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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.  

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Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues harmonica player Harmonica Slim.  Enjoy!

Harmonica Slim - You Better Believe It

“War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.”

  -- Clausewitz

News and Opinion

This is one of those must-read articles, click it and read the whole thing:

Samantha Power’s brazen hypocrisy

Ukraine comes full circle. In six months, a troubled but intact nation is now pulled to pieces. Vasyl Krutov, the general in charge of what the provisional government in Kiev insists on calling its “anti-terror” military campaign in the east and south, acknowledged over the weekend that the country is “essentially at war.”

Ukraine’s elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, had to go in February because of the violence that had erupted in Independence Square, scene of demonstrations since the previous November. We still do not know who was responsible for the shootings used to justify the Yankuovych coup, but we know this: The provos who took his place are now doing the shooting — killing their countrymen, reclassified as terrorists, by the score.

Samantha Power, the most tendentious hypocrite in the Obama administration (and the competition is keen), defends these murderers thusly: “Their response is reasonable, it is proportional, and frankly it is what any one of our countries would have done in the face of this threat,” Power said in the Security Council at the weekend.

Does this remind you of anything? It should. Is this not a replay of the Egyptian catastrophe? An elected leader trying to hold a nation together on its own terms is deposed, what follows is magnitudes worse than anything the deposed leader ever dreamed of, and the army is turned loose on those it is supposed to defend. The Americans, having backed the putschists from the shadows, tell you, “No, that was not a putsch you just watched. It only looked like one. The elected guy was replaced violently by the unelected in the service of a democratic restoration. And there will be another election, under the auspices of the unelected, to confirm all this as best.” ...

True, the orthodoxy has rarely been more forcefully or universally pressed than in the Ukraine case. The official line is reproduced incessantly with no deviation moving the needle even a couple of ticks either side of zero. Vladimir Putin has intervened (and never mind that he has demonstrably acted with restraint). Kiev stands for all Ukrainians (a falsehood not even debatable). Those opposed to Kiev are separatists (even as Kiev proposes to separate Ukraine from swaths of its past).

It is everywhere, never more so maybe, but has it ever been flimsier?

Ukrainian presidential hopeful, touring Washington, says both U.S. and Russia inflame crisis

WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Valery Konovalyuk was just launching into his vision for a prosperous, independent Ukraine when a giggling aide passed him a smart phone to show him a spoof on his offer to settle the nation’s political crisis with a judo match against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The image showed Konovalyuk dropping an opponent, with a caption warning that Putin, a fellow black belt martial artist, was next.

The candidate laughed and admitted that facing Putin would be a formidable _ but “noble” _ challenge. These days, however, the fight he’s focused on is not just wresting his country from Russia’s longtime hold, but also from the increasing U.S. influence that he believes is inflaming the political crisis and turning Ukraine into a battleground for two Cold War foes.

“The United States and Russia both love Ukraine so much that in their embrace they just might suffocate it,” he said, dryly, via a Russian translator at a news conference Wednesday in Washington.

Konovalyuk was in Washington to warn U.S. lawmakers away from sanctions _ the Obama administration’s main tool to counter Putin’s activities in eastern Ukraine _ and to press instead for what he describes as a Marshall Plan-style economic recovery initiative.

A native of volatile eastern Ukraine, Konovalyuk wants both Russia and the United States to take “equal steps” away from bombast, sanctions and military posturing, a perspective that gets lost in the White House’s rush to prop up the more Western-friendly interim leadership in Kiev.

Separatists in Ukraine debate Putin's referendum call

Ukraine separatists to go ahead with referendum despite Putin call for delay

The co-ordinating committee of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic announced after a meeting on Thursday that it would hold the vote on Sunday as planned. Separatists in neighbouring Luhansk announced that their vote would also go ahead.

Russian markets sank on the news, and officials in Kiev promised to press on with their campaign to retake control over the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regardless of the rebels' decision on the poll.

"We have just voted in the People's Council … The date of the referendum was endorsed by 100% The referendum will take place on 11 May," the rebel leader Denis Pushilin said. "There are millions of people who want to cast their votes. Even if we had voted against holding the referendum, it would have happened anyway. Civil war has already begun. The referendum can put a stop to it and start a political process."

