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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 harmonica player James Harman.  Enjoy!

James Harman - It's Too Late Brother

“Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong - these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”

  -- Winston Churchill

News and Opinion

Stephen Fry attacks 'squalid' coalition for inaction on Snowden revelations

Stephen Fry has denounced the government's failure to act over the mass surveillance programme revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, labelling its behaviour as "squalid and rancid".

Opening a day of debate to galvanise action against spying by the British and US intelligence agencies, Fry said that exploiting the fear of terrorism is a "duplicitous and deeply wrong means of excusing something as base as spying on the citizens of your own country". ...

In his video message, Fry, 56, said: "The idea of having your letters read by somebody, your telegrams, your faxes, your postcards intercepted, was always considered one of the meanest, most beastly things a human being could do, and for a government to do, without good cause. Using the fear of terrorism that we all have, the fear of the unknown that we all share, the fear of enemies that hate us, is a duplicitous and deeply wrong means of excusing something as base as spying on the citizens of your own country."

The broadcaster said GCHQ and NSA had cooperated to "read and intercept everything we send".

"It's enough that corporations know so much about us and our spending habits, our eating habits, our sexual preferences, everything else," he said.

"But that a government, something that we elect, something that should be looking out for our best interests, should presume without asking to take information that we swap, we hope privately, between ourselves is frankly disgraceful."

'Astroturf' Groups Leading Drive to Kill Open Internet

The telecommunications industry is creating and funding front groups which pose as consumer organizations and aggressively lobby to kill net neutrality, journalist Lee Fang revealed in an article published in Vice on Friday.

"We've known since the beginning of the net neutrality debate that the phone and cable industry has been willing to spend limitless amounts of money on public relations firms, think tanks, and 'astroturf' groups who will then do their bidding," Timothy Karr, senior strategy director for media justice organization Free Press, told Common Dreams in response to the report.

Industry front groups have led the drive to overturn net neutrality and block a grassroots push to reclassify the internet as a public utility—a designation that could bolster efforts to protect the open internet, Fang's article revealed.

The American Consumer Institute, a professed consumer organization, has aggressively lobbied the FCC against such reclassification. As it turns out, annual tax returns reported by Vice show that this organization is financially backed by an internet service provider lobby group.

Kim Dotcom offers £3m bounty in online piracy case

Kim Dotcom is offering a $5m (£3m) "bounty" to whistleblowers for information to help fight an online piracy case brought by the US.

The Megaupload founder, who is resisting extradition from New Zealand, said he had to resort to offering the money because the deck was stacked against him in one of the largest copyright infringement cases ever brought.

"My case is unfair," the German national tweeted. "I was declined discovery, I didn't get my own data back, I need whistleblowers I am offering USD $5M." ...

"We are asking for information that proves unlawful or corrupt conduct by the US government, the New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement and Hollywood," he said.

"It is the opinion of my legal team that disclosure of such information would be lawful. I would also guarantee any whistleblower coming forward would have the best legal representation at zero cost."

Dotcom's extradition hearing is scheduled to begin in Auckland on 7 July although it has already been delayed several times amid legal wrangling over evidence disclosure.

Ukraine launches dual talks with Russia to end fighting in east and avert gas cut

Ukraine has launched dual-track negotiations with Russia aimed at averting a debilitating gas cut and ending a bloody separatist insurgency by the end of the week.

The meetings in Brussels and Kiev present an immediate challenge to new president, Petro Poroshenko, and his commitment to Europe and to his vow to preserve the territorial integrity of the former Soviet state.

The 48-year-old confectionery tycoon and political veteran promised late on Sunday to end fighting this week in Ukraine's economically vital eastern region that has claimed more than 200 lives.

After being sworn in as Ukraine's fifth president on Saturday, he confirmed that Kiev would sign a historic pact with the EU that would finally wrest it from Russia's orbit as soon as the end of the month.

But the eight-week insurgency that Kiev and the west accuse Russia of orchestrating continued unabated over the weekend.

Shell Shocked: Families flee homes as Kiev bombards E. Ukraine cities

Apparently the Kaganate of Nulands Department of State Stirring Up Sh*t is encouraged by its program in Ukraine and wants to spread the manure around.
US to offer financial assistance to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia

The United States pledged millions of dollars in additional aid to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia on Saturday, deepening American support to the Western-leaning countries on Russia's border.

