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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 and jazz singer and songwriter Lil Green.  Enjoy!

Lil Green - Romance In The Dark

'I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.'

  -- Base Commander Jack D. Ripper

News and Opinion

To Get Back at Russia, the GOP Is Playing Games With Nuclear Safety

Dr._StrangeloveIn a move that’s in equal measures frightening, foolhardy and dangerous, Senate Republicans, led by Bob Corker (TN), last week introduced the Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014. I’d say the world just became a little bit less safe, but that wouldn’t be accurate. The world just became a lot less safe.

Included in the bill’s Cold War–era rhetoric is a provision that puts a freeze on US participation in the New START Treaty, and one that limits overflights heretofore authorized by the Open Skies Treaty. It will also accelerate deployment of ballistic missile defenses in Europe. While this isn’t quite Dulles-style brinkmanship, it is entirely too close for comfort. Senator Corker and his allies have needlessly pushed us that much closer to an armed conflagration.

Bilateral reduction of nuclear arms is not an acceptable bargaining chip in this situation. The US nuclear arsenal endangers Americans as much as it does Russians, and this petty nuke-rattling by Corker’s war party puts the entire world at risk. Explains Corker without even a hint of self-awareness, “We need to inflict more direct consequences on Russia prior to Vladimir Putin taking additional steps that will be very difficult to undo.” Threatening to “inflict direct consequences,” especially where nuclear disarmament is concerned, is chilling. The mutual reduction of nuclear weapons that New START Treaty calls for is not, as the All Souls Nuclear Disarmament Task Force puts it, “a favor which the U.S. is doing for Russia; it is in the self-interest of both parties (and the rest of humanity).”

Just in case anybody was unclear about what the stakes are in the current, idiotic brinksmanship being engaged in by the Obama administration:
Russia holds military drills to repel nuclear strike

President Vladimir Putin has overseen military drills on countering nuclear strike. The planned drills come ahead of the May 9 celebrations dedicated to victory in World War II.

"We are carrying out tests of the readiness of the Russian armed forces. It was announced last November. The exercises will involve all branches of the armed forces across the country," Putin told reporters at the Defense Ministry.

Modern challenges and threats to the country’s national security demand that the army and the fleet are maintained in readiness for quick and effective retaliation in any conditions, the Russian Defense Minister and army general Sergey Shoigu told Putin in a report.

This is an interesting article, well worth reading in full, which suggests that Obama made a fateful mistake in appropriating Lincoln's "team of rivals" approach to governing.  Its author, Robert Parry suggests that Obama is now caught in a struggle with Bush regime dead-ender carry-overs and elements from the Kaganate of Nulands and their media wurlitzer in order to draw back from a hyper-aggressive neocon warmongering policy agenda.  This, of course assumes that Obama desires a more sane approach...
Putin’s Subtle Message to Obama

Dr._Strangelove_-_The_War_RoomOfficial Washington’s shock and disbelief at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calming words about Ukraine reveal more about the widening chasm between real-world nuances and the U.S. political/media elite’s hysteria than any dramatic shift in course by Putin.

I’m told that what Putin is doing – in urging ethnic Russians in east Ukraine to put off a referendum on possible secession and agreeing to pull Russian troops back from the border – is part of a behind-the-scenes initiative coordinated with President Barack Obama to prevent the Ukraine crisis from spinning further out of control.

On the American side, this also appears to be the latest example of Obama’s extraordinary way of conducting foreign policy, often at odds with his own State Department bureaucracy and relying on White House insiders and CIA analysts to counter the belligerence often exhibited by Obama’s two secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

Obama’s unusual style arose from his fateful decision to appoint a “team of rivals” to top national security posts after winning the presidency in 2008. To close a rift in the Democratic Party, he gave the hawkish Clinton the job of Secretary of State; and to maintain some continuity during wartime, he left George W. Bush’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates in place and kept Bush’s high command, including neocon favorite Gen. David Petraeus.

But Obama soon learned that running the U.S. government wasn’t like managing a college seminar in which smart people sit around and debate various points of view. When actual policy decisions were at stake, such as whether to escalate the Afghan War by dispatching a “surge” of 30,000 troops and adopting a new “counterinsurgency” strategy, Obama found that powerful adversaries could manipulate the process by limiting his options and leaking to their friends in the news media.

