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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 Chicago bluesman Jimmy Rogers.  Enjoy!

Jimmy Rogers - Chicago Blues Festival - You Left Me With A Broken Heart

“I don't know about you, but I only have one life, and I don't want to spend it in a sewer of injustice.”

  -- Wallace Shawn

News and Opinion

Reps. Conyers & Massie on Bipartisan Campaign Against NSA Spying; Call for James Clapper to Resign

US Government Really Wants Twitter Users' Data

Twitter released its latest transparency report on Wednesday showing a rise in government requests for users' data.

The social media site received 1,157 requests from governments for user data between January 1 and June 30, marking a 36%-increase since the same period last year.

The number of requests from the U.S. government was far above other countries' requests, making up 78% of all user data requests.  And about 20% of those requests were made "under seal," preventing Twitter from notifying the users about the requests.

'Snowden, Manning, Assange victims of morally bankrupt system'

America's refusal to extradite Bolivia's ex-president to face genocide charges

Obama justice officials have all but granted asylum to Sánchez de Lozada – a puppet who payrolled key Democratic advisers

In October 2003, the intensely pro-US president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, sent his security forces to suppress growing popular protests against the government's energy and globalization policies. Using high-powered rifles and machine guns, his military forces killed 67 men, women and children, and injured 400 more, almost all of whom were poor and from the nation's indigenous Aymara communities. Dozens of protesters had been killed by government forces in the prior months when troops were sent to suppress them.

The resulting outrage over what became known as "the Gas Wars" drove Sanchez de Lozada from office and then into exile in the United States, where he was welcomed by his close allies in the Bush administration. He has lived under a shield of asylum in the US ever since.

The Bolivians, however, have never stopped attempting to bring their former leader to justice for what they insist are his genocide and crimes against humanity: namely, ordering the killing of indigenous peaceful protesters in cold blood (as Time Magazine put it: "according to witnesses, the military fired indiscriminately and without warning in El Alto neighborhoods"). In 2007, Bolivian prosecutors formally charged him with genocide for the October 2003 incident, charges which were approved by the nation's supreme court.

The view that Sánchez de Lozada must be extradited from the US to stand trial is a political consensus in Bolivia, shared by the government and the main opposition party alike. But on Friday night, the Bolivian government revealed that it had just been notified by the Obama administration that the US government has refused Bolivia's extradition request.

Ana Marie Cox on the political calculus behind the cowardice:
Why have so many liberals been silent about NSA spying

Why hasn't the left been able to rally support around opposition to domestic spying?

Tea Party candidates on the right have been able to generate excitement among GOP base voters with their calls to end the National Security Agency's domestic spying program. Senator Rand Paul appears to have staked his entire potential presidential campaign on a brash defense of personal privacy (except when it comes to abortion). ... Those advocates of civil liberties (some of them quite new to the cause) have a convenient explanation for why Democrats have been less vocal and slower to criticize the collection of metadata from everyday American citizens: slavish devotion to President Obama, whatever policies he might champion.

Since 2002, the number of Democrats who approved monitoring online activities has increased 12 points; among Republicans it has decreased 13 points. ... The neatness of these changes in position is almost disturbing. It suggests that advocacy for civil liberties is a zero-sum game: there's only so much libertarianism to be had at any given historical moment, there's a ceiling on Americans' ability to believe that the right to privacy is paramount. ... The percentage of voters that worry that the US will go "too far" in violating privacy rights in pursuit of terrorists versus "not going far enough" is now 56% percent versus 36%. In 2001, after the 9/11 attacks, it was 31% versus 55%.

It's these numbers, rather than the occupant of the White House, that explains Democrats' reluctance to move very aggressively in championing personal privacy – or, at least, it explains the difficulty in creating a lasting coalition around it. If at best, you will only get half the country to agree with you – and what's more, different phrasing of the question or current events context shows inherent wobbliness on the issue – what politician will stick out his (or her) neck over it? ,,, One bomb, one devastating video, one instance when our agencies can prove a near-miss and a denouncement of surveillance becomes a millstone and not a platform.

