Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for February, 2012

David Dreier’s Special Dispensation, Allowed Only To Republicans: Re-Closeting

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 29, 2012

This news item caught my attention:

Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., ranking member of the House Committee on Rules announced he will not run for reelection February 29, 2012.

.

Dreier was redistricted out of his seat, and he had no stomach for running where he wasn't an incumbent. But here's the interesting part. Pay close attention:

Dreier was first elected to Congress in 1980. Now in his 16th term, he was considered a top choice in 2005 to take the Majority Leader position, which was instead given to Roy Blunt reportedly because of Dreier’s more moderate views. Dreier has been chairman of the House Rules Committee — which regulates House floor proceedings, debates and votes — since 1999.

“Moderate” my ass. Dreier had one of the most conservative voting records in Congress at the time, and still rates as a very conservative congresscritter. No, Dreier was bounced because too many of his fellow Republicans thought he was gay, just because he was a bachelor who lived with his Chief of Staff, Brad Smith, widely believed (and reported by various publications) to be his live-in lover.

In the spring and summer of 2004, two elected officials were accused of having same-sex lovers on the public payroll.

One of them, Jim McGreevey, was the center of a GOP/Media shitstorm that kept his face on the evening TV news — the national evening TV news, mind you — nearly every day, and in the most unfavorable way, for months on end, even after he’d announced that he wasn’t running for another term as governor of New Jersey. He loses everything: His job, his career, his wife, his family, the works. His life’s in ruins at the end of it all.

The other, David Dreier, got comparatively bupkis in terms in ill effects; only a few gay publications, blogs, and alternative weeklies bothered to mention the accusations, and they never made the evening TV news once, much less for months on end. In fact, the only real harm to come to Dreier manifested a year later, when the extremely conservative Dreier was denied the chance to succeed his friend Tom DeLay as House Majority Leader because of his alleged “moderate” tendencies. (Openly gay congressman Barney Frank quipped that in this case, the House Republicans meant “Yes, in the sense that I [Frank] marched in the moderate pride parade last summer and went to a moderate bar.”)

Don’t be surprised if this blog is the only place you see this news today.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

James Murdoch steps down from press wing of News

Posted by Charles II on February 29, 2012

And evidently it’s great news, because the stock is up by over 1%, continuing a long run that has included some of the most damning revelations.

Amy Thompson, Bloomberg:

Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch stepped down as executive chairman of News International almost eight months after the U.K. publishing unit was rocked by a phone-hacking scandal.

Murdoch, who has moved to News Corp.’s headquarters in New York, will assume a variety of “essential corporate leadership mandates” focusing on pay television businesses and international operations, News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch said in a statement today.

James Murdoch was named News Corp.’s deputy chief operating officer in March 2011. He handed News International’s CEO position to Tom Mockridge in July,

The money in NewsCorp is in electronic media. The print stuff is Rupert’s sandbox, a beloved but generally money-losing venture that NewsCorp shareholders would probably like to shut down [*]. And this step simply completes the process by which James attempts to divorce his complicity in the phone hacking/bribery scandal. We’ll see how that goes. But getting the Murdochs out of the day-to-day operations of the British press might allow that press to recover some minimal standards of behavior.

Here’s wishing that effort well.
_______
* FT’s Lex says that the entire print business contributed 11% of operating profits before the costs of the hacking scandal. So “money-losing” is not quite right. But “marginal” is.

Added: Here’s substantiation for my claim that the shareholders are delighted that the newspapers are in trouble, Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian:

Speaking the language of Wall Street, not Fleet Street, [electronics wing boss Chase] Carey said on Tuesday that “there certainly is an awareness” that News Corporation would trade at a higher multiple to earnings if the media group did not own newspapers.

However, shareholder activists will take another run at ousting James.

