Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

NYT notices Ukraine’s neo-Nazis. In the last paragraph.

Posted by Charles II on August 10, 2014

Andrew Kramer, NYT:

Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.

In pressing their advance, the fighters took their orders from a local army commander, rather than from Kiev. In the video of the attack, no restraint was evident. Gesturing toward a suspected pro-Russian position, one soldier screamed, “The bastards are right there!” Then he opened fire.

This via Robert Parry, who culls the items showing the role of neo-Nazis in the removal of the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych and in the violent confrontations that followed.

Kramer notes that the Ukrainian strategy is based on the theory that the Russians are going to let them overrun the nationalists and consolidate their hold on power. I would guess that the reason we are not already hip deep in Iraq has to do less with Obama’s restraint and more with fears that the Russians are just waiting for the right moment.

Also interesting: in the coup, the confederate flag was reportedly amid Nazi symbols (although this is not as evident from the video as Flounders implies).

Posted in Iraq war, Russia | 4 Comments »

No, sending troops to Iraq is not very smart

Posted by Charles II on August 8, 2014

Who is ISIL/ISIS and what do they want

Glenn Greenwald

Oil situation (caution: Ken Pollack

I have been too distressed by all of the warlust–in Ukraine, in Gaza, in Iraq–to put together a more substantive post. But, bottom line: I think that ISIS/ISIL wants us to put troops into Iraq. At the moment, they hold strong cards, though going after the Kurds will probably prove to be their undoing. Pollack has this interesting paragraph:

One possible mitigating factor is whether Baghdad would use the opportunity presented by the new civil war to revise its approach to oil contracting. So far, Baghdad has insisted on terms for its contracts with foreign oil firms that have significantly diminished their profitability. Many of the major oil companies signed these contracts only in the hope that they would later be able to secure more lucrative contracts if they demonstrated their commitment to Iraq. Some of these became so frustrated with Baghdad’s stubbornness that they pulled out of the south and began to shift their operations to Iraqi Kurdistan instead. Although Baghdad has been remarkably stubborn on this matter, the demands of waging the civil war might force it to reconsider as the only way to keep the major oil companies in Iraq and pumping the oil that is now vital to its war effort.

So…civil war–bug, or feature?

Posted in Iraq war, terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on August 8, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | Leave a Comment »

History

Posted by Charles II on August 6, 2014

Gareth Porter:

For most of the last five decades, it has been assumed that the Tonkin Gulf incident was a deception by Lyndon Johnson to justify war in Vietnam. But the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam on Aug. 4, 1964, in retaliation for an alleged naval attack that never happened — and the Tonkin Gulf Resolution that followed was not a move by LBJ to get the American people to support a U.S. war in Vietnam.

The real deception on that day was that Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara’s misled LBJ by withholding from him the information that the U.S. commander in the Gulf — who had initially reported an attack by North Vietnamese patrol boats on U.S. warships — had later expressed serious doubts about the initial report and was calling for a full investigation by daylight. That withholding of information from LBJ represented a brazen move to usurp the President’s constitutional power of decision on the use of military force.

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Amazing what $100K can buy you

Posted by Charles II on August 4, 2014

If you hadn’t heard, Richard Mellon Scaife is dead. Scaife bankrolled The Arkansas Project.

Democrats lost the Congress in 1994 not so much because of gun control legislation pushed by the Clinton White House, nor because of union disaffection with NAFTA, nor because of Hillary Clinton’s incompetence in putting together healthcare reform, although all of these contributed, but because of right-wing money used to corrupt elections and the media. The most effective of those efforts was right-wing talk radio, demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, who could never have remained on the airwaves had the FCC continued to enforce the laws that required that the airwaves must be of benefit to the community. Indeed, Limbaugh was in part a creation of Republican operative and Fox Noise chief Roger Ailes:

…Ailes’ most important contribution to the covert campaign involved his new specialty: right-wing media. The tobacco giants hired Ailes, in part, because he had just brought Rush Limbaugh to the small screen, serving as executive producer of Rush’s syndicated, late-night TV show. Now they wanted Ailes to get Limbaugh onboard to crush health care reform. “RJR has trained 200 people to call in to shows,” a March 1993 memo revealed. “A packet has gone to Limbaugh. We need to brief Ailes.”