Vice-president Joe Biden announced the extra aid, which must be approved by Congress, during a visit to Kiev for the inauguration of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Washington pledged $48m to Ukraine, $8m to Moldova and $5m to Georgia after Biden met the presidents of the three countries. ...

Both Moldova and Georgia are pursuing association agreements with the European Union amid a regional crisis over Russia's actions in Ukraine.

The White House says the aid will target programs to demcoratic institutions and the economy, which will help Moldova "advance its European aspirations”. The new aid is in addition to the $2.7m announced in March. The US is also sending $5m to Georgia to help economically vulnerable people living near Russian-controlled breakaway regions, and "increase access to objective information by populations in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia"

Russia would react to NATO build-up near borders: minister

Russia would consider any further expansion of NATO forces near its borders a "demonstration of hostile intentions" and would take political and military measures to ensure its own security, a senior diplomat was quoted on Monday as saying.

The comments come amid a deep crisis between Russia and the West over Ukraine and days after U.S. President Barack Obama offered increased military support for eastern European NATO members to ease their concerns over Moscow.

"We cannot see such a build-up of the alliance's military power near the border with Russia as anything else but a demonstration of hostile intentions," Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told Interfax in an interview.

Speaking last week in NATO-member Poland, Obama unveiled plans to spend up to $1 billion on supporting and training the armed forces of alliance states bordering Russia.

Ukraine's Poroshenko plans new team to take on Putin, build ties with West

Poroshenko's swearing-in as president at a pomp-filled, but relaxed, ceremony on Saturday conveyed the feeling that a line had been drawn under six months of unprecedented and bloody upheaval which toppled his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovich.

But behind the euphoria that Ukraine might now, at last, start to "Live in a new way", as Poroshenko's campaign slogan has promised, lies the reality of seething separatism in the east in which Ukraine sees Moscow's hand, and Russia's opposition to his plans to lead Ukraine into mainstream Europe.

Poroshenko's blunt refusal to accept the loss of Crimea in a combative inaugural speech puts him further at odds with Putin.

An indication of whether Putin is ready to give the 48-year-old businessman-politician some early breaks or test him in his first days in office may come in trilateral talks in Brussels on Monday aimed at solving a dispute over the price of Russian gas. ...

In early steps to install key allies, Poroshenko is expected in the coming days to name new foreign and defense ministers.

The rebellions, in which pro-Russian separatists have declared "people's republics", have claimed scores of lives in clashes between government forces and armed militias. Militia leaders declared on Saturday they would not give up their fight.

These are not the only challenges facing Poroshenko. He inherits a country on the verge of bankruptcy which is rated by monitoring agencies as one of Europe's most corrupt and ill-governed.

Newly installed President Poroshenko pledges to militarise Ukraine and crush rebellion in the east

choclate soldierWith US Vice President Joseph Biden in the audience, Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire confectioner, was formally sworn in Saturday as president of Ukraine. Delivering a bellicose speech, he pledged to confront Russia, suppress the separatists in Ukraine’s east and fully militarise the country. At the same time, he alluded to his plans to impose brutal austerity measures on the Ukrainian working class.

Poroshenko began by paying homage to the fascistic forces that spearheaded his installation, via a US- and European Union-backed putsch in February followed by an election held May 25 amid a reign of terror and military violence in eastern Ukraine. He enthused over the “victorious revolution” by “Ukrainian patriots” and “warriors.”

While the Western media portrayed it as a powerful performance, the speech only underscored the fact that Poroshenko is nothing but a front man for German and particularly American imperialism, and is entirely dependent on them. Adopting a provocative stance toward Russia, he declared he would never accept Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and vowed to repudiate the Budapest Agreement that restricts the deployment of Western military forces within former Soviet states.

Fresh from talks in France with US President Barack Obama, Poroshenko rejected any negotiations with pro-Russian separatist forces in Ukraine’s east. ... Even as Poroshenko spoke, there was an assassination attempt on Denis Pushilin, a pro-Russian leader in Donetsk, resulting in the shooting death of an assistant, Maksym Petruhin. Photographs on Ukrainian news sites showed Petruhin, wearing a business suit, lying face down on a street alongside a parked car with at least seven bullet holes in the rear door panel.