It remains unclear exactly how the vote will work, since the rebels control only fragmented pockets of the region. But rebel leaders were adamant that it would proceed. "If we don't have a referendum on the 11th then we will lose the trust of the people. We face the choice referendum or war and we choose the peaceful way" said a Donetsk People's Republic spokesperson.

Steve Cohen:
Is Putin trying to defuse the Ukraine crisis?

Mounting coffins lead to rising anger in Ukraine's fractious eastern regions

Four coffins laid outside the Church of Pentecost in rebel held Slavyansk's main square on Wednesday were a bitter reminder of the human cost of the mounting violence in the south-east and eastern regions of Ukraine.

The four men were killed in clashes between the rebel, pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army on 5 May near Semovka. Three of the bodies were reportedly members of the local militia, while the other was the driver of a truck which caught fire during the hour-long exchange of fire between the rebels and soldiers. ...

[T]he mourners grief was tainted by anger at the actions of the Ukrainian army. "Glory to Russia. Shame on America. Shame on the EU. Shame on Merkel and Obama," chanted some of crowd angrily as grievers filtered past the coffins in the background. ...

The deaths are fuelling pro-Russia sentiment in the region, where many see the Ukrainian army as an invading rather than liberating force. "It is impossible to turn back to Ukraine after the events in Slavyansk. We will not forgive the killing of our people," said 37-year-old housewife Irina, standing in the shade of a tree by the church.

Washington, Ukrainian puppet regime prepare new fascist slaughter in Odessa

In the wake of Friday’s fascist massacre of pro-Russian protesters at the Trade Unions House in Odessa, the US puppet regime in Kiev deployed National Guard units to the city yesterday. The sending of the National Guard, a force created by the Kiev regime after the fascist-led putsch in February that has worked closely with the neo-Nazi Right Sector militia to repress protests elsewhere in Ukraine, is a warning to the working class. ...

[R]eports emerging in Ukrainian and Russian media raise serious charges that the Odessa massacre on Friday was a coldly planned act of state murder, far deadlier than initially reported. ... The Kiev regime’s attempts to explain the fascists’ torching of Odessa’s Trade Unions House—claiming that they were provoked by pro-Russian protesters, aided by the police, who shot at pro-Kiev Right Sector protesters before the latter attacked and burned the Trade Unions House—also have come under scrutiny.

Videos posted online by the pro-Kiev protesters showed gunmen wearing red armbands shooting at the pro-Kiev protesters from positions controlled by Ukrainian riot police. This strongly suggests that the shooting on the pro-Kiev forces was a provocation organized by the Kiev regime, not by the pro-Russian protesters.

There are also charges that many of the dead in the Trade Union House were not killed by a rampaging fire unleashed by the fascists’ throwing of Molotov cocktails, as initially claimed, but were murdered by Right Sector fighters and hooligans who broke into the building and carried out a massacre. ...

The Kiev regime faces immense pressure from Washington and the European imperialist powers, from the banks and from its own fascist supporters to retain control of Odessa at all costs. “The possible loss of Odessa in the southwest and parts of eastern Ukraine could be catastrophic for the new government, leaving the country landlocked, cut off entirely from the Black Sea,” the Montreal Gazette noted yesterday.

The Washington, DC-based International Monetary Fund has threatened to withhold and renegotiate billion-dollar loans to Kiev, which faces bankruptcy, if it loses control of south and east Ukraine.

Questionable beliefs about the Ukraine crisis: Russia only understands force

Putin, we are told, only understands force; no policy that takes the military option completely off the table can be successful. Obama needs to be prepared to use force, even just a little force, whatever that means. At a minimum, robust sanctions that cause real pain are necessary.

Every enemy or rival of the United States of my lifetime has "only understood force." ...

Perhaps one of the most basic observations from political realism would help here: We ought to beware of any suggestion that asks us to believe that they are fundamentally different from us. We know we can understand nuance; we should understand that they probably can, too, whoever they are.

