Mercury Rising 鳯女

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A Tale of Two Scandals

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 5, 2014

This is a tale of two scandals currently playing out in America. Both involve state-level politicians.

One of these scandals, the corruption one concerning California state senator Leland Yee, has penetrated the awareness of the national media, resulting in stories in Huffington Post, Forbes, and the New York Times. It will probably be prominently featured on FOX by the middle of next week, and on the other networks soon thereafter.

The other scandal, the sexual molestation one concerning Bill Kramer, the Majority Leader of Wisconsin’s State Assembly, has drawn sitting US Senator Ron Johnson into its vortex, and could shake up the corridors of power in that state. But aside from mentions in Daily Kos and Politico, there has been nothing to date in any non-Wisconsin media on this scandal.

Nothing.

Now, what was that again about a “liberal” media?

(Crossposted at MyFDL.)

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“Religious Pro-Lifer” Hobby Lobby Company Invests In Abortion Pill Makers

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 1, 2014

Ahem:

The owners of Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft supply chain, were so offended by the idea of having to include emergency contraceptives and intrauterine devices in their health insurance plans that they sued the Obama administration and took the case all the way up to the Supreme Court. But Mother Jones reported on Tuesday that the company’s retirement plan has invested millions of dollars in the manufacturers of emergency contraception and drugs used to induce abortions.

Hypocrites.

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Chris Christie Apologizes For Using The Correct Term

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 30, 2014

This is ridiculous:

Invoking a 2012 trip he and his family took to Israel, Christie recalled “I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across and just felt personally how extraordinary that was to understand, the military risk that Israel faces every day.”

While the story was intended to forge common cause with Adelson and the several hundred donors to the Republican Jewish Coalition to which Christie was speaking, his use of the term “occupied territories” set off murmurs in the crowd.

The term refers to lands in which Palestinians live where Israel maintains a military presence, including the West Bank.

But the term is rejected by some conservative Zionists like Adelson who see it as validating Palestinian challenges over Israel’s presence.

Christie almost immediately abased himself before Adelson for the horrid crime of using the correct term — and the term favored by the US news media for decades. But the damage was done, and cannot be undone. You can almost hear the wallets slamming shut.

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Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on March 28, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

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Weisbrot Goes To Caracas, Sees Improving Nation

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 26, 2014

Mark Weisbrot went to Caracas earlier this month, and here’s some of what he saw:

Major media outlets have already reported that Venezuela’s poor have not joined the right-wing opposition protests, but that is an understatement: it’s not just the poor who are abstaining – in Caracas, it’s almost everyone outside of a few rich areas like Altamira, where small groups of protesters engage in nightly battles with security forces, throwing rocks and firebombs and running from tear gas.

Walking from the working-class neighborhood of Sabana Grande to the city center, there was no sign that Venezuela is in the grip of a “crisis” that requires intervention from the Organization of American States (OAS), no matter what John Kerry tells you. The metro also ran very well, although I couldn’t get off at Alta Mira station, where the rebels had set up their base of operations until their eviction this week.

So who are these rebels with their burning-tire barricades and oil-slick roadway impediments? Venezuela’s 1%, who ironically enough have done well under the Chávismo they so bitterly hate:

These people are not hurting – they’re doing very well. Their income has grown at a healthy pace since the Chávez government got control of the oil industry a decade ago. They even get an expensive handout from the government: anyone with a credit card (which excludes the poor and millions of working people) is entitled to $3,000 per year at a subsidized exchange rate. They can then sell the dollars for 6 times what they paid in what amounts to a multi-billion dollar annual subsidy for the privileged – yet it is they who are supplying the base and the troops of the rebellion.

The class nature of this fight has always been stark and inescapable, now more than ever. Walking past the crowd that showed up for the March 5 ceremonies to mark the anniversary of Chávez’s death, it was a sea of working-class Venezuelans, tens of thousands of them. There were no expensive clothing or $300 shoes. What a contrast to the disgruntled masses of Los Palos Grandes, with $40,000 Grand Cherokee Jeeps bearing the slogan of the moment: SOS VENEZUELA.

So why is John Kerry running around poor-mouthing Maduro and Company? Many reasons, among them the still-powerful Cuban exile presence in Miami; these people hate Castro and anyone allied with Castro, so Chávez and now Maduro have made it to their permanent Poop List.

But if Kerry or the Miami Cubans pushing him around think that the Bolivarian revolution is going down anytime soon, they have another think coming:

Perhaps Kerry thinks the Venezuelan economy is going to collapse and that will bring some of the non-rich Venezuelans into the streets against the government. But the economic situation is actually stabilizing – monthly inflation fell in February, and the black-market dollar has fallen sharply on the news that the government is introducing a new, market-based exchange rate. Venezuela’s sovereign bonds returned 11.5% from 11 February (the day before the protests began) to 13 March, the highest returns in the Bloomberg dollar emerging market bond index. Shortages will most likely ease in the coming weeks and months.

Of course, that is exactly the opposition’s main problem: the next election is a year-and-a-half away, and by that time, it’s likely that the economic shortages and inflation that have so increased over the past 15 months will have abated. The opposition will then probably lose the parliamentary elections, as they have lost every election over the past 15 years. But their current insurrectionary strategy isn’t helping their own cause: it seems to have divided the opposition and united the Chavistas.

That’s that.

