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 blues musician, guitarist and drummer Baby Face Leroy Foster, who played in early incarnations of the Muddy Waters band (so early that they were called the Baby Face Leroy Trio) and helped shape the sound of electric Chicago blues, both with his own records and as a sideman to now more famous bluesmen.
Baby Face Leroy - Jump In My Cadillac
"Power never takes a back step - only in the face of more power."
-- Malcolm X
News and Opinion
Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.
The secrecy surrounding such strikes is fast emerging as a central issue in this week’s hearing of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, a key architect of the drone campaign, to be CIA director. Brennan was the first administration official to publicly acknowledge drone strikes in a speech last year, calling them “consistent with the inherent right of self-defense.” In a separate talk at the Northwestern University Law School in March, Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses “an imminent threat of violent attack.”
But the confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a more expansive definition of self-defense or imminent attack than described by Brennan or Holder in their public speeches. It refers, for example, to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.
“The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.
White Paper Asserts Obama Administration May Kill Americans Without Due Process
The white paper, if nothing else, is smoking gun evidence that Barack Obama has completely abandoned his 2008 campaign pledge to rein in executive power in wake of Bush Administration abuses – meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Though some close observes are pointing out that the white paper is not the actual memo(s) used to justify killings of Americans that have already taken place.
Also troubling is that, according to the white paper, the authority to kill American citizens without due process is not restricted to the President.“The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.According to the federal government an informed high-level government official can now kill an American citizen without due process. Yes, for those playing at home, this is what tyranny looks like.
Instead, it says, an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”
Daniel Ellsberg: NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision is Part of "Systematic Assault on Constitution"
CIA rendition: 54 countries 'offered covert support' for global kidnap, detention and torture operation
The full extent of the CIA's extraordinary rendition programme has been laid bare with the publication of a report showing there is evidence that more than a quarter of the world's governments covertly offered support.
A 213-page report [Globalizing Torture] compiled by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organisation, says that at least 54 countries co-operated with the global kidnap, detention and torture operation that was mounted after 9/11, many of them in Europe. ...
"There is no doubt that high-ranking Bush administration officials bear responsibility for authorising human rights violations associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition, and the impunity that they have enjoyed to date remains a matter of significant concern," the report says.
"But responsibility for these violations does not end with the United States. Secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, designed to be conducted outside the United States under cover of secrecy, could not have been implemented without the active participation of foreign governments. These governments too must be held accountable."
New York Times Loses Lawsuit To Uncover Drone Strikes Information
A federal judge on Wednesday rejected The New York Times' bid to force the U.S. government to disclose more information about its targeted killing of people it believes have ties to terrorism, including American citizens.
U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan said the Obama administration did not violate the law by refusing the Times' request for the legal justifications for targeted killings, a strategy the Times said was first contemplated by the Bush administration soon after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
McMahon appeared reluctant to rule as she did, noting in her decision that disclosure could help the public understand the "vast and seemingly ever-growing exercise in which we have been engaged for well over a decade, at great cost in lives, treasure, and (at least in the minds of some) personal liberty."
Nonetheless, she said the government was not obligated to turn over materials the Times had sought under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), even though it had such materials in its possession.
"The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me," McMahon said in her 68-page decision.
Swartz Memorial Brings Bipartisan Support For “Aaron’s Law”
Last night a memorial service was held in Washington D.C for internet activist Aaron Swartz. The event brought out activists and politicians from both the left and right who committed to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in Aaron’s name – amendments that will become known as Aaron’s Law. ...
Besides announcing their support for Aaron’s Law many of the politicians including Congressman Grayson and Congressman Polis reflected on their personal interactions with Swartz who was an intern in Grayson’s office and worked with Polis on stopping SOPA. Grayson analogized Swartz to brilliant computer pioneer Alan Turing who was also unjustly prosecuted and driven to suicide.
A NOTE FROM AARON'S PARTNER, TAREN:
On January 11, 2013, facing decades in prison on trumped up charges, my partner, Aaron Swartz, made the tragic choice to take his own life. He was only 26.
Aaron's supposed crime? He was accused of checking out too many articles (4.8 million), too fast, from an online academic library called JTSOR, to which he had authorized access. He never used or distributed the articles and later returned them. For that, he faced 35 years behind bars and endured two years of relentless persecution.
The outdated Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) made this tragedy possible by giving absurdly broad powers to corporations and prosecutors to criminalize an array of online activity. That includes breaching a website's terms of service--that long fine print you "agree to" but never read.
All of us who knew and loved Aaron never want to see anyone suffer this kind of abuse of power again. So, we're urgently calling on Congress to reform the CFAA. Please join us by adding your name here.
