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 one of New Orleans' finest songwriters Earl King. Enjoy!
Earl King - The Things That I Used To Do
“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.”
-- John Steinbeck
News and Opinion
I missed this story on Tuesday. Perhaps President Obama's "Baseball Cards of Doom," buddy Brennan was too busy
working out his best lies preparing for his Senate confirmation exercises to play Death From Above with the President on Terror Tuesday. Whatever, apparently the President decided that somebody needed to get it on Tuesday so he gave a press conference to remind everybody that he'd still like to cut the benefits of old people and the infirm:
Obama: Social Security & Medicare cuts are “very much (back) on the table”
It’s Tuesday, and Barack Obama has betrayed us again. And by “us” I mean not just progressives (of whom he is not), but also Democrats, the party that sells itself as the party of Roosevelt, Johnson and Kennedy. Of that party he also is not, except nominally. ...
It’s Tuesday, and Barack Obama has put Roosevelt’s Social Security and Johnson’s Medicare “back on the table” in the next round of Pete Peterson–sponsored “budget negotiations.” (Peterson should get naming rights. The “Peter Peterson Budget Negotiations” — brought to you by Starbucks, Whole Foods, and the people who put oil in your car; click to see their special sponsorship deal.)
From Obama’s most recent press conferenceThe proposals that I put forward during the fiscal cliff negotiations in discussions with Speaker Boehner and others are still very much on the table. I just want to repeat: The deals that I put forward, the balanced approach of spending cuts and entitlement reform and tax reform that I put forward are still on the table.
I’ve offered sensible reforms to Medicare and other entitlements, and my health care proposals achieve the same amount of savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms that have been proposed by the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission.
Obama agrees to release legal memos on Awlaki drone strike
President Obama, who has championed lethal drone strikes as a major part of U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, bowed to pressure Wednesday and agreed to allow the Senate and House intelligence committees to review classified legal memos used to justify a drone strike against a U.S. citizen in Yemen in 2011.
Senators had demanded for months to see the Justice Department opinions that provided the White House legal authority to order the targeted killing of Anwar Awlaki, a New Mexico native who became an Al Qaeda leader.
Complaints by several Democrats over not receiving the documents had cast a shadow on the Senate confirmation hearing Thursday of John Brennan, the White House counter-terrorism advisor tapped to be CIA director.
"[N]or shall any person...be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." -- Article V, U.S. Bill of Rights
Tell President Obama: Assassinating Americans without due process is wrong
The Obama administration has previously defended the extrajudicial program that has killed a number of Americans, including an American teenager who wasn't involved at all with terrorism.
We have been solemnly told that the constitutional right to due process doesn't mean that the president can't unilaterally order, without any input from or review by the judiciary, a Predator drone to fire a missile at an American citizen.
It has been "explained" that there's a secret legal memo that makes this "legal."
The president has refused to make this secret memo available to Congress or the American people, thus far only releasing an insufficient white paper that purports to summarize the administration's legal justification for extrajudicial assassination.
It's absurd, it's illegal, it's completely antithetical to democratic values, and it's morally repugnant.
Fleets of Drones Descend on Africa
With the U.S. and European military offensive in Africa in full swing, the drone wars are set to enter a new phase. Therefore, it is appropriate that U.S. anti-war activists will descend on the White House, on April 13, to demand “Drones Out of Africa and Everywhere!” The activists, including former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and the ANSWER Coalition, say the real target is Africa’s vast natural resources. Drone warfare, say the organizers, has become central to the modern U.S. version of gunboat diplomacy, to “force exploitative terms of trade and political accommodations.”
The West African nation of Niger has been very accommodating to the Americans, as she has been to the French, the former colonial master. According to a high Niger official quoted by Reuters news service, Niger has “given the green light to accepting American surveillance drones on its soil to improve the collection of intelligence on Islamist movements.” However, there is no reason to believe that the U.S. drones will be restricted to unarmed surveillance. Sources in Washington say “there are no constraints to military-to-military co-operation within the agreement" with Niger, which presumably means the U.S. can use the drones as it likes. The U.S. base in northern Niger puts the robotic planes within easy reach of Mali, Algeria and Libya.
The U.S. already has a drone base in neighboring Burkina Faso, which also borders on Benin, Togo, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast.
In East Africa, the U.S. has been terrorizing Somalia with drones since 2006, when it instigated the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia. The U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM, sends out drones from its large, permanent base in neighboring Djibouti, from which it can watch – or attack - most of the Horn of Africa, including Eritrea, right next door, one of the few countries in Africa that has no relationship with AFRICOM. Eritrea is under constant threat from Ethiopia, from which it won independence after a 30-year war.
US media yet again conceals newsworthy government secretsThis article has some great facts and figures on our glorious "economic recovery" as compared to previous recoveries, well worth reading:
The collective self-censorship over a US drone base in Saudi Arabia is but the latest act of government-subservient 'journalism'
The US media, over the last decade (at least), has repeatedly acted to conceal newsworthy information it obtains about the actions of the US government. In each instance, the self-proclaimed adversarial press corps conceals these facts at the behest of the US government, based on patently absurd claims that reporting them will harm US national security. In each instance, what this media concealment actually accomplishes is enabling the dissemination of significant government falsehoods without challenge, and permitting the continuation of government deceit and even illegality. ...
And now, yet again, the US media has been caught working together to conceal obviously newsworthy government secrets. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that two years ago, the Obama administration established a base in Saudi Arabia from which it deploys drones to kill numerous people in Yemen. including US citizen Anwar Awlaki and, two weeks, later his 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman. The US base was built after the US launched a December, 2009 cruise missile/cluster-bomb attack that slaughtered dozens of Yemeni women and children.
But the Post admitted that it - along with multiple other US media outlets - had long known about the Saudi Arabia drone base but had acted in unison to conceal it from the US public:"The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the specific location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an al-Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network's most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.
"The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year."
The Real "Recovery": Welcome to the Network of Global Corporate Control
According to a 2011 study from Northeastern University, since the Second World War, “there’s never been a worse recovery for jobs and worker pay,” and at the same time, “never a better one for corporate profits.” The economic “recovery” was said to have begun in June of 2009, but how is “recovery” defined? After all, people are still struggling, more than ever in recent history; unemployment is high, job losses soar, poverty spreads and insecurity reigns supreme.
So why, then, has it been said that the United States entered a “recovery”? Well, as the study pointed out, since June of 2009, 88% of all U.S. growth went to corporate profits, while wages and salaries represented 1% of growth. Compared to previous economic crises, the situation is much worse than ever before.
At the end of the recession in the early 1990s, 50% of U.S. growth went to worker pay, while corporate profits had actually declined by 1%. Following the dot-com bust in 2001, worker pay and jobs accounted for 15% of U.S. growth, while 53% of growth was accounted for by corporate profits.
Senator Sanders Introduces Bill To End Huge Corporate Tax GiveawayOn Wednesday Hedges vs. Obama, the case brought against Section 1021 of the NDAA by Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg and a number of others, was back in court. Previously, the plaintiffs (Hedges, et al) had won an injunction in District Court, which was promptly, temporarily stayed at the behest of the government by judges from the Second District Court which is now hearing the appeal...
Corporations offshoring profits costs both the federal government and states billions of dollars per year. One of the more egregious giveaways is known as “deferral,” which allows U.S. corporations to avoid paying taxes on overseas profits until they bring that money back to the U.S., giving them every incentive to leave it overseas permanently.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, “The current tax system provides incentives for U.S. firms to locate their production facilities in countries with low taxes as a way to reduce their tax liability at home,” ultimately resulting in compensation for U.S. workers being lower. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is introducing a bill today that would end this practice and close several other corporate tax loopholes:Under this legislation, corporations would pay U.S. taxes on their offshore profits as they are earned. This legislation takes away the tax incentives for corporations to move jobs offshore or to shift profits offshore because the U.S. would tax their profits no matter where they are generated.
Under the Corporate Tax Fairness Act, U.S. corporations would continue to get a credit against their U.S. taxes for foreign taxes they pay. That means that when an American corporation has profits in a country with lower corporate taxes than the U.S., they would pay the federal government the difference between the foreign rate and the U.S. rate. When an American corporation has profits in a country with higher corporate taxes than the U.S., they would pay nothing to the U.S.
NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision Challenged In Federal Appeals Court
Inside the packed courtroom, U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Robert Loeb went on the offensive against Forrest's ruling, claiming that it was based on "a fundamentally flawed reading of the law." Hedges and his co-plaintiffs, he said, had no reason to fear for their rights because "this statute simply does not apply to them." ...
In an unusual move, Carl Mayer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, "dedicated" his arguments to the descendents of Fred Korematsu and other Japanese-Americans who were detained during World War II. The lessons from their experience, combined with the NDAA's language about indefinite detention, he said, were enough to give his clients pause before expressing their free speech rights. Mayer highlighted in particular the government's failure at trial to simply state that Hedges and others could not be detained under the NDAA.
