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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 Harmonica player and singer Lazy Lester.  Enjoy!

Lazy Lester, Jimmy Vaughan & John Nicholas - Blues Knockin' At My Door

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."

  –- President George W. Bush

"We're leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq with a representative government that was elected by its people. We're building a new partnership between our nations and we are ending a war not with a final battle but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement,"

  -- President Barack Obama

News and Opinion

Kucinich is spot on here.  Obama needs to be called out for his idiotic, "forward looking" acts of political expedience in failing to faithfully execute the law and hold the Bush administration accountable for its crimes.  

Dennis Kucinich: Stop Calling the Iraq War a 'Mistake'

As Iraq descends into chaos again, more than a decade after "Mission Accomplished," media commentators and politicians have mostly agreed upon calling the war a "mistake." But the "mistake" rhetoric is the language of denial, not contrition: it minimizes the Iraq War's disastrous consequences, removes blame, and deprives Americans of any chance to learn from our generation's foreign policy disaster. The Iraq War was not a "mistake" -- it resulted from calculated deception. The painful, unvarnished fact is that we were lied to. Now is the time to have the willingness to say that.

In fact, the truth about Iraq was widely available, but it was ignored. There were no WMD. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. The war wasn't about liberating the Iraqi people. I said this in Congress in 2002. Millions of people who marched in America in protest of the war knew the truth, but were maligned by members of both parties for opposing the president in a time of war -- and even leveled with the spurious charge of "not supporting the troops."

When Obama took office in 2008, he announced that his administration would not investigate or prosecute the architects of the Iraq War. Essentially, he suspended public debate about the war. ... The unwillingness to confront the truth about the Iraq War has induced a form of amnesia which is hazardous to our nation's health. Willful forgetting doesn't heal, it opens the door to more lying.

Iraq: Will the Neocons Get Away With It Again? - They lied us into war, and now they're back on television

The "BS" in CBS is well-earned by this CBS News story speculating on the alleged near certainty of a terrorist attack launched by ISIS – the Islamist group now rampaging across Iraq – against the continental US. Headlined "Will ISIS Plan a 9/11-style Terror Plot Against the US?", it is filled with the opinions of various "experts" and habitual warmongers whose exhalation of hot air is no doubt contributing to global warming.

The usual suspects are cited: Sen. Lindsey Graham, the War Party’s answer to Richard Simmons, shrieks "the seeds of 9/11s are being planted all over Iraq and Syria," while Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Oceania), who is giving up his seat in Congress for the right-wing radio talk show circuit, is honing his demagogy by declaring "I guarantee you: this is a problem that we will have to face, and we’re either going to have to face it in New York City or we’re going to face it here."

This is willful ignorance: ISIS, the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria," has been expelled from Al Qaeda by the central leadership for, among other things, defying the late Osama bin Laden’s directive that the main target must be the "far enemy," i.e. the West. And while Al Qaeda’s "core" leadership, under Ayman Zawahiri, has modified bin Laden’s internationalist strategy since the original leader’s demise, ISIS has completely reversed it. Al Qaeda envisions a global "caliphate," but ISIS has already declared itself to be a state or "caliphate" encompassing both Syria and Iraq.

This may seem like an arcane matter, but in fact the strategic split has led to armed combat between the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria and ISIS. It also underscores the fact that ISIS is a menace in the regions it controls, but of little consequence outside it. Yet it is necessary for the War Party to trumpet the alleged "threat" to New York City in order to build support for a renewed effort to pacify Iraq: thus the outcry from the neocon peanut gallery that the "homeland" is in dire danger.

Will Iraq or Syria Survive? UN Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Sectarian War & the Disastrous ’03 Invasion

Isis fighters attack Iraq's biggest oil refinery

Islamist militants have attacked Iraq's largest oil refinery in the city of Baiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, as Iran raised the prospect of direct military intervention to protect Shia holy sites.

A top security official told the Associated Press that fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) had begun their attack on the refinery late on Tuesday night. The attack continued into Wednesday morning, with militants targeting it with mortar shells, starting a small fire on the periphery.

