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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 delta bluesman Bukka White.  Enjoy!

Bukka White - Got Sick And Tired

“The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”

  -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

News and Opinion

Another day, another round of the hectoring hypocrites...

Russia may face second round of sanctions over Ukraine

Barack Obama and his European Union allies have unveiled a co-ordinated set of sanctions to punish Russia for occupying Crimea, imposing visa restrictions on individuals and sharpening their rhetoric in what has rapidly degenerated into the worst east-west crisis since the cold war.

Early on Friday, France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said that if the first round of sanctions did not succeed, a second could follow, targeting Russian businesses and people close to Vladimir Putin. But the president rebuffed Washington's warnings, saying Moscow could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine.

Putin and Obama spoke for an hour on Thursday afternoon. According to the White House, the US president told Putin that newly announced sanctions, introduced in co-ordination with the UK, were a response to Russia's "violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity". ...

The urgency was heightened after the Crimean parliament abruptly and unanimously voted to secede from Ukraine and reposition the Black Sea peninsula as part of Russia. It brought forward a referendum on secession to 16 March, but said such a vote would merely rubber-stamp its own decision. The sudden move elicited cries of protest from the new authorities in Kiev, and grave warnings from the west.

"The decision to hold a referendum in Crimea is illegal and not compatible with the Ukrainian constitution," Merkel said. ...

[One is left to wonder whether the decision to mount a coup and overthrow the elected government in Kiev was "compatible with the Ukrainian constitution." - js]

Obama's rhetoric was more combative than of late and he accused Russia of not just "violating sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the Ukraine but of "stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people".

"In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders," he added.

As Crimea Threatens Secession, Does East-West Split Hasten Ukraine’s Political Divide?

Anxiety Grows for Ukrainians as US/Russia Battle for Clout

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin by phone Friday morning, but no consensus on how best to move forward over the crisis in Ukraine was reached and each country represented the call, not surprisingly, with sharply different narratives.

According to statements from the White House, Mr. Obama urged Mr. Putin on the call to authorize direct talks with Ukraine’s newly established government in Kiev, allow entry of international monitors and return his military forces to the bases that Russia maintains in Crimea.

Putin responded by saying that the government Kiev was ushered in by an "anti-constitutional coup" and he continues to view it as not "legitimate" it as it has no popular mandate across the country.

The New York Times explains the tensions surrounding the Crimea vote, currently set for March 16, by noting how both international powers are leveraging their outsized influence to make declarations about representing the will of the Ukrainian people:

With Washington and Moscow trading angry accusations of hypocrisy on the issue of respecting state sovereignty, validating Crimea’s secession would carry pointed political risks for Mr. Putin, given longstanding demands for independence from Russia by its own similarly autonomous republics in the Caucasus, including Dagestan and Chechnya. ...

The West, which has insisted that the Ukrainian people are entitled to decide their future without interference from Russia, faces similar challenges as it seeks to explain why the people of Crimea should not necessarily decide their own fate.

Moscow Signals It Will Embrace Crimean Move for Secession

Leaders of both houses of Russia’s Parliament said on Friday that they would support a vote by Crimea to break away from Ukraine and become a new region of the Russian Federation, the first public signal that the Kremlin was backing the secessionist move that Ukraine, the United States and other countries have denounced as a violation of international law. ...

Hours after the United States announced the first punitive actions against specific Russians, Mr. Obama contacted Mr. Putin. The two leaders spoke for an hour by telephone and, according to the White House, Mr. Obama urged Mr. Putin to authorize direct talks with Ukraine’s new, pro-Western government, permit the entry of international monitors and return his forces to the bases that Russia leases in Crimea.

Early Friday, the Kremlin released a statement offering a starkly different account of the phone call, and emphasizing Russia’s view that the new government in Kiev is illegitimate.

“In the course of the discussion there emerged differences in approaches and assessments of the causes which brought about the current crisis and the resulting state of affairs,” the statement said. “Vladimir Putin, for his part, noted that this had occurred as a result of an anti-constitutional coup, which does not have a national mandate.”

The Kremlin went on to say that the current Ukrainian leadership had imposed “absolutely illegitimate decisions” on the eastern and southeastern regions of the country. “Russia cannot ignore appeals connected to this, calls for help, and acts appropriately, in accordance with international law,” the statement said.

