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 Stax soul singer and songwriter Eddie Floyd. Enjoy!
Eddie Floyd - Knock On Wood
“The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.”
-- Gustave Le Bon
News and Opinion
Chris Hedges On Bradley Manning Being Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison
The whole moral and legal system has been inverted, and you have a criminal class, whether that's on Wall Street, whether that's running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, whether that's running our offshore penal colonies and torture centers, whether that is the use of electronic surveillance to sweep up all of the communications of most Americans--we are seeing all of the traditional checks by which we are able to thwart government tyranny ripped down.
And so I look at what happened to today is a kind of process, and a very depressing process, whereby not only civil liberties are shredded, but finally any capacity for the investigation and uncovering of the abuse of power is effectively thwarted.
'I am Chelsea Manning,' says jailed soldier formerly known as BradleySo, what are the chattering classes talking about today?
Bradley Manning has expressed a wish to live as a woman and begin hormone therapy, a day after the US soldier was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sending classified information to WikiLeaks.
In a written statement provided to NBC's Today programme on Thursday morning, Manning stated her plan to live as a woman named Chelsea.
Manning's struggle with gender identity disorder – her sense that she was a woman trapped in a man's body – was a key part of the defence.
Attorneys had presented evidence of Manning's struggle with gender identity, including a photo of the soldier in a blond wig and lipstick.
The chattering classes are discussing Manning's gender preferences when the people whose war crimes Manning exposed are running around free, without any reasonable expectation that they will be prosecuted.
Manning's crimes are trivial in type and effect in comparison to the deviant nature and damage done by the crimes committed by those he exposed. Talk about endangering your fellow soldiers - war crimes destroy the world's perception of the mission and decency of Americans. Manning only brought these crimes to the attention of the American public, these crimes are well known to the people that they are visited upon.
Why aren't the chattering classes discussing this? Because they have no regard for America, the American people, the people who serve America in her defense and have no regard for anything other than their own desires, needs, power, prestige and economic benefit.
ACLU Comment on Bradley Manning Sentence
"When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system. A legal system that doesn't distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability. This is a sad day for Bradley Manning, but it's also a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers and a free press for a fully informed public debate."
History Will Pardon Manning, Even If Obama Doesn't
Well before the sentence came down, supporters of Manning were busy campaigning to get him freed. There were demonstrations in Washington and elsewhere, bumper stickers, and online petitions—one of which Daniel Ellsberg, the former Department of Defense official who leaked the Pentagon Papers, helped to organize. In the wake of the verdict, more protests were planned, including a rally outside the White House on Wednesday night. Amnesty International asked President Obama to release Manning and called on the U.S. government to “turn its attention to investigating violations of human rights and humanitarian law” he helped to uncover.
It seems unlikely in the extreme that these efforts will lead anywhere. Obama has insisted all along that Manning’s case was a matter for the military authorities, and that he wasn’t going to intervene. “We’re a nation of laws,” the President said at a fundraising breakfast, in 2011. “We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate …. He broke the law.”
In helping to reveal that the U.S. authorities had repeatedly misled the public about the war in Vietnam, Ellsberg also broke the law, of course. So do most whistle-blowers who are employed by the government. But history tends to be kinder to them than the courts, and I doubt that this case will be an exception. In fifty years, people will look on the Manning case as another blot on a dark era for the United States and the values that it claims to hold dear. As for Manning himself, future historians will surely agree with Ellsberg, who, speaking to the A.P. yesterday, described him as “one more casualty of a horrible, wrongful war.”
US Military Admits No One Died Because Of Manning's Leaks
One of the key talking points against Bradley Manning was how his leaks "put people in danger" and we've even seen some of the defenders of his prosecution claim that people had lost lives because of them. In fact, Army Chief of Staff Mike Mullen had directly stated that Manning (and Wikileaks) "might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family." Guess what? That was all FUD. As Manning's sentencing hearing kicked off, a key government witness admitted that there were no deaths that were attributable to those leaks. That came straight from Brig. Gen. Robert Carr, who was in charge of the response to the leaks.