This Sunday – 8/4 – Rally Against Unconstitutional Surveillance

Join thousands of participants in 1984 Day rallies around the country

Find A Rally Near You Here

Amid Growing Concern on Spying, a Vague Terror Warning

The US State Department, citing unspecified security concerns, has ordered many of its embassies around the world to be closed on Sunday.

“It’s not often that we close a bunch of embassies at once,” one State Dept. official told the New York Times, who added that the threat was being taken "particularly seriously" by US intelligence. ...

Whereas mysterious proclamations of ominous yet vaguely-described "security threats" by the government have become a rather well established ritual of the post 9/11 era, the latest announcement comes at a time of elevated concern by the US public related to the manner in which US intelligence agencies are collecting digital and telephonic communications both domestically and internationally.

We wouldn't want any of that Congressional oversight stuff happening, now would we?
Dozens of CIA operatives on the ground during Benghazi attack

Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the assault by armed militants last September 11 in eastern Libya.

Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.

CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency's Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.

Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency's missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency's workings.

The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress.


Apparently Congress doesn't want the people to know what the  hell they're doing in our names, either.  It's "Classification Gone Wild" on the hill, now.

For Congress, ‘it’s classified’ is new equivalent of ‘none of your business’

WASHINGTON — The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reportedly gave its approval last week to an Obama administration plan to provide weapons to moderate rebels in Syria, but how individual members of the committee stood on the subject remains unknown.

There was no public debate and no public vote when one of the most contentious topics in American foreign policy was decided – outside of the view of constituents, who oppose the president’s plan to aid the rebels by 54 percent to 37 percent, according to a Gallup Poll last month.

In fact, ask individual members of the committee, who represent 117 million people in 14 states, how they stood on the plan to use the CIA to funnel weapons to the rebels and they are likely to respond with the current equivalent of “none of your business:” It’s classified.

Those were, in fact, the words Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the committee, used when asked a few days before the approval was granted to clarify her position for her constituents. She declined. It’s a difficult situation, she said. And, “It’s classified.”

She was not alone. In a string of interviews over days, members of both the Senate intelligence committee or its equivalent in the House were difficult to pin down on their view of providing arms to the rebels. The senators and representatives said they couldn’t give an opinion, or at least a detailed one, because the matter was classified.

It’s an increasingly common stance that advocates of open government say undermines the very principle of a representative democracy.

Declassification Reform Bill Introduced In Senate

As government secrecy grows ever more controversial, two senators have introduced a modest, bipartisan effort to begin reforming the U.S. government's classification of government documents.

On Thursday, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) introduced legislation to more quickly declassify documents were only meant to be kept secret for a short period of time, and to beef up the federal board that advises the president on declassification procedures.

“Right now we are classifying too much information and keeping it for too long at the expense of taxpayers and transparency," Shaheen said in a statement. "We can’t stay on this unsustainable path because it leads to a culture of distrust among security professionals and the American people.”

President Barack Obama has repeatedly talked about the need to make the federal government more transparent, but classifications have shot up, from 11 million in 2000 to 95 million last year. Critics have argued that over-classification lessened the stigma against releasing documents for high-profile leakers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, because they saw so much information that was needlessly hidden.

Amid Massacres, Kerry Gives Glowing Endorsement of Egyptian Military

US Secretary of State John Kerry signaled his strong support for the Egyptian military in the midst of military and 'security force' crackdowns that have left over 300 people dead, including at least 80 Morsi supporters shot Saturday.

Speaking to Pakistan's GEO TV Thursday, Kerry proclaimed, "The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of a descendance into chaos, into violence." ...

As the military-backed interim government threatens to shut down pro-Morsi sit-ins and Friday protests, and amid growing international concerns about military coup and human rights abuses, Kerry's statement appears to be a full-fledged endorsement of the military's actions.

This comes amid growing international condemnation of the spiraling human rights nightmare in Egypt.

'GITMO Massage': UK inmate reveals sexual assault & inquisition-style torture

What’s a Wall Street Billionaire Facing Indictment To Do? Party On, Of Course!

If you owned a business, and you heard th4at the Feds were coming after you for criminal activity, you might be a little worried. Heck, you might even cancel your summer vacation.

