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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 Chicago bluesman Jimmy Rogers.  Enjoy!

Jimmy Rogers - Walking By Myself

"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

  -- Patrick Henry

News and Opinion

Obama's 'drone memo' is finally public. Now show us the library of secret law

Predator_and_HellfireA federal appellate court's publication on Monday of the so-called "drone memo" finally allows the American public to evaluate the legal theories that were the basis for one of the Obama administration's most controversial acts – the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen. ...

But despite the release of the drone memo, the American public still does not have the information it needs in order to evaluate the lawfulness and wisdom of its government's policies. Indeed, to read through the memo is to be reminded of how successful the Obama administration has been at rationing even the most basic information.

Large parts of the memo – almost a third of it – have been redacted. The first 11 pages, which describe the government's allegations against al-Awlaki, are redacted in their entirety. Throughout the remainder of the memo, citations, sentences and even whole paragraphs have been stripped out, in some cases to protect genuine sources and methods but in others to obscure the precedents underlying the government's legal arguments. The redactions in the drone memo's footnotes are perhaps the most disturbing, because they suggest the existence of an entire body of secret law, a veritable library of authoritative legal opinions produced by Justice Department lawyers but withheld from the American public.

In one instance, the long sought-after drone memo references another legal memo that concluded that al-Awlaki's American citizenship did not "preclude the contemplated lethal action." From this reference, we can deduce that the OLC authored a separate drone memo assessing – and dispensing with – the proposition that an American citizen had the right not to be deprived of his life without some form of judicial process. But that earlier memo, treated by the executive branch as binding law, is still secret.

A Thin Rationale for Drone Killings

Considering how long the administration fought the release, which was sought by The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union, one might have expected a thoughtful memo that carefully weighed the pros and cons and discussed how such a strike accords with international and Constitutional law.

Instead, the memo turns out to be a slapdash pastiche of legal theories — some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law — that was clearly tailored to the desired result. Perhaps the administration held out so long to avoid exposing the thin foundation on which it based such a momentous decision.

The main theory that the government says allows it to kill American citizens, if they pose a threat, is the “public authorities justification,” a legal concept that permits governments to take actions in emergency situations that would otherwise break the law. It’s why fire trucks can break the speed limit and police officers can fire at a threatening gunman. But it’s a dangerous concept if expanded because it could be used to justify all kinds of government misdeeds, especially since Congress has never explicitly authorized an exception for official killing in this kind of circumstance, as the memo acknowledges.

The sheer power of drone strikes, several of which have killed many innocent bystanders, is in no way comparable to the kind of police shootings that the memo cites as precedent. (And, in most cities, police shootings are carefully investigated afterward, and officers face punishment if they exceed their authority. Has that ever happened with an errant drone strike?)

The Murderous Core of Obama's Drone Memo

obama nobel drone strikesTo a civilian with more than passing interest in the issue of targeted killing, what jumps out immediately is the memo’s attempt to grapple with the question not of whether the killing of a U.S. citizen without trial is constitutionally justifiable but whether it constitutes outright murder.

And I do mean immediately.  The factual justification for killing Al-Awlaki that originally commenced the memo has been redacted.  But the memo — which was written by newly confirmed federal judge David Barron — begins its legal argument with this sentence:

“We begin our legal analysis with a consideration of section 1119 of title 18, entitled ‘Foreign murder of United States nationals.’” ...

[I]n fact the specter of murder — or at least of assassination — is what has haunted U.S. drone policy from the start, given that many of those President Obama has signed off to kill are killed far away from any battlefield, and are often both unarmed and in the midst of carrying out the duties of what might be called daily life. The killings may be useful in advancing the national interest; they may even protect U.S. citizens.  But they are usually not carried out “in the heat and exercise of war” that makes killings on the battlefield legal.  They are cold-blooded, and it’s their cold-bloodedness — along with the expansive powers that permit its exercise — that makes them feel at best un-American and at worst frankly homicidal.

So That's Why They Kept the Drone Kill Memo Secret

Now that the U.S. government has released parts of its We-Can-Kill-People-With-Drones memo, it's hard to miss why it was kept secret until now.

Liberal professors and human rights groups and the United Nations were claiming an inability to know whether drone murders were legal or not because they hadn't seen the memo that the White House said legalized them. Some may continue to claim that the redactions in the memo make judgment impossible.

I expect most, however, will now be willing to drop the pretense that ANY memo could possibly legalize murder.

