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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 harmonica player and songwriter Sonny Boy Williamson.  Enjoy!

Sonny Boy Williamson w/Otis Spann - Nine below zero

“Government is the Entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.”

  -- Frank Zappa

News and Opinion

When Is a Putsch a Putsch?

The mainstream U.S. news media, which hailed the Feb. 22 neo-Nazi-spearheaded coup overthrowing the democratically elected president of Ukraine as an expression of “democracy,” is now decrying public uprisings in eastern Ukraine as a Russian-instigated “putsch.”

It apparently has reached the point where the MSM is so tangled up in its propagandistic narrative that it can’t give American readers anything close to an objective reading of what is actually going on in Ukraine or many other places, for that matter.

The way the MSM now summarizes the Feb. 22 coup is simply to say that President Viktor Yanukovych fled after weeks of protests by Ukrainians who favored “good government” and opposed “corruption,” as the Washington Post wrote on Tuesday.

Airbrushed out of the picture is the fact that the uprising had financial support and political encouragement from U.S. officials, including neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and the neocon-controlled, U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy. ...

So, while the Feb. 22 coup in Kiev was portrayed as a simple uprising of Ukrainian patriots – with no attention paid to the $5 billion that Assistant Secretary Nuland herself said the U.S. has invested in Ukraine’s “European aspirations,” nor the 65 projects in Ukraine run by the U.S.-funded NED, nor with little notice of the organized violence by neo-Nazi paramilitary forces from western Ukraine – the resistance to the coup in Crimea and now in eastern and southern Ukraine could only result from dark manipulations orchestrated by Russian President Putin in the Kremlin.

It is that kind of biased journalism that has now become the norm of the MSM and, indeed, across significant parts of the “blogosphere.” Rather than learning to be more skeptical after the Iraq War deceptions a decade ago, the major news outlets appear to have become even more gullible, more integrated into the government’s propaganda structure, less able to provide balanced and independent journalism.

Separatists build barricades in east Ukraine, Kiev warns of force

Pro-Russian separatists reinforced barricades around the state security building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk on Wednesday and called on President Vladimir Putin for help after the government warned it could use force to restore order.

But protesters were also engaged in talks to ease the standoff, which Kiev has said could provide a pretext for a Russian invasion, and lawmakers from eastern Ukraine proposed an amnesty for protesters to defuse tension. ...

Local police spokeswoman Tatyana Pogukai said protesters had found an arsenal of weapons within the building. Protesters say they have 200-300 Kalashnikov automatic rifles. She denied previous reports that hostages had been taken.

She said negotiations had been carried out overnight but the two sides had not come to an agreement.

"They won't put down their weapons until there is agreement on a referendum," she said.

Russia to meet EU and US for talks over Ukraine crisis

The Ukrainian authorities have said they will end the occupation of administrative buildings by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, either by negotiations or force, within 48 hours, as four-way talks between Russia, Ukraine, the US and EU were announced for next week in an attempt to defuse the tense situation.

"A resolution to this crisis will be found within the next 48 hours," said the interior minister, Arsen Avakov, in Kiev, referring to the eastern cities of Luhansk and Donetsk where protesters remained in control of government buildings.

"For those who want dialogue, we propose talks and a political solution. For the minority who want conflict they will get a forceful answer from the Ukrainian authorities," he said.

In Luhansk, the protesters did not appear in the mood to compromise, and on Wednesday were reinforcing the barricades around the security services building they have seized, and preparing petrol bombs.

In Donetsk, protesters remain in control of the local administration building, from where on Monday they proclaimed Donetsk an independent republic and said they would hold a referendum within a month on the region's status and whether it should appeal to join Russia.

In Kharkiv, protesters also seized the local administration building, but were removed by security forces, who arrested 70 people.

West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats

More at The Real News
From Hungary, far-right party spreads ideology, tactics

In a rented public hall not far from Poland's parliament, about 150 people gathered one afternoon late last year to hear speeches by a collection of far-right leaders from around Europe. The event was organized by Ruch Narodowy, or National Movement, a Polish organization that opposes foreign influences, views homosexuality as an illness and believes Poland is threatened by a leftist revolution hatched in Brussels.

Chief attraction was Marton Gyongyosi, one of the leaders of Hungarian far-right party Jobbik. In a 20-minute speech, Gyongyosi addressed the crowd, mostly men in their thirties and forties, as "our Polish brothers," and railed against globalization, environmentalists, socialists, and what he called a cabal of Western economic interests. Poles needed to resist the forces hurting ordinary people, he said, before urging "regional cooperation between our countries."