$20 billion to Russia, $5 billion to Ukraine, millions to provide Cuba with a Twitter service, these folks at the Kaganate of Nulands spend like drunken sailors. Seems that there are crumbling cities in America that would love to get a piece of  that action.
This just in from the Kaganate of Nulands:

"Since 1992, we have provided $20 billion to Russia to support pursuit of transition to the peaceful, prosperous, democratic state its people deserve. We are not seeking to punish Russia. We support the rights of all individuals — those of Russians and Ukrainians, alike — to have a clean, open, accountable government rooted in democracy and rule of law."

With friends like the IMF and EU, Ukraine doesn’t need enemies

Euromaidan protesters took to Kyiv’s streets last year in the hopes of Ukraine’s becoming part of the European Union. The Europe they admired was one of material comforts and living standards far beyond the reach of most Ukrainians, whose average income is about the level of El Salvadorans’. The demonstrators wanted for themselves something approaching Europe’s prosperity — a market economy, advanced technology, quality public transportation, universal health care, adequate pensions and paid vacations that average five weeks.

If they are fortunate enough to avoid war, Ukrainians may be in for an unpleasant surprise as their current and even soon-to-be-elected leaders negotiate their economic future with their new, unelected European deciders. The Europe of their near and intermediate future may be more like Greece’s or Spain’s — but with less than a third of their per capita income and with a small fraction of those countries’ now shrunken social safety nets.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that one of the conditions of its lending to Kyiv (along with that of the EU and U.S.) will be fiscal austerity for the next two and a half years. Ukraine’s economy is already in recession, with the IMF projecting a steep 5 percent decline in GDP for 2014. The danger is that this fiscal tightening could become a moving target as the economy and therefore tax revenues shrink further and the government has to cut even more spending to meet the IMF’s deficit goals. This downward spiral is what happened in Greece, where an adjustment that the European authorities could have accomplished relatively easily and painlessly turned into a six-year recession that has cost Greece a quarter of its national income and left 27.5 percent of the labor force out of work. ...

But we don’t have to look to Greece or Spain to see the risks of signing on to a program of fiscal austerity and reforms run by the IMF and its European directors. Ukraine has had its own recent experience to draw on: In just four years, from 1992 to 1996, Ukraine lost half of its GDP as the IMF and friends took the wrecking ball to both the Russian and Ukrainian economies. Ukraine’s economy didn’t start growing again until the 2000s. For comparison, the worst years of the U.S. Great Depression (1929 to 1934) saw a real GDP loss of 36 percent.

Obama Threatens Pulitzer Prize-Winner, Attempts to Destroy Press Freedom

James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-winner at the New York Times, may face jail time on a federal contempt of court charge if he doesn’t release the identity of one of his confidential sources.

The Bush Administration’s Justice Department tried to pry the information out of him, but ultimately relented.

Now President Obama, who vowed to restore our civil liberties when he ran for the White House in 2000, is letting his Justice Department pursue Risen even more aggressively than Bush did. ...

Risen all along has invoked his privilege as a journalist under the First Amendment not to reveal his source. A lower court agreed with him, but an appellate court sided with Obama’s Justice Department. In a sharp dissenting opinion, Judge Roger Gregory, who was appointed both by President Clinton and by President George W. Bush, sided with Risen. Judge Gregory said the appellate court’s decision was “contrary to the will and wisdom of our Founders.”

In January Risen, appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. In his petition for a writ of certiorari, Risen wrote:

“If I am forced to testify, it will immediately and substantially harm my ability to gather newsworthy information” and “to secure the trust of sources in the future.” ...

He said the Obama Administration’s effort to go after him is part of its policy of “aggressively investigating whistleblowers and reporters in a way that will have a chilling effect on the freedom of the press in the United States.”

Obama’s Justice Department, in its brief to the Supreme Court, asserted that “no reporter’s privilege exists,” and that this case would be “an unsuitable vehicle for considering the existence of a qualified reporter’s privilege.”

Media companies challenge FAA drone ban

This week, a number of media companies, including The New York Times and The Associated Press, accused the Federal Aviation Authority of violating the First Amendment.
In a brief filed with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the group of 16 media outlets argued that the current FAA rules, which do not allow commercial drone use, are too wide-ranging and have had a “chilling effect” on newsgathering. The NTSB is the administrative “court of appeals” for any FAA action.

“The FAA’s position is untenable as it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding about journalism. News gathering is not a ‘business purpose.’ It is a First Amendment right,” the brief stated.

