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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.  

Everyone who wants to join in peaceful interaction is very welcome here.

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features guitarist Larry Johnson.  Enjoy!

Larry Johnson - Hear The Angels Singing

“Unwelcome opinion can be argued with, rejected, or compromised upon, but unwelcome facts possess an infuriating stubbornness that nothing can move except plain lies. The trouble is that factual truth, like all other truth, peremptorily claims to be acknowledged and precludes debate, and debate constitutes the very essence of political life.”

  -- Hannah Arendt

News and Opinion

Virtual Obama Addresses NSA Surveillance Concerns

"Many of you were probably unaware that I wanted to secretly collect your data, especially since I said I would not secretly collect your data. But I choose to believe that you elected me to be your president because you believe if someone has to secretly collect your data, that someone should be me. And, as we all know, my secret interpretation of your support is more important than the reasons you actually supported me."

U.S. to Russia: Turn over Snowden or risk 'long-term problems'

The White House left no doubt on Tuesday that American patience with Russia playing host to NSA leaker Edward Snowden is wearing thin.

“The Russian government has an opportunity here to work with us,” press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing. “This should not be something that causes long-term problems for U.S.-Russian relations.”

Washington and Moscow have been “engaging on a number of important issues, both economic and security related issues, and we want to continue that relationship unimpeded by this issue,” Carney added. By turning over Snowden, or at least expelling him, Russia could “resolve this situation that they have been dealing with now for three weeks.”

Sen. Carl Levin: Only way to hold James Clapper accountable is to ‘fire him’

The head of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday the only way to hold the top U.S. intelligence official accountable for lying to Congress was to fire him.

Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) stopped short of himself calling on President Barack Obama to fire Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“I’m troubled by that testimony,” he said. “I don’t know how he has tried to wiggle out from it, but I’m troubled by it, so how do you hold him accountable? I guess the only way to do that would be for the President to somehow or other fire him. I think he made it clear he regrets saying what he said and I don’t want to call on the President to fire him, although I’m troubled by it.”

During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) specifically asked Clapper if the National Security Agency collected “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper denied the NSA amassed such data, but that testimony was later proven false by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Iphone, Iseize: Mobile phone content on UK police menu

Bradley Manning's lawyers say conviction would set 'extremely bad precedent' that would 'bring hammer down on any whistleblower

The defence team representing Bradley Manning, the US soldier who leaked reams of state secrets to WikiLeaks, has made one last attempt to persuade the judge presiding over his court martial to dismiss the most serious charge against him: that he "aided the enemy".

Manning's civilian lawyer David Coombs said that to convict the army private of such a severe offence would set an "extremely bad precedent". It would place US society on a "very slippery slope, of basically punishing people for getting information out to the press."

Addressing the judge in a military court in Fort Meade, Coombs said that "no case has ever been prosecuted under this type of theory: that an individual, by the nature of giving information to a journalistic organisation, would then be subject to" a charge of "aiding the enemy". Conviction of such an office would bring "a hammer down on any whistleblower or anybody who wants to put information out". ...

Human rights groups are now focusing in on the "aiding the enemy" charge as a threat to free speech in America. Earlier this week Amnesty International derided as "ludicrous" the claim that by leaking to a news organisation an individual could be guilty of helping al-Qaida.

California Prisoners Challenge Solitary, Jail Conditions With Largest Hunger Strike in State History

Thousands Starve Themselves To Put an End to California's Cruel Solitary Confinement Methods

In the past few days, in the largest prison protest in California's history, nearly 30,000 inmates have gone on hunger strike in the country’s largest prison system. Such near-insurrections are not unusual in America’s prison-industrial complex. Last year’s “starve for change” strike in Georgia lasted 36 days before it was broken. All across the country correctional authorities always respond with the same Pavlovian scenario: first, a news blackout; second, flat-out denial of the obvious; third, official press releases acknowledging a strike but downgrading numbers; fourth, mass punishment by withdrawal of privileges, and away from media’s glare, beatings by guards on militants.  

California officials have followed this protocol almost to the letter. As of today, 7,600 prisoners remain on hunger strike at 23 of California’s 33 prisons. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation refuses to acknowledge the strike is a political protest, calling it a “mass disturbance."

The prisoners’ core issue is the use of "no human contact" solitary confinement in special "control cells" or the infamous SHU, segregated housing unit. California holds 4,500 inmates in solitary. In Pelican Bay prison, inmates are cooped up in tiny, 7-by-11-foot windowless cells, sometimes without radio or TV, 23 hours a day. ... The average inmate stays in isolation for over seven years, and in some cases much longer. The Catholic Conference of Bishops, not your standard liberal group, has called for a change in “this inhuman form of punishment.”

You qualify for solitary either because you're a real threat (killed another prisoner or guard) or unsubstantiated gossip that you belong to, or are affiliated with, a gang such as Mexican Mafia or Crips. Evidence of a gang association is possession of books like Sun Tzu's "Art of War" or Machiavelli's "The Prince," or using words like  tio and hermano—Spanish for uncle and brother.

Investigate Michael Hastings' Death

'Escalation' in Egypt Portends More Clashes to Come

Tensions continue to escalate in Cairo between state security forces and members of the Muslim Brotherhood party, who are protesting the forced removal of President Mohamed Morsi.

