Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for March 1st, 2007

One Friedman away from fragging and mutiny

Posted by Charles II on March 1, 2007

Tisdall, Gruadnia:

An elite team of officers advising the US commander, General David Petraeus, in Baghdad has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq – or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat…

The main obstacles confronting Gen Petraeus’s team are:

  • Insufficient troops on the ground
  • A “disintegrating” international coalition
  • An anticipated increase in violence in the south as the British leave
  • Morale problems as casualties rise
  • A failure of political will in Washington and/or Baghdad.

The team is an unusual mix of combat experience and academic achievement. It includes Colonel Peter Mansoor, a former armoured division commander with a PhD in the history of infantry; Colonel HR McMaster, author of a well-known critique of Vietnam and a seasoned counter-insurgency operations chief; Lt-Col David Kilcullen, a seconded Australian officer and expert on Islamism; and Colonel Michael Meese, son of the former US attorney-general Edwin Meese, who was a member of the ill-fated Iraq Study Group…

“Additional troops are essential if we are to win,” said Lt-Col John Nagel, co-author of the [counterinsurgency] manual, in an address at the US Naval Institute in San Diego last month. One soldier for every 50 civilians in the most intense conflict areas [corresponding to about 300,000-500,000 combat troops] was key to successful counter-insurgency work.

Not to worry. No matter that Iraq has gone on longer than WW II without a single discernible victory, no matter that the rest of the world long ago walked away from the mess, the Publicans will blame us, same as for everything else.

Posted in Iraq war, madness of King George, Republicans acting badly | 9 Comments »

Speaking of Ted Beale, aka Vox Day…

Posted by Charles II on March 1, 2007

Terry Krepel of the indispensable ConWebWatch: 

WorldNetDaily has been notoriously close-lipped about who its backers are. Back in 2002, ConWebWatch asked WND founder and editor Joseph Farah who owns his company and who put up the $4.5 million in startup money for it; he answered the first question (he and the Western Journalism Center he co-founded own a majority of it) but not the second.

In the face of Farah and WND refusing to offer a straight answer, we set off to find one. …the members of WND’s board of directors …are mostly California-based activists who quietly support conservative causes.
 The exception to those quiet and California-based traits is Robert Beale, a Minnesota-based technology firm owner who sat on the WND board of directors from 2000 to 2002.  … Minnesota officials seized his $3 million, 30-room house for back taxes. …Beale, at one point, had a website (now defunct) that promoted Beale’s case, designed by his son, Theodore Beale, who’s better known to WND readers as columnist Vox Day.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Republicans Are Lying About the Employee Free Choice Act

Posted by MEC on March 1, 2007

I’m watching the House debate (on C-SPAN) on the Employee Free Choice Act, HR 800 RH. The intent of the bill is to provide an alternate means of unionizing workplaces.

The text of the bill says:

(a) In General- Section 9(c) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 159(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following:


(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, whenever a petition shall have been filed by an employee or group of employees or any individual or labor organization acting in their behalf alleging that a majority of employees in a unit appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining wish to be represented by an individual or labor organization for such purposes, the Board shall investigate the petition. If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a).



Please note that the text would be added to the existing law. It would not replace any existing provisions.

The purpose of the bill is to protect employees against their employers’ opposition to unionizing. All too often, the time lag between requesting an election and holding the election provides too much opportunity for employers to intimidate workers in order to prevent the election. The assumption underlying this new provision is that employees who sign an authorization to form a union would also vote for the union if an election were held.

Notwithstanding that the provision for holding an election is not eliminated and that this new provision would not result in any decision contrary to the stated will of the workers, the Republicans, one after another, are standing up and asserting that the Democrats are undermining democracy by “eliminating the secret ballot”. In effect, they’re lying about what the bill says and what it will do.

…And now the Republicans are throwing more dust into the air by claiming the bill will permit illegal immigrants to sign the authorization cards and force unions upon legal residents and citizens. They are totally shameless.

The Democrats I’ve heard speaking, to their credit, keep the focus on the real purpose and the real need for the bill. George Miller (D-CA) was especially passionate in beating back the Republicans’ cynical attempt to turn this into an “illegal immigration” debate.

The attempts to sabotage the bill are almost certainly futile, because the bill has 234 co-sponsors, a clear majority of the House. My guess is they just want to generate soundbites that the Party can use to accuse the Democrats of being against democracy and for illegal immigration.

This debate reminds me of the partisan definitions of election reform. Democrats want reforms that enable more legal voters to actually cast their vote and have it counted. Republicans want reforms that allegedly would prevent fraud, but in reality prevent voting.

In this issue, the Democrats want to protect workers from being abused by employers. Republicans want to protect them from … um … apparently from gaining the protections that unions offer.

[Edited to add:] The bill just passed 241-185.

[Edited again to add details from the roll call.]

Two Democrats voted against: Dan Boren of Oklahoma and Gene Taylor of Mississippi. Three Democrats did not vote.

Thirteen Republicans voted for, all from northern states that have a lot of union members. Five did not vote.

Michael Ferguson (NJ)
Vito Fossella (NY)
Peter King (NY)
Steven LaTourette (OH)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
Thaddeus McCotter (MI)
John McHugh (NY)
Jim Saxton (NJ)
Chris Shays (CT)
Christopher Smith (NJ)
James Walsh (NY)
Don Young (AK)
Tim Murphy (PA)

It’s Very Interesting that most of the Michigan Republicans voted against unions. I predict that Michigan Democrat Party chair Mark Brewer will be all over that like white on rice.