The Obama administration's lawyer, Loeb, said he could not give the plaintiffs "carte blanche." But he noted that it was "quite telling" no one had been held for acts of independent journalism during the more than ten years since Sept. 11.
Even if the judges in the case decide Hedges and his co-plaintiffs have reason to be fearful, however, they may find another reason to uphold the NDAA. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that the government could proscribe "material support" for terrorist groups, including merely speaking to them. Both the government and the judges made reference to that ruling. ...
Opponents, meanwhile, flooded the courtroom and overflow rooms to capacity, demonstrating against what they see as an unconstitutional overreach in the war on terror.
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Arguments in NDAA Battle (We Barely Could)This White House Petition needs more attention...
Yesterday's Second Court of Appeals hearing was the latest in a case brought by a group of seven plaintiffs--including former New York Times Reporter Chris Hedges, noted scholar Noam Chomsky and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg--against the Obama administration over section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA, which authorizes the military to detain:"A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces."
Lawyers from the Obama administration seemed to present a bit of a scattered argument. In lower court hearings, they refused to answer whether any of the plaintiffs would be subject to detention under the provision. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Justice attorneys argued that the law doesn't apply to the plaintiffs in their work as journalists, activists, researchers and commentators.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs, Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, continued to argue that the provisions hardly ensures that their clients will face future immunity from detention because the statue fails to precisely define what constitutes "substantially" supporting terror groups or groups "associated" with terrorism. The plaintiffs frequently interview and voice the opinions of subjects who are either directly associated with, or could be identified by the government as associates of terrorist organizations. ...
What made the government's argument a bit bi-polar is that while the lawyers insisted that American civilians won't be detained. They concurrently argued that if an American is detained under the law, subsection 1021-(e) affords them with the same Fifth Amendment rights they've always had. Afran and Mayer argue that this doesn't solve the issue of whether the military has the right to detain them in the first place.
"That section of the law actually says that Americans in this country can be detained, but they can assert their rights to get out later," Afran said at a press conference following the hearing. "This presumes something that the Supreme Court has always said is unconstitutional: the detention of Americans by the military."
Mayer added that there's no telling how long a detained American would have to wait to exercise his or her Fifth Amendment right to due process of the law.
"Once someone is already detained they can then move the government to clear them, but usually these cases take seven or eight years," Mayer said.
Fire Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Heymann.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Heymann's overzealous prosecution of an allegedly minor and non-violent electronic crime led to the suicide of Aaron Swartz. President Obama recently said, as repeated by Vice President Biden, "if our actions result in saving only one life, they're worth taking." We should not destroy the lives of human beings for crimes against computer systems that harm no one and provide no benefit to the perpetrator. Such actions should be treated as forms of protest and civil disobedience. To prosecute these actions the same as rapes and murders is a savage abuse of the criminal justice system which continues to destroy the lives of peaceful, productive members of society.
US Breweries go to War against Fracking Industry
US brewers have now taken up their case against fracking, worried that any potential contamination of ground water supplies would ruin their business. The process of brewing beer requires clean water, with many breweries being built at the sites they are specifically for the mineral composition of the water.
Simon Thorpe, the CEO of the Ommegang Brewery explained to NBC that “it’s all about the quality of the water. The technology surrounding fracking is still not fully developed. Accidents are happening. Places are getting polluted.” His brewery was built in Cooperstown, NY, due to the ready access to fresh water, but “if that water supply is threatened by pollution, it makes it very difficult for us to produce world-class beer here.”
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
Earl King - It All Went Down The Drain
Earl King - Trick Bag
Earl King - Come On Parts 1 and 2 (Also known as "Let The Good Times Roll")
Earl King - Those Lonely, Lonely Nights
Earl King, Dr. John, The Meters + Professor Longhair - Big Chief
Earl King - Baby You Can Get Your Gun
Earl King - Always a First Time
Earl King - Street Parade
Earl King - It Hurts To Love Someone
Earl King - No City Like New Orleans
I'm Your Best Bet, Baby - Earl King
Earl King - Every Whicha kinda way
Earl King - Mama & Papa
Earl King - Beggin' at Your Mercy
Earl King - Everybody's Carried Away
Earl King - You Can Fly High
There's Been Some Lonely, Lonely Nights- Earl King
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!