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 and r&b singer and piano player Amos Milburn. Enjoy!
Amos Milburn - Down the Road a Piece
"One of the ill effects of cruelty is that it makes the bystanders cruel."
-- Thomas Fowell Buxton
News and Opinion
Senate drone hearing challenges “targeted kill” claims
Witness testimony undermines administration claims that only al-Qaida leaders are drone targets
Tuesday afternoon on Capitol Hill saw the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, chaired by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, host a hearing on drone warfare. Just last week a formidable group of human rights advocates and legal experts including the ACLU, Amnesty International, clinics from NYU School of Law and Columbia Law School among others, wrote to the president to challenge the “accountability and transparency” of the drone program, as well as the government’s contention that drone strikes are carefully targeted. ...
In line with recent findings from government documents obtained by McClatchy (Obama administration lied about drone targets), the New America Foundation’s Bergen during his testimony has taken to task the administration’s claims about drone targets. As noted, the documents revealed — contrary to government statements — that not only senior al-Qaida operatives are targeted in strikes. Bergen told the Senate committee Tuesday that only “2 percent” of drone casualties in Yemen could be described as al-Qaida “leaders.”
This Yemeni Man Loves America, Hates al-Qaeda, and Says Drone Strikes Make Them Stronger
"If America is providing economic, social and humanitarian assistance to Yemen, the vast majority of the Yemeni people know nothing about it. Everyone in Yemen, however, knows about America and its drones." ...
"I have met with dozens of civilians who were injured during drone strikes and other air attacks," al-Muslimi states. "I have met with relatives of people who were killed as well as numerous eyewitnesses. They have told me how these air strikes have changed their lives for the worst." On one occasion, he met a man who described how "he stood helplessly as his 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter died in his arms on the way to the hospital." The man's house was targeted by mistake. He reported on another strike that killed 40 civilians and spoke to a 12-year-old boy who cried while describing being afraid of the drones buzzing overhead every night.
In al-Muslimi's estimation, "the killing of innocent civilians by U.S. missiles in Yemen is helping to destabilize my country and create an environment from which AQAP benefits." They use innocents killed by drone strikes as a recruiting tool and rely on the impression drones create that America is at war with all Yemenis. One little boy, whose father was killed in a drone strike, carries a picture of a plane in his pocket and says he wants revenge against his father's killer, "America."
'Terrorism' and the Perpetual Emotion War Machine
As a perpetual emotion machine -- producing and guzzling its own political fuel -- the “war on terror” continues to normalize itself as a thoroughly American way of life and death. Ongoing warfare has become a matter of default routine, pushed along by mainline media and the leadership of both parties in Washington. Without a clear and effective upsurge of opposition from the grassroots, Americans can expect to remain citizens of a war-driven country for the rest of their lives. ...
Silence assists the Obama administration as it makes the “war on terror” even more resolutely bipartisan and further embedded in the nation’s political structures -- while doing immense damage to our economy, siphoning off resources that should go to meet human needs, further militarizing society and undermining civil liberties. ...
Political ripple effects from the Boston Marathon bombings have only begun. While public opinion hasn’t gotten carried away with fear, much of the news media -- television in particular -- is stoking the fires of fear but scarcely raising a single question that might challenge the basic assumptions of a forever “war on terror.”
After a city has been traumatized and a country has empathized, a constructive takeaway would be that it’s terribly wrong to set off bombs that kill and maim. But that outlook is a nonstarter the moment it might be applied to victims of U.S. drones and cruise missiles in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. The message seems to be that Americans should never be bombed but must keep bombing.
Venezuela Survives Another Attempt at Regime Change
While most of the news on Venezuela in the week since the April 14 presidential election focused on the efforts of losing candidate Henrique Capriles to challenge the results, there was another campaign based in Washington that was quite revealing. And the two were most definitely related. Without Washington’s strong support – the first time it had refused to recognize a Venezuelan election result – it is unlikely that Capriles would have joined the hard core elements of his camp in pretending that the election was stolen.
Washington’s efforts to de-legitimize the election mark a significant escalation of U.S. efforts at “regime change” in Venezuela. Not since its involvement in the 2002 military coup has the U.S. government done this much to promote open conflict in Venezuela. When the White House first announced on Monday that a 100 percent audit of the votes was “an important, prudent and necessary step,” this was not an effort to promote a “recount.” They had to know that this was a form of hate speech – telling the government of Venezuela what was necessary to make their elections legitimate. They also had to know that it would not make such a recount more likely. And this was also their quick reply to Maduro’s efforts, according to the New York Times of April 15, to reach out to the Obama administration for better relations through former Clinton Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.
But the Obama team’s effort failed miserably. On Wednesday the government of Spain, Washington’s only significant ally supporting a “100 percent audit” reversed its position and recognized Maduro’s election. Then the Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, backed off his prior alignment with the Obama administration and recognized the election result. Although some of the press had misreported Insulza’s position as that of the OAS, in reality he had been representing nobody but Washington. It was not just the left governments of Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and others that had quickly congratulated Maduro on his victory. Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti and other non-left governments had joined them. The Obama administration was completely isolated in the world.
Low Wage Workers Strike in Chicago for 'Dignity and Respect' and a Living Wage
Low wage fast food and retail workers have joined forces in Chicago on Wednesday in an unprecedented strike calling for $15 an hour and the freedom to form unions without retaliation.
Some of the nation's biggest stores—McDonald’s, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret and Sears—will be affected by the action that follows the momentum of similar strikes in New York City in November and just weeks ago, as well as a walkout by Walmart workers on Black Friday.
“Workers across the country are tired. We’re tired of working hard, but not earning enough to support our families,” said Krystal Collins, a Macy’s worker. “After seeing the workers in New York say they weren’t going to take it anymore, we were inspired to go on strike right here in Chicago.”
Having Spent Millions Influencing Three Branches of Government, Kochs Look to Buy Fourth Estate
The billionaire industrialist Koch brothers have spent tens of millions for decades on a long-term plan to reshape the legislative, executive, and judicial branches according to a corporate-friendly form, and may now make inroads into what is often referred to as the fourth branch of government: the press.
The New York Times reports that the Kochs are considering a purchase of the Tribune Company's eight regional newspapers, which would give them control of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune as well as papers in electoral battleground states.
Newspapers have been losing advertising dollars for years and have never been particularly profitable, so the potential purchase is not about generating revenue. It is instead about controlling the discourse.
EPA Slams State Department for 'Insufficient' KXL Review
Agency questions assumptions of 'inevitability' and calls for further review of greenhouse gas emissions
On the final day of the Keystone XL public comment period for the State Department's draft supplementary environmental impact statement (SEIS) of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a sharply critical assessment declaring the analysis "insufficient."
The EPA's objection is important, as the Washington Post explains, because it "not only provides opponents [of the pipeline] with political ammunition," it could also "force President Obama to directly weigh in on the permitting decision" if the EPA raises similar objections to a possible 'national interest determination' by the State Department.
"As long as no other agency objects," the Post continues, "State can issue a ruling on the pipeline on its own; if EPA challenges the national interest determination the State Department makes at the end of its review process, Obama himself would have to issue the final permit decision."
Get Ready for Higher Prices and Less Energy Security: Our Natural Gas Reserves Are Being Plundered For Export
Unlimited export of U.S. natural gas would have enormous implications on the future of the nation's economy, environment and domestic energy choices. Yet a burgeoning chorus in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, is calling for the swift approval of 19 liquid natural gas (LNG) export permits.
The acceptance of these permits would unleash an unprecedented frenzy of domestic high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, just to meet daily production rates under decades-long contractual obligations. If accepted, the total of the permits currently under review by the Department of Energy for LNG export would be equal to 28.54 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day, approximately 45 percent of what the U.S. is projected to consume daily in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Administration.
Congressional supporters of unlimited exports argue that turning the U.S. into a major net exporter of LNG would not only boost our economy and create jobs, but also -- seeming to defy the basic tenets of supply and demand -- sustain low domestic natural gas prices, increase our energy security and propel us to energy independence. Some have even contended that such exports would smooth out boom-and-bust cycles and stabilize the price of natural gas. ...
The current glut of natural gas in the U.S. has kept prices low for both consumers' electricity bills and for energy-intensive areas of the economy, such as the revitalized domestic manufacturing sector, which uses natural gas for feedstock. But over the last couple of years, gas companies have been losing money because supply has outpaced demand and returns on natural gas at its domestic price became too low to warrant the cost of production.
Exporting LNG to the highest bidder overseas would greatly benefit the profits of gas companies and also some companies involved in its export. But many experts agree, and multiple studies reveal, that it would have the dual effect of raising prices domestically to levels that would both hurt consumers and all other energy-intensive sectors of the economy.
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
Amos Milburn - Rocky Mountain
Amos Milburn - One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer
Amos Milburn, Cab Calloway & Joe Turner - Bad Bad Whiskey, Minnie the Moocher, Shake Rattle + Roll
Amos Milburn - Blues At Sundown
Amos Milburn - Bewildered
Amos Milburn - Chicken Shack Boogie
Amos Milburn - I'm In My Wine
Amos Milburn - I Done Done It
Amos Milburn - Let Me Go Home Whisky
Amos Milburn - Trouble In Mind
Amos Milburn - Wolf On The River
Amos Milburn - Sax Shack Boogie
Amos Milburn - Rock Rock Rock
Amos Milburn - Vicious, Vicious Vodka
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!