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 "The Poet Laureate of the Blues," songwriter Percy Mayfield. Enjoy!
Percy Mayfield - Stranger in My Own Home Town
"When I saw Wonder Woman being constantly put in positions where she'd get tied up with her own rope, or held hostage, even as a kid, my reaction was 'C'mon, she's too smart for that.'"
-- J. Michael Straczynski
News and Opinion
Senators announce deal to prevent US debt default and end shutdownThe Ringmaster of the blue clowns is in favor of cutting entitlements, chained cpi entitlement cuts are part of his budget proposal. The Ringmaster of the blue clowns created the sequester.
Here's a summary of the deal announced on the Senate floor. The bill would:
• Reopen government and fund it through 15 January 2014.
• Push the debt ceiling deadline back to 7 February 2014 (but NOT abolish "emergency measures" the Treasury could use to protect against default past that date).
• Appoint members of a budget conference committee to join the House in trying to pass a budget and end the cycle of standoffs. [Pass the
• Institute an anti-fraud provision in Obamacare requiring government to confirm financial need of the recipients of health subsidies.
Senator Ted Cruz says he will not block the deal. He's talking now outside the Senate. He says the deal provides no relief to the victims of Obamacare.
Reports from the House Republican meeting say the leadership was upbeat and forward-looking. "We lost this round but we'll fight again" seemed to be the take-home. The leadership asked members to vote "Yes" on the deal.
The House will vote at 7pm at the earliest. Guardian Washington bureau chief Dan Roberts (@RobertsDan) forwards this from the Whip's office:
The vote in the Senate will most likely occur sometime in the 6:00-7:00 p.m. neighborhood - subject to change.
Moving to the other side of the Rotunda…
At this time – there are no votes expected until 7:00-8:00 p.m. - at the earliest (also subject to change). The timing of the House votes is entirely contingent upon how quickly the Senate votes and delivers the necessary paperwork.
This blue clown propagandist, Dave Johnson does the 99% no favors by misdirecting the attention of the public to only half of the problem.
Misunderestimating Who They Are
There is a miscalculation at the core of Democratic strategies for ending the shutdown and avoiding default. Democrats keep saying, “They wouldn’t really do that.” But this calculation doesn’t “get it” about who and what the country is dealing with.
Here is the miscalculation: If you listen to right-wing radio, watch FOX News and read their online media and take it seriously (because they do) then you would know that many on the right don’t want to live in a country that has Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, the minimum wage, Food Stamps, immigration, public schools, infant nutrition programs and the rest of the things government does to make our lives better. And they don’t want anyone else to live in a country that has those things, either.
They are willing to destroy the village to keep the village from having those things. If you don’t “get that” before entering into negotiations, you’re at risk of making a terrible mistake — like the sequester.
Americans need to discover how the world sees them
Ordinary Americans, and especially the small minority active in Democrat and Republican primaries, must learn more of what people across the globe are thinking and saying about the US. For if you follow that, you realise that the erosion of American power is happening faster than most of us predicted – while the politicians in Washington behave like rutting stags with locked antlers.
The 24/7 US news coverage follows every last lunge and twist of the stagfight. It is the political equivalent of ESPN, the non-stop sports network. Just occasionally, the rest of the world breaks through: for instance, when the World Bank and the IMF hold their annual meetings – right there in Washington – and the heads of both institutions, Jim Yong Kim and Christine Lagarde, warn of dire consequences. That gets a few column inches. Or when the government shutdown and debt-ceiling brinkmanship leads Barack Obama to cancel a major trip to Asia, including the Apec summit in Bali, leaving the floor wide open for president Xi Jinping to assert China's regional leadership ("the Asia-Pacific cannot prosper without China"). ...
At the time of writing, it looks as if the rutting stags in the Senate and House of Representatives will step back from the canyon's edge at the last minute. But even if they do, huge damage has already been done. Politically, in the eyes of the world, the "full faith and credit" of the US has been further eroded.
Greenwald exits Guardian for new Omidyar media venture
Glenn Greenwald, who has made headlines around the world with his reporting on U.S. electronic surveillance programs, is leaving the Guardian newspaper to join a new media venture funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, according to people familiar with the matter. ...
Omidyar, who is chairman of the board at eBay Inc but is not involved in day-to-day operations at the company, has numerous philanthropic, business and political interests, mainly through an investment entity called the Omidyar Network.
Forbes pegged the 46-year-old Omidyar's net worth at $8.5 billion. ...
Omidyar, a French-born Iranian-American, also founded the Democracy Fund to support "social entrepreneurs working to ensure that our political system is responsive to the public," according to its website.
Aaron Swartz’s last gift to journalism and online privacy finds a new home
Before Aaron Swartz's suicide in January, he had nearly completed work with Wired's Kevin Poulsen on a secure system to accept messages and documents from anonymous sources over the Internet. The result of that effort was DeadDrop, an open- source python platform. The system assigns each source a unique code name so a relationship can be established without news organizations ever knowing the source's identity.