Nobel peace prize winner predicts political collapse in Yemen
Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman warned in an interview with AFP that her country’s transition process is on the brink of collapse and demanded ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh be banned from politics.
The activist, who was a leading figure during the youth uprising in Yemen in 2011, also claimed that President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi is unable to implement his plans to reshape Yemen’s security forces because he does not control the army.
“The main obstacle facing the political transition and threatening its viability is the fact that Ali Abdullah Saleh remains a president of the General People’s Congress,” the former ruling party, Karman said.
She pointed out that Saleh’s party is supposed to present more than 20 percent of participants in an envisaged national dialogue aimed at drafting a new constitution and preparing for fresh elections in February 2014.
“The ousted president is the one to choose the GPC’s representatives,” she said, adding that Saleh’s party “rejects the dialogue”.
Karman insisted that the former head of state “should exit politics completely”.
“He has a lot of money that he uses to destroy Yemen, harm the political process and execute vengeance,” she charged.
Democrats may sell political opinions to credit card companies
For years, state Democratic parties have been gathering information about individual voters’ political leanings. They have noted down the opinions voters shared with canvassers which candidates they said they supported or their positions on policy issues.
Now, the record of what people told Democratic volunteers may go up for sale and not just to political groups. Democrats are looking into whether credit card companies, retailers like Target or other commercial interests may want to buy the information.
State Democratic party leaders formed the National Voter File Co-op in 2011 to sell their voter data to approved groups like the NAACP. The goal was to recoup some of the money local Democratic parties spent collecting and updating their local voter lists, which include voters of all parties.
Much of the data the co-op sells comes from the government and is already part of the public record information such as voters’ names, addresses and party affiliation.
But local Democratic parties also have information about voters’ views and preferences collected over many campaign cycles. ... Some states have used this raw data to create sophisticated estimates of how likely any voter is to vote for a Democrat, support Barack Obama or have certain opinions, say, on abortion or gun control.
BP profits cut in half since Gulf oil spill
British energy giant BP said Tuesday that net profits slumped by more than half in 2012, as the group was rocked by fines and asset sales linked to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, ahead of a US trial later this month.
Earnings after taxation tumbled 54 percent to $11.582 billion (8.6 billion euros) in 2012, compared with $25.7 billion in 2011, BP said in a results statement.
Adjusted net profit, stripping out fluctuations in the value of inventories, plunged by almost 50 percent to $11.993 billion.
The London-listed group took a pre-tax charge of $4.1 billion for the fourth quarter in relation to the Gulf of Mexico disaster, taking its total clean-up bill to $42.2 billion.
Japanese Whaling 'Dead in the Water' Without Millions in Subsidies
The controversial Japanese whaling industry, which has met fierce criticism and often combative oversea confrontations, is "effectively dead in the water" without large government subsidies says a new report by animal watchdog group, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw).
Breaking the story on the uneaten 'warehouses of whale meat,' the Guardian cites a new report, to be published Tuesday, which found that—despite a dramatic drop in whale meat consumption—the Japanese government continues to siphon millions from public tax dollars to keep the industry afloat.
Whale meat consumption has reportedly fallen to about 1% of its 1960s peak, with stockpiles of unsold whale meat topping 5 million kilograms.
According the report, despite this obvious glut, the Japanese government spent at least ¥30bn ($4.8bn) on whaling between 1987 and 2012, including last year's subsidies of ¥2.28bn ($366m) which were siphoned off from money budgeted for reconstruction from the 2011 tsunami.
"With growing wealth and modernisation, the people of Japan have lost their yen for whale meat," the report says. "Yet fisheries officials and other government figures continue to siphon off millions of taxpayer yen to prop up an industry that is effectively dead in the water."
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
Leroy Foster - Locked Out Boogie
Boll Weevil : Baby Face Leroy Foster
Leroy Foster,Take A Little Walk With Me
Baby Face Leroy Trio - Red Headed Woman
Baby Face Leroy Trio - Rollin' And Tumblin'
Little Walter Trio - Just Keep Lovin' Her
Muddy Waters (w/ Leroy Foster) - Muddy Jumps One
Baby Face Leroy Foster - Late Hours at Midnight
Little Walter Trio - Moonshine Blues
Baby Face Leroy - My Head Can't Rest Anymore
Baby Face Leroy - Blues Is Killin' Me
Snooky Pryor (w/ Leroy Foster) - Boogy Fool
Jimmy Rogers (w/ Leroy Foster) - Round About Boogie
Lee Brown (w/ Leroy Foster) - Horse Shoe Boogie
J.B. Lenoir And His Bayou Boys (w/ Leroy Foster) - My Baby Told Me
Little Walter (w/ Leroy Foster) - Dead Presidents
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!