The refinery accounts for more than a quarter of the country's entire refining capacity, all of which goes toward domestic consumption – petrol, cooking oil and fuel for power stations. At the height of the insurgency from 2004 to late 2007, the Baiji refinery was under the control of Sunni militants who used to siphon off crude and petroleum products to finance their operations. Isis has used its control of oilfields in Syria to boost its coffers.

Any lengthy disruption at Baiji risks long lines at the petrol pump and electricity shortages, putting further pressure on the Shia-led government of the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

Fears Iraq conflict to spill over as Sunni jihadists gain momentum

Iraqi forces hold off Isis rebels north of Baghdad as Obama waits

Iraqi government forces fought off jihadi rebel forces north of Baghdad on Tuesday amid signs from the US that the Obama administration is hesitating before being drawn into a new war.

Heavy clashes were reported from Baquba after it was taken over by fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), and in Baghdad eight people were killed by a suicide bomber. Iranian-backed militiamen were out in force in Shia areas of the capital in an attempt to assure residents that they have a highly volatile situation under control.

As the fighting continued, there was no sign of imminent military moves by the US, with the White House warning of several days of further consultation before any intervention. Senior Democrats have expressed growing caution about the risks of being sucked back in to any conflict.

Hat tip to Tardis10 - A very interesting interview:
What is going to happen in Iraq?

Isaac Chotiner: What do you make of ISIS as a group? How do you see them as distinct from other violent Muslim groups?

Olivier Roy: ISIS is an offspring of Al Qaeda, so it is first a globalised international movement which is lacking deep roots in the local society and which does not have a “national” project (contrary to Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Jihad, or the Shia radical movements). Many foreign volunteers don’t speak Arabic, and don’t care about the local society. It does not have a project of “civil” society except a reference to sharia. ISIS is an army of militants, not a political party, nor a social movement. It succeeds because the others failed; and as everywhere it will confront a backlash of the civil society (which happened in Falluja during the “surge” of General Petraeus). But the new element is that some leaders (both of Al Qaeda and ISIS) seem to realize that there is a need to shift from a militant Jihad international group to a local power with a capacity to administrate the “liberated areas”. But I doubt it will have the ability or the time to morph into an efficient political organisation: Such a project does not correspond to its recruitment strategy or to its global ideology.

IC: How pessimistic are you about Iraq?

OR: I think that the Jihadist offensive will be repelled, but not because the Maliki government will retake the upper hand. It will be a consequence of the Shia and Kurdish backlash, because both groups know that they are fighting with their backs against the wall, and that the Jihadists just dream about eliminating them. They are the majority and they will fight. But the backbone of the “surge” is not the legal government: it is the Kurdish troops and the Shia clergy who, once again, are embodying the nation in a time of crisis. The Shia will accept a de facto independence for Kurdistan and will not fight to retake Kirkuk from the Kurds. The Sunnis will not be able to retake the central power, and tensions between Jihadis, Baathists and tribal leaders will erupt among Sunnis. The Shias will administrate the South. The problem is Baghdad. I doubt a strong central government will regain power. So at best you will have a loose federation of three entities, and at worst a split into three entities.

Poll: Public doesn't want another Iraq War

A new poll shows strong opposition to sending any troops into Iraq.

The survey released Tuesday by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling found 74 percent of the public is opposed to sending combat troops back into Iraq, with only 16 percent supporting that option.

Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents all said they are strongly opposed to sending in combat troops. Just over a quarter of Republicans support deploying them.

More than half of those surveyed said they agreed with President Obama that U.S. troops shouldn’t return to Iraq. Just over a quarter, by contrast, agreed with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that troops should have remained in Iraq past 2011.

The PPP questions asked people whether the agreed with Obama or McCain.

Obama Eyes Long Campaign of ‘Selective’ Airstrikes for Iraq - Would Model Strikes on Ongoing Yemen Drone War

According to senior administration officials, President Obama’s latest notion on intervention in Iraq is to model it after the ongoing Yemen drone war, launching “highly selective” airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq rather than engaging in a full-scale air war aimed at changing the situation on the ground. ...

