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 evening's music features Houston saxman and bandleader of the Texas Upsetters (Little Richard's backing band before his 1957 "retirement") Grady Gaines. Enjoy!
Grady Gaines - Baby Workout
“We've got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don't fight racism with racism. We're gonna fight racism with solidarity.”
-- Fred Hampton
News and Opinion
Russia receives Snowden temporary asylum request
The Russian Migration Service confirmed it has received whistleblower Edward Snowden’s application for temporary asylum. It can take authorities up to three months to consider his request. In the meantime, Snowden may be transferred to a refugee center.
"We can confirm that the documents have been received,” a Federal Migration Service spokeswoman said.
The FMS promised to review his application within a three month period.
Earlier Tuesday Russian human rights lawyer Anatoly Kucherena revealed that Snowden had “handed over his application to Sheremetyevo’s Federal Migration Service staff”.
“I told him about all the intricacies of the procedure. It was decided that a staff member from the FMS office will come to the airport to accept Snowden’s temporary asylum request, as he is not allowed to leave Sheremetyevo’s transit zone”, the lawyer said.
It only took Snowden a few hours to fill out the application.
In his application Snowden said that he is seeking asylum in Russia because he fears for his life.
Asylum for Snowden won't stop Greenwald from publishing more leaks
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has indicated that he is willing to halt his leakage of US secrets, a condition for gaining Russian asylum, though the journalist who first published information from those leaks intends to continue.
Glenn Greenwald, a journalist working with both the British Guardian newspaper and Brazil’s O Globo, had been in direct contact with the now fugitive Snowden and coordinated with the former intelligence contractor ahead of publishing information on secret online surveillance programs.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that asylum for Snowden would be offered only under the condition that he releases no further information that could prove damaging to the US. Greenwald, however, has indicated that he would consider the intelligence provided by Snowden already in his possession fair game.
“There are many more domestic stories coming, and big ones, and soon," Greenwald wrote in an email to Politico on Friday.
Spain publicly apologizes to Bolivia over President Morales' plane blockade
Spain has apologized for closing its airspace to Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane, which had to land at Vienna airport and was subsequently searched following reports that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was on board.
"We regret this fact ... the procedure was not appropriate and bothered the president [Morales], putting him in a difficult situation," Spain's ambassador to Bolivia, Angel Vázquez, told journalists.
Domesticated American Media Continues to Focus on Snowden Rather Than the Information He's Revealed
Outside of the US, media coverage seems much more interested in the substance rather than the style. The German press, for example, has focused much its attention on the complicity of German intelligence with the NSA, while in India, the revelations have prompted a broad dialogue about that country’s own spying apparatus. The same goes for Brazil. In Egypt, press have looked at the NSA in the greater context of the police state. The press in these countries doesn’t seem to hinge holding the US government accountable for privacy abuses based on Snowden’s temporary location.
Many individuals in the US have called upon the media in earnest to refocus their attention to where it matters: The threats to civil liberties posed by the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. A few journalists have weighed in as well, urging fellow journalists to drop their fixation on Snowden’s motives. And yet, a puzzling phenomenon has also emerged: That of the journalist or commentator who gets up on his or her high horse to condemn Snowden for “stealing the story”—despite their own failure to do any substantive reporting on the NSA.
Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor and MSNBC commentator, is outspoken on a number of issues, from slut-shaming to the force-feeding of Guantanamo detainees, but hasn’t managed to muster up any outrage against the government’s mass surveillance programs...which is why this, in her open letter to Edward Snowden this week, came as a surprise:We could be talking about whether accessing and monitoring citizen information and communications is constitutional, or whether we should continue to allow a secret court to authorize secret warrants using secret legal opinions.Harris-Perry’s commentary denies the autonomy of journalists and pundits and implies that they are somehow hypnotized by Snowden’s escapades, rendered incapable of thinking for themselves. An appropriate response to Harris-Perry would be: Many of us are talking about whether accessing and monitoring citizen information and communications is constitutional, and that information is easily accessible online. So what’s stopping you?
But we’re not. We’re talking about you! And flight paths between Moscow and Venezuela, and how much of a jerk Glenn Greenwald is. We could at least be talking about whether the Obama administration is right that your leak jeopardized national security. But we’re not talking about that, Ed.
