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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 Chicago bluesman Floyd Jones.  Enjoy!

Floyd Jones - Stockyard Blues

"History is laden with belligerent leaders using humanitarian rhetoric to mask geopolitical aims."

  -- Samantha Power

News and Opinion

[Today was a busy day for me, so the rest of the news will be "potluck" in the comments section. - js]

In Gaza, Unrelenting Israeli Assault Causes "Grave Humanitarian Crisis"

Israeli cabinet rejects US proposal for 'humanitarian pause' in Gaza fighting

Binyamin Netanyahu's ministers turn down ceasefire plan on day when Gaza's death toll passes 820

Israel's cabinet has unanimously rejected a US-backed proposal for a week-long "humanitarian pause" in the offensive on Gaza after 18 days of fighting that has claimed more than 800 Palestinian lives.

Binyamin Netanyhau and his ministers reached their decision on a day when Gaza's death toll reached 822 and five more Palestinians were killed in protests that spread to the West Bank. Hamas had already signalled its opposition to the terms of the US plan, which it deemed too favourable to Israel.

UN Chief Slams Israeli Attacks on Gaza: At Least 828 Palestinians Killed

Dire Conditions as Gazans Running Out of Food, Water

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon slammed Israel today for its continued attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying he is “angry about what they are doing” after the attack on a UN-run school full of refugees.

“Why are you continuing to kill people?” Ban asked, adding “there are many other ways to resolve this issue without killing each other.” The Palestinian death toll is now at 828, with over 5,200 wounded. ...

Efforts to negotiate a ceasefire have gone poorly, with Israel continuing to talk escalation, and no plans emerging that either Israel or Hamas has found acceptable.

Turning Point? Largest West Bank Protest in Decades Raises Spectre of a 3rd Intifada

'The largest West Bank protest in decades'

At least two protesters were killed and more than 100 wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem late Thursday night, as thousands of Palestinians marched from Ramallah to the Qalandia checkpoint, which separates Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The protest, against Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, was the largest the West Bank has seen in years – according to some Palestinian demonstrators, the largest in decades. As of Thursday night, 805 Palestinians  had been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its offensive on July 8. ...

The West Bank protest came during Laylat al-Qadr, the 27th night of Ramadan and  the holiest night of the year for Muslims. According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel Police Micky Rosenfeld said that hundreds of officers would be stationed around the Old City during Friday prayers, and that no Arabs under 50 would be permitted to enter Damascus Gate.

Palestinian protests to continue as Israel considers military options

The violence of the Gaza conflict has spread to the West Bank where two Palestinians have been killed and scores wounded in the biggest clashes with Israeli forces for several years. Protests are expected to resume on Friday afternoon.

Palestinian medics reported that Israeli gunfire had injured several hundred protesters, 120 of whom were being treated for gunshot wounds Thousands of Palestinians took part in a march from Ramallah towards East Jerusalem in response to a call from the Palestinian Authority for a "day of rage" over the bloodshed in Gaza, where the death toll has passed 800.

Further protests in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were expected following midday prayers on Friday, the last Friday of Ramadan, as the Israeli security cabinet was due to review the latest ceasefire proposal from the US secretary of state, John Kerry. It was also to discuss the option of expanding its eight-day-old ground operation in Gaza.

More than 15 women, children and United Nations staff were killed and around 200 injured on Thursday morning when Israel shelled a UN school sheltering hundreds of Palestinians fleeing the violence.

The Israel Defence Forces insisted it had given the occupants of the shelter time to leave before shelling the area. But the UN flatly contradicted this, saying it had made repeated attempts to negotiate a window of time during which people could safely leave the area but none had been granted. It said it had given the IDF precise co-ordinates of the location of the school

Netanyahu: Israel is continuing Gaza operation with full force

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel will continue Operation Protective Edge in Gaza with full force, giving no indication that a cease-fire was in the offing. ...

"We are continuing the operation in full strength," he said, adding that the IDF was making big gains in Gaza.

Netanyahu also trumpeted Israel's diplomatic gains, in successfully convincing US aviation authorities to resume flights to and from Ben-Gurion Airport, despite their concerns of the ongoing rocket threat from Gaza.

After "Losing Everything," Gazans Cling to Hope That Conflict Will End Crippling Siege

The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police

The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudis on “internal security” matters.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that “Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse,” specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly “poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat” of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI’s use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents.

But as the State Department publicly catalogued those very abuses, the NSA worked to provide increased surveillance assistance to the ministry that perpetrated them. The move is part of the Obama Administration’s increasingly close ties with the Saudi regime; beyond the new cooperation with the MOI, the memo describes “a period of rejuvenation” for the NSA’s relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Defense.

In general, U.S. support for the Saudi regime is long-standing. One secret 2007 NSA memo lists Saudi Arabia as one of four countries where the U.S. “has [an] interest in regime continuity.

