Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for May 15th, 2008

The Venezuela-FARC connection

Posted by Charles II on May 15, 2008

One of the stories we have followed is the attempt of the US government to destabilize the left-wing government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. One of the more recent developments had to do with the assassination of Colombian FARC rebels by military incursion across the border of Ecuador , which led to the call-up of the Venezuelan army, a lot of manly chest-pounding, and an eventual diplomatic resolution.

In the course of this, the Colombians claimed to have captured three laptop computers and associated hardware with information that proved, they said, that Hugo Chavez was funding and collaborating with the FARCies. This is a big deal, since FARC is designated by the US as a terrorist group, even though they are the heirs to a generations-old civil war. The Busheviks have reserved the right to invade any country aiding terrorists, which would give them the right to invade Venezuela if it weren’t completely illegal under international law.
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Posted in Colombia, colonial wars, Latin America, terrorism, Venezuela | 9 Comments »

Counterinsurgency in the Afghan War

Posted by Charles II on May 15, 2008

Jerome Starkey, London Independent:

Secret Afghan death squads are acting on the orders of foreign spies and killing civilians inside Afghanistan with impunity, a senior UN envoy has claimed. Professor Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on illegal killings, said “foreign intelligence agencies” had used illegal groups of heavily armed Afghans in raids against suspected insurgents.

He said the attacks were beyond the legitimate military chains of command, and they were “completely unacceptable” and “outside the law”….

A British embassy spokesman in Kabul said UK officials were “examining the independent expert’s report closely”. But they refused to comment on whether MI6 was involved.

Without knowing how these killings are being conducted, it’s difficult to know whether it’s a good or a bad thing. If the victims truly are civilians, then it’s probably a bad thing, especially since civilian insurgents are potentially such good sources of intelligence. But tactics of this kind are what would have been used in a successful war. They avoid large-scale combat that results in “collateral damage” and rely on indigenous forces who actually know what’s going on.

Posted in Afghanistan, terrorism | Comments Off on Counterinsurgency in the Afghan War

John Sidney McCain III Performs A Magic Trick

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 15, 2008

He makes the Iran-Contra scandal disappear!

No, seriously:

“Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,’’ Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio. “I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.’’

Of course, that is a big fat lie, as anyone who was around for the Iran-Contra scandal — not to mention the earlier October Surprise — knows full well.

Posted in 2008, abuse of power, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Iran, Iran Contra, Iraq war, John McCain, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Ronald Reagan | 5 Comments »

California Supreme Court Rules That Gays Are Human

Posted by MEC on May 15, 2008

That wasn’t the specific ruling. But it’s the message of the Court’s ruling [PDF file] on the issue of same-sex marriage:

…under this state’s Constitution, the constitutionally based right to marry properly must be understood to encompass the core set of basic substantive legal rights and attributes traditionally associated with marriage that are so integral to an individual’s liberty and personal autonomy that they may not be eliminated or abrogated by the Legislature or by the electorate through the statutory initiative process. These core substantive rights include, most fundamentally, the opportunity of an individual to establish — with the person with whom the individual has chosen to share his or her life — and officially recognized and protected family possessing mutual rights and responsibilities and entitled to the same respect and dignity accorded a union traditionally designated as marriage. As past cases establish, the substantive right of two adults who share a loving relationship to join together an officially recognized family of their own — and, if the couple chooses, to raise children within that family — constitutes a vitally important attribute of the fundamental interest in liberty and personal autonomy that the California Constitution secures to all persons for the benefit of both the individual and society.

Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.


One of the core elements of the right to establish an officially recognized family that is embodied in the California constitutional right to marry is a couple’s right to have their family relationship accorded dignity and respect equal to that accorded other officially recognized families, and assigning a different designation for the family relationship of same-sex couples while reserving the historic designation of “marriage” exclusively for opposite-sex couples poses at least a serious risk of denying the family relationship of same-sex couples such equal dignity and respect.


…retaining the designation of marriage exclusively for opposite-sex couples and providing only a separate and distinct designation for same-sex couples may well have the effect of perpetuating a more general premise — now emphatically rejected by this state — that gay individuals and same-sex couples are in some respects “second-class citizens” who may, under the law, be treated differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals or opposite-sex couples…. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional.

The ruling makes me happy for California, and it also makes me sad because I’m all too aware that the constitutions of many states (including, to my shame, the state where I live) do not merely permit but actually impose the “general premise that gay individuals and same-sex couples are in some respects second-class citizens who may, under the law, be treated differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals or opposite-sex couples”.

There are signs, however, that people all over the country are recognizing that the rightwing agenda has seriously damaged our country, and these signs encourage me to hope that the laws and constitutional amendments defining same-sex couples as unworthy of legal protection may be overturned. Let it be sooner rather than later.

Posted in civil rights, Good Things | Comments Off on California Supreme Court Rules That Gays Are Human

Red State Hearts Pawlenty. NOT.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 15, 2008

Good Gawd Almighty Jeebus, but this is hilarious (h/t Minnesota Monitor):

Mark I: Pawlenty has skin in the game as one of McCain’s national co-chairs, but he is a big global warming advocate. McCain is too, and that’s bad. McCain has to know that picking Pawlenty would hurt him with conservatives on that issue alone. Not to mention that there is a little of the “Who?” factor with Pawlenty and he looks a little too young.

That’s right, folks: Admitting reality where climate change is concerned is a BAD thing for these people. So who do they like for McCain’s running mate? Rhode Island’s governor Don Carcieri, whose anti-immigrant stance alarms the local clergy of most denominations. Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.

Posted in 2008, global warming, John McCain, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, saving the earth, Silly Republicans, Tim Pawlenty | 2 Comments »

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