Yahoo Wins FISA Court Fight, Will Disclose Government Requests For Customer Information
Yahoo has won a court fight that could help the public learn more about the government’s efforts to obtain data from Internet users.
The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews government requests to spy on individuals, ruled Monday that information should be made public about a 2008 case that ordered Yahoo Inc. to turn over customer data.
The order requires the government to review which portions of the opinion, briefs and arguments can be declassified and report back to the court by July 29.
The government sought the information from Yahoo under the National Security Agency’s PRISM data-gathering program.
Spy-spotter: joke about scary visit came true
A German man who called on Facebook friends concerned about American secret service operations to join him in a walk around a US army spy centre near his home, found secret service men at his door checking his political leanings.
Daniel Bangert, 28, told The Local he had joked about US spies reading what he had written - and had even told his friends he was waiting for a knock on the door - when it actually came.
"I was still very sleepy when the phone rang - it was 7.17 in the morning - and a police officer started asking questions about what I was planning," he said. ...
Bangert, a veteran of the Blockupy protests in Frankfurt, had set up a group calling itself "NSA spy protection league" (NSA Spion Schutzbund), as if the US spies were an endangered species of birds.
He wanted, he said, to take a walk with some friends to "observe them in their natural habitat" - the Dagger Complex in Griesheim near Darmstadt. This is one base where the NSA (US National Security Agency) is said to operate from. The authority stands accused of monitoring much of Germany's internet traffic. ...
A few hours later, his phone rang again, and one of the police officers who had been at his house that morning, told him the state security wanted to talk with him. ...
He said a state security agent arrived with a local police officer, and asked him a load of questions about his political activities and his opinions, and whether he had any connection to activists willing to use violence. They suggested his Facebook entry could be interpreted in different ways, but he said he was really just organizing a walk.
"Then they told me I should not put the meeting on the internet, that I should not write about it," he added.
Stasi Versus NSAHat tip to Tardis10:
If you were to compare the evil, reprehensible Stasi to the NSA side by side in a visual comparison, who’s the worse surveillance hawk? The people over at OpenDataCity have put together a nice visual guide with astonishing results. We tend to think of Stasi-scale surveillance as the epitome of evil surveillance, and have completely lost track of what today’s governments are doing to their people.
When you go to this page (in German), you are presented with a nice map that compares the size of the Stasi archives – a large building in Berlin – with the corresponding NSA archives. It’s clear that the NSA’s archives – if used with Stasi technology, for an apples-to-apples comparison – would be quite a bit larger:
So where the hated Stasi surveillance was a building in area, the NSA surveillance today is an entire continent.
As a final note, the word Stasi was a contraction of the East German surveillance agency’s full name, Ministerium für Staatssicherheit. It translates to National Security Agency.
Why Can't Offline-Borns Tell The Difference Between Voluntary and Forced Actions?
All too frequently, we hear people who were born in the offline world scoff at demands of privacy from the net generation, and hear the offline-born elders say things along the lines “They give all their privacy away on Facebook anyway. How could they possibly value any kind of privacy? It cannot be a big deal that we go in and take the rest of it by law.”
This statement, no matter its exact wording, is as prevalent as it is shockingly ignorant and arrogant. It ignores one of the most basic distinctions we make: doing something voluntarily, or being forced to do it against your will. It does not make a difference between voluntary action and forced action. Imagine those offline-borns giving the following statements, which all have the same lack of that important distinction:
“This old lady is giving some of her money away for free to charities she picks. Obviously, she doesn’t care to keep her money, so it can’t possibly be a big deal that we take the rest of her money without giving her a say about it.”
“These people are having sex with a lot of people. Obviously, they don’t mind having sex with other people, and that gives me the right to have sex with them, by force if necessary.”
By prosecuting Fabrice Tourre but not Goldman Sachs, the SEC courts failure
Monday sees the opening of the trial of a colorful former Goldman Sachs trader, Fabrice Tourre: a made-for-TV Wall Streeter, a Frenchman with a quick wit who dubbed himself "Fabulous Fab" even as he worked on mortgage deals which, it is alleged, he knew would fail. ...
First, some quick background: the deal for which Tourre is on trial is known as Abacus. It was a set of sure-to-fail subprime mortgage securities that Goldman Sachs created exclusively for rich investor John Paulson. Paulson wanted to bet against subprime, but he was having trouble: mortgage securities are mashed-together bundles of all kinds of mortgages, some of good quality, some of excellent quality, and some of subprime quality. Paulson wanted a purely subprime product so that he could bet against it. Goldman Sachs created such a product for him.