Mr. Putin, the statement said, appreciated the importance of the Russian-American relationship to global security, and added that bilateral ties “should not be sacrificed for individual — albeit rather important — international problems.”

Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine

Fascists moving up in Ukraine

In Kiev, the leader of the Right Sector movement, Dmytro Yarosh, will run for president of Ukraine, the chairman of the local branch of the movement, Andriy Tarasenko, said on Friday. The nationalist group, which was important in the fight for Kiev’s Independence Square, will rename itself at a congress in a week and participate in elections at all levels, Mr. Tarasenko said.

Right Sector has been controversial for its semi-military organization, but it has also refrained from working in eastern Ukraine, where its presence could be seen as a provocation by Russia. But Mr. Tarasenko said that the group was prepared to fight, in Crimea and elsewhere, “if the Kremlin tramples on us further.” He added, “Accordingly, we are conducting mobilization and are preparing to repel foreign aggression.”

The 2012 IMF/Ukraine Negotiations

These are the reform the IMF wanted for a 4 billion dollar loan:

the IMF demanded that Ukraine double prices for gas and electricity to industry and homes, that they lift a ban on private sale of Ukraine’s rich agriculture lands, make a major overhaul of their economic holdings, devalue the currency, slash state funds for school children and the elderly to “balance the budget.”
This is what the IMF does to your country. Note that 4 billion doesn’t even come close to covering Ukraine’s debts.  Moscow offered 15 billion and a one-third reduction in natural gas prices.

If the Ukraine wants something close to prosperity, this is a sideshow.  The first thing they have to do is destroy their own oligarchs: take away their money and power.

But remember how the West squealed when Putin brought his oligarchs to heel?  Or at Venezuelan redistribution?  Oligarchs are even more sacrosanct in the West than the East.  The IMF would never allow the Ukraine to destroy their oligarchs and throw them all in jail.

An interesting (and surprisingly balanced) article, with some good background information:
Russia Referendum Exacerbates Crimea Divisions

Many activists in the turmoil-ridden Crimea believe that the peninsula is Russian land and has always been so.

But before Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1783, it was for centuries the center of Crimean Khanate, which for many years controlled what is now the south of Russia and much of modern Ukraine.

Its capital was Bakhchysarai, today a little town on the way from the seat of Russia's Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol to the regional capital Simferopol, where the parliament on Thursday called for President Vladimir Putin to annex Crimea and moved up a referendum asking residents if they want to join Russia. ...

Tatars already experienced complete expulsion from Crimea when, under the pretext of alleged cooperation with Nazi forces during World War II, they were forcibly deported to Central Asia and Siberia. Thousands died of starvation there.

Only in 1991 were Tatars allowed to return, with many of them claiming some of the best land plots in the peninsula. Numerous makeshift booths are scattered around major Crimean towns today with the single aim of physically marking the territory.

"These Tatars are just afraid that Russia will seize these territories," said Nadezhda Andreyeva, a Russian citizen who moved to Crimea from Siberia to enjoy its better climate.

A Struggle Amongst Oligarchs in Ukraine

The ‘We-Hate-Putin’ Group Think

The “we-hate-Putin” hysteria has now reached the point that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has deployed the “Hitler analogy” against Putin, comparing Putin’s interests in protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine with Hitler citing ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe to justify aggression at the start of World War II. ...

Normally, anyone who uses a Hitler analogy is immediately chastised for both absurd hyperbole and anti-Semitism. ... Usually neocons are among the first to protest this cheapening of the Holocaust’s memory, but apparently their determination to take down Putin for his interference in their “regime change” plans across the Middle East caused some neocons to endorse Clinton’s Hitler analogy. One of the Washington Post’s neocon editorial writers, Charles Lane, wrote on Thursday: “Superficially plausible though the Hitler-Putin comparison may be, just how precisely does it fit? In some respects, alarmingly so.” ...

If [Hillary Clinton] wanted to note that protecting one’s national or ethnic group has been cited historically to justify interventions, she surely didn’t have to go to the Hitler extreme. There are plenty of other examples.

For instance, it was a factor in the Mexican-American War in the 1840s when President James Polk cited protecting Texans as a justification for the war with Mexico. The “protect Americans” argument also was used by President Ronald Reagan in justifying his invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983. Reagan said he was protecting American students at the St. George’s Medical School, even though they were not in any real physical danger.