A series of overnight clashes Monday resulted in seven deaths and over 260 injured as police reportedly attacked the pro-Morsi demonstrators with teargas, birdshot and live ammunition.

In the weeks following Morsi's ouster, thousands of his supporters have been staging sit-ins in two locations in Cairo: one outside the main campus of Cairo University and another outside a mosque in a neighborhood in eastern Cairo that is a Brotherhood stronghold.

However, according to the Guardian's Egypt correspondent Patrick Kingsley, the spread of protest locations throughout Cairo Monday night "marked an escalation in Brotherhood tactics."

"Their decision to march on central Cairo and shut down several of the city's main thoroughfares was a provocative one," he writes.

Sources from the Muslim Brotherhood said that more surprise marches are to be expected after sundown Tuesday night.

'Earthquake' for Israel: EU To Halt Support For Illegal Settlements

Day of Uprisings Against Israel's Sweeping 'Ethnic Cleansing' Plan

A national day of protests and strikes swept Israel and occupied Palestine Monday as demonstrators filled the streets to voice their opposition to Israel's Prawer 'ethnic cleansing' Plan that would forcibly evict and displace up to 70 thousand indigenous Palestinian Bedouins from the Naqab/Negev region in southern Israel. ...

Israel's Prawar Plan, passed in the Knesset in late June, aims to displace tens of thousands of Bedouins and destroy 35 "unrecognized villages," forcing Bedouins into government resettlement villages.

The Adelah Legal Center for Minority Rights in Israel says the Prawer Plan, if implemented, would be "the largest single act of forced displacement of Arab citizens of Israel since the 1950s."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Prawer Plan a necessary step to put an end to "illegal building by Negev Bedouin."

Yet, Bedouins declare that Israeli zoning laws deem their indigenous communities illegal in order to create legal justification for ethnic cleansing of the Negev.

Bedouins, native to Israel's southern Naqab/Negev desert, used to number nearly 100,000. Since the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians—known as the 'Nakba, or 'great catastrophe'—Israel has used arguments of illegality to carry out forced evictions, raids, and demolitions of homes and schools, making it near impossible for Bedouin villages to develop livable infrastructure.

Delivery Error? US weapons show up in hands of pro-Assad fighters

Hedges: Journalism Should Be About Truth, Not Career

Cashing in on Kids: 139 ALEC Bills in 2013 Promote a Private, For-Profit Education Model

Despite widespread public opposition to the education privatization agenda, at least 139 bills or state budget provisions reflecting American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) education bills have been introduced in 43 states and the District of Columbia in just the first six months of 2013, according to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of Thirty-one have become law.

News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch has called public education a "a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed." ...

"Amplify," the newly-created education division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, parent company of Fox News. News Corp is on the ALEC Education Task Force. In 2010, News Corp hired former New York City chancellor Joel Klein to run its education division, which includes the for-profit education company formerly known as Wireless Generation. The firm has big plans for a specialized "Amplify Tablet" that would provide lesson plans, textbooks and testing to cash-in on new "Common Core" required state standards.

Will Brazil's PT Government Choose the Movement or the Elites?

Church Axes Ancient Brazilian Rainforest Trees to Make Way for Pope's Visit

The deforestation stirs anger over a papal visit already criticized for passing exorbitant costs onto the people of Brazil

In preparation for Pope Francis's late-July visit to Brazil for World Youth Day, local Catholic Church leaders have chopped down more than 300 ancient trees from the endangered rainforest in Serra da Tiririca State Park to make way for large numbers of pilgrims expected to attend.

The deforestation—exposed by Brazilian media over the weekend—stirred outrage among Brazilian authorities and environmentalists, who believe World Youth Day would be better celebrated by showing a commitment to the earth's future. ...

The tree cutting scandal comes on the heels of controversy over the soaring costs of the pope's visit. The pope had planned to fund his visit by charging pilgrims a hefty price to attend World Youth Day events. However, when fewer pilgrims registered than expected, the Catholic Church asked Brazil to make up the difference by chipping in $39 million.

Vatican offers 'time off purgatory' to followers of Pope Francis tweets

In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering "indulgences" to followers of Pope Francis' tweets.

The church's granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins. ...

Mindful of the faithful who cannot afford to fly to Brazil, the Vatican's sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which handles the forgiveness of sins, has also extended the privilege to those following the "rites and pious exercises" of the event on television, radio and through social media.

"That includes following Twitter," said a source at the penitentiary, referring to Pope Francis' Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers. "But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the internet."

Mexico's unique wetlands in danger

Blog Posts of Interest

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

America in ruins: how States of Decay captures beauty in derelict buildings - in pictures

TransLife Center opened in Chicago

Building Bridges on Daily Kos

A Little Night Music

Larry Johnson with John Hammond - It Hurts Me Too

Larry Johnson and Brian Kramer - Mean Ol' Frisco

Larry Johnson - Four Women Blues

Larry Johnson & Nat Riddles - I Believe

Larry Johnson - Lordy Good Lord

Larry Johnson - Put It All in There

Larry Johnson - Keep It Clean

Larry Johnson and Brian Kramer - Don't You Leave Me Here

Larry Johnson - My Hoodoo Doctor

Larry Johnson - Troubles Just Begun

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 Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.


How smart is it for Obama to get into a pissing contest with Putin?

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