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 blues shouter Jimmy Rushing. Enjoy!
Jimmy Rushing and Billy Taylor - Boogie Woogie
“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.”
-- Thomas Jefferson
News and Opinion
The US Is Openly Sending Heavy Weapons From Libya To Syrian Rebels
The Obama administration has decided to launch a covert operation to send heavy weapons to Syrian rebels, Christina Lamb of The Sunday Times of London reports.
Diplomatic sources told the Sunday Times that the U.S. "bought weapons from the stockpiles of Libya's former dictator Muammar Gaddafi."
The heavy arms include mortars, rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and the controversial anti-aircraft heat-seeking SA-7 missiles, which are integral to countering Bashar Al-Assad's bombing campaign. ...
The administration has said that the previously hidden CIA operation in Benghazi involved finding, repurchasing and destroying heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, but in October we reportedevidence indicating that U.S. agents — particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens — were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels.
This Time, Trust Anonymous WMD Claims–They've Got 'Specific Intelligence'
The message could hardly be clearer: According to U.S. intelligence, Syrian government could very well be preparing to use chemical weapons to put down the long and bloody rebellion against ruler Bashar al-Assad. That was the signal from the TV networks and other major media. Should anyone believe they're right?
On the NBC Nightly News (12/5/12)NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski said:U.S. officials tell us that the Syrian military is poised tonight to use chemical weapons against its own people. And all it would take is the final order from Syrian President Assad.Jim Miklasziewski told Today show viewers on March 25, 2003:
"Top military and intelligence officials tell NBC News that based on information that they've received from the Iraqis, the Republican Guards have been instructed that once American ground troops cross a theoretical line, sort of a red line drawn around that southern edge of Baghdad, they have the green light then to release chemical weapons."
The Senate Report on CIA Interrogations You May Never See
A Senate committee is close to putting the final stamp on a massive report on the CIA’s detention, interrogation and rendition of terror suspects. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who heads the Select Committee on Intelligence, called the roughly 6,000-page report “the most definitive review of this CIA program to be conducted.”
But it’s unclear how much, if any, of the review you might get to read.
The committee first needs to vote to endorse the report. There will be a vote next week. ...
According to Reuters, the Senate report focuses on whether so-called “enhanced interrogation” tactics – including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other techniques – actually led to critical intelligence breakthroughs. Reuters reported earlier this year that the investigation “was expected to find little evidence” that the torture was in fact crucial. ...
Much about the CIA’s program to detain and interrogate terror suspects has remained officially secret, despite widespread reporting and acknowledgement by Bush.
Krugman hopes Ezra Klein only has case of "creeping Broderism"
Ezra Klein says that the shape of a fiscal cliff deal is clear: only a 37 percent rate on top incomes, and a rise in the Medicare eligibility age. ...
First, raising the Medicare age is terrible policy. It would be terrible policy even if the Affordable Care Act were going to be there in full force for 65 and 66 year olds, because it would cost the public $2 for every dollar in federal funds saved. And in case you haven’t noticed, Republican governors are still fighting the ACA tooth and nail; if they block the Medicaid expansion, as some will, lower-income seniors will just be pitched into the abyss.
Second, why on earth would Obama be selling Medicare away to raise top tax rates when he gets a big rate rise on January 1 just by doing nothing? And no, vague promises about closing loopholes won’t do it: a rate rise is the real deal, no questions, and should not be traded away for who knows what.
“Fiscal cliff” cruelty
There are so many things wrong with raising the eligibility age that I still can’t believe it’s under consideration. That’s not doubting Klein; it’s just a failure on my part to imagine that data-driven leaders — Republican or Democrat — would propose it. It doesn’t save money; it’s a shell game that just pushes costs around. While it’s possible that lower-income 65 and 66 year olds would be eligible for Obamacare, that means we’d be subsidizing them anyway. Besides there’s no guarantee such subsidies will exist: Republican governors are refusing to expand Medicaid or create the insurance exchanges to make it possible. Even Obama’s new GOP BFF, Chris Christie, says he won’t do it in the blue state of New Jersey. Remember, too, that Obamacare works through the private insurance industry, which has at least five times the administrative costs of Medicare.