This was apparently selected out of a “sliding scale” of different military options for Iraq, and that the open-ended campaign of targeted airstrikes envisions slowly weakening ISIS leadership.

Bizarrely, the Yemen campaign has been anything but a success, as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s leadership hasn’t been seriously degraded by years of US attacks, and unlike AQAP, ISIS is seizing territory outright, and establishing its own nation.

Iraq Likely to See Violence Worse than 2006-2007 Civil War

Saudis give apparent warning to Iran: don't meddle in Iraq

Saudi Arabia gave an apparent warning to arch enemy Iran on Wednesday by saying outside powers should not intervene in the conflict in neighbouring Iraq.

Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also said Iraq was facing a full-scale civil war with grave consequences for the wider region.

His remarks coincided with an Iranian warning that Tehran would not hesitate to defend Shi'ite Muslim holy sites in Iraq against "killers and terrorists", following advances by Sunni militants there. ...

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, an ally of Iran, has appealed for national unity with Sunni critics of his Shi'ite-led government after a stunning offensive through the north of the country by Sunni Islamist militants over the past week.

Maliki has accused Saudi Arabia of backing the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who want to carve out a Sunni caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.

Speaking at a gathering of Arab and Muslim leaders in Jeddah, Prince Saud urged nations racked by violence to meet the "legitimate demands of the people and to achieve national reconciliation (without) foreign interference or outside agendas."

Selling terror: Isis produces annual reports

It is not a corporation and does not have shareholders, but the military success and brutality of the jihadi group surging through Iraq have been recorded with the level of precision often reserved for company accounts.

Since 2012 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (known as Isis) has issued annual reports, outlining in numerical and geographical detail its operations – the number of bombings, assassinations, checkpoints, suicide missions, cities taken over and even “apostates” converted to the Isis cause.

In 2013 alone, the group’s report claimed nearly 10,000 operations in Iraq: 1,000 assassinations, 4,000 improvised explosive devices planted and hundreds of radical prisoners freed. In the same year it claimed hundreds of “apostates” had been turned. ...

The reports paint a picture of an organisation that analysts say is not so much the ragtag terrorist band depicted by Iraqi officials but more of an organised military structure with a clear political strategy to set up a Sunni sectarian state – and one with several of the hallmarks of a corporate entity.  ...

What is clear from the documents is that Isis’s campaign to control Sunni-populated Iraqi territory – and its capture of the second city of Mosul – should not have startled either the Shia-led government in Baghdad or its western allies. They highlight the extent to which Nineveh, the province that includes Mosul, seized last week, has long been a target. ...

Isis’s attacks have not been random acts of violence, as Iraqi reports suggest. “They have been steadily weakening the Iraqi security forces,” said [senior Iraq analyst at security firm AKE, John] Drake, “picking off commanders in assassinations and driving down morale.”

Ukraine investigates gas pipeline blast

An explosion on a gas pipeline carrying Russian gas to Europe through Ukraine was described as a possible terrorist attack on Tuesday, as fighting in the east of Ukraine continued.

The explosion on a section of the pipeline in the Poltava region came a day after Russia's Gazprom monopoly said it would stop supplying Ukraine with gas for its own needs until the country paid a huge accumulated debt.

Witnesses reported a huge blaze in the area of the explosion, but Ukrainian authorities said there was no disruption to gas flow to Europe as an alternative pipeline was used. The interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said several possible causes were being investigated, including terrorism.

Separately, at least one Russian journalist died when his crew got caught in shelling on Tuesday, as a Ukrainian army operation against armed separatists in the east continued. ...

Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, accused the Ukrainians of policies of "ethnic cleansing" in the east. "Instead of the ceasefire promised by President [Petro] Poroshenko, we have heard people in Kiev calling for only a temporary ceasefire so that so-called separatists can leave the territory of Ukraine. This is not a national dialogue, or negotiations with the regions, this is ethnic cleansing," he said.