In other conflicts, human rights advocates have asserted the right to defend any civilians from physical danger under the so-called “responsibility to protect” — or “R2P” — principle. For example, neocons and various U.S.-based “non-governmental organizations” have urged a U.S. military intervention in Syria supposedly to protect innocent human life.

However, if anyone dared compare Ronald Reagan or, for that matter, R2P advocates to Hitler, you could expect the likes of Charles Lane to howl with outrage. Yet, when Putin faces a complex dilemma like the violent right-wing coup in Ukraine – and worries about ethnic Russians facing potential persecution – he is casually compared to Hitler with almost no U.S. opinion leader protesting the hype.

Hillary and Other Assorted Barbarians at Russia’s Gate

Hillary Clinton is a walking profanity – and, thereby, a prime candidate to be the next president of the United States. The fiend who played Julius Caesar when U.S.-employed jihadists butchered Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi (“We came, we saw, he died”) now likens Russia’s response to the U.S.-backed fascist putsch in the Ukraine to Hitler’s quest for a Greater Germany. It is like spitting on the graves of the 25 million Russians and other Soviet nationalities slaughtered in Hitler’s racist jihad – the people who actually defeated the Nazis while the U.S. and Britain loitered off Europe’s shores. At war’s end, the United States imported thousands of Nazis to construct the nuclear/chemical/biological military juggernaut that would usher in an “American Century” – while confiscating Paul Robeson and W.E.B. Dubois’ passports.

Thanks to the Americans, West German denazification never happened but, by the mid-Seventies, Washington had implanted fascist military regimes throughout Latin America – one of which exterminated 200,000 Guatemalan Mayas.

When John Kerry praises the “brave Ukrainians” that “took to the streets to stand against tyranny and demand democracy,” he makes common cause with the direct political heirs of the Ukrainian Waffen SS units and concentration camp guards that eagerly joined Hitler’s genocidal rampage in the mid-20th century. The Ukrainian fascists, who command 40 percent of the electorate in some western regions of the country, return the compliment, hoisting the Confederate flag in Kiev’s city hall. They see, correctly, that the epicenter of their ideology is not Berlin, but Washington.

The trans-Atlantic affinity is more fundamental and deep-rooted than the $5 billion that Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland brags the U.S. has invested in developing “democratic institutions” in Ukraine – resulting in the overthrow of the elected government and its replacement by ethnic-based mob rule. This is the model that held sway in the southern United States for nearly a century, following the death of Reconstruction. ... Fascists all over the world – not just Ukraine – know they have tens of millions of soul mates in the United States, including the leadership of both major parties. That’s why they flashed the white supremacist gang-sign from Kiev. In turn, the American political class and corporate media prove they are also fascists, by pretending that their Ukrainian allies are democrats.

The Propaganda and Nonsense Masking America's Noxious Role in the World

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.” Thus spoke Secretary of State John Kerry on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday, just as Russia took control of Crimea in the latest escalation of the Ukraine crisis. ...

We have before us a full-dress campaign to persuade the world that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military advances into Ukraine this week come to an unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of a nation struggling to find its way to a remade polity on the model of the liberal Western democracies. This is the explicit part. Implicit are the clean hands of American and European policy cliques and the broad approval enjoyed by the provisional government that appointed itself after President Viktor Yanukovych was hounded across the border with Russia two weeks ago. ...

The unapproved perspective is far more interesting and should be recognized for what it is. For the second time in less than a year we witness an American intervention that, in the age of social media and all the rest, is transparent such that we can actually study it in real time.  ... I should clarify. The first such occasion was last July, when the New York Times, in what was apparently deemed a one-off slip, provided a record of the telephone call Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, made to Cairo advising that the generals could go forward with the plan to depose President Mohammed Morsi. Morsi toppled within hours of the exchange.

And to clarify further, a third such occasion may shortly be upon us. This one, if it comes, will be in Venezuela, now ablaze with violent protests. ... In Ukraine, we have the Victoria Nuland, “F the E.U.” tape, of course. This is the strangest of all. Amid all the tumult of the past couple of weeks, as the very people Nuland and her ambassador in Kiev were cultivating rose to the top, not a single mention of the tape and the red-handed evidence of American malfeasance. The coverage is all about the unjust intimidations of the Russian Bear, the silent, beady-eyed Putin being the perfect personification of the beast.