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Minnesota Minimum Wage Whip Count: The Tally Continues

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 23, 2014

Minnesota Minimum Wage Whip Count: The Tally Continues

You know what to do.

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So What’s Really Happening In Ukraine?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 17, 2014

Hint: It’s not as clear-cut as the anchors at RT (the ones who haven’t quit in protest, anyway) make it seem.

Just as it’s hard to know what’s really going on in Latin America without a working knowledge of Spanish, it’s hard to know what’s really going on in Ukraine and Russia without at least a working knowledge of Russian. I don’t have that knowledge, but I know someone who does, and here’s what he has to say:

Suzanne Buck, Philip Munger would you PLEASE show this to the freaks who are saying Ukraine is being run by fascists now?

Look, bottom line:

Yanukovich asked the Berkut (Riot Police) to fire on the Ukranian People. The Berkut chief declined and RESIGNED which was the right thing to do. That is what the Occupy people here would have said, right?

And that caused a crisis; particularly for the “Party of Regions” which is Yanukovich’s party. The Rada (Ukranian Parliament) agreed, and so did Party of Regions with the Riot Police guy and said ” FUCK YOU – YOU CANNOT order our soldiers to fire on our people!”

Fast forward to today; in Russia the opposition news networks have been silenced – the NDAA or SOPA the Left in the US has feared was just put in place by – PUTIN! You can get Channel Rain or Echo of Moscow – but Russians and Ukrainians can’t.

So you tell these idiots at FDL they have been backing the wrong horse in this race. Dan Wright in particular. Fucking wrong from the first day he bothered to notice the Maidan.

From my friends in the U:

http://youtu.be/TvgNdNxTtJ0

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Heitkamp And Coons Hate The Voting Rights Act

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 9, 2014

They (and five other allegedly Democratic Senators) must, because it’s either that or they’re total cowards who let a group known for backing Republicans, the Fraternal Order of Police, cow them by reciting the magic name of “Mumia”:

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Chris Coons of Delaware was one of the seven Democrats who voted against Debo’s nomination. He said, quote, “At a time when the Civil Rights Division urgently needs better relations with the law enforcement community, I was troubled by the idea of voting for an Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights who would face such visceral opposition from law enforcement on his first day on the job. The vote I cast today was one of the most difficult I have taken since joining the Senate, but I believe it to be right for the people I represent.”

And then there was Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic senator who voted also to oppose Adegbile’s nomination. Her office sent a fundraising email that claimed, quote, “If there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on, it’s that every American deserves the right to vote. It’s one of our most basic rights—but right now it’s under attack.” Ryan Haygood, your response to this?

RYAN HAYGOOD: Yeah, I mean, I don’t think that could—I don’t think that could be more disingenuous, right? I think it’s well known by all in the civil rights community that Debo—some of Debo’s most important work was in the voting rights context. He would have been one of the chief champions in this moment to ensure that voters of color, in particular, aren’t made more vulnerable by the Supreme Court’s decision. He would have worked with Congress to get new voting rights legislation passed—to do precisely what Senator Heitkamp was expressing to her funders. And so, her vote against him is actually a vote against doing the thing that she promises to do here in this email to her funders.

Contact Heidi Heitkamp here (or call her DC office: Phone: 202-224-2043 Fax: 202-224-7776)

Contact Chris Coons her at his DC office (202-224-5042), his Wilmington office (302-573-6345) or his Dover office (302-736-5601 or toll free 877-668-3368).

Contact Bob Casey at his DC office (Fax: 202-228-0604, or phone: 202 224-6324), or in Philadelphia (215-405-9660 or fax 215-405-9669).

Contact Joe Donnelly at his DC office (202-224-4814 or fax 202-224-5011), or his Indianapolis office (317-226-5555 or fax 855-772-7518).

Contact Joe Manchin at his DC office (Phone: 202-224-3954
Fax: 202-228-0002), or his Charleston office (304-342-5855 or fax 304-343-7144).

Contact Mark Pryor at his DC office (Phone: 202-224-2353 Fax: 202-228-0908) or in Little Rock (Phone: 501-324-6336 Fax: 501-324-5320).

Contact John Walsh at his DC office (202-224-2651).

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Minnesotans: Let’s Whip For A Higher Minimum Wage!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 6, 2014

Sally Jo Sorensen has something for all Minnesotans to read: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2014/03/mn-senate-minimum-wage-constituent-based-whip-count-the-tally-begins.html

Javier Morillo-Alicea also has something for all Minnesotans to read: http://thuginpastels.com/2014/03/06/minimum-rage-state-your-position-senators/

Okay, gang. You know what to do.

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Weisbrot on Venezuela

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 6, 2014

Following up on Charles’ post of yesterday, I felt it necessary to give this piece a broader airing:

Back in 2003, because it did not control the oil industry, the government had not yet delivered much on its promises. A decade later, poverty and unemployment have been reduced by more than half, extreme poverty by more than 70%, and millions have pensions that they did not have before. Most Venezuelans are not about to throw all this away because they have had a year and a half of high inflation and increasing shortages. In 2012, according to the World Bank, poverty fell by 20 percent– the largest decline in the Americas. The recent problems have not gone on long enough for most people to give up on a government that has raised their living standards more than any other government in decades.

Something you will never see in any major US newspaper, much less on any major US TV newscast.

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