It is a familiar rallying cry. Far-right groups have emerged or grown stronger across Europe in the wake of the financial crisis, and they are increasingly sharing ideas and tactics. Reuters has found ties between at least half a dozen of the groups in Europe's ex-Communist east. At the network's heart, officials from those groups say, sits Jobbik. The party won 20.54 percent of the vote in Hungary's parliamentary election on April 6, up from the 15.86 percent it won in 2010, cementing its status as by far the largest far-right group in Eastern Europe.

From its strong base at home, Jobbik has stepped up efforts to export its ideology and methods to the wider region, encouraging far-right parties to run in next month's European parliamentary elections, and propagating a brand of nationalist ideology which is so hardline and so tinged with anti-Semitism, that some rightist groups in Western Europe have distanced themselves from the Hungarians.

USAID’s Response to AP’s Story on ‘Cuban Twitter’: What Isn’t Denied & What’s Striking About It

It is “important that the good work” of the US Agency for International Development “not be falsely characterized,” the agency wrote in a blog post responding to the Associated Press’ story on “Cuban Twitter.” The response outlined eight “inaccuracies” and eight “facts” to show key flaws in the story.

The only problem is the rebuttal did not really disprove any of the most damning aspects of the AP story. In fact, the problem the agency seems to have is not that AP got its facts wrong but that it did not characterize documents it had on “Cuban Twitter” in the ideological manner, which USAID would favor. ...

James Peck, author of Ideal Illusions: How the US Government Co-Opted Human Rights, notes in his book that Cuba has been a “testing ground for hostile action in the Americas—embargoes, proxy warfare, assassination attempts—with each instance of reactive countermeasures singled out as one more example of Communist repression.” ...

Of course, the reason why USAID has lashed out at the AP for its journalism is because the AP has exposed an agenda in which, as Peck has said, USAID works to promote an “architecture of power that allows Washington greater latitude to pursue its own interests” through structural readjustment programs, privatization and cutbacks in public programs for health, food and education.

“Democracy promotion” projects like “Cuban Twitter,” which are amazing blunders on the part of the US government, are not developed because of an actual defensible desire to protect the human rights or freedom of Cubans or any citizens in any other country. The projects are authorized to advance the economic agenda of the US government and the interests of US corporations, which is why they are guaranteed to fail citizens of any country so miserably.

Communications infiltration a core part of USAid activities

The ZunZuneo program was first exposed last week in a report by the Associated Press. In a blogpost Monday, USAid, a 1960s-era agency with a core mission of fighting poverty and hunger abroad while flying the US flag, defended the ZunZuneo program as in line with its broader mission.

Leahy on Tuesday called USAid’s surveillance mission “dumb in its inception”, and described it as a “cockamamie” idea that was doomed to fail.

“Why would we put that mission as part of USAid?” asked senator Mike Johanns, Republican of Nebraska. “To me it seems crazy. It just seems crazy that you would be in the middle of that. That’s just my observation.”

Shah defended USAid’s communications infiltration activities as a “core part of what USAid has done for some time and continues to do,” in Cuba “and in many other parts of the world.” The agency has an annual budget of $15-20m to spend on “democracy programs” in Cuba.

USAID chief grilled over alleged 'Cuban Twitter' subterfuge

[USAID Adninistrator Rajiv] Shah denied elements of a report by The Associated Press, which last week revealed the U.S. role in a social media messaging service for Cubans. It said that the site was also used to gather data on more than 40,000 subscribers to encourage anti-government protests in Cuba.

Shah said the program was not intended to stir political opposition to the Communist government, but merely to "support access to information and to allow people to communicate with each other."

He denied the AP's assertion that USAID had used a system of shell companies to obscure the origins of the funding for ZunZuneo, the Cuban Twitter. But Shah said he did not know how ZunZuneo had explained to Cubans where the money came from.

The operation was part of a USAID program costing $15 million to $20 million a year to promote democracy in Cuba, Leahy said.

Shah could not identify those who developed the program, which started before his tenure in 2009 and ran until 2012.

U.S. uses ‘diplospeak’ to evade tough truths on Ukraine, other crises

U.S. officials don’t dispute what happened _ they saw the Russian celebration of the “return” of Crimea and heard the challenge to Western domination in Putin’s speech _ but the official government lexicon hasn’t caught up to the facts on the ground. The State Department’s latest verbal twist is to refer to Putin’s land grab as an “attempt” at annexation, to underline U.S. opposition to a move it considers illegitimate. ...