Poroshenko, who was inaugurated as president last week, said a ceasefire could be implemented when Ukrainian forces had regained control of the border with Russia, and there could be an amnesty for those who did not have "blood on their hands". Few details of how this might work in practice have been released.

'Journalists in E. Ukraine targets of govt forces, conditions much worse than in Iraq' - Churkin

Ukraine's Poroshenko sets out ceasefire plan after call with Putin

After a late-night telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday set out proposals for a peace plan for eastern Ukraine involving a unilateral ceasefire by government forces.

Speaking to students at a military institute in Kiev, Poroshenko outlined a 14-step plan, including an amnesty for separatist fighters who lay down arms, and tighter controls over Ukraine's border with Russia. Acting Defence Minister Mykhailo Koval told journalists in Kiev the ceasefire "will happen in the next few days".

"The plan will start with my order for a unilateral ceasefire," Poroshenko said. "Immediately after this, we need very quickly to get support for the peace plan ... from all participants."

Poroshenko had said on Monday that a ceasefire could start only if the border was secure, and that he had ordered troops to regain control of it to pave the way for a truce and peace talks.

Nearly Two Years Caged in Embassy, Groups Demand Justice for Julian Assange

Nearly sixty international human rights groups, press freedom advocates and civil society organizations have submitted reports to bodies at the United Nations calling on Swedish officials to remedy the "pre-trial detention" status of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who has remained under asylum protection at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost two years.

According to the groups, Assange's legal treatment by the Swedish government—concerning charges of alleged sexual misconduct that took place in 2010—are in direct violation of his human rights and stems directly from his work as a publisher of leaked government material, most notably diplomatic cables and documents related to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two Swedish organizations, as well as jurist organizations from around the world—including the American Association of Jurists (AAJ), the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), and the Indian Association of Lawyers—submitted two reports, one in English and one in Spanish, each highlighting various attacks on Assange's right to due process and legal protections.

According to the English report, signed by 16 organizations and sent to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review, "The methods employed by the prosecutor in Mr. Assange’s case are a clear violation of his fundamental human rights, yet they remain beyond the reach of judicial review.”

A third report, signed by 33 human rights groups, media and civil society organisations, and unions from around the world petitioned the Human Rights Commission in Geneva to intervene on Assange's behalf and called him a ’political prisoner' under threat.

NSA Turned Germany Into Its Largest Listening Post in Europe

The National Security Agency has turned Germany into its most important base of operations in Europe, according to a story published by Der Spiegel this week.

The German magazine reports that documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “paint a picture of an all-powerful American intelligence agency that has developed an increasingly intimate relationship with Germany over the past 13 years while massively expanding its presence.” The magazine adds, “No other country in Europe plays host to a secret NSA surveillance architecture like the one in Germany…In 2007, the NSA claimed to have at least a dozen active collection sites in Germany.” ...

The agency’s operations in Germany came under intense scrutiny earlier this year when Spiegel revealed that the NSA had eavesdropped on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone calls. In its latest issue, the magazine reports on a legal controversy over the NSA’s still-close relationship with its German partner, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). The Snowden documents show that “the exchange of data, spying tools and know-how is much more intense than previously thought,” according to Spiegel—and this raises the question of whether the BND is violating constitutional protections on privacy for Germans abroad and foreigners in Germany.

Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law, says top UK official

The true extent of the government's interception of Google, Facebook and Twitter – including private messages between British citizens – has been officially confirmed for the first time.

The government's most senior security official, Charles Farr, detailed how searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as emails to or from non-British citizens abroad, can be monitored by the security services because they are deemed to be "external communications".

It is the first time that the government has admitted that UK citizens, talking via supposedly private channels in social media such as Twitter direct messages, are deemed by the British government to be legitimate legal targets that do not require a warrant before intercepting.

The 48-page detailed defence of mass monitoring by Farr, who is director general of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, develops a legal interpretation that critics say sidesteps the need for traditional intercept safeguards.

The government defence was published in response to a case brought by Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and other civil rights groups before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which deals with complaints against the intelligence services. A full hearing will take place next month.