But demagogues are of little use unless they are fed talking points. Joe Coors bankrolled the Heritage Foundation to produce laughably false talking points precisely so that these lies could be spread through conservative propaganda outlets like the Limbaugh show. Heritage became a Scaife property, along with countless other institutions devoted to undermining the ability of the American people to govern themselves.

The American Spectator was funded by Richard Mellon Scaife. The American Spectator used pseudo-investigative reporting to unearth gossip and rumors about Bill Clinton. His alumni and/or funding is behind such credits to the journalistic profession as WorldNet Daily and Newsmax.

Scaife left a small fraction of his fortune to the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art. His inherited assets go to the conservative Sarah Mellon Scaife and Allegheny Foundations to carry on his work of scarring America. And the rest to the Scaife Revocable Trust.

Scaife donated $100K to The Clinton Foundation. And Bill Clinton, ever desperate for approval, not only forgave his old enemy, but gave a eulogy at his funeral.

As someone who spent countless hours defending Bill Clinton, I am sorry I wasted the time. Richard Mellon Scaife tried to destroy democracy in this country. He largely succeeded. It is not enough to fight fiercely for what you believe, as Clinton eulogized. Every vulture, every jackal, every shark does the same. What matters is a commitment to truth and to justice. Bill Clinton has eulogized savagery, and spit on truth and justice. I cannot but wonder whether Clinto would have reconciled with Scaife if Scaife had not donated to the Clinton Foundation.

One need not hate Richard Mellon Scaife–I do not–to recognize that he was the enemy to everything good and decent about America. One need not hate Bill Clinton–I do not–to recognize that he is indeed amoral, though not in the ways his enemies said.

“The evil that men do lives after them, while the good is oft interred with their bones.” –Marc Antony in Julius Caesar
___________
Update. Christopher Reed, The Guardian:

Then came his [Scaife's] curious London adventure. His father had become an officer in the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA, in second world war London, and Scaife maintained an interest in clandestine activities. In 1973 he bought Kern House Enterprises, a US firm that ran Forum World Features, a London-based supplier of articles to dozens of newspapers around the world.

However, in 1975 a CIA memo from seven years earlier came to light. It described Forum as a propaganda unit sponsored by the CIA to combat communism and to further conservative politics. Scaife quickly withdrew his money amid widespread unfavourable publicity about the syndicate.

Posted in Bill Clinton, phony scandals, Richard Mellon Scaife, rightwing moral cripples | 8 Comments »

The Matt Entenza Sleazemails: Money Can’t Buy Him Love, Only Garbage

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 4, 2014

rebecca-otto-eats-kittens

As noted here last week, Matt Entenza is in the midst of a very expensive and ill-advised sleazemail campaign against state auditor Rebecca Otto.

Ms. Otto’s campaign manager and husband, Shawn Otto, has ably and easily turned back each of Entenza’s sleazy attacks, and I am more than happy to do my small bit to assist by broadcasting Mr. Otto’s email updates on the state of play in this primary that never should have been:

Another day, another misleading mailer from Matt Entenza-this one implying that Rebecca Otto should be working to end corporate tax breaks and other policy topics that have little or nothing to do with the job of the State Auditor.

(Since Entenza thinks ending “corporate giveaways” is a priority, it’s worth asking why didn’t he do that in his role as a “Senior Advisor on Energy and the Economy to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton”? When he was actually in a position to do something about it, he failed.)

These negative mailings are so over-the-top and misleading that they prompted frequent City Pages cartoonist Ken Avidor to create his own statement about them (pictured at right; used with permission). [PW notes: It's at the top of this post.]

The mailings don’t come cheap, either. According to campaign finance board filings, Matt Entenza has given his campaign $622,000 from his own pocket so far.

Matt Entenza’s gifts to his State Auditor campaign so far:

$255,000 before July 22
$227,000 on July 29
$ 15,000 on July 31
$125,000 on August 1
———————-
$622,000 as of August 1

Two-thirds of a million dollars to primary a sitting state auditor who everyone likes? What kind of stupid is that? That’s Matt Entenza stupid.