The media performance gives so astonishing an appearance of conspiracy at this point that you start to wonder if these people, correspondents and editors alike, are somehow getting dressed in the same locker room every morning.

If They Can Sanction Russia Over Crimea, We Can Sanction Israel Over Palestine

I'm so delighted that President Obama and Congress are moving to impose sanctions on Russia over its military intervention in Crimea. Regardless of whether one thinks this is a wise or just policy in the case of Russia, this is setting a great political precedent in the United States for considering boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel over its military occupation of Palestine - the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. ...

But now, when it is proposed to sanction Russia over its military intervention in Crimea, it passes through public discourse like a hot knife through butter. No one complains that Russia is being "unfairly singled out." No one claims that people who want to impose sanctions on Russia are motivated by an irrational hatred of the Russian people. No one claims that supporters of sanctions want to "delegitimize Russia" or "destroy Russia," nor that supporters of sanctions "refuse to accept Russia's right to exist."

People are raising legitimate questions about sanctions on Russia, as they always should when new sanctions are proposed. Are they likely to be effective at achieving stated goals? Who is likely to be harmed by them, directly or indirectly? If they will harm innocent people, is that harm ethically justifiable?

But no one with any influence in public discourse is calling supporters of sanctions against Russia bad names, or demanding that they be punished for their political opinions.

Debate: Do Venezuelan Protests Reflect Popular Discontent, or the Old Qualms of a Divided Elite?

Venezuela protests: two dead in barricades clash

A National Guardsman and a civilian have been killed in Caracas after a group of men on motorcycles rode into a neighbourhood to remove a street barricade erected by anti-government protesters.

The clash that erupted on Thursday in the mixed industrial and residential district of Los Ruices heightened tensions on the same day the Venezuelan government expelled foreign diplomats for the second time in a month.

More than 100 men on motorcycles carrying pipes and rocks swarmed Los Ruices, with some trying to force their way into buildings. Residents screamed "murderers, murderers" from rooftops and the motorcyclists taunted them from below, urging them to come down and fight.

In other neighbourhoods, motorcyclists dismantled barricades amid the whistles and shouts of residents, but without violence.

The mayor of the Caracas district of Sucre, Carlos Ocariz, said residents of Los Ruices reported hearing gunshots after motorcyclists began dismantling the barricades. ... When National Guardsmen arrived to secure the area, a 25-year-old sergeant was shot through the neck and killed. Ocariz said that, according to district police, who report to him, in both cases the men's wounds seemed to indicate the shots came from above. ...

Maduro said on state television that the slain motorcyclist, Jose Gregorio Amaris, used his vehicle as a taxi, and was clearing debris in order to do his job. He said a second motorcyclist was seriously injured and described those who built the street barricades as "vandals who hate the people".

Turkey may ban Facebook and YouTube if Erdoğan wins elections

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said Facebook and YouTube could be banned following local elections in March after leaked tapes of an alleged phone call between him and his son went viral, prompting calls for his resignation.

Erdoğan claims social media sites have been abused by his political enemies, in particular his former ally US-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who, he says, is behind a stream of "fabricated" audio recordings posted on the internet purportedly revealing corruption in his inner circle.

"We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook," Erdoğan said in an interview late on Thursday with the Turkish broadcaster ATV. "We will take the necessary steps in the strongest way."

Asked if the possible barring of these sites was included in planned measures, he said: "Included."

Erdoğan says the release of his purported conversations is part of a campaign to discredit him and wreck his government, which has presided over more than a decade of strong economic growth and rising living standards in Turkey.

Gülen denies any involvement in the recordings and rejects allegations that he is using a network of proteges to try to influence politics in Turkey.

Snowden: I raised NSA concerns internally over 10 times before going rogue

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said he repeatedly tried to go through official channels to raise concerns about government snooping programs but that his warnings fell on the deaf ears. In testimony to the European Parliament released Friday morning, Snowden wrote that he reported policy or legal issues related to spying programs to more than 10 officials, but as a contractor he had no legal avenue to pursue further whistleblowing.

Asked specifically if he felt like he had exhausted all other avenues before deciding to leak classified information to the public, Snowden responded:

Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.
Snowden worked for the CIA before becoming an NSA contractor for various companies. He was working for Booz Allen Hamilton at an NSA facility in Hawaii at the time he leaked information about government programs to the press.

