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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 soul and blues singer Earl Gaines.  Enjoy!

Earl Gaines - 24 Hours A Day

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”

  -- Henry David Thoreau

News and Opinion

Million Mask March 11-5-13

By the time I got down the Gomorrah Expressway to the Million Mask March, most of the action was already over and the Dance Party was pretty sparsely attended.  

Million Mask March 11-5-13

The marchers dispersed all over the area around the Mall and the White House and I ran into and chatted with a bunch of them.  RT and AFP both got some pretty good video of the march and the rally at the White House which is below.

Million Mask March

"Obama, come out, we got some shit to talk about..."

Protesters at the Million Mask March in Washington, D.C., were upset about a lot of things

Around the world, people associated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous are participating in masked protests in honor of Guy Fawkes Day.  The Washington, D.C., event associated with the Million Mask March featured a few hundred people upset about a wide range of issues. The group met in front of the Washington Monument before marching to the White House, and then continuing on to the Capitol.

Protesters participating at a "speak-in" directly in front of the White House fences cited everything from police brutality to  foreign affairs as their reasons for attending. Several protesters who spoke to the Switch cited NSA surveillance programs as the reason they came out. And signs held by protesters identified many other causes, including antinuclear views and advocacy against genetically modified food.

There were a number of police cars and officers standing at a distance from the protest while the Switch was on the scene near the White House. One protester wryly noted that "the police are protesting the protest peacefully." However, a later tweet from the OccupyWallSt Twitter account appears to show an arrest being made.

'Anonymous' activists denounce govt spying on citizens

No to asylum, but Germans want to hear what Snowden has to say

The chancellor's spokesman on Monday took great pains to stress the need to avoid a break with Washington over allegations of the mass surveillance of German citizens by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and possibly even the tapping of Merkel's mobile phone.

“The trans-Atlantic alliance remains for us Germans of exceptional importance,” Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin. He added that Germany had benefitted more than virtually any other nation from its friendly relations with the United States and that this was a major factor to be weighed up in any and all decisions the government made.

Seibert also ruled out the idea of Berlin granting former NSA subcontractor Edward Snowden asylum in Germany, so that he could testify before a parliamentary committee looking into the US spying allegations. Snowden's situation, he said, did not meet the criteria for such a move.

Hermann Gröhe, the general secretary of Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), made a similar statement, noting that the United States, which wants to put Snowden on trial on espionage charges, has a valid extradition agreement with Germany.

‘Courage Is Contagious’: Additional NSA Employees Said to Be Following Snowden’s Lead

The “courage” of Edward Snowden is “contagious,” according to lawyer and transparency advocate Jesselyn Radack, who says that additional employees at the National Security Agency are now coming forward with what they consider objectionable practices by their employer.

In an interview with ABC News on Thursday, Raddack revealed that an influx of NSA whistleblowers, inspired by Snowden, are now knocking on the doors of her organization.

According to Radack, several more whistleblowers have approached the Government Accountability Project (GAP)—the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization where she is the director of National Security and Human Rights—since Snowden’s story broke earlier this year.

“There definitely could be more revelations in addition to those that Snowden has revealed and that are continuing to come out,” she told ABC News.

As U.S. Weighs Spying Changes, Officials Say Data Sweeps Must Continue

Mr. Obama has said nothing publicly about specific steps he is weighing in response to the disclosures of the N.S.A. practices by Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor who downloaded and turned over to journalists tens of thousands of documents concerning the agency.

But protests from business executives, who told Mr. Obama last week at a White House meeting that they feared the N.S.A. revelations would lead to billions of dollars in lost business in Europe and Asia — and angry responses to the revelations that the United States was monitoring the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany — have forced a rethinking inside the White House.

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Caitlin M. Hayden, said Monday that the reviews now underway are intended to assure “that we are more effectively weighing the risks and rewards of our activities.” That includes, she said, “ensuring that we are focused above all on threats to the American people.”

In public testimony, General Alexander and the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., have shown little willingness to make major changes, apart from agreeing to more oversight and public disclosure of some decisions by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The White House has pressed for more. Nonetheless, the actions contemplated inside the administration seem unlikely to quell the protests in Europe or assuage critics at home.

From Congressman Sensenbrenner's op-ed in support of his and Senator Leahy's USA Freedom Act:
NSA abused trust, must be reined in

After 9-11, with the country at risk and poised to enter its most intensive conflict since the Vietnam War, Congress extended the administration broader powers to help protect the American people. But the National Security Agency abused that trust.