“For peace to become lasting, we must get used to living in constant combat readiness,” the tycoon known as Ukraine’s “chocolate king” declared. “We have to keep the gunpowder dry. The army and its re-equipment by means of national military-industrial complex is our top priority… Our army must become a true elite of the Ukrainian community.”

Washington’s Iron Curtain in Ukraine - It Was All Planned at Yalta

Franklin_D._Roosevelt,_Stalin,_Churchill,_and_others_at_Livadia_Palace_in_Yalta,_USSR_-_NARA_-_197001In September 2013, one of Ukraine’s richest oligarchs, Viktor Pinchuk, paid for an elite strategic conference on Ukraine’s future that was held in the same Palace in Yalta, Crimea, where Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill met to decide the future of Europe in 1945.  The Economist, one of the elite media reporting on what it called a “display of fierce diplomacy”, stated that: “The future of Ukraine, a country of 48m people, and of Europe was being decided in real time.” The participants included Bill and Hillary Clinton, former CIA head General David Petraeus, former U.S. Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, former World Bank head Robert Zoellick, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, Shimon Peres, Tony Blair, Gerhard Schröder, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Mario Monti, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite, and Poland’s influential foreign minister Radek Sikorski.  Both President Viktor Yanukovych, deposed five months later, and his recently elected successor Petro Poroshenko were present. Former U.S. energy secretary Bill Richardson was there to talk about the shale-gas revolution which the United States hopes to use to weaken Russia by substituting fracking for Russia’s natural gas reserves.  The center of discussion was the “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement” (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the European Union, and the prospect of Ukraine’s integration with the West.  The general tone was euphoria over the prospect of breaking Ukraine’s ties with Russia in favor of the West.

... Facing a dozen or so American VIPs and a large sampling of the European political elite was a Putin adviser named Sergei Glazyev, who made Russia’s position perfectly clear. Glazyev injected a note of political and economic realism into the conference.   Forbes reported at the time  on the “stark difference” between the Russian and Western views “not over the advisability of Ukraine’s integration with the EU but over its likely impact.”  In contrast to Western euphoria, the Russian view was based on “very specific and foolsjohnstonepointed economic criticisms” about the Trade Agreement’s impact on Ukraine’s economy, noting that Ukraine was running an enormous foreign accounts deficit, funded with foreign borrowing, and that the resulting substantial increase in Western imports ccould only swell the deficit.  Ukraine “will either default on its debts or require a sizable bailout”.

The Forbes reporter concluded that “the Russian position is far closer to the truth than the happy talk coming from Brussels and Kiev.”

As for the political impact, Glazyev pointed out that the Russian-speaking minority in Eastern Ukraine might move to split the country in protest against cutting ties with Russia, and that Russia would be legally entitled to support them, according to The Times of London.

In short, while planning to incorporate Ukraine into the Western sphere, Western leaders were perfectly aware that this move would entail serious problems with Russian-speaking Ukrainians, and with Russia itself.  Rather than seeking to work out a compromise, Western leaders decided to forge ahead and to blame Russia for whatever would go wrong.

Bulgaria Halts Work on Russian-Backed Gas Pipeline After US Urging

After facing intense pressure at a meeting with US senators, Bulgaria has announced that it is halting work on the South Stream Pipeline, a key natural gas pipeline connecting Bulgaria to Russia along the Black Sea.

Whether the halt is temporary or not remains to be seen, but Bulgarian officials have complained they are being targeted by the US and the European Commission as a way of hurting Russia.

Freed From Prison, Bahraini Activist Nabeel Rajab Urges U.S. to Stop Backing Regime’s Crackdown

John Kerry continues his role as a bellicose, warmongering asshole:
Taliban swapped for Bergdahl could be drone targets, Kerry indicates

Secretary of state John Kerry has indicated that five Guantánamo Bay detainees released in exchange for an American soldier could be killed by drone strike if they return to the battlefield in Afghanistan.

Kerry’s implied threat to the five Taliban fighters came as Republicans ramped-up their criticism of the deal to release Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner of the Taliban for five years until he was freed last week.  ...

Kerry told CNN the men were also being closed monitored by the US, which had "the ability to do things" if the terms of the arrangement with Qatar were violated. Although he did not overtly refer to drone strikes, he said the five men would be liable to be killed by the US if they returned to the ranks of the Taliban.

