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 Memphis blues singer and drummer Willie Nix. Enjoy!
Willie Nix - Try Me One More Time
“Those in power must spend a lot of their time laughing at us.”
-- Alice Walker
News and Opinion
Compare and contrast, courtesy of Digby:
Paul Ryan throws out an olive branchCharles Pierce on the fellow that Obama and his centrist Democrat buddies will beIf Mr. Obama decides to talk, he'll find that we actually agree on some things. For example, most of us agree that gradual, structural reforms are better than sudden, arbitrary cuts. For my Democratic colleagues, the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act are a major concern. And the truth is, there's a better way to cut spending. We could provide relief from the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act in exchange for structural reforms to entitlement programs....
Who knows what this means? But it's interesting, especially when you compare it to what the president said today:I've put forward proposals in my budget to reform entitlement programs for the long haul and reform our tax code in a way that would close loopholes for the wealthiest and lower rates for corporations and help us invest in new jobs and reduce our deficits. And some of these were originally Republican proposals, because I don't believe any party has a monopoly on good ideas. So I've shown myself willing to go more than halfway in these conversations, and if reasonable Republicans want to talk about these things again, I'm ready to head up to the Hill and try. I'll even spring for dinner again.
Paul Ryan Emerges
It was remarked upon by more than a few people that, during the Reign Of The Morons, now entering its second smash week, Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from the state of Wisconsin, and first runner-up in the most recent Mr. Vice President Pageant, had been conspicuously laying low. This was accounted to be somewhat odd, since Ryan's counterfeit credentials as a "budget wonk" were really the only reason anyone ever had heard of him. I was not surprised because Ryan still has national ambitions, because Ryan is still thoroughly convinced of his own visionary genius, and because this whole Republican "civil war" is merely a disagreement on tactics. (And because, let's face it, the Democratic party's position is to reopen the government on budgetary numbers that are worse than the ones Ryan once proposed.) The party is still united in its desire to eliminate all the functions of the federal government except those that enable economic oligarchy.
Paul Ryan is staking his claim as a reasonable guy on the very narrow criterion of Not Being Louie Gohmert. But there isn't an ounce of daylight between their essential positions. When Paul Ryan talks about "reforming" entitlements, he's talking about eliminating them, because he does not now believe -- nor has he ever believed -- that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are legitimate functions of the national government. ... When Paul Ryan talks about "reforming" the tax code, he doesn't mean making sure the people to whom all the money has been shoved upwards over the past four decades start paying their fair share again. He means "broadening the base" -- You pay more. Jamie Dimon doesn't. -- and he means "lowering the rates" -- on the people who buy him his $4000 bottles of wine -- and he means "simplifying the code" -- eliminating loopholes for the 20 minutes it takes before tax lawyers open up a hundred new ones.
Many in G.O.P. Offer Theory: Default Wouldn’t Be That BadThis piece begs the question, why is it that there are no Democrats willing to push the limits to make demands that progressives support?
As President Obama steps up his declarations about the dire consequences of not raising the debt limit, increasing numbers of Congressional Republicans are disputing that forecast, as well as the timing of when the Treasury might run out of money and the implications of a default, further complicating the negotiating situation for both Mr. Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner, who must find a way out of the impasse.
Both men were counting on the prospect of a global economic meltdown to help pull restive Republicans into line. On Wall Street, among business leaders and in a vast majority of university economics departments, the threat of significant instability resulting from a debt default is not in question. But a lot of Republicans simply do not believe it. ...
“It really is irresponsible of the president to try to scare the markets,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky. “If you don’t raise your debt ceiling, all you’re saying is, ‘We’re going to be balancing our budget.’ So if you put it in those terms, all these scary terms of, ‘Oh my goodness, the world’s going to end’ — if we balance the budget, the world’s going to end? Why don’t we spend what comes in?” ...