... On Tuesday, the Freedom of the Press Foundation announced it will be taking over the project, renaming it SecureDrop and providing on-site installation for news organizations along with ongoing technical support. ...
“A truly free press hinges on the ability of investigative journalists to build trust with their sources," argued Trevor Timm, the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation said in a statement Tuesday. Timm also said that the anonymity made possible by the project is all the more important in light of recent NSA revelations and prosecutions against whistleblowers, which he believes "have shown the grave challenges to this relationship and the lengths governments will go to undermine it."
Court Rejects Appeal Bid by Writer James Risen in Leak Case
A federal appeals court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal by James Risen, an author and a reporter for The New York Times, who was ordered in July to testify in the trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency official accused of leaking information to him.
The decision, by the full United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, is expected to set up an appeal by Mr. Risen to the Supreme Court in what has become a major case over the scope and limitations of First Amendment press freedoms. ...
The main Supreme Court precedent on the topic, which is more than four decades old, involved grand jury investigations rather than trials, and it is considered by many legal scholars to be ambiguous. Mr. Risen’s case could provide clarity — one way or the other — about the scope of the First Amendment’s protections to reporters.
Snapchat admits to sharing photos with the cops
Snapchat, an app that allows users to take photos knowing that they will be deleted forever once they've been seen by the intended recipient, has admitted that in certain circumstances it might hand your pictures over to the authorities.
In a blog post entitled "Who Can View My Snaps and Stories", Micah Schaffer of Snapchat's Trust and Safety department explained, "If we receive a search warrant from law enforcement for the contents of Snaps and those Snaps are still on our servers, a federal law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) obliges us to produce the Snaps to the requesting law enforcement agency."
Okay, so that's the law, but have they ever actually done it? Yes. Schaffer went on to explain that "about a dozen" of the warrants Snapchat has received have resulted in the exchange of data with an enforcement agency.
US Corporate "Safe Harbor" For EU Private Data Lied About, Abused, Ignored. Europarl calls for immediate scrapping
When private data on European Union citizens are transmitted to the United States, the corporations handling and managing that data must fulfil certain requirements, largely corresponding to European standards of protection of privacy.
In this Monday’s hearing, it surfaced that most U.S. corporations completely ignore this. And normally, they lie, and falsely state that they respect the safe harbor regulations. This is serious, as there practically isn’t any protection of private data at all in the United States.
And it gets worse. There are obvious connections between many U.S. corporations lying about safe harbor and the NSA mass surveillance. This means that private data that the European Union naïvely thought was safe is actually wide open to the U.S. surveillance apparatus.
The transgressions are so obvious that the European Parliament’s rapporteur (responsible manager) called for the entire safe harbor agreement to be scrapped right in the meeting.
U.S. Seeks $10.8 Billion Weapons Sale to U.A.E., Saudis
The U.S. Defense Department plans to sell Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates $10.8 billion in advanced weaponry, including air-launched cruise missiles and precision munitions. ...
The proposal includes the first U.S. sales to Middle East allies of new Raytheon and Boeing weapons that can be launched at a distance from Saudi F-15 and U.A.E. F-16 fighters.
The Boeing Expanded-Response Standoff Land Attack Missile and Raytheon Joint Standoff Weapon give those nations new capabilities to strike at air defense sites and radar installations, such as those possessed by Iran, from beyond the range of enemy air-defense systems so pilots aren’t put at risk.
Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. already are among the largest buyers of U.S. weapons. In 2011, the Obama administration signed a $29.4 billion deal with Saudi Arabia to sell 84 Boeing-made F-15 jets and upgrade 70 planes already owned by the kingdom. The Obama administration also has sold the U.A.E. an advanced missile defense system called the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense made by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)
New Study on Iraq Death Count 50 Times Higher Than Americans Think
Part of American Exceptionalism is never having to admit when your government kills hundreds of thousands of people.
A new study says the U.S. invasion and subsequent war in Iraq killed an estimated 460,800, higher than most of the estimates frequently cited in the mainstream media, but lower than the controversial 2006 Lancet study that estimated between 400,000 and 655,000 excess deaths.
The authors of the study, which was published in PLOS Medicine, detail a more rigorous methodology than has ever been employed for previous Iraq War mortality estimates.
But even this may be an undercount. John Tirman, Executive Director at the MIT Center for International Studies and author of The Deaths of Others, told me in an email that the new study’s estimate of deaths of displaced people, approximately 56,000, is “likely to be more like 100,000 or even greater, but it’s almost impossible to say without more research—i.e., a survey among the displaced.”
