle indulgently at those foolish Republicans in Congress over the subject – Don’t they know he’s already giving them what they want? – is to risk plunging into the depths of that despair.
Surprisingly, both Maddow and Klein buy into the implausible premise that Senate Republicans, each of whom have large staffs and access to Republican Party employees, literally don’t know that Obama has offered to cut Social Security as part of a Grand Bargain. As a result of their feigned ignorance, the White House is now reiterating that offer, repeatedly and publicly. ...
This is shaping up to be quite a victory for the GOP. Unless something changes, they’re about to see a core Democratic program cut – and the Democrats will take the heat for it! ... That’s what makes the Maddow/Klein school of partisanship so tragic in this instance: By reducing this disastrous idea – the product of all the “buy-partisan” cash being spread among leader of both parties – they’re defusing political blowback from the party’s base. Public pressure from Democratic voters could stop this headlong rush into a decision that will harm America’s seniors and disabled – and save their party from a potential political catastrophe.
Union Members Fight Foreclosure Evictions With Sit-Downs and BlockadesThe next article should bring this James Madison quote to mind:
Across the nation, labor activists are joining community action groups to fend off the foreclosure evictions of strapped homeowners.
In the wake of Occupy, the tactic is spreading. Activists around the country are placing their bodies in the way of police doing the banks’ dirty work.
In the Twin Cities, supporters get text-message alerts from the grassroots group Occupy Homes MN and mobilize quickly to stop surprise evictions.
It took Minneapolis police four attempts -- and 39 arrests -- to evict the Cruz family last spring. When they showed up at 4 a.m. and attacked the front door with a battering ram, 60 volunteers held them off.
The whole effort cost the city $40,000, and activists carried the battered door down to city hall to shame elected officials for the misuse of public resources.
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
White House Explores How to Make 'War on Terror' Policies 'Permanent'
Though the Authorization for Use of Military Force—a joint resolution passed in the days following the 9/11 attacks—has been repeatedly reauthorized by Congress, officials inside the White House reveal that the Obama administration is having specific conversations about how to both expand the law's authority and make certain aspects of the US "global war on terror" permanent.
Known as the AUMF and considered the piece of legislation most responsible for the ongoing and seemingly endless use of military force abroad, new reporting by the Washington Post examines how even government insiders supportive of the ongoing military operations say the law is being "stretched to its legal limits."
Motivated by those concerns—and perhaps due to the mounting public and congressional opposition to Obama's use of predator drones and claims of executive authority—the administration is now debating how to "turn counterterrorism policies adopted as emergency measures after the 2001 attacks into more permanent procedures" that can sustain its desire to continue the military "campaign against al-Qaeda and its affiliates" and, as the Post vaguely reports, "other current and future threats."
Despite the passage of time and an increasingly war-weary public, however, the 'War on Terror' endures precisely because of the open-ended nature of the hastily written law.
Guardian Lays Out Details of How Petraeus Organized Death Squads in Iraq
Yesterday, the Guardian published an article detailing how the US turned to the use of death squads in Iraq to quell the rise of Sunni militias. The article provides convincing evidence that this was an intentional policy and was in fact a central tenet of David Petraeus’ often-praised counterinsurgency, or COIN, strategy. The key person in the Guardian’s reporting is James Steele, who was a veteran in organizing Central American death squads on behalf of the US during the Reagan years.
In reading the material from the Guardian, however, it should be kept in mind that Petraeus did not institute his COIN strategy only in Iraq. He put it into place in Afghanistan as well, and the fact that it lead to widespread allegations of torture and murder there demonstrates that the atrocities committed by these militias is a feature of the funding and training provided to them and not an unfortunate outgrowth, because this practice has now produced death squads in Central America, Iraq and Afghanistan. Recall that less than two weeks ago, Hamid Karzai called for the expulsion of US Special Operations forces from Maidan Wardak province due to allegations of abuse by the Afghan Local Police there. The Afghan Local Police are in reality groups of local militias trained and funded by US Special Operations forces and operating separately from the Karzai government. The ALP became one of the primary features of Petraeus’ COIN strategy when he moved it to Afghanistan. ...
Oh, and just in case you try to say that Petraeus’ COIN strategy exited the US government with Petraeus’ resignation after it was learned he was boinking his biographer, think again. Yes, his primary aide in instituting the policy (and overseeing US torture), Stanley McChrystal, also has resigned in disgrace, but key aides William McRaven and Michael Flynn have advanced their careers an the basis of these war crimes. McRaven now heads Special Operations Command, and so he would be in charge of training the death squads in the next country where the US decides to institute them. Where will it be? Libya? Syria? Mali? And Michael Flynn heads the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn was responsible for turning the “intelligence” gained by torture, whether it was carried out by the US or Iraq, into actions such as night raids, thereby producing more insurgents and fueling the cycle of violence.
Holder's Letter Does not Rule Out Targeting US Citizens Outside of Country (Non-citizens Can Be Killed Anywhere)
Rand Paul Talked About Drones More in One Day Than Congress Ever Has
Over the course of his filibuster yesterday, Rand Paul used the word "drone" in a military context more than any two-year Congressional term in history — and more than it had been used in the Congressional Record prior to the 112th Congress, combined.
While he was speaking, some of those following along on Twitter wondered if this was the lengthiest discussion of drones that had ever occurred in Congress. Searching the official transcript of Congressional business reveals that it was, by far. ...