“I am not telling you they don’t have the ability to go back and get involved [in the Afghan conflict],” he said. “But they also have an ability to get killed doing that. I don’t think anybody should doubt the capacity of the United States of America to protect Americans.”

Asked if that meant the US would kill the men, Kerry replied: “The president has always said he will do whatever is necessary in order to protect the United States of America

Nearly 30 Dead in Pakistan After Assault on Major Airport

An overnight gun battle at the main airport in Karachi left nearly thirty people dead as the Taliban claimed responsibility and said the brazen assault was retribution for the killing earlier this year of a key leader by a U.S. drone.

Pakistan Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed his group's responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for the Pakistan Army's continued war against those living in the tribal areas, acknowledgement of failed peace talks, and the Pakistan government's backing of the U.S. military's drone attacks in the tribal regions along the border.

"Pakistan used peace talks as a tool of war, it killed hundreds of innocent tribal women and children. This is our first attack to avenge the death of Hakimullah Mehsud," Shahid told Agence-France Presse. "We have yet to take revenge for the deaths of hundreds of innocent tribal women and children in Pakistani air strikes. It's just the beginning, we have taken revenge for one, we have to take revenge for hundreds."

Member party of Israeli ruling coalition threatens to bring down gov't that annexes West Bank

Amid the halted peace process and Israel's increasing isolation in the international community, Finance Minister Yair Lapid threatened Sunday to bring down the government if it decides to unilaterally annex the West Bank, and called to freeze settlement construction and map out Israel's future borders.

In a document released Sunday, the senior government minister criticizes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, and urges a halt of construction in the West Bank, particularly in areas Israel was not expected to keep in any future peace accord.

After harshly criticizing his coalition partners, the Yesh Atid leader laid out a plan he formulated of steps he believes Israel must make immediately to help bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - a settlement construction freeze, and mapping out future borders for Israel and a Palestinian state, the latter being one of the more sensitive issues for Netanyahu.

"Extreme right-wing forces are pushing us toward the delusional idea of annexation, which will lead us to the disaster called a binational state," Lapid said. "I don't know if this is a public relations exercise or a true intention, but we will not allow this to happen. If there is an attempt to annex even one settlement unilaterally, Yesh Atid will not only bolt the government, it will bring it down."

"If a Palestinian state is not established alongside Israel, the Palestinians will come to us sooner or later, with full backing of the world's nations, and tell us: 'Since you don't intend to give us our own state, at least allow us to become citizens.'

"Four million Palestinians will ask us for health insurance and national security, education, dole money and voting rights.

"If we say yes, we would cease to be a Jewish state. If we say no, we'll cease to be a democratic state."

The decline of Europe, hastened by the criminal bankster class and their cronies in government is fostering the rise of some very unpleasant forces...
Marine Le Pen: EU robbed us of all liberties, we should fight to get them back

European Central Bank Goes Sub Zero

On Thursday, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi dropped rates on overnight deposits to minus 0.1% thereby charging commercial banks to keep their money at the ECB. The move, which was applauded by the media as a “historic measure to fight deflation”, is nothing of the kind. Negative rates have been used in both Sweden and Denmark in recent years, but to little effect. The policy will not “get the banks lending again” as the ECB suggests, nor will it ease the high unemployment and slow growth that have plagued the Eurozone for the last six years. In truth, the rate change will have no impact at all. It’s merely public relations stunt designed to create the impression that the ECB is aggressively addressing the crisis for which it is largely responsible. Here’s how the World Socialist Web Site summed it up:

“The move is an expression of the fact that, nearly six years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the world economy remains mired in deep crisis, for which the world’s central banks have no solution outside of pumping trillions into banks and financial firms. While trillions are handed out to the banks, workers throughout the continent are told that there is “no money” to pay for pensions, social programs, and healthcare benefits.”

The idea that charging the banks a small fee on overnight deposits will induce them to lend more freely, demonstrates a laughable misunderstanding of how the system really works. Banks don’t need piles of reserves to issue loans. What they need is creditworthy customers and strong demand. But, of course, demand is weak because the ECB has taken steps to keep the EU in a permanent state of Depression through its austerity policies. What this shows, is that the objectives of the class war precede the requirements for a healthy economy. Draghi and his cohorts would rather decimate the welfare state and reduce EU working people to abject poverty, then implement the policies that would generate a strong economic recovery.

