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 Texas bluesman, cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins, Frankie Lee Sims. Enjoy!
Frankie Lee Sims - She Likes To Boogie Real Low
“The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned.
The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information.
With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.”
-- Henry A. Wallace
News and Opinion
US intelligence outlines checks it says validate surveillance
The US intelligence community has written to Congress to confirm the existence of two sweeping surveillance programmes revealed by the Guardian, but defended their legality and usefulness in preventing terrorism.
In the fullest official account yet of how the US gathers domestic telephone data and overseas internet traffic, the document sent on Saturday claims that both programmes were authorised by Congress under section 215 of the Patriot Act and section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.
This has been disputed by a number of senators and congressmen, including one of the authors of the Patriot Act, who say it is more sweeping than they envisaged, but the document details a number of internal checks put in place since that seek to minimise the exposure of private data obtained inadvertently from citizens who are not terrorist suspects. ...
[T]he briefing document does not address concerns raised by a number of members of Congress as to whether further court approval is required to query the database for these specific records, simply saying officers require "reasonable suspicion based on specific and articulated facts, that an identifier is associated with specific foreign terrorist organizations".
Obama and His Allies Say the Govt Doesn't Listen to Your Phone Calls -- But the FBI Begs to Differ
Today, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) insisted the NSA has not been recording Americans’ phone calls under any surveillance program, and that any claim to the contrary was “misinformation.” Rogers’ comments countered remarks from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who said he was told in a House Judiciary Committee briefing by FBI Director Robert Mueller that private firms contracted by the NSA could listen to phone calls made by American citizens.
Since Nadler’s comments were reported by CNET, he has issued a subsequent statement backtracking on his original remarks: "I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.” ...
However, in a May 1 interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett– well before the scandal over NSA spying sent the White House and its allies into damage control mode – a former FBI agent named Tim Clemente made a startling revelation. According to Clemente, an April 18 phone call between Boston bombing perpetrator Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife was retrieved by the FBI as part of its surveillance of bulk US telecom data.
Turkey and Russia react with fury to G20 spying revelations
Turkey and Russia have angrily rounded on the British government and demanded an explanation following revelations that their politicians and senior officials were spied on and bugged during the 2009 G20 summit in London.
The foreign ministry in Ankara said it was unacceptable that the British government had intercepted phonecalls and monitored the computers of Turkey's finance minister as well as up to 15 others from his visiting delegation. If confirmed, the eavesdropping operation on a Nato ally was "scandalous", it added. ...
In Moscow Russian officials said the Guardian revelation that US spies had intercepted top-secret communications of Dmitry Medvedev at a G20 summit in London in April 2009 would further harm the struggling US-Russia relationship and cast a shadow over the G8 summit in Northern Ireland on Monday and Tuesday.
Edward Snowden Q&A: NSA whistleblower answers your questions
Q - Can analysts listen to content of domestic calls without a warrant?
A - NSA likes to use "domestic" as a weasel word here for a number of reasons. The reality is that due to the FISA Amendments Act and its section 702 authorities, Americans’ communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant. They excuse this as "incidental" collection, but at the end of the day, someone at NSA still has the content of your communications. Even in the event of "warranted" intercept, it's important to understand the intelligence community doesn't always deal with what you would consider a "real" warrant like a Police department would have to, the "warrant" is more of a templated form they fill out and send to a reliable judge with a rubber stamp.
Q - US officials say terrorists already altering TTPs because of your leaks, & calling you traitor. Respond?
A - US officials say this every time there's a public discussion that could limit their authority. US officials also provide misleading or directly false assertions about the value of these programs, as they did just recently with the Zazi case, which court documents clearly show was not unveiled by PRISM.
Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to acheive that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.
Going Through the ‘Proper Channels’ to Blow the Whistle on Secret Surveillance Programs
What if Snowden had gone to Congress? What if he had gone to an inspector general? What if he had not gone to the press and gone public with what he was seeing as a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor working for the NSA?
Thomas Drake, who also exposed the NSA’s massive secret surveillance programs and what the NSA should have known prior to the September 11th attacks, told Firedoglake, “Everything I passed on to Congress it just went into a black hole.” ...
According to Jesselyn Radack, director of national security and human rights at the Government Accountability Project, Drake, along with NSA employees Bill Binney, Ed Loomis and Kirk Wiebe, went to Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall to brief them on secret surveillance programs.
“We provided information to the same effect of what PRISM does,” Radack told Firedoglake. “We briefed them and they politely listened and kind of nodded their heads. And didn’t disagree and listened for hours and it was a long meeting and nothing happened because they obviously were only willing to go so far in saying there’s a secret legal interpretation that’s really dangerous.” ...
Binney, Drake, Loomis and Wiebe all tried to call attention to what they wanted to expose internally. They went made complaints to the Department of Defense inspector general (IG) and the IG turned around and “gave up the names of all four whistleblowers to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.”
“They totally sold the witnesses they were supposed to be protecting down the river,” Radack said. They all became “targets of federal criminal investigation. Drake was prosecuted for espionage.”
