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 jazz bandleader, composer, cornet player and mentor of Louis Armstrong King Oliver. Oliver is recognized for pioneering the use of mutes on brass instruments. Enjoy!
King Oliver - Riverside Blues
“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.
The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.
Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
-- Arundhati Roy
News and Opinion
Former Sen. Gravel: NSA Leaks Should Have Come From Senators
Former Democratic Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel thinks lawmakers opposed to the National Security Agency's phone and Internet surveillance programs should have exposed them long before fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden provided NSA documents to reporters in June.
Unlike Snowden, who is seeking asylum abroad in lieu of a stiff prison sentence, the senators would have been immune from prosecution because of the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause, Gravel told U.S. News.
"Any member of Congress can release any information that they think the public should see," Gravel said. "No member of Congress has availed themselves of that privilege since 1971. That's unfortunate."
Vague warnings to the public, such as those made by Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado were "not good enough," Gravel said. ...
"They're afraid of losing their prestige in the Senate," Gravel said. "That's a clear case and they're the best of the best, think of all the others. It's a clear case of putting your personal ambition above your responsibilities to the people as a leader of the nation."
In 1971 Gravel, then a freshman senator opposed to the Vietnam War, entered the so-called "Pentagon Papers" into the Congressional Record, making the top secret cache of documents public. The action prompted a court battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that congressional staffers are also protected by the Speech or Debate Clause.
Obama's Austrian ambassador was source of bad intel that Snowden was on the Morales plane
Austrian paper Die Presse revealed that the US Ambassador in Austria, William Eacho, was responsible for spreading the (false) information about Snowden being on board Bolivia President Evo Morales' Falcon out of Russia - leading to the denial of overflying rights in France, Spain, Portugal an Italy. Eacho - a former CEO of a food distribution company* with no diplomatic experience whatsoever - was appointed by Obama to go to Vienna in June 2009. Why? Because he was a top Obama fundraiser.
Latin American nations fuming over NSA spying allegations
"A shiver ran down my back when I learned that they are spying on all of us," Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said in a speech on Tuesday.
She called on the Mercosur bloc of South American nations, due to meet on Friday, to issue a strong statement and demand explanations from Washington. "More than revelations, these are confirmations of what we thought was happening," she said.
Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, who has emerged as a close U.S. ally, said the reported spying was worrisome.
"We are against these kinds of espionage activities," he said in a televised interview. "It would be good for (Peru's) Congress to look with concern at privacy issues related to personal information."
Brazil's government said it set up a task force of its defense, communications, justice and foreign affairs ministries to investigate the alleged espionage and establish whether the privacy of Brazilian citizens had been violated. ...
Gilberto Carvalho, a top aide to President Dilma Rousseff, said a "very hard" response to the United States was needed. "If we lower our heads, they will trample all over us tomorrow," he said.
Colombia asks US for explanation after reports it was targeted by NSA spyingOK, now see if you can spot the guy on the CIA's payroll...
Colombia has expressed concern and called for an explanation after revelations the US spied on the Andean nation, its closest military ally in Latin America.
In a brief statement on Wednesday, Colombia's foreign ministry said it "registered its concern" that there had been an "unauthorised data collection programme" and asked the US government to give an account of its actions through its embassy in Bogota. ...
"In rejecting the acts of espionage that violate people's rights and intimacy as well as the international conventions on telecommunication, Colombia requests the corresponding explanations from the United States government through its ambassador to Colombia," the foreign ministry said.
Brazil lawmaker: US spying won't hurt relations
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) â The head of Brazil's joint congressional committee on intelligence says reports disclosures alleging that that the United States has collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations in Latin America's biggest country will not affect Brazil-U.S. relations.
Congressman Nelson Pellegrino tells foreign correspondents in Brasilia that despite Brazil's strong repudiation of the U.S. information gathering activities in Brazil "the good relations we have with the United States will not be interrupted."
Snowden's Primary Challenge: Avoiding Reach of US EmpireSure, sure, Snowden's revelations were big news to Al-Qaeda...
Avoiding capture by 'rogue, lawless' US empire will be whistleblower's primary obstacle
Though a rush of speculation mounted on Tuesday, the ongoing saga surrounding NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's attempts to find political asylum continued Wednesday.
Venezuela, whose President Nicholas Maduro has offered asylum, now seems the most likely destination for the man, whose intelligence disclosures have given the world an unprecedented look into the massive global surveillance machine run by the US spy agency. But the real challenge, according to many, is how Snowden will make his way from Moscow to any of the possible countries willing to take him in, which also include Bolivia and Nicaragua.
10 things we learned from the Osama bin Laden report
3 Bin Laden was fully aware of the need to hide from US spy satellites. Much has been reported about the difficulty the CIA had in determining whether the tall man pacing around the compound was the al-Qaida chief. He was even in the habit of standing under a grape trellis. One of Bin Laden's wives, who survived the attack on the compound and was interviewed by the commission, revealed another technique: he wore a wide-brimmed cowboy hat when outside.
Obama once again picks the
Obama FBI Nominee Defends NSA's Dragnet Surveillance
Bush's former deputy attorney no defender of civil liberties, critics warn
President Obama’s nomination for FBI director, James B. Comey, said before his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that he supports the National Security Agency's widespread surveillance programs including the monitoring of U.S. citizens' phone calls and online communications.
Comey said that while he is currently "not familiar with the details of the current programs," he insisted that he does know "as a general matter" that "the collection and analysis of metadata is a valuable tool in counter-terrorism." ...
Later, while promising to be a "voice for transparency" and a protector of whistleblowers within the Bureau, Comey simultaneously suggested that the so-called "shield law," which protects journalists from having to reveal their sources, should be subject to exception in national security cases. ...
Comey, a former deputy attorney general and federal prosecutor from the George W. Bush administration, also said that he believes the secretive FISA court system provides adequate checks and balances, particularly for the FBI.
Senate Set to Confirm New FBI Head Who Ok’d Waterboarding, Defends Mass Spying, Indefinite Detention
Obama’s plan to predict future leakers unproven, unlikely to work
In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.
The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges. ...
But even the government’s top scientific advisers have questioned these techniques. Those experts say that trying to predict future acts through behavioral monitoring is unproven and could result in illegal ethnic and racial profiling and privacy violations.
“There is no consensus in the relevant scientific community nor on the committee regarding whether any behavioral surveillance or physiological monitoring techniques are ready for use at all,” concluded a 2008 National Research Council report on detecting terrorists.
Testifying for Bradley Manning’s Defense, Ex-Guantánamo Prosecutor Says Leaks Caused No Harm to U.S.Your tax dollars at work:
Federal agency spent millions destroying computers for no reason at all
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) spent nearly $3 million in 2012 to rectify a cyber-attack that did not actually happen, leading them to destroy hundreds of computers, printers, monitors and even mice for no good reason at all.
The EDA, part of the Department of Commerce, is designed to invest in needed economic developments around the country like infrastructure projects. But last year, the agency spent about half of its annual IT budget destroying its own systems and building them up from scratch after several computers were infected with common malware.
All it took was a miscommunication, according to the Office of the Inspector General for the Commerce Department. An internal investigation (PDF) concluded last month that the EDA’s chief technology officer was caught in something of a Catch-22 between an erroneous message and a confusing correction, leading to the conclusion that all the systems would simply have to be destroyed.
It started when the Department of Commerce’s cyber incident response team mistakenly claimed that 146 out of 250 systems on the department’s network had malware. They later corrected that claim when a lower-level network tech noticed that 146 actually referred to the number of computers the EDA had on the department’s network. The real number of systems infected with malware was just two.
Egypt: A People’s Revolution, Not a Crisis or Coup (Nawal El Saadawi)
On July 5, I watched a group of American men on CNN threatening to cut off aid to the revolutionary Egyptian people. And I laughed out loud. I hope that they cut off this aid! Since the time of Anwar Sadat in the 1970s, this aid has destroyed our political and economic life. This aid helps the U.S. more than anyone else. This aid goes directly into the pockets of the ruling class and corrupts it. This aid has strengthened American-Israeli colonial rule in our lands. All that the Egyptian people have gained from this aid is more poverty and humiliation.
Democracy is about more than elections. Legitimacy means more than the ballot box, it means the power of the people.
We Egyptians need a new constitution that will realize the principles of the revolution: equality for all without distinction of sex, religion or class. This we must do first, not just rush to presidential and parliamentary elections. We should not put the cart before the horse. We must not repeat mistakes.
We need a communal, revolutionary leadership and not a single leader.
This is a historical revolution and not a coup d’etat or protest movement or outraged uprising. It is a revolution that will continue until all of its goals are realized.
US, Israeli Interests in the Balance as Egypt 'Coup' Label Lingers
The strategic interests of the U.S. and Israel are on display as the U.S. continues to dodge calling the Egyptian military ousting of President Mohamed Morsi a coup, and Israeli officials mount pressure on the U.S. to not halt its $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt.
The White House has avoided using the word "coup," because, as Reuters explained, "calling the military intervention a 'coup'...would trigger legal obstacles to continuing aid payments."
The New York Times' Caucus blog adds:Egypt has been the second-largest recipient of American aid, behind Israel, since 1979, as a reward and incentive for its peace with the Jewish nation, and the military continues to support that treaty.On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly dodged any confirmation that Morsi's overthrow was a coup, saying instead the situation in Egypt was "complex and difficult" and that the Obama administration has no immediate plans to halt aid to Egypt.
Egypt: The Rebellion Movement Denounces Mansour’s Constitutional Principles as Dictatorial
If the Egyptian military and judicial elite thought that they could use the youthful Rebellion Movement, which put three or four million demonstrators in the streets a week and a half ago, to restore the status quo before the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, they probably miscalculated.
Rebellion denounced as “dictatorial” interim president Adly Mansour’s Monday declaration of the constitutional principles that would guide Egypt during the transition to a new constitution. The principles gave the president way too much power, including the power to appoint cabinet ministers (even though he is appointing a new prime minister), and they do not sufficiently safeguard individual liberties, Rebellion coordinator Mahmoud Badr said. ...
Badr had complained at Rebellion’s Facebook page that the organization had not been consulted about the constitutional declaration before it was announced, and that it had not been shown, either, to Dr. Muhammad Elbaradei, and both were surprised, as was everyone else. Elbaradei is admired by many Egyptian youth and has been appointed as a vice president for foreign affairs.
Greek unions announce July 16 general strike against government cuts
Greece’s main unions on Wednesday said they would hold a general strike on July 16 to oppose a new round of civil service job cuts announced by the government to secure EU-IMF loans.
“An emergency meeting of the executive committee has decided to call a 24-hour general strike on July 16″ in reaction to a government bill enshrining the layoffs, leading union GSEE said in a statement. ...
Affecting thousands of teachers, school wardens and municipal staff, the latest cuts have caused fresh outrage in a country undergoing a fourth year of austerity and record unemployment.
Trans ex-Navy SEAL to Congress: ‘I am not free’ without workplace protections
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee met Wednesday morning and passed ENDA out of committee in a historic, bipartisan 15-to-7 vote.
In a conference call with activists and reporters on Wednesday, transgender ex-Navy SEAL Kristin Beck said that in a country where workers can be fired for expressing their gender identity, people are not truly free. The Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) made it through markup in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Wednesday morning, the first significant movement on that bill since 2010. ENDA would punish employers for illegally discriminating against workers on the basis of their sex, race, age, ideology or beliefs, and would also provide protections for LGBT people in the workplace.
On the call, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “There’s been no action on ENDA since 2010. There has been no vote in the Senate for 17 years.”
Pesticide Use Spikes as GMO Failure Cripples Corn Belt
Pesticide use is skyrocketing across the Midwestern U.S. corn belt, as biotech companies like Syngenta and AMVAC Chemical watch their pesticide sales spike 50 to 100 percent over the past two years, NPR reported Tuesday.
The culprit? Bt corn—a type of genetically engineered corn with insecticide built into its genes.
Variations of this corn strain—peddled across the world by large multinationals including Monstanto and Syngenta—are giving rise to Bt resistant insects and worms, studies show.
NPR reports that resistant 'pests' are decimating entire cornfields across Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.
Yet, now that the targeted insect killings are not working, big agribusiness is simply throwing pesticides at the problem instead of moving away from GMOs.
This is despite warnings last year from the Environmental Protection Agency that unrestrained use of Bt corn will off-set the balance of the ecosystem.
The Southwest’s forests may never recover from megafires
If you doubt that climate change is transforming the American landscape, go to Santa Fe, N.M. Sweltering temperatures there have broken records this summer, and a seemingly permanent orange haze of smoke hangs in the air from multiple wildfires.
Take a ride into the mountains and you’ll see one blackened ridge after another where burns in the past few years have ravaged the national forest. Again, this year, fires in New Mexico and neighboring states of Colorado and Arizona are destroying wilderness areas. ...
The last 10 years have seen more than 60 megafires over 100,000 acres in size in the West. When they get that big, firefighters often let them burn themselves out, over a period of weeks, or even months. These fires typically leave a scorched earth behind that researchers are beginning to fear may never come back as forest again. ...
[T]he intensity of the recent fires, researchers say, is in part the result of a warming and drying trend which has been underway for over a decade, and which some climate scientists believe will become a permanent condition as anthropogenic climate change continues to increase.
Blog Posts of Interest
Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.What's Happenin'
Hat tip to dharmafarmer:
Hat tip to Meteor Blades:
A Little Night Music
King Oliver and his Dixie Syncopaters - West End Blues
King Oliver - Wa Wa Wa
King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band - Sobbin' Blues
King Oliver - Canal Street Blues
King Oliver - Can I Tell You
King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators - Slow And Steady
King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band - Buddy's Habits
King Oliver - Bimbo
King Oliver - Doctor Jazz
King Oliver - High Society
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.
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