Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for February 22nd, 2007

Now We’re Getting Somewhere

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 22, 2007

If the Republicans and Bush want their war, let them go on the record and say so:

WASHINGTON (AP)  Determined to challenge President Bush, Senate Democrats are drafting legislation to limit the mission of U.S. troops in Iraq, effectively revoking the broad authority Congress granted in 2002, officials said Thursday.

C’mon, Republicans.  You like this war so much, vote for it.   Then try to defend your vote next year.

Posted in Democrats, Democrats with spines, Good Things, Iraq war, madness of King George, Republicans | 2 Comments »

An open letter to Salon

Posted by Charles II on February 22, 2007

It’s difficult to disagree with Professor Paul Campos’s characterization of Professor Glenn Reynold’s call for assassinations as “pretty much insane.”  I think that if Iran called for assassination of American scientists, many of us would think *that* amounted to a declaration of war, after all.

Unlike Professor Campos, I think this incident illustrates how important academic freedom is and how it needs a stronger defense than many academics are willing to give it. For truth and error to contend on an equal field, we must permit error to speak its piece and be rebuked. It is the public rebuke of error that genuinely silences it.

The Ward Churchill case was alarming in that it showed how little academics are willing to hold true to their professed belief in academic freedom. Churchill was a showman, an entrepreneur who pressed the limits, and sloppy in his scholarship (see here). But none of this came up *legitimately*, as a critique by his colleagues. Instead, it came up because he made a cruel comment about those killed on 9/11, a comment which right-wingers believed they could exploit to expose the dastardly left.

What resulted from the criticism of Churchill by his colleagues was the creation of the impression that the University of Colorado had succumbed to right-wing pressure and fallen to enforcing political orthodoxy. Professor Richard Falk and others have joined to oppose this effort and support academic freedom (see here) [2/18/09, updated link here].

Those who do believe in academic freedom will dismiss Professor Campos’s raising the question of Professor Reynolds’s tenure as mischievous, not in the mainstream of American academic thought, and not worthy of serious consideration. One wishes that Reynolds and his cohort would return the sentiment, but that is doubtful. It is left to those who believe in freedom to defend it, no matter who supports or opposes it.


I might add that, having looked at the critique of Churchill, I thought most of it was pretty lame. If that’s what gets people fired, one could get rid of many people on a university faculty. What Churchill deserves– and he would find this the harshest punishment of all– is to be ignored.

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »


Posted by MEC on February 22, 2007

ABC called it an interview of Dick Cheney by Jonathan Karl. I call it Jonathan Karl feeding Cheney his lines.

Karl: Now you just made a very clear statement in your speech saying the American people do not support a policy of retreat.


Cheney: I believe that.


Karl: Is that policy that we hear from the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, from other Democrats, is that a policy of defeat?


Cheney: Yes.


Karl: So the American people don’t stand with the Democrats, what the Democrats are trying to do?

I expected the next question to be, “Would you say that anybody who disagrees with you is a traitor?”

This. Is not journalism. Dick Cheney said nothing in this interview that he hasn’t said every time he opens his mouth.

To paraphrase Matt Taibbi,

If nothing happens, then you can’t have ‘news,’ because nothing has changed since the day before. Dick Cheney was dishonest and despotic last Thursday, dishonest and despotic on Friday, and dishonest and despotic on both Saturday and Sunday. He was, shockingly, also dishonest and despotic on Monday.”

The questions I quoted are the worst of it; but throughout the interview, Jonathan Karl made no attempt whatever to challenge Cheney’s assertions, to get new revelations out of him, to hold him accountable to the American people. This interview was not journalism. It was propaganda, and ABC News should be ashamed to have promoted this farce, except that all the people in the mainstream media collectively haven’t enough self-respect to feel shame.

Posted in anti-truth, beat the press, Dick Cheney, GOP/Media Complex, mediawhores | 1 Comment »

Bolivarian revolution heads north

Posted by Charles II on February 22, 2007

(Image from the BBC)

From the Beeb:

Indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchu says she will run for president in Guatemala’s elections this September.

Ms Menchu will stand for a coalition of the indigenous party Winaq, which she founded earlier this month, and the left-wing Encounter for Guatemala.

If elected, she will become the first president from Guatemala’s indigenous Maya community.

Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her work in defence of indigenous rights.

Only two full-blooded Indians have reached the top levels of government in Latin America: Benito Juarez and Evo Morales. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, of mixed descent, has promoted indigenous rights in the broader reforms he is introducing in what he calls The Bolivarian Revolution. To quote historian William Katz,

Like four-fifths of Venezuelans today, Chavez was born of poor Black and Indian parents. Since the days of Columbus, descendants of the Spanish conquerors have claimed the privilege of governing Latin America. They have effectively barred Indigenous people from high office. Chavez stands as a direct challenge to white domination of South American governments.

Chavez is not only proud of his biracial legacy, but has been using oil revenues to help the poor of all colors improve their education and economic standing…Chavez rules a country where three percent of the population, mostly of white European descent, own 77% of the land. In recent decades millions of hungry peasants have drifted into Caracas and other cities, to live in barrios of cardboard shacks and open sewers. Chavez wants to reverse poverty, provide jobs, provide education and health care, and redistribute vacant lands.

The people running the US, including a lot of nominally centrist or even left-wing people simply don’t get what is going on. Indigenous peoples do not have the same approach to property that Anglos do. Generally, property ownership is respected. But if property is being used in a manner that is destructive to others, the community reclaims it. While right-wingers lump this in with communism, the indigenous approach to property is really the “tyranny of the small town” that Anglos pretend to admire (and to which so many horse operas have been created as chapels of worship).   

With Menchu’s candidacy, the Bolivarian Revolution heads north, out of South America and toward the Pine Ridge Reservation. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Bolivarian revolution heads north

While Most Of Big Media Stares At Britney’s Head, BushCo Ramps Up The Iran Attack Plans

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 22, 2007

From the BBC via Attytood:

US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.

Here’s the part that’s really interesting:

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon – which it denies. Alternatively, our correspondent adds, a high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.

That’s why BushCo is so desperate to “prove” that the Shiite mullahs running Iran are behind the insurgency, even when it’s clear to everyone who’s been paying attention that it’s the Sunnis and Baathists who have by far been doing most of the attacks on US troops in Iraq.

Posted in beat the press, distractions, eedjits, international, Iran, Iraq war, madness of King George, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Shorter Sid Blumenthal On The Libby Trial

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 22, 2007

Fitz&Co.: Libby “didn’t remember” nine conversations with eight reporters and then “remembers” two that nobody else remembers? I don’t think so. Face it, folks — he lied his ass off to save his boss from paying the price for burning a NOC.

Wells&Co.: WAAAAH! We’re going to cwwwwyyy! And stamp our feet! And hold our breath until we turn blue! So you’d better acquit!

Go read the whole thing here. It’s lovely.

Posted in Fitzgerald, GOP bullying, GOP/Media Complex, government malfeasance, Libby trial, madness of King George, Republicans acting badly, The smear industry, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

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