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 Eddie C. Campbell. Enjoy!
Eddie C. Campbell - That's when I know
“But they can rule by fraud, and by fraud eventually acquire access to the tools they need to finish the job of killing off the Constitution.'
'What sort of tools?'
'More stringent security measures. Universal electronic surveillance. No-knock laws. Stop and frisk laws. Government inspection of first-class mail. Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime. A law making it unlawful to resist even unlawful arrest. Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives. Gun control laws. Restrictions on travel. The assassinations, you see, establish the need for such laws in the public mind. Instead of realizing that there is a conspiracy, conducted by a handful of men, the people reason—or are manipulated into reasoning—that the entire population must have its freedom restricted in order to protect the leaders. The people agree that they themselves can't be trusted.”
-- Robert Anton Wilson
News and Opinion
Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow
Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC
One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.
On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.
This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.
For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.
In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.
I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.
Edward Joseph Snowden
Monday 1st July 2013
Washington Post releases four new slides from NSA's Prism presentation
Newly published top-secret documents detail how NSA interfaces with tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft
The newly published top-secret documents, which the newspaper has released with some redactions, give further details of how Prism interfaces with the nine companies, which include such giants as Google, Microsoft and Apple. According to annotations to the slides by the Washington Post, the new material shows how the FBI "deploys government equipment on private company property to retrieve matching information from a participating company, such as Microsoft or Yahoo and pass it without further review to the NSA".
The new slides underline the scale of the Prism operation, recording that on 5 April there were 117,675 active surveillance targets in the programme's database. They also explain Prism's ability to gather real-time information on live voice, text, email or internet chat services, as well as to analyse stored data.
The 41-slide PowerPoint was leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Guardian and Washington Post, with both news organizations publishing a selection of the slides on 6 June. The revelation of a top-secret programme to data-mine digital information obtained with the co-operation of the nine companies added to a storm of controversy surrounding the NSA's surveillance operations.
Several of the participating companies listed on the third new slide released by the Washington Post – Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple – denied at the time of the initial publication that they had agreed to giving the NSA direct access to their systems. Google told the Guardian that it did not "have a back door for the government to access private user data".
Putin: Snowden must stop leaking secrets to stay
Russia's President Vladimir Putin says that National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden will have to stop leaking U.S. secrets if he wants to get asylum in Russia, something he says Snowden doesn't want to do. ...
He says that Snowden considers himself a rights activist, a "new dissident" and compared him to Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov. ...
Putin wouldn't say if any of the leaders of gas exporting nations attending a summit in Moscow could offer Snowden shelter. ...
The Obama administration is facing a breakdown in confidence from key allies over secret programs that reportedly installed covert listening devices in EU offices. Many European countries had so far been muted about revelations of the wide net cast by U.S. surveillance programs aimed at preventing terrorist attacks, but their reaction to the latest reports indicate Washington's allies are unlikely to let the matter drop without at least a strong show of outrage.
The White House wouldn't comment on the new reports, but officials said President Barack Obama has not spoken to his counterparts in Europe about the revelations since they were published Sunday in a German weekly.
Snowden applies for political asylum in Russia
Vladimir Putin has for the first time floated the idea of the US whistleblower Edward Snowden remaining in Russia, hours after the fugitive applied for political asylum in the country.
Snowden applied for asylum at the consular office at Moscow's Sheremtyevo airport at 10.30pm on Sunday through his Wikileaks handler, Sarah Harrison, a consular official said.
"The UK citizen Sarah Harrison passed on a request by Edward Snowden to be granted political asylum," said Kim Shevchenko, a staff member at the airport's consular department. He said he then called the foreign ministry, who sent a courier one hour later to pick up the request. ...
Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan president, is currently in Moscow for the two-day gas conference and it was believed he and Putin would discuss Snowden's fate. Putin's foreign policy adviser, Yury Ushakov, said the pair had not discussed Snowden yet.
A campaign calling for Snowden to stay in Russia has gathered momentum since he first arrived in Moscow last week. On Monday , several MPs and influential Russians floated the idea during a meeting of the Public Chamber, a body that advises the Kremlin.
"It's not right that Snowden is sitting in this terminal like in a prison," said Sergei Markov, a former MP who maintains close ties to the Kremlin. "Unlike prison, he can't even go out and breathe fresh air. On humanitarian grounds, I think he should be presented with a way to enter Russian territory."
Several MPs said they would nominate Snowden for a Nobel peace prize.
New NSA leaks show how US is bugging its European allies
Edward Snowden papers reveal 38 targets including EU, France and Italy
US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae.
Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.
One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is "implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC" – an apparent reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission. The NSA documents note the machine is used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals.