Oh, and y'all can stop telling me not to use the impolite term "murder" to describe the, you know, murders -- since "murder" is precisely the term used by the no-longer secret memo. ...

This is not the rule of law.  This is savage brute force in minimal disguise.  I don't want to see any more of these memos.  I want to see the video footage of the drone murders on a television.  I want to see law professors and revolving-door State Department / human rights group hacks argue that dead children fall under the public authority justification.

Looks like the Unitary Executive is losing a bit of ground...
Federal judge rules no-fly list process is unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the US government's no-fly list banning people accused of links to terrorism from commercial flights violates their constitutional rights because it gives them no meaningful way to contest that decision.

US District Judge Anna Brown, ruling in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Oregon by 13 Muslim Americans who were branded with the no-fly status, ordered the government to come up with new procedures that allow people on the no-fly list to challenge that designation.

This is big!
Riley v. California

The Supreme Court held in a unanimous decision by Chief Justice Roberts, that police generally require a warrant in order to search cell phones, even when it occurs during an otherwise lawful arrest. The Chief Justice explained that analogizing a search of data on the cell phone to a search of physical items is akin to "saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon. Both are ways of getting from Point A to Point B but little else justified lumping them together." The Court also emphasized that "the fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple--get a warrant."

Your tax dollars at work:
CIA hatched plan to make demon toy to counter Osama bin Laden’s influence

For more than a decade, the CIA has deployed drones, satellites, spies, informants and tracking devices to thwart al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

The spy agency also considered a plan to wage war with toys.

Beginning in about 2005, the CIA began secretly developing a ­custom-made Osama bin Laden ­action figure, according to people familiar with the project. The face of the figure was painted with a heat-dissolving material, designed to peel off and reveal a red-faced bin Laden who looked like a demon, with piercing green eyes and black facial markings.

The goal of the short-lived project was simple: spook children and their parents, causing them to turn away from the actual bin Laden.

The code-name for the bin Laden figures was “Devil Eyes,” and to create them the CIA turned to one of the best minds in the toy business, said those familiar with the project, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the project publicly.

Terror Toy: CIA makes demonic Bin Laden action figure so kids fear Al-Qaeda

Al-Maliki rejects calls for unified Iraqi government

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday rejected calls to create a new national unity government that the Obama administration has been pushing.  

"The call to form a national emergency government is a coup against the constitution and the political process," Maliki said in a televised address, according to Agence France-Presse.

"The dangerous goals of forming a national emergency government are not hidden,” he added. "It is an attempt by those who are against the constitution to eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters.”

Al-Maliki, however, said he is still committed to launching the process that would form a new government. A parliamentary session would be convened within the next week, he said, that would focus on starting a new government.

Islamist fighters reportedly attempting to encircle Baghdad

IRBIL, Iraq — Iraq’s dire situation has gone from bad dream to nightmare in two weeks of fighting that have seen Sunni Muslim gunmen assert control over a growing area, including, Kurdish officials said Tuesday, at least two towns that lie on a crucial supply route linking Baghdad, the capital, with the mostly Shiite Muslim south.

The fall of towns in an area that American troops knew as the “triangle of death” because of its propensity for violence provided an ominous signal, the Kurdish officials said, that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and its Sunni allies are working to encircle Baghdad. ...

Another Kurdish official, Jabbar Yawar, the spokesman for the Kurdish peshmerga militia, said ISIS fighters apparently had seized control of the towns of Iskandariya and Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, and were reported in some instances to be just six miles from Baghdad.

“This area controls access to southern Iraq, and it appears as if they might try to push into Baghdad or even south towards the city of Hilla,” he said.

ISIS captures biggest oil refinery in Iraq - reports

Militants attack Iraq air base, U.S. advisers arrive

Militants attacked one of Iraq's largest air bases and seized control of several small oilfields on Wednesday as U.S. military experts arrived to set up an operations centre to help Iraqi security forces counter a mounting Sunni insurgency. ...

In northern Iraq the Sunni militants extended a two-week advance that has been led by the hardline Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) but also includes an amalgam of other Sunni groups angered by Maliki's rule. ...

U.S. President Barack Obama has offered up to 300 American advisers to Iraq, about 130 of whom have now been deployed. ...

Another 50 U.S. military personnel working in the region are expected to arrive within the next few days to create four additional assessment teams, he said. U.S. military personnel are also flying regular manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Iraq. ...

On Wednesday, militants overran the Ajeel oil site, 30 km (19 miles) east of Tikrit, which contains at least three small oilfields that produce 28,000 barrels per day, an engineer working at the field said.

