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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.  

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Hey! Good Evening!


This evening's music features roots musician, guitarist and composer Ry Cooder.  Enjoy!



Ry Cooder, Terry Evans - Down In Mississippi


“There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one--on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful--as usual--will shout for the war. The pulpit will--warily and cautiously--object--at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, 'It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it.' Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers--as earlier--but do not dare say so. And now the whole nation--pulpit and all--will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

   --  Mark Twain


News and Opinion




Iraq War Anniversary





The Costs of War: 10 Years After Iraq Invasion, New Study Tallies the Massive Human, Financial Toll
Juan Cole has a very good discussion of the damage done by the Iraq War, well worth reading all of - hat tip to don midwest:
What we Lost: Top Ten Ways the Iraq War Harmed the US

Coming into 2003, the US enjoyed a great deal of sympathy and solidarity from the rest of the world (including Iran) over the al-Qaeda strikes of September 11, 2001. In the aftermath of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the US was widely seen as an international bully. The hard-nosed realists of Washington, of course, don’t care how the country is perceived. ...

The post-World War II generation wanted to erect an international order that would forever forestall Nazi-like aggression against neighbors on the part of world powers. The Greatest Generation therefore forged a UN charter that forbade aggressive war, allowing hostilities only if a country had been attacked or if the UN Security Council designated a country a danger to world order. Iraq did not attack the US in 2002 or early 2003. The UN Security Council declined to pass a resolution calling for war on Iraq, especially after the ridiculous circus act of then Secretary of State Colin Powell before the UN laying out a self-evidently false and propagandistic case (which provoked gales of laughter in the room). The United States has irrevocably undermined that structure of international law, and any aggressor can now appeal to Bush of 2003 as a precedent.  ...

The US, which once prosecuted Japanese generals for water-boarding, and which had laws against torture and against assassination, became an international symbol of torture pornography when some of the Abu Ghraib photographs of the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners were released. I talked to a US embassy official charged in the middle of the last decade with upbraiding Uzbekistan’s Islam Karimov for his use of torture; the diplomat knew that Abu Ghraib had pulled the rug out from under him. ...

If the Iraqi government does ever manage to get its act together enough to produce substantially more petroleum, that will hurt green energy by lowering the cost of hydrocarbons, and so will contribute to ever more global warming. The US would have been much better off with high oil prices, encouraging consumers to move to electric vehicles powered by solar panels and wind. The oil men who plotted out the invasion of Iraq were attempting to put the price of oil back down to $14 a barrel, according to Rupert Murdoch. They failed, but whatever success they had is bad for the world.

"We’ve Lost Our Country": An Iraqi American Looks Back on a Decade of War That’s Devastated a Nation
Way Worse Than a Dumb War: Iraq Ten Years Later

After almost a decade the US finally pulled out most of its troops and Pentagon-paid contractors. About 16,000 State Department-paid contractors and civilian employees are still stationed at the giant US embassy compound and two huge consulates, along with unacknowledged CIA and FBI agents, Special Forces and a host of other undercover operatives. The US just sold the Iraqi government 140 M-l tanks, and American-made fighter jets are in the pipeline too. But there is little question that the all-encompassing US military occupation of Iraq is over. After more than eight years of war, the Iraqi government finally said no more. Their refusal to grant US troops immunity from prosecution for potential war crimes was the deal-breaker that forced President Obama’s hand and made him pull out the last 30,000 troops he and his generals were hoping to keep in Iraq.

But as we knew would be the case, the pull out by itself did not end the violence. The years of war and occupation have left behind a devastated country, split along sectarian lines, a shredded social fabric and a dispossessed and impoverished population. Iraq remains one of the most violent countries in the world; that’s the true legacy of the US war. We owe a great debt to the people of Iraq—and we have not even begun to make good on that commitment.

The US lost the Iraq War. Iraq hasn’t been “liberated.” Violence is rampant; the sectarian violence resulting from early US policies after the 2003 invasion continues to escalate. Of course we didn’t bring democracy and freedom to Iraq—that was never on the US agenda.

The New York Times and "Liberal Media" Helped Sell the Iraq War

Amanpour on Iraq: Where were the journalists?

On Monday, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour asked how so many journalists could have been misled in the run-up to the Iraq War. She interviewed two reporters for Knight-Ridder newspapers, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, both of whom have been vindicated as being consistently right on Iraq.


Were Commercial Flights to Guantanamo Ended to Cut Off Coverage of Hunger Strike?

Carol Rosenberg reported yesterday that the Navy has ruled that commercial flights to Guantanamo can no longer be provided on a regular basis. The timing of this move strikes me as particularly suspect, since these flights are heavily used by defense counsel for Guantanamo detainees and a large group of these attorneys has banded together to ask newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to address the abuse charges prisoners have cited in instituting a widespread hunger strike at the prison. Guantanamo officials deny that a hunger strike is taking place.