US's Nuland grilled over support for Kiev's Maidan activists - admits involvement of neo-nazis

Vladimir Putin arrives in Crimea for Victory Day celebrations

Vladimir Putin has arrived in Crimea as the region holds its first Victory Day commemorations since Russia's takeover.

The day, marking victory over Nazi Germany in the second world war, has become a key display of Russian patriotism. It was marked in Moscow by a military parade in Red Square, where the Russian president had earlier told a crowd of soldiers and war veterans that those who defeated fascism must never be betrayed – a message with a poignant ring since Moscow has portrayed the interim government in Ukraine as being led by neo-fascists. ...

Tens of thousands of people chanted "Russia!", "Victory!" and "Thank you!" as 1,000 troops, 60 military vehicles, thousands of veterans and other groups passed by over two hours. Putin is expected to watch an air and naval show featuring 70 aircraft, to symbolise the 70th anniversary of Sevastopol's liberation by Soviet forces, which lost more than 200,000 in fighting. ...

Speaking on Red Square, Putin praised the Soviet Union's fight against fascism, saying: "Our country was the one that beat the Nazis back to their lair … saved Europe from slavery." The Kremlin and Russian media have portrayed the pro-Russia uprising in eastern Ukraine as a similar battle against the "fascist junta" in Kiev, which they argue is dominated by Russophobic ultra-nationalists. Many of those present in Sevastopol echoed this sentiment.

Ukraine: deadly clashes in Mariupol on Victory Day

Hospitals confirmed that at least five people had died and 40 had been wounded, according to Anna Neistat of Human Rights Watch, who had visited hospitals in the city. She said most had bullet wounds to the legs and chest from automatic weapons, and in one hospital, out of 15 casualties, six were policemen. Two dead bodies were visible on the street outside the police building, one of them of a policeman.

Ukraine's interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said on his Facebook page that 20 separatists had been killed and four captured, during an operation to free the police station from "terrorists". Locals in Mariupol had a different version, claiming the police had crossed to the side of the separatists, and both had been attacked by the army. However, with the chief of police supposedly taken hostage by the separatists, it seems likely that the police, like much of the city's population, had been split over whom to support. ...

In Mariupol, there was a mood of rage after the Ukrainian army left, intensified by the fact that many people were intoxicated from the earlier Victory Day celebrations. Several fights broke out in the crowd, but the main anger was reserved for Kiev.

"We will never live with these filthy fascists again. . Ukraine as a country is over," said Vladimir, 27. "Imagine coming here on Victory Day and doing this."

At Café Arbat, where pools of blood were visible on the ground, one of the waitresses, Lena, said that three unarmed men had been shot by Ukrainian soldiers.

"I wasn't for one side or the other until today, but after seeing this, I have the feeling I want to take up a weapon myself and kill these people," she said. "I'm 50 years old and they made me fall on the ground and hide from bullets, in my own cafe, in my own town."

Here's a Reuter's story that demonstrates the contention over basic facts coming out of Ukraine.  Like the contention over whether Putin has or has not withdrawn troops from Ukraine's borders that NBC couldn't find when it sent reporters to investigate, somebody needs to provide some credible facts:
Putin marks Victory in Crimea as Ukraine violence flares

In Mariupol, the region's main port on the Sea of Azov, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said about 20 "terrorists" were killed when pro-Russian militants tried to seize the city's police headquarters.

That was a higher toll and somewhat different account from others. A member of Ukraine's parliament said Ukrainian forces had attacked the police headquarters in an attempt to drive out pro-Russian militants, and the building caught fire.

Oleh Lyashko said eight rebels had been killed in fighting.

But Donetsk medical authorities said three had been killed in fighting and 25 wounded. On Tuesday, Avakov said that more than 30 rebels had been killed in fighting near another eastern city, though that figure was not subsequently confirmed.

Clashes flare after Venezuela student camps raided, one policeman dead

Venezuelan troops on Thursday rounded up hundreds of youth activists and dismantled camps set up to protest against President Nicolas Maduro, and a policeman was shot dead in the demonstrations and clashes that ensued around Caracas.

Pre-dawn raids by National Guard troops broke up four tent camps maintained by student activists in the capital of the OPEC member nation during three months of protests.

After the raids, hundreds of demonstrators and residents poured onto the streets, setting up barricades, a common tactic during three months of unrest. The protests had waned in recent weeks even as sporadic clashes continued.