“When I hear people trying to downplay the consequences of that, I think that’s really irresponsible, and I’m happy to talk to any of them individually and walk them through exactly why it’s irresponsible,” he said. “And it’s particularly funny coming from Republicans who claim to be champions of business. There’s no business person out here who thinks this wouldn’t be a big deal, not one. You go to anywhere from Wall Street to Main Street, and you ask a C.E.O. of a company or ask a small-business person whether it’d be a big deal if the United States government isn’t paying its bills on time. They’ll tell you it’s a big deal. It would hurt.”
What Should Democrats Demand in the Budget Showdown?
Republicans entered the fights over funding the government and raising the debt ceiling with a list of demands. Here are some of the modest concessions they sought in return for not shutting down the government (and, now, re-opening it after they shut it down) and/or not tanking the global economy by forcing the United States to default on its debt: approving the Keystone XL pipeline, eliminating all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, or privatizing Medicaid. Democrats, for their part, have mostly just tried to pass “clean” bills on both instances, and in the case of a continuing resolution to keep the government funded, have even accepted sequestration spending levels.
Playing with either—threatening to shut (and keep shut) the government or, worse, failing to raise the debt limit and forcing the United States to default on its obligations—is irresponsible politics. But if this is going to be a negotiation, Democrats should play offense with a list of their own demands. Even better, there are plenty of things they can put forward in negotiations that would actually have the added benefit of helping boost the economy beyond just keeping lawmakers from damaging it!
National Parks’ tourists defy government shutdown, engaging in ‘civil disobedience’
With the US government shutdown well into its second week, growing numbers of Americans are gleefully engaging in what they call “civil disobedience” by tossing aside cones or jumping over government shutdown-inspired barricades around national monuments, malls, and park entrances. ...
“We’ve gone from ‘this land is your land, this land is my land,’ to the government saying this land is its land,” writes University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds in an e-mail. “President Obama said that government is just a word for the things we do together. Apparently that includes kicking WWII veterans off their memorial.”
The politics took on a sharper tone on Tuesday, as a pro-immigrant rally was allowed to take place at the “closed” National Mall near where, five days earlier, World War II veterans first breached barricades in a high-profile moment in the shutdown. The Park Service has since padlocked the area, but has intermittently allowed veterans (though nobody else) to enter.
The Data Hackers - Mining Your Information for Big Brother
Big Bro is watching you. Inside your mobile phone and hidden behind your web browser are little known software products marketed by contractors to the government that can follow you around anywhere. No longer the wide-eyed fantasies of conspiracy theorists, these technologies are routinely installed in all of our data devices by companies that sell them to Washington for a profit. ...
Ever played Farmville? Checked into Foursquare? Listened to music on Pandora? These new social apps come with an obvious price tag: the annoying advertisements that we believe to be the fee we have to pay for our pleasure. But there’s a second, more hidden price tag -- the reams of data about ourselves that we give away. ... But there is a second kind of data company of which most people are unaware: high-tech outfits that simply help themselves to our information in order to allow U.S. government agencies to dig into our past and present. Some of this is legal, since most of us have signed away the rights to our own information on digital forms that few ever bother to read, but much of it is, to put the matter politely, questionable.
This second category is made up of professional surveillance companies. They generally work for or sell their products to the government -- in other words, they are paid with our tax dollars -- but we have no control over them. ...
These technologies -- variously called social network analysis or semantic analysis tools -- are now being packaged by the surveillance industry as ways to expose potential threats that could come from surging online communities of protesters or anti-government activists. ...[Raytheon's] latest product is a software package eerily named “Riot” that claims to be able to predict where individuals are likely to go next using technology that mines data from social networks like Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter.
Walking through the Stasi Museum while watched by the NSA
The Stasi worked with their own citizenry to do their job, too. Many records were destroyed, but estimates put the number of collaborators between 174,000 and 500,000.
We don’t yet know of many individual collaborators in the American surveillance state. Mostly we know of vast, impersonal corporations that collaborate with the NSA. We know of one person who is not a collaborator: Ladar Levison, founder of Lavabit. He received a court order to collaborate, but shut down his business instead. He is in court still fighting the consequences of defying that court order.