Jihadists see Syria insurgency as just the beginning of a Middle East revolution
Shortly before its operatives killed 14 Iraqi Shia children in a school bombing this month, the group once known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq sent guerrillas into northern Syrian villages with orders to reopen local Sunni classrooms. In a series of early-autumn visits, the militants handed out religious textbooks and backpacks bearing the group’s new name: the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
A four-hour drive to the east, a rival al-Qa’ida faction, Jabhat al-Nusra, was busy setting up a jobs programme in Ash-Shaddadi, a desert town it has held since February. The Islamists restarted production in an oilfield that had been closed by the fighting, and fired up the town’s gas plant, now a source of income for the town.
The two rebel groups, with their distinct lineages to the terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden, have concentrated Western fears of rising jihadist influences within Syria’s rebel movement. Two-and-a-half years after the start of the country’s uprising, Islamists are carving out fiefdoms and showing signs of digging in. ...
The prominence of the two groups — as fighters, as recruiters and, more recently, as local administrators — appears to have accelerated even as the Obama administration seeks to bolster moderate and secularist rebels with new weapons and training. Multiple independent studies, as well as Western and Middle Eastern intelligence officials, show the hard-line Islamists surging ahead by almost every measure, undermining Western efforts to find a democratic alternative to President Assad. ...
But what troubles Western observers is not the groups’ fighting prowess, but their shared vision of a jihad that extends beyond removing Assad. While other rebels fight to remove the Syrian dictator, former and current US and Middle Eastern officials say, the al-Qa’ida groups are transforming the conflict into a symbolic struggle against the West and Israel. ...
The formal titles adopted by both al-Qa’ida groups include the Arabic term for greater Syria — al-Sham — that radical Islamists use to link their movement to the ancient Islamic caliphate that ruled a vast swath of the Middle East, with Damascus as its capital. Its use, the jihadists say, evokes an image of a future Middle East with a single Islamic state, encompassing the territories of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Israel.
The Evening Greens
No Safe Havens in Increasingly Acid Oceans
Oil, gas and coal are contaminating the world’s oceans from top to bottom, threatening the lives of more than 800 million people, a new study [published in Nature] warns Tuesday. ...
The study found that carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels are overheating the oceans, turning them acidic and reducing the amount of oxygen in seawater. This is happening too fast for most marine species to adapt and ocean ecosystems around the world will collapse.
By 2100, no corner of the oceans that cover 70 percent of the Earth’s surface will be untouched. ...
Some 500 million to 870 million of the world’s poorest people are likely to be unable to feed themselves or earn incomes from oceans too contaminated by fossil fuel emissions, the “Biotic and Human Vulnerability to Projected Changes in Ocean Biogeochemistry over the 21st Century” study concludes.
UN Rejects Meeting With First Nations Community Over Trade Agreement
New law could give China immunity from environmental, labor rules protecting First Nations from foreign industry
Following a Canada-wide tour of First Nations communities by the United Nations rapporteur on indigenous rights this week, the international body has rejected a request from the Hupacasath First Nation to meet over a major trade pact between Canada and China they say will result in the destruction of vast swathes of First Nations land.
According to the Hupacasath, the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) would allow Chinese businesses to sue Canadian local or national governments if their laws block them from turning profits in Canada. As the First Nations rights group Idle No More said in an earlier press release, "This includes any environmental protection rules that China’s government does not agree with," and would put Canadian employment standards "on the chopping block" within Chinese companies operating in Canada.
China would also be immune to having to pay for clean-up costs associated with an oil spill or other environmental disaster, amongst many other laws protecting Firsts Nations and Canadian people from corporate harm, the group warns.
First-Ever Footage of Aging Tar Sands Pipelines Beneath Great Lakes
This past July, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) conducted a diving expedition to obtain footage of aging oil pipelines strung across one of the most sensitive locations in the Great Lakes, and possibly the world: the Straits of Mackinac. ... The Straits of Mackinac pipelines, owned by Enbridge Energy, are 60-years-old and considered one of the greatest threats to the Great Lakes because of their age, location and the hazardous products they transport—including tar sands derived oil.
... Enbridge hastily moved forward with plans to increase pressure on the aging pipelines, and has bypassed critical environmental permitting for changes in operation... The footage shows pipelines suspended over the lakebed, some original supports broken away—indicating the presence of corrosion—and some sections of the suspended pipelines covered in large piles of unknown debris. ... If these aging pipelines rupture, the resulting oil slick would cause irreversible damage to fish and wildlife, drinking water, Lake Michigan beaches, Mackinac Island and our economy.
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
Percy Mayfield - Ha Ha in the Daytime
Percy Mayfield - Hit The Road Jack
Percy Mayfield - Hopeless
Percy Mayfield - Life Is Suicide
Percy Mayfield - Cookin' In Style
Percy Mayfield - Please Send Me Someone To Love
Percy Mayfield- River's Invitation
Percy Mayfield - Baby Please
Percy Mayfield - Highway Is Like A Woman
Percy Mayfield - Louisiana
Percy Mayfield and Orch.- Loose Lips
Percy Mayfield - Gone Astray
Percy Mayfield - My Blues
Percy Mayfield - Walking on a Tightrope
Percy Mayfield - Never no more
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!