The most likely scenario is that seniors will bear the cost of insurance themselves – or go without insurance entirely. That means they’ll be sicker when they do eventually qualify for Medicare (this already happens, by the way, when older Americans can’t afford insurance that covers preventive care or treatment, and let illnesses fester until they’re covered by Medicare.) That too means higher Medicare costs. The move might save the federal government $5.7 billion, at best, at a cost of at least $11.4 billion to states, seniors and employers, according to the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Aaron Connell in the Wall Street Journal.
For Corporate Donors, Inauguration Details
President Obama’s finance team is offering corporations and other institutions that contribute $1 million exclusive access to an array of inaugural festivities, including tickets to a “benefactors reception,” a children’s concert, a candlelight celebration at the National Building Museum, two reserved parade bleacher seats and four tickets to the president’s official inaugural ball.
The offerings are detailed in an online inaugural fund-raising solicitation provided to The New York Times by an Obama fund-raiser. The document describes four packages that Mr. Obama’s finance team can sell, with differing levels of access depending on the level of contribution. Individuals who contribute $250,000 will receive the same package as million-dollar “institutional donors,” which could include corporations, philanthropies, foundations and unions.
The financing arrangements are a departure from Mr. Obama’s policy in 2009, when he refused corporate donations altogether and capped individual contributions at $50,000. As in 2009, Mr. Obama will not be accepting money from lobbyists or political action committees.
Mortgage Crisis Presents a New Reckoning to Banks
The nation’s largest banks are facing a fresh torrent of lawsuits asserting that they sold shoddy mortgage securities that imploded during the financial crisis, potentially adding significantly to the tens of billions of dollars the banks have already paid to settle other cases.
Regulators, prosecutors, investors and insurers have filed dozens of new claims against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and others, related to more than $1 trillion worth of securities backed by residential mortgages.
Estimates of potential costs from these cases vary widely, but some in the banking industry fear they could reach $300 billion if the institutions lose all of the litigation. ... Efforts by the banks to limit their losses could depend on the outcome of one of the highest-stakes lawsuits to date — the $200 billion case that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the housing twins Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, filed against 17 banks last year, claiming that they duped the mortgage finance giants into buying shaky securities.
Last month, lawyers for some of the nation’s largest banks descended on a federal appeals court in Manhattan to make their case that the agency had waited too long to sue. A favorable ruling could overturn a decision by Judge Denise L. Cote, who is presiding over the litigation and has so far rejected virtually every defense raised by the banks, and would be cheered in bank boardrooms. It could also allow the banks to avoid federal housing regulators’ claims.
Obama Cheaps Out On Sandy Recovery to Prop Up Austerity Sham
Compare and contrast, kids:The Senate on Tuesday passed a massive, wide-ranging $631 billion defense authorization bill that restores threatened Pentagon biofuels programs, issues new sanctions against Iran and changes U.S. detention policy for American citizens.That's not even counting the so-called "black budget," of course. Have you ever seen a politician draw the line on the defense budget? I can't remember it ever happening.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the Senate unanimously 98-0 after the bill was debated for five days and hundreds of amendments were considered on the floor.
Now consider this:WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to ask Congress for about $50 billion in emergency funds to help rebuild the states that were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, challenging deficit-minded lawmakers while worrying regional leaders, who complained Wednesday that it was not enough.Also see dadadata's diary about the Obama administration denying aid to Maryland's eastern shore, FEMA to Shore: DROP DEAD.
The White House will send the proposal to Capitol Hill this week, and while the final sum is still in flux, it should be between $45 billion and $55 billion, according to officials briefed on deliberations over it.
That falls significantly short of the $82 billion sought by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to clean up storm damage, as well as to improve infrastructure to prepare for future storms.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the region quickly expressed disappointment in the pending request and lobbied the administration to increase it before sending it to Congress. “While $50 billion is a significant amount of money, it unfortunately does not meet all of New York and New Jersey’s substantial needs,” Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, all Democrats, said in a joint statement.