This is an excellent interview with Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, about the rise of the
From Spying on "Terrorists Abroad" to Suppressing Domestic Dissent: When We Become the HuntedGreenwald:
If you're wondering why the ongoing revelations about the development and use of a massive public and private surveillance complex should be of concern to you, read what Michael German, senior policy counsel for the ACLU (and former FBI agent), says about the new book, Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance:Heidi Boghosian's 'Spying on Democracy' is the answer to the question, 'If you're not doing anything wrong, why should you care if someone's watching you?' It's chock full of stories about how innocent people's lives were turned upside-down by public and private-sector surveillance programs. But more importantly, it shows how this unrestrained spying is inevitably used to suppress the most essential tools of democracy: the press, political activists, civil rights advocates and conscientious insiders who blow the whistle on corporate malfeasance and government abuse.Go check out the interview!
here's a sample:Heidi Boghosian: Not only is it easy for the US and its contractors to focus on activists, it is imperative that they do so. They must target social advocates in order to justify maintaining their budgets and their livelihoods. There are simply not enough "terrorists" in existence for the government to warrant the current level of intelligence spending. As a result, enormous federal resources are devoted to identifying and tracking activists who are portrayed as "extremists." Individuals who have helped bring about changes in corporate policies, such as animal rights or environmental advocates, are labeled domestic terrorist threats by the FBI.
The more individuals the security industry can identify as posing a national security threat - often based on tenuous, inaccurate or misleading information - the more it becomes possible to secure sizable government contracts.
The catch-all "anarchist extremist" can describe many individuals who challenge the status quo. Law enforcement circulated a list with photographs of "known anarchists" in 2004 before the Republican National Convention in New York. An unclassified DHS-FBI Intelligence Bulletin received much media coverage during the 2012 political conventions; it warned of possible increased risk of violence and property damage by anarchist extremists, arousing fear among local residents and businesses. FBI agents persist in circulating lists of alleged anarchists and visiting their friends, families and colleagues to frighten and harass politically active individuals and to create threats where none exist.
'Sending a message': what the US and UK are attempting to do
The US and the UK governments go around the world threatening people all the time. It's their modus operandi. They imprison whistleblowers. They try to criminalize journalism. They threatened the Guardian with prior restraint and then forced the paper to physically smash their hard drives in a basement. They detained my partner under a terrorism law, repeatedly threatened to arrest him, and forced him to give them his passwords to all sorts of invasive personal information - behavior that even one of the authors of that terrorism law says is illegal, which the Committee for the Protection of Journalists said yesterday is just "the latest example in a disturbing record of official harassment of the Guardian over its coverage of the Snowden leaks", and which Human Rights Watch says was "intended to intimidate Greenwald and other journalists who report on surveillance abuses." And that's just their recent behavior with regard to press freedoms: it's to say nothing of all the invasions, bombings, renderings, torture and secrecy abuses for which that bullying, vengeful duo is responsible over the last decade.
But the minute anyone refuses to meekly submit to that, or stands up to it, hordes of authoritarians - led by state-loyal journalists - immediately start objecting: how dare you raise your voice to the empire? How dare you not politely curtsey to the Queen and thank the UK government for what they have done. The US and UK governments are apparently entitled to run around and try to bully and intimidate anyone, including journalists - "to send a message to recipients of Snowden's materials, including the Guardian", as Reuters put it - but nobody is allowed to send a message back to them. That's a double standard that nobody should accept.
Lavabit founder: 'My own tax dollars are being used to spy on me'
The Obama administration has created a surveillance state on a scale not seen since senator Joe McCarthy's infamous 1950s crackdown on suspected communists, according to the tech executive caught up in crossfire between the NSA and whistleblower Edward Snowden. ...
Levison closed down his service this month, posting a message about a government investigation that would force him to "become complicit in crimes against the American people" were he to stay in business. ... It appears that Levison – who would not confirm this – has received a national security letter (NSL), a legal attempt to force him to hand over any and all data his company has so that the US authorities can track Snowden and anyone he communicated with. ...
What he will say is that he is locked in a legal battle he hopes one day will finally make it clear what the US government can and can not legally demand from companies. "The information technology sector of our country deserves a legislative mandate that will allow us to provide private and secure services so our customers, both here and abroad, don't feel they are being used as listening posts for an American surveillance network," he says.
Proponent of government propaganda conspiracies, warrantless wiretapping to serve on NSA 'review committee'
Did you hear that Cass Sunstein has made top draft pick for President Obama and James Clapper's 'NSA Review Committee'?
It's an odd choice for an oversight panel, but that's not a big deal. After all, the panel's goal isn't to provide oversight but rather to offer public relations advice meant to repackage and sell the NSA's surveillance to an overwhelmingly distrustful public. Sunstein is a defender of military commissions, supported President Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, endorsed warrantless wiretapping, and was a major advocate of the law that institutionalized the latter -- the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.
Marcy Wheeler helpfully reminds us that Sunstein has advocated another extremely anti-democratic program. His 'fight conspiracy theorists with government conspiracies' plan is here described by Glenn Greenwald:In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.Like Marcy Wheeler says, all of this makes Sunstein a great fit for the NSA review committee, given that its primary goal is to 'restore the public trust' -- not to meaningfully provide oversight over or reform intelligence agency policies.
Avoid TPM and Windows 8:
LEAKED: German Government Warns Key Entities Not To Use Windows 8 – Links To The NSAWait a minute. The government can't copyright its products!
“A Special Surveillance Chip”
According to leaked internal documents from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) that Die Zeit obtained, IT experts figured out that Windows 8, the touch-screen enabled, super-duper, but sales-challenged Microsoft operating system is outright dangerous for data security. It allows Microsoft to control the computer remotely through a built-in backdoor. Keys to that backdoor are likely accessible to the NSA – and in an unintended ironic twist, perhaps even to the Chinese.
The backdoor is called “Trusted Computing,” developed and promoted by the Trusted Computing Group, founded a decade ago by the all-American tech companies AMD, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Wave Systems. Its core element is a chip, the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and an operating system designed for it, such as Windows 8. Trusted Computing Group has developed the specifications of how the chip and operating systems work together.
Its purpose is Digital Rights Management and computer security. The system decides what software had been legally obtained and would be allowed to run on the computer, and what software, such as illegal copies or viruses and Trojans, should be disabled. The whole process would be governed by Windows, and through remote access, by Microsoft.
Now there is a new set of specifications out, creatively dubbed TPM 2.0. While TPM allowed users to opt in and out, TPM 2.0 is activated by default when the computer boots up. The user cannot turn it off. Microsoft decides what software can run on the computer, and the user cannot influence it in any way. Windows governs TPM 2.0. And what Microsoft does remotely is not visible to the user. In short, users of Windows 8 with TPM 2.0 surrender control over their machines the moment they turn it on for the first time.
The NSA goes to great lengths to show that they're a bunch of manipulative, controlling, humorless assholes:
NSA 'goes after man who mocked agency'
The National Security Agency, the secretive federal department under fire for spying on U.S. citizens, is now accused of crushing the free-speech rights of a businessman clowning around about the NSA.
LibertyManiacs.com, a company that markets “freedom products for liberty lovers,” says the NSA is using a claim of copyright infringement to stop it from selling T-shirts and other products making fun of the Big Brother agency. ...
At issue is use of the NSA logo, which was partially altered by LibertyManiacs owner Dan McCall. He kept the name of the agency and most of the artwork intact, but changed the bottom portion from “United States of America” to the laugh-inspiring “Peeping while you’re sleeping.”
Underneath the doctored logo is the phrase “The NSA, the only part of government that actually listens.” ...
After the shirt went on sale, the NSA sent a series of “cease and desist” orders in June, seeking to halt further sales of the items.
Obama Mimics Wall Street on Housing Crisis
Obama has totally capitulated to the Wall Street and Republican explanation for the collapse of the U.S. housing market, and the resulting global economic meltdown of 2008. He now agrees with the likes of the Wall Street Journal, that the system is ailing because there’s too much “government” in housing, and not enough “free market.” Therefore, he’s calling for the phasing out of the Federal National Mortgage Association, known as Fannie Mae, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, called Freddy Mac. The two quasi-governmental agencies trace their lineage to the New Deal policies of the 1930s, before home ownership was the norm in the United States, and when people who did own their homes were losing them to the Great Depression. It was federal intervention and loan guarantees that created the modern U.S. housing market. But President Obama has joined the right-wing crusade to remove all vestiges of the New Deal from American society. ...