The documents suggest the aim of the bugging exercise against the EU embassy in central Washington is to gather inside knowledge of policy disagreements on global issues and other rifts between member states
US Defense of Vast EU Spying by NSA: 'Everyone Else Is Doing It'
Europeans should not expect US spy agencies to honor their privacy, says former NSA and CIA chief
News reports over the weekend from both Der Speigel in Germany and the UK's Guardian sparked outrage among EU countries after new documents made available by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden showed the NSA has been spying on many of its European allies, bugging their offices and tapping into their computer networks.
Following the reports, German officials accused the US of treating it "like a cold war enemy" and Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said he was “deeply worried and shocked" over the allegations, and demanded a "full clarification" from the US regarding the allegations.
But on Sunday, the office of the NSA's director put out a press statement saying that the US foreign spying programs against its so-called allies is "of the of the type gathered by all nations."
Germans Loved Obama. Now We Don’t Trust Him.
In Germany, whenever the government begins to infringe on individual freedom, society stands up. Given our history, we Germans are not willing to trade in our liberty for potentially better security. Germans have experienced firsthand what happens when the government knows too much about someone. In the past 80 years, Germans have felt the betrayal of neighbors who informed for the Gestapo and the fear that best friends might be potential informants for the Stasi. Homes were tapped. Millions were monitored.
Although these two dictatorships, Nazi and Communist, are gone and we now live in a unified and stable democracy, we have not forgotten what happens when secret police or intelligence agencies disregard privacy. It is an integral part of our history and gives young and old alike a critical perspective on state surveillance systems. ...
With Edward J. Snowden’s important revelations fresh in our minds, Germans were eager to hear President Obama’s recent speech in Berlin. But the Barack Obama who spoke in front of the Brandenburg Gate to a few thousand people on June 19 looked a lot different from the one who spoke in front of the Siegessäule in July 2008 in front of more than 200,000 people, who had gathered in the heart of Berlin to listen to Mr. Obama, then running for president. His political agenda as a candidate was a breath of fresh air compared with that of George W. Bush. Mr. Obama aimed to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, end mass surveillance in the so-called war on terror and defend individual freedom.
But the senator who promised to shut Guantánamo is now a second-term president who is still fighting for its closure. And the events of the past few weeks concerning the collection of metadata and private e-mail and social-media content have made many Germans further question Mr. Obama’s proclaimed commitment to the individual freedoms we hold dear.
During Mr. Obama’s presidency, no American political debate has received as much attention in Germany as the N.S.A. Prism program. People are beginning to second-guess the belief that digital communication stays private. It changes both our perception of communication and our trust in Mr. Obama.
Nations Furious Following Revelations NSA Bugged EU Offices
In Germany '500 million communication connections being monitored every month" by NSA
The NSA spied on key EU offices in Washington, New York and Brussels, and classified Europeans as a "location target," according to reporting by a German news magazine on Sunday, prompting outrage from EU officials.
This newest revelation of the scope of NSA surveillance exposed by Der Spiegel is from secret documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, including a 2010 document marked "top secret" the paper had seen in part.
The NSA "not only conducted online surveillance of European citizens, but also appears to have specifically targeted buildings housing European Union institutions," it reports.
Der Spiegel also reported that Germany was a significant target of NSA surveillance, "with some 500 million communication connections being monitored every month."
On Sunday, Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, said the tactic "recalls the methods used by enemies during the Cold War," and added, "It is beyond comprehension that our friends in the United States see Europeans as enemies."
Reports in Der Spiegel that US agencies bugged European council building 'reminiscent of cold war', says German minister
[I]t has emerged that at least six European member states have shared personal communications data with the NSA, according to declassified US intelligence reports and EU parliamentary documents.
The documents, seen by the Observer, show that – in addition to the UK – Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy have all had formal agreements to provide communications data to the US. They state that the EU countries have had "second and third party status" under decades-old signal intelligence (Sigint) agreements that compel them to hand over data which, in later years, experts believe, has come to include mobile phone and internet data.
Under the international intelligence agreements, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is defined as 'first party' while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy 'second party' trusted relationships. Countries such as Germany and France have 'third party', or less trusted, relationships.
The data-sharing was set out under a 1955 UK-USA agreement that provided a legal framework for intelligence-sharing that has continued.
It stipulates: "In accordance with these arrangements, each party will continue to make available to the other, continuously, and without request, all raw traffic, COMINT (communications intelligence) end-product and technical material acquired or produced, and all pertinent information concerning its activities, priorities and facilities."
Misinformation on classified NSA programs includes statements by senior U.S. officials
[D]etails that have emerged from the exposure of hundreds of pages of previously classified NSA documents indicate that public assertions about these programs by senior U.S. officials have also often been misleading, erroneous or simply false. ...
[A]n examination of public statements over a period of years suggests that officials have often relied on legalistic parsing and carefully hedged characterizations in discussing the NSA’s collection of communications.
Obama’s assurances have hinged, for example, on a term — targeting — that has a specific meaning for U.S. spy agencies that would elude most ordinary citizens.
