Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

When even Lawrence Fink agrees that Wall Street has gone too far…

Posted by Charles II on April 24, 2015

Lawrence Fink, CEO of Blackrock, is one of the great pirates of our age. So, when even he is saying that executives are looting their companies and destroying the middle class, maybe someone will listen. Rex Nutting, Marketwatch:

There’s something seriously wrong with an economy that nurtures a few billionaires but can’t sustain the middle class.

Last week, the CEOs of America’s 500 biggest companies received a letter from Lawrence Fink, CEO of BlackRock BLK, +0.25% the largest asset manager in the world, saying exactly the same thing.

“The effects of the short-termist phenomenon are troubling both to those seeking to save for long-term goals such as retirement and for our broader economy,” Fink wrote, adding that favoring shareholders comes at the expense of investing in “innovation, skilled work forces or essential capital expenditures necessary to sustain long-term growth.”

In case you have forgotten who Larry Fink is, click here.

Posted in abuse of power, economy, stock market | 2 Comments »

Well, now that rationale for the coup is discarded….

Posted by Charles II on April 24, 2015

The Guardian:

The supreme court in Honduras has voided a single-term limit for the country’s presidency — the issue at the heart of the political conflict that led to the ouster of socialist [sic] incumbent Manuel Zelaya six years ago when he sought to hold a referendum on rewriting the constitution.

The push by the governing National party to make the change, which would permit President Juan Orlando Hernandez to seek a second term, has drawn widespread criticism from the opposition, which notes the same politicians behind it were involved in the 2009 coup against Zelaya.

After the court ruled, [Former president Rafael Leonardo] Callejas announced that he was looking to run for the presidency again.

We were told again and again, especially by defenders of the coup against Zelaya, that the prohibition against re-election was “set in stone,” meaning that Zelaya’s attempt just to have a referendum on the issue was such a serious assault on the constitution that it justified machine gunning the presidential palace, packing him on a plane, and dropping him in Costa Rica.

Now we are told that this same constitutional amendment was just a “stone in the shoe” of ambitious politicians like Callejas.

I hope Manuel Zelaya runs again. That is, if the Supreme Court doesn’t again flip in the wind as other politicians blow on it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

A real winner

Posted by Charles II on April 22, 2015


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: As we continue to mark Earth Day, we end today’s show with a new report that finds at least two people working to save the environment were killed each week in 2014. In total, the group Global Witness documented the murders of at least 116 environmental activists last year. Three-quarters of them were killed in Central and South America.

AMY GOODMAN: The report is called “How Many More?” It looks in detail at an activist who stood up to a mining project in one of the deadliest countries and survived. Her name is Berta Cáceres, and she is another winner of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize. This is Berta Cáceres describing how she helped organize indigenous communities in Honduras to resist a hydro dam on the Gualcarque River because it could destroy their water supply.

BERTA CÁCERES: [translated] In more than 150 indigenous assemblies, our community decided that it did not want that hydroelectric dam.

NARRATOR: Berta filed complaints with the Honduran government and organized peaceful protests in the nation’s capital. As her visibility increased, she became a target for the government.

BERTA CÁCERES: [translated] We denounced this dam and were threatened with smear campaigns, imprisonment and murder. But nobody heard our voices, until we set up a roadblock to take back control of our territory.

NARRATOR: For well over a year, the Lenca maintained the roadblock, withstanding harassment and violent attacks. Tragically, Rio Blanco community leader Tomás Garcia was shot by the Honduran military at a peaceful protest.

BERTA CÁCERES: [translated] Seeing this man murdered, the community became indignant, forcing a confrontation. The company was told that they had to get out.

PROTESTER: [translated] We have 500 people here, and we are Rio Blanco comrades. We will defend Rio Banco, and we will not let them pass.

BERTA CÁCERES: [translated] And that is how Sinohydro left Rio Blanco. But it cost us in blood.

AMY GOODMAN: Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, who won the 2015 Goldman Prize, as well. For more, we’re joined by Billy Kyte, campaigner for Global Witness, author of their new report, “How Many More?

AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us a little more about the 2015 Goldman Prize winner who we just played a clip of, Berta Cáceres, and her significance and what she’s doing in Honduras?

BILLY KYTE: Well, she’s an emblematic case. I mean, she’s a very courageous activist. She fights for indigenous rights, but also women’s rights, as well. Her leadership in COPINH, indigenous network in Honduras, has been inspirational for many, many people. She’s suffered threats against her life. Two of her children have had to flee the country because of these threats. She continues to receive threats. Even recently, she received attempted plans to kidnap her. And despite this, she still struggles on with the fight to protect indigenous areas and the rivers of the Rio Blanco community.

Berta Caceres was one of the strongest resisters of the 2009 coup. She is a real winner.

Posted in Good Causes, Good Things, Honduras | Leave a Comment »

Argentine Prosecutor Shoots Down A Slander Against Iran And Fernandez

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 21, 2015

And here we are for another edition of “Shout the Lie and Whisper the Retraction”: Iranian Edition.

A few weeks ago, the death of a (to put it charitably) mentally ill prosecutor threw heavy Western media focus on those claims of his that were calculated to gin up a “let’s nuke Iran” response. Now, as the rational among us expected, his claims have been weighed in the balance and found wanting:

An Argentine prosecutor on Monday dismissed accusations against President Cristina Fernandez that she helped shield Iranian officials allegedly behind the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center, effectively putting an end to a case that had exposed deep divisions in the South American nation.

Javier De Luca, prosecutor before the Court of Appeals, said there wasn’t enough evidence in late prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s investigation to warrant a probe.


The case was rejected by a federal judge in February and then thrown out on appeal by the Federal Appeals court. De Luca’s decision not to present the case to the next level of appeals court means it has effectively reached the end of the line.

Of course, the same news media that heavily pushed Nisman’s allegations didn’t exactly broadcast this from the rooftops, which is why we’re finding this out from HuffPost and not, say, the CBS Evening News.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

ISIS’s treatment of women: Outsourced to Echidne

Posted by Charles II on April 20, 2015

Read ’em and weep:


Part 1: The Rules for Sunni Muslim women

Part 2: Sexual Slavery and Rape of “Non-Believers”

Part 3: The Western Female IS Militants

Part 4: To be written when Echidne recovers from writing the preceding.

Posted in abuse of power, Conflict in the Middle East, evil, international | Leave a Comment »

Friday Night Climbing Cat Blogging

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 17, 2015

Millie makes her way up a slab on Stansbury Island.  Photo by Craig Armstrong.

Millie makes her way up a slab on Stansbury Island. Photo by Craig Armstrong.

Millie, a black Nebelung kitty, goes rock climbing with her human, Craig Armstrong. Her website is She is often joined by a blondly-orange Morris lookalike named Kenneth.

Check it out.

Posted in cats, Friday Cat Blogging | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

A spreading stain/ in the Ukraine

Posted by Charles II on April 17, 2015

Robert Parry, Consortium News:

The U.S.-backed Ukrainian government came up with a curious way to commemorate the 70thanniversary of the Holocaust being brought to an end. The parliament in Kiev voted to extend official recognition to Ukrainian fascists who collaborated with the Nazis in killing Jews.

…On April 9, the Ukrainian parliament passed a bill making the ultra-nationalist Ukrainian Insurgent Army eligible for official government recognition, a demand that has been pushed by Ukraine’s current neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist movements, the same forces that spearheaded the overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 and then the slaughter of thousands of ethnic Russians who resisted the new order.

It now appears that pro-government “death squads” are operating with impunity in Kiev.

Ukraine was the site of several major Holocaust atrocities including the infamous massacre at Babi Yar in Kiev, where local Ukrainian fascists worked alongside the Nazi SS in funneling tens of thousands of Jews to a ravine where they were slaughtered and buried.