Posted in anti-truth, Congress, Democrats, GOP bullying, hypocrites, immigration, Republicans acting badly, unions | 3 Comments »

Market indicator for GOP bull

Posted by Charles II on March 1, 2007

Larry Kudlow’s face is a very good indicator for where the GOP is heading. Today on Street Signs, he looked like he had swallowed a pint of urine.

Maybe he had.

I hope he had.

It might improve him.

The basic GOP orthodoxy is that as long as corporations aren’t regulated and as long as corporations and high net worth individuals aren’t taxed, the stock market will go up.

Now, to believe that takes a lot of mental contortions. You have to believe that the market zoomed up under Clinton despite the tax increase and despite the fact that he blocked most of the deregulatory stuff the Congress tried to push through. You have to believe that it really only went up due to a tech bubble. You have to believe that the market decline in 2001 was all due to Clinton’s failure to defend the country against Al Qaida (even though 9/11 happened after Bush had been in office for 8 months). You have to be happy with the 20% rise that occurred from mid-2005 to date, despite the fact that between inflation and the decline in the dollar, the value of the Dow is down maybe 15%.

And above all, you have to believe that the rise in the markets is not built on a mountain of government and private debt that is likely to collapse under the weight of subprime mortgages and unwinnable wars.

Kudlow was furious, and I mean face-making furious, at the idea that GOP orthodoxy is wrong. If there are any Democrats thinking of running for Congress in 2008, take that as your green light indicator. No one knows where the stock market is going, but GOP bulls$%!t is getting cheaper by the minute.

Posted in Republicans, Republicans acting badly, stock market | Comments Off on Market indicator for GOP bull

‘Straight Talk Express’ Derailed Again

Posted by MEC on March 1, 2007

“Mr. Straight Talk” McCain says U.S. lives are “wasted” in Iraq

“Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be,” McCain said Wednesday on CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman.” “We’ve wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.”

This doesn’t mean that McCain has joined the reality-based community and recognized that there’s only one thing we can do to keep the situation from Iraq from getting worse (i.e., leave).

McCain, who repeated his assertion that U.S. troops must remain in Iraq rather than withdrawing early, made the “wasted” remark after confirming to Letterman what has been clear for at least a year or more that he’s in the running for the 2008 Republican nomination.

So. He thinks lives are being wasted, but he thinks it’s a good thing to continue wasting them.

It is true that lives are being wasted in Iraq — not just U.S. military personnel, but a far higher number of Iraqi civilians. If Shrub’s policy in Iraq continues, there will not be any outcome that would make these deaths worthwhile.

It is also the case that for the loved ones of many of the dead American soldiers, the thought that these lives were wasted is intolerable. When Barack Obama talked about wasted lives, he realized this and, without prompting, apologized. Will military hero John McCain respect the feelings of military families, and apologize for his remark?

Posted in John McCain | Comments Off on ‘Straight Talk Express’ Derailed Again

Bush Getaway Paradise Under Bio Lockdown

Posted by Charles II on March 1, 2007

There was a report some months ago that Bush bought a heeeeuge ranch down in Paraguay.  I looked it up and it was one of the larger ranches in existence.

Well, dengue fever has broken out in Paraguay, and it looks pretty bad:

Dengue fever patient 

(Image by Associated Press at the BBC)

Paraguay has declared a 60-day state of emergency to deal with an outbreak of dengue fever which has killed at least 10 people in the past two months. Officials say 14,654 people have been diagnosed with dengue…Doctors in Paraguay say that at least five of those who died were suffering from a particularly virulent variant of the disease called “gastric dengue”, never seen before in the country….Specialists have warned that public hospitals do not have enough intensive-care capacity to cope if the number of severe cases continues to rise…Experts have blamed the unusually rapid spread of the disease on a higher rainfall and uncommonly warm weather, which have boosted the population of the aedes aegypti mosquito.  

The number of levels of irony of Bush’s getaway turning into a fever swamp due to a decline in public health and a corrupt government is dizzying. If I had the time, I’d Photoshop Bush’s face onto the patient in the photo above.

Posted in Bush, climate change, corruption | Comments Off on Bush Getaway Paradise Under Bio Lockdown

Economic Gaslighting

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 1, 2007

Is it really a boom if the vast majority of Americans keep losing ground while a tiny minority reap huge windfalls?

That’s the question that’s implicit in this article on poverty in Bush’s America:

The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation’s “haves” and “have-nots” continues to widen.


A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 – half the federal poverty line – was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year. The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That’s 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period.


McClatchy’s review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn’t confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas.


The plight of the severely poor is a distressing sidebar to an unusual economic expansion. Worker productivity has increased dramatically since the brief recession of 2001, but wages and job growth have lagged behind. At the same time, the share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. That helps explain why the median household income of working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years.


These and other factors have helped push 43 percent of the nation’s 37 million poor people into deep poverty – the highest rate since at least 1975. The share of poor Americans in deep poverty has climbed slowly but steadily over the last three decades. But since 2000, the number of severely poor has grown “more than any other segment of the population,” according to a recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “That was the exact opposite of what we anticipated when we began,” said Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University, who co-authored the study. “We’re not seeing as much moderate poverty as a proportion of the population. What we’re seeing is a dramatic growth of severe poverty.”

There’s one sentence in the quoted passage above that I want to pull out for special study:

The share of poor Americans in deep poverty has climbed slowly but steadily over the last three decades.  But since 2000, the number of severely poor has grown “more than any other segment of the population,” according to a recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“The last three decades” is of course is the time period when the Republicans set to work on dismantling LBJ’s Great Society (work that was largely done by Donald Rumsfeld) and doing their damnedest to gut FDR’s New Deal.  That gutting was accelerated under Bush, as were the effects of that gutting.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

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