Masked youths hurled stones and petrol bombs, while police fired tear gas in upmarket east Caracas.

One policeman died of bullet wounds, among five people injured, authorities said. Witnesses said shots were fired from buildings down into the streets.

"A sniper killed the policeman while he was cleaning debris left by these violent, murderous protesters," a somber Maduro said during an address to the nation. "He was vilely killed."

Regime change in Venezuela not happening fast enough for bipartisans in Senate

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said in a Senate hearing Thursday it was hesitant to use individual sanctions as a tactic in the Venezuelan political crisis, saying that doing so could escalate the situation into a fight between the Maduro regime and the United States rather than a struggle between that country’s people and their government.

In response, Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sharply criticized the administration, indicating it was being far too timid in pushing back against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and its repressive tactics against political protesters.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, was among the sharpest critics, blasting officials from the State Department for failing to advocate for sanctions against individuals in Venezuela although sanctions have been used – and continue to be used – elsewhere. ...

Rubio, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and others are backing legislation that would authorize sanctions to help mitigate the situation in Venezuela.

[I'm thinking that mitigate is not the right word, I think the proper and truthful word to use here is escalate. - js]

The criticism of the administration’s go-slow stance was bipartisan. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said the administration’s hesitancy on sanctions in the Venezuelan crisis could be applied to the use of sanctions in other places. ...

“If we’re not going to use military force, what are sanctions that might result in a positive outcome?” Durbin asked.

The War Party Makes a Comeback - Evil never sleeps

The War Party is making a comeback. After laying low in the wake of the disastrous invasion and occupation in Iraq, and the complete failure of our efforts to subdue Afghanistan, the coalition of forces that made these strategic catastrophes possible has returned – and they are winning.

While the public is still highly skeptical of foreign adventurism – recent polls show overwhelming support for supposedly "isolationist" policies – the political class is doing what it does best: undermining the popular will by simply doing an end run around the American people. ...

The single biggest blow to the War Party’s hegemonic power in Washington was delivered by Edward Snowden, the libertarian dissident ex-NSA contractor forced into exile for exposing the horrifying scope of what is nothing less than the apparatus of a police state in the making. This set the authoritarians in both parties back on their heels: it was a blow in the dark – and this time they were on the receiving end. ...

The new cold war – The Iraq and Afghan conflicts exhausted the American people, and by the time the new gang in the White House decided to go on yet another Middle East rampage – Libya, Bahrain, Syria – their patience was coming to an end. When the Obamaites got around to Syria, with Hillary Clinton and General Petraeus leading the charge, they’d finally had enough: a major public outcry scotched that one pretty decisively. Plans to go after Iran – the neocons’ favored target – had been shelved earlier by the administration, and the War Party was frustrated. They had a very big problem: there was no one left to go to war with! ...

In preparing a new war narrative, the groundwork had already been done: the neocons had been doing a job on Russia ever since their favorite oligarchs had been sent packing by Putin, and the Russian leaders’ refusal to jump on board the Iraq war train was the final straw. It wasn’t until later, however, when the complete lack of an official foreign bogeyman threatened to end the War Party’s profitable racket, that ostensible liberals and their sterner "progressive"-minded comrades enlisted as foot-soldiers in the new cold war. A storyline portraying Putin’s Russia as a homophobic racist anti-Semitic fascist Hell was thrown together, in tandem with a semi-covert effort by the US to overthrow the democratically elected Ukrainian government.

This was a cause both neocons and progressives could glom onto, and the Ukrainian coup was the perfect occasion for a grand alliance: Samantha Power and Bill Kristol, together at last!

Hat tip Azazello:
Gangster State America

American_corporate_flagIn the US and Europe there is constant propaganda about “gangster state Russia.” According to this propaganda, President Putin is a tool of oligarchs who use Putin to rule Russia and loot the people. In my opinion, this propaganda originates in the Washington-funded NGOs that constitute a US fifth column inside Russia. The purpose of the propaganda is to destroy Putin’s legitimacy and that of his government in hopes of bringing to power a Washington-compliant government in Moscow.

My impression is that the Russian government has curtailed activities of some of the oligarchs who used the privatization era to seize control of resources, but that the government’s actions are consistent with the rule of law. In contrast, in the US oligarchs control the law and use it to acquire immunity from law.