Member of British Parliament gets go-ahead to seek CIA documents via FOIA

An appeals court has given the go-ahead to a member of the British Parliament who is trying to obtain CIA and other spy agency documents through the Freedom of Information Act.

The decision could mean more sunlight shed on possible British cooperation with the CIA’s controversial extraordinary rendition program.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected Obama administration arguments that the British parliamentarian, Andrew Tyrie, was blocked from using FOIA. The CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies had denied the FOIA requests, citing an exemption in the law that precludes intelligence agencies from providing information to “a representative” of a foreign government.

Democrats unveil legislation forcing the FCC to ban Internet fast lanes

Democratic lawmakers will unveil a piece of bicameral legislation Tuesday that would force the Federal Communications Commission to ban fast lanes on the Internet.

The proposal, put forward by Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), requires the FCC to use whatever authority it sees fit to make sure that Internet providers don't speed up certain types of content (like Netflix videos) at the expense of others (like e-mail). It wouldn't give the commission new powers, but the bill — known as the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act — would give the FCC crucial political cover to prohibit what consumer advocates say would harm startup companies and Internet services by requiring them to pay extra fees to ISPs.

"Americans are speaking loud and clear," said Leahy, who is holding a hearing on net neutrality in Vermont this summer. "They want an Internet that is a platform for free expression and innovation, where the best ideas and services can reach consumers based on merit rather than based on a financial relationship with a broadband provider."

Leahy and Matsui's proposed ban on fast lanes would apply only to the connections between consumers and their ISPs — the part of the Internet governed by the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules. The FCC's current proposal tacitly allows for the creation of a tiered Internet for content companies, though the commission has asked the public whether it should ban the practice as "commercially unreasonable."

New 'Net Neutrality' Bill Good Step, But Not Enough, say Internet Advocates

A new bill banning "fast lanes" on the Internet was unveiled in both the Senate and House on Tuesday.

The bill, dubbed the the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Representative Doris Matsui (D-Calif.). ...

However, consumer groups and advocates of net neutrality are skeptical that the legislation will go far enough to limit efforts by corporate telecom companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to create a "two-tiered" Internet by offering faster service to those who can afford the fee.

The legislation does not grant the Federal Communications Commission any new regulatory powers. Rather, it directs the agency to "rely on its current authorities" to prevent Internet Service Providers (or ISPs) from providing paid prioritization for certain types of content.

YouTube to block indie labels who don't sign up to new music service

Independent artists could disappear from YouTube "in a matter of days" after the Google video service confirmed it was dropping content from independent labels that have not signed up for its upcoming subscription music service.

YouTube is about to begin testing the new service – which will charge people to watch and listen to music without ads, and download songs to their mobile devices – within the next few days, initially within Google.

The company's head of content and business operations, Robert Kyncl, told the Financial Times that the service – previously rumoured to be called YouTube Music Pass – will launch more widely later in the year.

His confirmation that YouTube will block videos from labels that do not sign licensing deals for the new premium tier will be hugely controversial among indie labels, with trade body WIN already filing a complaint to the European Commission about its negotiating strategy. ...

WIN claims that the company has signed lucrative licensing deals with major labels Universal, Warner and Sony, while demanding that independent labels sign up to inferior terms or face having their videos blocked from YouTube's free service.

Chris Hedges Interviews Noam Chomsky (part 2)

Miami Sues JP Morgan Over Predatory Mortgages

JPMorgan Chase & Co has been sued by the city of Miami, accusing the bank of predatory mortgage lending in minority neighborhoods that allegedly caused a wave of foreclosures during the last decade's housing crisis.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday in federal court in Florida, said the country's largest bank engaged in a continuous practice of discriminatory mortgage lending since at least 2004, violating the U.S. Fair Housing Act.

After issuing high-cost loans to minorities in the years before the housing crisis, JPMorgan later refused to refinance the loans on the same terms as it extended to whites, leading to defaults and foreclosures, the complaint said.