The brief was filed in support of Raphael Pirker, a drone operator and filmmaker who was fined $10,000 after he flew a small drone to record aerial footage of the University of Virginia for a promotional video in 2011.

In March this year, however, a NTSB judge threw out the fine against Pirker with the argument that the FAA doesn’t have the legal authority to impose or enforce its ban on small drones. The FAA immediately appealed and still has this note posted on its website: “There are no shades of gray in FAA regulations. Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft—manned or unmanned—in US airspace needs some level of FAA approval.” ...

The FAA has been tasked, too, by congress to come up with new regulations to govern domestic drone use by the end of the year.

However, as the FAA draws up new safety rules, those will have implications for journalists and things could get “tricky,” media lawyer Nabiha Syed told CJR recently. For example, a requirement to get pre-approval before flying would make covering breaking news virtually impossible. Similarly, visual “line of sight” requirements would make it tough to cover forest fires or other events that require a safety distance.

Despite Senate hopes of speedy release, CIA torture report won’t be made public for months

The release of the long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques _ widely denounced as torture _ is certain to take much longer than the 30 days sought by Senate Democrats.

The panel’s chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said at the beginning of April that she hoped the CIA would complete by now the process of excising from the report information deemed harmful to national security.

The procedure, however, likely will take months, several experts said. That’s because it’s complex and time-consuming. Not only does the CIA have to review information that came from its archives, but other U.S. intelligence agencies as well as the Pentagon and the State Department have to evaluate material that they provided, they said. ...

Some experts, however, believe that there are key portions of the report that could be quickly reviewed and released without disclosing sensitive information such as the identities of intelligence sources, which could endanger lives or compromise ongoing counterterrorism operations.

The CIA “could demonstrate good faith by releasing the least problematic portions of the text, like the introduction, conclusions and high-level findings. But they’re not doing that and that strikes me as at least bordering on bad faith,” said Steven Aftergood, who runs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. “Why does the entire volume need to be held hostage to the most difficult piece of information?” ...

Pointing out that the CIA was sent a final draft of the report in December 2012, Chris Anders, the senior legislative counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the agency already should know what materials need to be excised.

Keith Alexander Unplugged: on Bush/Obama, 1.7 million stolen documents and other matters

The just-retired long-time NSA chief, Gen. Keith Alexander, recently traveled to Australia to give a remarkably long and wide-ranging interview with an extremely sycophantic “interviewer” with The Australian Financial Review. The resulting 17,000-word transcript and accompanying article form a model of uncritical stenography journalism, but Alexander clearly chose to do this because he is angry, resentful, and feeling unfairly treated, and the result is a pile of quotes that are worth examining, only a few of which are noted below:

AFR: What were the key differences for you as director of NSA serving under presidents Bush and Obama? Did you have a preferred commander in chief?

Gen. Alexander: Obviously they come from different parties, they view things differently, but when it comes to the security of the nation and making those decisions about how to protect our nation, what we need to do to defend it, they are, ironically, very close to the same point. You would get almost the same decision from both of them on key questions about how to defend our nation from terrorists and other threats.

The almost-complete continuity between George W. Bush and Barack Obama on such matters has been explained by far too many senior officials in both parties, and has been amply documented in far too many venues, to make it newsworthy when it happens again. Still, the fact that one of the nation’s most powerful generals in history, who has no incentive to say it unless it were true, just comes right out and states that Bush and The Candidate of Change are “very close to the same point” and “you would get almost the same decision from both of them on key questions” is a fine commentary on a number of things, including how adept the 2008 Obama team was at the art of branding.

The fact that Obama, in 2008, specifically vowed to his followers angered over his campaign-season NSA reversal that he possessed “the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as president — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future” only makes that point a bit more vivid.

Emails reveal close Google relationship with NSA

Email exchanges between National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt suggest a far cozier working relationship between some tech firms and the U.S. government than was implied by Silicon Valley brass after last year’s revelations about NSA spying.

Disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the agency’s vast capability for spying on Americans’ electronic communications prompted a number of tech executives whose firms cooperated with the government to insist they had done so only when compelled by a court of law.

But Al Jazeera has obtained two sets of email communications dating from a year before Snowden became a household name that suggest not all cooperation was under pressure.