Then, Goldman, without telling clients that Paulson had effectively created the securities so he had a better chance of winning, sold them to clients such as Germany's IKB and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Those clients, active investors in subprime mortgages, both needed government bailouts later. Goldman later argued that those clients were too dim and lazy to do their homework and see the securities were destined to fail. The SEC argued that those investors were taken for a ride.
Goldman Sachs is not on trial for Abacus. The bank paid a fine, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing, and endured a few days of public embarrassment in 2011 as a result of a very entertaining congressional grilling.
With Goldman off the hook, we're supposed to believe that Fabrice Tourre was solely responsible for Abacus.
Goldman Sachs profit doubles on investment gains
Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Tuesday quarterly profit doubled, beating Wall Street estimates, boosted by returns from investing the bank's own money.
The investing and lending segment, which tracks the bank's investments in debt and equity markets, produced nearly seven times as much revenue in the second quarter as it did a year earlier, much more than analysts had expected.
Why Spitzer’s Return Terrifies Big Finance
You didn’t have to be in New York to feel the shudder on Wall Street when Eliot Spitzer announced that he was running for New York City Comptroller. It was enough to read between the lines of just about any financial paper in the world.
Suddenly, the Masters of the Universe were staring at their worst nightmare: the prospect of a comeback by the only major politician in the U.S. whose deeds — and not simply words —prove that he does not think corporate titans are too big to jail. ...
[Spitzer] is promising to review how the Comptroller’s Office, which controls New York City’s vast pension funds, does business with Wall Street and corporate America. With his incisive questions about Wall Street’s fee structures and criticism of the passive stances most pension funds take to skyrocketing executive compensation in the companies they invest in, Eliot Spitzer is the last person on earth Wall Street wants to see in that slot. ...
Recent polls suggest that many citizens sense that the public’s watchdogs have been behaving like pampered pussycats and that they are sick and tired of it. Despite the propaganda onslaught, surveys suggest that a plurality of New Yorkers — including women voters who understand losses unregulated finance inflicts on women and ways pension systems often shortchange them — are favorable to Spitzer’s bid. But make no mistake, his presence in the New York City Comptroller’s Office would be a direct threat to the interests that have consistently blocked financial reform while mulcting the public. The Comptroller’s Office has subpoena power.
Greece Hit by General Strike to Protest Austerity
ATHENS — Thousands of Greeks walked off the job Tuesday in a 24-hour general strike called by unions opposing a new round of austerity measures that the government has vowed to enact at the urging of the country’s foreign creditors. The sorest point is a much-delayed overhaul of the Civil Service involving thousands of layoffs and wage cuts, which is set for a vote in Parliament on Wednesday night. The package must be passed if Athens is to secure the first installment of $9 billion in rescue loans approved last week by euro zone finance ministers.
Despite strong objections by the political opposition, and by some deputies in the ruling coalition, the package is expected to squeak through the 300-seat Parliament where the government has a slim majority of five. Implementation of the contentious reforms will remain a tough challenge however in a volatile political climate.
The nationwide walkout, called by the country’s two main labor unions, which represent some 2.5 million workers, shut tax offices and other government services, reduced hospitals to emergency staff and disrupted travel. Trains remained in depots and international flights were suspended between noon and 4 p.m. as air traffic controllers joined the action. Public transport workers were running a reduced service to allow Greeks to join protest rallies planned for Athens and other major cities.
Opposing Forces Agree: US Should Cease 'Meddling' in Egyptian Affairs
As the United States marks their first trip to Egypt by a senior official since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, one thing all sides seem to agree on is displeasure at the meddling influence of the United States on Egyptian politics.
Leaders from all sides of the civil discord, which has plagued the Middle Eastern country since Morsi's forcible removal, are snubbing talks with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns following his arrival in Cairo on Sunday.
The slight comes amidst growing calls for the United States to acknowledge the military coup behind Morsi's overthrow, something the global superpower has thus far refused to do in order to maintain the roughly $1.5b in annual aid to the army—seen as a means of securing the border for ally Israel and bolstering interests in Egypt and the Middle East.