Calling what happened in Crimea on that day an “attempted” annexation is only the latest in a long-standing practice of using curious descriptions and euphemisms to mask U.S. foreign policy failings or to sidestep controversial topics.

At a different briefing this month, the same spokeswoman, Harf, balked at descriptions of a million-dollar, U.S.-funded social media program in Cuba as covert or secret, even though an Associated Press report exposed a “byzantine system of front companies using a Cayman Islands bank account” and other practices to shroud the U.S. involvement in building an opposition forum.

“Discreet” was the word Harf preferred.

In another example of hair-splitting, Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land can be “illegitimate” but never “illegal” in diplomatic parlance . The word “drone” is so taboo that AP reporter Matt Lee asked State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki last month whether she was “able, physically, to use the word ‘drone.’ ”

“I do like the ring of ‘remote-piloted aircrafts,’ ” Psaki shot back, to laughter in the briefing room.

“How about in relation – can I get you to use it in relation to bees?” Lee pressed.

“To bees? Drone bees. Yes.” ...

The most notorious diplospeak case of those transitions involved the Egyptian military’s ouster last summer of the country’s first democratically elected president. U.S. officials took such pains to avoid calling it a coup that Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” called it “going Kama Sutra on the English language, bending words into all kinds of exciting, exotic positions before reaching a climax of meaninglessness.”

Funny, sure, but some policy analysts say the jokes about the linguistic contortions cloud a more serious point: A coup determination would’ve triggered a review of the billion-dollar annual U.S. aid package to Egypt because such assistance must be suspended in the event of a military’s overthrow of an elected leader.

CIA used Doctor Zhivago as a literary weapon during the cold war

More than 100 newly declassified documents in the US have revealed how the CIA printed Russian-language copies of Boris Pasternak's classic novel Doctor Zhivago during the cold war in an attempt to sow unrest among Soviet citizens.

The CIA documents reveal intriguing details about how Pasternak's epic love story of the life and romances of physician and poet Yuri Zhivago was printed in Russian and distributed to Soviet citizens by the intelligence agency in the late 1950s. They were obtained by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée, the authors of the forthcoming book The Zhivago Affair (out in June). ... The CIA published a hardback Russian-language edition of Doctor Zhivago in the Netherlands, and a miniature, paperback edition at its own headquarters – making sure that the "hand of the United States government" was "not to be shown in any manner", reveal the documents. It then pressed copies into the hands of Soviet citizens at the 1958 Brussels Universal and International Exposition, while "agents who [had] contact with Soviet tourists and officials in the West" passed out the miniature edition.

Frances Stonor Saunders, author of Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, said that the fact that the CIA published and distributed thousands of books during the Cold War, including Doctor Zhivago, had long been known, but that "the difference is now that the CIA have agreed to talk to two writers and declassify 130 documents, which they say is the whole file".

Saunders questioned the timing of the CIA's decision to talk – "it works very well for American foreign policy to release this story now," she said.

Sen. Angus King Offers To Waterboard Dick Cheney Over CIA Report On Interrogations

When will we put a stop to Shaker Aamer's horrific Guantánamo ordeal?

I wonder how long it will take us to understand what we are continuing to do to Shaker Aamer in Guantánamo Bay?

I have represented Aamer unsuccessfully for a long time, and we have just received the first independent medical evaluation of him in 12 years. Dr Emily Keram, a respected psychiatrist, despairs for him as long as he remains in Guantánamo Bay. Her report makes for devastating and depressing reading. ...

For Aamer, yes there was all the physical abuse, from beatings, to strappado (dislocating the shoulders by hanging by the wrists) ... . But it was the second degree torture (originated by the Spanish Inquisition) that got to Aamer most – when the torturer singles out someone else for abuse and plays on your mind. The American interrogators assured him that they had his family, and they described what they were going to do to his daughter, then five years old: "They are going to screw her. She will be screaming, 'Daddy! Daddy!'" ...

Keram also diagnosed Shaker as chronically depressed, but that is hardly surprising: he has been held in Guantánamo Bay since Valentine's Day 2002, the day his youngest child, Faris, was born.  ... Aamer was cleared seven years ago. If that promise had been honoured, he could have met Faris at the age of five; the child is now 14 and Aamer has no idea when they might finally be together at last.

