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 Blues and R&B singer Big Maybelle. Enjoy!
Big Maybelle - I Ain't Mad at You
“I really am a pessimist. I've always felt that fascism is a more natural governmental condition than democracy. Democracy is a grace. It's something essentially splendid because it's not at all routine or automatic. Fascism goes back to our infancy and childhood, where we were always told how to live. We were told, Yes, you may do this; no, you may not do that. So the secret of fascism is that it has this appeal to people whose later lives are not satisfactory.”
-- Norman Mailer
News and Opinion
Greenwald: NSA Director is 'Misleading' the Public
Administration reading from the 'rule by fear' handbook
NSA Director Keith Alexander has been misleading the public by saying that the NSA's shadowy surveillance programs, exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden this month, have thwarted terrorist attacks, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald told CNN's Piers Morgan Tuesday night.
“It’s not that they’re lying. It’s misleading,” Greenwald said to Morgan, referring to recent claims made by Alexander that the NSA’s "dragnet" surveillance programs, have specifically helped stopped more than 50 terrorist attacks.
Greenwald emphasized that there is yet to be any evidence that shows the NSA has thwarted a terrorist attack with data collected through the programs exposed by Snowden:
FBI Director Admits Drones Being Used in Skies of US
Admits FBI has yet to establish guidelines for their use
Suspicions confirmed. FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted Wednesday before a Senate judiciary committee hearing that the agency employs domestic drones for surveillance use over US soil. Mueller also admitted that the FBI has yet to establish clear guidelines for their use.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Mueller: “Does the FBI own or currently use drones and for what purposes?”
Mueller: “Yes, for surveillance.”
Grassley: “Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on U.S. soil?”
Mueller: “Yes, in a very, very minimal way, and seldom.”
Grassley also asked Mueller whether the FBI had guidelines for using drones that would consider the "privacy impact on American citizens."
Mueller said the FBI was only in "the initial stages" of "exploring guidelines" for their use.
Silicon Valley and Spy Agency Bound by Strengthening Web
When Max Kelly, the chief security officer for Facebook, left the social media company in 2010, he did not go to Google, Twitter or a similar Silicon Valley concern. Instead the man who was responsible for protecting the personal information of Facebook’s more than one billion users from outside attacks went to work for another giant institution that manages and analyzes large pools of data: the National Security Agency.
Mr. Kelly’s move to the spy agency, which has not previously been reported, underscores the increasingly deep connections between Silicon Valley and the agency and the degree to which they are now in the same business. Both hunt for ways to collect, analyze and exploit large pools of data about millions of Americans.
The only difference is that the N.S.A. does it for intelligence, and Silicon Valley does it to make money. ... To get their hands on the latest software technology to manipulate and take advantage of large volumes of data, United States intelligence agencies invest in Silicon Valley start-ups, award classified contracts and recruit technology experts like Mr. Kelly.
Despite the companies’ assertions that they cooperate with the agency only when legally compelled, current and former industry officials say the companies sometimes secretly put together teams of in-house experts to find ways to cooperate more completely with the N.S.A. and to make their customers’ information more accessible to the agency. ... The sums the N.S.A. spends in Silicon Valley are classified, as is the agency’s total budget, which independent analysts say is $8 billion to $10 billion a year.
Storing Data, Burning Carbon: The Ecology of a National Security State
Continuing revelations from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden have cast a spotlight on widespread U.S. government surveillance of Americans and others around the globe, just as the NSA completes a new data farm in Bluffdale, Utah, set to be the largest spy center in the country.
The servers at the innocuously titled Utah Data Facility will have the capacity to store “100 years worth of the worldwide communications, phones and emails,” according to former NSA technical director-turned-whistleblower William Binney. But the ill-examined ecological impacts of the site, and other smaller but similar NSA data hording facilities like it, is far from sustainable.
The $2 billion Utah data farm, set to be completed this fall, has a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, according to NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines. However, the site plans, which are publicly available through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, reveal that the indiscriminate and warrantless collection of personal data from millions of people without suspicion of wrongdoing not only violates the U.S. Constitution — it is also an extreme waste of water and electricity.
A 65-megawatt electrical substation (nearly enough voltage to illuminate Salt Lake City, 26 miles north) will provide the Utah spy hub with what the NSA describes as “technical power.” “As machines are installed, we will ramp up to 65MW as a constant usage,” confirmed Vines. Meanwhile, the facility's servers require approximately 1.5 million gallons of cooling-water a day in a region where water is scarce.
“The security infrastructure of an increasingly oppressive and worrisome state is powered by fossil fuel extraction,” says Jesse Fruhwirth with the environmental activist group Peaceful Uprising. “The 65 megawatts of energy will come from burning coal in Utah, a huge contributor to localized pollution and also to global climate change. On top of that fossil fuels are being used in conjunction with consuming life-giving water in a region where every drop is valuable.”
NYT Publishes "Hit Obit" on Michael Hastings
In its obituary of Hastings, posted online Wednesday evening, the paper of record casts doubt on the accuracy of his profile of McChrystal. Here's the salient part of the obit, penned by Margalit Fox:An inquiry into the article by the Defense Department inspector general the next year found “insufficient” evidence of wrongdoing by the general, his military aides and civilian advisers. The inspector general’s report also questioned the accuracy of some aspects of the article, which was repeatedly defended by Mr. Hastings and Rolling Stone.(Fox also identifies Hastings’ piece as a “cover story.” It was not. Rolling Stone featured Lady Gaga on the cover of the issue containing “The Runaway General.”)
But the notion that that McChrystal was somehow “cleared” in this matter is a story to which the Times has long tried to stick. When the inspector general's report was first released, the Times headlined it: "Pentagon Inquiry Into Article Clears McChrystal and Aides." It did no such thing.
