Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

War Nerd On The Kurds And Their Enemies

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2015

Over at the revamped, paywalled (and, sadly, comment-banned) Pando, the War Nerd, shorn of the online commenter entourage that helped spread his fame, soldiers on with a good piece about the Kurds and their enemies:

… A lot of very powerful people and organizations don’t like these Kurdish commies. Turkey hates them with a slightly insane intensity. Erdogan would love YPG/J to make a mistake like that; Al Jazeera would love it; the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis would love it. And a lot of Western red-baiters and idiot Leftist splinter groups would love it as well.

In fact, these people haven’t even waited for the YPG/J to make that kind of mistake. They started accusing the YPG/J of ethnically cleansing Arabs from Tal Abyad as soon as the Kurds entered the town.

Most of this noise about cleansing is coming from Erdogan loyalists at the Daily Sabah, which makes it pretty bitterly ironic. The Turkish government is the world champion of ethnic cleansing throughout the last century. No other country even comes close. Armenians, Assyrians, Anatolian Greeks— basically all the non-Muslim minorities of early 20th-century Anatolia—were massacred and driven out by 20th century Turkey. Turkey’s history of massacring minority populations is just flat-out disgusting. They would have done it to the Kurds, except the Anatolian Kurds were too numerous, too remote, and too damn tough to kill off or drive out, so the Turkish government simply decreed that they didn’t exist as a people, that they were simply “Mountain Turks” rather than the K-word. And now the Daily Sabah reports, without the decency to blush, that Arab residents of Northern Syria might face “segregation and assimilation.” Yeah. That’s a harsh fate, assimilation, huh. I’m sure the Armenians and Assyrians preferred outright extirpation to the horrors of assimilation.

[…]

Keep in mind there has been zero evidence that the YPG/J has actually done any cleansing whatsoever. They’re intensely socialist, anti-sectarian, anti-chauvinist.

They’ve gone out of their way to work with notoriously prickly, militarily worthless Syrian-Arab militias for the sake of maintaining inter-ethnic harmony. (YPG/J communiqués always mention an Arab militia ally called “Euphrates Volcano,” which deserves points for a cool name, anyway.)

At this point, the claims of ethnic cleansing are all Turkish and Wahhabi hype. Before the YPG/J took Tal Abyad, most Sunni-Arab outlets were screaming in advance that the Kurds were going to cleanse the town.

The story was picked up, interestingly, by Tory rags like the Telegraph, who are no fonder of commies than the Qatari or Turkish Islamists.

And then, two days after putting out that scare-story, those same outlets were reporting that in fact, locals were finally coming back to Tal Abyad now that the YPG/J was in control.

So, to sum up, there’s no evidence at all that YPG/J is involved in ethnic cleansing, sectarian massacres, or any of the other atrocities that are SOP for every other military force in Syria. Their crime is being victorious, pursuing the outright monsters of Islamic State onto Sunni Arab turf. If their neighbors were sane, they’d be dancing in the streets to see YPG/J replace IS in Tal Abyad and points south. But this is a sectarian neighborhood, and you don’t cheer for the other tribe, ever. But maybe that can change.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Preserved for posterity: The lies of the IMF, Euro Commission, and ECB

Posted by Charles II on June 30, 2015

Alberto Nardelli, The Guardian:

Greece would face an unsustainable level of debt by 2030 even if it signs up to the full package of tax and spending reforms demanded of it, according to unpublished documents compiled by its three main creditors.

The documents, drawn up by the so-called troika of lenders, support Greece’s argument that it needs substantial debt relief for a lasting economic recovery.

The second document in the pack of six, titled Reforms for the Completion of the Current Programme and Beyond, show there was less to this offer than suggested by commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. The cash on offer is not an ad hoc investment but is actually an EU grant that is regularly available to all member states. And, as Süddeutsche Zeitung points out, accessing the cash requires a 15% co-financing in Greece’s case, which it cannot afford.

A third document outlines the “financing needs and draft disbursement schedule linked to the completion of the fifth review”, spelling out how Greece would have received €15bn to meet its obligations until the end of November. The cash would have been handed over in five tranches starting in June (as soon as the Greek parliament approved the proposals) to cover Greece’s financing needs. However, 93% of the funds would have gone straight to cover the cost of maturing debt for the duration of the extension.

So, the Troika handed Greece a time bomb and, in exchange, demanded that they slash pensions, raise health co-pays, and make their taxes more regressive. Unsurprisingly, Greece is handing the device back to Europe.

Added: Deutsche Welle has picked up this meme, though without the documents from Suddeutsche Zeitung that The Guardian reported.

And The Independent, again without mentioning the SZ.

Posted in abuse of power, banking, capitalism as cancer | 2 Comments »

Preserved for posterity: the lies of Chris Christie

Posted by Charles II on June 30, 2015

Tom Moran, Star-Ledger editorial board:

Most Americans don’t know Chris Christie like I do, so it’s only natural to wonder what testimony I might offer after covering his every move for the last 14 years.

My testimony amounts to a warning: Don’t believe a word the man says.

