Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for July, 2007

This Is How The Right Wing Supports The Troops

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 30, 2007

A month back, a soldier currently serving in Iraq published an article in The New Republic under the pseudonym “Scott Thomas”.  The article was hard-hitting and grim.  It told how war desensitized and dehumanized the persons fighting in it, most of whom are teenagers or young and still impressionable adults (our brains aren’t fully mature until we’re in our mid-twenties, a fact that several of society’s enterprises use to their advantage but not necessarily to ours).   While talking about the place of war in society — it never will go away, he obviously thinks — he tells about some of the terrible things he had witnessed and done, such as desecrating corpses and running over dogs with armored vehicles.

Of course, once they found out about it, all of the Usual Suspects in the conservative’s mighty Wurlitzer – Malkin, Powerline,  the whole schmear – set out to prove that “Scott Thomas” didn’t exist and that this was all just liberal lies to smear the armed forces and turn the country against the war. They went berzerk proving to themselves through “semiotic analysis” and other such crapola that this whole thing was just made-up liberal media lies.

The following week they were all congratulating themselves for their hard work at exposing TNR’s alleged lies, and went on to demand a retraction from the New Republic. At this point, which was late last week, the real author of the piece, Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp — a soldier currently serving in Iraq — came forward.  (If this all sounds familiar:  They didn’t think “Jamil Hussein” existed, either — and they didn’t much care that their outing of him would likely lead to his death.)

Did the appearance of Beauchamp cause the cons to either apologize or shut their yaps in embarrassment?  Of course not.   These people have no shame.

Instead, the reaction of the cons was pretty similar to how they reacted to the people who turned Jenna and her twin Barbara Bush in for underage drinking at Chuy’s a few years ago.    The “support the troops” conservatives immediately set out to destroy Pvt. Beauchamp-working on getting him in trouble with the army  — a project apparently made easier by getting an officer assigned to the job of assisting with their work — working to dig up and in at least one case posting personal information about him (which you will not find here), and even suggesting that other members of his unit frag him while on patrol.

An endless stream of vicious threats and smears, and it was all treated as business as usual with no one suggesting that anyone involved in this had crossed a line.   When we left him last week, Howie ‘Mistah’ Kurtz was working on trying to pump this into an actual scandal — on the part of Beauchamp, not on the part of the sick cons trying to hound him to death.   (In fairness, I must note that one conservative, John Cole of Balloon Juice, is disgusted by the actions of Malkin and Company.  Bully for his not being a bully.)

To quote Digby on this:

I hear so much from the right about how they love the troops. But they don’t seem to love the actual human beings who wear the uniform, they love those little GI Joe dolls they played with as children which they could dress up in little costumes and contort into pretzels for their fun and amusement. If they loved the actual troops they wouldn’t require them to be like two dimensional John Waynes, withholding their real experiences and feelings for fear that a virtual armchair lynch mob would come after them.

[UPDATE: Jon Swift provides another good rundown, with some links I don’t have.]

[UPDATE #2:  TBogg tells us about Bob “Confederate Yankee” Owens and his efforts to harass Private Beauchamp.  Keep digging that hole, Bob!]


Posted in blogger ethics, blogs and blogging, eedjits, Flying Monkey Right | 15 Comments »


Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 30, 2007


Amazing, that the Bush people slashed the IRS’ ability to collect from hyper-rich scofflaws, yet was (until very recently) just fine with them doing this:

As it hunted down tax scofflaws, the Internal Revenue Service collected information on the political party affiliations of taxpayers in 20 states.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a member of an appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the IRS, said the practice was an “outrageous violation of the public trust” that could undermine the agency’s credibility.

IRS officials acknowledged that party affiliation information was routinely collected by a vendor for several months. They told the vendor last month to screen the information out.

“The bottom line is that we have never used this information,” said John Lipold, an IRS spokesman. “There are strict laws in place that forbid it.”