The lawsuit came just weeks after the city of Los Angeles filed similar claims against JPMorgan, seeking to recoup damages for lost tax revenue and increased city services needed in blighted neighborhoods. ...

Wells Fargo & Co, Citigroup Inc and Bank of America Corp also face lawsuits by Los Angeles and Miami for allegedly giving minorities home loans they could not afford, resulting in massive defaults.

U.S. Supreme Court Preserves Power of Finance Over Argentina

Argentina President Blasts US Bank 'Extortion' of Developing Nations

Argentina will not submit to Wall Street's "extortion" of their debt, said President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in a national address Tuesday night.

De Kirchner's comments came after it was announced that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the South American country despite their argument that obliging predator banks would "encourage creditor free-for-alls" and "intensify and prolong the suffering of the poor in countries undergoing sovereign debt crisis."

On Wednesday, following news that the Supreme Court would uphold two lower court rulings which demanded that Argentina pay $1.3 billion in debt holdouts to "vulture" funds before repaying their other restructured debts, Standard & Poor lowered the country’s rating to CCC-. According to the credit rating bureau and reported by Bloomberg News, this is the lowest rating for any nation that’s currently assessed by the company and is nine levels below "investment grade."

"I am blown away by the [Supreme Court] decision," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious anti-poverty organization Jubilee USA. "For heavily indebted countries trying to support extremely poor people, this is a devastating blow. These hedge funds are equipped with an instrument that forces struggling economies into submission."

Senate probes conflicts in high-frequency trading

WASHINGTON — A Senate investigative panel put Wall Street’s high-frequency traders under the microscope Tuesday, spotlighting how these technology-driven companies can make money at the expense of unsuspecting investors. ...

“It’s an era in which stock market players buy the right to locate their trading computers closer and closer to the computers of stock exchanges – conferring a miniscule speed advantage yielding massive profits,” said Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan. “It’s an era in which millions of trade orders are placed, and then canceled, in a single second, raising the question of whether much of what we call the market is in fact an illusion.”

What concerns Levin and others is the way in which high-speed traders can detect market orders and then in fractions of a second buy the stock being sought and resell it at a slightly higher price. Most of this goes unnoticed to the buyer of the stock and the difference of the price is not huge. But when added up, it amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars. ...

The Senate panel drilled down on a practice in which high-frequency traders could push to the back of the line orders made on behalf of ordinary investors. At times the price of a desired trade has moved beyond a target by the time the turn of the ordinary investor has come. And it all happens in seconds.

[I'm glad that the Senate is "drilling down" on this practice.  It'd be even better if they did something about it. - js]

Obama Goes Union Buster, Forces striking Philly transportation workers Back To Work

Responding to a request from Republican governor Tom Corbett, Barack Obama responded affirmatively to Corbett's request to create a presidential emergency board to mediate the strike dispute.

Obama's action means that workers will be required to go back to work. ...

But let's talk about this. PA governor Tom Corbett is right up there with Wisconin's Scott Walker-- another union buster. Obama grants this lame duck Republican a gift-- beating down a union, neutralizing its power.

The Evening Greens

Northern Gateway approved: Open letter from David Suzuki

Like more than two-thirds of British Columbians and 130 First Nations, I'm outraged that the federal government wants to proceed with the Enbridge Northern Gateway twinned pipeline. In approving it, the government is aggressively pushing an unwanted project on an unwilling public. I don't believe it will be built.

British Columbia and Canada have too much to lose: rich coastal ecosystems known as the Galapagos of the North, the vast Great Bear Rainforest, vibrant First Nations' communities and some of the world's last healthy salmon streams, among other treasures. B.C.'s communities are built on the understanding that healthy ecosystems lead to prosperity.

All this is at risk from a pipeline that will carry heavy oil across nearly 800 rivers and streams and onto supertankers travelling B.C.'s coastal waters. It's hard to imagine a riskier project. ...

British Columbians say they don't want this pipeline. Increased tanker traffic and the possibility of heavy oil spills threaten the same marine areas that the province, First Nations and local communities are working to protect through marine plans.