Posted in Media machine, Rupert Murdoch, wiretapping | Comments Off

Martyred Jewish Journalist Daniel Pearl “Re-Baptized” By Mormons Nine Years After His Death

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 29, 2012

Wonder if Dana Loesch, currently having backarching ragegasms over Joan Walsh’s tweaking of Romney and the LDS over the Mormon policy of posthumously baptizing Jews, will dare address this:

Members of the Mormon Church last year posthumously baptized Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was captured and killed by terrorists in Pakistan shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, according to records uncovered by a researcher in Utah.

Helen Radkey, an excommunicated Mormon who combs through the church’s archives, said that records indicate Pearl, who was Jewish, was baptized by proxy on June 1, 2011 at a Mormon temple in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Mormons baptize deceased Jews and members of other religions as part of a rite intended to give them access to salvation.

But the practice has stirred outrage among some Jewish leaders. In 1995, the church, after meeting with Jewish leaders, agreed to stop baptizing Holocaust victims. Current church policy encourages church members to baptize their ancestors, but does not explicitly forbid the baptism of deceased Jews and people of other faiths.”

For those who weren’t around or don’t remember it, Daniel Pearl was kidnapped, tortured and killed specifically for being Jewish.

Betcha Dana doesn’t say a word.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Cointelpro Redux: police infiltration of Occupy/Updated

Posted by Charles II on February 28, 2012

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, truthout:

As Part II of this discussion will show, infiltration is the norm in political movements in the United States. Occupy has many opponents likely to infiltrate to divide and destroy it beyond the usual law enforcement apparatus. Others include the corporations whose rule Occupy seeks to end, conservative right wing groups allied with corporate interests and other members of the power structure including non-profit organizations allied with either corporate-funded political party, especially the Democratic Party which would like Occupy to be their Tea Party rather than an independent movement critical of both parties.

On the very first day of the Occupation of Wall Street, we saw infiltration by the police. We were leaving Zuccotti Park and were stopped in traffic by the rear of the park. We saw an unmarked van open, in the front seat were two uniformed police and out of the back came two men dressed as occupiers wearing backpacks, sweatshirts, and jeans. They walked into Zuccotti Park and became part of the crowd.

If it were a matter of police undercover agents simply coming to observe public events, that might be tolerable. But they are engaged in provoking criminality, in photographing or creating files on protesters engaged in lawful activity, and misdirecting the movement. The first is itself a crime. The second and third are the tactics of totalitarian regimes. The consequence is that the US is much less free than most industrialized nations in terms of tolerating dissent and protest. The majority of citizens are afraid of engaging in street demonstrations.

This is not healthy. The end result is likely to be an explosion, when things go so wrong that people overcome their fear, as happened in Egypt. The alternative is even worse: decline, with no bottom.
________________
Update: Another Wikileak, not from the Stratfor file, shows that the Department of Homeland Security has opened a file on Occupy. While it’s based on open source reporting, it’s unsettling to have the Feds’ attention on a largely peaceful domestic protest movement. Kevin Gosztola has a summary here.

Posted in civil rights, Occupy movement, totalitarianism | 1 Comment »

Murdoch bribery scandal: widespread corruption penetrating police, military, and public office

Posted by Charles II on February 27, 2012

For some reason, only Keith seems to have grasped how serious testimony by Sue Akers was. Even Dan Sabbagh doesn’t quite seem to get it.

Posted in corruption, Rupert Murdoch, wiretapping | 5 Comments »

What’s The Difference Between A Chicago Minister’s Squat And Occupy Chicago?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 27, 2012

You may have heard about this:

A Chicago pastor said Sunday that it was worth living in a tent on the icy roof of an abandoned motel for three months to draw attention to gun violence, despite the long hours of loneliness and cold winter nights punctuated by the pop of gunfire.

The Rev. Corey Brooks ended his 94-day vigil on Friday after a $100,000 donation from movie mogul Tyler Perry put him over the top in his goal to raise $450,000 to buy and demolish the dilapidated Super Motel on Chicago’s South Side. The building had become a haven for prostitution and drug dealing. Now, Brooks is seeking to raise money to build a community center on the site.