Aamer also suffers from special housing unit (SHU) psychosis. This stems from the months and years he has spent in solitary confinement. Of course, the Guantánamo authorities will insist they have no isolation cells, but that is because their latest euphemism is the "single cell operation". It is just another of the Orwellian lies that pepper the Guantánamo lexicon. Aamer has never been on a hunger strike according to them; it's just a "long-term non-religious fast".

Syrian Rebels Have US-Made Anti-Tank Missiles

US military intervention in the Syrian Civil War has mostly taken the form of small arms and equipment for various rebel factions, but looks to be picking up the pace dramatically, as new videos come out showing US-made BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles in rebel hands.

Two different rebel factions, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and a faction allied with the Islamic Front are claiming to have the weapons, though the US is still not officially confirming they were the direct suppliers.

Is India on a Totalitarian Path? Arundhati Roy on Corporatism, Nationalism and World’s Largest Vote

ARUNDHATI ROY: Rockefeller. Well, you know, I mean, in this, I’ve talked about the role not just in India, but even in the U.S. For example, how do they even—how do they deal with things like political people’s movements? How did they fragment the civil rights movement? I’ll just read you a part about what happened with the civil rights movement.

Having worked out how to manage governments, political parties, elections, courts, the media and liberal opinion, the neoliberal establishment faced one more challenge: how to deal with the growing unrest, the threat of ’people’s power.’ How do you domesticate it? How do you turn protesters into pets? How do you vacuum up people’s fury and redirect it into a blind alley?

“Here too, foundations and their allied organizations have a long and illustrious history. A revealing example is their role in defusing and deradicalizing the Black Civil Rights movement in the United States in the 1960s and the successful transformation of Black Power into Black Capitalism.

“The Rockefeller Foundation, in keeping with J.D. Rockefeller’s ideals, had worked closely with Martin Luther King Sr. (father of Martin Luther King Jr). But his influence waned with the rise of the more militant organizations—the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers. The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations moved in. In 1970, they donated $15 million to 'moderate' black organizations, giving people grants, fellowships, scholarships, job training programs for dropouts and seed money for black-owned businesses. Repression, infighting and the honey trap of funding led to the gradual atrophying of the radical black organizations.

"Martin Luther King made the forbidden connections between Capitalism, Imperialism, Racism and the Vietnam War. As a result, after he was assassinated, even his memory became toxic to them, a threat to public order. Foundations and Corporations worked hard to remodel his legacy to fit a market-friendly format. The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, with an operational grant of $2 million, was set up by, among others, the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mobil, Western Electric, Procter & Gamble, U.S. Steel and Monsanto. The Center maintains the King Library and Archives of the Civil Rights Movement. Among the many programs the King Center runs have been projects that work—quote, 'work closely with the United States Department of Defense, the Armed Forces Chaplains Board and others,' unquote. It co-sponsored the Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Series called—and I quote—’The Free Enterprise System: An Agent for Non-violent Social Change.’"

Greeks strike against austerity before Merkel visit

Thousands of striking Greeks marched to parliament on Wednesday to protest against job cuts and austerity measures imposed by the country's foreign creditors, including Germany, whose leader will visit Athens this week.

Schools and pharmacies were shut, ships remained docked at ports, hospitals operated on emergency staff, and transport in Athens was disrupted due to the 24-hour strike called by private sector union GSEE and its public sector counterpart ADEDY.

More than 20,000 workers, pensioners, students and the unemployed marched peacefully through the streets of the Greek capital chanting "EU, IMF take the bailout and get out of here!"

Unions said their anti-austerity message was also aimed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is due to meet Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens on Friday. Germany has insisted on painful spending cuts and tax hikes in return for international loans.

"It's time to save people not banks," said 59-year old economist Eleni Prokou. "Merkel and the troika should stop sticking their nose in our business."

Obama's epic fail on equal pay: LGBT need not apply?

President Obama just announced a couple executive actions intended to close the wage gap between men and women. "Our job's not finished yet," he said at the White House, before signing into law new measures that will make federal contractors enforce limited pay equity rules and that will end certain differences in compensation based on race and gender.

That's good news. The president should sign orders like these, especially on Equal Pay Day – especially in a country where women working full-time make 77 cents for every dollar men do. "In 2014, that's an embarrassment," Obama said. "It's wrong."

You know what else is wrong? That it's not Equal Pay Day for a lot of us, no matter what the White House hype machine says about these measures "expanding opportunity for all" or "ensuring equal pay for women". Not unless you're comfortable with a definition of "all" that means "LGBT need not apply".