Some very crazy people in positions of power appear to want to ignite a new Cold War.  They need to be stopped.
US Invents Reports of Russia Attacking Ukraine Bases

No Reports Out of Ukraine on Any Such Incidents

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf introduced the story to the press at today’s briefing, claiming that the US has secret evidence from “human intelligence information” that the attacks are taking place. The Pentagon concurred, saying such attacks have been going on “for several days.”

During the past several days, there has not been a single report out of Ukraine of an artillery strike against any of their military bases, anywhere in the country. The last such incident was two weeks ago, when rebels fired a BM-21 grad at a military base. ...

The latest invented story appears to have been produced primarily as a replacement for Harf’s increasingly debunked allegations surrounding the MH17 shoot-down, a talking point which has gained her no small mocking in the press over the past week, as she directly contradicts the US intelligence community’s own releases on the matter.

[Here are some funny snippets from the State Department presser linked above. It seems it won't be long before people start referring to State as the home of Baghdad Bob. - js]

QUESTION: I would like to know what you’re basing this new evidence that the Russians intend to send any heavier equipment.

MS. HARF: It’s based – uh-huh. It’s based on some intelligence information. I can’t get into the sources and methods behind it, but I was able to be able to tell you that.

QUESTION: Is there a YouTube video or something that you can point us to --

MS. HARF: Do you have any other questions?


MS. HARF: So if you prefer – if you prefer I don’t give you more information and just say nothing if I can’t give you the source --

QUESTION: I’d prefer --

MS. HARF: No, I’m actually asking you a question here. If I can’t give you the source and method, would you prefer I not give you the information?

QUESTION: Marie, I think that it would be best for all concerned here --

MS. HARF: Are there any other questions?

QUESTION: -- if when you make an allegation like that, you’re able to back it up with something more than just “because I say so.”

Gen. Dempsey: We're Pulling Out Our Cold War Military Plans over Ukraine

Hours after the U.S. State Department on Thursday claimed (though failed to describe) new evidence that Russia's military was both increasing the flow of arms to rebel fighters in eastern Ukraine and firing artillery at Ukrainian Army positions across its border, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey elevated the  rhetoric against Russian President Vladimir Putin and directly invoked the idea that a new Cold War-like posture is now being taken by the U.S. military.

Speaking from the Aspen Security Forum, a defense industry conference in Colorado, Dempsey said Pentagon planners are now looking at military options “we haven’t had to look at for 20 years" and warned that Putin—who he characterized as escalating the crisis inside Ukraine—“may actually light a fire” he cannot control. And not just in Ukraine or eastern Europe, Dempsey said, but globally.

Drawing a dramatic historic comparison, Dempsey equated Putin's alleged involvement in eastern Ukraine to the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland in 1939. ...

In a separate caustic charge, Dempsey blamed the "rising tide of nationalism" seen in parts of Europe as a created in many ways by "Russian activities” in Ukraine, a strange charge given that the key Ukrainian nationalist parties are represented in the new Ukrainian government in Kiev opposed by Moscow but backed by the U.S. government and many in the European Union.

Ukraine Accused of Targeting Civilians in East

War literally came to Alexander Litvinenko's living room, when a missile punched a gaping hole into the wall of his ninth-floor apartment. The 53-year-old college philosophy teacher had just stepped into his study to check the news online, barely escaping death.

Others in the residential neighborhood in northwest Donetsk were less fortunate. Five civilians were killed and 12 injured in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels on Monday, according to the mayor's office. Residents in the rebel-held city are blaming Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has promised to stamp out the uprising in the eastern part of the country.

"They're bombing the civilian population instead of taking their fight to the battlefield," said Natalya Kiselyova, a dental hygienist in the neighborhood.

Kiselyova, 38, said she heard the whistle of rockets that landed in the neighborhood, leaving a crater near a playground and slashing the bark off trees. "In western Ukraine they think we're terrorists. We're ordinary people who want to get up in the morning, go to work and sleep at night."

While the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week riveted international attention on the Ukraine conflict, locals have been struggling for months with spiraling violence. The Ukrainian military, buoyed after the fall of rebel stronghold Slovyansk this month, is now trying to encircle Donetsk and cut off any supply routes from Russia.

State Dept: Iraqi PM Maliki to Be Ousted Soon

Speaking with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk says he believes Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s days are numbered.

“I think we’re in a race against time,” McGurk warned, but said he believes that officials are acting with “urgency” to see Maliki replaced, and that there are several “very capable” leaders to replace Maliki, though he declined to name them.

Canadian festival bans Native American-style headdresses

A Canadian music festival has banned attendees from wearing feather headdresses. Out of respect for "the dignity of aboriginal people", Bass Coast is asking concertgoers to leave their appropriated fancy dress at home.