We are told by museum placards that very few of the East German collaborators had to be coerced. Probably even fewer of them were ever useful one way or the other. The Stasi had a lot of data coming in, most of it meaningless. ...
It worries me that no one in power has asked whether what the NSA does is good or evil, only whether it is legal. It worries me because the law works as well when it is evil as when it is good. It is the job of the people who make society to guide that law, or overrun it when it turns evil.
Did Obama swap 'black' detention sites for ships?
Instead of sending suspected terrorists to Guantanamo Bay or secret CIA "black" sites for interrogation, the Obama administration is questioning terrorists for as long as it takes aboard U.S. naval vessels. ...
That's the pattern emerging with the recent capture of Abu Anas al-Libi, one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists, long-sought for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa. He was captured in a raid Saturday and is being held aboard the USS San Antonio, an amphibious warship mainly used to transport troops.
Questioning suspected terrorists aboard U.S. warships in international waters is President Barack Obama's answer to the Bush administration detention policies that candidate Obama promised to end. ... By holding people in secret prisons, known as black sites, the CIA was able to question them over long periods, using the harshest interrogation tactics, without giving them access to lawyers. Obama came to office without a ready replacement for those secret prisons. The concern was that if a terrorist was sent directly to court, the government might never know what intelligence he had. With the black sites closed and Obama refusing to send more people to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it wasn't obvious where the U.S. would hold people for interrogation.
As of Monday, al-Libi had not been read his Miranda rights, which include the rights to remain silent and speak with an attorney. And it was unclear when al-Libi would be brought to the U.S. to face charges.
Charges dismissed in last cases from Occupy Wall Street march
New York prosecutors on Tuesday dismissed charges in the final two cases stemming from the mass arrest of more than 700 people during an Occupy Wall Street march two years ago.
The two defendants, Jonathan Stribling-Uss and Michael McCann, appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court expecting the judge to set a date for their disorderly conduct trial, according to attorney Martin Stolar.
Instead, the Manhattan District Attorney's office filed a motion to dismiss and said prosecutors did not think they could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The move closed out the last remaining legal proceedings against more than 700 people arrested October 1, 2011, on the Brooklyn Bridge.
'Plain Clothes' Officers Spied on Moral Monday OrganizersF@#king Cheney and his cronies! It's sad that there can be no such thing as justice for these war criminals while Obama is President.
North Carolina police covertly spied on protesters who were part of the widespread 'Moral Monday' demonstrations that shook the state this summer, according to testimony given at a trial for a protester who was arrested in an act of civil disobedience.
At the hearing of Saladin Muammad, a U.S. Army veteran and labor activist arrested on May 13 while at a Moral Monday protest, General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver testified that he received advanced intelligence reports from officers about protesters' plans ahead of events in which arrests were made. ...
As Weaver testified that his department had targeted “anarchists” in the region and collected intelligence on them, there was "a murmur of disbelief among the many lawyers attending the Wake County District Court hearing," the News & Observer reports.
Weaver said his officers, who worked with Raleigh city police, scanned the many Moral Monday rallies for who they believed might be anarchists.
"It's not like we were planning a bank heist," [State NAACP president Rev. William] Barber said after learning of the surveillance. "Mostly what we did was pray and sing."
Waterboarding Is A Big Joke At Cheney Roast
Conservatives gathered at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan Monday night to roast the former vice president at an event where many of the biggest laugh lines touched on the most controversial policies of a key architect of his administration’s war on terror. At the gathering, hosted by Commentary, figures including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey drew a mix of chuckles and winces with jokes that left few lines uncrossed, according to three guests.
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman “said something to the effect that it’s nice that we’re all here at the Plaza instead of in cages after some war crimes trial,” recalled one person who was there.