I’m not sure what to make of the neo-Nazi presence in Ukraine. It’s not hard, for example, to find neo-Nazis in the American military. They send their guys there to train for the grand RaHoWa. The difference is when government starts to sanction this sort of thing. The Kiev government is so desperate and so anti-Russian that they are sanctioning way-out-of-the-box things just to keep from falling. But at some point one has to ask whether the people in charge are being expedient– or whether they support neo-Nazism.

We should also be asking the American government where they stand… especially since it is alleged that the U.S. military will be training the Azov Battalion.

Posted in Russia, Ukraine | 3 Comments »

Secede already

Posted by Charles II on April 15, 2015


This is an image of a local newspaper from a town near Abilene, Texas. The article on the left says that right-wingers are being labeled “terrorists.” The article on the right is about Obama, written by a Viet Vet-Green Beret-novelist from Colorado, is remarkably historically illiterate, and even says that Barack Obama “claims to have been a law professor.”  Apparently, the statement by the University of Chicago that he was a law professor is not enough for Mr. Bendell. Nor is Mr. Bendell aware that many of the slaves brought here were Muslims and that some fought for independence in the Revolutionary War and (presumably against slavery) in the Civil War. Sure, most early Americans were Christians or Deists, along with a few Jews, some atheists/agnostics, and so on. But when Barack Obama says that Islam is woven into the American tapestry from the beginning, he’s right. Being right used to count for something.

There are plenty of other articles typical of right-wing extremists. Brian Sussman tells us that “zealous environmentalists … are green on the outside and red (like Marx and Lenin) on the inside.”  He’s making a film about how the state of California is hoarding water to keep it away from (corporate) farmers.  I hope he likes drinking dust, because it looks like there’s going to be more of that than water in California. African American (No! American!) Lloyd Marcus is afraid that white people are so badly beaten upon that they might engage in backlash that would be like a race war but totally justifiable. When he is not praising the Lord that Rush is on, he’s being a “prolific writer, singer and songwriter.” (true. It may not be good writing, singing, or songwriting, but it is prolific.)

The point is not that this kind of stuff is remarkable. It’s that it’s normal, and not just in Texas. These people spread hatred and division and yet it’s the red states that take the most in government payments, have the highest level of social pathologies, and generally resemble all the things they rail against.

So secede already.

Posted in Flying Monkey Right | Leave a Comment »

Opening Bell, Round Three?

Posted by Charles II on April 14, 2015

The Guardian:

Fighting erupted overnight and in the early hours of Tuesday on the outskirts of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, despite an agreement reached by the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers a day earlier.

The year-long conflict between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian government forces has claimed more than 6,000 lives and left large parts of the country’s industrial heartland in ruins.

[Elsewhere,] Shyrokyne has changed hands repeatedly during the conflict.

An Associated Press reporter saw a column of at least 10 infantry combat vehicles moving from the rebel-occupied area on the Azov Sea coast to Donetsk on Tuesday morning.

It’s very likely this will escalate into a larger scale war. Only now there are NATO troops in the combat zone, with plenty of chance for miscalculation, provocation, and escalation.

I think The Saker has the right attitude toward this (make sure to watch to the end, since the first half is unrelentingly grim).

Posted in Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Stratfor on the conflict in Europe

Posted by Charles II on April 13, 2015

George Friedman of Stratfor is one of the most interesting analysts out there. Not that I necessarily agree with him, since he’s been spectacularly wrong in the past. But he’s clearly well-connected and, unlike most neo-conservatives, he’s primarily a realist in the vein of Henry Kissinger.

I don’t think that he favors an aggressive strategy toward Ukraine, because he realizes that the U.S. is overstretched with the conflicts in Iraq and Yemen (and Libya and Syria, etc.). But his opinion seems to be that the US is trying to force Germany to choose the U.S. as its ally against Russia, preventing Germany and Russia from forming an alliance of resources and capital that would threaten the U.S. By creating a band of American power across Central Europe from the Baltics through Ukraine, it would make the western Russian fleet impotent and turning it into a distinctly regional power.

(Via Fortruss)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

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