This conversation is far from over. Next steps will likely include court challenges and actions by Canadians and First Nations, whose concerns have so far been ignored. I urge you to remain hopeful and join me to make your voice heard for a responsible energy future.

Enbridge Pipeline Decision Violates Rights of First Nations

Fate of $3M Fracking Damage Award for Texas Couple in Judge's Hands

A Texas judge will soon decide whether to accept a jury's $2.9 million award to a Wise County family who claims to have been sickened by emissions from the gas and oil wells surrounding their home.

In April, a Dallas County jury found that Aruba Petroleum, a Plano, Texas company, "intentionally created a private nuisance" that affected the health of Jim and Lisa Parr and their daughter. It appears to be the first successful U.S. lawsuit alleging that toxic air emissions from oil and gas production sickened people living nearby.

More than 100 wells have been drilled within two miles of the Parrs' Decatur, Texas ranch, 60 miles northwest of Dallas. One of Aruba's arguments is that it owns only 22 of those wells, so the emissions could have come from one of its competitors' wells.

If County Judge Mark Greenberg decides in the Parrs' favor, legal experts say the case could establish new legal standards that would benefit people who are fighting the industry. But another Texas case, decided nearly two decades ago, is cause for caution.

In 1996, eight families, also from Wise County, contended their water wells were contaminated by natural gas and hydrogen sulfide, and they sued Mitchell Energy, a major natural gas producer. The families alleged Mitchell had allowed the hydrogen sulfide to seep into the groundwater that fed their wells.

A jury awarded them $200 million in damages, but the verdict was later overturned by the Texas Supreme Court. Among other things, the court said there wasn't enough evidence to prove the water pollution in the wells came from Mitchell's operation.

Expiration of South Dakota Keystone Permit Another Hurdle for TransCanada

Public protests, legal tussles and delays have plagued the Keystone XL pipeline for years.

Now TransCanada, the company behind the project, faces another hurdle when the permit it needs to build in South Dakota expires on June 29.

The reapplication process will open the door for public comments and could lead to a hearing—adding further delays to the pipeline's review, now in its sixth year.

Much is up in the air, but pipeline opponents are cheering.

The new application will give "tribes and landowners another opportunity to intervene and essentially question the purpose of the pipeline," said Jane Kleeb, founder of the anti-Keystone group Bold Nebraska.

Bold Nebraska and its allies from the Cowboy and Indian Alliance—a group of ranchers, farmers and tribal members—will hold a celebratory event on June 27 called "Buffalo Roast, TransCanada is Toast," at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Spirit Camp in southern South Dakota, where protestors have lived in tipis for nearly three months. Kleeb said they will dismantle the tipis and plant a flag with the words "no permit, no pipeline, protect land and water." The camp sits on the Keystone XL route.

Blog Posts of Interest

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

Iraqi deserters say the army's epic collapse isn't their fault

Wall Street no longer attempts to deny the stock market is rigged

Total invalidation of transpeople in a single headline

Gertrude of Arabia, the Woman Who Invented Iraq

A Little Night Music

Lazy Lester w/Sonny Landreth- I Hear You Knockin'

Lazy Lester - Sugar Coated Love

Lazy Lester - Blues Stop Knockin'

Lazy Lester - I'm Your Breadmaker, Baby

Lazy Lester - I'm A Lover Not A Fighter

Lazy Lester - Rainin' In My Heart

Slim Harpo & Lazy Lester - My Home Is a Prison

Lazy Lester - I'm A Man

Lazy Lester - You Don't Have To Go

Lazy Lester - If You Think I Lost You

Lazy Lester - Courtroom Blues

Lightnin' Slim & Lazy Lester - Hoodoo Man

Lazy Lester - Pondarosa Stomp

Lazy Lester - They Call Me Lazy

Lazy Lester - Scratch My Back

Lazy Lester - You're Gonna Ruin Me Baby

Lazy Lester - Rooster Blues

Lazy Lester - Ya Ya

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 Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

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Rescue this diary, and add a note:
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Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

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Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
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(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
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