In an August news conference, President Obama said there were "other avenues" available to someone like Snowden "whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions." Obama pointed to Presidential Policy Directive 19 -- which set up a system for questioning classified government actions under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. However, as a contractor rather than an government employee or officer, Snowden was outside the protection of this system. "The result," Snowden said, "was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels."

FBI probing alleged removal of documents from CIA by Senate staffers

The FBI is investigating the alleged unauthorized removal of classified documents from a secret CIA facility by Senate Intelligence Committee staff who prepared a study of the agency’s use of harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists in secret overseas detention centers, McClatchy has learned.

The FBI’s involvement takes to a new level an extraordinary behind-the-scenes battle over the report that has plunged relations between the agency and its congressional overseers to their iciest in decades. The dispute also has intensified uncertainty about how much of the committee’s four-year-long study will ever be made public.

 The FBI investigation stemmed from a request to the Justice Department by the CIA general counsel’s office for a criminal investigation into the removal last fall of classified documents by committee staff from a high-security electronic reading room that they were required to use to review top-secret emails and other materials, people familiar with issue told McClatchy. The existence of the referral was first reported online Thursday afternoon by Time magazine.

The matter is now with the FBI, said one federal official. Like all of those who spoke to McClatchy, the federal official requested anonymity because the case is highly sensitive, closely guarded and could potentially involve criminal charges.

Bernie Sanders wants to unite Tea Party and progressive voters in 2016 White House run

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said he’s prepared to run for president in 2016 because he doesn’t see anyone willing to stand up for progressive values.

“This country faces more serious problems than at any time since the Great Depression, and there is a horrendous lack of serious political discourse or ideas out there that can address these crises,” Sanders told The Nation. “That somebody has got to represent the working-class and the middle-class of this country in standing up to the big-money interests who have so much power over the economic and political life of this country.” ...

“I think there is profound disgust among the American people for the conventional political process and the never-ending campaigns,” Sanders said. “If I run, my job is to help bring together the kind of coalition that can win—that can transform politics. We’ve got to bring together trade unionists and working families, our minority communities, environmentalists, young people, the women’s community, the gay community, seniors, veterans, the people who in fact are the vast majority of the American population. We’ve got to create a progressive agenda and rally people around that agenda.” ...

“In terms of fundamental economic issues: job creation, a high minimum wage, progressive taxation, affordable college education — the vast majority of people are on our side,” he said. “One of the goals that I would have, politically, as a candidate for president of the United States is to reach out to the working-class element of the Tea Party and explain to them exactly who is funding their organization – and explain to them that, on virtually every issue, the Koch Brothers and the other funders of the Tea Party are way out of step with what ordinary people want and need.”

The Real Story Behind the Detroit Pension Fight and What it Means to America's Future

When the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July 2013, America sucked in a collective gasp. This was the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by the amount of debt ($18–20 billion), and Detroit was the largest city ever to officially go bust.

A few months before the bankruptcy, the state of Michigan appointed an emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to sort things out in Motor City. Orr was given extraordinary powers to rewrite contracts and liquidate some of the city’s most valuable assets. The burning question: Who would be responsible for the enormous debt? Soon enough it became clear that the folks who would be asked to take the hit were not those who created the problems. Just as in so many other parts of the world in the wake of the 2007-'08 financial meltdown, innocent people who did nothing but get up every day and go to work would be asked to pay the bill.

Last week, Orr blasted retirees for resisting his plan to drastically cut their pensions — 26 percent for general retirees and 6 percent for police and fire, and even more, 34 percent and 10 percent, respectively, if they do not agree quickly.

The fight is on. Other cities and states are paying close attention to what goes down in Detroit. But there’s something much bigger than bankruptcy going on, and it concerns the future of American society. The answer to the question of who we defend and who we punish when the going gets tough is being written into our future.

If you think of Detroit as far away and unrelated to life in your hometown, think again. The next victim could be your town, your community, your retirement.

The Evening Greens

US Legislators: To Punish Putin, Frack More

As the crisis in Ukraine continues, some U.S. legislators have pushed for exporting the nation's natural gas to be used as a "weapon" or leverage point to weaken Russia and President Vladimir Putin's influence on the region. ...

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), for example, said that exporting more natural gas could "strengthen our economy here and our security here and abroad," and that the "the only thing standing in the way are the bureaucrats in the Department of Energy."