But you are not billionaire Steven A. Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors, one of Wall Street’s most famous hedge funders. If you were, you would have thrown a lavish soiree last weekend in your 9,000-square-foot East Hamptons beachside palace, mingling among your guests as waiters rolled out $2,000 worth of the freshest tuna from a local purveyor. Perhaps you’d boast about your $700 million collection of artwork and the private museum you’re building just to house it. Or maybe you'd freak people out with tales of the 13-foot shark in formaldehyde you will suspend from the ceiling of your SAC office and the head sculpture made of frozen blood you placed in the lobby.

You would read the Feds’ description of the “hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profits” that allegedly arose from massive insider trading in your firm and you would snort with laughter. You would listen to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara condemn your company as a “magnet for market cheaters” at a press conference and you’d call for a cocktail—something festive.

You would do all this because you are a bona fide Wall Street bigshot, and you have little to fear from the Feds. You would be secure in the knowledge that no personal charges were made against you—that the Feds merely indicted your firm, based mostly on the guilty pleas of six former employees. You’d know there was zero possibility that your portly, balding self would spend so much as a minute behind bars.

S&P accused of inflating credit ratings

Uruguay Set to Become First Country to Legalize Marijuana

After a fierce 13-hour debate, the lower house of the Uruguayan parliament, the chamber of deputies, narrowly approved on July 31 the marijuana legalization bill introduced by President Mujica and his governing coalition. The bill was approved by a thin 50-majority vote of the 96 disputados present in the lower house (out of a total of 99). The bill is now expected to clear the Uruguayan senate where the governing coalition holds a comfortable majority.

Under the bill, a newly created Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis will assume "the control and regulation of the importation, exportation, plantation, cultivation, the harvest, the production, the acquisition, the storage, the commercialization and the distribution of cannabis and its by-products."

Buyers would have to be registered on a database and be over the age of 18. They would be able to buy up to 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of marijuana per month in specially licensed pharmacies. The bill also authorizes cultivation for personal use of up to six plants. Growers clubs of 15 to 45 members will be allowed to grow up to 99 plants collectively.

The Evening Greens

You Can Thank The Koch Brothers For The Big, Dirty Cloud Floating Over Detroit

On Tuesday, Detroit Bulk Storage confirmed that a large black cloud spotted over the Detroit River last weekend and caught on camera by residents across the border in Windsor, was indeed from the petroleum coke piles they have been storing illegally on behalf of Koch Carbon.

The petroleum coke is a high-carbon, high-sulfur byproduct of Canadian tar sands that are shipped from Alberta to Detroit to be refined. The uncovered black pile began building up along the river this year and drew outrage from residents of Detroit and nearby Windsor, Ontario as it grew to over three stories high and a block long.

The pet-coke was produced by Marathon Refinery but is owned by Koch Carbon which is controlled by Charles and David Koch — billionaire industrialists and major backers of a host of ultra-conservative efforts, including several aimed at obstructing action on climate change and impeding progress on clean energy.

Not only will greens be called "terrorists" they will be sued for omitting a footnote under the defamation law.
Wild Salmon Advocate Ordered to Pay Fish Farming Giant More than $75,000 in Defamation Suit

The BC Supreme Court ruled last September that activist Don Staniford’s 2011 campaign against a Norwegian fish farming company falls under the right to fair comment legislation, protecting Staniford from defamation charges.

The decision, however, has just been overturned by the BC Court of Appeals which ordered Staniford to pay $75,000 in damages to Mainstream Canada, a subsidiary of the Norwegian company Cermaq, in addition to a portion of the company's legal fees.

In 2011 Staniford, who returned to Britain after overstaying a visitor’s permit, posted images on his blog that resembled cigarette package health warnings, inscribed with slogans such as “Salmon Farming Kills,” “Salmon Farming is Poison” and “Salmon Farming Seriously Damages Health.”  ...

The ruling comes as another blow to wild salmon advocates working to demonstrate the negative effects of salmon farming in Canadian waters.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently worked to discredit the research of Dr. Frederick Kibenge of the world-renowned Atlantic Veterinary College of Prince Edward Island. After Kibenge found Infectious Salmon Anemia virus in fish in BC, CIFA - the same governing body responsible for the fish farming industry in Canada - disregarded Dr. Kibenge’s work and asked that his lab’s international certification be revoked.