Obama is just the man to do it. Sounding like Bill Clinton taking the axe to welfare, Obama said he will “end Fannie and Freddie as we know them…to make sure the kind of crisis we just went through never happens again.” The president is unmistakably saying that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – not the private banks – were responsible for the housing crisis. This is pure Republican propaganda, a position vehemently opposed by Obama and every other Democrat during the campaign of 2008.
Collapse and the Changing Face of Suicide
We have a winner: According to the American Journal of Public Health, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death by injury between 2008 and 2009. However, that dubious distinction has been replaced by a disturbing new cause: Today, the form of death by injury that takes more American lives than any other is suicide.
The indicated change in death by injury is the culmination of a decade-long trend, and it appears that the primary reason may be the economic downturn in the U.S. and around the world. In the U.S., the rate of death by suicide increased by 15 percent over the past ten years. In Greece, the suicide rate for men rose by 24 percent between 2007 and 2009, according to The New York Times, and by another 40 percent in 2012. Suicides motivated by economic crisis grew by 52 percent in Italy in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics were available. What we do know is that researchers say the trend is intensifying at alarming rates wherever austerity measures have taken place and as the economic downturn continues to worsen.
The Evening Greens
Sockeye salmon at dire historic low on Canada's Pacific coast - "We think something happened in the ocean" - "The elders have never seen anything like this at all"
Aboriginal people in British Columbia who rely on Skeena River sockeye are facing some extremely difficult decisions as sockeye salmon returns plunge to historic lows. ...
[Mel Kotyk, North Coast area director for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans] said department scientists don't know why the return numbers are so low. "[...] we think something happened in the ocean."
West Coast of North America to Be Hit Hard by Fukushima Radiation
Radiation Levels Will Concentrate in Pockets In Baja California and Other West Coast Locations
An ocean current called the North Pacific Gyre is bringing Japanese radiation to the West Coast of North America.
While many people assume that the ocean will dilute the Fukushima radiation, a previously-secret 1955 U.S. government report concluded that the ocean may not adequately dilute radiation from nuclear accidents, and there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly-concentrated radiation. ...
Last year, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and 3 scientists from the GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences showed that radiation on the West Coast of North America could end up being 10 times higher than in Japan.
Ousted Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon Launching Ohio Land Grab
Aubrey McClendon's penchant for "land grab" as a business model made the recently-ousted Chesapeake Energy CEO infamous - and he's at it again for his new start-up hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") company in Ohio's Utica Shale basin. It's a formation he once hailed as the "biggest thing to hit Ohio since the plow." ...
Forbes energy writer Christopher Helman excitedly offered context about the high stakes nature of these developments, portending a potentially immense "land grab" to come for McClendon.
"Aubrey McClendon is back with a vengeance and prowling Ohio’s Utica shale...At Chesapeake, McClendon’s army of land men assembled a position of more than 1.2 million acres in the Utica," he wrote.
In his groundbreaking McClendon story, Rolling Stone's Jeff Goodell summed it up well.
"Like generations of energy kingpins before him, it would seem, McClendon's primary goal is not to solve America's energy problems, but to build a pipeline directly from your wallet into his."
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
Eddie Floyd - 634-5789
Eddie Floyd and Duffy - Bring It On Home To Me
Eddie Floyd - Good Love, Bad Love
Eddie Floyd - Big Bird
Eddie Floyd - On A Saturday Night
Eddie Floyd - Raise Your Hand
Eddie Floyd - Girl I Love You
Eddie Floyd - Woodman
Eddie Floyd - Get It Together
Eddie Floyd - Too Much Is Too Little for Me
Eddie Floyd - Prove It To Me
Eddie Floyd - Set my soul on fire
Eddie Floyd - Make Up Your Mind
It's National Pie Day!
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