“What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls and the NSA cannot target your e-mails,” Obama said in his June 17 interview on PBS’s “Charlie Rose Show.”
But even if it is not allowed to target U.S. citizens, the NSA has significant latitude to collect and keep the contents of e-mails and other communications of U.S. citizens that are swept up as part of the agency’s court-approved monitoring of a target overseas.
The law allows the NSA to examine such messages and share them with other agencies if it determines that the information contained is evidence of a crime, conveys a serious threat or is necessary to understand foreign intelligence.
Egypt on Brink as Morsi Stares Down Dual Ultimatums
Egypt's military tells president and his ruling government that it has 48 hours to address people's demands or it will step in to restore order.
Following an ultimatum by opposition groups that President Mohammed Morsi should step aside by 5 pm Tuesday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) rreleased an ultimatum of its own in a statement on Monday.
As Ahram Online reports:The Egyptian Armed Forces issued a televised statement on Monday afternoon giving Egyptian political forces 48 hours to "fulfil the people's demands," otherwise the armed forces would present a political "roadmap" for the country that would include all political currents.
"The Egyptian Armed Forces will not become involved in politics or administration; it is satisfied with its role as is spelt out in line with democratic norms," read the statement, stressing that Egyptian national security was in "great danger" and referring to the armed forces' "responsibility" to step in if national security was threatened.
"The Egyptian Armed Forces have set a deadline, which ended yesterday [Sunday], for all political powers to reconcile and end the current crisis, but no progress has been made. Consequently, the Egyptian people have taken to the streets," the statement read.
"Wasting more time will mean more division and conflict, which is what the armed forces warned of and of which it continues to warn," the statement added.
Energy Chief Confirms Critics' Fears: Obama Still Loves Coal
Secretary Ernest Moniz continues to tout myth of 'clean coal' as foremost in energy strategy
US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz declared Sunday that 'coal is our future,' affirming skeptics' fears that, despite the rhetoric heralded in President Obama's climate policy speech last week, the US will continue to kowtow to the interests of Big Coal.
The Energy Chief's statement appeared to backpedal on comments made by the president regarding "new rules to cut carbon emissions from US power plants and support renewable energy."
Despite these claims, Obama "expects fossil fuels, and coal specifically, to remain a significant contributor for some time," Moniz told Reuters Sunday while attending a nuclear security conference in Vienna, Austria:The way the U.S. administration is "looking at it is: what does it take for us to do to make coal part of a low carbon future," he said, adding this would include higher efficiency plants and new ways of utilizing coal.
It is "all about having, in fact, coal as part of that future," Moniz said. "I don't believe it is a 'war on coal'."
Cheaper Canadian Oil for Refiners in Midwest Not Reflected in Prices at the PumpI found this to be an interesting historical backgrounder for current events in Turkey:
Refiners are keeping windfall profits from flood of tar sands oil for themselves, undermining a key national interest argument in favor of the Keystone XL.
For nearly two years, refineries in the Midwest have been buying crude oil at steep discounts thanks to a glut of U.S. and Canadian oil. But drivers in the Midwest haven't seen a corresponding decrease in gasoline prices. In fact, they sometimes pay more at the pump than people in other parts of the country, even as windfall profits flow to BP, Koch Industries Inc. and other large Midwestern refiners.
"It's good to be a refiner," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, a company that tracks energy markets. "For 20 years, the rule of thumb was that if you made $5 a barrel east of the Rockies, that was a good profit for a refinery. Recently, we saw a period in the Midwest where refiners were making $40, or $50, or even $60 a barrel on gasoline."
The disparity of fortunes between Midwest refiners and consumers isn't a surprise to industry analysts.
In today's complex fuel market, retail gasoline prices are no longer just a reflection of the cost of oil. A host of other factors—such as refinery fires, power outages and damage from extreme weather events—now have an increasing impact, in part because there are fewer refineries fulfilling the nation's thirst for fuel.
The correlation between the price of oil and the price of gasoline has become so skewed that analysts say it calls into question one of the central benefits touted by supporters of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline: That the project would lower U.S. gas prices by providing Gulf Coast refiners with a steady flow of cheaper oil from Canada.
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
Eddie Campbell - Voodoo
Eddie C. Campbell & Lurrie Bell - All My Life
Eddie Campbell - All your love
Eddie C. Campbell - King of the Jungle
Eddie C. Campbell - Still a Fool
Eddie C. Campbell - The Blues Is All Right
Eddie C. Campbell - I Do
Eddie C Campbell - The Things That I Used To Do
Eddie C. Campbell - The Way You Do The Things You Do
Eddie C. Campbell - The Twist
Eddie C. Campbell - Five And A Half
Eddie C. Campbell - Busted
Eddie C. Campbell - Love Me with a Feeling
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!