This is a really excellent article with good background from a fellow with decades of perspective on US engagement in the middle east. It's well worth clicking the link and reading the whole thing.
William R. Polk on American Grand Strategy for Iraq, Syria, and the Region

A whirlwind, as the Old Testament warns us, is the inevitable reaction to the sowing of the wind of war. That is what we are seeing today in Iraq. Now, it seems, President Obama has decided to try whistling in the wind.

Whistling in the wind is the least dangerous interpretation of Mr. Obama's decision to put 300 "advisors" into Iraq—where have we heard of such a move before! Those of us who are old enough will remember that President Kennedy began in the same way. Arguably he was a bit more realistic, sending initially about six times that many "Special Forces" (then called "Green Berets") initially to Vietnam. Both Kennedy and Obama swore not to send ground troops, but Obama can at least claim credit for being more honest: our "advisors" are to be "combat ready."

So instead of "security," or even an approximation of what that word might mean, and certainly no reasonably clear strategy on how to attain it, we find ourselves in the following disarray:

Starting in the west and moving east: in Libya, having destroyed the Qaddafi regime, we unleashed forces that have virtually torn Libya apart and have spilled over into Central Africa, opening a new area of instability. In Egypt, the "non-coup-coup" of General Sisi has produced no ideas on what to do to help the Egyptian people except to execute large numbers of their religious leaders; he has also made clear his suspicion of and opposition to us. In occupied Palestine, the Israeli state is reducing the population to misery and driving it to rage while, in Washington, its extreme right-wing government is thumbing its nose at its benefactor, America. Our relations have never been worse. In Syria, we are engaged in arming, training and funding essentially the same people whom the new Egyptian regime is about to hang and whom we are considering bombing in Iraq. In Iraq, we are about to become engaged in supporting the regime we installed and which is the close ally of the Syrian and Iranian regimes that we have been trying for years to destroy; yet in Iran, we appear to be on the point of reversing our policy of destroying its government and seeking its help to defeat the insurgents in Iraq. And on and on.

Syrian warplanes strike in Iraq, killing 57 civilians, official says

Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns this week is further evidence of the blurring between the two countries' borders as they face an offensive by Islamic extremists.

At least 57 Iraqi civilians were killed and more than 120 others were wounded by what local officials say were Syrian warplanes that struck several border areas of Anbar province Tuesday.

These border cities are among those under the control of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which seeks to create an Islamic caliphate that encompasses parts of both Iraq in Syria.

The reports of the Syrian incursion into Iraq is a reminder that the civil war in Syria and the unrest in Iraq are not isolated, but linked in ways that threaten the security of both. ...

The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, told reporters Wednesday that the warplanes that bombed the Iraqi cities were not Iraqi jets, but he did not have information beyond that.

Kerry Warns Iraqi Kurds Not To Secede

Meeting with leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) today, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the US is opposed to Kurdish secession from Iraq.

Kerry insisted he believes that Kurdish independence would  “accelerate a lot of negative trends” in the region, and in Iraqi politics in particular. KRG President Massoud Barzani has been talking up secession recently, urging Kurds to take the opportunity presented by the ongoing fighting.

U.S. Renews Aid to Sisi-led Egypt Despite Ongoing Political Repression

DESVARIEUX: Let's turn and talk about Secretary of State John Kerry. He came out saying that he wants to support human rights in Egypt. And some could argue that his policies don't necessarily reflect that. First I want to get your take on the U.S. position in Egypt, and also what sort of policy should Americans be advocating for if they want to be supporting and helping everyday people in Egypt.

GABER: I think that Kerry's comments are nothing new in the realm of hypocritical State Department comments regarding human rights in Egypt. The fact that we've been hearing these throughout and beginning--you know, throughout the Mubarak years, while military aid continued to flow, continued to prop up what has effectively been a 60, 65 year old military regime in Egypt, you know, is very kind of--makes any talk of human rights ring very hollow.

I think that Americans need to really reevaluate, I think, what it means to support human rights in Egypt and how that actually might not be a kind of interventionist strategy and it might be through cutting aid to the military. But also I think a lot of it is going to have to be through evaluating America's regional policy vis-à-vis Israel and also other countries within the region. But I think it really has to attempt to kind of back off the amount of control it wants to exert over the region, whether it's for resource concerns or for ideological ones.