Showdown in Michigan
As the city of Lansing, Mich. braces for thousands of workers and union supporters to descend on the capital in protest of the controversial right-to-work legislation, congressional Democrats met with Governor Rick Snyder urging him to 'step back from the brink.'
Large numbers of state police swarmed the Capitol building Monday as members of the Michigan Nurses Association kicked off the protest demonstratig on the building's steps with duct tape over their mouths. ...
n anticipation of much larger protests planned for Tuesday, when thousands of union activists are expected to converge at the Capitol building, the city of Lansing has announced street closures around the city beginning Monday. ...
On Thursday, amidst a flurry of protests at the Capitol, three right-to-work bills received partial approval, with one passing the House and two passing the Senate. The Legislature could send the right-to-work package to Snyder as early as Tuesday.
US Geological Survey report has Oil and Gas men hot to frack in the arctic
Amid talk of ice-breaking boats and tools for Arctic oil spill cleanup, the shale revolution found its way into a Houston conference Wednesday, with an expert highlighting the potential of Alaska’s shale resources.
The state has an estimated potential of up to 2 billion barrels of oil from shale and more than 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, said David Houseknecht, a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.
In some areas, the characteristics of rocks, even on the surface, show the likelihood of oil finds, Houseknecht said.
“When you break these open, they stink of oil. So definitely a heavily oil-charged system,” he said of a specific geologic region.
Beloved Yellowstone wolf shot dead by hunters
A wolf beloved by visitors and tracked by scientists at Yellowstone national park has been shot dead by hunters, reigniting debate over the targeting of the animal.
The alpha female, known as 832F and described by wildlife enthusiasts as a “rock star” due to her popularity, was found dead on Thursday outside the park’s boundary in Wyoming, the New York Times reported Sunday.
Over the last few weeks, eight wolves that had been fitted with $4,000 GPS collars to help researchers track their movement have been killed. It has led to complaint by animal rights groups and calls for fresh limits to be put in place ahead of the inaugural wolf trapping season, due to come in on 15 December. ...
Gray wolves were taken off the endangered species list last year, after seeing population figures rebound since the mid-1990s, following their reintroduction to the Rockies.
At the end of 2011, there were at least 98 wolves in 10 packs – plus two loners – in Yellowstone, according to the park’s annual wolf project report. The park stretches across Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
Incredibly Disappointed: Civil Groups Decry Weak COP18 Deal Amid Deadly Proof of Climate Change
The United Nations Climate Change summit ended Saturday after negotiators agreed to a weakened deal that will do nothing to halt rising world greenhouse gas emissions. The so-called Doha Climate Gateway extends the Kyoto Protocol for eight more years and paves the way for talks on a new, global U.N. pact to enter into force in 2020. Under the deal, the United States made no new pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions or to increase its aid to nations suffering from the impact of climate change. “We expected, going into Doha, that after the President mentioned climate change in his inaugural speech, after Hurricane Sandy, after discussions amongst high level politicians in the U.S., we expected a pivot on climate policy, and we saw instead exactly the same kind of tactics that we’ve seen for the last four years from the United States,” says Samantha Smith of the World Wildlife Fund’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative. “We think it’s time for President Obama to step forward to start a national conversation about climate change.”
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
Jimmy Rushing w/Count Basie - I left my baby
Jimmy Rushing - Going To Chicago
Count Basie with Jimmy Rushing - Take Back My Baby
Jimmy Rushing - Mr. Five by Five
Jimmy Rushing - Bad Loser
Jimmy Rushing & Count Basie - Don't You Want A Man Like Me?
Count Basie and his Orchestra with Jimmy Rushing - Evenin'
Bennie Moten & Jimmy Rushing - As Long As I Love You
Jimmy Rushing - See See Rider
Jimmy Rushing - Every day I have the blues
Jimmy Rushing - Sent For You Yesterday
Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?
Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.
Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." ~ Noam Chomsky