Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for October 16th, 2007

Americans oppose wiretapping.

Posted by Charles II on October 16, 2007

John Godfrey and Corey Bowles. Dow Jones:

A majority of likely voters in the U.S. oppose giving immunity to telephone companies who sold customer information to the government, according to a survey released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. …

According to the ACLU survey of 1,000 likely voters, 59% were either opposed or strongly opposed to the idea of giving companies that sold such information to the government civil or criminal immunity, even if that information was used to “investigate terrorism.”

About 31% of those surveyed said they supported or strongly supported giving such amnesty, with the remaining percentage of voters saying they were undecided.

Posted in abuse of power, NSA eavesdropping | Comments Off on Americans oppose wiretapping.

Blackwater: Unlawful Combatants?

Posted by MEC on October 16, 2007

The Bush regime has used a broad definition of “unlawful combatant” to justify the capture and indefinite imprisonment of the detainees at Guantànamo.

Julian Barnes of the Los Angeles Times points out that under Bush’s definition, the Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq are “unlawful combatants”.

The designation of lawful and unlawful combatants is set out in the Geneva Convention.Lawful combatants are nonmilitary personnel who operate under their military’s chain of command. Others may carry weapons in a war zone but may not use offensive force. Under the international agreements, they may only defend themselves.

Given the growing number of reports that the mercenaries shot first, they’re going to have a tough time making the case that they were “defending themselves”.

Some Defense Department lawyers argue that shooting first is self-defense if the mercenaries “detected hostile intent”. That begs the question of whether the perception of “hostile intent” is an accurate assessment of the situation, or hostility-fueled paranoia.

You can probably guess which I think is likelier.

Lawful or unlawful, the Blackwater mercenaries in Iraq are supposedly going to be “phased out”. I don’t believe for an instant that Bush will deprive his crony Erik Prince of all that lovely profit. I can’t wait to find out how they manage to keep the cash flowing while removing Blackwater from public scrutiny.

Posted in abuse of power, Blackwater, hypocrites, Iraq war | 1 Comment »

Practicing What They Preach

Posted by MEC on October 16, 2007

When Lt. Ehren Watada declared he was a conscientious objector and refused orders to fight in what he believes is an illegal war, he was court-martialled.

When Army Spec. Agustin Aguayo applied for conscientious objector status because his experiences in the Iraq War convinced him that war is immoral, he was arrested.

But when Captain Peter Brown applied for conscientious objector status, he was granted the status and honorably discharged.

How did Captain Brown convince the military authorities of his sincerity when Lt. Watada and Spec. Aguayo could not?

He declared that his Christian beliefs compelled him to love his enemies, not kill them.

“In following Jesus’ example, I could not have fired my weapon at another human being, even if he were shooting at me,” said Brown, who plans to continue seminary classes he began by correspondence while in Iraq.


Brown said he had no conflict between his faith and military service until after he graduated from West Point in 2004 and began to study scripture and his belief.

When word gets around about this, the Pentagon’s support for proselytizing among the troops may succeed beyond the evangelicals’ wildest dreams — and have unintended consequences.

Posted in Iraq war | 11 Comments »

John Edwards Gets Ten Big State SEIU Endorsements

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 16, 2007

This is big, folks.

Not only did John Edwards receive the endorsement today of the Iowa state chapter of the service employees union, but he also has garnered the backing of nine other state chapters of the S.E.I.U, including the biggest prize of all, the S.E.I.U. council in California, which represents 650,000 workers.

Democratic officials said that Mr. Edwards would also receive the endorsements of the Service Employees International Union chapters in several other states with sizable memberships — Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and Washington.

The S.E.I.U. is considered extremely politically active, and these 10 state councils that endorsed Mr. Edwards represent 1 million workers, or more than half its national membership.

The SEIU is pretty much the only major union whose membership has actually grown over the past few decades. And union members are the only group whose white male members have consistently voted Democratic over the decades. Which is why it’s sad to see that Hillary has guys like professional union-buster Mark Penn working for her.

Posted in 2008, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, unions | 1 Comment »

The celebrity media feeding frenzy you won’t see

Posted by Charles II on October 16, 2007

Via Avedon, Randi Rhodes was attacked and badly hurt. There’s no evident motive. This could be violence used for political purposes: terrorism.

Update (via Avedon): David Hinckley and Tina Moore, NY Daily News reports that this was not an assault:

A police source said Rhodes never filed a report and never claimed to be the victim of a mugging. Cops from Manhattan’s 17th Precinct called her attorney, who told them Rhodes was not a victim of a crime, the source said.

Rhodes’ lawyer told the Daily News she was injured in a fall while walking her dog.

So… can we expect CNN to crank up the heat on the police to find the perpetrator by running the story 24/7? A crime like this ought to get at least as much air time as the Runaway Bride.

Update: one can see the kind of hate on the right in the comments thread here. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Flying Monkey Right, terrorism | 6 Comments »

Kids, Try This At Home….

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 16, 2007

…but please don’t do it at a medical conference. Even if it is in Las Vegas.

Posted in Just for fun, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | Comments Off on Kids, Try This At Home….

Alert! BushCo’s Lying About Social Security Again! Water Is Wet!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 16, 2007

The Bush Junta decided to create a fake “news story” — the eligibility for Social Security by the alleged First Ever Baby Boomer — and use it as an excuse to tell the same old scare lies about Social Security, in the hopes of stampeding folks into the loving arms of the privatizers (who yearn to get their mitts on the trillions in the Social Security trust fund), and of course the press dutifully reported it as fact:

An estimated 10,000 people a day will become eligible for Social Security benefits over the next two decades, Astrue said. The Social Security trust fund, if left alone, is projected to go broke in 2041.

Okay folks, one more time:

How disgusting are the privatizers’ lies WRT Social Security?

Well, one moment they’re arguing that it’s going to run out of dough in the 2040s — a scenario that only happens if the country has sluggish Depression-era growth levels from now until the 2040s — and the next they’re touting the alleged high rates of return on private (privatized) accounts, rates which would only be possible if the economy grew at peak-of-the-Clinton-boom levels forever. In short, they’re predicting both Permanent Recession AND Permanent Boom at the same time.  (This is what Michael Kinsley has famously called “the Meathead Proposition“.)

Oh, and by the way, Social Security has less than 1% overhead costs whereas the private US life-insurance plans (as well as privatized plans in places like the UK and Chile) have around 12% to 14% overhead costs.

Posted in big money, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, GOP/Media Complex, gravy train, greed, media, Media machine, mediawhores, mythmaking, rightwing moral cripples, Social Security | 1 Comment »

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