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 Frank Frost. Enjoy!
Frank Frost - Chicago Blues Festival
“The war, therefore if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant animals whose horns are incapable of hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that the hierarchical society needs. War, it will be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another, and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact."
-- George Orwell
News and Opinion
Washington gets explicit: its 'war on terror' is permanent
Senior Obama officials tell the US Senate: the 'war', in limitless form, will continue for 'at least' another decade - or two
That the Obama administration is now repeatedly declaring that the "war on terror" will last at least another decade (or two) is vastly more significant than all three of this week's big media controversies (Benghazi, IRS, and AP/DOJ) combined. The military historian Andrew Bacevich has spent years warning that US policy planners have adopted an explicit doctrine of "endless war". Obama officials, despite repeatedly boasting that they have delivered permanently crippling blows to al-Qaida, are now, as clearly as the English language permits, openly declaring this to be so.
It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war - justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism - that is the single greatest cause of that threat. ...
One might think that if there is to be a debate over the 12-year-old AUMF, it would be about repealing it. Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who heroically cast the only vote against it when it was originally enacted by presciently warning of how abused it would be, has been advocating its repeal for some time now in favor of using reasonable security measures to defend against such threats and standard law enforcement measures to punish them (which have proven far more effective than military solutions). But just as happened in 2001, neither she nor her warnings are deemed sufficiently Serious even to consider, let alone embrace.
Instead, the Washington AUMF "debate" recognizes only two positions: (1) Congress should codify expanded powers for the administration to fight a wider war beyond what the 2001 AUMF provides (that's the argument recently made by the supreme war-cheerleaders-from-a-safe-distance at the Washington Post editorial page and their favorite war-justifying think tank theorists, and the one being made by many Senators from both parties), or (2) the administration does not need any expanded authority because it is already free to wage a global war with very few limits under the warped "interpretation" of the AUMF which both the Bush and Obama DOJs have successfully persuaded courts to accept (that's the Obama administration's position). In other words, the shared premise is that the US government must continue to wage unlimited, permanent war, and the only debate is whether that should happen under a new law or the old one.
Pentagon 'Rewrites Constitution' Affirming Endless War
In a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Forces Thursday morning entitled Oversight: The Law of Armed Conflict, the Use of Military Force, and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, Pentagon officials argued that the wide-ranging counter-terrorism laws implemented after 9/11 will continue to be the law of the land until "hostilities with al-Qaeda," or any individuals potentially associated with the group, come to an end. ...
This widespread directive has enabled the Commander in Chief to oversee everything from the rendition, transfer and indefinite detention of "suspects," to the authorization of lethal drone strikes.
Further, Pentagon officials argued Thursday that under the AUMF troops could be sent to Syria, Yemen and the Congo without new congressional authorization. ...
"This is the most astounding and astoundingly disturbing hearing I have been to since I have been here. You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution here today," said Senator Angus King (I-Maine) at the hearing Thursday. ...
Calling the AUMF a "blank check written in advance," [Kenneth] Roth [executive director of Human Rights Watch] added that although President Obama has formally dropped the Bush administration’s use of the phrase "global war on terror," he noted that their interpretation of the rule "looks very similar."
Some question whether AP leak on al-Qaeda plot put U.S. at risk
Obama may back FBI plan to wiretap web users
The Obama administration, resolving years of internal debate, is on the verge of backing a Federal Bureau of Investigation plan for a sweeping overhaul of surveillance laws that would make it easier to wiretap people who communicate using the Internet rather than by traditional phone services, according to officials familiar with the deliberations. ...
While the F.B.I.’s original proposal would have required Internet communications services to each build in a wiretapping capacity, the revised one, which must now be reviewed by the White House, focuses on fining companies that do not comply with wiretap orders. The difference, officials say, means that start-ups with a small number of users would have fewer worries about wiretapping issues unless the companies became popular enough to come to the Justice Department’s attention.
Still, the plan is likely to set off a debate over the future of the Internet if the White House submits it to Congress, according to lawyers for technology companies and advocates of Internet privacy and freedom.
“I think the F.B.I.’s proposal would render Internet communications less secure and more vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves,” said Gregory T. Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology. “It would also mean that innovators who want to avoid new and expensive mandates will take their innovations abroad and develop them there, where there aren’t the same mandates.”
Ex-dictator who waged Argentina’s Dirty War dies
Former dictator Jorge Videla, who ruled Argentina during its “Dirty War,” died in prison Friday while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. He was 87.
Videla, who led Argentina at the head of a military junta between 1976 and 1981, died of natural causes, according to a medical report. ...
As the head of the three man junta that assumed power, Videla suspended the constitution, outlawed political parties and imposed censorship on TV and radio in what was called a “Process of National Reorganization.”
He unleashed the military on the leftist guerrilla groups active in Argentina in a campaign of repression that soon spread far beyond their ranks.
Family members, suspected sympathizers, labor organizers, politicians, clergy, students, journalists, artists and intellectuals were killed or secretly imprisoned in clandestine concentration camps. ...
Argentina’s military also joined forces with like-minded dictatorships in Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay under [US backed] “Operation Condor,” sharing intelligence and helping capture each other’s political enemies. ...
Videla put Argentina’s economy in the hands of a civilian group called the “Chicago Boys” because of their admiration for Milton Friedman, a conservative American economist whose ideas were also put into practice in Chile.
Apple and U.S. lawmakers in showdown over taxes and huge offshore cash stockpiling
Apple and US lawmakers are gearing up for a showdown over taxes — specifically how to deal with the huge stockpile of cash held by Apple and other multinational firms offshore.
A Senate panel has called Apple chief executive Tim Cook and others from the California tech giant to testify at a hearing Tuesday on “methods employed by multinational corporations to shift profits offshore.”