The real gangster state is the US. Every institution is corrupt. Regulators sell protection from law for well-paying jobs in the industries that they are supposed to regulate. The Supreme Court not only permits money to purchase the government but also sells out the Constitution to the police state. The Supreme Court has just refused to hear the case against indefinite detention of US citizens in the absence of due process. This is an unambiguous unconstitutional law, yet the Supreme Court refuses to even hear the case, thus granting unchecked police power to the gangster state.

Another defining characteristic of a gangster state is the criminalization of dissent and truth tellers. Washington has done everything in its power to criminalize Julian Assange and Edward Snowden for revealing the US government’s illegal, unconstitutional, and criminal actions. Washington reeks of hypocrisy. On April 26 the State Department announced its third annual Free The Press campaign, a propaganda exercise directed at foreign countries that are not Washington’s puppets. The very same day the Justice Department told the Supreme Court to reject the protection US journalists have under the Constitution against being forced to reveal their confidential sources so that James Risen can be imprisoned for reporting a government misdeed.

An avalanche of new Snowden documents will go online next week

[Glenn] Greenwald, who shared the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Edward Snowden's NSA surveillance revelations, says he plans to publish previously unpublished NSA documents online next Tuesday, May 13th, with free access. The timing, it should be known, is not a coincidence: Greenwald's book, No Place to Hide, comes out that day. In fact, the documents that going online next week are ones he mentions in the book, but which weren't previously reported in the press.

Oh looky, Obama wants (more) censorship:
Obama Directive Makes Mere Citing of Snowden Leaks Punishable Offense

In a new policy directive from the Obama administrative, national security and other government officials will no longer be allowed to publicly discuss or even reference news reporting that is based on "unauthorized leaks."

President Obama once promised the American people that his administration would be the most transparent in history, but after years of fights with civil libertarians trying to obtain legal memos used to justify the president's overseas assassination program, an unprecedented pattern of prosecuting government whistleblowers, the targeting of journalists, and all the secrecy and obfuscation related to the NSA's mass surviellance programs made public by Edward Snowden, that claim is now met with near universal laughter, if not scorn, by critics.

According to the New York Times:

A new pre-publication review policy for the Office of Director of National Intelligence says the agency’s current and former employees and contractors may not cite news reports based on leaks in their speeches, opinion articles, books, term papers or other unofficial writings.

Such officials “must not use sourcing that comes from known leaks, or unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information,” it says. “The use of such information in a publication can confirm the validity of an unauthorized disclosure and cause further harm to national security.”

Failure to comply “may result in the imposition of civil and administrative penalties, and may result in the loss of security clearances and accesses,” it says. It follows a policy that James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, issued in March that bars officials at all 17 intelligence agencies from speaking without permission to journalists about unclassified information related to intelligence.

MPs: Snowden files are 'embarrassing indictment' of British spying oversight

Edward Snowden's disclosures of the scale of mass surveillance are "an embarrassing indictment" of the weak nature of the oversight and legal accountability of Britain's security and intelligence agencies, MPs have concluded.

A highly critical report by the Commons home affairs select committee published on Friday calls for a radical reform of the current system of oversight of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, arguing that the current system is so ineffective it is undermining the credibility of the intelligence agencies and parliament itself.

The MPs say the current system was designed in a pre-internet age when a person's word was accepted without question. "It is designed to scrutinise the work of George Smiley, not the 21st-century reality of the security and intelligence services," said committee chairman, Keith Vaz. "The agencies are at the cutting edge of sophistication and are owed an equally refined system of democratic scrutiny. It is an embarrassing indictment of our system that some in the media felt compelled to publish leaked information to ensure that matters were heard in parliament."

The cross-party report is the first British parliamentary acknowledgement that Snowden's disclosures of the mass harvesting of personal phone and internet data need to lead to serious improvements in the oversight and accountability of the security services.

Some interesting discussion followed by a donation pitch...
Break the Monopoly on Local TV News

FCC under increased pressure over threat to net neutrality

America’s top media and telecoms regulator is coming under intense pressure to delay the release of new rules critics say will create a tiered internet controlled by the cable companies.

Two members of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) five-member board have come out for a delay ahead of a scheduled release of new rules on 15 May. Their move comes amid lobbying from some of the US’s largest internet companies against the rules and a widespread and growing online protest.

On the FCC’s website, Democrat commissioner Mignon Clyburn wrote that “during the past few weeks, tens of thousands of consumers, companies, entrepreneurs, investors, schools, educators, healthcare providers and others have reached out to ask me to keep the internet free and open”.

