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 Texas bluesman Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner. Enjoy!
Juke Boy Bonner - Mojo Hand/Rock Me Mama/I'm A Bluesman
“Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.”
-- George Carlin
News and Opinion
Keystone XL Pipeline Protesters Take to the Streets Outside Obama Fundraiser in San Francisco
More than 1,000 people took to the streets on an cold and foggy evening in San Francisco’s glitzy Pacific Heights neighborhood. Protesters carrying signs and chanting awaited the arrival of Obama’s motorcade, expected at a nearby fundraising event. The crowd’s message was a unified opposition to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline currently under review by the Obama administration.
"The American people want President Obama to stand on the right side of history and take the real action he promised on climate change by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline," said Becky Bond, Political Director of CREDO, one of the groups that helped to organize the event. ... Over 1,000 Obama volunteers, voters and donors turned out in San Francisco to remind our president that his legacy will be judged harshly if he approves Keystone XL." ...
CREDO was joined in organizing the event along with Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club and other groups. More than 53,000 people have recently signed a CREDO pledge to risk arrest in acts of civil disobedience if the Obama administration does approve the pipeline. The Sierra Club is also currently organizing community town hall meetings across the country to urge to president to take decisive action on climate change.
Exxon's Unfriendly Skies: Why Does Exxon Control the No-Fly Zone Over Arkansas Tar Sands Spill?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has had a "no fly zone" in place in Mayflower, Arkansas since April 1 at 2:12 PM and will be in place "until further notice," according to the FAA website and it's being overseen by ExxonMobil itself. In other words, any media or independent observers who want to witness the tar sands spill disaster have to ask Exxon's permission. ...
The rules of engagement for the no fly zone dictate that no aircraft can fly within 1,000 feet of the ground in the five-mile radius surrounding the ExxonMobil Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill. The area located within this radius includes the nearby Pine Village Airport.
Lynn Lunsford, an FAA spokesman, told Dow Jones a no fly zone was issued because "at least one" helicopter was needed to move clean-up crews around, as well as to spot oil that can't be seen from the ground.
Water for Profit: Seizing Climate Change as a Chance to Corporatize the Commons
As the effects of climate change continue to ripple throughout the planet, some groups are acknowledging that the warming planet means big money is to be made on a resource more precious than oil — water.
In an article titled "Investors Seek Ways to Profit From Global Warming," Bloomberg Businessweek provides a revealing quote from the corporation Water Asset Management, for whom "drought is helping spur business," and for whom climate change will help them profit from water as a commodity:“Not enough people are thinking long term of [water] as an asset that is worthy of ownership,” says Chief Operating Officer Marc Robert. “Climate change for us is a driver.”
Obama's EU Trade Deal Would Include New Political Powers For Corporations
The Obama administration is pursuing a free trade agreement with the European Union that would grant corporations new political power to challenge an array of regulations both at home and abroad, according to an administration official involved in the negotiations.
While the plan is still in its early stages, the effort alarms consumer and environmental advocates who worry it will lead to a rollback of important rules and put multinational companies on the same political plain as sovereign nations.
If states are unable to pass and enforce laws within their borders, it could change the nature of their community and government, nonprofit groups emphasize. Exactly how broad these corporate political powers will be is undetermined, but one aspect of the agreement, known as "investor-state dispute resolution," would allow a company to appeal a regulatory rule or law to an international court, most likely the World Bank. The international body would be given authority to impose economic sanctions against any country that violated its verdict, including the United States.
It Can Happen Here: The Confiscation Scheme Planned for US and UK DepositorsThe latest news from the United States of Goldman Sachs:
Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few Eurozone “troika” officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds. ...
Although few depositors realize it, legally the bank owns the depositor’s funds as soon as they are put in the bank. Our money becomes the bank’s, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs or promises to pay. (See here and here.) But until now the bank has been obligated to pay the money back on demand in the form of cash. Under the FDIC-BOE plan, our IOUs will be converted into “bank equity.” The bank will get the money and we will get stock in the bank. With any luck we may be able to sell the stock to someone else, but when and at what price? Most people keep a deposit account so they can have ready cash to pay the bills.
The 15-page FDIC-BOE document is called “Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions.” It begins by explaining that the 2008 banking crisis has made it clear that some other way besides taxpayer bailouts is needed to maintain “financial stability.” Evidently anticipating that the next financial collapse will be on a grander scale than either the taxpayers or Congress is willing to underwrite ...
No exception is indicated for “insured deposits” in the U.S., meaning those under $250,000, the deposits we thought were protected by FDIC insurance. This can hardly be an oversight, since it is the FDIC that is issuing the directive.
Obama picks Goldman Sachs exec for ambassador to Canada
U.S. President Barack Obama has selected a partner at the investment firm of Goldman Sachs in Chicago to be the new U.S. ambassador to Canada, CBC News has learned. ...
Well known as a high-level fundraiser to Barack Obama, Heyman and his wife Vicki, also a fundraiser, raised more than $1 million for Obama and were on his national finance committee.
