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 soul, blues and gospel singer Otis Clay. Enjoy!
Otis Clay w/The BoKeys - Got To Get Back
I want to say unequivocally to this next generation - Stop. Being. Chumps. I'm going to say it again to the next generation - Stop. Being. Chumps.
You elected this president. You re-elected this president. You gave him the chance to make history. He needs to give you the chance to have a future. Stop. Being. Chumps. Stop. Being. Chumps. Fight for your future!
-- Van Jones, Forward On Climate Rally 2-17-2013
News and Opinion
Canada's environmental activists seen as 'threat to national security'
Security and police agencies have been increasingly conflating terrorism and extremism with peaceful citizens exercising their democratic rights to organise petitions, protest and question government policies, said Jeffrey Monaghan of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
The RCMP, Canada's national police force, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) view activist activities such as blocking access to roads or buildings as "forms of attack" and depict those involved as national security threats, according to the documents.
Protests and opposition to Canada's resource-based economy, especially oil and gas production, are now viewed as threats to national security, Monaghan said. In 2011 a Montreal, Quebec man who wrote letters opposing shale gas fracking was charged under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act. Documents released in January show the RCMP has been monitoring Quebec residents who oppose fracking.
'Forward' on Fracking? Obama Scientist Makes Industry-Friendly Push for Gas Drilling Bonanza
Despite grave concerns about methane emissions and groundwater contamination, signals show that White House push forward with controversial gas fracking
One of Obama's top scientific advisers has signaled that the White House is poised to make a major push for the controversial practice of known as fracking--which environmental campaigners say is a betrayal of a truly clean energy agenda and evidence that the administration still misunderstands the severity of the climate dangers associated with all forms of fossil fuels.
The signals by Prof. William Press, an astrophysicist who heads the government-funded American Association for the Advancement of Science, were made at both an industry conference this week and in an interview with the Observer in the UK.
"The gas industry is straining to develop underground natural gas reserves across the nation and would love to know the exact rules and constraints by which it can carry out fracking in different states," Press told the Observer's Robin McKie. "Once they know that, they can get on with it."
Press then indicated that Obama "could use executive orders to outline those rules in the very near future and so initiate widespread gas fracking in the US."
Sea Shepherd Continues High Seas Standoff After Whalers Attack
The fight to protect endangered whales in the Antarctic reached a boiling point over the weekend when high-seas activists from the group Sea Shepherd were bombarded by Japanese whalers as they tried to thwart the fleet from hauling in a dead whale.
"We blocked it for nine attempts but then their harpoon ship attempted to try and come across and hit us so we ducked away and that's when they were able to make the transfer of that whale," Sea Shepherd Australia's Jeff Hansen said.
As the whalers are illegally operating in Australian waters, the group urged Australian authorities to intervene—but to no avail.
"The Japanese whalers are slaughtering protected, threatened, and endangered species of whales within this sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling," founder and president of Sea Shepherd Paul Watson writes at the Guardian today. "They are also in contempt of an Australian federal court ruling from 2008 that specifically forbade them from killing whales in the waters of the Australian Antarctic territory."
Disposable Workers: Why Throwaway Employees are Bad Policy
The media increasingly appears to define the state of the economy based on corporate bottom lines and the experience of the upper echelon, reflected in the way it glosses over the anxiety and distress outside the top 1% of the population. The fact that this disconnect isn’t a figment of our imagination was confirmed by a recent study by Edmund Saez that reported that 121% of the income gains from 2009 to 2011 went to the top 1%, meaning they pulled further ahead while everyone else (in aggregate) became worse off. The big cause is the state of the labor market. And that isn’t just a product of the global crisis but also of a long-term restructuring of the relationship between employers and employees.
One of the pet ideas of neoliberalism is to encourage “labor market flexibility” which is code for letting companies fire employees on a whim. The problem is that a quick to hire, quick to fire posture is not a terribly sound idea. It takes a lot of time and effort to hire and train people (yes, Virginia, even a skilled employee needs to learn the quirks of how his employer likes things done), so firing people casually means a loss of this investment. Export powerhouse Germany has not been competitively impaired by its restrictions on terminating employees. But while some businesses actually believe the HR trope that “employees are our most important asset”, most, to adopt an image from Robert Oak at the Economic Populist, treat them as disposables.
McKinsey took note of this development in the early 2000s, when a study they commissioned from Yankelovich determined that new college graduates could expect to have 11 jobs by the age of 38. How can you plan any spending, much the less sensibly commit to buying a house or raising a family, with that much income uncertainty? Multiply that across most of the economy and no wonder this “expansion” is so sluggish.
Guantánamo trials plunged into deeper discord as confidence in court wanes
Revelations in pre-trial hearings further undermine US military court as defence lawyers paint legal proceedings as illegitimate
In recent days, the commander of the Guantánamo prison, Colonel John Bogdan, was forced to admit on the witness stand that secret listening devices disguised as smoke detectors were installed in the cell where lawyers met their clients, and that he knew nothing about them. ...
The prison's lawyer, Captain Thomas Welsh, told the court he discovered the room was fitted with hidden microphones early last year and reported it to the then warden, Colonel Donnie Thomas, to seek assurances that meetings between the accused and their lawyers were not being spied on.
Bogdan said he was not informed when he took over. He told the court that the FBI was in control of the room until 2008 and that he has since discovered that the bugs were accidentally disconnected in October during renovations but then secretly reconnected by an unnamed intelligence service two months later, suggesting they were still in use.
Cybersecurity Bill Supporters Regroup As Executive Order Looms
The Hill reports Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, plans to re-introduce the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), with the committee’s chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) this year. CISPA passed the House in 2012 despite significant organized opposition from privacy advocates, but was not considered by the Senate as it focused on its own cybersecurity proposal — one which also stalled, leading to reports the White House plans to issue a cybersecurity executive order calling for the creation of a voluntary program including minimum safety standards in critical infrastructure sectors.
CISPA proposed making information sharing between private companies and the intelligence agencies easier in order to allow collaborative responses to cyberattacks, likely at the expense of internet users’ privacy. While the bill enjoyed the support of many major companies including Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Symantec, AT&T and Verizon, civil liberties organizations expressed major doubts about the proposal and continue to do so. In a comment about renewed interest in CISPA to ThinkProgress today, Gregory T. Nojeim, Director of the Project on Freedom, Security & Technology at the Center for Democracy & Technology said:“CISPA is deeply flawed. Under a broad cybersecurity umbrella, it permits companies to share user communications directly with the super secret National Security Agency and permits the NSA to use that information for non-cybersecurity reasons. This risks turning the cybersecurity program into a back door intelligence surveillance program run by a military entity with little transparency or public accountability. Members should seriously consider whether CISPA — which inflamed grassroots activists last year and was under a veto threat for these and other flaws — is the right place to start.”
CISPA—the Cyber Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act—would cut a loophole in all existing privacy laws allowing the government to suck up data on everyday Internet users. We can't let that happen.
The House of Representatives voted to approve CISPA, but it's not over yet! Urge your Senators to stand up for user privacy and oppose cybersecurity bills.
White House To Work With Big Business To Protect You From Being Radicalized
A hat tip to DSWright at FDL for this:White House Tasks Itself With Controlling Speech On The InternetFrom the White House:
The War of on Terror continues with a new grave threat – people writing things on the internet. The government is now trying to find ways to counter “online radicalization to violence” a phrase so broad it could mean practically anything.
The American public increasingly relies on the Internet for socializing, business transactions, gathering information, entertainment, and creating and sharing content. The rapid growth of the Internet has brought opportunities but also risks, and the Federal Government is committed to empowering members of the public to protect themselves against the full range of online threats, including online radicalization to violence.
Violent extremist groups ─ like al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents, violent supremacist groups, and violent “sovereign citizens” ─ are leveraging online tools and resources to propagate messages of violence and division. These groups use the Internet to disseminate propaganda, identify and groom potential recruits, and supplement their real-world recruitment efforts. Some members and supporters of these groups visit mainstream fora to see whether individuals might be recruited or encouraged to commit acts of violence, look for opportunities to draw targets into private exchanges, and exploit popular media like music videos and online video games. Although the Internet offers countless opportunities for Americans to connect, it has also provided violent extremists with access to new audiences and instruments for radicalization.
Most Terrorist Plots in the US Aren't Invented by Al Qaeda -- They're Manufactured by the FBI
Since 9/11, one single organization has been responsible for hatching and financing more terrorist plots in the United States than any other. That organization isn’t Al Qaeda, the terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden and responsible for the spectacular 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. And it isn’t Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Al-Shabaab, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any of the other more than forty U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations. No, the organization responsible for more terrorist plots over the last decade than any other is the FBI. Through elaborate and expensive sting operations involving informants and undercover agents posing as terrorists, the FBI has arrested and the Justice Department has prosecuted dozens of men government officials say posed direct—but by no means immediate or credible—threats to the United States. ...
In terrorism sting after terrorism sting, FBI and DOJ officials have hosted high-profile press conferences to announce yet another foiled terrorist plot. But what isn’t publicized during these press conferences is the fact that government-described terrorists ... were able to carry forward with their potentially lethal plots only because FBI informants and agents provided them with all of the means—in most cases delivering weapons and equipment, in some cases even paying for rent and doling out a little spending money to keep targets on the hook. In cities around the country where terrorism sting operations have occurred—among them New York City, Albany, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Portland, Tampa, Houston, and Dallas—a central question exists: Is the FBI catching terrorists or creating them?
In the ten years following 9/11, the FBI and the Justice Department indicted and convicted more than 150 people following sting operations involving alleged connections to international terrorism. Few of these defendants had any connection to terrorists, evidence showed, and those who did have connections, however tangential, never had the capacity to launch attacks on their own. In fact, of the more than 150 terrorism sting operation defendants, an FBI informant not only led one of every three terrorist plots, but also provided all the necessary weapons, money, and transportation.
In the dozens of terrorism sting operations since 9/11, the would-be terrorists are usually uneducated, unsophisticated, and economically desperate—not the attributes of someone likely to plan and launch a sophisticated, violent attack without significant help.
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
Otis Clay - I Can Take You To Heaven Tonight
Otis Clay - Precious Precious
Otis Clay - She's About A Mover
Otis Clay - Trying To Live My Life Without You
Otis Clay - A Nickel And A Nail
Otis Clay - Turn Back The Hands Of Time
Otis Clay - Since I've Been Loving You
Otis Clay - Brand New Thing
Otis Clay - Hard Working Woman
Otis Clay - Pouring Water on a Drowning Man
Otis Clay - Piece Of My Heart
Otis Clay - That's How It Is (When You're In Love)
Otis Clay - I Don't Know What To Do
Otis Clay - Got To Find A Way
Otis Clay - Leave me and my woman alone
Otis Clay - Three Is A Crowd
Otis Clay - Wild Horses
Otis Clay - I Keep On Toiling (When The Gates Swing Open)
Otis Clay - Is It Over
Good Lovin' - Otis Clay
Otis Clay - I Testify
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