That said, it’s unclear whether the Times' reaction to Hastings' story is rooted in professional jealousy or a knee-jerk defense of the establishment. The inspector general's report said it could not confirm some elements of Hastings' reporting, but that was to be expected.
The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis
It's long been suspected that ratings agencies like Moody's and Standard & Poor's helped trigger the meltdown. A new trove of embarrassing documents shows how they did it
Thanks to a mountain of evidence gathered for a pair of major lawsuits, documents that for the most part have never been seen by the general public, we now know that the nation's two top ratings companies, Moody's and S&P, have for many years been shameless tools for the banks, willing to give just about anything a high rating in exchange for cash.
In incriminating e-mail after incriminating e-mail, executives and analysts from these companies are caught admitting their entire business model is crooked.
"Lord help our fucking scam . . . this has to be the stupidest place I have worked at," writes one Standard & Poor's executive. "As you know, I had difficulties explaining 'HOW' we got to those numbers since there is no science behind it," confesses a high-ranking S&P analyst. "If we are just going to make it up in order to rate deals, then quants [quantitative analysts] are of precious little value," complains another senior S&P man. "Let's hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of card[s] falters," ruminates one more. ...
It's not a stretch to say the whole financial industry revolves around the compass point of the absolutely safe AAA rating. But the financial crisis happened because AAA ratings stopped being something that had to be earned and turned into something that could be paid for.
In Brazil, a dual struggle against neoliberalism
While the world has been watching Turkey, another country is experiencing revolt: Brazil. Just like Turkey, Brazil has recently experienced relative success in economic terms. But just as in Turkey, the spoils of this economic growth are divided extremely unequally. Just like in Turkey, a relatively small provocation has sparked a much more widespread chain reaction. Unlike in Turkey, that provocation is a direct attack on living standards. But the anger exploding as a result of it appears to run just as deep. ...
Right now, what is happening in Brazil and Turkey is revolt. In Turkey it was the defence of Gezi park that provided the spark. In Brazil, it is transport fares that drive people to the streets in anger. On 2 June, authorities in the metropolis of Sao Paulo raised the price of a single fare from $1.40 USD to $1.50. This hike, moreover, is being made in a context of 15.5 percent inflation. And for thousands of Brazilians, it proved to be the proverbial last straw. From June 10 onwards, the city was rocked by four consecutive days of demonstrations and riots. On June 13, 5.000 people took to the streets and clashed violently with police. ...
But there’s more going on in Brazil than protests against the rising price of transportation. There is revolt in the countryside as well. The fact remains that Brazil has built its neoliberal capitalist economy on the back of slavery, land robbery and downright genocide of its indigenous population. The struggle against colonialism and for indigenous liberation continues unabated. In this struggle, communities clash with all kinds of resource exploitation and infrastructural projects that form the building blocks of neoliberal development. ...
In Brazil, the indigenous people are confronting an enemy that is not just colonial but neoliberal. They are attacked and murdered because they are in the way of profitable export-oriented agriculture, and of the giant infrastructure needed to feed energy to Brazil’s rapidly developing industries. The same neoliberal monster that drives the prices of subway and bus tickets to unbearable heights is driving the indigenous people from their lands; marginalizing the poor in the favelas; and keeping millions of young people out of university and out of work — just as it prioritizes investment into useless World Cup stadiums over investment in much-needed schools and hospitals.
Brazil, Wake Up!': Protesters Face Down Troops Outside of Stadium
Tens of thousands of protesters are facing off with an 'elite force' of troops Wednesday outside of a stadium in Forteleza, Brazil where a Confederate Cup match is scheduled later in the day.
Early reports of clashes between the protesters and the beefed up security reveal the use of tear gas and rubber bullets that have lead to, according to AFP, multiple injuries.
Wednesday's rally follows an earlier announcement by the country's Justice Ministry that federal troops, The National Force, will be deployed to the cities hosting the two-week FIFA Confederations' Cup soccer tournament, including the states of Ceara—where Forteleza is located—Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Minas Gerais as well as in the federal district of Brasilia.
The 'elite troops,' composed primarily of police and firefighters from different regions, are typically reserved to address serious security crises, such as prison riots or major gang violence.
Largest Toxic Wastewater Spill Goes Unreported for 11 Days
When toxic wastewater spills in the woods and no one's there to see it, does it leave a mark?
Or, rather, when the agency responsible for the property fails to report it, can it just go away?
These are the questions raised following reports that Alberta Canada's regulatory agency waited eleven days to disclose that 2.5 million gallons had leaked from a ruptured wastewater pipeline belonging to Apache in the province's Zama City, amounting to "the biggest wastewater spill in North American history."
The spill was reportedly first spotted in the remote region on June 1 by a plane belonging to the Texas-based oil and gas company.
“This is a massive spill of toxics into one of the most important wetlands in Canada, if not the world,” said Greenpeace spokesman Keith Stewart. “The government shouldn’t be trying to hide these kinds of things.” He added that the wastewater is "full of toxic compounds."
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
Big Maybelle~ Whole 'Lotta Shakin Goin On
Big Maybelle - That's A Pretty Good Love
Big Maybelle - One Monkey Don't Stop The Show
Big Maybelle - I'm Getting ' Long Alright
Big Maybelle - I've Got A Feelin
Big Maybelle - Gabbin Blues
Big Maybelle - Tell Me Who
Big Maybelle - Going Home Baby
Big Maybelle - Pitiful
Big Maybelle - Rockhouse - Live
Big Maybelle - Baby Please Don't Go
Big Maybelle - Ocean of tears
Big Maybelle - Rockhouse
Big Maybelle - My Country Man
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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