From Rosenberg’s report:

The Guantánamo Navy commander is halting commercial air passenger service from South Florida to the remote outpost in southeast Cuba, invoking a federal regulation that the Pentagon had apparently waived for years.

Fort Lauderdale-based IBC Travel said Friday that it will cease its several times a week service to and from the base after April 5, on an order from Navy Capt. John “JR” Nettleton to discontinue service by May 1. It will continue weekly cargo flights to the base, said IBC spokesman Richard Rose, with permission from Nettleton.



Further Adventures In Austerity Land






Why Cyprus Matters: The Eurozone Strikes Again

Why does all this matter? One, because this is the first time the EU and IMF have decided to take money directly from people’s pockets rather than through the messy process of cutting wages and pensions and putting taxes up. You could perhaps read this as a tacit acknowledgment that austerity has failed, economically as well as politically: it’s messy, it’s unreliable, and it makes people vote for leaders who won’t play the game, like Italy’s Beppe Grillo. You could certainly read it as a sign of how profoundly Europe’s leaders have lost the plot. Though the market meltdown predicted over the weekend hasn’t materialized, howls of derision have issued from bankers and business leaders as well as Cypriot indignados: if guarantees on bank deposits aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, if people’s savings can be siphoned off by fiat, then the world as we know it, or at least the banking system, will come to an end. (It’s worth remembering here that before the last Greek election a Syriza economist proposed tapping private deposits to fund public investment; he was pilloried as a dangerous radical who would destroy the principle of private property.)

Two, it matters because with both ends of the economic spectrum lining up against it, the latest Band-Aid offered for the ailing Eurozone looks more and more like a crowbar to help tear it apart. ...

Three, it matters because the plundering of ordinary people’s savings to bail out the banks lays bare more starkly than before where the real power lies. What price is democracy, when the European Central Bank’s Jorge Asmussen can present an elected European leader with the choice to accept the deposit tax or we will let your banks go under, and your economy too?

Cyprus: "You Don't Trigger a Bank Run to Fix a Financial Crisis"

Economists warn Cyprus will face a recession ‘for decades’

As a condition for a desperately-needed 10-billion-euro ($13 billion) bailout for Cyprus, fellow eurozone countries and international creditors Saturday imposed a levy on all deposits in the island’s banks. ...

Russians are preparing to withdraw billions of euros from Cyprus and the island will plunge into a recession lasting for decades due to the onerous terms of a EU bailout, economists warned on Monday. ...

An analysis by IHS Global Insight said there was a “potential for contagion from the move to impact bank sectors in other troubled economies on the periphery of the eurozone.”

“A mass of withdrawals from eurozone periphery banks could heat up the debt crisis once again after the international financial community had decided that lending to countries such as Spain and Italy would not require the extremely high risk premia it had earlier demanded,” it said.

Second Thoughts in Europe as Anxiety Rises in Cyprus

“The president struggled to prevent this outrageous development, which was imposed on Cyprus via blackmail from those who are today trying to justify their decisions,” Mr. Stylianides said.

“They said that if the first 100,000 euros weren’t included in the levy, the target wouldn’t be reached,” he said. “Our creditors were asking that Cyprus close down the two big banks, transfer deposits to a healthy bank and liquidate of the rest of the deposits.”

Mr. Stylianides added that the International Monetary Fund, during the negotiations, had even gone so far as to suggest a 40 percent cut on certain deposits or to freeze deposits for up to five to 10 years.

Analysts said the move to confiscate money from depositors had opened a Pandora’s box. ...

While is too early to tell if Italian, Spanish and Greek savers will pull out their deposits in response to the Cyprus tax, investors holding the bonds of banks in Spain and especially Italy are already taking action.


There is a lot of food for thought in this article and it is well worth your time to read all of it.  It's impossible to do it justice in excerpt form, but, well, here it is anyway:
The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats

The self-labeled Progressive Movement that has arisen over the past decade is primarily one big propaganda campaign serving the political interests of the the Democratic Party’s richest one-percent who created it.  The funders and owners of the Progressive Movement get richer and richer off Wall Street and the corporate system.  But they happen to be Democrats, cultural and social liberals who can’t stomach Republican policies, and so after bruising electoral defeats a decade ago they decided to buy a movement, one just like the Republicans, a copy.

The Progressive Movement that exists today is their success story.  The Democratic elite created  a mirror image of the type of astroturf front groups and think tanks long ago invented, funded and promoted by the Reaganites and the Koch brothers.  The liberal elite own the Progressive Movement.  Organizing for Action, the “non-partisan” slush fund to train the new leaders of the Progressive Movement is just the latest big money ploy to consolidate their control and keep the feed flowing into the trough. ...

For almost a decade now the funders of the Progressive Movement, the rich Democrats of the Democracy Alliance and their cliques, networks and organizations, have employed and funded political hacks, fundraisers, pollsters, organizers and PR flacks.  Over the past ten years they have dumped more and more money into the big feeding trough shared by the major players of the Progressive movement.  The overall goal and result has always been to bring withering rhetorical fire and PR attacks upon the Republican Right, while creating a tremendous fear of the Right to increase the vote for Democrats.  This has become Job #1 for the Progressive Movement.  No one quite remembers Job #2.

Real movements are not the creation of and beholden to millionaires.  The Progressive Movement is astroturf beholden to the rich elite, just as the Democratic millionaires and operatives of the Democracy Alliance intended.  The “movement’s” funding is in the hands of a small number of super rich Democrats and union bureaucrats and advisors who run with them.  Its talking points, strategies, tactics and PR campaigns are all at the service of the Democratic elite.  There is no grassroots organized progressive movement with power in the United States, and none is being built.  Indeed,  if anything threatens to emerge,  the cry  “Remember Nader!” arises and the budding insurgency is marginalized or coopted, as in the case of the Occupy Wall Street events.  Meanwhile, the rich elite who fund the Progressive Movement, and their candidates such as Barack Obama, are completely wedded to maintaining the existing status quo on Wall Street and in the corporate boardroom.  Their well-kept Progressive Movement is adept at PR, propaganda, marketing and fundraising necessary in the service of the Democratic Party and the corporate elite who rule it.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuit against the FBI over its gag provisions bears fruit for the people:
National security letters deemed unconstitutional

Eyewitness: Police Shot Kimani Gray While The 16-Year-Old Was On The Ground

The only publicly identified eyewitness in the killing of a Brooklyn teen by two New York City police officers is standing by her claim that the young man was empty-handed when he was gunned down, and now says one of the cops involved threatened her life.

In an extended interview with the Village Voice Saturday night--one week to the day after 16-year-old Kimani Gray was killed--Tishana King, 39, provided new, vivid details about the 10th-grader's final moments.

King said one officer stood "right over" Gray, continuing to shoot him while he was on the ground, and that neither cop identified himself as law enforcement when the incident began. ...

"I just remember screaming out the window 'Why?! Why so much?!" King recalled. She claims the "main shooter"'s partner--"with the short haircut"--responded.

"He started waving his gun up at our windows, myself and my neighbor. 'Get your F-ing head out the window before I shoot you.'" King said she and her neighbor "jumped back."

NYPD faces class-action lawsuit over controversial stop-and-frisk policy

A landmark trial challenging the New York police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy began in a lower Manhattan court on Monday.

The class action suit accuses the NYPD of violating the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers on a widespread and systemic basis.

New York city police officers stopped 685,724 citizens in 2011, continuing an upward trend that began when Michael Bloomberg became mayor. Nearly nine out of 10 of those stopped in 2011 had committed no crime. The vast majority were black or Latino, though figures released in August revealed police stops had dropped by more than 34% compared to the year before. ...

“No case is more critical for the future of our city than this one,” CCR said in a statement distributed to attendees of the trial. “At stake are the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have been illegally stopped by the NYPD – and the rights of untold numbers of New Yorkers who may be stopped in the future. The NYPD makes more than half a million stops a year, which equate to literally thousands of stops a day.”

European Union considers ban on insecticides to save bees

The European Commission said Tuesday it will try again to get member states to back a two-year ban on insecticides harmful to bees whose numbers have been in sharp and worrying decline. ...

“The Commission still envisages to have measures in place” by July 1, Borg’s spokesman said, adding that the issue will now go to an appeal committee after further discussions.

The Commission wants the insecticides banned for use on four major crops — maize (corn), rape seed, sunflowers and cotton — in a bid to prevent a disastrous collapse in the bee population.


Blog Posts of Interest

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

7 Things You Need to Know About the Shocking Cyprus Bailout Crisis That Has Everyone Freaked Out

The Folly of Endless Growth on a Finite Planet

Righter than Right Republican Rep determines who is a woman



A Little Night Music




Ry Cooder - Vigilante Man

Ry Cooder - How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live

Ry Cooder - Crazy 'Bout An Automobile

Ry Cooder - The Very Thing That Makes Her Rich

Ry Cooder, Bobby King - Chain Gang

Ry Cooder: No Banker Left Behind

Ry Cooder - Get Rhythm

Ry Cooder - Little Sister

Ry Cooder - Dark end of the street

Ry Cooder - Goodnight Irene

Ry Cooder Chicken Skin Band - Alimony





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 Mar 19, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

Poll

Who was the biggest salesman of the Iraq War?

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