Other major targets included former Secretary of State Colin Powell, mocked for leaking, and President Barack Obama, who was mocked, repeatedly, for the relative strength of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The event, sponsored by Rupert Murdoch, Paul Singer, and other top conservatives (listed here) also starred Lieberman and Scooter Libby, the Cheney aide convicted of lying to investigators in a leak hunt. Two attendees said the edgy jokes were in appropriate spirit of a roast; the third found them in poor taste, even in that setting. ... “There were some waterboarding jokes that were really tasteless,” the guest said. “I can see the case for enhanced interrogation techniques after Sept. 11 but I can’t really endorse sitting there drinking wine and fancy dinner at the Plaza laughing uproariously about it.”
Obama Will Tap Janet Yellen As Fed Chairwoman
The White House says President Obama intends to nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve, once Ben Bernanke completes his term in January.
If confirmed, Yellen, 67, would be the first woman to head the American central bank.
Obama is scheduled to make the announcement at 3 p.m. ET. Wednesday.
Janet Yellen as Fed Chair No Victory for Progressive Economics
e corporate and mainstream media landscape, Yellen has repeatedly been called the "progressive" choice or the "left's" nominee, but that coverage often failed to recognize that it was the atrocious possibility of Summer's chairmanship at the Fed that made Yellen appear as a reasonable choice.
However, a recent portrait of Yellen by the Huffington Post's Zach Carter paints a picture of Yellen as right-of-center insider who agreed with Summers and other corporate-Democrats on key policy disasters, including cutting Social Security, supporting NAFTA, and calling for the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act which many economists see as the key decision that ultimately led to the housing crisis and financial disaster that took hold in 2008. According to Carter:While supporting Yellen has become a cause célèbre for progressives opposed to Summers' regulatory hostilities, Yellen supported a host of economic policies during the Clinton era that have since become broadly unpopular. She backed the repeal of the landmark Glass-Steagall bank reform and she supported the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement. She also pressured the government to develop a new statistical metric intended to lower payments to senior citizens on Social Security.
UN Expert: Torture of 'Angola 3' Shows Inhumanity of US Prisons
The more than 40 year solitary confinement of "Angola Three" inmate Albert Woodfox "amounts to torture and it should be lifted immediately," declared UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez in a sweeping indictment Monday of inhumanity and abuse in U.S. prisons.
The injustices Woodfox faces have been highlighted by the recent passing of fellow 'Angola Three' inmate Herman Wallace and underline systemic abuse throughout U.S. detention facilities, declared Méndez.
“The circumstances of the incarceration of the so-called 'Angola Three' clearly show that the use of solitary confinement in the US penitentiary system goes far beyond what is acceptable under international human rights law,” Méndez stated.
Woodfox and Wallace were placed in solitary confinement in 1972 at Louisiana's maximum-security Angola prison, which sits on a former slave plantation, on unverified charges of killing a prison guard. Both men maintained their innocence and charged that they were targeted and framed for their political activities, which included founding a Black Panthers chapter and organizing against abusive conditions in the prison. Robert King soon joined them in solitary, accused of killing another prisoner.
Court: Applicants Wrongly Denied US Citizenship
For more than two decades, Sigifredo Saldana Iracheta insisted he was a U.S. citizen, repeatedly explaining to immigration officials that he was born to an American father and a Mexican mother in a city just south of the Texas border. ...
In rejecting Saldana's bid for citizenship, the government sought to apply an old law that cited Article 314 of the Mexican Constitution, which supposedly dealt with legitimizing out-of-wedlock births. But there was a problem: The Mexican Constitution has no such article.
The error appears to have originated in 1978, and it's been repeated ever since, frustrating an untold number of people who are legally entitled to U.S. citizenship but couldn't get it.
At oral arguments last month in Houston, Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod was incredulous.
"So all along, that's been in this case, and you all have been citing this over and over again to people for years now, and you can't even look it up in Mexican law," Walker Elrod said to government attorney Aimee Carmichael. "It doesn't even exist."