Discussion of drones has only occurred in earnest over the past two years. The most recent Congress mentioned drones 241 times, a figure Paul surpassed before suppertime.
John Yoo to Rand Paul: Leave Barack Obama Alone on Targeted Killing!
John Yoo, the author of the Bush administration legal memos justifying the use of torture, thinks President Obama is really getting too much grief over targeted killing. And he wants Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)—who filibustered Obama's nominee to head the CIA for 13 hours on Wednesday—to lay off.
"I admire libertarians but I think Rand Paul's filibuster in many ways is very much what libertarians do, they make these very symbolic gestures, standing for some extreme position," said Yoo, now a UC Berkeley law professor, who once suggested it was okay for the president to order a child's testicles be crushed. ...
Yoo said that he thought the administration's problems stemmed from its belief that it needed to provide "due process" to terror suspects abroad—or even in the United States, referring to a recently leaked white paper outlining the Obama administration's legal views on targeted killings of US citizen terror suspects.
What Rightwingers Rand Paul and Ted Cruz Exposed About the Drone Strikes
If you're concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability of the policy of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, you have to concede that Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have done us a great service: Cruz with his questioning of Attorney General Holder in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Paul with his widely-reported filibuster on the Senate floor.
Unfortunately, some Democrats don't want to acknowledge this contribution. That's a shame. ...
In the Judiciary Committee's hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder, Cruz pressed Holder on the question of whether the Administration would consider it Constitutional to target Americans with drone strikes on U.S. soil. Holder responded by saying, yes, it would be Constitutional, in an extreme circumstance like Pearl Harbor or the September 11 attack.
Cruz pressed: nobody disputes that we would respond to a military attack on U.S. soil, or any physical attack, regardless of whether Americans were involved. The question is: suppose someone you consider to be a terrorist were sitting in a café in the U.S., not an imminent threat. Could you drop a bomb on them, like you do in other countries? And that was the question to which Holder finally gave a clear no. ...
You can see why the Administration might have been reluctant to state this clearly: critics who say the drone strike policy violates international law also read American newspapers. When the UN report comes out, it will likely make note of the fact that the Administration has acknowledged that its re-definition of the word "imminent" to claim that the drone strike policy doesn't violate international law - that is, isn't a policy of extrajudicial killing - not only differs from the customary international law definition, but from the Administration's own definition of "imminent" that it applies in the United States.
Canadian government to close major environmental research facility
The federal government is making plans to mothball the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in northern Ontario because it hasn't yet found an organization willing to take over the world-renowned facility.
Money to run the giant outdoor laboratory is slated to run out on March 31. The federal government will relinquish control on Sept. 1 but won't do any science during the five-month period. ...
ELA is an area of 58 small lakes in northwestern Ontario where DFO conducts experiments on whole bodies of water. The projects began in 1968. The research done there was instrumental in determining the causes and effects of acid rain. That research, in turn, led to the Acid Rain Treaty between Canada and the U.S. The decision to cut funding for the facility was made in the 2012 budget. It costs about $2 million a year to run the ELA. ...
"It is really one of Canada's top scientific contributions on the global scene. The Experimental Lakes Area in Canada is like the Hadron Collider. There are some countries that have the Hadron Collider. Canada has the Experimental Lakes Area," said Jules Blais, biology professor at the University of Ottawa and a board member of Save ELA, a group of concerned scientists who came together after the government announced its decision to axe the facility.
Concerns spike after black piles identified as petroleum coke
Petroleum coke, which is being stored in a massive black pile on the shores of the Detroit River, was described Wednesday as one of the world’s nastiest fuel products.
“It’s the dirtiest of dirty fuels,” said Lorne Stockman, research director at Oil Change International, a Washington-based global oil industry watchdog and advocacy group. ...
The petroleum coke — or ‘petcoke’ as it’s called — recently started to be produced in much greater amounts at the nearby Marathon Oil refinery in Detroit.
The refinery, which sits behind Zug Island next to the I-75 freeway, completed a massive $2-billion facility upgrade last fall allowing it to process heavy Canadian crude oil brought in by pipeline from the Alberta oil sands. The refinery processes 120,000 barrels per day of crude oil.
Earth Hurtling Towards Temperatures Not Seen in 11,000 Years
New study shows global temperatures skyrocketed in last century
"Under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios," the world is on track to surpass temperatures not seen since the dawn of civilization, according to new research.
Confirming "unprecedented" global warming, the new study published in Friday's issue of the journal Science shows that the earth's temperatures catapulted in just the last century at a rate that had previously taken 4,000 years.
"In 100 years, we've gone from the cold end of the spectrum to the warm end of the spectrum," said climatologist Shaun Marcott, lead author of the study. "We've never seen something this rapid. Even in the ice age the global temperature never changed this quickly."
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
Lloyd Price - Lawdy Miss Clawdy
Lloyd Price - Just Because
Lloyd Price - Question
Lloyd Price - Oooh Oooh Oooh
Lloyd Price - Send Me Some Lovin'
Lloyd Price - Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day?)
Lloyd Price - Mailman Blues
Lloyd Price and His Band - Too Late For Tears
Lloyd Price - Three Little Pigs
Lloyd Price - Have You Ever Had The Blues
Lloyd Price - Such A Mess
Lloyd Price - I Count The Tears
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!