Clyburn said she would prefer to prohibit pay-for-priority arrangements altogether and would like to see cable companies reclassified so the FCC would have greater regulatory powers over them.

In a speech on Wednesday, fellow Democrat commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel also called for a delay following the “torrent of public response” to leaked proposals from the FCC that suggest it is considering enshrining cable firms’ ability to create fast lanes for high-paying customers.

The third Democrat on the five-person commission, chairman Tom Wheeler, has said the new rules will protect the “open internet”.

Cecily McMillan jurors tell judge Occupy activist should not go to jail

A majority of the jurors who this week convicted an Occupy Wall Street activist of assaulting a New York police officer have asked the judge in her case to not send her to prison.

Cecily McMillan was on Monday found guilty of deliberately elbowing officer Grantley Bovell in the face, as he led her out of a protest in March 2012. She was convicted of second-degree assault, a felony, and faces up to seven years in prison. She was denied bail and is being detained at Riker's Island jail.

However, nine of the 12 jurors who unanimously reached the verdict have since taken the unusual step of writing to Judge Ronald Zweibel to request that he not give her a prison sentence on 19 May.

“We the jury petition the court for leniency in the sentencing of Cecily McMillan,” they wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Guardian. “We would ask the court to consider probation with community service.

Hat tip dharmafarmer:
Congress considers $69 million Guantánamo prison gift

Some members of Congress want to build a new secret prison for the alleged 9/11 mastermind and other former CIA captives at Guantánamo, a project once proposed by the U.S. Southern Command but then dropped because of lack of Obama administration support.

Republicans at the House Armed Services Committee inserted $69 million for the new “high-value detainee complex” in its spending bill Wednesday night that earmarked a total of $93 million for new construction at the prison camps in Cuba.

The move is the latest in the legislative tug-of-war with the White House over President Barack Obama’s blocked ambition to close the prison camps where some 2,200 soldiers and civilian staff are responsible for the last 154 war-on-terror captives at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba.

Construction, however, is not certain. The money could be removed from the legislation as the massive National Defense Authorization Bill goes through the full Congress. The same funding bill also forbids the transfer of any Guantánamo prisoner to the United States for trial or further detention.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Death Penalty

Oklahoma agrees to 180-day stay of execution for death-row inmate

The Oklahoma attorney general's office on Thursday agreed to a 180-day stay of execution for death-row inmate Charles Warner, while the state investigates last week’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett.

Lawyers for Warner, a convicted killer, had requested the state court of criminal appeals grant a stay of execution for at least six months. The attorney general's office said on Thursday he should be executed on 13 November.

The criminal appeals court had ordered the state to respond to the stay request by noon on Thursday. The response was filed at 11.45am, and the court agreed Thursday afternoon to the November date.

As Marijuana Refugees Flock to Colorado, Will Medical Community Force Rewriting of U.S. Drug Laws?

Progressives Welcome Iowa Visit for Bernie Sanders

Progressives in Iowa seem happy to have received word that Vermont's U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is taking his exploration of running for president seriously as news this week surfaced that he'll be traveling to the state later this month to attend a high-profile political event.

According to reports, Sanders will be the keynote speaker on May 17 at the 'Hall of Fame Dinner' hosted by the Clinton County Democrats in the town of Goose Lake, Iowa. The event, which honors local political activism, is described as the group's largest social event and fundraiser of the year.

Sanders made headlines earlier this year when he gave interviews to several national news outlets and said he was seriously considering a run for president in 2016 and called for the need for "political revolution" in the country.

Responding news of the upcoming visit, Jeff Cox, a member of the local Progressive Democrats of America chapter and former chair of the Johnson County Democrats, said he was thrilled, telling the Sioux City Journal that Sanders represents “the kind of New Deal Democratic approach to economics that has been lost to the Democratic Party, particularly under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.”

The Iowa group of Progressive Democrats, in fact, is holding its first "Draft Bernie Sanders for President" campaign event Thursday night in Iowa City.

The Evening Greens

The Evening Blues flag is officially at half-mast in honor of the passing of one of the best environmental writers of the 20th century. I read a number of Mowat's books as a teenager and they left a deep impression on me. I was greatly pleased when my kid found them on the bookshelf and read them, too, unable to put them down for little things like sleep.