The UAW vs. the auto workers

The United Auto Workers union held its 36th Constitutional Convention in Detroit last week. The meeting had three basic purposes: first, to install a new layer of hand-picked, right-wing union executives to replace those who are retiring; second, to impose a hefty dues increase on the membership; and third, to reassure the auto companies and the ruling class as a whole that the UAW will continue to help slash wages and benefits, impose speedup and increase corporate profits. ...

In his farewell address, outgoing UAW President Bob King summed up the class interests served by the UAW, telling the assembly of cheering delegates, “We want to show and demonstrate, which we do every day, that having a union workforce is a competitive advantage, not a competitive disadvantage.” ...

With the assistance of the UAW, the Detroit-based automakers have shut down at least 200 factories across the country and eliminated more than a million jobs since 1979. This process accelerated in the mid-2000s and particularly after the financial crash six years ago. Since 2007, the “competitive advantage” of a UAW-organized workforce has allowed the Detroit automakers to reduce labor costs by 30 percent, down to the level at nonunion factories operated by Asian and European carmakers in the US. ...

Faced with the danger that workers will vote against the UAW with their feet and wallets, incoming UAW President Dennis Williams, who was installed without even the pretense of a democratic vote by the membership, tacked onto his thoroughly right-wing acceptance speech a bit of demagogy. “It’s time for each and every one of us to tell our corporations: ‘No more concessions, we are tired of it, enough is enough,’” he said.

This was uttered by a man who has functioned for more than three decades as a tool of big business and the Democratic Party. His main claim to fame is having negotiated the UAW’s original two-tier wage contract at Caterpillar in 2004. He currently sits on the board of directors of truck manufacturer Navistar.

How Tax Reform Can Save the Middle Class

Hillary Clinton's Speaking Circuit Payday: $5 Million (and Counting)

Since leaving State, Clinton has made more than 90 speeches and notable appearances. Her hosts have included private equity firms, investment banks, nonprofit galas, trade association conventions, and a slew of colleges and universities. At least two-dozen of those were paid speeches. With her usual fee of $200,000 a speech, Clinton has banked close to $5 million for her speeches and appearances in the last 15 months. (A spokesman for Clinton did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

[Click here for a list of Clinton's speeches and appearances.]

Hillary's for-profit speaking gigs raise a serious question for a possible presidential candidate: Is she being courted by and/or providing access to the well-heeled companies and industry groups—including Goldman Sachs, the Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the National Association of Realtors, and the US Green Building Council, among many others—that have paid her to speak? "This is a great way for a company to get access to her, to hear what she's thinking, to be remembered if and when she does run for office, and to help her grow that nice little nest egg that she and her husband have been intent on building," says Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center.

Spokespeople for several of the companies and organizations that have hosted Clinton as a speaker say her contract prevents them from disclosing her payment, though several point to news reports pegging her usual fee at $200,000 a speech. ... The cost of travel and the use of private jet, according to the [New York] Times, are negotiated as part of her fee.

Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs Problem

goldman sachsA few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton delivered a much-touted policy speech at the New America Foundation in Washington, where she talked passionately about the financial plight of Americans who “are still barely getting by, barely holding on, not seeing the rewards that they believe their hard work should have merited.” She bemoaned the fact that the slice of the nation’s wealth collected by the top 1 percent — or 0.01 percent — has “risen sharply over the last generation,” and she denounced this “throwback to the Gilded Age of the robber barons.”

Her speech, in which she cited the various projects of the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that address economic inequality, was widely compared to the rhetoric of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the unofficial torchbearer of the populist wing of the Democratic Party. Here was Hillary, test-driving a theme for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, sticking up for the little guy and trash-talking the economic elites. She decried the “shadow banking system that operated without accountability” and caused the financial crisis that wiped out millions of jobs and the nest eggs, retirement funds and college savings of families across the land. Yet at the end of this week, when all three Clintons hold a daylong confab with donors to their foundation, the site for this gathering will be the Manhattan headquarters of Goldman Sachs. ...

Hillary Clinton’s shift from declaimer of Big Finance shenanigans to collaborator with Goldman — the firm has donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation — prompts an obvious question: Can the former secretary of state cultivate populist cred while hobnobbing with Goldman and pocketing money from it and other Wall Street firms? Last year, she gave two paid speeches to Goldman Sachs audiences.

The Evening Greens

EU Gets Ready To Open Canadian Tar Sands Floodgate

After years of lobbying to break into European markets, Canada's tar sands oil industry is poised to score a victory from EU lawmakers who have signaled willingness to drop a requirement that labels tar sands oil as dirtier than other fossil fuels.

The EU agreed five years ago to a piece of climate legislation called the 'Fuel Quality Directive,' which was to go into effect in 2010 with the aim of cutting transport fuel emissions by 6 percent by 2020. Yet thanks to heavy industry lobbying and government stalling, the plan still has not gone into effect years later.

Both the Financial Times and Reuters reported Thursday that the EU is likely to weaken the language of the not-yet-implemented plan by scrapping a requirement that bitumen—oil extracted from tar sands—be labeled as high-emissions diesel. The higher rating would have discouraged, but not prevented, imports.

A draft document drawn up by the European Commission will, if implemented, allow companies to sidestep penalties on tar sands imports.

Human Activity Driving Earth Towards Global Extinction Event

Freedom Industries cleanup price tag still unknown

Contracting crews are set to begin tearing down Freedom Industries’ chemical storage tanks along the Elk River as early as this week, but officials say they can’t provide the public with estimates of projected cleanup costs for the site of the Jan. 9 leak that contaminated drinking water supplies for 300,000 West Virginians.

Without such estimates, officials from Freedom and from the Tomblin administration were not able last week to say if enough money will emerge from Freedom’s bankruptcy proceedings to pay for complete remediation of the site from where the coal-cleaning chemical Crude MCHM leaked.

“We’re doing the best we can,” said Mark Welch, managing director of the financial consulting firm MorrisAnderson and Freedom’s court-approved chief restructuring officer. “We haven’t put a number to that. It would be shooting in the dark.”

Welch said there’s no way to reliably estimate the potential cleanup costs at the site without knowing exactly what work needs to be done. That, Welch said, is something officials simply won’t be able to know until the tanks are removed and additional testing is done to determine what contamination needs to be remediated. ...

Randy Huffman, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said his agency is monitoring the situation closely and that he’s committed to a cleanup that eliminates any possible risk that pollution from the site will ever again enter the community’s drinking water supply.

Huffman said that if Freedom ends up not having the funds to get the job done, his agency would take over and perform an emergency action to remediate the site.

Obama’s chemical safety plan ‘disappointing’

An Obama administration report on chemical plant safety outlines some potentially significant reforms, but offers few concrete details or clear timelines for how federal agencies will try to stop a string of major accidents around the country.

The report, from a work group of various agencies, suggests that the Labor Department and the Environmental Protection Agency will consider tougher accident-prevention efforts but provides no firm timelines for when OSHA or the EPA might actually put any new rules into effect.

White House officials downplayed the work group findings, quietly releasing them on a Friday, with no fanfare — in a week the administration went all out to promote new climate-change rules from the EPA — and with only a blog post on a government website to highlight the group’s recommendations. ...

Rick Hind, who follows chemical plant safety issues for Greenpeace, said the work group report’s discussion of OSHA and EPA rule changes “reminds me of how students often react when they get an essay question on an exam and spend most of their answer repeating the question.”

“There are some helpful signs,” Hind said, “but it’s disappointing.”

Blog Posts of Interest

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

SS songs and antisemitism: the week Greece's Golden Dawn Party turned openly Nazi

Chris Hedges: The Rules of Revolt

Ukraine President Poroshenko’s Inauguration Speech

The specter of deflation haunts Europe

The Disaster That Is U.S. Foreign Policy

SBC set to condemn all transgender people

A Little Night Music

Carey Bell + James Harman - When I Get Drunk

James Harman - Jollo

James Harman - I Got News For You

James Harman Band - Stranger blues

James Harman - Phonebill Blues

James Harman - Jim Beam - incomplete

James Harman - Mad About Something

James Harman with Steve Freund & the Blues Survivors - Crapshoot

James Harman - Back Door Rhumba

James Harman - Convenience Store Party Bag

James Harman Band - Icepick's Confession

James Harman Band - Grit Soup

James Harman - Extra Napkins

James Harman Band - Memory Foam Mattress Blues

James Harman - Night Ridin' Daddy

James Harman - Green Snakeskin Shoes

James Harman - Tall skinny mama

James Harman - Ooh Baby

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 Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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