But we’re not done yet: Read the rest of this entry »

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Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on August 1, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 1 Comment »

The Matt Entenza Sleazemails: Shawn Otto Speaks, You Listen

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 31, 2014

If you live in Minnesota and are registered to vote, you’ve probably received one of the Matt Entenza sleazemails attacking current State Auditor Rebecca Otto. Entenza is so desperate to win some statewide post — any post will do, apparently — that he’s been reduced to primarying Otto.

His pointedly unendorsed campaign has all the marks of a typical Entenza production: the gobs of self-funding, the sleazy, expensive, and unsupportable attacks, the apparent obliviousness to how his attacks could well be turned back against him. (I highly recommend reading Sally Jo Sorensen’s series of articles on the subject (most of them are linked in the “Related Articles” box at the bottom of this post) — she owns this story as does no other working blogger or journalist in the state.)

Because Entenza won’t quit with the bogus sleazemailings, I feel compelled to give some blog space to Rebecca Otto’s campaign manager and husband, Shawn Otto, on the subject:

Rebecca Otto has never voted for Voter ID; she campaigned against it. I know. I was with her. In fact, I wrote one of the first pieces about it, which came out of an event she and I hosted.

On July 24, a three-judge panel unanimously rejected Matt Entenza’s charges about Rebecca Otto and Voter ID, as reported by the StarTribune.

The very next day, an Entenza mailer began arriving in homes, repeating the charges anyway, pulling out votes from over a decade ago that other good democrats like Jim Davnie, Paul Thissen and Michael Paymar had also voted for, and portraying them as if they somehow had something to do with Voter ID, and had somehow “denied access” to voters. They didn’t.

Minnesotans like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and to some, this could be dismissed as a simple case of bad taste and worse timing.

But then yesterday a second mailer from Matt Entenza began arriving in Minnesotans’ homes, this one also claiming that Rebecca Otto had voted for Voter ID and “denied access” to voters. She didn’t.

Unlike the first, this mailing cannot be ascribed to bad timing. It was well after the judges ruled against Entenza.

This mailer should cause Minnesota voters to be concerned-about Matt Entenza. Mr. Entenza is running for the top elected financial office in Minnesota. If he is willing to mislead voters even after a three-judge panel ruled against him, how can he be trusted to provide transparency and accountability over government finances?

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Matt Entenza has an established pattern of campaign finance violations and questionable ethics, going back more than a decade, of which this is just the latest, and they have a bearing on his qualifications to be the State Auditor:

http://rebeccaotto.com/2014/pi-press-entenzas-exit

http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/bdinfo/investigation/060915_entenza.pdf

http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/bdinfo/investigation/070709_Entenza.pdf

http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/bdinfo/investigation/060815_entenza.pdf

http://www.cfboard.state.mn.us/bdinfo/Con_Agr/FINALAGREEMENT.htm

Matt Entenza’s claims about Voter ID have nothing to do with the Office of the State Auditor, but they do say a lot about Matt Entenza.

-Shawn Otto

They certainly do.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

More stating the obvious

Posted by Charles II on July 30, 2014

DemocracyNow:

RABBI HENRY SIEGMAN: Yes, it’s [the invasion/bombing of Gaza is] disastrous. It’s disastrous, both in political terms, which is to say the situation cannot conceivably, certainly in the short run, lead to any positive results, to an improvement in the lives of either Israelis or Palestinians, and of course it’s disastrous in humanitarian terms, the kind of slaughter that’s taking place there. When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the slaughter of—repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis—and should be a profound crisis—in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success. It leads one virtually to a whole rethinking of this historical phenomenon.

The whole interview is fascinating and well worth the time. There’s a basic problem at the root of the Palestinian conflict. Jews have a legitimate reason to want a state as protection against religious/ethnic persecution. But the essence of desiring justice for the historical–and ongoing– ill-treatment of the Jewish people is desiring such justice for all people, even those one considers enemies.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East | 4 Comments »

Stating the obvious

Posted by Charles II on July 30, 2014

Ray McGovern et al., Consortium News:

If the U.S. has more convincing evidence than what has so far been adduced concerning responsibility for shooting down Flight 17, we believe it would be best to find a way to make that intelligence public …

We reiterate our recommendations of May 4, that you remove the seeds of this confrontation by publicly disavowing any wish to incorporate Ukraine into NATO …

These are actual intelligence analysts, telling us that it looks like the intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy.

So, of course, the corporate media can’t interview them.

Posted in Russia | Leave a Comment »

 
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