"This executive order only protects me if I walk into the office of a federal contractor appearing straight," says Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEqual, the LGBT activist group behind the push to rescind Don't Ask Don't Tell. She went on to tell me of another executive action, long since forgotten by the Obama administration:

But the minute I mention my female partner, I run the risk of not only getting paid less, but also being fired on the spot. If the president truly wants to move forward the cause of equal pay for all women, he could start by signing another executive order he promised to sign back in 2008 – one that would prohibit discrimination by federal contractors based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Bill to restore US unemployment insurance likely to deadlock in Congress

A bipartisan attempt to restore unemployment insurance to more than two million out-of-work Americans appeared likely to fall victim to deadlock in Congress on Tuesday.

The Senate passed legislation on Monday night that would temporarily extend lapsed emergency assistance measures that were first introduced after the banking crash, in exchange for reforms designed to curb fraud and claims by the very rich.

But the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, said on Tuesday that he would not allow a vote on the bill without additional measures to stimulate job growth. ...

Some Republican activists claim the Senate is trying to “bully” the House into following its lead on something that many members of the House of Representatives do not see as a pressing issue in their home districts.

US Currency finally achieves universal suffrage

There’s a Class War Going On and the Poor Are Getting Their Butts Kicked

What I find baffling is how business leaders and economists fret over retail-sales figures and consumer-confidence surveys, but then advocate practices and policies that crimp people’s incomes and ability to spend. Companies won’t pay a living wage and then wonder where their customers have gone. This isn’t just a matter of improving current economic growth, but our future economic potential as well. U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan recently lambasted America’s school-lunch program, which provides meals to poor kids, as offering “a full stomach — and an empty soul.” Yet is it fair to expect a student with an empty stomach to perform as well on exams as those with full bellies? Ryan isn’t encouraging hard work. He wants to tilt the playing field in favor of the wealthy.

The same is true around the world. Why Abe thinks a poorer population can restart Japanese growth is hard to fathom. China won’t be able to reshape its broken economic model and produce more sustainable growth without pro-poor reforms. With astronomical youth unemployment, Europe is looking at a segment of its population possibly facing economic peril for years, perhaps decades, to come. Is it any surprise euro-zone GDP is expected to grow a mere 1% this year?

The fact is that there is a class war going on, and the little guy is losing. Perhaps that won’t result in revolution, as Marx assumed. But until our politicians and CEOs understand that the average family on Main Street is as critical to the global economy as the bankers on Wall Street, our economic outlook will be just as grim.

NYC Parents vs. Wall Street-Backed Charter Schools

Parents and public school advocates staged a dramatic protest outside the New York City Department of Education on Tuesday against a bid, backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and financed by Wall Street lobbyists, to evict special needs students in order to make room for charter school expansion.

The demonstration is the most recent development in the battle against corporate education reform in the city, where "strong-arm" tactics by Cuomo and the charter school lobby have overriden an attempt by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to curb the growth of privately-funded charters.

Calling out Eva Moskowitz, CEO of the Success Academy charter chain, the demonstrators blasted her for "strong arming" the expansion of her charter schools, adding that she is "stealing classrooms from 102 special needs students."

On March 31, New York legislators approved a budget deal that provides New York City charter schools with "some of the most sweeping protections in the nation," the New York Times reported last week. Among other provisions, the deal forces public schools to offer co-locations, or rent-free building space, to charter schools.

At the rally, outraged parents and supporters of the Mickey Mantle School P.S. 811—a special needs education program that shares space with P.S. 149 in Harlem—railed against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for pushing the charter-friendly budget, overriding a move by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to block the expansion of three of Moskowitz's Success Academy schools.

Bank Chief Shot Dead by 'Robin Hood of Liechtenstein'

Juergen Frick, the chief executive officer of Liechtenstein-based Bank Frick has been found shot dead in a carpark. Police believe Juergen Hermann, a former fund manager, shot the banker and then took his own life, according to Swiss media reports. ...

Police later named Juergen Hermann, a former fund manager, as a suspect in the shooting. Police said they believe Hermann, who fled the scene in a smart car, may have taken his own life. ...

On the suspect's website, he refers to himself as the "Robin Hood of Liechtenstein" and is reported to have spent years in a bitter dispute with Bank Frick and the Liechtenstein authorities over financial matters. ...

He wrote that the Liechtenstein government and the country's Financial Market Authority "illegally destroyed my investment company Hermann Finance and its funds, depriving me of my livelihood," according to the Bloomberg report.