It ignored restrictions painstakingly crafted by lawmakers and assumed a plenary authority never imagined by Congress. Worse, the NSA has cloaked its operations behind such a thick cloud of secrecy that, even if our trust was restored, Congress and the American people would lack the ability to verify it.

Our constitutional democracy was built to be accountable to the people. That principle can never be compromised. ...

On Oct. 29, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and I came together to introduce the USA Freedom Act. The bill has co-sponsors in the Senate covering the political spectrum, and nearly 90 co-sponsors in the House — almost an even split between Republicans and Democrats.

It also has been endorsed by groups ranging from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union and has the support of many of the tech giants, including AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

How we know the NSA had access to internal Google and Yahoo cloud data

The Washington Post reported last Wednesday that the National Security Agency has been tapping into the private links that connect Google and Yahoo data centers around the world. Today we offer additional background, with new evidence from the source documents and interviews with confidential sources, demonstrating that the NSA accessed data traveling between those centers.

Immediately after the story posted online, a reporter asked NSA Director Keith B. Alexander about it at a cybersecurity event hosted by Bloomberg Government. Neither the reporter nor Alexander had read the story yet.

General, we’re getting some news that’s crossing right now being reported in The Washington Post that there are new Snowden allegations that say the NSA broke into Yahoo and Google’s databases worldwide, that they infiltrated these databases?
Alexander replied:
That’s never happened. […] This is not the NSA breaking into any databases. It would be illegal for us to do that. And so I don’t know what the report is, but I can tell you factually we do not have access to Google servers, Yahoo servers.
The story did not say the NSA breaks into “servers” or “databases.” It said the agency, working with its British counterpart, intercepts communications that run on private circuits between the fortress-like data centers that each company operates on multiple continents.

The distinction is between “data at rest” and “data on the fly.” The NSA and GCHQ do not break into user accounts that are stored on Yahoo and Google computers. They intercept the information as it travels over fiber optic cables from one data center to another.

[See also The NSA's three types of cable interception programs]

Progress... hopefully before this is over, Bush and Cheney will get a chance to visit the Hague.
Global Push to Rein in U.S. Moves from Spying to Gitmo

More than 12 years after the United States launched its global war on terrorism, testing the outer limits of international law, many of America's allies are seeking to turn back the clock to a time when targeted killings, clandestine prisons, and domestic spying were more frequently associated with rogue states than with the leader of the free world.

Here at the United Nations, foreign powers, U.N. agencies, and experts have sought to limit American espionage, impose new constraints on the use lethal drone strikes, and grant new rights for detainees locked up in the war on terror. The campaign is unfolding in obscure U.N. committees that deal with human rights, Internet governance, and other international legal issues. Increasingly, a key goal has been to impose limits on Washington's ability to act beyond its own borders.

"The unipolar moment is over," said Antonio Patriota, Brazil's U.N. ambassador, who has joined forces with his German counterpart, Peter Wittig, to push a General Assembly resolution aimed at checking the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance powers. "As we enter this new world there is no room for exceptionalism or unilateralism.... We need the same rules for everyone."  ...

"There is an effort to push back by the international community," Juan Mendez, an independent U.N. human rights watchdog and former Argentine political prisoner who endured torture during that country's "Dirty War," told Foreign Policy. "I think many governments, Europeans in particular, are moving backwards from their blind support for whatever the United States did after 9/11. As a result of this, they are asserting a need to go back to basics and reinforce international human rights standards and international humanitarian law standards."

'Eroding' Freedom: Human rights groups blast UK response to leaks

Queen tried to use state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace

Ministers were asked if money earmarked for schools, hospitals and low-income families could be used to meet soaring fuel bills

The Queen asked ministers for a poverty handout to help heat her palaces but was rebuffed because they feared it would be a public relations disaster, documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

Royal aides were told that the £60m worth of energy-saving grants were aimed at families on low incomes and if the money was given to Buckingham Palace instead of housing associations or hospitals it could lead to "adverse publicity" for the Queen and the Government.

Aides complained to ministers in 2004 that the Queen's gas and electricity bills, which had increased by 50 per cent that year, stood at more than £1m a year and had become "untenable".

The Royal Household also complained that the £15m government grant to maintain the Queen's palaces was inadequate.

Goldman Sachs Gives Hillary Clinton Almost Half A Million Dollars In Less Than A Week

While the public polls show a public disgusted with the two party duopoly on power and demanding change, the same figures are emerging as the choices for the next president. The most obvious is Hillary Clinton who is reportedly positioning herself now as a candidate of change — a curious role for one of the most establishment figures on the political scene. ...  