"We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets," organisers said in a statement. "They have a magnificent aesthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance cannot be separated … Bass Coast festival takes place on indigenous land and … we feel our policy aligns with [aboriginal peoples'] views and wishes regarding the subject. Their opinion is what matters to us." ...

As feather headdresses have become popular fashion accessories at concerts and EDM festivals, they have become an increasingly important site for conversations about First Nations relations and cultural appropriation. ... Canada's award-winning Tribe Called Red have been particularly vocal on the headdress issue: "It's 'redface'. Just like blackface,'" Ian Campeau told the Huffington Post last year. "We're in the middle of our civil-rights movement right now, today. So hopefully, in a couple decades, redface and terms like 'Redskin' and 'Indian' will go the way of blackface and terms like 'nigger' and become tabooed."

We should be shamed by the responses to the child refugees on the US border

The politicians debating how to send back more quickly the kids fleeing violence in Central America are little more than cowards

n the United States, it seems that childhood is a privilege afforded to only certain people. We only recently ended juvenile executions and still practice juvenile life without parole; we are a country that lets children go without food and water; we are a nation that purports to welcome "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" – only to stack up the juvenile poor like cord wood in euphemistically-named government "detention centers" before bussing them back to whatever violent place from whence they fled. ...

Arguing for the mass removal – by the planeload – of underage refugees seeking asylum from systemic violence is a brutal response to a humanitarian crisis involving children. ... All 50 states have statutes that require courts to consider the "best interest of the child" when making decisions about their custody or placement in domestic court proceedings. The statutes vary by state, but they are all meant to prioritize the health, safety, physical and emotional well-being of children, so that the state doesn't knowingly send a child into a dangerous situation. International law has a similar standard, as outlined by the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (CRC):

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
The idea of affording children special protection is so uncontroversial that the CRC has been ratified by more countries than any human rights treaty in history (though not yet by the United States). ... By chipping away at special protections for young refugees, rather than building them up, the United States is doing more than denying these children legal status and safety – it is denying their childhood itself.

The Evening Greens

Canadian Group Delivering Water to Detroit to Protest Shutoffs

As Detroit activists and human rights groups continue to protest against widespread water shutoffs, the Council of Canadians mobilized on Thursday to deliver a  convoy of water in a show of international support to beleaguered city residents.

The Windsor chapter of the council will bring hundreds of gallons of water into Detroit to help those faced with long-term service shutoffs.

“In a region that holds 20% of the world’s freshwater, the water cut-offs are a source of growing international outrage," said Maude Barlow, national chairperson for the Council of Canadians. "Water is a human right, and it is unacceptable in a country of plenty, surrounded by the Great Lakes, the largest source of fresh water in the world, that people should go without."

The council plans to deliver their convoy to a rally Thursday afternoon at the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church of Detroit. Several organizers will also send a petition to City Hall, asking for water to be restored to elderly people, disabled people and families with children.

"The human suffering is that of a major disaster, one that grows every day,” Barlow stated, adding that the council asks President Barack Obama to "intervene and to declare a state of emergency. It is appalling that this has been allowed to happen, even more so to go on this long.”

Notorious 'Neonics' Pervasive in Midwest Waters: Study

Researchers from the USGS found the insecticides in waterways of nation's corn, soy region.

Linked in numerous studies to bee declines, the new research looks at neonics' impacts on surface water.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey looked at 9 rivers and streams in the U.S. Midwest—home to vast plantings of corn and soybeans as well as widespread use of neonics—in the 2013 growing season.

The researchers detected neonics in all the waterways, which included the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. One systemic pesticide, clothianidin, was found in 75 percent of the water samples.

“We noticed higher levels of these insecticides after rain storms during crop planting, which is similar to the spring flushing of herbicides that has been documented in Midwestern U.S. rivers and streams,” USGS scientist Michelle Hladick, the report’s lead author, said in a statement.

“In fact, the insecticides also were detected prior to their first use during the growing season, which indicates that they can persist from applications in prior years,” Hladick stated.

"Concentrations may frequently exceed chronic aquatic toxicity values during growing season," the study states.

Blog Posts of Interest

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

US Provides Israel the Weapons Used on Gaza

Hiding War Crimes Behind a Question

A Little Night Music

Floyd Jones - On The Road Again

Floyd Jones + Eddie Taylor- Hard Times

Floyd Jones - Overseas

Floyd Jones - Schooldays on my Mind

Floyd Jones - Dark Road

Floyd Jones - Rising Wind

Floyd Jones - Big World

Floyd Jones + Snooky Pryor - Keep What You Got

Floyd Jones - You can't live long

Floyd Jones - Mr Freddy's Blues

Floyd Jones + Big Walter - Talk About Your Daddy

Floyd Jones - Any Old Lonesome Day

Floyd Jones - Skinny mama

Floyd Jones - Floyd's Blues

Eddie Taylor & Floyd Jones - Peach Tree Blues & Train Fare Home

It's National Pie Day!

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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!

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