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.
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This evenings music features Saxophone wizard King Curtis. Enjoy!
King Curtis & The Kingpins - Memphis Soul Stew
“There is not a crime, there is not a dodge, there is not a trick, there is not a swindle, there is not a vice which does not live by secrecy.”
-- Joseph Pulitzer
News and Opinion
Jeremy Scahill: Assassinations of U.S. Citizens Largely Ignored at Brennan CIA Hearing
During his confirmation hearing Thursday, President Obama’s nominee to run the CIA, John Brennan, forcefully defended the president’s counterterrorism policies, including the increased use of armed drones and the targeted killings of American citizens. He also refused to say that waterboarding was a form of torture, and he admitted that he did not try to stop waterboarding while he was a top CIA official under President George W. Bush.
Brennan denies involvement in CIA ‘enhanced interrogation’ program
John Brennan denied at his Senate confirmation hearing as CIA director accusations that he played a central role in the agency’s torture of suspected terrorists, and suggested he was misled as a CIA senior official over the value of information obtained through waterboarding. ...
Obama’s nominee denied it, but acknowledged he knew about the programme and said he objected. Asked why he didn’t intervene to stop it, he said that was not his job.
“I did not take steps to stop the CIA’s use of those techniques. I was not in the chain of command of that programme,” he said. “I was aware of the programme. I was CC’d in on some of those documents, but I had no oversight of it. I wasn’t involved in its creation,” he said.
“I had expressed my personal objections and views to some agency colleagues about certain of those EIT’s, such as waterboarding, nudity and others where I professed my personal objections to it. But I did not try to stop it because it was something that was being done in a different part of the agency.”
'According to the guy who has been acting as judge and jury for the last four years, the guy who has been acting as judge and jury is completely incompetent to act as judge and jury'
John Brennan Decimates the Logic of Drone Program
Carl Levin went to some length to try to get Brennan to admit waterboarding was torture. Brennan said that he thought it was reprehensible, but he repeatedly stopped short of saying it was torture because “I’m not a lawyer.” ... He is, however, almost certainly, the “informed, high-level official of the US government who [determines] that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.” That person not only determines whether capture would be “feasible” and what “imminent” means. But he decides whether killing the person would be “consistent with law of war principles.”
John Brennan Says High Mass
They never laid a glove on him — not, I suspect, that many of them wanted to do so — and John Brennan looked very comfortable in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee during his extended job interview to become the head of the CIA. After all, they were all members of the national-security priesthood, one way or the other, and if they had to discuss their deadly private liturgies (in however cursory a fashion) in public (however briefly), well, that's just the price of doing business. ... But there was about the hearing a feeling of pure show, because both sides were operating under a tacit agreement that there are things that the American people must not, and should not, know about what it being done in their name. Once that agreement is struck, once that private communion is joined, the fundamentals of self-government are left behind. ...
The man whom the administration has put up to head the CIA would not say whether or not the president of the United States has the power to order the extrajudicial killing of a United States citizen within the borders of the United States. (And a thousand heads on conspiracy websites explode.) And the hearing, remarkably, went on as though nothing untoward had happened.
He also couldn't answer straight out whether waterboarding is torture. He hid behind legalities as Carl Levin fumed. "I am not a lawyer," Brennan kept saying. People kept congratulating him for the blunt, straight answers he was giving. It was like watching an exotic tribe worship in its native tongue. This was not America as it would recognize itself. This was the worship of a different god.
America’s Global Torture Network
Although it was the administration of George W. Bush that deserves much of the blame for branding this country as proudly pro-torture, the Open Society Foundations report makes clear that Obama has failed to clearly reverse that tragic course. The report contains nine important recommendations, beginning with “Repudiate the CIA’s practice of extraordinary rendition” and continues with a list of demands for full public accountability that the Obama administration has blocked.
The report notes that Obama did issue an executive order disavowing torture and created an interagency task force to review interrogation and rendition practices soon after his election. However, it says “the executive order did not repudiate extraordinary rendition, and was crafted to preserve the CIA’s authority to detain terrorist suspects on a short-term transitory basis prior to rendering them to another country for interrogation or trial.
“Moreover, the interagency task force report, which was issued in 2009, continues to be withheld from the public. The administration also continues to withhold documents relating to CIA Office of Inspector General investigations into extraordinary rendition and secret detention.”
The “dark side” of Cheney’s fantasy refers in the end to the perversion of our democracy in the name of national security. Hideous acts are conducted in our name, and the state relies on our ignorance to gain the public’s acquiescence.
More Austerity Cuts Coming to the States
The Great Recession has quietly devastated public services on a state-by-state basis, with Republican and Democratic governors taking turns leading the charge. Public education has been decimated, as well as health care, welfare, and the wages and benefits of public sector workers. The public sector itself is being smashed. Since the recession began, states have made combined austerity cuts of at least $337 billion, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.
The 2012-2013 budget deficits for 34 states resulted in $55 billion in cuts, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. The coming budgets for 2013-2014 that begins on July 1st is becoming clear as well, and the deficits are rolling in by the billions: Connecticut, Minnesota, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Washington, and many others have large deficits projected.
You’d expect after years of austerity cuts to public services, state politicians would think of new ways to raise revenue from those who can afford it — the wealthy and corporations. Not so. The cuts that began as a consequence of the 2008 recession are set to continue; raising revenue from the wealthy is “off the table” for Republicans and Democrats alike.
The pattern of budget cuts has revealed that the age-old distinction between Republican and Democrat has evaporated on the state level. The state budget trends — what’s getting funded and what’s not — are similarly aligned across the country. Both parties have merged their state-level agendas into a singular focus on “economic growth,” a bi-partisan euphemism meaning “corporate profits.”
Neil Barofsky Extended Interview
The Meat Industry Now Consumes Four-Fifths of All Antibiotics
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a set of voluntary "guidelines" designed to nudge the meat industry to curb its antibiotics habit. Ever since, the agency has been mulling whether and how to implement the new program. Meanwhile, the meat industry has been merrily gorging away on antibiotics—and churning out meat rife with antibiotic-resistant pathogens—if the latest data from the FDA itself is any indication.
The Pew Charitable Trusts crunched the agency's numbers on antibiotic use on livestock farms and compared them to data on human use of antibiotics to treat illness, and mashed it all into an infographic, which I've excerpted below. Note that that while human antibiotic use has leveled off at below 8 billion pounds annually, livestock farms have been sucking in more and more of the drugs each year—and consumption reached a record nearly 29.9 billion pounds in 2011. To put it another way, the livestock industry is now consuming nearly four-fifths of the antibiotics used in the US, and its appetite for them is growing.
Will Congress Finally Deal With The Health Emergency of Mountaintop Removal?
Reintroduced ACHE Act Is the No-Brainer Bill of the Year
With the daily silica-laced blizzard from five million pounds of toxic explosives in the background, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and Rep. Louise Slaughter reintroduced the biggest no-brainer bill of the year for Congress -- the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act.
Given its 40-year rap sheet, and 20 peer-reviewed academic studies on the devastating health impacts of mountaintop removal, the job-killing mechanized form of strip mining that only provides 5-7 percent of all U.S. coal production, the ACHE Act simply asks Congress to do what it should have done back in 1971: Place a moratorium on new mountaintop removal mining operations while the first comprehensive federal study of the health dangers is conducted. ...
If President Obama and the U.S. Congress are committed to keeping the children in the hills of Appalachia -- or the coal country on the Navajo Nation, the heartland and West, for that matter -- "always safe from harm," as the president noted in his inaugural address last month, they need to wake up and deal with the daily reality of terrifying birth defect rates, cancer risks, chronic cardiovascular diseases, and even fly rock on our nation's most vulnerable citizens -- kids. ...
"I have fought the impacts of mountaintop removal (MTR) on my home and health for 18 years," added Maria Gunnoe, a West Virginia-based organizer with Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, and the 2009 North American Goldman Prize recipient. "Now science is showing that it's killing me and my community, and Congress needs to listen. Cancer here is as common as the cold. The fact is this is not about who is winning; it is about who is dying from the violent impacts of mountaintop removal."
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
King Curtis & The Kingpins - Soul Serenade
King Curtis & Champion Jack Dupree - Poor Boy Blues
King Curtis - Instant Groove
King Curtis - Home Cookin
King Curtis + Aretha Franklin - Dr. Feelgood
King Curtis - Soul Twist
King Curtis & The Kingpins - Ridin' Thumb
King Curtis & Champion Jack Dupree - Junker's Blues
King Curtis & Champion Jack Dupree - Everything's Gonna Be Alright
Eric Clapton & King Curtis - Teasin'
King Curtis - I Heard It Through the Grapewine
Allman Brothers - Soul Serenade [In Memory Of King Curtis]
King Curtis - Mr Crow
King Curtis - Watermelon Man
King Curtis - Jeep's Blues
Da Duh Dah - King Curtis
King Curtis - A Whiter Shade of Pale
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!