#FreeAJStaff: Al Jazeera Reporter Sentenced in Absentia Decries Egypt’s Imprisonment of 3 Colleagues

Obama Prepares to Add Pressure to Putin - US Business Balks

The Obama administration has drawn up plans to escalate sanctions against Russia by targeting its financial, energy and defense industries, but faces resistance from European allies hoping to avoid a broader economic clash with Moscow that would hurt their own businesses. ...

But President Obama faces hurdles as he tries to keep the pressure up on the government of President Vladimir V. Putin. European Union leaders, who are scheduled to meet Friday in Brussels, are reluctant to go along if it looks like Mr. Putin may be backing down. And American business leaders objecting to unilateral actions that would hurt their companies are kicking off an advertising campaign to oppose Mr. Obama’s plans.

Mr. Obama spoke with Mr. Putin on Monday to urge him to take more tangible steps to defuse the crisis, and the Russian leader on Tuesday seemed to respond by asking his Parliament to rescind formal authorization to intervene militarily in Ukraine. American officials considered the move positive but symbolic, assuming that it was really meant to undercut European support for additional sanctions.

Hat tip Horace Boothroyd:
USS New York, carrying a Benghazi suspect, has gone dark

Where is the USS New York?

At 684 feet long and displacing over 24,900 tons, the Mayport, Fla.-based San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock is no smart car of the seas. Yet the vessel has gone “dark” for more than a week now.

The low profile might have something to do with the fact that the New York is currently home to the recently captured Ahmed Abu Khattala, one of the accused ringleaders of the Sept. 11-12, 2012, Benghazi terrorist attacks that left four Americans dead. ...

The ship’s crew has been noticeably absent from social media, most likely due to the fact that the entire ship’s outbound communications have been blacked out, or as the military calls it: “River City.” River City is usually implemented when a soldier is wounded or killed during combat operations. ...

The distance, as the crow flies, between Washington and Benghazi is around 5,280 miles. The New York, which can make 22 knots (25 mph) off its four turbocharged, 41,600 Shaft horsepower diesel engines would make that distance in a little under 11 days if cruising at 20 miles per hour and without interruption caused by inclement weather. Because Abu Khattala was captured 10 days ago, there’s a strong chance the New York is getting ready to pay the East Coast a visit.

Look at that, tea partiers move to cut corporate welfare to the Bank of Boeing, Halliburton and GE and the centrists from both parties have a hissy fit.
Ex-Im Bank: Republican infighting over fate of government-run business lender

Conservatives in the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives, emboldened by the recent demise of majority leader Eric Cantor, are coalescing around a drive to to defund a state-run bank that boosts the American export market.

In the first legislative test of conservative power in the GOP since Cantor’s departure, rightwing Republican factions are seeking to force the closure of the Export-Import Bank, which has been repeatedly backed with bipartisan congressional support since it was created in 1934.[With the original purpose of making loans to the Soviet Union. - js]

The move has prompted an immediate retaliation from more moderate, pro-business Republicans, amid signs that the party’s House conference is descending once again into an internecine scrap just days after a swift change in the party’s leadership resulted in the election of Kevin McCarthy as the party's new majority leader.

McCarthy opted to appease conservatives over the Ex-Im Bank, as it is known, signalling he is willing to see it cease providing loans to US companies after its charter expires at the end of September. ...

Meanwhile the White House and Democrats in Congress are relishing the prospect of a battle over a bank that serves small and medium-sized businesses and, according to its own analysis, has supported more than 1.2 million jobs in the US over the last five years. The bank is self-sustaining and claims that last year it actually returned $1bn to the Treasury.

[Obama and the Democrats are spouting a load of crap - here's Bernie Sanders on Ex-IM - js]

U.S. economy contracts sharply, consumer spending revised down

The U.S. economy contracted at a much steeper pace than previously estimated in the first quarter to record its worst performance in five years, but there are indications that growth has since rebounded strongly.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday gross domestic product fell at a 2.9 percent annual rate, instead of the 1.0 percent pace it had reported last month.

While the economy's woes have been largely blamed on an unusually cold winter, the magnitude of the revision suggests other factors at play beyond the weather.

Growth has now been lowered by a total of 3.0 percentage points since the government's first estimate was published in April, which had the economy expanding at a 0.1 percent rate. ...

U.S. stock index futures fell on the data, while prices for U.S. government debt rose. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies.