US to ‘announce future’ of military aid to Egypt – White House
The US is not planning to halt “all” military aid to Egypt, the White House has said, refuting some recent media reports. However, in the coming days the US administration is planning to announce the future of its “assistance relationship with Egypt.”
The suspension of aid that will come in days was prompted by an "accumulation of events," the source added.
Another US official meanwhile told Reuters that the United States is "leaning toward withholding" most of military aid from Egypt except for the funds intended for counterterrorism actions and providing Sinai security.
The Evening Greens
Obama's Former Communications Director Anita Dunn Pitches "Ethical Oil" Keystone XL Ad
Ezra Levant is the man behind an attempt to re-frame the Alberta tar sands as "ethical oil." "Ethical" - Levant's deceptive public relations campaign argues of the tar sands "carbon bomb" - because it doesn't come from the war-ridden and human rights-abusing Middle East.
Now, the "ethical oil" campaign has a new backer: Anita Dunn, former White House Communications Director for President Barack Obama and current Principal of SKDKnickerbocker, a public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C.; New York City and Albany.
SKDK ... does PR for Transcanada, the company behind the controversial Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline. Transcanada has paid SKDK - and by extension, Dunn - to place ads in strategic television and radio markets in the Washington, D.C. area. ...
The New York Times explained that Transcanada paid Dunn and SKDK to place the "ethical oil"-style ad "to reach power players in Washington’s media market."
Dunn's husband is Robert "Bob" Bauer, President Obama's personal attorney since he arrived in Washington, D.C. as a U.S. Senator in 2005; Obama's election law attorney for his 2008 and 2012 electoral campaigns; former Obama White House Counsel during his first term in office and former Counsel for the Democratic National Committee.
Campaigning Again, for Obama to Say ‘No’But wait! There's some good news today...
Elijah Zarlin was handcuffed outside the White House two years ago for joining in weeks of protests against the Keystone XL pipeline. His arrest would have been an ordinary rite of Washington, except for one thing: Mr. Zarlin had been an aide at the headquarters of Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.
“I certainly never thought when I was working in Chicago in 2008 that I was going to have to go to the White House in 2011 to get arrested,” said Mr. Zarlin, 33, now a senior campaign manager for Credo Action, a liberal advocacy group.
Mr. Zarlin is one of more than 150 Obama campaign alumni who are pushing the president to reject the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline, which would carry millions of gallons of crude oil from Alberta in Canada to American refineries on the Gulf Coast. Mr. Obama has sent mixed signals on his decision, due in the next months, but many environmentalists expect him to approve the pipeline.
Mr. Zarlin, like other former aides, says his work is a reflection of his disappointment in the man he helped elect.
Nation's First Large-Scale Solar Plant with Thermal Energy Storage Begins Operation
Spanish company Abengoa has successfully passed commercial operation tests at its Solana solar thermal power plant located near Gila Bend and about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona.
During the tests completed on October 7, 2013, the company has operated the turbine at full capacity while charging the thermal storage system, generated electricity after the sun went down, and operated the project for six hours using only the thermal storage system.
Spanning across around 1,900 acres, the project will generate enough electricity to power 70,000 homes.
Right now the NSA is spying on everyone's personal communications, and they’re operating without any meaningful oversight. Since the Snowden leaks started, more than 569,000 people from all walks of life have signed the StopWatching.us petition telling the U.S. Congress that we want them to rein in the NSA.
On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the US Patriot Act, we're taking the next step and holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. We’ll be handing the half-million petitions to Congress to remind them that they work for us -- and we won’t tolerate mass surveillance any longer.
StopWatching.us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum.
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
Willie Nix - Just Can't Stay
Willie Nix - Baker Shop Boogie
Willie Nix - Nervous Wreck
Willie Nix - Let's Take A Little Walk
Willie Nix - Riding In The Moonlight
Willie Nix - Prison Bound Blues
Willie Nix - Lonesome Bedroom Blues
Willie Nix - Seems Like A Million Years
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!