On the morning of June 28, 2012, an email from Alexander invited Schmidt to attend a four-hour-long “classified threat briefing” on Aug. 8 at a “secure facility in proximity to the San Jose, CA airport.” ...

Alexander, Schmidt and other industry executives met earlier in the month, according to the email. But Alexander wanted another meeting with Schmidt and “a small group of CEOs” later that summer because the government needed Silicon Valley’s help. ...

The classified briefing cited by Alexander was part of a secretive government initiative known as the Enduring Security Framework (ESF), and his email provides some rare information about what the ESF entails, the identities of some participant tech firms and the threats they discussed.

German lawmakers decide to quiz Snowden

German lawmakers decided on Thursday they want to question former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden as part of a parliamentary inquiry into the mass surveillance of German citizens, which he exposed.

"A majority of the committee has decided that we want to hear Mr. Snowden," said Roderich Kiesewetter, the conservative head of the committee set up to investigate the activities in Germany of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

It has not yet been decided whether Snowden, who was granted asylum in Russia, should be invited to testify in person about the NSA surveillance that has soured ties between Washington and Berlin. Snowden risks being arrested and extradited if he sets foot in any U.S.-allied country.

Watered-down version of USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

Six months after it was written to restrain the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance, a privacy bill cleared a major legislative obstacle on Wednesday, even as its advocates worried that the compromises made to advance the bill have weakened its constraints on mass data collection.

The USA Freedom Act, designed to prevent the US government from collecting US phone data in bulk, passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 32 to zero bi-partisan vote, making it the first surveillance reform bill to proceed out of committee and to the House floor.

But an internal committee breakthrough on Monday that won the support of chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, significantly recast the bill, softening its prohibitions on aspects of bulk collection and requiring transparency around it.

The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who also wrote the 2001 Patriot Act, said the bill “makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.” ...

Supporters in and outside of Congress concede the latest compromises have left the USA Freedom Act less protective of civil liberties than it was when introduced in October. Its distinctions from a rival bill written by the leaders of the House intelligence committee, the NSA’s strongest Capitol Hill advocates, are somewhat blurred, prompting civil libertarians to become less enthusiastic of a measure they have championed as a fix to the broad NSA powers exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Protestors to Occupy FCC to Fight for Net Neutrality

Google, Facebook and Amazon write to FCC demanding true net neutrality

More than 100 technology companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon have written to US regulators to warn that proposed net neutrality rules pose a "grave threat to the internet".

The intervention comes against a backdrop of protest at Federal Communications Commission plans that opponents say will create a two-tier internet where big corporations are able to transmit their content to recipients at much higher speed, disadvantaging smaller competitors and other users.

The internet companies' letter to the FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, and the agency's four commissioners comes amid calls for a delay in a vote on the plan that is scheduled for 15 May. The letter says FCC rules should not permit "individualised bargaining and discrimination," the companies said.

"[The FCC must] take the necessary steps to ensure that the internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce," the letter says.

One of the FCC commissioners, Jessica Rosenworcel, has called for a delay of "at least a month" on Wheeler's plan. "Rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response to his (Wheeler's) proposal," she said.

No Evidence Justice Dept. Will Prosecute U.S. Banks Responsible for Financial Crisis

Los Angeles now spending more on Wall Street fees than on maintaining roads

Los Angeles councilman Paul Koretz has called for banks NY Mellon and Dexia to return $65 million in “unfair profits and termination payments” they received between 2008 and 2014. This follows a report ... revealing that the city spent more than $200 million in fees to Wall Street in 2013 alone.  Koretz says he may push the city to take punitive action against the financial institutions involved if they do not renegotiate the deal.

The report, published by the union-backed Fix LA Coalition, notes that “the City of Los Angeles last year spent more on Wall Street fees than it did on our streets.” Indeed, the report notes the city “paid Wall Street $204 million in fees, spending only $163 million on the Bureau of Street Services.”

The fees are connected to the controversial interest-rate-swap deal cemented by Los Angeles in 2006. It is a deal similar to those engineered by Wall Street in cities across the country. Those deals have made headlines in recent years in some of the country’s most high-profile municipal budget crises.