Farley Mowat 1921 - 2014

The Canadian writer and feisty environmental advocate Farley Mowat has died aged 92. The prolific, bestselling author of more than 40 books was a passionate defender of the northern wilderness regions, which he characterised well, describing their blustery landscapes, fierce weather and strange beauty. He often wrote about isolated native populations, such as the Caribou Inuits, or about animal life, especially threatened species.

Perhaps his most famous book was Never Cry Wolf (1963), a controversial first-person (though fictionalised) account of the author's experiences observing the habits and habitat of the Arctic wolf. Mowat wrote: "We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be – the mythological epitome of a savage, ruthless killer." ...

Mowat often denounced the destruction of animal life, as in Sea of Slaughter (1984), a book that so upset factions within the US government at the time that he was refused entry to the country for a book tour in 1985. He recounted his problems with the US immigration authorities in a wickedly ironic book, My Discovery of America (1985), in which he stated that he would only consent to visit the US again if Ronald Reagan flew to his house in Air Force One with a personal apology.

Time to Get Real on Climate Change

Playing With Fire: U.S. Regulators Resort to Weak Voluntary Measures For Oil-By-Rail Safety

Last year, Jeffrey Wiese, an official with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) told an industry conference that the regulatory process was “kind of dying.”

According to InsideClimate News, Wiese even mentioned that PHMSA was working on a YouTube channel to “persuade the industry to voluntarily improve its safety operations,” as this was one of the only ways it could attempt to improve safety.

PHMSA is the organization in charge of developing new regulations regarding the transportation of crude oil in rail tank cars.

This week, the Department of Transportation, along with PHMSA, announced its new safety advisory regarding the rail transport of Bakken crude oil. As another example of how the regulatory process is “kind of dying,” the advisory includes no new regulations regarding rail tank cars but “strongly urges” the oil and rail industry to use safer tank cars.

The advisory makes it clear that oil companies only have to be as safe as they can be while using the existing tank car “fleets” and that they should avoid using older DOT-111 cars to “the extent possible.”  

The dangerous DOT-111 tank cars currently make up approximately 70 percent of the existing fleet of tank cars used for moving oil by rail.

Walmart is the last place Obama should be making a clean energy speech

Today President Obama is speaking about clean energy and energy efficiency at a Walmart in Mountain View, Calif. Of all the places he might give a big speech on energy, a Walmart supercenter is a baffling and disconcerting choice.

Walmart — despite its skill in attracting publicity like this — is a laggard on renewable energy and one of the biggest and fastest-growing climate polluters on the planet. While many competing retailers are already running on 100 percent renewable power, Walmart’s wind and solar projects supply just 3 percent of its U.S. electricity — and that’s down from 4 percent two years ago.

Walmart’s fossil fuel consumption and climate emissions, meanwhile, are growing rapidly. In the last year alone, Walmart’s climate emissions rose 2 percent, or more than 500,000 metric tonnes. It now ranks just behind Chevron on the list of biggest climate polluters.

As if these facts were not troubling enough, a recent academic study has documented, for the first time, how the big-box retailing revolution led by Walmart and other big chains has dramatically increased the amount of energy we’re using to schlep consumer goods across the country and into our homes. The data is downright shocking. The movement of retail goods consumes 440 percent more energy today than 40 years ago. By contrast, overall energy use in the U.S. has grown just 45 percent. Transporting stuff — shampoo, jeans, television sets — to stores and then to homes now accounts for almost 7 percent of all the energy Americans use. (And this figure doesn’t even count shipping goods from overseas — just domestic freight.)

Blog Posts of Interest

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

Six Mistakes the West Has Made (and Continues to Make) in Ukraine

Letter to Judge Zweibel regarding Cecily McMillan sentencing from 9 of the 12 jurors

How the US Propaganda System Works

What it comes down to is, they really don't like us

A Little Night Music

Lil Green - Why Don't You Do Right

Lil Green - Knockin' Myself Out

Lil Green - What's The Matter With Love

Lil Green - Every Time

Lil Green - If I Didn't Love You

Lil Green - Country Boy Blues

Lil Green - Let's Be Friends

Lil Green - Blow Top Blues

Lil Green - Keep Your Hand On Your Heart

Lil Green - Rock Me Baby

Lil Green - I gotta have it

Lil Green - My Mellow Man

Lil Green - I Won't Sell My Love

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 Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH, Wildlife Endangered and Threatened, and Canadian Kossacks.

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