If you have the stomach for it, this column offers some greatest hits in Christie’s catalog of lies.

Don’t misunderstand me. They all lie, and I get that. But Christie does it with such audacity, and such frequency, that he stands out.

[Christie] told [public workers] their pensions were “sacred” to him.

“The notion that I would eliminate, change, or alter your pension is not only a lie, but cannot be further from the truth,” he wrote them. “Your pension and benefits will be protected when I am elected governor.”

He then proceeded to make cutting those benefits the centerpiece of his first year in office.

• In May, Christie told Megyn Kelly of Fox News that the Bridgegate scandal was basically over:

“The U.S. Attorney said in his press conference a few weeks ago there will be no further charges in the bridge matter. He said it affirmatively three or four times.”

Not even close. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said the investigation continues, and that the two indicted Christie aides could wind up pleading guilty, which would yield a new trove of evidence.

“It’s like the end of Downton Abbey,” Fishman said. “You have to wait for a whole ‘nother season.”

• In March, Christie told a conservative gathering in Washington that he cut money to Planned Parenthood because he was “unapologetically” pro-life.

That was probably true. The lies came earlier, when he fended off criticism in pro-choice New Jersey by repeatedly saying the state’s financial pinch forced him to cut “worthy” programs like this one.

•In February, Christie claimed that he was a personal friend of the King of Jordan, which would allow him to accept gifts without limit, like a sumptuous weekend with his extended family in a desert resort enjoyed at the king’s expense.

Christie and his clan ran up a hotel bill of $30,000. He had met the king once, at a political dinner.

•Two weeks ago, Christie bragged to a national TV audience about his success with pension reform.

Supporting the pension reform? The court found those reforms to be unconstitutional.

He is a remarkable talent with a silver tongue. But if you look closely, you can see that it is forked like a serpent’s.

I would add, the louder he talks, the more he’s covering up. The ruder he is, the more closely people should examine what he’s saying. I hate to equate human beings to a deadly disease, as I have done implicitly with the category this is filed under. Really, it is the sort of shameless lying Christie engages in that is the disease. He’s just a corrupt, self-righteous, pompous, incompetent who happens to have that horrible and disfiguring disease.

Posted in corruption, crimes, Republicans as cancer | Leave a Comment »

There goes Europe

Posted by Charles II on June 30, 2015

Joe Stiglitz, The Guardian:

The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.

It is startling that the troika [the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund] has refused to accept responsibility for any of this [the ill results of accepting their pdemands] or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned.

But why would Europe do this? Why are European Union leaders resisting the referendum and refusing even to extend by a few days the June 30 deadline for Greece’s next payment to the IMF? Isn’t Europe all about democracy?

And, sure enough, what we are seeing now, 16 years after the eurozone institutionalised those relationships, is the antithesis of democracy: many European leaders want to see the end of prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist government.

Next: Portugal, Spain, and Italy hit the Grexits.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Whee! Puerto Rico edition

Posted by Charles II on June 29, 2015

Michael Fletcher, WaPo:

The governor of Puerto Rico has decided that the island cannot pay back more than $70 billion in debt, setting up an unprecedented financial crisis that could rock the municipal bond market and lead to higher borrowing costs for governments across the United States.

Puerto Rico’s move could roil financial markets already dealing with the turmoil of the renewed debt crisis in Greece. It also raises questions about the once-staid municipal bond market, which states and cities count on to pay upfront costs for public improvements such as roads, parks and hospitals.

For many years, those bonds were considered safe investments — but those assumptions have been shifting in recent years as a small but steady string of U.S. municipalities, including Detroit, as well as Stockton and Vallejo in California, have tumbled into bankruptcy.

At one point in 2013, an estimated three out of four municipal bond mutual funds held Puerto Rican bonds, which were attractive because of their high yields and exemption from federal, state and local taxes.

Greeks close banks, probably on their way to the Grexit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Today’s doubletake: Why we need al-Qaeda

Posted by Charles II on June 27, 2015

Ahmed Rashid, New York Review of Books:

In Washington and other Western capitals there is rampant confusion
 about the status and future of al-Qaeda.

…events in the Middle East suggest growing contradictions in Western 
policy. In Syria, the United States has been bombing Jabhat al-Nusra,
 al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, alongside ISIS. But members of the US-led
 coalition against ISIS, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are actively 
supporting al-Nusra with arms and money. In Yemen, the US has pursued a
 years-long drone campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a campaign that has included, most recently, the reported killing on Friday of AQAP leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi. But 
much of the Arab world is now essentially siding with AQAP in a Saudi-led war
 against Houthi rebels in that country.

…two quite separate super-wars are 
now being fought.

 The first war is being fought by the US and its Western allies, who are seeking to defeat Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and AQAP 
in Yemen alongside the campaign against ISIS.

The second war, by contrast, is being fought by Turkey and the regional Arab
 states—primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Egypt—against Assad and other Iranian-backed forces in the region, as well as ISIS. In this war the Arab states openly avoid bombing or attacking 
al-Nusra and AQAP, and in fact now provide both with financial support and weapons.