Dean Baker is still fighting the good fight, making the case against the media's unstated assertions that jail is not an option for banker criminals, even with Obama protecting them, there are still laws on the book.  Obama could actually one day wake up and have an attack of conscience or something...
Bankers Could Go To Jail

Morning Edition had a strange piece discussing how regulators can punish banks for breaking the law. The piece focused on the various fines and regulatory measures that can be imposed as penalties when banks are found to have broken the law. Remarkably it never considered the underlying logic of the punishment and the likely deterrent effect on criminal activity.

While banks are legal institutions, ultimately it is individuals that break the law. The question that any regulator should be asking is the extent to which the penalties being imposed will discourage future law breaking. As a practical matter, the immediate victims of the measures mentioned in the piece are banks' current shareholders. Since there is often a substantial period of time between when a crime is committed and when regulators discover it and succeed in imposing a penalty, the shareholders facing the sanction will be a different group from the shareholders who benefited from the original crime. This makes little sense either from the standpoint of justice or from the standpoint of deterring criminal activity by bankers. ...

The one sanction that would clearly be effective in deterring bankers from breaking the law would be putting them in jail for breaking the law. It is likely that the prospect of spending several years in prison, along with fines taking away most of their monetary gains, would provide a serious disincentive to bankers who might otherwise break the law. The Justice Department could have pressed cases by showing that top officials in banks had good reason to believe that many of the mortgages they were passing along in MBS were fraudulent.

Bill Clinton visits Robert Rubin's clubhouse to Boo Hoo about the horrible effects of the economy he, Rubin and Rubin's many protogees created and once installed in Obama's White House failed to fix.
Bill Clinton calls for fresh ideas, more action to fight poverty in the United States

America needs new ideas and collective effort to tackle poverty, former President Bill Clinton said Thursday at a conference in Washington.

“More and more of us in this country are facing poverty at some point in our lives,” he said. “When we address poverty we’re really talking about a piece of America’s quilt, something that belongs to all of us.” ...

The former president spoke at a conference of The Hamilton Project, an economic research group at The Brookings Institution. The conference was a discussion of 14 proposals to fight poverty that the group unveiled on Thursday.

Detroit and Iraq

The ugly face of empire and disaster capitalism is visible all over the world. Detroit, Michigan, was once a thriving city but was sent into a tailspin by the deindustrialization of the United States, white flight, and institutional racism which blamed black people who were in fact the victims of catastrophe. The coup de grace was delivered by big banks like UBS, Bank of America and Barclays, which sold risky derivatives schemes to corrupt Detroit politicians. When the financial deal inevitably headed south, the banks were the creditors first in line for a payout. ...

A world away in Iraq, a nation is crumbling under the weight of eleven years of violent occupation by the United States. The once developing nation is now a ruin, with all of its infrastructure and systems from health care to education destroyed by western avarice. The prime minister who was chosen with America’s blessing, Nouri al-Maliki, has now become an inconvenience and faces a bleak fate. ...

Just as Iraq’s infrastructure has been destroyed, Detroit residents now live without basic services which ought to be regarded as the right of every human being. In the United States, a country which boasts of its high level of advancement, residents of a major city must plead to the international community for the right to access water. ...

President Obama and his cohorts in the Democratic and Republican parties will go to any lengths to prop up the empire, but do little to help people in need. American allies in Ukraine or Iraq and other countries receive astronomical sums of money in order to help maintain Manifest Destiny. ... Iraq was invaded with soldiers, guns and bombs. Detroit was invaded by the corporate “suits” who made a fast buck for themselves.

Moral Movement Launches 'Freedom Summer' in North Carolina

“We have exposed the hypocrisy,” Rev. William J. Barber II, chief organizer of the protests and head of the state chapter of the NAACP, said during a rally outside the General Assembly in Raleigh on Monday. Now is the time to organize.”

Organizers estimate that upwards of 3,500 protesters from across the state attended the mass demonstration before splitting up into smaller factions for "teach-ins" to discuss the group's new voter outreach strategy.

In what the group is calling an "aggressive" statewide voting campaign, several dozen youth activists who have undergone extensive training are now being deployed to hundreds of communities in North Carolina to initiate "deep organizing work and voter registration." Dubbed the Moral Freedom Summer, the new campaign is a nod to the 1966 Mississippi voting rights drive when youth activists partnered with local civil rights organizations to educate and register disenfranchised African American voters.

"Trans Healthcare Now!" Lawsuit Seeks End to Healthcare Discrimination for Transgender New Yorkers

The Evening Greens

Report: World's Oceans on Brink of Collapse

The world's oceans face irreparable damage from climate change and overfishing, with a five-year window for intervention, an environmental panel said Tuesday.