"America works against the Egyptian people's interests," Morsi supporter Abdel Khalid Abu Zeinia told Reuters. "America's only concern is its interests, and Israel's. America offers only words, not practical support to democracy." ...
According to reports, representatives from both the Islamist Nour Party and the largely youth-driven, anti-Morsi Tamarod movement have turned down talks with the diplomat.
“We reject the interference by Americans or any other external powers in Egyptian affairs," Tamarod spokesperson Hassan Shaheen told Turkish news agency Anadolu. "The principle of national independence cannot be compromised.”
Israel Beats Drum Louder: 'Won't Wait Until It's Too Late' to Attack Iran
Revamping his threat to attack Iran over a supposed nuclear weapons program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday that he is still considering a strike in the not too distant future, with or without the U.S.'s consent, stating: "I won't wait until it's too late."
"Our clocks are ticking at a different pace. We're closer than the United States. We're more vulnerable. And therefore, we'll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does," he said. ...
"They're edging up to the red line. They haven't crossed it yet," Netanyahu said in reference to his now infamous red-line graph. He, however, failed once again to provide his audience with new evidence.
Time to Repeal ALEC/NRA Stand Your Ground Laws
The acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing unarmed high-schooler Trayvon Martin serves as a reminder of the continuing inequities in America's criminal justice system -- and might be the impetus to repeal a law like "Stand Your Ground," which was adopted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and subsequently spread across the country. Stand Your Ground was part of the jury instructions in Zimmerman's criminal trial, and it could again come into play if Trayvon's family brings a civil suit.
"This is another tragedy for Black families everywhere, and another instance of how law enforcement and our criminal justice system routinely fail Black people and communities," said Rashad Robinson, Director of Color of Change.
"What the verdict says, to the astonishment of tens of millions of us, is that you can go looking for trouble in Florida, with a gun and a great deal of racial bias, and you can find that trouble, and you can act upon that trouble in a way that leaves a young man dead, and none of it guarantees that you will be convicted of a crime," writes Andrew Cohen in The Atlantic. ...
Most victims where Stand Your Ground has been invoked have not had the same level of press attention as the Martin case. There is the case of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, for example, who was shot and killed in Florida after a disagreement with 46-year-old Michael Dunn, who thought Davis and his friends were playing their music too loud; Davis was black and Dunn was white, and Dunn plans to invoke Stand Your Ground at trial. And the disparities in how Stand Your Ground are applied become clear by looking at the case of Marissa Alexander, also in Florida, who was convicted of 20 years for firing a warning shot after being threatened by her husband, who has a history of domestic violence.
Justice under Stand Your Ground laws have been anything but equal. The Tampa Bay Times found that people who killed a black person walked free 73 percent of the time, while those who killed a white person went free 59 percent of the time. Other studies have shown that Stand Your Ground is more likely to be applied in cases of white-on-black crime, and in May, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights launched an investigation into racial bias and Stand Your Ground laws.
Keystone XL Scandal: Obama Attorney's Law Firm Represents TransCanada's Pipeline in Alaska
A DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel and President Barack Obama's personal attorney, works at the corporate law firm Perkins Coie LLP, which does legal work for TransCanada's South Central LNG Project, formerly known as Alaska Gas Pipeline Project. ...
On top of his job at Perkins Coie, Bauer - a well-known architect of bending campaign finance law to allow more corporate money to flood into electoral races - served as general counsel to President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. He also serves as general counsel to the Democratic National Committee and did electoral law work for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.
His wife, Anita Dunn is the co-owner of SDKnickerbocker, former Obama Communications Director, senior advisor for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign and is the former communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee under then-Senator Kerry. She's met with top Obama administration officials more than 100 times since leaving in 2009, according to a recent New York Times investigation.
Dunn currently does public relations work on behalf of TransCanada and freight rail industry lobbying group, American Association of Railroads (AAR). The tar sands pipeline boom comes alongside a freight rail boom to carry tar sands crude and fracked oil from North Dakota's Bakken Shale.
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
Upsetter Rock - The Upsetters w/Little Richard
The Upsetters - The Upsetter
The Upsetters - Every night about this time
Upsetters - I'm In Love Again
The World Famous Upsetters - Cabbage Greens
Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters.- G.G. Shuffle
Grady Gaines - Shaggy Dog
Grady Gaines & The Texas Upsetters - There Is Something On Your Mind
Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters - Demo Set
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!