Greenwald explains how he preempted the Snowden smears and took the media by storm
Appearing Sunday with CNN host Howard Kurtz, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald discussed his thinking behind releasing a video interview containing explosive revelations about the National Seucirty Agency, saying he wanted to present whistleblower Edward Snowden in his own words to preempt the smear campaign that’s now in high gear, as the debate seems to have taken the whole of the Western media by storm.
“[Snowden] was concerned that [the media] would distract away from the revelations of what our government is doing onto him personally,” Greenwald told Kurtz. “[W]henever there’s a whistleblower… the favorite tactic is to demonize him and highlight what are his alleged bad personality traits. That’s why we wanted to present him in his own words to the world, so they could form their own impression before these smear campaigns began.”
Public Enemy Number One: the Public
It’s important, when listening to the official shapers of opinion in the media, to ask ourselves what they really mean by the words they use. As Orwell pointed out in “Politics and the English Language,” those in power use language to obscure meaning more often than to convey it.
A good example is the recurrence of phrases like “endangered our national security” and “aided the enemy,” from people like Eric Holder, Peter King and Lindsey Graham, in reference to leaks by people like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. Now, they certainly intend to evoke certain associations in the minds of listeners with their word choices. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself responding in just the way the users intend — allowing their words to conjure up in your mind homes, families, neighbors, churches, a whole way of life, threatened with invasion and destruction by a nameless, faceless enemy — in the words of Orwell’s Two-Minute Hate, “the dark armies … barbarians whose only honour is atrocity.”
But if you look behind the words, their actual meaning is something entirely different. To the kinds of people who throw around such words, “national security” is a corporate-state world order enforced by the United States, run by people like themselves, which enabling global corporations to extract resources and labor from the people of the world and live off unearned rents. “The enemy” is you. And the danger is that you might figure out what’s going on and disturb their cozy little setup.
Strike Sweeps Turkey as Gov't Vows Military Force
General strike follows weekend of violent clashes as protesters continue despite government threats
In a great show of solidarity with the ongoing demonstrations, five Turkish trade unions announced a nationwide strike on Monday.
CNN reports:Describing Erdogan's government as "despotic," two main union blocs say they plan to march to Istanbul's Taksim Square, which has been at the heart of more than two weeks of protests. It is the second time unions have called a strike to support the protest movement.In the capital Ankara on Monday, "riot police backed by water cannon" threatened roughly 1,000 trade union workers to stop blocking a major avenue in the center of the city, the Guardian reports.
Chemical weapons experts still skeptical about U.S. claim that Syria used sarin
Chemical weapons experts voiced skepticism Friday about U.S. claims that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used the nerve agent sarin against rebels on at least four occasions this spring, saying that while the use of such a weapon is always possible, they’ve yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite months of scrutiny.
“It’s not unlike Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark,” said Jean Pascal Zanders, a leading expert on chemical weapons who until recently was a senior research fellow at the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies. “It’s not just that we can’t prove a sarin attack, it’s that we’re not seeing what we would expect to see from a sarin attack.”
Foremost among those missing items, Zanders said, are cellphone photos and videos of the attacks or the immediate aftermath.
“In a world where even the secret execution of Saddam Hussein was taped by someone, it doesn’t make sense that we don’t see videos, that we don’t see photos, showing bodies of the dead, and the reddened faces and the bluish extremities of the affected,” he said.
Fracking Is Already Straining U.S. Water Supplies
As the level of hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells in the United States has intensified in recent years, much of the mounting public concern has centered on fears that underground water supplies could be contaminated with the toxic chemicals used in the well-stimulation technique that cracks rock formations and releases trapped oil and gas. But in some parts of the country, worries are also growing about fracking’s effect on water supply, as the water-intensive process stirs competition for the resources already stretched thin by drought or other factors.
Every fracking job requires 2 million to 4 million gallons of water, according to the Groundwater Protection Council. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has estimated that the 35,000 oil and gas wells used for fracking consume between 70 billion and 140 billion gallons of water each year. That’s about equal, EPA says, to the water use in 40 to 80 cities with populations of 50,000 people, or one to two cities with a population of 2.5 million each.
Some of the most intensive oil and gas development in the nation is occurring in regions where water is already at a premium.
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
Frankie Lee Sims - Send My Soul to the Devil
Frankie Lee Sims - Married Woman
Frankie Lee Sims - Walking With Frankie
Frankie Lee Sims - Frankie's Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - Misery Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - Cross Country Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - Single Man Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - My Talk Didn't Do No Good
Frankie Lee Sims - Lucy Mae Blues
Frankie Lee Sims - Lucy Mae Blues (Part 2)
Frankie Lee Sims - Cryin' Won't Help You
Frankie Lee Sims - Yeh, Baby
Frankie Lee Sims - Wine and Gin Bounce
Frankie Lee Sims - I Warned You Baby
Frankie Lee Sims - How Long
Frankie Lee Sims - Long Gone
It's National Pie Day!
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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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