Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 5th, 2008

Debunking The Obama-NAFTA Smear

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 5, 2008

Remember how it was alleged by the CTV that a “senior member” of Obama’s campaign had phoned Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson to advise him to “not be worried about what Obama says about NAFTA”? The implication being, of course, that Obama was being less than truthful in his public anti-NAFTA stance. Both the Obama campaign and the Canadian embassy have strenuously denied this ever happened. Yet both McCain and Hillary Clinton used that smear to keep Obama from winning in both Texas and Ohio primaries.

Well, guess what? The CBC’s looked into the whole deal and has come down on the side of Obama and the Canadian embassy, and said that sources stated that the Conservative government of Stephen Harper had leaked the smear in order to hurt Obama (h/t mattw). Furthermore, according the CBC, Canadian government officials privately question the wisdom of trying to influence the US presidential elections.

03/06/08 UPDATE: Check this out

Seems the NAFTAgate leak started with — surprise, surprise — the Chief of Staff to Canada’s conservative PM Stephen Harper. Only the first hint wasn’t about stuff the Canadians had heard from the Obama camp. It was about reassurances the Canadians got from the Clinton campaign. According to a reporter who heard the original conversation, Brodie said “someone from (Hillary) Clinton’s campaign is telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt. . . That someone called us and told us not to worry.”

Only somehow this evolved into a story about the Obama campaign giving such reassurances.

The Globe and Mail has the latest details.

So was Hillary bashing Obama for what her own campaign had done? Did they both do it? Was it all a set up? I think the overarching story here is that friendly governments should not interfere in our elections.

–Josh Marshall

The other overarching story is to not trust anything Stephen Harper or his people say or do.   It sounds like a big ol’ effort to start “let’s you and him fight”.

Posted in 2008, anti-truth, Barack Obama, Canada, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, mythmaking, Texas, The smear industry | 6 Comments »

A fundamental error in understanding the FISA failure

Posted by Charles II on March 5, 2008

Glenn Greenwald has yet another (yawn) excellent article on FISA, in which he demonstrates that the original law gave powers far too broad to the intelligence agencies, such that right-wing judges have made a mockery of the Fourth Amendment even while following the letter of the law. The FISA Court acts as a rubberstamp, in part because only one side of the issue is given voice and in part because there are no civil libertarians on the bench.

But even this well-considered analysis misses the point. The matters the FISA Court deals with are at the very least criminal, and more usually are aspects of covert wars. Judging from the scope of wiretapping, the United States is at war with the world. We tap our allies for commercial and military information because they might become rivals. We tap neutral countries to learn of their dealings with our enemies. We tap our enemies, which are numerous. And we tap our own citizens because they travel abroad or talk to foreigners or are politically active in unpopular causes.

The real problem is that we do not declare who our enemies are. And so the FISA Court, even if it were run by angels, has no rudder. Everyone and anyone can be declared to be dangerous to our security.

And has been. 

Posted in Constitution, NSA eavesdropping, wrong way to go about it | 9 Comments »

Lord Tubby’s Worst Nightmare

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 5, 2008

Convicted and disgraced right-wing newspaper baron Lord Black of Crossharbour — aka Conrad “Tubby” Black — tried to reclaim his despised Canadian citizenship so he could avoid doing time in the much rougher U.S. prison system.

He failed:

Black will be headed to what is known as Coleman-Low, the low security facility in the sprawling Coleman Correctional complex. Built in 1995, according to Ellis’s guidebook, it is, he says, “relatively new,” and part of the growing number of complexes that house both low, medium facilities as well as United States penitentiaries.

“If he were an American, he would be going to a camp — an open facility, one that he could theoretically walk away from,” says Ellis. (Think of the facility in Alderson, West Virginia, where Martha Stewart served her sentence, a place that had no barbed wires or fences.) But Lord Black, a British subject, is a “criminal alien” within the federal prison system, and that status booted him up to a low-security facility.