Industry Influence To Blame For Tavares, Florida Explosion

On July 29th, an explosion at a gas plant in Tavares, Florida injured eight people, leaving five of them in critical condition.  Three months prior to that, a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas killed 14 people and left numerous people injured and homeless.  And three years before that, an oil rig operated by BP, Transocean, and Halliburton exploded in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 people and destroying an entire ecosystem.

Countless other explosions, oil leaks, gas leaks, and other industrial “accidents” occurred all over the country in between these three major events, and every one of them has something in common:  They were all allowed to happen thanks to a lack of sufficient safety regulations.  And the lack of oversight was the work of politicians who are on the dole of industries that consistently put the health of their profits over the safety of their workers and the public. ...

In Florida, the site of the most recent explosion, the energy industry is the top campaign donor for political races, lobbying, and other political expenditures.  And what do they get in return for the millions they give politicians in the Sunshine State?  Tea Party Florida Governor Rick Scott and Republicans in Washington gave them the gift of a budget cut – a cut that dangerously lowered the budget of government agencies that oversee public and workplace safety.  The result is fewer regulators, fewer inspections, and more injuries.

The Dilbit Disaster - Three Years Later

Greenland soars to its highest temperature ever recorded, almost 80 degrees F

The Danish Meteorological Institute is reporting that on Tuesday, July 30, the mercury rose to 25.9 C (78.6 F) at a station in Greenland, the highest temperature measured in the Arctic country since records began in 1958. ...

The DMI says the warmth was not “unnatural”, but explains it fits into a long-term pattern of climate warming.

“[T]here is an indisputable gradual increase in temperature in Greenland,” DMI writes. “Along the way, any ‘warm event’ thus have a higher probability of being slightly warmer than the previous one.”

DNR Advocates Wholesale Slaughter of Michigan Wildlife

The DNR announced today that they will have to temporarily postpone the sale of wolf hunting permits from starting this Saturday to September 28th instead because they anticipate a wild rush to purchase the limited number of licenses. They expect to rapidly sell-out the 1200 permits at $100 a piece for residents and $500 for non-residents — a nice little money-maker considering the kill is limited to 43 animals.

When the wolf was removed from the federal endangered species list and their management was turned-over to states, these agencies monetized the decision, removing science from the equation and inserting politics in its place. State wildlife agencies fund themselves largely through hunting license fees, and since wolves are the natural predator for much of that game, these agencies are in direct competition with the wolf for a limited resource. Putting those same bureaucrats in charge of wolf population decisions is, pardon the expression, like letting the wolf guard the henhouse.

Many thanks to Agathena for her contributions to "The Evening Greens!"

Blog Posts of Interest

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

NSA Director Heckled At Conference As He Asks For Security Community's Understanding

White House Closes Inquiry Into Afghan Massacre – and Will Release No Details

The housing “recovery” is a total sham

On Being "Pragmatic"

Iraq News Roundup

The anti-transgender violence goes on and on

A Little Night Music

Jimmy Rogers  - Sloppy Drunk

Jimmy Rogers - Angel Child

Jimmy Rogers & Big Moose Walker - St Louis

Jimmy Rogers - Blue Bird

Jimmy Rogers- You´re Sweet

Jimmy Rogers & Big Moose Walker - Goin' Away Baby

Big Moose Walker & Jimmy Rogers - One Room Little Country Shack

Jimmy Rogers - Walking By Myself

Jimmy Rogers - Rock With You Baby

Jimmy Rogers, Carey Bell - Big Boss Man

Jimmy Rogers - Gold Tailed Bird

Jimmy Rogers - Chicago Bound

Jimmy Rogers - One Kiss

Jimmy Rogers & Big Moose Walker - Last Time

Jimmy Rogers - That's all right

Jimmy Rogers All Stars - Blues All Day Long

Jimmy Rogers and his Trio - Ludella  

Jimmy Rogers and his Rocking 4 - You're The One

Jimmy Rogers All Stars - Blow Wind Blow

Little Walter w/Jimmy Rogers - I Just Keep Loving Her

Jimmy Rogers - That Ain't It

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 Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.


Should Congresspersons be allowed to classify their votes and avoid responsibility to their constituents?

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