Suuuuuure you haven’t.

I happen to know a guy who knows some of the local members of the peace movement. One of the movement activists asked this guy for the use of his boat launch on one of the local lakes that has seen a number of anti-Bush and pro-peace protests. The problem is that every single person living on that lake who’s assisted this group of protesters has had their tax returns audited every single year since.

Posted in abuse of power, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, evil, madness of King George | 1 Comment »

Subprime terrors spread to Europe

Posted by Charles II on July 30, 2007

Shannon D. Harrington and Hamish Risk of Bloomberg:

The risk of owning corporate bonds soared to a second straight record after a German bank slashed its profit forecast because of “massive uncertainty” in the market for subprime mortgages and credit.

…Default swaps on Dusseldorf-based IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG IKB bonds jumped, trading at six times the prices of a month ago. …

Investors are fleeing corporate credit at the fastest pace in seven years, Barclays Capital said in a report. …

“It’s pure fear,” said Gary Jenkins, a partner at London- based hedge fund Synapse Investment Management, which manages $650 million of debt assets. “It’s fear of the unknown, fear of hedge funds unwinding, fear of knock-on effects of the subprime meltdown.”

I’d certainly be afraid if Bush were in charge of the American economy. But we’d never be so stupid as to do something like that, would we?

Posted in economy | 2 Comments »

Iraq Developments

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 30, 2007

While the Republican congressional caucuses, unwilling to defy the boy-king on Iraq, are playing around with their latest attempt at Potemkin legislation that pretends to withdraw us when it really doesn’t, events are moving to force our hands:

Basra should be handed over to Iraqi control by the end of the year, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the head of Britain’s armed forces, has predicted.

The Chief of Defence Staff said he expected a decision to be taken in the next couple of months. “We are very close to being able to hand over Basra in my judgement,” he said. “Just when we will reach that point is at the moment uncertain but I am fairly confident it’ll be in the second half of the year.”

The number of British troops in Iraq has been cut from 7,000 to 5,500 this year and is due by a further 500 when the Army leaves a base in central Basra shortly.

The exit timetable is expected to be discussed by George Bush and Gordon Brown when they hold talks at the President’s Camp David retreat this weekend. The Bush administration is under mounting domestic pressure over Iraq but a decision on its next moves may be delayed until a review of its troop “surge” in the Baghdad area is completed in September.

I wonder if Bush has any flipping clue that the Brits are telling him “Get out now while you can, you fool”.  They — and their counterparts in our Pentagon — are looking at a scenario that looks disturbingly like this:

AT THE Army College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Major Daniel Morgan is studying the lessons for Iraq of the Soviets’ chaotic exit from Afghanistan in the late 1980s. The roads were choked with tanks and heavy weaponry, making the demoralised soldiers easy prey for guerillas.

“The Soviet Army actually had to fight out of certain areas,” said Morgan, who has served twice in Iraq.


The Soviet rout from Afghanistan is one of the worst-case scenarios that a rapid withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq could provoke. “They had to airlift out of Kandahar, the fighting was so bad,” Morgan recalled. Another nightmare image remains familiar decades on – the helicopters taking off from the roof of the US embassy in Saigon, leaving desperate Vietnamese allies to their fate.

The safest way to withdraw, in the words of a Pentagon official, would be to conduct orderly handovers, area by area, to Iraqi forces – “you take down one flag and run up another”. But a study by logistics experts for US Central Command recently concluded that it would take two years systematically to turn over territory, bases and equipment to the Iraqis.

And, as the Soviets found in Afghanistan, once it is obvious the US is on the way out, the political and security situation could rapidly come unstuck.

The problem is that staying is not an option.  If we stay, the situation turns from Afghanistan or Vietnam to Khartoum.  Or the Teutobergerwald.

Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq war, Vietnam | 1 Comment »

Hey, Lookit! People Who Aren’t Millionaires, Writing Legislation!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 30, 2007


And it’s good legislation, too, achieved through a good process:

A blog launched this month has teamed with a U.S. senator in an effort to write new broadband legislation, and so far participants have given the process high marks., a blog focused on liberal issues, has been hosting a wide-ranging discussion on broadband policy since Tuesday. Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and assistant majority leader in the Senate, has joined the discussion, saying he’ll use the ideas from OpenLeft to craft broadband legislation.

The discussion hasn’t been one-sided. Advocates of net neutrality rules have debated with opponents, and critics of spectrum auctions at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission have sparred with advocates of free-market auctions.

Through it all, the debate has sometimes been heated, but mostly civil. Durbin himself has entered the fray– on Tuesday night, he stayed online longer than his scheduled 45 minutes, said Matt Stoller, a liberal activist, blogger and cofounder of

“He ended up staying for an hour and a half because he liked it,” Stoller said.

The senator fielded questions about media consolidation, net neutrality and the influence of lobbyists during the Tuesday night discussion. Asked about countering the influence of lobbyists, Durbin wrote: “The answer is partly to do what you’re doing tonight– get involved. And stay involved. Even if the fight doesn’t go your way. That is one of the reasons the telecom lobby is so successful. If the bills they advocate don’t pass or are amended in ways they don’t like, they come back at it the next day. Or next week. Or next year. Net activists need to adopt that philosophy as well.”

Works for me!

Posted in blogger ethics, blogs and blogging, Congress, Democrats, getting a clue, Good Things | 2 Comments »

Pendulum swings left in Japan

Posted by Charles II on July 29, 2007

Some background, from Hisane Masaki in Asia Times (April):

While Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition may seem to be cruising easily toward the first revision of the country’s postwar pacifist constitution, it has encountered an unexpected head wind – a decline in public support for the move.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Japan, world news | Comments Off on Pendulum swings left in Japan

Seven Years Too Late

Posted by MEC on July 29, 2007

The New York Times issues a correction:

An article last Sunday about politicians’ choice of clothing while campaigning referred incorrectly to the role of Naomi Wolf in Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. She was a consultant on women’s issues and outreach to young voters; she was not Mr. Gore’s image consultant and was not involved in his decision to wear earth-toned clothing.

Words fail me.

(H/T Atrios)

Posted in Al Gore, beat the press | 1 Comment »

Their Internal Polls Must Really Be Scaring Them

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 29, 2007

The RNC is going all-out against Al Franken now. Heh!

Posted in Al Franken | 1 Comment »

Bush Comes By His Hatred Of Freedom And Democracy Honestly…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 29, 2007

his grandfather Prescott was in the gang of hyper-rich people that plotted to overthrow Franklin Delano Roosevelt and set up a Hitler/Mussolini-style fascist dictatorship.

Oh, no!  I made a perfectly legitimate Hitler/Bush comparison.  The tighty-whitey righties will be screeching “Godwin’s Law!” over and over again now.


Charles adds: As noted by whig in comments below, the History Channel has produced a documentary titled The Plot to Overthrow FDR. It is available through and other outlets. One can see a preview at Monkeyfister’s blog.

Posted in abuse of power, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Constitution, Constitutional crisis, corruption, half-vast rightwing conspiracy, rightwing moral cripples | 5 Comments »

The president’s home is the people’s house no more.

Posted by Charles II on July 28, 2007

CBS Channel 5, SF reports:

New signs are posted around the White House indicating a new strict enforcement of the dress code, the Washington Post reported Thursday. The code applies to all visitors and staff members, including tourists

The forbidden items include jeans, sneakers, mini-skirts, t-shirts, tank tops and absolutely no flip flops.

The motivation for the clothing crack-down comes from the Bush Administration who think some of those who work there and those who visit just don’t dress appropriately.

(emphasis added. Via RichK)

Posted in Busheviks, wrong way to go about it | 4 Comments »

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