“He’s going to a real prison,” Ellis says. “It’s terrible. Your movement is more controlled.”

Awwww. Poooor babeeee.

Posted in Bush Family Evil Empire, Busheviks, Conrad Black, conservativism, corruption, cronies, GOP/Media Complex, greed, half-vast rightwing conspiracy, media, Media machine, mediawhores, neocons, neoliberals | 3 Comments »

An Interesting Birth Announcement

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 5, 2008

I saw this yesterday online:

Jeri Ryan and her husband, French chef Christophe Eme, have a new family member.

The 40-year-old actress gave birth Sunday to daughter Gisele in Los Angeles, her publicist David Lust announced.

So the former Seven of Nine had a baby girl.

Why did this interest me? Because of this sentence:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 2 Comments »

This Is Interesting

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 5, 2008

For all the flak hurled at urban schools, this is an interesting result:

For the second straight year, low-income students in the Minneapolis Public Schools fared better than the ones who were bused to suburban schools under the Choice is Yours, a voluntary desegregation program.

Minneapolis students in the district nearly doubled their test scores in reading and finished practically even in math compared with their suburban counterparts last year, according to results released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Education.


For the comparison, students in third through seventh grade were tested in reading and math using the Northwest Achievement Level tests. The groups were nearly identical in demographic characteristics.

This is the third year the comparative test results have been released. Minneapolis students who attended suburban schools outperformed district students during the 2004-05 school year. The following year, district students did better than their suburban peers.

This time, district students did better than suburban students at every grade level in reading. The district cites early childhood and after-school programs as two reasons for the rise.

Posted in education, Minnesota | Comments Off on This Is Interesting

Another fine mess, Bushie

Posted by Charles II on March 5, 2008

Exactly what happened between Ecuador and Colombia is still a matter of dispute. However, according to information from Paul Vallely of the London Independent, it looks as if the US may have used hostage negotiations to assassinate the negotiator of the Colombian rebel group, FARC on Ecuadoran soil. Colombian public sentiment supports the strike. Ecuador and Venezuela are furious, and Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil have apparently sided with Ecuador. It’s difficult to believe that Colombian sentiment will not be influenced by the apparent unanimity of other nations in rejecting the aggression.

The key point Vallely makes is that Colombia claimed that the firefight started on its side of the border and that FARC guerrillas in Ecuador started firing across the border, so the Colombian army crossed the border. But this account is contradicted by key facts. The rebels were bombed, not shot, and caught completely flatfooted. It is likely that the satellite phone used by Raul Reyes, FARC’s “diplomat,” was used by US intelligence to provide coordinates for the bombing and that this was pre-planned.

The Colombians claim that they captured Raul Reyes’s laptop with information showing that Venezuela had provided $300M in aid, that the FARC rebels had formed an alliance with Venezuela, and that the FARC was in negotiations to buy 50 kilos of uranium with which to build a dirty bomb. These claims sound like absolute nonsense to me and I suspect they will quietly go down the memory hole.  

The outcome according to Vallely:

But there is little appetite for armed conflict. The economic costs would be too high. Trade between Colombia and Venezuela is worth $5bn a year, with food imports vital to Venezuelans suffering milk and meat shortages. Ecuador depends on some $1.8bn in trade with Colombia. Militarily Colombia is a formidable foe, thanks to $5bn in aid from Washington and US military advisers sprinkled throughout the Colombian army. The signs are of a climb-down. Colombia has indicated that it will not send more troops to its borders. And Washington, while backing Colombia’s right to defend itself, has urged dialogue.

So, in short, what looks like a US-directed public relations exercise to benefit Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe has united South America against the US and endangered hostages, including three American mercenaries.  The conflict has caused a humanitarian crisis, with 59,000 refugees from Colombia in Ecuador.

And, yes, things can go downhill from here.

Posted in Colombia, international, Latin America, Venezuela, wrong way to go about it | Comments Off on Another fine mess, Bushie

%d bloggers like this: