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 Chicago blues and soul singer Lee "Shot" Williams. Enjoy!
Lee Shot Williams - You're welcome to the club
“Throughout the world what remains of the vast public spaces are now only the stuff of legends: Robin Hood’s forest, the Great Plains of the Amerindians, the steppes of the nomadic tribes, and so forth… Rousseau said that the first person who wanted a piece of nature as his or her own exclusive possession and transformed it into the transcendent form of private property was the one who invented evil. Good, on the contrary, is what is common.”
-- Antonio Negri,
News and Opinion
US Congress Embraces Both NSA Spying and Endless Wars
In two separate votes in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, lawmakers from both parties affirmed their ongoing acceptance of the ever-growing national security state and support for the military authorization that has kept the nation in constant war since 2001. ...
The first amendment voted down, introduced by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), would have severely curtailed the massive collection of US citizens' telephonic and digital communication data by NSA surveillance programs, the existence and extent of which have only recently come to light following disclosures from whistleblower Edward Snowden. ...
The second amendment defeated, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiffer (D-Calif.), would have unseated the powers contained in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), signed in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks of 2001 (and continually renewed since), that underpins the entirety of the ongoing and so-called 'war against terror,' includiong the war in Afghanistan and numerous covert and overt military actions around the globe.
The Schiffer amendment—which would have given a New Years Day, 2015 as the final day of the AUMF's authority—lost by an even wider margin than Amash-Conyers, with 236 members of congress voting against it versus the 185 who supported it.
Democratic establishment unmasked: prime defenders of NSA bulk spying
NYT: "The Obama administration made common cause with the House Republican leadership"
One of the worst myths Democratic partisans love to tell themselves - and everyone else - is that the GOP refuses to support President Obama no matter what he does. Like its close cousin - the massively deceitful inside-DC grievance that the two parties refuse to cooperate on anything - it's hard to overstate how false this Democratic myth is. When it comes to foreign policy, war, assassinations, drones, surveillance, secrecy, and civil liberties, President Obama's most stalwart, enthusiastic defenders are often found among the most radical precincts of the Republican Party. ...
The extraordinary events that took place in the House of Representatives yesterday are perhaps the most vivid illustration yet of this dynamic, and it independently reveals several other important trends. The House voted on an amendment sponsored by Justin Amash, the young Michigan lawyer elected in 2010 as a Tea Party candidate, and co-sponsored by John Conyers, the 24-term senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. The amendment was simple. It would de-fund one single NSA program: the agency's bulk collection of the telephone records of all Americans that we first revealed in this space, back on June 6. It accomplished this "by requiring the FISA court under Sec. 215 [of the Patriot Act] to order the production of records that pertain only to a person under investigation".
The amendment yesterday was defeated. But it lost by only 12 votes: 205-217. Given that the amendment sought to de-fund a major domestic surveillance program of the NSA, the very close vote was nothing short of shocking. In fact, in the post-9/11 world, amendments like this, which directly challenge the Surveillance and National Security States, almost never get votes at all. That the GOP House Leadership was forced to allow it to reach the floor was a sign of how much things have changed over the last seven weeks.
More significant than the closeness of the vote was its breakdown. A majority of House Democrats supported the Amash/Conyers amendment, while a majority of Republicans voted against it:
The full roll call vote is here.
House Defeats Effort to Rein In N.S.A. Data Gathering
The 205-to-217 vote was far closer than expected and came after a brief but impassioned debate over citizens’ right to privacy and the steps the government must take to protect national security. It was a rare instance in which a classified intelligence program was openly discussed on the House floor, and disagreements over the program led to some unusual coalitions.
Conservative Republicans leery of what they see as Obama administration abuses of power teamed up with liberal Democrats long opposed to intrusive intelligence programs. The Obama administration made common cause with the House Republican leadership to try to block it.
House members pressing to rein in the N.S.A. vowed afterward that the outrage unleashed by Mr. Snowden’s disclosures would eventually put a brake on the agency’s activities. Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and a longtime critic of post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism efforts, said lawmakers would keep coming back with legislation to curtail the dragnets for “metadata,” whether through phone records or Internet surveillance.
At the very least, the section of the Patriot Act in question will be allowed to expire in 2015, he said. “It’s going to end — now or later,” Mr. Nadler said. “The only question is when and on what terms.”
Pelosi vote on NSA amendment
Pelosi is asked about her "no" vote on the Amash amendment. She makes the argument that she opposes surveillance but this wasn't the appropriate time to vote against it.
"I don't want anybody to misunderstand a vote against the Amash amendment," she says. She's putting together a letter to be signed by representatives who voted both "no" and "yes"
"We voted on both sides of that resolution but we stand together in our concerns about how the megadata collection is conducted," Pelosi says.
Except they don't stand together in the sense of voting together.
Senate pushes sanctions on nations aiding Snowden
U.S. sanctions against any country offering asylum to Edward Snowden advanced in Congress Thursday as the 30-year-old National Security Agency leaker remained in a Moscow airport while Russia weighed a request for him to stay permanently.
The measure introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., demands the State Department coordinate with lawmakers on setting penalties against nations that seek to help Snowden avoid extradition to the United States, where authorities want him prosecuted for revealing details of the government's massive surveillance system. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the proposal unanimously by voice vote as an amendment to next year's $50.6 billion diplomacy and international aid bill.
Manning Faces Unprecedented Charges as Trial Reaches Final Stage
Closing arguments for the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning began Thursday morning in a decisive moment in U.S. history that could find the whistleblower guilty of "aiding the enemy"—a charge that would deal a fatal blow to freedom of the press as well as governmental transparency, critics warn. ...
According to Manning's Lawyer, David Coombs, the government has “taken a very, very unique position...No case has ever been prosecuted under this type of theory, that an individual by the nature of giving information to a journalistic organization would then be subject to a 104 offense [aiding the enemy].”
Following the closing arguments Lind will then go into deliberations, "which could take days," according to the Bradley Manning Defense Network. Sentencing is scheduled to begin July 31. However, it could be pushed back if Lind needs more time to deliberate.
Detroit Red Wings Get New $400 Million Taxpayer-Financed Stadium While the City Goes Bankrupt
NOOR: And, Frank, we just got some breaking news that the Michigan strategic fund has decided to issue $450 million in bonds for a new stadium for the Detroit Red Wings, 44 percent of which will be financed publicly. Do you think this decision is emblematic of the development model that led Detroit on this path for years, if you can give us a brief comment?
HAMMER: Well, you know, I mean, I think that Detroit built a new baseball stadium, it built a new football stadium, and lo and behold, here we are a few years later and Detroit is still going into bankruptcy. So apparently building stadiums doesn't quite do the trick. And I think that a manufacturing model, a resurrection of manufacturing with green technology would be a much more permanent and sustainable solution.
Blessed Are the Rich
Even though Koch was raised rich and has now amassed a personal fortune of about $34 billion, he recently gave us a deeper sense of his true worth, measured not in dollars, but in values.
"We want to do a better job of raising up the disadvantaged and the poorest in this country," he declared. Excellent thought — FDR couldn't have put it better! Noting that a big problem for the poor is that the Powers That Be "keep throwing obstacles in their way," Koch cut to the chase, saying, "We've got to clear those out." ...
But, alas, that's not at all what Koch had in mind as obstacles to be cleared out. Rather, he proposes to "help" poor people by eliminating — ready? — "the minimum wage." Why? Because, explains this clueless son-of-the-rich, having a wage floor "reduces the mobility of labor." ...
As Charles puts it, if the disadvantaged had no protections in the workplace and no government programs to ameliorate their poverty, they would then have to scramble just to live, thus freeing them from reliance on society's helping hand. Freeing them to do what? Well, Koch says, they could then "start a business ... drive a taxicab ... become a hairdresser."
Google, Economist Flee from Climate Reality
The once-authoritative Economist news magazine has set fire to its credibility, again, by reporting that global warming has slowed to the point where one columnist argues that we should wait "a decade or two" before instituting any policy measures to ameliorate the threat. At the same time, Google, a company that advertises its corporate philosophy as "Do No Evil," has decided to snuggle up to the climate change denial community, splashing money at the likes of Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and the "think" tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
This kind of blithe disregard for fact or prudence was more in style a couple of years ago, when Denier-in-Chief George W. Bush was in the White House and Inhofe was Chair of the Republican-dominated Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. But how can you account for so irresponsible and reactionary a performance - from theoretically credible sources - in 2013? ...
There is a legitimate discussion to be had about where additional warmth has been going in the last couple of years. But seriously, the last time the world enjoyed a single month with temperatures below the average (since record-keeping began in 1880) was February 1985. Revelling in thoughts of a slowdown in the rate of change would be analagous to someone celebrating having reached terminal velocity after falling out of a plane: things are still very, very bad, but isn't it nice that we have slowed the pace at which they are getting worse?
Well, no. As the insurance industry is only too eager to point out, the situation is already dire. Even if we had not loaded the atmosphere with enough carbon dioxide to keep the trend going for a century, this would be no time to chortle.
Wyo. Fracking Study to Be Funded by Industry After EPA Pulls Out
When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its multimillion-dollar investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field last month, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike.
In 2011, the agency had issued a blockbuster draft report saying that the controversial practice of fracking was to blame for the pollution of an aquifer deep below the town of Pavillion, Wyo.—the first time such a claim had been based on a scientific analysis.
The study drew heated criticism over its methodology and awaited a peer review that promised to settle the dispute. Now the EPA will instead hand the study over to the state of Wyoming, whose research will be funded by EnCana, the very drilling company whose wells may have caused the contamination. ...
[E]nvironmentalists see an agency that is systematically disengaging from any research that could be perceived as questioning the safety of fracking or oil drilling, even as President Obama lays out a plan to combat climate change that rests heavily on the use of natural gas.
Blog Posts of Interest
Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.What's Happenin'
Hat tip dharmafarmer:
A Little Night Music
Lee Shot Williams - Our Thing Is Through
Lee Shot Williams - I Found A Love
Lee Shot Williams - I'm In Love
Lee 'Shot' Williams - Checking Out
Lee 'Shot' Williams - I Like Your Style
Lee Williams & the Cymbals - Peeping Through the Window
Lee 'Shot' Williams - The Love You Save
Lee Shot Williams - I'm Tore Up
Lee Shot Williams - Mark My Words
Lee Shot Williams - When You Move You Lose
Lee Shot Williams - Get Some Order
Lee Shot Williams - The Millionaire
It's National Pie Day!
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