Indeed, the new Hillary Clinton is already attracting the type of influence seekers associated with the two parties. Just this last month, Goldman Sachs gave Clinton almost a half of million dollars for just two speeches in one week. The event is made more curious by fact that speech was described as “prepared remarks” followed by limited questions. It is doubtful that Clinton informed Goldman Sachs of anything other than the most predictable remarks from a politician — not some critical re-orientation of their investment strategy. ...

In the meantime, the two parties are moving to ensure that the same faces and choices will be given to voters despite overwhelming discontent over the two-party monopoly on power. With a system protecting incumbents and control of the two main parties, such public opposition remains largely immaterial and business interests are already putting money down on candidates like Clinton — and the “style of honesty” that they crave.

How the 1 percent always wins: Liberal washing is the right’s new favorite tactic

Similar to green washing or so-called “gay washing”/“rainbow washing,” liberal washing is all about wrapping corporate America’s agenda in the veneer of fight-for-the-little-guy progressivism, thus portraying plutocrats’ radical rip-off schemes as ideologically moderate efforts to rescue the proles.

The most reliable way to liberal-wash something is to get a famous Democrat to support it. This is because even though many Democratic politicians, party officials, operatives and pundits are neither liberal nor progressive, the media nonetheless usually portrays all people affiliated with the Democratic Party as uniformly liberal on all issues.

The famous examples of liberal washing come from the White House. A few decades ago, Democratic President Bill Clinton liberal-washed corporatist schemes like NAFTA and financial deregulation. Today, it is Democratic President Barack Obama liberal-washing the insurance industry’s healthcare initiatives and now joining with a handful of Democratic legislators to liberalwash – and legitimize – the right-wing crusade to slash Social Security benefits. ...

Until liberal washing becomes anathema to more of the genuine left, there is little chance of combating today’s plutocratic politics. It is a politics that manufactures the parameters of economic debates so that only corporate-friendly outcomes are possible. It is a politics that relies as much on money and votes as on permissive semiotics — the kind that permits labels like “liberal,” “progressive” and “left” to include those who shill for the right.

The Evening Greens

UC Santa Cruz Reports Record Deaths Of West Coast Starfish

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Marine scientists are finding a large number of dead starfish along the West Coast stricken with a disease that causes the creatures to lose their arms and disintegrate.

The starfish are dying from “sea star wasting disease,” an affliction that causes white lesions to develop, which can spread and turn the animals into “goo.” The disease has killed up to 95 percent of a particular species of sea star in some tide pool populations.

“They essentially melt in front of you,” Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Sampling has found the disease in starfish from Alaska to Southern California, according to a map on the marine lab’s website.

New GMO Crops Temporarily Blocked in Mexico

More at The Real News
First Nations to Resume Blockade in Canadian Fracking Fight

Elsipogtog First Nations members are heading back to the streets in New Brunswick this week to defend their land from a gas drilling company seeking to re-start exploratory fracking operations in the region.

The new wave of local anti-drilling resistance will resume an ongoing battle between the community members who faced a paramilitary-style onslaught by law enforcement agencies last month that sparked international outcry and a wave of solidarity protests.

The renewed protest follows a recent announcement by New Brunswick's premiere that SWN Resources Canada, a subsidiary of the Houston-based Southwestern Energy Company, will resume shale gas exploration in First Nations territory after it was halted by blockades and protests.

Elsipogtog members announced Monday they will join with local residents and other First Nations communities—including the Mi'kmaq people—to "light a sacred fire" and stage a protest to stop SWN from fracking.

“SWN is violating our treaty rights. We are here to save our water and land, and to protect our animals and people. There will be no fracking at all,” said Louis Jerome, a Mi'kmaq sun dancer, in a statement. “We are putting a sacred fire here, and it must be respected. We are still here, and we're not backing down.”

Blog Posts of Interest

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

We’re About to Lose Net Neutrality — And the Internet as We Know It

The Obama Administration May Be Guilty of War Crimes

And so, under the watchful eyes of the NSA...

NSA Legal Counsel Defends Massive Phone Data Dragnet In Testimony By Comparing It To Stop and Frisk

Oh, noes!!! Transgender teachers!

A Little Night Music

Earl Gaines & Johnny Jones - Stacked In The Back

Earl Gaines - The Best Of Luck To You

Earl Gaines - Hymn Number 5

Earl Gaines - Somebody, Somewhere

Earl Gaines - The Door Is Still Open

Earl Gaines - Nine Pound Steel

Earl Gaines - I Can't Face It

Earl Gaines - Now do you hear

Earl Gaines - Keep Your Mind On Me

Earl Gaines - If You Want What I Got

Earl Gaines - Its worth anything

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