Neglecting the health of the oceans could have devastating effects on the world's food supply, clean air, and climate stability, among other factors.

The Global Oceans Commission, an environmental group formed by the Pew Charitable Trust, released a report (PDF) addressing the declining marine ecosystems around the world and outlining an eight-step "rescue package" to restore growth and prevent future damage to the seas. The 18-month study proposes increased governance of the oceans, including limiting oil and gas exploration, capping subsidies for commercial fishing, and creating marine protected areas (MPAs) to guard against pollution, particularly from plastics. ...

Government subsidies for high seas fishing total at least $30 billion a year and are carried out by just ten countries, the report said. About 60 percent of such subsidies encourage unsustainable practices like the fuel-hungry "bottom trawling" of ocean floors -- funds that could be rerouted to conservation efforts or employment in coastal areas.

Railroads give up attempts to keep crude oil shipment data secret

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest haulers of crude oil by rail on Tuesday appeared to abandon their insistence that information about such shipments could not be shared publicly for security reasons.

Meanwhile, states, including some that had previously signed nondisclosure agreements, also reversed course and made the information public with no protest from the railroads.

Courtney Wallace, a spokeswoman for BNSF, the largest hauler of crude oil by rail in North America, said Tuesday that the railroad received guidance from U.S. Department of Transportation that the information wasn’t protected.

“Once it became clear from the federal government that crude oil was not considered sensitive, secure information, we continued on our path of simply complying” with the department’s emergency order, she said in an email.

On Tuesday, Washington state released the information, which had been requested by McClatchy and other news organizations earlier this month under open records laws.

Why the Voting Rights Act and Freedom Summer matter in the climate justice struggle

Today marks one year since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively gutted the historic Voting Rights Act of one of its signature civil rights protections.  ... What does the Voting Rights Act have to do with climate and environment? Well, the main way for us to ensure that our governments protect us against environmental and climate catastrophe is to vote people into office who have our best environmental interests in mind.

The Voting Rights Act required states and other government units with long histories of discrimination to “preclear” any election administration changes with the federal government before implementing them, to ensure that they didn’t return to discriminatory practices. ... Most of the areas that had been covered by preclearance were in former Confederate states, running from Texas all the way up to Virginia. But they also included Alaska, Arizona, and small parts of California and New York City. These are areas with huge populations of people of color and people who speak English as their second language.

Many of these areas also happen to have a heavy concentration of extractive fossil-fuel industries.

Put it all together and you find that many of the areas most vulnerable to voter discrimination are also vulnerable to localized pollution from drilling, refining, and industrial operations. Those activities are responsible for a lot of climate change-causing greenhouse gases as well. ... African Americans and Latino Americans are more likely to support climate change action than white voters. If we are to protect our climate, air, and water, the voting rights of all Americans need to be protected as well.

Blog Posts of Interest

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

The United States Of Cruelty

Time on Iraq War: What Did We Do to Deserve This?

Finally: Iraq Crisis Brings Swift Rebuke of Iraq Architects

Trans Healthcare Now!

Woman Attacked by a Canada Goose Spends 5 Days in Hospital

A Little Night Music

Jimmy Rogers - Gold Tailed Bird

Jimmy Rogers - Chicago Blues Festival - You left me with a broken heart

Jimmy Rogers & Left Hand Frank - Rock This House

Jimmy Rogers  - Sloppy Drunk

Jimmy Rogers - Angel Child

Jimmy Rogers & Big Moose Walker - St Louis

Jimmy Rogers - Blue Bird

Jimmy Rogers- You´re Sweet

Jimmy Rogers & Big Moose Walker - Goin' Away Baby

Big Moose Walker & Jimmy Rogers - One Room Little Country Shack

Jimmy Rogers - Rock With You Baby

Jimmy Rogers, Carey Bell - Big Boss Man

Jimmy Rogers - Chicago Bound

Jimmy Rogers - One Kiss

Jimmy Rogers & Big Moose Walker - Last Time

Jimmy Rogers - That's all right

Jimmy Rogers All Stars - Blues All Day Long

Jimmy Rogers and his Trio - Ludella  

Jimmy Rogers and his Rocking 4 - You're The One

Jimmy Rogers All Stars - Blow Wind Blow

Little Walter w/Jimmy Rogers - I Just Keep Loving Her

Jimmy Rogers - That Ain't It

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 Jun 25, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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