And you may have heard about this:

An activist coalition affiliated with Occupy Chicago on Monday launched a campaign against the harsh fines and restrictions Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced for the upcoming G8 and NATO summits in the city in May.

[...]

The campaign arrives almost one week after activists applying for demonstration permits allowing them to legally demonstrate against the upcoming summits called the requirements outlined in Emanuel’s ordinances “ridiculously burdensome” for protesters.

In December, Emanuel announced that the fine for resisting a police officer would be doubled from its current range of $25 to $500 to $200 to $1,000. The mayor’s ordinance also restricted the hours of public parks, playgrounds and beaches in accordance with the Chicago Park District’s hours of operation. A second ordinance applying to the protests also, among other changes, requires organizers to provide a parade marshal of their own for every 100 demonstration participants.

Emanuel came under criticism as activists pointed out that new requirements initially said to only temporarily apply to the May summits would be the new law of the land in Chicago. The mayor, in response, claimed that he had misspoke and admitted that the new fines and requirements would, indeed, be permanent.

So, what are the differences between the two events?

The similarities are what stand out to me: Both were done for worthy causes as far as I can see. Both involved long-term camping or squatting on other people’s property, out in the open where they were readily seen and heard by passersby.

As far as differences go? Hmmm. Well. Oh, I see — Rahm Emanuel approved of one but not the other.

As for who has permission from the landowners to occupy their respective spaces: Occupy Chicago is on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Reserve Bank, and the sidewalk is public property so they shouldn’t need explicit permission to stay there — though as a way to shove them out as well as to stifle all future protests and gatherings, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has decreed new and draconian laws severely restricting such gatherings and punishing the gatherers. Rev. Brooks may or may not have had permission to squat on the motel roof; I’d love to find this out for certain, but no media piece or church press release I could find on the rooftop squat mentions the identity of the building’s owner, much less whether or not the owner gave Rev. Brooks permission to occupy the roof of the motel, which is a crime magnet now and was a crime magnet before it was shut down in the wake of a police raid in April of 2010, a raid and shutdown that at the time was expected to end the crime problems in the neighborhood:

A team of Chicago police, city inspectors and Cook County state’s attorney’s investigators raided a South Side motel today that for years has been a neighborhood nuisance for prostitution, drugs and other crimes.

Four people — two men and two woman — were taken into custody this afternoon during a prostitution raid at Super Motel Suites, said Chicago police Lt. Ozzie Valdez. Charges were pending, he said.

Sandwiched between two churches, the motel had been the target of neighborhood marches calling for it to be shut down.

I wonder if the Rev. Brooks would be able to repeat his occupation of the motel rooftop under Mayor Rahm’s new rules?

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

WikiLeaks Still Alive, Publishing Stratfor E-Mails

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 27, 2012

Remember how, when Daniel Domscheit-Berg left the WikiLeaks group a little over a year ago, it was allegedly permanently crippled and unable to do any more work once Dumbshit — erm, Domscheit-Berg — defected and took WikiLeaks’ coding platform and data archive with him? (Being that, according to him, he was the real coder in the group and nobody left in WikiLeaks was much more than a script kiddie.)

Remember how DDB was going to set up an “ethical whistleblower” organization called “OpenLeaks”, except that a year later it’s not much than a website and Domscheit-Berg’s hot air? In fact, as was pointed out in August of 2011 by Der Spiegel’s Marcel Rosenbach, Domscheit-Berg actually said in the German weekly Der Freitag “I took no documents from WikiLeaks with me”, which is not what he’d told German hacker club spokesman Andy Müller-Maguhn at the time: “He told me last Thursday evening that he had to look at each document before handing them over. It doesn’t match up.”

With all this in mind, it’s not surprising to see that WikiLeaks is alive and functioning and still getting document submissions, like these recent ones:

The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said it would begin publishing more than five million emails on Monday from a US-based global security think tank, apparently obtained by hackers.