"Expediting approval of natural gas exports is one clear step the U.S. can take to stand by our allies and stand up to Russian aggression, while creating American jobs at the same time," Boehner also said.

Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall added, "The situation in Ukraine shows the urgent need for Colorado and the nation to export more natural gas," and urged quick approval of pending liquefied natural gas terminals, introducing legislation on Wednesday to make that happen.

Republican Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas) introduced similar legislation on Wednesday as well.

New York Times Editorial Board Gets On The Fracking Bandwagon

[This is from yesterday's NYT editorial -js]

Natural Gas as a Diplomatic Tool

In response to the crisis in Ukraine, some American lawmakers and energy companies are urging the United States to export natural gas to Europe in an effort to undercut Russia’s influence over the Continent. The Obama administration should move to increase exports, which would help allies like Germany, Turkey and Britain, but the effects of such exports would likely be modest and wouldn’t be realized for several years.

The discovery and exploitation of shale gas has swelled American reserves of natural gas and sharply driven down its price, making it possible for Washington to contemplate lifting restrictions on exports. The United States imported 16 percent of the gas it used as recently as 2007, but it could become a net exporter of the fuel by 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Increasing natural gas exports could serve American foreign-policy interests in Europe, which gets about 30 percent of its gas from Russia. Countries like Germany and Ukraine are particularly vulnerable to supply disruptions that are politically driven. ...

American officials should use natural gas exports as one component of diplomacy that also includes assisting other nations with conservation and renewable sources of energy like solar and wind. The State Department, under Hillary Rodham Clinton, set up the Bureau of Energy Resources to do just that; it has, for example, helped European nations reduce their dependence on Russian gas by, among other things, buying more gas from Africa.

State Dept Keystone Review Assumes 'Global Failure to Address Climate Change'

The Natural Resources Defense Council said in wide-ranging comments that the EIS [environmental impact statement] "makes a fundamental error by relying on energy consumption scenarios which assume a global failure to address climate change."

If the State Department stuck with its predictions that energy consumption and prices were destined to remain high, it would "undermine the nation's credibility" during United Nations talks aimed at heading off the worst effects of global warming, the advocacy group said.

Climate experts from around the world have agreed to aim for a binding treaty to be signed in Paris in 2015 that would keep emissions at a level consistent with global warming of no more than 2 degrees Celsius. According to the scientific consensus, this means not letting carbon dioxide emissions grow above 450 parts per million in the atmosphere. To stay within this limit, widely accepted computer models project that as much as 80 percent of available fossil fuels must be left in the ground. ...

But in analyzing the Keystone XL's effects, the State Department never considered the decline in oil use that would occur under an effective global climate treaty. ... The authoritative International Energy Agency has projected that under carbon cuts aimed at hitting the international safe-climate goal, United States demand for petroleum would drop from 17 million barrels a day in 2011 to just 10 million barrels a day in 2035.

Instead, the State Department's Keystone analysis adopted business-as-usual assumptions in which U.S. consumption either grows to 19 million barrels a day, or in the best case declines only slightly.

The agency's assumptions about the energy markets "must be interpreted as analysis centered on a world where curbing climate change is not a priority," said a separate report released Monday by the Carbon Tracker Interactive, a nonprofit that links capital markets to climate issues.

What’s leaking from the nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Program?

Blog Posts of Interest

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

Edward Snowden's written testimony to European Parliament

American Fantasies Put Ukrainian Lives at Risk

Secrets & “Spies”: The Government’s Increasingly Dangerous War on Whistleblowers

Snipers Are Commonly Used as “False Flag” Terrorists

When “Job Creators” Create Lousy Jobs

U.S. Obscures Foreign Aid To Ukraine, But Here's Where Some Goes

Maryland set to protect transgender people from discrimination

I used to have kidneys - then I took the road to Tamarindo

A Little Night Music

Bukka White - Bukka's Jitterbug Swing

Booker White - Aberdeen Mississippi

Booker White - Poor Boy Long Way from Home

Bukka White - Jelly Roll Blues

Bukka White - Fixin' To Die Blues

Bukka White - Parchman Farm Blues

Bukka White - Baby Please Don't Go

Bukka White - Sleepy Man Blues

Bukka White - Panama Limited

Bukka White - Shake 'em on Down

Bukka White - Pine Bluff Arkansas

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 Mar 07, 2014 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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