Heyman runs the private wealth fund at Goldman Sachs and his areas of responsibility include parts of Canada.
Banker successfully criminally prosecuted by government - for defrauding Goldman Sachs
Matthew Taylor, who worked at Goldman in New York from 2005 to late 2007, handed himself in to the FBI in New York on Wednesday morning.
During a brief appearance in a Manhattan court on Wednesday, Mr Taylor pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
District Judge William Pauley released the former trader on a $750,000 (£496,000) bail and set a sentencing date of July 26. The maximum sentence for wire fraud is 20 years in prison.
In November, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) accused Mr Taylor of concealing an $8.3bn position in the S&P 500 futures market that left Goldman nursing an $118m loss.
Secret Files Expose Offshore's Global Impact
A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over. ...
The leaked files provide facts and figures — cash transfers, incorporation dates, links between companies and individuals — that illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has spread aggressively around the globe, allowing the wealthy and the well-connected to dodge taxes and fueling corruption and economic woes in rich and poor nations alike. The records detail the offshore holdings of people and companies in more than 170 countries and territories. ...
Anti-corruption campaigners argue that offshore secrecy undermines law and order and forces average citizens to pay higher taxes to make up for revenues that vanish offshore. Studies have estimated that cross-border flows of global proceeds of financial crimes total between $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion a year. ...
The anonymity of the offshore world makes it difficult to track the flow of money. A study by James S. Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey & Company, estimates that wealthy individuals have $21 trillion to $32 trillion in private financial wealth tucked away in offshore havens — roughly equivalent to the size of the U.S. and Japanese economies combined.
To Sign Up For Obamacare, Start Filling Out The Forms Now (And Hire A Good Accountant)
Want to apply for Obamacare this fall? Start the paperwork now.
The Obama Administration quietly released a draft copy of its “single streamlined application” for Obamacare. This is the form that the government will use to certify eligibility for the program’s subsidies. The on-line version of that form requires 60 printed pages to spell out all the queries. (A condensed paper version of the same application fills 21 pages).
And all this comes before you fill out your state paperwork to see if you’re eligible for Medicaid (and before you even begin to select a health plan). There’s also a separate form that you’ll have to give to your employer to complete for you.
What’s in the 60-page document? Most families of four will have to answer about 1,000 discrete queries by the time they’re done.
What Forbes misses, of course, is that the whole exercise is not about "paperwork" but about rent-seeking. The entire point of ObamaCare is to guarantee the insurance companies a market for their product -- creepily called "the Marketplace," with capital "M," in the draft copy linked to above -- even though there is no demonstrable value to having the insurance companies involved in any health care transaction. All the income tests, all the eligibility criteria, all the options and "choices": All these are there to enable successful rent seeking, and all go away when health care is a right and there is a single payer system like Medicare for All.
Testimony, Recordings at Trial Reveal the Racial Biases and Arrest Quotas Behind NYPD’s Stop & Frisk
Fast food workers stage surprise strike in New York City
Workers at more than 70 fast food chain restaurants planned a walkout for Thursday in what organizers are saying is the largest-ever protest of its kind. According to CNN Money, the coalition of striking workers includes employees of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, KFC and other major chains, as well as community and clergy groups dedicated to improving the lives of low-wage workers in the mostly non-unionized field of restaurant work.
Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change, one of the main organizing groups behind the strike, told CNN that dozens of workers walked off the job at the Times Square McDonald’s and that the Flatbush Avenue Burger King in Brooklyn barely opened its doors on time Thursday morning due to the number of workers who are on strike.
The workers are asking for a minimum pay of $15 an hour and the right to organize and collectively bargain without fear of firing or retaliation. Currently, the median wage for fast food workers in New York City is $9 an hour, placing even full-time workers at an average income of $18,500 per year, well under the U.S. Census Bureau’s threshold for poverty-level income, $23,000 per year for a family of four.
“Anti-Drone Days of Action” Nation-Wide Protests April 4 – 7
“National Anti-Drone Days of Action” from April 4 through 7 in San Diego start a month of protests across the United States against the policy and practice of drone warfare and secret surveillance.
Local and national organizations are coordinating a series of events to increase the attention to why drone killings and surveillance are bad practice and policy for the United States.
San Diego is where these protests will start based on the region’s role as the “national capital” of military drone production. Killer and surveillance drones pour out of San Diego at increasing rates, matched by the rise in deaths and dismemberment from US strikes across the globe.
Blog Posts of Interest
Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.What's Happenin'
A Little Night Music
Juke Boy Bonner - Running Shoes
Juke Boy Bonner - Gimme Some Boone's Farm
Juke Boy Bonner - Houston, The Action Town
Juke Boy Bonner - Struggle Here In Houston
Juke Boy Bonner - Well Baby
Juke Boy Bonner - Talkin' About Lightnin'
Juke Boy Bonner - Live My Trouble On Down
Juke Boy Bonner - Let's boogie
Juke Boy Bonner - Going Crazy Over You
Juke Boy Bonner - Rock With Me Baby
It's National Pie Day!
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