In its latest high-profile disclosure, WikiLeaks said in a statement it had acquired access to a vast haul of internal and external correspondence of Strategic Forecasting Inc (Stratfor), based in Austin Texas.

[...]

WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange told Reuters: “Here we have a private intelligence firm, relying on informants from the US government, foreign intelligence agencies with questionable reputations, and journalists.”

“What is of grave concern is that the targets of this scrutiny are, among others, activist organisations fighting for a just cause.”

And since it’s now Monday, the e-mail releases have started:

LONDON—Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :

“[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase” – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.

The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.

The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients. For example, Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the “Yes Men”, for the US chemical giant Dow Chemical. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.

Go over to WikiLeaks and see for yourself.
_____________
Charles butts in: Kevin Gosztola at FDL is on it. Some interesting points: corporate monitoring of Bhopal victims (Dow) and PETA (Coca Cola). Also, according to the correspondent for L’Expresso, Stratfor had sources inside the anti-Osama operation, which goes to show how dangerous to national security loose cannons like Stratfor can be. And the Spanish correspondent (Publico.es, I think) points out that the government is also paying Stratfor to spy on it. Oh, and Stratfor is investing money based on the intelligence it collects!

Joanne Leon at DK has a series of links, including this link from Beirut’s Al-Akhbar newspaper describing Stratfor’s founders and machers.

MSNBC denies the claim that Stratfor’s boss, George Friedman, has resigned.

Posted in Wikileaks | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Honduras: the Comayagua prison fire and a fire at Comayagüela

Posted by Charles II on February 25, 2012

Via Adrienne (here and here), David Dougherty of TRNP on the fire:

and Dana Frank on Counterspin. The latter starts at 17:00. Frank believes that the publication of her OpEd in the NYT indicates a slight opening in the imperial position regarding Honduras, and that this could have budgetary consequences if people (like, say, you, dear reader) stand up on this issue.

RAJ also reports on a massive fire in a market in Comayagüela, which is near Tegucigalpa. Citing Tiempo, it:

destroyed 846 market stalls in the Colon market; half of the 800+ stalls of the San Isidro market; 60% of the Quinta Avenida market; as well as three rows in the Alvarez market, 10 businesses of the San Miguel market, plus other shelters across from the church of Maria Auxiliadora on First Street, and others on Sixth Avenue along the Colon and San Isidro markets. Estimates are that 5000 small market businesses were affected.

Posted in Honduras | 4 Comments »

Does MinnPost Have A New Revenue Stream Via Selling Its Commenters?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 25, 2012

We’re all familiar with direct-mail marketing, at least of the paper mail kind. Mailing lists of people who might be interested in what you have to sell are quite valuable, and are often sold by one group or commercial interest to similarly-employed or similarly-minded groups or interests.

This is, I suspect, what may be at work here:

Does MinnPost have a new revenue stream via selling its commenters much as a magazine might sell its subscriber list? If so, I wonder how much the U paid MinnPost for access to its commenters?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

I believe this is called “obstruction of justice”

Posted by Charles II on February 24, 2012

Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian:

Rupert Murdoch’s News International took active steps to delete and prepare to delete the publisher’s email archives as phone-hacking allegations and lawsuits against the owner of the now-defunct News of the World mounted in 2009 and developed in 2010.

According to court documents filed by victims of hacking, the newspaper publisher allegedly produced an email deletion policy in November 2009 whose aim was to “eliminate in a consistent manner” emails “that could be unhelpful in the context of future litigation”.

According to the claimants, News International also destroyed “all computers used by its journalists” in about October 2010….

The timing of the alleged deletion activity… is significant ….

If this doesn’t send someone top jail, um, oh, well, it will be things as usual. But it does sound as if a crime was committed by senior execs at Newscorp’s print wing.

Posted in corruption, Rupert Murdoch, wiretapping | Comments Off

 
%d bloggers like this: