Mercury Rising 鳯女

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What the shouting is all about

Posted by Charles II on September 20, 2014

This is just another story of what is forming a pattern. Deutsche Welle did a program on The Aryans, which describes the re-emergence of Nazism in Germany. There are towns where Jews and non-whites cannot go out after dark, and where local people are afraid to talk about the extremists. We know about the neo-Nazis in the Ukraine. And now this, from Libby Brooks of The Guardian:

Six people were arrested amid angry scenes in Glasgow on Friday night as a group of young pro-union supporters clashed with pro-independence supporters who had been gathering in George Square throughout the day.

Police acted to separate a small group of pro-independence supporters from a group of skinheads believed to have marched from the loyalist pub the Louden Tavern in nearby Duke Street.

Individuals argued over the referendum result and a chorus of Rule Britannia was countered by Flower of Scotland.

As the evening wore on, and the yes supporters dispersed, more loyalists converged on the square, many of them draped in union flags.

A number were teenagers, and clearly drunk. At one point a section of the crowd broke through police lines and marched up the central shopping area of Buchanan Street, chanting the words to Rule Britannia. Some shouted loyalist slogans and racist abuse, and appeared to make Nazi salutes.

I do not think these are isolated events. I think there is an aggressive, international neo-Nazi movement, fueled by unemployment and culture change, and to some degree abetted by reactionary elements in business and government. The rest of the world should react accordingly.

____
Max Blumenthal on neo-Nazi elements in the Ukraine government.

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Tony Auth dies

Posted by Charles II on September 14, 2014

One of America’s best political cartoonists has died. We will miss him very much.

Image from here.

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A Few Remarks On ISIS

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 13, 2014

A few points regarding ISIS:

1) The Kurds and the Shiite-dominated Iraqi army have been begging for months for some help against ISIS. Even many Sunnis are souring on them, as ISIS likes to kill even Sunnis who don’t meet their purity standards.

2) For those who think that ISIS’ beheadings are all about luring the US into a quagmire: Not every terror attack, not even those by Al Qaeda, is about tricking people into invading Iraq. The Madrid and London bombings were done to make Spain and the UK stand down, not double down, on their involvement. Furthermore, the latest beheadee isn’t an American, but a British aid worker. Does anyone think this was meant to get the Brits to invade Iraq?

3) ISIS is not Al Qaeda. They’re just one of many Sunni groups working the armchair-jihadi grift in the Middle East. They got kicked out of Jordan because the Jordanian security apparatus was a lot tougher than they were, so they fled to the jihadi-filled area just east of the Golan Heights (an area that for some reason never gets attacked by the IDF that rains bombs down upon Gaza, even though it’s well within IDF missile range) and to the largely empty wastelands in western Iraq. They hit the jackpot two years ago when the Saudis and Kuwaitis started their efforts to topple Syria’s Assad Baathist government, but even with boatloads of Saudi money they still couldn’t topple Assad, so they contented themselves with nabbing a few undefended oil towns on the Syria-Iraq and Kurdish frontiers so they could keep the money rolling in. (Trouble is, they killed too many engineers and the oil production machinery is starting to fall apart: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/03/business/defterios-oil-isis/ )

4) If anyone thinks that US bombing is going to increase ISIS’ numbers, I suggest they think again. From http://pando.com/2014/09/03/the-war-nerd-the-long-twisted-history-of-beheadings-as-propaganda/ :

IS was on a roll, overrunning lightly armed Peshmerga and village militias, before the US ruined everything by authorizing drones and airstrikes. It must have been damned annoying, being an IS fighter, bouncing over the plains in your Toyota Hilux, as the terrified Iraqi Army forces vanished ahead of you in a cloud of panicky dust. Quite a rush for the mix of AQI survivors and European-Muslim war tourists who fill IS’s ranks.

And then all of a sudden, you go from the dashing light-armor knights of the Iraqi plain to the biggest, most vulnerable targets imaginable—thin-skinned vehicles crawling over a completely flat, treeless plain while the drones buzz overhead, armed with Hellfire missiles, just waiting for authorization from a desk jockey in suburban Virginia before they release a weapon designed to destroy much bigger, tougher, Soviet tanks. Suddenly, you, with your Sunni Lawrence of Arabia war-tourist dreams, are nothing but a bug getting zapped by an automated pest-control device.

It’s insulting. And the kind of young men who join IS are romantics, of a sort. They might not mind dying in the abstract—most guys don’t, at that age, until they find out what it feels like to get shot in the stomach—but they hate the idea of dying in such an unchivalrous way.

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Our ally in Asia…

Posted by Charles II on September 9, 2014

Justin McCurry, The Guardian:

Barely a week after Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, overhauled his administration amid flagging popularity, two of his senior colleagues have been forced to distance themselves from rightwing extremism after photographs emerged of them posing with the country’s leading neo-Nazi.

Sanae Takaichi, the internal affairs minister, was among a record-equalling five women selected by Abe as he attempts to make his cabinet more female voter-friendly and to increase women’s presence in the workplace.

Takaichi, an Abe ally on the right of the governing Liberal Democratic party (LDP), was pictured posing alongside Kazunari Yamada, the 52-year-old leader of the National Socialist Japanese Workers party, on the neo-Nazi party’s website.

Yamada has voiced praise for Adolf Hitler and the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. In a YouTube video Yamada’s supporters are seen wearing swastika armbands, while he denies the Holocaust took place and criticises postwar Germany’s ban on the Nazi salute, accusing the country of being “no different from North Korea”.

I can see why the Chinese might be itchy.

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The “Healthcare.gov Hack” That Wasn’t

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 6, 2014

The conservative lie funnel has been going berserk lately over the alleged hacking of healthcare.gov. Per “respectable” conservative site Politico:

The HealthCare.gov insurance portal succumbed to a cyberattack this summer, the government said Thursday, prompting an eruption of GOP finger-pointing and demands for hearings into the administration’s security policies for the site, where millions of Americas have registered to purchase insurance.

Ahem. Here’s what actually happened:

Was healthcare.gov hacked? Not really. A test server was uploaded with “denial of service” malware – a practice “so common that it’s attempted 28 different times every hour.” The healthcare.gov site itself was unharmed.

 
Was healthcare.gov specifically targeted? No. Was any consumer information compromised? No. Was any data transmitted? No. Was there an attempt to steal data? No. Was the website knocked offline? No.

And that is that.

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Trouble in Paradise

Posted by Charles II on September 5, 2014

My earlier blog post suggesting that the Kiev government has met devastating military setbacks has been confirmed by a post in the NY Review of Books. Tim Judah:

The scale of the devastation suffered by Ukrainian forces in southeastern Ukraine over the last week has to be seen to be believed. It amounts to a catastrophic defeat and will long be remembered by embittered Ukrainians as among the darkest days of their history.

A week ago a major rebel offensive began. On September 3 on a sixteen-mile stretch of road from the village of Novokaterinivka to the town of Ilovaysk, I counted the remains of sixty-eight military vehicles, tanks, armored personnel carriers, pick-ups, buses, and trucks in which a large but as yet unknown number of Ukrainian soldiers died as they tried to flee the area between August 28 and September 1. They had been ambushed by rebel forces and, according to survivors, soldiers from the army of the Russian Federation.

These destroyed vehicles were of course only the ones I could see—those that were not destroyed are now in the hands of rebels.

The fortunes of war have changed dramatically in the past two weeks. In spring, anti-Kiev rebels, taking the new and revolutionary Ukrainian government by surprise, seized towns and cities across the two predominantly industrial and mining regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. At first, Ukrainian forces either fell apart, were captured, or defected to the rebel side. By summer, however, the Ukrainians were better organized and went on the offensive driving the rebels back.

…The Ukrainians said that regular Russian troops were crossing the border, a contention supported by western intelligence reports. More and more stories are being written in the Russian press too about soldiers killed in action in Ukraine, though the Russian government flatly denies that any regular soldiers—as opposed to volunteers who have come on their own—have crossed the frontier. However not only is there mounting evidence of the presence of regular Russian soldiers but the fact that the military situation has changed so rapidly also suggests the rebels have acquired new strength.

From Neil MacFarquar at the NYT:

Timothy Ash, a market analyst at Standard Bank in London who closely monitors developments in Ukraine and Russia, said the agreement signed in Minsk on Friday meant the conflict would probably be frozen in a political stalemate similar to those in other Russian-dominated, quasi-independent “gray zones” like Transnistria in Moldova and Abkhazia in Georgia.

“Russian regular and irregular forces are not going to withdraw unless Poroshenko delivers on Putin’s agenda for a federal solution for Ukraine, which is really a nonstarter for any Ukrainian politician and political suicide, in effect,” Mr. Ash wrote on Friday in a note to clients.

Without a cease-fire now, Mr. Ash wrote, Mr. Poroshenko risked losing Mariupol, which remained under heavy attack by pro-Russian forces on Friday. “Any delay would probably have seen the loss of Mariupol, and then a land corridor secured by Russia to Crimea,” he wrote, which would have been “likely terminal” for Ukraine’s already struggling economy.

Judah was there. He saw troops he believes are Russian, though not in large numbers. Cameron’s call to assemble a rapid-reaction force and the plan to have NATO troops train in western Ukraine therefore puts us on the brink of a full-fledged hot war between the US and Russia. Certainly there are forces in Ukraine that would be happy to light the match.

This blog has been warning about this for a very long time. For example. And for example. (And half a dozen more).

One does not need to support the Russians–I don’t–to realize that Ukraine is a vital interest for them and not for us. So, they are quite willing to go to war over it, and we aren’t. So, we should shut up and try to accomplish change through more constructive means than overthrowing the government, sending their soldiers off on a fool’s mission, and then using our own troops in as a tripwire on an active battlefield.

Also, we should stop trying to silence the people who know what the f–k they’re talking about. As an aside, I called the attempt to silence those of us urging caution as a kind of neo-McCarthyism on July 22, several weeks before Stephen Cohen said the same thing.

And, as a final interesting aside, you may notice we have heard nothing new about the Malaysian airliner? There has been an agreement between the western powers who are conducting the investigation not to talk about it:

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean there seems to be an agreement between the major countries?

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, in addition to the insurance company for the airplane, which technically has legal responsibility, the major countries that are doing it, Britain has the black boxes, the Netherlands are involved. There was a report the other day that these parties, these states, have agreed that they would not divulge individually what they have discovered. Now, they’ve had plenty of time to interpret the black boxes. There are reports from Germany that the White House version of what happened is not true, therefore you have to look elsewhere for the culprit who did the shooting down. They’re sitting on satellite intercepts. They have the images. They won’t release the air controller’s conversations in Kiev with the doomed aircraft. Why not?

So… maybe somebody other than the Russians or the pro-Russian rebels shot down the airliner?

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Trouble in paradise?

Posted by Charles II on September 4, 2014

I don’t pretend to know if the following article is accurate, or just wishful thinking. But I do wonder how stable a coalition between neo-Nazis and oligarchs is likely to be, especially if there are military reverses, as there have been. Michael Collins, Op-Ed News:

Ukraine may be headed for another round of Maidan Square protests that dwarf those seen in February. Regular army soldiers and special fascist punisher battalions are leaving the battle field with a very bad attitude toward the government of United States puppet, President Petro Poroshenko.

Things are not going well for the United States backed government in Kiev, Ukraine. Early last week, President Poroshenko spoke confidently of wrapping up the so-called Anti Terrorist Operation (ATO) in the eastern part of the country by August 24, Ukraine’s independence day. Instead of a victory parade after pummeling the large eastern cities of Donetsk and Lugansk into the ground, eastern resistance forces upstaged the Kiev celebration. The militia of the Donetsk Peoples Republic marched captured Kiev army troops down the main street of that city in their own independence celebration. Poroshenko’s conquest was foiled.

By the end of August, the Ukraine central government could no longer deny significant military losses at the hands of the resistance in the eastern part of the country. Thousands of government troops have been trapped in resistance cauldrons. Army forces face a stark choice: surrender and hand over your weapons and equipment or attempt to fight your way out and die. In the Southern Cauldron, most of the six thousand Ukraine troops were injured, killed, or surrendered. That process has repeated itself over the past few weeks in other battles and cauldrons.

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Good News You Likely Haven’t Heard From CNN Or The NYT

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2014

Here’s some good news you probably won’t hear from most nationally-focused US media:

– Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium (aka the guy who got all the 2012 Senate races right along with the Presidential race) has been saying that the Democrats have at least a 70% chance of keeping the Senate (today’s current snapshot gives them a 75% chance, with a longer-range Election Day forecast of 65%). How does he do it? By using poll data and not “secret sauce” (aka pulledoutmyass.com). (And the only reason I know about this is because of the cartoon in this Daily Kos post.)

– Mitch McConnell, who has been in a very tough race with Democratic candidate Alison Grimes, just took a big blow when his campaign manager, Jesse Benton, resigned today. Seems that back in 2012, when Benton worked for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, he was involved in getting Kent Sorenson, then an Iowa state Senator, to switch his endorsement from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul, a move which Sorenson, on pleading guilty to Federal bribery charges Wednesday, says the Paul campaign paid him $73,000 to make. (Benton, by the way, is married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter, Valori Pyeatt.)

A town in West Virginia, where King Coal normally rules without question, has developed a useful funding model for converting to solar power.

So what’s the good word in your parts this week?

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Germany Ramps Up Solar And Wind Use, Its Power Grid Gets Stronger

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2014

Dirty-energy lobbyists claim that adding solar and wind power to a nation’s electrical grid will somehow make it less stable and reliable.

Germany has just proved them wrong:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/08/12/3470070/germany-reliable-grid-renewables/

Check out the whole story and pass it on.

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DFL HQ Joins Aaron Rupar In Ripping Off Bluestem Prairie

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 21, 2014

This little thing from the DFL’s crack messaging staff appeared under my e-mail transom today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 21, 2014

 

Three strikes, their out: Out of state groups continue to mislead, distort Congressman Collin Peterson’s record

Last night in a TV interview, Sen Torrey Westrom refused to condemn websites that have been called misleading by Minnesota newspapers, the third time that out of state groups have used misleading tactics to target Collin Peterson. “Misleading attacks and distortions aren’t the Minnesota way but Sen. Westrom refuses to stand up to his own party,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “The contrast couldn’t be more clear between Collin Peterson, who puts Minnesota’s farmers first regardless of the politics, and Sen Westrom, who has refused to stand up to his own party and condemn these desperate and misleading attacks.”

-30-

Background:

NRCC Used Fake News Website Criticizing Congressman Peterson. In 2014 the Twin Cities reported: “The new websites, even though they’re designed to look like local news sources, are actually advertisements – two of at least 20 targeting Democratic candidates for the U.S. House, and paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee.” [Twin Cities, 8/14/14]

  • Headline: GOP Creates Look-Alike News Sites Targeting Minnesota Democrats [Twin Cities, 8/14/14]
  • Headline: NRCC Launches Fake News Sites to Attack Democratic Candidates [National Journal
    8/1/14]
  • NRCC Used Fake Peterson for Congress Website to Solicit Donations. In 2014 the Star Tribune reported: “A Republican campaign group that set up fake 2014 election websites for Democrats, including Minnesota’s Collin Peterson, has tweaked the sites to make clear that donations sent through them will benefit the GOP. The National Republican Congressional Committee recently made the changes after Washington, D.C.-based watchdog groups raised concerns about the sites possibly violating Federal Election Commission rules.” [Star Tribune, 2/17/14]
  • Headline: GOP group tweaks its ‘Collin Peterson for Congress’ website [Star Tribune, 2/17/14]
  • Headline: Ethics Complaint Filed Against Head of NRCC for Fake Campaign Websites; Congressman Peterson one of NRCC’s Targets [Politics.MN, 3/12/14]
  • NRCC Used Minnesota Twins to Attack Congressman Peterson. In 2013 the City Pages reported: “In a new radio spot, the National Republican Congressional Committee uses audio from the Twins’ dramatic
    1991 Game 7 World Series win against Collin Peterson, the Democrat who has represented southern Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District since that same year.” [City Pages, 12/13/13]
  • Headline: Republican attack ad uses Minnesota Twins against Collin Peterson [City Pages, 12/13/13]
  • Headline: DFL blasts Republicans for politicizing Minnesota Twins [City Pages, 12/16/13]

Ellen M. Perrault

Communication Director

Minnesota DFL

First off, somebody needs to read up on the difference between “their” and “they’re”.

Second off, the Torrey Westrom interview aired August 18, not “last night” (August 20).

Third off, the reason I know this is because Bluestem Prairie broke that particular wrinkle of the story (Westrom’s refusal to disavow the fake site) on August 18, right here:

http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2014/08/mn07-young-gun-torrey-westrom-wont-disavow-nrcc-fake-collin-peterson-website.html

Not only that, but Bluestem Prairie was the first media in Minnesota to post about the fake website back in February 2014, in NRCC creates fake Collin Peterson site “to lure” voters, CNN special investigations unit reports.

Last week, Bluestem posted about yet another fake site from Westrom’s Beltway Republican supporters in MN07: DC-based national Republicans launch fake news website against Collin Peterson.

C’mon, Ms. Perrault. It won’t hurt you to credit your actual sources. You know full well Bluestem exists.

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