The hearing comes amid increased scrutiny on offshore holdings of big US corporations, which have hundreds of billions overseas but are reluctant to bring the funds home because they could be subject to a top tax rate of 35 percent.
Apple is in focus because of its $145 billion cash stockpile, much of it offshore. The company recently sold $17 billion in bonds to raise cash instead of repatriating profits, which would be taxed.
Burning Tar Sands = 'Unsolvable' Climate Crisis: Hansen
Fresh off his resignation from NASA, leading climate scientist James Hansen is making the rounds this week, warning media and lawmakers that not only are we heading for a "tremendously chaotic" climate, but if we dig up and burn Canadian tar sands, the climate crisis will be rendered "unsolvable."
Hansen told a a panel of U.K. lawmakers, the Environmental Audit Committee, on Friday that “the potential amount of carbon in these unconventional resources is huge."
“If we introduce the tar shale and the tar sands as a source and exploit those resources to a significant extent, then the problem becomes unsolvable.”
This week, scientists discovered that the atmosphere has surpassed the dreaded 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide — a level of greenhouse gases many have said ensures irreparable harm to the planet.
If the world doesn't immediately curb its dependence on fossil fuels, we are sure to see a "tremendously chaotic" climate, Hansen warned in an interview with EurActiv.
'Canary in the Ocean': Massive Fish Flight Shows Climate Change is Here
Study shows unprecedented worldwide fish migration as waters warm
As ocean waters continue to heat up along with the rest of the planet, fish and other aquatic life forms are fleeing from their habitual regions to find the lower temperatures they have depended on for centuries, according to a new study released Wednesday.
“Fish are kind of the canary in the coal mine here, or the canary in the ocean,” Boris Worm, a professor of marine biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who was not part of the study, told the Washington Post. “They are showing you [climate change] is underway. It’s changing, and they are adapting. And the question is, how will we adapt? Or will we?”
The report, published in the journal Nature and conducted by researchers at University of British Columbia, shows that as the planet consistently warmed over the past few decades, fish have been pushed further and further towards the world's poles—upsetting ecosystems around the globe.
"This study shows that ocean warming has already affected global fisheries in the past four decades, highlighting the immediate need to develop adaptation plans to minimize the effect of such warming on the economy and food security of coastal communities, particularly in tropical regions," the report states.
The study is the first of it kind, showing worldwide fish migration from as far back as 1970.
Proposed 'Fracking' Rules Anger Environmentalists, Annoy Industry
The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a new proposal for its first major regulation of hydraulic fracturing on public lands, attempting to address at least a portion of the controversial drilling practice that’s unlocked vast new supplies of U.S. oil and gas but has also raised fears about its environmental impact, particularly on local water supplies.
The proposal is softer on energy producers than an initial draft floated by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management last year. Over the past several months, oil and gas executives—including lobbyists for ExxonMobil, Halliburton, and the American Petroleum Institute—have met several times with administration officials, asking them to loosen the rule.
Environmentalists immediately slammed the proposal, saying that it gives far too many concessions to the industry and won’t protect communities from possible contamination of water tables.
“These rules protect industry, not people. They are riddled with gaping holes that endanger clean, safe drinking water supplies for millions of Americans nationwide,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
New Laws Would Make Environmental Protest “Terrorism”
Most people have heard of tree-sitting—a tactic environmentalists use to prevent old-growth trees from being cut down and whole forests decimated. In its heyday, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, members of groups like Earth First! climbed 100-foot-tall Redwoods and stayed there to save them. Beginning in 1997, one woman in Humboldt, California, named her tree Luna and stayed in it for two years, until enough money could be raised to prevent it from being axed. In 1998, in a Northern California old-growth forest, another treesitter named David Gypsy Chain was “accidentally” killed when loggers felled a tree that came crashing into the protester. He died instantly of massive head trauma.
This style of protest was also hugely successful—that is, until a series of arrests in 2005 against radical environmentalists who were labeled “terrorists.” It scared the shit out of the environmental-activist community, and folks started drifting away.
Now, there's a vibrant national protest movement reviving those "direct action" tactics of civil disobedience again, and adding a new political savvy to the mix. They, too, have been incredibly effective. In Oregon, in the summer of 2011, one blockade took 50 cops, a backhoe, and a 125-foot-crane to remove treesitters. A few days later, activists locked themselves together in an Oregon Department of Forestry office. The group responsible, the Cascadia Forest Defenders, say they won't stop until the Elliott State Forest is protected from clearcutting.
As a result—surprise, surprise—politicians are trying to create new laws that make tree-sits and other direct-action techniques illegal. The bills even single out the Elliott State Forest campaign by name and allow corporations to sue protesters for costing them money.
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
Frank Frost - Chicago Blues Festival (1997)
Jelly Roll Kings - Jelly Roll King
Frank Frost - Big Boss Man
Frank Frost and Sam Carr at King Biscuit
Frank Frost - Never Leave Me At Home
Frank Frost - Pocket Full of Money
Frank Frost - Didn't Mean No Harm
Frank Frost - Harpin' On It
Frank Frost and Sam Carr at King Biscuit
Frank Frost - Everything's Alright
Frank Frost with the Night Hawks - Pocket Full of Shells
Frank Frost - Just Come On Home
Jelly Roll Kings Slop Jar Blues
The Jelly Roll Kings - Have Mercy Baby
Frank Frost - Harp and Soul
Jelly Roll Kings - I Didn't Know / Road Of Love
Frank Frost - Feel Good Babe
Big Jack Johnson - Bluebird (Live Recording)
Sam Carr's Delta Jukes - Let The Good Times Roll
Jelly Roll Kings - Something On Your Mind
Jelly Roll Kings - I'm a big boy now
Jelly Roll Kings - Catfish 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.
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