The West must recognize that the ground is shifting quickly across the region 
and the Arab Spring is now on the verge of turning into an Islamic 
fundamentalist winter, whether we like it or not. The US has paid a bitter price 
for declining to back the Arab states in removing Assad four years ago when there was a viable moderate opposition. In the
 months ahead, we should not be surprised if formal talks between al-Qaeda and
 these Arab states begin. The only one not at the table could be the
 United States. 



I think Ahmed Rashid is wrong, and I think his statement that we should have removed Assad four years ago is a clear sign of just how wrong he is. And if Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey want to focus on killing Shia and supporting terrorists, the United States should make it clear that we will not “sup with the devil,” as Rashid accurately calls such a strategy.

Still, I wish everyone in Congress would read the article, just so they’d stop saying such idiotic things.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

In the Name of Love, Take Down that Flag!

Posted by Charles II on June 27, 2015

Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone:

On Saturday morning, [Bree Newsome] scaled the flagpole outside the South Carolina State Capitol in Columbia and took down the Confederate flag herself.

As Newsome made her way down the flagpole quoting scripture (“The Lord is my light and my salvation. Who shall I fear?”), authorities gathered and arrested the activist and a male dressed as a construction worker who assisted her. Both were charged with defacing a monument, CNN reports. An hour later, the Confederate flag was once again atop the State Capitol’s flagpole…

Listen to her. She told the police, “You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!”

The crowd chants, “Let us love and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Bree Newsome interview, which starts about 30 minutes in.

Bree Newsome Twitter feed

Bree Newsome Website

Bree Newsome bail fund.

Links to Daily Kos diaries, from which some links were obtained: NancyK and DEMonRat Ankle Biter

Posted in racism | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

An eye-popping statistic

Posted by Charles II on June 26, 2015

From the Department of Justice, NIJ

Hate Crime Prevalence and Victimization
….
Estimates from victim interviews reported as part of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) far exceed the numbers reported by police agencies in the URC. NCVS indicates that approximately 191,000 hate crime incidents occur annually. Results from victim interviews indicate that only 44 percent of victimizations were reported to the police.[2] Only about 20 percent of these were validated by law enforcement as bias related.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

#DylannRoof And #LostCause Backers: Bellicose Lying #Bigots

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 25, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates does an excellent job of running Confederate lies to earth.

For instance, after first demolishing the “War of Northern Aggression” lie by showing how the Southern slave camp owners had been planning to secede and/or invade Cuba, Mexico and other parts of Latin America and the Carribean before finally firing on Fort Sumter, he then takes on the infamous “the war wasn’t about slavery” lie:

… As the Late Unpleasantness [of the Civil War itself] stretched from the predicted months into years, the very reason for the Confederacy’s existence came to threaten its diplomatic efforts. Fighting for slavery presented problems abroad, and so Confederate diplomats came up with the notion of emphasizing “states rights” over “slavery”—the first manifestation of what would later become a plank in the foundation of Lost Cause mythology.

The first people to question that mythology were themselves Confederates, distraught to find their motives downplayed or treated as embarassments. A Richmond-based newspaper offered the following:

‘The people of the South,’ says a contemporary, ‘are not fighting for slavery but for independence.’ Let us look into this matter. It is an easy task, we think, to show up this new-fangled heresy — a heresy calculated to do us no good, for it cannot deceive foreign statesmen nor peoples, nor mislead any one here nor in Yankeeland. . . Our doctrine is this: WE ARE FIGHTING FOR INDEPENDENCE THAT OUR GREAT AND NECESSARY DOMESTIC INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY SHALL BE PRESERVED, and for the preservation of other institutions of which slavery is the groundwork.

Even after the war, as the Lost Cause rose, many veterans remained clear about why they had rallied to the Confederate flag. “I’ve never heard of any other cause than slavery,” wrote Confederate commander John S. Mosby. The progeny of the Confederacy repeatedly invoked slavery as the war’s cause.

The entire article is worth a read, so much so that I pray Mr. Coates has a good home security system. Confederates get violent when their cognitive dissonance is attacked, as Dylann Roof has already shown.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

“A prince of darkness has returned to hell.”

Posted by Charles II on June 25, 2015

Honduran oligarch Miguel Facussé was widely reported to be a narcotrafficker and mass murderer in Honduras. From DemocracyNow:

Diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks showed the United States knew of Facussé’s role in cocaine trafficking but continued funding Honduras’ military and police, who reportedly worked closely with Facussé’s guards. Facussé backed the 2009 coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya;

In response to Facussé’s death, Chuck Kaufman of the Alliance for Global Justice told Colorado radio station KGNU, “A prince of darkness has returned to hell.”

By the way, this is Colorado’s KGNU, not Missouri’s WGNU, a radio station that inexplicably broadcast Earl Holt III while proclaiming:

We want to draw citizen elements together in a spirit of harmony and brotherhood; leaving behind confusing, divisive or rudely confrontational attitudes and language.

It must be Prince of Darkness Day or something.

Posted in evil | 1 Comment »

 
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