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So What Do You Think Of Your Handiwork Now, Lanny Davis?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 19, 2014

Only a few years ago, Honduras had an increasingly functional democracy and a leader, Manuel Zelaya, who cared enough about his people to try and make sure they had something resembling a living wage. It now has, thanks to a coup whose chief propagandist was none other than Lanny Davis, slid down into the depths of neofeudalism and narcostatehood.

All because the rich pricks who pay Davis’ fees wanted to keep forcing their workers to make t-shirts for US export for pennies a day.

There have been untold thousands of tragic murders and other atrocities in the years since Davis’ golpistas kidnapped and deposed Zelaya. Almost none of the Latin American stories about them have been translated into American-English-language media, and it’s not because the US has a shortage of Spanish speakers.

The following set of murders has only slipped past the US’ media gatekeepers because one of the victims was a beauty pageant celebrity:

The bodies of Honduran beauty queen Maria Jose Alvarado, 19, and her sister have been found nearly a week after the two women disappeared.

Ms Alvarado and Sofia Trinidad, 23, vanished on Thursday after being seen leaving a party near the northern city of Santa Barbara.

They were shot and their bodies buried in a field by a river, police say.

Two men have been arrested, and one of them has reportedly confessed to killing and burying the women.

Ms Alvarado had been due to compete in the Miss World contest in London.

Honduras is now the most violent country in the world, a state it achieved as a result of the coup Lanny Davis worked to install and protect.

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#pointergate And Voting Rights

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 8, 2014

If you’ve been following the whole #pointergate story, you probably know that it’s about how a local Republican-affiliated television station in Minneapolis has become a national if not worldwide laughingstock for pushing a “mayor is flashing gang symbols” hit piece fed to it by cops and ex-cops who hate the reformist mayor Betsy Hodges and her new chief of police Janee Harteau.

Here’s Brian Lambert’s excellent precis:

I mean, this story is so nakedly and thoroughly targeted at a key demographic for local TV news you practically choke on it. And by that I mean this: The only viewers who were going to swallow this story — as Kolls and KSTP presented it — are fearful whites with little or no personal interaction with blacks or other minorities. People who almost never counter-balance the “news” they get on TV with any other stream of information, other than maybe an e-mail from an equally fearful friend or relative.

With the audience for local TV news was shrinking nearly as fast as it has been for daily newspapers (until a modest uptick in 2013) the core that remains is both older and (I strongly suspect) less socially sophisticated — i.e. more isolated from “criminal elements” than even 20 years ago. Where savvier news consumers have long since stopped rolling their eyes at the cliched/treadworn “if it bleeds it leads” news segments and turned off the local news altogether in favor of the internet, the crowd that remains faithful to local TV continues to be riveted by the relentless narrative of hardened thugs gunning down each other and therefore, soon to be blasting their way through the front doors of those same terrified viewers, never mind that their doors are in Maple Grove, Big Lake, Victoria, Edina and St. Cloud.

It was to that core local news crowd, primarily white, aged and out of step with the realities of modern urban America that Kolls and KSTP were appealing, and why they look like such pawns and fools today. (According to Pew research 54% of local TV’s news audience is over age 50. Although it could be worse. The over-50 audiences for Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity clock in at 64% and 66% respectively.)

What you might not know is that this smear involved attacking the mayor and by extension her police chief because they attended a get-out-the-vote event held by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. And of course, Republicans hate anything that involves encouraging poor people, especially poor nonwhite people, to vote – hence the flurry of laws designed to keep poor and nonwhite people from voting.

The Brennan Center makes a very good case for the idea that voter suppression may have been what cost the Democrats the Senate last Tuesday. It’s worth readng.

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Glen Taylor, Shoving The StarTribune Ever Rightward

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 1, 2014

Billionaire businessman and sports team owner Glen Taylor said back in April that he would take the newspaper he’d just bought and shove it to the right. (As if having D.J. Tice, Donald Dwight, and Katherine Kersten on staff wasn’t enough proof that the paper’s “liberal” image was created mainly by far-right lunatics eager to cow the Strib into ignoring their takeover of the Republican Party of Minnesota.)

And now, in case it wasn’t clear that Taylor meant what he said, the Strib’s editorial board has endorsed Stewart Mills III over Rick Nolan for Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District seat — even though every single one of Mills’ stated positions is at odds with those long held by the StarTribune: gun control, taxation, Obamacare, environmental issues, and foreign policy. (Something, by the way, which was noted by many longtime Twin Cities journalists, including former Strib reporter and opinion-page writer Eric Black.)

Of course, it may well not just be Taylor’s known conservatism driving this hard-to-explain endorsement. It could be the vast amounts of money spent by the Mills family on Fleet Farm ads in the paper.

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Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on October 31, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

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Don Surber Probably Thinks His Only Mistake Is Forgetting To Speak In Code

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 30, 2014

You may have heard of this:

Don Surber is a columnist for the Charleston, West Virginia, newspaper, the Daily Mail. Opining about Ferguson, Surber said:

This summer I had an epiphany as I watched packs of racists riot in Ferguson, Missouri, in support of a gigantic thug who was higher than a kite when he attacked Ferguson Police Department Officer Darren Wilson, who unfortunately had to put this animal down.