The Evening Greens

Hole Found in Natural Protective Layer of Earth’s Atmosphere

Scientists have discovered a hole in the atmosphere that allows ozone-depleting compounds and other chemicals to bypass the atmosphere’s natural “washing machine” layer.

The lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, known as the troposphere, is full of hydroxyl (OH) radicals which are known as the detergent of the atmosphere. This is because OH is highly reactive and can break down all sorts of pollutants, chemicals and natural substances emitted by living organisms including humans, plants, animals, fungi, and microbes. The substances become water soluble and are washed out of the troposphere during rainstorms.

But when scientists sent weather balloons through the troposphere over the tropical Western Pacific, they discovered a 9-mile-high hole in this protective OH shield that extends over several thousand square miles. Because it has only just been discovered, researchers are as yet unsure what causes this hole. But by letting certain chemicals escape into the upper levels of the atmosphere, the OH gap could contribute to depletion of the ozone layer over the polar regions and influence worldwide climate.

Costs Down, Profits Up: Green Energy Looking Good, Says UN

Costs are down, profits are up, and renewable energy is contributing an increasing amount of electricity to the world's energy grids, according to a report published Monday by the United Nations. With that information in mind, governments must now "re-evaluate investment priorities, shift incentives, build capacity and improve governance structures” to shift towards a green energy system, the authors urge.

The report, conducted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, reveals renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are showing "many positive signals of a dynamic market that is fast evolving and maturing," stated Achim Steiner, the U.N. under-secretary-general and executive director of UNEP.

While the industry has been struggling to gain momentum over the previous four years, 2013 saw a 54 per cent increase in energy stocks – "an improvement that took place as many companies in the solar and wind manufacturing chains moved back towards profitability after a painful period of over-capacity and corporate distress."

“While some may point to the fact that overall investment in renewables fell in 2013," said Steiner, this is actually largely because less money was needed to run the industry, whose costs continue a downward trend.

As countries such as China and Japan led the renewable energy boom, overall renewables accounted for 44% of 2013’s "newly installed generating capacity."

World Bank financed $1 billion in fossil fuel exploration projects

New Analysis: World Bank financed $1 billion in fossil fuel exploration projects in 2013 - Over $3 billion in exploration projects since 2008

New analysis released today by Oil Change International finds that World Bank Group finance for projects that included exploration for new fossil fuel resources reached a new high in FY2013, at nearly $1 billion out of the $2.7 billion spent in total for fossil fuel projects.

This analysis comes on the heels of reports from scientific bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency that suggest the world has far greater reserves of fossil fuels already than can be burned while staying within agreed climate limits.

“The World Bank itself has laid out a stark picture of what a world with four degrees of warming looks like, yet it continues to pump billions into projects exploring for new fossil fuel resources that must not be burned in any reasonably safe climate scenario,” said Elizabeth Bast, Managing Director of Oil Change International and co-author of today’s analysis. ...

The analysis finds that expanding fossil fuel reserves does even more damage than putting the global climate in danger; exploration financing by the World Bank risks locking developing countries into loan commitments for resources that will likely become stranded assets if policies are implemented to meet agreed climate goals. ...

"Developing countries can’t afford to be locked into financing schemes for stranded assets, just as they can’t afford the devastating impacts of climate change these new fossil fuels will exacerbate,” Bast said.

Blog Posts of Interest

Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.
What's Happenin' Is On Hiatus

Neocons are back — and worse than ever! Debunking their unthinkable new defense

How to reverse a supreme court attack on democracy: fight for voting rights

Chupacabra Spotted! News at 11! How Local News Created a Monster

10 places to visit before they’re gone: A bucket list for a warming world

Is Rand Paul right that Cheney invaded Iraq for Halliburton Profits?

A Little Night Music

Sonny Boy Williamson - Bring It On Home

Sonny Boy Williamson - Keep it to Yourself

Sonny Boy Williamson - Your Funeral, My Trial

Sonny Boy Williamson - Im A Lonely Man

Sonny Boy Williamson II - The Sky Is Crying

Sonny Boy Williamson II - Help Me

Sonny Boy Williamson - Don't Start Me Talkin'

Sonny Boy Williamson - Once Upon A Time

Sonny Boy Williamson II - Little Village

Sonny Boy Williamson - My Younger Days

Sonny Boy Williamson II - Too Close Together

Sonny Boy Williamson - Born Blind

Sonny Boy Williamson - Cool Disposition

Robbie Robertson Talks About Sonny Boy Williamson

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!

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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