For instance, a recent study by former Goldman Sachs investment banker Wallace Turbeville found that an interest-rate swap deal was a primary driver of Detroit’s fiscal crisis.

After Abuse Under State Supervision, Transgender Connecticut Teen Held in Solitary Without Charge

The Evening Greens

CO2 Producing Hollow Food

Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels will make many key food crops like rice and corn less nutritious, a new study shows.

Important food crops will contain lower levels of zinc and iron by mid-century without major cuts in CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels, an analysis of field experiments conducted on three continents has found.

“Two billion people already suffer from low levels of zinc and iron. It’s an enormous global health burden today,” said Samuel Myers of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, co-author of the Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition study published in the journal Nature Wednesday.

Deficiencies of zinc and iron have wide range of impacts on human health, including increased vulnerability to infectious diseases, anemia, higher levels of maternal mortality, and lowered IQs.

More than 2.4 billion people get these key nutrients in their rice, wheat, maize, soybeans, field peas and sorghum, Myers told IPS.

Great Barrier Reef Facing 'Unprecedented' Threat from Coal Expansion

The Great Barrier Reef is facing "unprecedented industrial development," and the damage wrought by seabed dredging as a result coal industry expansion has been significantly downplayed by the state government and mining industry, a conservation watchdog charged in a new report issued Wednesday.

“The state government is both the owner and the overseer of these dredging projects, which means that it is essentially checking its own homework and giving itself top marks," said Felicity Wishart, campaign director for the Australian Marine Conservation Society which authored the report.

To accommodate the expansion of coal export terminals along the coastline of the UNESCO World Heritage site, an average of nearly one million cubic meters of underwater soil has been dug up within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park each year for the past ten years.

Despite claims by the Australian government that this dredging has not inflicted any damage on the reef, the report—Dredging, Dumping and the Great Barrier Reef (pdf)—found a "deeply troubling" lack of monitoring of coral health. Further, the group uncovered coral "covered with lesions," that were not reported.

Green Groups Banned From Hearings on Alberta Tar Sands

EDMONTON - The Alberta government has again barred environmental groups from hearings on an oilsands proposal in what conservationists say is a pattern of restricting public input on resource development.

The move to deny standing to the Oilsands Environmental Coalition at hearings on a proposed new development by Southern Pacific Resource Corp. comes after a similar decision last fall was overturned by a judge.

The judge urged the government to err on the side of openness when it decides who has the right to speak.

"The government hasn't learned its lesson from last time," Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute, one of the groups in the coalition, said Tuesday. The institute is a non-profit think-tank focused on energy and climate change issues.

Dyer said the coalition plans to appeal the second ruling.

Alberta Environment first denied the coalition standing to present its concerns about the development on the MacKay River in northern Alberta in 2012. The project would expand an existing steam-assisted gravity drainage project to extract an additional 24,000 barrels of bitumen daily.

Government officials argued the group wasn't directly affected by the plans — even though some Pembina members have a recreational lease in the area and 45 others live in nearby Fort McMurray.

The coalition applied for a judicial review of the decision and during proceedings discovered a 2009 Alberta Environment memo that described the Pembina Institute as unco-operative. The memo suggested the application should be scrutinized more closely because of that stance.

Justice Richard Marceau threw out the government's decision because of that memo. He went on to encourage the province to draw its circle of consultation widely.

Blog Posts of Interest

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

Seattle: $15, for Real?

How to get the best out of photo apps on your smartphone

Five US Internet Providers Are Slowing Down Access Until They Get More Cash

The Fabulous And Inimitable Harlem Gospel Choir Performs 'Oh, Happy Day!'

A Little Night Music

Harmonica Slim - My Girl Won't Quit Me

Harmonica Slim - Back Bottom Soul

Harmonica Slim - Drop Anchor

Harmonica Slim & Hosea Leavy - Back Door Man

Harmonica Slim - Stoop Down

Harmonica Slim - Mary Helen

Harmonica Slim - Going Back Home

Harmonica Slim & Hosea Leavy - All Alone Now

Harmonica Slim - Do What You Want To Do

Harmonica Slim - Thought I Didn't Love You

Harmonica Slim - Lonely Hours

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 Thu May 08, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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