Yes, it was written on Surber’s blog as opposed to the Daily Mail. But do you think that, say, the NYT would be lenient towards, say, Paul Krugman if he were to a private blog post to call, say, Allen West an “animal” who needed to be “put down”? (Especially considering Krugman has already been forced to eat dirt for making a good-faith reference to a Jason Leopold story in Salon, at the very same time that fellow NYT opinion columnist, archconservative William Safire, was getting away with patent and arrant nonsense about Mohammed Atta, Prague and Wales. And let’s not even get into the whole mess of scandals surrounding Judith Miller, Jeff Gerth, and Stephen Labaton, right-wing-servicing stenographers posing as NYT “reporters”.)

Surber has since been fired from the Daily Mail, but of course that will be converted into very salable pseudo-martyrdom that will appeal to whichever wingnut-welfare outfit — FOX News, The Daily Caller, Breitbart et al — picks him up in another week or two.

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It never happens to the bad guys

Posted by Charles II on October 24, 2014

Kevin Drum has cancer. He has hopes for a remission, but it’s a long and painful way back. Here’s prayers for a guy for whom my greatest criticism is that he is too nice.

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Daily Kos gets worse and worse

Posted by Charles II on October 21, 2014

So, Der Spiegel reports that the Russians definitely did not shoot down the Malaysian airliner MH-17. In the meantime, Kiev’s army has been defeated in battle, the Russians are dictating how Ukraine is going to pay to heat their homes, and there’s a danger of the Poroshenko government getting overthrown.

None of this can be mentioned on the Daily Kos without getting called a “Kremlin troll.” By a guy who has joined Daily Kos today, and has four comments of five total on my thread.

Usually a third of the comments are excellent, or at least sincere. But in this thread, there were three comments I was glad to receive–not because they were supportive, but because they brought me new information. That’s approximately 5% of the comments that were not outright manure.

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Yes, The Air War Is Working

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 16, 2014

Various entities with various interests keep insisting that the US can’t just help take out ISIS with air power alone and with Kurdish boots being the only ones on the ground in many areas.

These interests are being slowly proved wrong:

The aerial bombardment has centered around the Syrian town of Kobani, where besieged Kurdish fighters have desperately battled off a lightning Islamic State (IS) siege to capture the city.

According to Reuters, the US military conducted 21 and 18 strikes on militant targets in or near the town in the two 24-hour periods since Monday. In contrast, the previous week saw the area targeted roughly half a dozen times a day.

The intensified campaign, which has become increasingly effective due to intelligence and on-the-ground coordination with Kurdish fighters, has resulted in at least 32 IS militants being killed in that 48-hour period.

It has also paid dividends for Kurdish fighters who were at risk of being engulfed by the IS advance within “a matter of days.”

On Wednesday, a black IS flag raised on a hill overlooking Kobani was torn down after militants were targeted by coalition air strikes.

The airstrikes, in addition to making ISIS use up all those tanks and other munitions it captured from the fleeing Iraqi army in June (instead of saving them up for use in toppling Assad as ISIS’ Saudi and other backers desired) are also cutting into the revenue ISIS has been getting from the oil towns it nabbed back in June:

…the Paris-based International Energy Agency said in a report that the airstrikes have put a significant dent in the Islamic State’s ability to produce and smuggle oil – a major source of finance for the militants, according to The Independent.

Back in 1999, Bill Clinton and NATO used air power in conjunction with boots on the ground to force out Slobodan Milosevic and end the genocide in Kosovo. Fifteen years later, air power under the direction of Kurdish boots on the ground is turning the tide in Syria and Iraq.

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Joni Ernst Abused Her Power To Screw Veterans

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 14, 2014

Here’s something interesting about the Republican candidate for US Senator in Iowa that you probably won’t find in the pages of the Des Moines Register, unless it’s buried deep next to the want ads:

In the rural Iowa town of Red Oak, the names and addresses of the 29 people who signed a petition to remove a candidate from the ballot in a local election were read on the radio repeatedly in 2004. The speaker’s voice dripped with outrage that citizens would try to keep someone from running for office.

“I thought they were going to burn someone’s house down,” Barry Loving, a Red Oak resident who heard the broadcasts, told The Daily Beast.

Shades of Radio Rwanda.

The candidate those 29 people wanted off the ballot was Joni Ernst, who is currently the Republican nominee for Senate in Iowa and running as the epitome of “Iowa nice”. Her race against Democrat Bruce Braley is currently one of the closest races in the country and could determine control of the Senate. And while Ernst paints herself as the candidate of small town values and attacks her opponent for his supposed lack of civility, she comes from a political background that’s more “House of Cards” than “Little House on the Prairie.”

One would think that such a bit of news would have been uncovered by Iowa’s best-known newspaper, the Des Moines Register. But no, one has to turn to a nationally-focused publication, the Daily Beast, to hear about this vindictive abuse of power on Joni Ernst’s part.

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This is too obvious to work

Posted by Charles II on October 2, 2014

Via Ritholtz, an article by Sarah Kliff at Vox:

Since 2007, a program in St. Louis has offered teenagers free access to all types of birth control. They can choose pills, intra-uterine devices or any other FDA-approved contraceptive.

These St. Louis teens have had markedly lower pregnancy, abortion and birth rates than the rest of the country, new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows. This is what their pregnancy rates look like, compared to the rest of the United States.

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